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Rifle Super Slam
Part 1

By Steve Mahurin
     

I had been contemplating lately taking a run at completing the Super Slam of Exotics as recognized by that system. 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.

I'd been thinking about continuing my hunt for Super Slam animals anyway, and in my minds eye I had been seeing , in particular the picture of 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.

My wife, Shirley, and I arrived at Honey Creek in the late afternoon of June 4th, 1992.Of course I had my usual Remington, model 700, 30/06,stuffed with Remington 180 grain core-lokt bullets, topped with a Weaver 3x9 scope in the rack, just in case.

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 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 he saw them fairly often feeding at the edge of a grassy, rock-strewn hill in the late afternoon.

About three p.m. Luther picked us up again and we were off again in pursuit of my Axis. 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. Finally there he was and Luther said that's him, I was able to get a pretty good 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 monster Axis.

As Usual, we were hunting in hot weather. We were headed to the Texas Hill Country to a spot around 100 miles west of San Antonio, Texas. A place called Midline Texas. We were to meet our guide, LR. Castleberry, there. He was then going to lead us to his small ranch to freshen up and leave our vehicle while were hunting. My wife, Shirley and I had driven from our home near Galveston, Texas in pursuit of that speedster of the plains the Blackbuck Antelope. The Anderson Acres Ranch was the place we were to hunt.

We were told by the foreman about one particular male that he thought was a good one, and might be as long as 20 inches. Any Blackbuck with horns 20 inches long or better should be considered a good trophy. The foreman said that he usually hung out near a particular opening and told us how to get there. Yes! Your right, no sign of him or any other Blackbuck as well. Finally we did spot what we thought was the Blackbuck the foreman had told us about, running away at 200 - 300 yards. For nearly three hours it would be seeing him running away and no chance at a shot.

Finally around two or three in the afternoon we decided to go find the foreman. He said why don't y'all get in my truck. Since it's here all the time, the game might not spook as bad. Sounded good to us so Shirley got in the cab with him and L. R. and I sat and stood in the open bed of the truck.

We drove around searching for about two hours before we spotted our quarry again. After three or four busted attempts for a shot I was beginning to wonder if we were going to get a shot at all.

We finally spotted him at about 250 yards standing broadside. I put the crosshairs of my Weaver 3x9 scope a little high on his shoulder since I figured it was nearly a 300-yard shot and started my trigger squeeze. At the shot, he dropped in his tracks. When we got to him he was even better than I thought. He taped out at over 22 inches, the best Blackbuck I'd ever taken.

In 1988 my wife, Shirley and I were on our way home from West Texas after a successful Pronghorn hunt and decided to stop overnight in Kerrville, Texas and checked in at a local hotel. As we were resting before time to go to bed, I picked up a copy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine lying on the table in our room. In it I saw a real small add for exotic hunting in the Mt. Home, Texas area, which was only a few miles from where we were staying in Kerrville. Shirley and I talked it over and decided I should call the number and price the hunts. The name on the add was C. L. Hatch. I called and asked him what the cheapest exotic to hunt on his place was. He replied it's the Catalina Goat at $250.00. Of course back then $250.00 was a lot of money to us, so I thanked him and said that maybe he would hear from me soon.

Finally about four months later when we had scraped and saved the money, I called Mr. Hatch and set up a hunt for November 11, 1988. We arrived late in the afternoon of the 10th. C. L. said how about a short tour of the ranch. We were quick to accept. We could walk outside of the cabin provided by C. L. and see numerous Blackbuck Antelope. Many of them were very good-sized trophy class animals in the 19 to 20 inch class. A number of them had very different shaped horns that looked like a lyre, the musical instrument. We hopped into the open Jeep for our tour. Unbeknown to us at the time was the fact that we would over the next two or three years take many a ride in that jeep.

As we eased along we saw some great looking exotics of a number of species, as well as a few promising Whitetail bucks. We got some great pictures of Blackbuck Antelope, Axis and Fallow Deer, Sika Deer, Elk, and Corsican, Black Hawaiian, Texas Dall, and Mouflon Sheep. Alas we didn't see a single Catalina Goat that evening. As we made our way back to the headquarters compound the day was quickly waning. Shortly after darkness fell we went outside and gazed up at the carpet of stars visible overhead. Then it was back inside to our bunks for a restless night in anticipation of the morning's hunt.

At close to daylight we were up and ready to begin our Catalina hunt. We traveled what seemed like mile upon mile over that bumpy, rocky terrain. You can believe for sure, that by the end of the day our rumps and most other parts of our tired bodies were sore and aching. We drove to the tops of ridges to glass and saw nothing. We checked open fields, brush patches, water holes, and even the flat grassy areas up close to the front part of the ranch near highway 41. The day was quickly running out of time as we had hunted nearly the whole day and had found nothing.

Finally about four in the afternoon, there they were, in a spot we had been thru and to at least three times that day. It was a small bunch of about ten or twelve Billy's. C. L. pointed out two good one's and said take your choice. The shot was well over a hundred yards and they were all looking straight at us. The only shot I had was a straight on chest shot, which I hate to take, preferring a shot from the side exposing all the vital areas. It didn't look like I was going to get any other shot and they were starting to get a little antsy. I slipped off the safety on the Remington Model 700 and took a precarious rest on the top of the jeeps windshield. Watching them for what seemed forever through the Weaver scope, I waited for the goat I wanted to move away from the bunched up animals so I would have a shot. Finally he moved a few steps away from the bunch and was out in the open by himself. I slowly took a deep breath, then a second and let out half of it. Then slowly started to take up the slack on the trigger. The boom of the shot was a surprise as the pros say it should be. The 30/06 Remington, Core - Lokt, bullet did it's job and the goat dropped in it's tracks After congratulations and pictures we went back to camp and my shoestring Catalina hunt was over.

I love Fallow Deer. The palmation and character points sticking out all over the back and top edges of their antlers are unique and are never the same from one individual to another. There are three color phases of Fallow, Which are white, probably the most popular color, spotted and brown or chocolate ranging from very light brown to almost black. Id decided that was going to be my next thing to hunt.

The first thing I did was to call my good friend Luther Graham of Honey Creek ranch, who from past experience, I knew had a number of large Fallow on his place. He said to come and hunt as soon as I could, as he had a couple of good ones. So on August 25, 1991, my wife and I hit the road for Hunt, Texas, a great name, huh!, to check out the Fallow herd on Luther's place.

When we arrived Luther was waiting for us, and said let's go get a deer. We crossed one of the low water crossings and made our way up the curving road to the top of the first ridge where we would start our quest.

We started right away to see game. There were a number of exotic species including Black Buck, Sika, Red Deer, Addax, Oryx, and a number of sheep species. After a couple of hours we finally spotted a magnificent white Fallow buck along with a number of other bucks and does way out in the middle of a big open space bedded under a canopy of shade created by one of the cedar groves. We circled the area in Luther's truck looking them over in the binoculars. We could tell the buck was good, but not how good, since the herd would move to the opposite side of the area we were at. I told Luther to let me out where we were and for him to drive to the other side of the field, and hopefully the herd would move back toward me giving me a chance to get a better look and possibly make a stalk and get a shot, if he was good enough.

The plan worked, at least partly. The herd did work approximately halfway back towards me. The white buck separated a bit from the herd and held up under a trees shade. He was about 250-300 yards or more away and looking back towards the vehicle parked at the edge of the field. This was a longer shot than I felt comfortable with so I proceeded to make a stalk. My only choice was a belly crawl of a distance much longer than I wanted. Believe me, that rock strewn 75 yards was no picnic. So with sore knees and elbows, along with lots of heavy breathing, I finally made it to a point that I thought I could make a shot from. The approximately 200 yard shot was true and I had my Fallow.

On October 30th of 1991 I was back again in the Texas, hill country near Hunt, Texas.This trip was for the Corsican Sheep, a native of, reputably, West Indies. This sheep is a brownish colored one with a black or white belly. Often, especially in the colder months of the year, they have long black chest ruffs growing from under the chin to the brisket area. Only the males have horns, which grow up, back, down, forward, back up, and out away from the eyes. These sheep are probably the most hunted of all the exotics in the United States as well as in Texas. Large males can weigh in the neighborhood of up to 140 pounds.

This hunt was to take place on the Honey Creek Ranch, owned by Luther Graham. Luther is a crusty, over six-foot tall, tobacco chewing, ex oilfield roughneck, who doesn't mince his words. But for all of this, when you get to know him is one of the nicest and most lovable people you could ever want to know. The first time we met him and toured his ranch and asked him the price ranges of his animals, he gave me the following quote. "I ain't too good with figures, so all the big animals are $700 dollars and the rest are $200 dollars. Makes it easier to keep up with that way. Short and to the point, huh!

Honey Creek Ranch is a beautiful place to hunt. From its cypress tree lined, crystal clear, ice cold streams, and springs. It's large and small canyons edged with cedar thickets, each with it's own bubbling springs that haven't gone dry in over 70 years. We drove up a winding rocky road to the top of a plateau like area. This area was a little more open and we saw a number of plains type species, including Oryx, Buffalo (American Bison), Nilgai Antelope and Blackbuck Antelope, along with three or four types of sheep. Sadly though no Corsican rams were in sight. We did our best, but no luck that day.

The next morning we were up and out early and back in the field hunting that Corsican. Today was a little better and a couple of hours later, in a little hunted pocket towards the back of the ranch we spotted a large Corsican ram and got a shot after a short stalk. My trusty old Remington, Model, 700 barked and the ram dropped in its tracks at about 150 yards away.

Written by Steve Mahurin on May 23, 2000

     
     
Rifle Slam
     
     

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

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011


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