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. It was basically, what you would call a wide spot
in the road. The business section, was a grocery store, gas station, meat
processing plant combination on the I 10 feeder road.
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.
Although originally from India they have adapted quite well to the hills,
rocks, and Cedar thickets of the Texas Hill Country. They made very good
use of their speed as well as the cover afforded by the brush.
The Blackbuck is probably the most striking of the many species of exotics
that have established breeding populations in Texas in the last thirty
years or so years. Its mature males are jet black with white undersides,
white rings around its eyes, and dark corkscrew horns really make for
a beautiful addition to any trophy room.
The Anderson Acres Ranch was the place we were to hunt and just happened
to be practically across the road from L R.'s place. We arrived at our
destination about 10 a.m. in the morning and met with the ranch foreman
to map out our strategy.
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, and
will usually make the Record Book. 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. We decided to drive
around for awhile and see if we could get lucky. The ranch was largely
open areas, but with sufficient brush to make it easy for the game animals
to do a lot of hide and seek with any hunter. We did see Fallow and Axis
deer, as well as a few Whitetail deer.
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. The foreman
had told us when we checked in that morning that he had some chores to
be done, but to check with him later in the day, if we had no luck.
Luck we had, but all bad. 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.
It was September but the temperature was nearly ninety and the bright
sun, in that open truck bed felt lots warmer than that.
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. We both
took a quick but careful look to make sure he was good enough. He was
and lowered the bipod on my Remington, model 700, and 30/06, laid across
the top of the cab of the truck and looked for him in my scope. 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. Oh! By the way, Shirley told me on the way back home that
the foreman had said to her when we spotted the Blackbuck, he will never
make that shot.
Written by Steve Mahurin on May 20, 2000.