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Dream Hunt
By Steve Mahurin
     

I knew about the age of ten, when my uncle took me on my first squirrel hunt, that I wanted to be a hunter. From my teenage years on, my dream was to hunt the American Bison or as it is more commonly called the Buffalo.

When I think Buffalo I think history. Of the American Indian that hunted this huge animal with nothing but a bow and arrow from horseback. Of the once upon a long time ago, of the massive herds of these animals, with their great shaggy manes and sharp tipped ebony horns, in numbers so great that it would sometimes take a full day for the herd to pass any given point. Sadly of the slaughter of thousands upon thousands of these noble animals, for just their hides and tongues, that led to near extinction of the species. Lastly of the pioneering land owners, hunters, and even politicians like Teddy Roosevelt that stopped the slaughter and protected them so that in present times they are not even close to being endangered and increasing their numbers. This is what I think of when the name Bison comes to mind. And that was my dream.

So here I was on October 9, 1993 at age 55 and after having hunted successfully probably seventy-five animals of many species, ready to live my dream.

My wife Shirley and I were headed down I 10 west toward the picturesque town of Kerrville, Texas nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Kerrville is probably the main hub of the exotics hunting scene in Texas as well as the country. I have met people from all over the United States, as well as from all over the world, that have traveled to Kerrville to hunt the many exotic species that abound on the many ranches in the area.

We were to meet our friend and guide L. R. Castleberry there for our hunt which was to take place somewhere around the outskirts of a small town about twenty five miles away called Harper, Texas.

The next morning, after a restless night of anticipation, L. R. picked us up at our motel and we climbed into the cab of his truck with our hunting gear. We all of course had our binoculars close at hand for spotting and judging our target. Also on hand were our 35mm cameras and telephoto lens, in the hopes that we might get some good pictures of the Buffalo as well as some of the native and exotic species that are plentiful in the area. We had also brought along a friend's video camera, hoping that Shirley might be able to get my hunt on film in living color as they say. My hunting rifle of choice was my tried and true hunting companion of nearly thirty years, my Remington, model 700, in 30/06 caliber. I was using Remington 180-grain core-loct bullets and a Weaver 3 x 9 scope.

We got to Harper and were introduced to the ranch owner, Adolph Reeh, by an acquaintance of L. R.'s. We were to follow him to ranch, which he said was only about fifteen minutes away. Our trip took us down roads lined with tall green trees and highlighted by a bright, clear, brilliant, blue Texas sky. Remember the video camera? Between looking where we were going, I was trying to remember how to use that borrowed video camera and not doing a very good job of it. By the time we arrived, all I had done was get frustrated and end up with five minutes of pictures of the inside door panel of the truck Not a very good start for my hunt, huh!

We were finally at our destination and stopped for a conversation and to figure out a game plan.

Adolph said, there is good news and bad news. I had a sinking feeling that my hunt was in trouble. He went on to say that he had two trophy caliber bulls in the herd on his ranch. The trouble was that the larger of the two bulls had two days earlier, somehow, overstuffed himself with acorns, and they had somehow caused some sort of stomach problem that had killed him. Go figure huh! Good news was that at least we had a shootable bull to go after.

My thoughts were kinda like, what the heck, my dream was to hunt a Buffalo, and it need not be a record book animal. I just wanted a good representative animal of the species.

So off we went to hunt my Buffalo. This ranch was a little different from most of the area. Instead of high ledges and ridges and rocky ground with cedar thickets, this place was mostly gently rolling green terrain with thick groves of trees.

As we traveled the area we saw a number of exotic species including Fallow Deer, Axis Deer, Sika Deer, two or three species of exotic sheep, along with some Whitetail Deer and a couple of Rio Grande Turkey.

After an hour or so of looking we finally spotted the small herd of Buffalo. There were only about ten or twelve of them. It seemed like more since they were so large. Big bulls can weigh around a ton with cows running a little lighter. Then there he was "the bull". He was magnificent with his huge, dark, shaggy mane and curved, sharp pointed ebony horns. Standing there broadside he for all the world looked like he was posing for the famous Buffalo Nickel.

As we sat there in the truck glassing them, they began to get fidgety and started to stream out of the sun dappled opening into the darker shade of a stand of timber.

Adolph said that he thought that he knew where they were headed and we could circle around and maybe get ahead of them to set up an ambush. We got close to the spot Adolph had mentioned and he said we would have to walk a couple of hundred yards into the timber to a small draw he thought they would move through. They did, but had beat there and were moving away from us as we got to the head of draw. We hotfooted it back to the vehicle for another try.

Another try with the same results about an hour later. We tried at least three more stalks with no luck. You wouldn't think that animals that big could move that fast and quietly and always keep the trees between us.

About three p. m. we tried again to circle around to pick them up for another try. This time after a short wait we saw them moving toward us from about a hundred yards away. At about sixty yards the whole bunch started to move away to our left and broadside to us. Luckily the bull was lagging to thew rear by a few yards. The wind was in our favor and I was able to use a nearby tree to steady the dancing crosshairs of my scope. The shot felt good and the bull sprinted away at breakneck speed. He only went about another sixty yards before piling up in full view of our party. My dream hunt was over.

By the way, Shirley got it all in living color. That videotape to this day is a treasured item in my mind.

Written by Steve Mahurin on May 19, 2000.

     
     
Dream Hunt
     
     


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Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568
409-935-9673

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

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Hunting Memories


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|Hunting Memories| |Exotic Profiles| |Hunting Gallery| |Trophy Gallery| |Bird Watching|

|Friends, Pictures & Tales||Favorite Links| |Return to Main Page| |Contact Me|