Beisa Bonanza
By Steve Mahurin

It was Monday, May 13th and at 3:30 a.m. we were on the way for an already once postponed hunt. This was to be for a long hoped for Gemsbok Oryx . By we, I mean, My companion Betty Hathorn and friend, outfitter, guide, and Taxidermist, Richard Lozano. Betty was to Later in the trip take a Scimitar Oryx and a Blackbuck Antelope. I had been told that the ranch also had a herd of Beisa Oryx, making it three species of Oryx on the same place. The ranch was located near Sabinal, Texas which was near San Antonio, Texas.

As we drove through the early morning darkness, toward our destination, we encountered numerous rain showers, caused by a predicted cool front moving through, toward our home towns, to the south of us. We arrived at our destination about 8:00 a.m.

We had been discussing the possibility of looking over the Beisa Oryx as well as the Gemsbok Oryx to see which of the two had the best Horns and then decide which of the two species to try for with my .375 caliber Thompson Contender. Our contact Culley Vickers was to show us around the ranch, which was called the Seco Springs. We first looked for the Gemsbok but had no luck. So of course we ran across the Beisa's first. There were about twelve of them in the herd. We had a good chance to glass them from no more than 30 - 50 yards before they moved back into the brush. A perfect handgun scenario. There were at least three real good ones in the bunch, with one we thought was exceptional. But of course I passed the chance because I wanted to check out the Gemsbok first. So off we went again but had more luck this time.

We found the Gemsbok and there wasn't near as good an animal in that bunch, although there was one that we thought would break the 36-inch mark and be a candidate to break the handgun record. We went back to the area we had seen the Beisa's and no sign of them. After a good search we found them but they had broken up into small bunches. Seeing them in bunches of 2 & 3 we just couldn't be real sure that the bunch of three we saw were the biggest three we had seen before. Plus of course, by now they were getting real spooky. It was decided to leave them alone and come back later in the hope they might bunch back up together so we could evaluate them all together.

Since Betty wanted a Scimitar Oryx we thought we would see if we could find them and take a look. Within an hour or so we did find them. There was a herd of 40-50 all bunched together with the best bull on the far side of the herd. After about an hour she was able to get a shot and at 162 yards. She dropped him. A fine specimen with 38 x 39 horns. After dressing him out and loading him up we decided to see if we could find the Beisa again. Within a short period of time we found them bunched up again in a fair sized clearing bounded by brush and Prickly Pear patches. Temperatures were holding in the 60's making it perfect hunting weather. We had a few minutes to glass the herd and find the largest animal. It was a ranged 88 yards to its position. At the shot the Oryx jumped up and kicked it's hind legs in the classic heart shot way. The animal ran about 40 yards and stopped. We could all see twin streams of blood coming from it. It stood there for about 5 minutes and then walked into the brush line and lay down in a bunch of prickly pear.

We decided to wait awhile figuring that it would breathe it's last there. Again we decided to wait until its head went down before approaching it. Would you believe, that after nearly ten minutes the darn thing got up and disappeared into the brush? We were all dumbfounded! We waited for a few more minutes before following in the hope that it might lay down again. We followed it into the brush with me in the lead and my guide close behind. There was a light blood trail to follow. We heard it move away from us one time and moved around in a half circle trying to head it off. But it was to no avail because the second time we got close it broke cover and went blasting across an opening nearly three hundred yards across, looking for all the world, except the blood stained sides, like it had never been touched. I followed across the opening and found the blood trail again and followed while my guide went to bring the vehicle closer since we had traveled about a half-mile already.

This cat and mouse game went on for almost two hours of slowly following the sometimes twin, sometimes very faint blood trail and jumping it again from time to time. Finally after following the trail across another nearly 200 yard clearing in a spread apart formation we got some luck going our way. The guide had in the meantime circled the other way around hoping to push it our way to no avail.

Anyway about that time Richard who was a couple of yards to my right spotted something in the brush. It was the Oryx laying down again. I decided to try an off-handed shot in the hopes of anchoring it where it lay. All I had was a very small opening thru trees and thick brush. At the shot it popped up on its feet. I quickly opened the breach of the handgun and got another shell into the chamber. The third shot hit it in the shoulder area again. It turned to face me and I put a round in its chest and it finally went down for the final count. I did move up closer and put the crosshairs of the scope on its neck, just in case. I didn't plan on it getting up again. We were finally able to get some pictures and a tape measure on the horns. Preliminary taping showed it to be a potential new Handgun World Record. A very tough, exasperating, but ultimately great hunt.

Written by Steve Mahurin on May 17, 2002.

Beisa Bonanza

Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011

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