Turkey Ridge Ranch Texas Whitetail

Working to Hunt
As the story unfolds you will be surprised on how small of a world it is in the Outdoor Industry.  This story may seem like it skips around a bit but ya know as an avid Huntress sometimes that’s the toll you take when having a passion for the Outdoors.

It all started last summer when I found out that I was going to have to take a temporary assignment for work and be gone away from my family for over 4 months.  When my husband TJ Guccini and I found out that I was going to miss bow season we were really disappointed.  Bow hunting with my husband is “Our Time”!  We don’t go on vacation, we don’t have special occasions, but what we do have is HUNTING, and hunting the back country is what we look forward to everyday until it arrives.  The studying of the land, hiking deep into the wilderness, discovering each pocket of critters, memorizing the saddles and the hard earned sweat was going to have to wait.  I had even drawn my bear tag after waiting for 3 years and the opportunity to hunt was going to be on hold.

Once flying on a jet plane to Texas for work all I could take was the memories of hunting.  With many folks being jobless in the United States I was thankful that I was working.  Each hunting adventure that we go on is paid out of our own pockets so for me working is extremely important because it gives us the freedom to be able to hunt and follow my dreams.

The 4 months of being out of state flew by and next thing I knew bow season was knocking on the back door.  TJ went ahead and hunted on his own with his dad and buddies.  The opportunities for him were slim but his Dad, Mr. Toby was successful in harvesting a nice chocolate black bear.  Like I have said before, hunting is 80% Luck and 20% Skill.  I actually wasn’t too disappointed that TJ didn’t harvest an animal because I have to keep the “Woman Cave” active with my animals in our home!  Joking

The job was finally coming to a close and lucky enough we finished 4 weeks early and my plane ticket was booked for the Mountain State.  As soon as I flew in, I bought an over the counter rifle tag which only gave me 5 days to hunt.  The 1st morning we went before sunrise and a wicked snow storm blew over us.  It was FREEZING!  Leaving 100°F weather to 32°F weather was a huge adjustment.  The snow came down so hard that you could barely see 10’feet in front of you.  My feet were freezing and I was on the verge of starting a fire to warm up.  Yes, you’re thinking right, I WASN’T PREAPRED FOR SNOW!  Once the storm rolled out and it started to clear a young bull showed himself but I couldn’t bring myself to take him.  I was looking for something a little bit more mature (honestly something as mature as my husband’s bull from the year before) but no luck.  The no luck card played for a couple more days and as we traveled out on the trail we ran
into some hunters from the Big State of Texas.  Well ya know, with my being a little Cajun I started jibber-jabbering away talking about fishing and hunting and coincidentally this gentleman Mr. Bob Worsham fished with some really good friends of mine in South Louisiana.  Well that made us chit-chat more and next thing I knew we were talking about white tail hunting.  As we continued to tell stories, Mr. Bob mentioned that he had access to hunt private land for elk which boarded where we were hunting.  With me knowing the area so well and not having access to hunt private land I decided to tell them about a GINORMOUS 6 point bull that had been hanging out over the ridge line.  I drew them a map in the dirt hoping that if they were lucky they could harvest this bull and have a great Trophy to bring back to Texas.  Well they must have had more luck then us because Bob’s friend Dale was able to take the bull and us not so lucky.  The last night I had
an opportunity to chase a bull right before sunset but I contained myself because I knew he really wasn’t what I was looking for.    In a short 5 days of hunting, the season was over.  No Bear, No Elk, No Luck, until the phone call came! To be continued…….

Texas Bound 2 Bucks DOWN
Christmas presents, Guns and puppies, the truck was loaded and ready to head south!

They’re few and far between but sometimes you may run into a true genuine sole that you can call a friend.  After no luck on bear or elk, TJ and I started to prepare for the Christmas Holidays.  One evening sitting at the house I received a phone call from a gentleman by the name of Mr. Bob Worsham.  We had met Mr. Bob and his friend Mr. Dale during elk season and we had directed them on where a nice 6 point bull was hanging out.  They were lucky enough to harvest a nice 350 class trophy and take him back home to Texas.

Once visiting with Mr. Bob over the phone I was lost for words.  “Really, no way, seriously, are you joking?”  Grinning ear to ear, TJ looking like what, “Is everything ok”?  After hanging up the phone I was speechless and could just nod yeah, TJ, “what?”  I scream on the top of my lungs and start jumping up and down, “WE ARE GOING WHITETAIL HUNTING IN TEXAS!”  Mr. Bob had invited TJ and me to come hunt whitetail on Dale’s Ranch the week before Christmas.

With us already heading down to Louisiana we would only have to take a slight detour and we could be there in 18 hours.  Yes, I WILL SAY IT AGAIN HUNTING WHITETAIL on TURKEY RIDGE RANCH, HERE WE COME!  See, in Colorado they only have whitetail in the Eastern part so TJ and I have only hunted Mule Deer.  I did get lucky and harvest 2 bucks that were locked up this year but it wasn’t like I had truly been hunting whitetail.  As the end of the year grew closer the dates were coming up and so was the excitement.  We wanted to check off our list and ensure we weren’t missing anything for the long stretch across 4 states.  Let’s see, “Guns-check, Christmas presents-check, ice chests-check, camo-check, snack-check, dogs-check, o yeah luggage, we got it!”  Locked up and loaded, LET’s DO IT!  Texas Bound!  Driving the 18 hours felt like it took forever.  We talked about the basics, “Who’s going to shoot first?”  That was simple, LADIES FIRST!
Yep, that’s right umm hum, my husband is such a gentleman.

We stopped at a run-down motel in Texas for our last nights of rest before the big day.  Up and early we arrived to Turkey Ridge Ranch.  They had blackbuck running around, fallow deer, and even a Kangaroo.  Yes, a kangaroo, at first I told TJ, “That’s the biggest damn jackrabbit I have ever seen”.  We followed Mr. Bob down a gravel road and arrived to our yellow cabin.  It had a fenced in yard and a little front porch with a rocking chair.  The place was absolutely perfect.  We quickly unloaded our bags, changed into our camouflage and off to the blind we go for a late afternoon hunt!

Mr. Bob started telling us a litt
le about the territory and was preparing us for what kind of bucks we were going to see.  He dropped us off in a ground blind and said he would be back at dark.  TJ and I huddled in the little ole blind and we were waiting and waiting.  Patience truly is a virtue when you’re hunting.  Next thing you know in the corner of our eyes a
few does started to move in and graze in front of us.  I glassed out in the distance and I could see a really wide buck making his way to check out the girls. As he came in closer I counted 8 points and was excited.  I told TJ, “I want to take him”.  TJ insisted that I wait a little longer because he was the 1st buck, well I waited alright, and here comes a 10 point.  But he still wasn’t as wide as the 8 point.  Both bucks continued to graze and that 8 point walked closer and closer to the blind and I told TJ I wanted him.  I carefully took my gun off safety and watched thru my scope waiting for the perfect shot.  He then started walking straight for the blind! I was so worried that he was going to smell us; he was less than 20 yards away and wouldn’t stop so I took the shot!  BOOM!  Buck down, I ejected my shell, put my gun on safety and climbed over TJ with excitement to head out the blind.  There he was, so beautiful.  I was smiling ear to
ear.
We waited on Mr. Bob to show up and I was talking 90to nothing.  O my, I am so excited, giving him about 20 hugs!  I was truly so excited.  We headed
back to the cabin for a nice warm dinner that Mr. Bob cooked for us.  It was sausage and rice.  So good!  After dinner TJ and I cleaned my buck and let him hang overnight.

The next morning we woke up to the smell of yummy coffee and I was going to hunt predators and TJ was going to go to a different blind to hopefully find him a buck.  All morning I watched this majestic 8 point.  He had a 7 inch brow tines.  I captured pictures with my camera and was wishful that a hog or bobcat was going to show themselves, but I never seen any.  TJ also didn’t have any luck on his morning hunt.  We headed back to the cabin and we ate a big breakfast.  TJ and I quartered my deer and put him on ice.  After visiting for a bit I was showing TJ the buck that I had seen.  Mr. Bob told us well hell, why don’t yall just go back out and see if maybe you can find a different buck.  We could see the clouds building up and we knew a storm was supposed to roll through the afternoon.

Off to the Turkey Blind we go.  This blind was much smaller and super low to the ground.  We had to be extra quiet and watch all of our movement.  I had dozed off a little bit (thankfully I don’t snore) to the sound of the trees and the cool breeze blowing thru.  Then I felt something hitting my knee.  I open my eyes and smile and TJ nudges me to look to my right.  At a distance I seen a doe and she was making her way towards us.  A good hour ticked by and in the distance we could see a buck making its way down the hillside.  As he got closer so did the doe.  The problem was the doe was getting a little suspicious of the blind we were in.  The last thing we needed was for her to spook and chase off the buck.  We continued to watch this buck and he was the one, the one with the 7 inch brow tines!  I nodded my head, whispering so soft, that’s him, that’s him.  God must have been listening to our prayers.  TJ quietly took his gun off safety and turned
his 9 power up on his scope.  The deer was a little over 120 yards.  He said are you ready, and BOOM he shot.  Even though I knew it was coming, I still jumped and about hit my head on the roof of the blind.  We bailed out and headed to the hill side.  Another buck down and this was only the 2nd afternoon.  TJ was so proud of his buck and his smile was from ear to ear.  We headed back to the camp with a grin of success.  We skinned out TJ’s buck, quartered him, and in the ice chest he went.  We packed the truck with smiles on our faces.  The feeling of success and joy was like no other.  Ya, know I once heard a saying, “Those who Hunt Together, Stay Together”.  We had closed out our hunting chapter for the year with 2 bucks which made up for the time we missed during bow season.

As we loaded up to keep trucking to Louisiana only 4 days before Christmas we had the opportunity to give Big Hugs to Mr. Bob and Mr. Dale.  TJ and I were so grateful that we met such genuine people who have helped build memories for a lifetime.  They will always hold a place in our hearts.  Thank you Turkey Ridge Ranch 

O yeah, I almost forgot TJ’s buck did score ¾ inch bigger than mine and YES I am having it re-measured.

If you are interested in hunting Texas let me know or contact Bob Worsham http://www.worsham-realestate.com/

777 Ranch Bucks Locked Together

Alps

Returning to the 777 Ranch in Hondo, Texas to hunt for a week was super exciting.  Over the summer I had brought my bow hoping to harvest a specific animal and wasn’t successful so I came back for a fall hunt, but this time bringing my rifle.  Knowing that hunting is 80% luck and 20% skill I was hoping to fulfill my tag on my short visit.

After flying in from Colorado to the warm state of Texas I knew that hunting was going to be difficult.  The morning started with much needed rain for the state but not for me.  The weather was atrocious and the wind would not cooperate.   In inclement weather conditions deer typically move around less because their instincts tell them they’re “at risk.”  It rained and hailed throughout the week and then a cold front pushed forward.  Regardless of the weather this was not going to stop me from hunting, I was 100% prepared for any weather and the spot and stalking was ON!

As we hunted each day the stalking was getting harder and harder.  As we walked through different areas of the ranch we would see other animals but not what we were looking for.  In this one area the mud was so thick that the rocky terrain was sticking to the bottom of my boots making it impossible to be quite.   Still Nothing!  No Deer, No Does, No bucks, just some damn muddy boots and tired eyes.   After returning from the evening we knew we had to come up with a different game plan.  When we sat down for dinner I felt like a rabid dog who was drooling at the mouth.  The smell of dinner was delightful.  We had yummy pork chops with tators and veggies, plus an adult beverage which was a much needed drink for the week.  For the last hunting day we decided to go to a different area to look for some does.  At this point for me, meat in the freezer was my biggest concern.

With a super early AM wake up and a swig of coffee we were out to a new hunting area on the 777 Ranch.   The stars were shinning bright in the sky giving us barley enough light to see anything.  We hiked into a small opening glassing right and left hoping to try to see something.  With the sun tucked away over the ridgeline it appeared to be a buck and a doe lying underneath the brush out in front of us.  Not wanting to spook anything out of the area we decided to hang tight until we could distinguish what we were looking at.  As the sun started to rise we then realized that it wasn’t a doe, but another buck, not one but 2 bucks.

When bucks go into the rut they will fight and most “fights” are just pushing and shoving matches, but sometimes those fights can lead to death which is unfortunate for both animals.   There are rare occasions when bucks get their antlers locked and death does occur.   This was one of those occasions where the other buck had died and the other one was still alive.  The buck continued to fight trying to get his antlers unlocked but he was just not able to do so.  We continued to watch the fight and knew it would physical be impossible to try to rescue the buck and separate him.

My hunt quickly became a buck hunt in a matter of a split second!   Shooting sticks up and rifle loaded, aim for perfection on a perfect heart shot to the buck.  With my heart racing and adrenalin taking over my success of a harvest was accomplished, buck down!  Although the bucks weren’t what I came to hunt but this rare and amazing opportunity presented itself and I was able to harvest these beautiful animals.  The feeling of accomplishment for me to have such a rare trophy is a true blessing.

Always observing the grand beauty of the outdoors and the scenery, as I walked up to my bucks I noticed a fossil lying right beside them.  As I picked up the fossil I knew that this was an experience of a once in a lifetime hunt but to also have a piece of Mother Nature right on the side of me.   Some folks may call it luck but for me, it’s a memory of a lifetime that I will be able to experience each day for my passion for the outdoors.

BucksLocked

Fly Fish To Catch A Cure

FlyFishTourney

10th Annual “To Catch the Cure” 2013 Rocky Mountain Fly Fishing Classic
September 27 and 28th, 2013

Seldom do you find a cousin who lives close to you, a transplant from Louisiana like you, who fell in love with the Colorado outdoors like you, who you never knew, who has been a professional fly fishing guide for 21 years, who invites you to fish a fly fishing tournament to benefit Cystic Fibrosis and in the process experience learning the art of Fly Fishing.

Recently, I had the great opportunity to be invited to fish this amazing tournament with my Cousin Ivan Perrin who has participated as an angler, and supporter of the Rocky Mountain Fly Fishing Classic tournament for his 9th time. The Tournament was the 10th Annual Rocky Mountain Fly Fishing Celebrity Classic that is hosted by Mark Cooper, Ex NFL Denver Bronco. This tournament was founded by Gary Ellis when his daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis and is part of the Red Bone Fishing series. The two day “To Catch the Cure” tournament consists of multiple anglers from across all destinations floating the beautiful Roaring Fork and the Colorado River, alternating each day. The competition is a strict catch and release of 2 brown trout, 2 rainbow trout, and 1 wildcard fish per day. Each angler is required to call each fish as a “tournament counted fish” before he or her continues to compete, so you just can’t count your biggest at the end of the day as in other types of fishing tournaments.

I would have to say that our 1st morning starting off a wee bit chilly. Our guide Gifford Maytham (otherwise known to us now as Gilligan) prepared us for the weather and we knew it was going to be a tuff day, of not only fishing but freezing. This tourney is for a great cause so the weather didn’t matter to us. My cousin Ivan took the back of the boat and I took the front. This was literally my 3rd time I’ve had a fly rod in my hand EVER so it was a little difficult at first fighting the wind and the cold air. But that didn’t matter because less than an hour in our float I had landed a 17” Rainbow. I was hollering at my cousin, “Get the net, get the net, we can’t lose him” Gilligan saying, “Calm down its ok!” The excitement was overwhelming, not only was this the first catch of the day but it was the biggest fish I had caught so far on a fly rod, must have a great teacher. This big rainbow ate a white streamer close to the boat within view of all of us. I was ecstatic. I landed the fish by keeping constant pressure while giving line to the fish during his spurts during the fight.

The day continued of Gilligan coaching me on the technique’s of fly fishing. Each river run, feeding lane, all have their individual characteristics not to mention there were different methods that we used to trigger a strike. For example just after my big rainbow, less than 600 yards down the river Ivan had a Brown eat his streamer by coming completely out of the water, showing his girth, 18 or so inches but cousin never got hold of the fish, yes some got away.

As we would come into a run Gilligan would instruct me “Ok fish to the left”, as my fly lands the next instruction was usually “lift the rod”, or “mend” or “strip” or “HIT IT”, yes hit it was his words for “Hey set the hook that’s a fish” Yes both me and cousin missed some. Ivan and I both had strikes that never resulted in us fighting the fish. Such is the way of fly fishing; the fish seemingly has an advantage over the angler.

We used three methods of fly fishing to fill our card the first day. The first fish carded was Ivan’s Rainbow, using a nymph fly called, “FKA, and Formerly Known as Prince”, He caught it under the bridge at Carbondale on the Roaring Fork. Nymphing is basically using subsurface fly’s that are representing the natural insects in the river during their life when they are sub surface. The “FKA” is considered an attractor fly. This fly looks a lot like either, a small stone, a caddis, a large mayfly, well you get the picture. It doesn’t look exactly like either of those but has the shape of all and looks really buggie.

The second method we used was Streamer fishing. In streamer fishing our fly’s were made mostly of bunnie hare and about an inch and a half long, sometimes two. We would cast usually to the banks edge and strip, or move the fly about 1 foot at a time before pausing. Then after the pause I would twitch my rod tip or strip the line to move the fly. This type of fishing is a little like spin fishing. I can’ t teach you that method in another story.

The third method was Hopper dropper. Near in about 1 pm we had 3 fish left to fill our card. Just past the west bank launch our Gilligan tied on a large Hopper, with a nymph dropper about 14 inches back.
Ivan was doing well and I was so excited for him, he was landing big fish and filling his card. I had landed my browns early on and was just waiting for another rainbow and my wild card fish. I was getting cold but gritting my teeth because I knew Gilligan had some good honey holes for us to fish in. Gilligan gave me his favorite fly and told me to get ready, not only was it a few rainbows, but SOME BIG RAINBOWS. Ivan had landed one 1st and then we switched rods and it was my turn to try to catch a big one. I was grinning and just knew that I had to do this. I casted and landed Gilligan’s special fly in the river really soft and then BAM fish on. I was trying to be so calm and not get too excited, I didn’t want to lose this fish. After a fight that felt like forever he was finally in the boat, this rainbow had such a majestic look and after we measured I had another 17” Rainbow. I was smiling so big, I was so happy; I even gave my guide a big ole hug. At this point Ivan’s card was full and I just needed one more fish, it didn’t matter what kind, but one big one for sure.
We could see at a distant that the 1st cold front was coming our way. I was already chilly, and I didn’t want to give up. Gilligan was doing everything he could and he said let’s give it one more shot with my special fly and go after another rainbow for you. With big grins I said, “Let’s do it!” Gilligan rowed us back up into his little honey-hole and after numerous casts another big’ole rainbow was on! Ivan and Gilligan were telling me exactly what to do, “Jackie strip, wait let em go, strip, and strip” I was trying to be as fragile as I could so he wouldn’t spit out the fly. I was like geez, “Get the net we can’t lose him” grinning ear to ear so proud. Gilligan finally netted him and we measured him over 17.5 inches. We took a quick picture then back in the water he was.

Bowkrazy Rainbow

We proceeded to card our last 3 rainbows from the same group of feeding Rainbows, (As Ivan says 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water)
Yeah I was so excited, my card was full and I just had the excitement of catching 5 gorgeous fish out of the Roaring Fork River. It was only 1pm at this time and we had hellacious weather coming our way. All 3 of us suited up in our rain gear with beanies and gloves and was preparing for the rest of the float down river to the dock. We laughed and joked and smiled and we were so proud of our 1st successful day of fishing! After all of the scores went in Ivan and I were in 1st place off of the Roaring Fork and holding second place overall in the tournament.
With the rain/snow storm that came in we were a bit worried about fishing the Colorado the next day.
We got up at sunrise and instantly when we got to the river we knew it was going to be a much harder day of fishing. The Colorado was very muddy and flowing pretty fast.
The whole day was so tuff for me to fish. The Collie is a much larger river than the roaring so I needed to be able to cast further and quicker than I did the previous day. Immediately I knew it was going to be all fishing, NO BREAKS! Gilligan was great trying to show me how to cast, strip and land the fish. Ivan on the other hand being the Pro that he is was landing big fish and filling his card. My cousin is the one who turned me on to fly fishing and asked me to fish the tournament with him so I wanted to make sure to do well. The day persisted with heavy winds and I persisted with literally throwing 100’s of casts. I did land a pretty nice rainbow and caught some smaller fish but most important we were having lots of fun. Ivan and Gifford were satisfied so that was all that mattered. We turned in our cards and at the end of the night we were announced 2nd place overall winners of the Tournament. I was the only woman participant finishing 7th as an angler and I have to say not too shabby for a girl. LOL. I was so excited and so proud. All 3 of us had worked so hard, freezing our butts off, but we still managed to come out in 2nd place.
It was an amazing experience to be able to fish such a great tournament, for a great cause, with most of all great people. I would like to say thank you to Mark Cooper for having the tournament. I would also like to thank Mr. Gifford Maytham (Gilligan) for putting up with me all day, I am sure his stress level that day was over the top with my jibber jabber, but I had a blast. And most of all I would like to say thank you to my cousin Ivan Perrin (Guide Roaring Fork Anglers, www.rfanglers.com), who gave me an opportunity of a lifetime which I will never forget. The thought of the outdoors, the sound of the river flowing, the excitement I feel each time I land a fish, will never be forgotten. Thanks again. Big Smiles for Fly Fishing! Jackie

If you would like to participate in this Wonderful Fishing Tournament next year you may have to beat me and my cousin but please, join us!!!

For the entire REDBONE Fishing Tournament series go to www.redbone.org

To find a guide for fishing the Rivers mentioned in this article visit the Roaring Fork Anglers Web site www.rfanglers.com