A Big Old Good Un
By Steve Mahurin

I had been contemplating lately taking a run at completing the Super Slam of Exotics system, record book. I had already taken some of the animals in the slam earlier. This slam consists of ten specific species of animals. They are the Axis Deer, Blackbuck Antelope, Catalina Goat, Fallow deer, Corsican Sheep, Sika Deer, Aoudad Sheep, Ibex, Red Deer, and Mouflon Sheep. This narrative will describe my efforts in hunting these ten species.

In June of 1992 my old friend Luther Graham, owner of Honey Creek Ranch called me, saying he had spotted an Axis buck he thought I needed to have a look at He said believe me, he's a good old big un.

This call was doubly unusual because he never calls anyone about hunting on his place. One of his favorite sayings is first come first served. Second, as I had said before I'd been thinking about continuing my hunt for Super Slam animals. I had been thinking in particular about a big Axis if I could find one. After we had talked, I told Luther we would be there the first weekend that I could get off from my job in Houston, Texas.

In my opinion the Axis is the one of the prettiest of the deer kingdom. With its rusty, reddish coat, white spots on its body, like a fawn, which it keeps throughout its life, and its usually long, barrel shaped antlers, it is spectacular.

My wife, Shirley, and I arrived at Honey Creek in the late afternoon of June 4th, 1992. We had stopped to visit Luther at his home before heading to the ranch. He told us to ride around and look when we got there and see if we could spot the Axis in question.

After we got to the bunkhouse and unloaded some of our gear, we took off to see what we could see. We had our cameras loaded and ready, because you never know what you might see on Luther's place. Of course I had my usual Remington, model 700, 30/06,stuffed wit Remington 180 grain core-lokt bullets, topped with a Weaver 3x9 scope in the rack, just in case. Luther had told us that, if you see him, go ahead and shoot him, and tell me about it in the morning.

As we slowly traversed the rolling hills, canyons, and rocky open fields we saw a dandy Nilgai bull, a pair of American Buffalo, the bull a magnificent mountain of thick mane, huge body and curving ebony horns. We saw a huge Scimitar Oryx with long black, swept back horns, as well as many Axis Deer, Fallow Deer, Sika Deer, and three or four species of exotic sheep.

Just before dark we were on a perimeter road that makes a big downward dip then climbs back up to a plateau. We were at the bottom of this big dip looking to our right at some Fallow Deer when Shirley exclaimed, look, and pointed to the top of the hill above us.

There stood one of the most magnificent Axis Deer stags that I'd ever seen. We unlimbered the camera and got a couple of pictures first then discussed whether this was the one Luther had called about or not. We were pretty certain it was, but just then he took off and joined a herd of Axis that had been out of sight just over the lip of the hill behind him. To make matters more difficult, also in the bunch was another very large antlered buck. We finally figured it would be best not to follow and spook them and wait until the next morning to try hunting either of them.

Exhilarated at the sight of all those great animals, we headed back down the hills to the bunkhouse, enjoying the whole way, the deepening shadows at the end of a brilliant, sunshiny, Texas sky. After a quick meal we sat on the veranda overlooking the crystal clear waters of Honey Creek. The sky was clear, with a full moon and a blanket of stars reflected upon it's calm surface. One great experience of that night was a veritable explosion of thousands of taillight blinking fireflies in every direction.

The next morning dawned bright and clear and Luther arrived at 7:30 a. m. sharp. We had the cameras, gun, and binoculars loaded and were on our way in a very short time.

We made the low water crossing without mishap and started the winding, curving climb to the top of the ridge to start our hunt. We told Luther about our sighting the evening before. He said the two big ones usually run together with the herd of females and younger males we had seen. He also told us we would have no doubt which was the best one when we saw them together.

Honey Creek is dotted with large and small canyons, each with it's own clear and cold, spring fed water supply, interspersed with rocky open hills and edged with thick stands of dark green Cedar thickets Luther is a real character as well. He is in his late seventies, over six feet tall, and chews Redman chewing tobacco constantly. A real crusty individual that earned his money working as a roughneck in the Texas oilfields. We tried everywhere. Our eyes were getting bloodshot, red from our constant glassing of the openings and thickets for our quarry. We had seen lots of Axis including the two big bucks as they moved quickly through the brush up the side of a canyon wall. The day was getting hot and we decided to take a break and wait till it cooled off later in the evening. Luther said saw them fairly often feeding at the edge of a grassy, rock-strewn hill.

About three p.m. Luther picked us up again and we were off again in pursuit of my "big ole good un." Wouldn't you know it, we were only in the field about an hour or so, sitting under a big tree, watching the edge of the biggest canyon on the place and out came nearly, it seemed, every animal on the place. First were about twenty Mouflon, then a half dozen Fallow. Shortly after that we had ten or twelve Axis does and small bucks trickle into the edge of the opening. The out came eight Aoudads. Finally there he was and Luther said that's him," the big old good un"I was able to get a pretty god rest along the side of the tree. The buck was about 150 yards away and I didn't have to wait but about five minutes. At the sound of the shot, he was down in his tracks. I had gotten my " big old good un".

Written by Steve Mahurin on May 16, 2000.

Big Old Deer

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Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011

Hunting Memories

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