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New Years Day Buck
By Steve Mahurin
     

This is a little different story than the ones I usually write. It's not about one of my hunts but about my wifes. I decided that it was time for her to go on a hunt just for her.

In the past she had accompanied me on numerous exotic and white tail deer hunts. She had killed a number of does and small bucks on trips with me. I wanted her to have the chance to take a good representive, hill country buck, so I booked her a hunt with our friend and guide C. L. Hatch near Mt. Home, Texas.

Her hunt was scheduled to begin December 31, 1988. This was to be Shirleys first time to hunt with a scoped, bolt action rifle.She'd always used a lever action,open sighted 30/30 or 35 Remington. She was to use a Remington model 700 rifle in 243 caliber, loaded with Remington 100 grain softpoints,and topped with a 3 - 9 power Tasco scope,.that had been her Christmas present from me that year. It was extra hard work on her part but she was killing all the targets at 100 yards at the range.

We made the trip up I 10 west to the Kerrville area on a cool overcast day, arriving at the Hatch ranch late in the afternoon of December 30, 1988.

The first order of business after greeting our friends and dropping our gear off at the guest quarters was a short tour, by jeep, of the rolling,very rocky terrain.

We saw a good number of exotics species and Shirley saw 3 or 4 nice White Tail bucks that she told C.L. she'd love to have. He said sorry, but I've already harvested my quota of animals I want to take off the ranch this year.

Then it was back for a quick meal and try to get some rest for the upcoming day.Anticipation isn't a good sleeping partner. Shirley was excited about her hunt and I was feeling much the same at the prospect of being at her side when she took her first, I hoped , good WhiteTail buck.

Morning came quickly yet seemingly forever as well. We made the approximately 20 minute drive to the Love ranch to hunt, trailering C.L.'s jeep behind us. We drove across the ranch in the chilly, 40 degree Texas morning. Shirley and I entered our ground blind about 30 minutes before daylight and C.L. drove away telling us he would return about 9:30 am to pick us up. We shivered in the cold as we watched the orange ball of the sun slowly creep it's way into the sky, turning the pitch blackness of the night into rays of daylight.

As soon as we could see, there was a steady stream of White Tails coming in to the feeder that had startled us as it rattled corn out onto the ground, just before it was light enough to shoot. We probably saw 6 or 8 bucks, two dozen does, and a bunch of Black Buck antelope that morning.But alas they were all too small, mostly 2-3-and 6 pointers.

We took a break in the middle of the day and drove around the ranch looking at exotics and taking a few pictures. We had kept our eyes peeled for deer as well but no luck. As the day lengthened and shadows started to form, we eased our way back to the same blind. C.L. drove away towards another area of the ranch to wait for darkness to come, or a shot, whichever came first.

As the sun tipped toward the tops of the trees, another stream of animals started filtering out of the brush and tree line, heading toward the small fenced in area surrounding the feeder, fifeteen minutes before it went off.

Off in the distance two Black Buck Antelope, shone brightly in the rays of the waning sunlight, as they dueled over the favors of a nearby female.

We again had 2-3-and 6 pointers all around us, both inside and around the feeder enclosure. There was even one small buck that scratched an itch on the side of our blind, as we held our breath and stayed still as statues, hoping he wouldn't hear or scent us and spook everything around us.

One buck ambled it's way across a big open field toward us. As we watched through our binoculars, his antlers became those of a heavy 9 pointer.Shirley asked me what I thought. I told her it was strictly her choice. This hunt was for her and to show just a little of the appreciation and love I felt for her many years of support and help, through many years of hunting.Also told her that it was a decent buck but I thought, as this was the first day of her hunt, that I'd wait awhile and hope for something bigger and with more symetrical horns.She concurred and said she'd wait.

It wasn't but a few minutes later that C.L. came driving up to the blind, well before shooting light was gone, saying I just saw two good bucks at a blind about a 1/2 mile away, and that we should go there in the hope that they would stick around for Shirley to get a chance at them. He dropped us off about 40 yards or so behind the blind, and we snuck up to it and entered. No sign of the two bucks C.L. had seen. We hoped that when the feeder went off they would return.

Shortly afterward, the feeder went off and we sat tensely waiting and hoping for Shirley's big one to show. Luck just wasn't with us that day and though we saw a number of small bucks, a good number of does and at least 100 Black Buck antelope, nothing that she wanted to pull the trigger on.turned up As we rode through the darkness back to C.L.' s ranch, we discussed the days events. Shirley, once more mentioned the nice bucks we'd seen the previous day on his place. He said, well, since you can't seem to find what you want on the Love ranch and ya'll have hunted so many times with me, tell you what I'll do. I'll take you out on my place in the morning and if you see something you want you can take it. We both agreed that it sounded like a good plan to us.

We got a little bit of a late start the next morning,New Years Day 1989, but it was a bright sun shiny start to a new year.We went out in an open jeep with a canopy cover, supported with x shaped supports. I was riding shotgun and Shirley was in the back seat behind me as that was what she preferred.

As I'd said before she had never hunted with either a bolt action nor with a scope before so she was a little nervous.

About 9:00 am, I spotted a nice 10 pointer off to our right and at the same time Shirley spotted another 10 pointer to our right and a little behind us.I told her to try using the canopy supports as a rest. Our guide said if you like one of them, shoot. Just as he got shoot out of his mouth, there was the boom of a shot, and the 10 point of her choice collapsed in it's tracks,about 110 yards away. I think maybe I was more excited than she was, especially considering the great shot she made, as well as it's being her best buck ever.

Written by Steve Mahurin on June 11, 1998.

     
     
New Years Day Buck
     
     

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

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

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