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.