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Shoestring Catalina
By Steve Mahurin
     

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. We checked in at a local hotel. Since it was late afternoon I asked the desk clerk if there was anyplace not to far away that we might go to view and maybe take a few pictures of the local wildlife.Since he didn't direct me to the local strip joint, I figured we would try out his directions.We were directed to an area about fifteen miles away.

So as soon as we got checked into our room and had checked that we had plenty of film in our telephoto lens equipped cameras we were off.

His directions were good ones.We saw not only many native Whitetail deer and our first Rio Grande Turkeys in the wild, but a good number of exotic species as well.We saw Elk, Blackbuck Antelope, Axis Deer, Fallow Deer, and quite a few other exotic species. We got some pretty good pictures as well. By the time we got back to our hotel we were pretty pumped up by what we had seen.

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.I'd asked C. L if he would rather I drive myself in my truck around the place to save him the time and trouble. He said that wouldn't be necessary nor a good idea,as most of his land was covered almost solid with cantaloupe sized rocks and only very tough, steel belted tires could handle it along with four wheel drive.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 mornings 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 Billy's. About ten or twelve. 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.


Written by Steve Mahurin on March 19, 2000.

     
     
Shoestring Catalina
     
     

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

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011


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