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The Smith & Wesson Catalina
By Steve Mahurin
     

This was my fourth time to hunt an animal with a handgun. My weapon was a Smith & Wesson 6 inch barreled, 41 magnum, loaded with 210 grain, soft point hand loads and a Tasco Pro Point scope with an adjustable red dot reticle. It was also my first time to guide myself on such a hunt. My wife, Shirley, and I had arrived in the Kerrville area to hunt Catalina Goat with outfitter and good friend Thompson Temple. It was April 6th, 1995, and we were scheduled to hunt the next morning on the Hi Hatch Ranch, a little off highway 41, sorta between Mt. Home and Hunt Texas.

We arrived at the ranch gate about 8 am. the following morning to try for this sometimes wild and sometimes semi tame quarry. Luckily mine was among the harder to hunt variety. As I pulled through the gate it was already promising to be a pretty warm day in the Texas hill country. Shirley and I had hunted this property a number of times in years past, when I was hunting with a rifle.

It's kind of a strange place. The front 1/2 of the ranch is fairly level and the back 1/2 is only a little hilly. But the big difference is that the front 1/2 is sandy and has fairly thick trees and a few areas with some brush. The back part of it is completely indifferent, having only a little grass for grazing, and dividing the two is some really dense, thorny brush. The other outstanding feature of it is acres and acres of protruding rocks, sometimes making it necessary to use four wheel drive and a crawling speed to get over them. Roads in the area are almost nonexistent and you might just as well strike out in any direction, but watch out for prickly pear needles which can go right into and thru a side wall of a tire. We hunted the front part of the place for 2 or 3 hours without a sign of a goat.

Thompson had told me he'd seen four or five Billy's of the size I was looking for. After no luck in the easy areas we decided to head for the whiplash area located in the boulder patch in the rear of the ranch. After bouncing around for a couple of hours we finally spotted a band of about 15 to 20 goats. There were about 5 Billys in the bunch that I thought could bear a closer look. Of course they were headed away from us at about 200 yards. We made a big half circle in the truck to try to get closer for a stalk. After a while Shirley spotted them about 100 yards away at the edge of some thorn covered brush. I decided to try a stalk for a closer look. I hunkered over at the waist and tried to look like a goat.

After about 30 to 40 yards I had to get down on hands and knees. I've got real bad knees and can hardly crawl on my carpeted floor. But there I was on all fours, in the rocks, trying to keep the ouches down and make a stalk at the same time. As I got closer the goats were getting restless and started to move away down a small winding trail at the edge of a brush patch. There were a number of promising trophys but one stood out from the rest. I decided I'd better try and take him . That wasn't as easy as it sounds of course. The animals were changing positions rapidly. I finally got a chance and touched one off, a miss that impacted right under his belly.

The whole herd thundered away as I called myself a few choice names for missing. With head held low it was back to the truck where my wife Shirley, the eternal optimist, said well find them again and you wont miss this time. The goats had traveled in a big curve to our right. I took my truck in the opposite direction to make a left handed curve with the hopes of getting around them for an ambush shot. We traveled almost 1/2 way around the ranch and finally, thru the binoculars she spotted them coming toward us about a 100 yards away. I got ready to take the shot, and when my Billy got within about 30 yards, I shot and he dropped in his tracks.

Wouldn't you know it he fell in the middle of maybe the only mud puddle on the whole ranch. H e was a good one though, and topped my previous best one with a rifle by a good bit. The Billy had horns that curved out a little over 35 inches per side, and a tip to tip spread of approximately 42 inches, making him a gold medal in the record book.

Written by Steve Mahurin on February 19, 1998

     
     
Smith and Wesson Catalina
     
     

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

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

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