It was the
60's and I was relatively new to the sport of hunting exotics. I had read
about a pretty well known ranch in the Llano, Texas area called the Bar
O Ranch. Supposedly this ranch was one of the pioneers, along with the
world famous Y. O. Ranch, and a few others in the new and chancy idea
of stocking their property with game animals from many other countries
and geographic areas.
This was done in an effort to not only save a number of species from near
extinction, but to finance, at least partially, through their propagation
into a population big enough to offer hunters, for a price, the chance
to crop some of the older, trophy males from the herd.
This ranch is very near one of Texas's many scenic wonders called Enchanted
Rock, which my wife, Shirley, and I planned to visit on our way to the
ranch. This wonder of nature is a huge pinkish colored rock that covers
640 acres has an elevation of 1825 feet above sea level. Out in the middle
of nowhere, with nothing of its kind anywhere else within miles of it,
if at all. This big rock has since become protected by the state of Texas
and is now a beautiful state park. We finally arrived at the ranch gate
late in the evening after seeing probably 90 or a 100 native whitetail
deer along the road leading to the ranch. The ranch house we were to stay
in was over a hundred years old. Its long hallway was adorned with many
heads of game, both native and exotic, taken from the ranch over the years.
The ranch house was filled with momentos from the distant past, and made
me think back to how life was in the old real cowboy days.
My guide was to be a young man, probably ten years younger than me, which
was at the time,was in my early twenties. He had been raised on the place,
so he knew it like you and I do our suburban back yards. He wasn't the
bad guy but dressed like it in a black hat, boots, and shirt. He told
us that the ranch consisted of brush, but not too thick. Rolling hills
dotted with stands of timber and a number of canyons crisscrossing the
ranch. I was to shoot, I hoped with my Sako .243 caliber with a Redfield
six-power scope on top to help me take this Blackbuck.
We were told that this Blackbuck we were to hunt was a real slick one
and because of that pretty old as well. He was supposed to be six or seven
years old and jet black, as well as smart. According to our guide, I was
to be the seventh hunter to try for him. They said he always seemed to
be on the opposite ridge or next canyon over from wherever the person
with the gun was, but only if he was being hunted. Seems this animal was
psychic or something, Because if you were hunting something else, he would
be seen easily and often.
We began our hunt very early, like daylight. It was well over an hour
before we even got a glimpse of him. Of course it was way across on the
other side of a canyon, well beyond my meager shooting ability, even though
my Sako .243 and its 100-grain bullets could probably have reached him.
We tried going directly toward him, on either side of his line of travel
and still no luck.
We got close enough to many other animals without a problem. These included
our native Texas Whitetail Deer, many turkey, and maybe a hundred other
animals of various exotic species, that could have been taken most any
This went on for most of the day and I was beginning to think that maybe
I was going to be the seventh hunter this wise and wary animal had outfoxed.Toward
late evening we got a break. We hadn't seen that buck for over an hour
and decided to try a pocket of timber at a back corner of the property.
We circled around the back edges of this area and eased up through the
trees. We were nearly through the woods when that old buck made his fatal
We spied him through the trees and across a small arroyo, standing and
looking back toward us. I quickly got into position for a shot. The shot
was a little over a 100 yards. My 100 grain soft nose bullet did its magic
and we heard the thump of the bullet hit. My first ever Blackbuck was
down after running for about 75 yards.
Steve Mahurin on March 24, 2000.