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,
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
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
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
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 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
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
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.
by Steve Mahurin on June 11, 1998.