Velvet One
By Betty Hathorn

Picture a beautiful white Fallow with antlers of soft, plush velvet. I saw this wonderful Fallow on a friend's video tape and I said, I would love to have that Fallow.

My friends Steve Mahurin, Richard Lozano, outfitter, and Miguel Elizalde, who works for Richard, were going on a hunt and invited me to go with them. On Friday morning we got up at 3 a. m.,and headed to the Flying Z Ranch in Giddings, Texas. A little before seven, we stopped to get a breakfast taco and then went to the ranch. It had been the consensus of the men that the buck wouldn't stay in velvet till the weekend.

When we arrived at the ranch it was almost light. Robert Vawter, our guide, was not yet there. At 8:a.m. he called and was having trouble with his vehicle. At that point, Richard and Miguel got in our truck and went to find Robert. About a hour later they all showed up and the hunt began.

I didn't know until then that Steve had arranged the hunt for me. I thought I was only going to watch - what a pleasant surprise ti discover I was going to get to shoot. We were nopw moving in two trucks to the blind. Before I knew it, much to my chagrin, I was climbing up three steps and was very gently pushed into th e blind. My frioend Steve was right behind me. There was only rom for two steel folding chairs, and I scrambled into one of them.

There was a quivering going up and down my spine, and my heart was pounding out of my chest. "Claustrophobia hit." After about five minutes I began to feel better.

There were animals all around us. Red Deer, Corsican Sheep, Brown and Spotted Fallow, and the beautiful White Fallow that I was after. They were coming out of the bushes on the power line right of way. When we turned to look at the road we had just traveled over to get there, we saw Scimitar Oryx, Red Deer, and some more sheep.

I turned back and got my gun to get a sight of my White Fallow, but it was just one big cluster of animals. There was no way I could have gotten a shot off. Eventually, they all went back in the brush.

The next 45 minutes were very hot and nothing to see. Hallelujah !! All the animals were coming out again. I very carefully got my gun into position. For some reason, I thought a Spotted Fallow was glued to my White Fallow. I was beginning to think this blind was hotter than H ---- and those two Fallow had a weird relationship. I waited and finally, the White Fallow moved just enough so I could take a shot, and I did.Richard who was video taping the hunt outside the blind said, " I think she got him. " About that time all the animals that went into the bushes when I shot came back out and crossed into the bushes on the other side of the right of way. All but my White Fallow. They were sure I had shot him then.

I used a .243 Remington rifle, loaded with 100 grain spft point bullets. One shot at 87 yards did then trick. I was so excited I could not wait to get out of the blind and get to my velvety fallow. He was a beauty, 245 pounds worth. The next problem was trying to hold up the antlers for a picture. Would you believe, all the men were ready to help me, and take pictures.

Then we went back to the processing room. Tes, I went in and watched the buck being skinned and caped. There was very little blood, and that really surprised me.

A Blackbuck was also included in the hunt, so we took off again in the hot, hot sun in search of him. However, all the animals were smarter than us. The only thing we saw were a few Red Deer swimming in the pond. It is very unusual to see Red Deer in the water.

About 7:30 p. m. animals came out from all directions. Beautiful animals , but not the Blackbuck. At 8:30 we saw some Black pigs. I had seen them before but never knew they could run so fast. We then heard a shot- Miguel had gotten himself a pig, and we went back to the processing room.

I stayed outside this time, sat in a lawn chair. The full moon was so big,bright, and beautiful. A perfect ending for my thirdhunting trip !!

All the guys were so supportive and helpful to a new kid on the block like me. Sixty-six years young and still learning.

Written 08-03-2001 by Betty Hathorn

Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568


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