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.