Miles and miles of hunting in West Texas
As he sat in a deer shade overlooking a view of West Texas that seemed to stretch into infinity, the air “Miles and Miles of Texas?” Came to mind. Songwriters Diane Johnston and Tommy Camfield must have spent some time on this Mitchell County ranch sixty years ago, when they wrote the lyrics to their famous song.
My friends Larry Weishuhn, Jeff Rice and I were invited to hunt the vast ranch by Bryan Davis who rented the property for several years. Davis has long been involved in many facets of outdoor product development and marketing and is currently a consultant for several major brands. The first thing I noticed upon arriving home from camp was a few large boxes of perfume and suppression products sent by TRHP Outdoors. Having used these products for several years, I was already well aware of their effectiveness.
Bryan introduced us to Scott Campbell who has had a long career in law enforcement and is trained, among other things, as an interrogator. Scott’s stories around the campfire ensured there was never a dull moment around camp! My buddies and I were newbies on a ranch the size of many towns and without the help of our two ?? guides ?? could have spent a month learning the limits of the area and the best places to hunt.
The ranch is on a white tail management plan and the males are classified into three classes, Trophy, Management and Cull Males. Bryan informed us that all but two of the management cocks (8 mature pointers) had been taken, but cull cocks (mature bucks with less than 8 points) and does were available to hunt.
Larry and Jeff had their video cameras with them to film an episode of our weekly outdoor video show ?? A Sportsman ?? s Life ?? on Carbon TV.
I was hoping to harvest some venison and didn’t care if the buck I shot had eight points or was just a woodpecker as long as he reached his potential. I chose to hunt for one of the kills and also put some good doe meat in the cooler, my friends plan was to shoot a video of the management dollars they would hopefully raise.
Although the terrain appears hilly and relatively flat on first sight, the landscape along the watersheds features numerous valleys and small canyons. On the first afternoon hunt Bryan took me on a hunt / spot visit and stalk a small part of the ranch and my buddies took their guns and video cameras and have been hunting ever since. stands.
I’m sure we’ve done eight or ten miles and got a good idea of the actual size of the ranch; we only covered a small part of it. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was in a well-managed deer habitat.
The plan was for me to shoot a mature doe or maybe a “slaughter” ?? buck during this ?? scouting ?? trip. We spotted countless deer foraging on remote hills and a few very respectable males crossed the road in front of us. Then Bryan motioned to a large doe a few hundred yards away. She was standing next to a cedar bush and it was obvious that she was tall, mature, and would provide plenty of good venison. I did a short rod and got into a good shooting position and quickly had some game on the ground. I noticed my shot was high and to the right of where I was aiming, but it was lethal and I gave little thought to the placement of the shot at the time.
Back at camp that evening we enjoyed a great dinner and shared some stories from our years hunting and fishing! Scott detailed some of his experiences as an interrogator overseas. I assumed he was only giving us a small glimpse of what his duties actually involved. Larry had taken a handsome eight-point buck and Jeff was impressed with the play he saw from his pit.
?? The most impressive place I have ever hunted, ?? he then commented on one of the areas he was hunting.
The next morning Scott and I set off alongside him and traveled through many countries in our search for a cull buck. We spotted a few eye-catching trophy class bucks and countless does from a distance, but the buck we were chasing slipped away. Upon returning to camp, I was informed of a good place to hunt that afternoon; a lazy man blind hunting on top of a ridge overlooking a small valley frequented by a particularly heavy six-pointed horned male.
I settled in mid-afternoon and almost immediately started to see deer. An approaching cold front had each deer in place, it seemed, to rise and move. After about an hour of sitting rest, I glanced far to the left and saw a deer moving through the brush. A couple of does in front of me looked over their shoulders. A buck was coming for sure and through my binoculars it looked like a six point. But was it an eight with a broken tooth? I had to know for sure! The male slowly descended from the mesquite apartment into the valley and stopped about 100 yards away. I just couldn’t be sure of the number of dots and used my Nikon with a long lens to take a few pictures. After enlarging the images on the camera, I could easily see that it was a ?? slick ?? six without broken teeth.
I put my .270 in position and centered the reticle just behind the male’s shoulder. It had moved about 225 yards while I was playing with the camera. I gently pulled the trigger and the buck trotted, stopped and looked back. I had made a clear failure, but how could I have missed such an easy shot that I was well trained for? I checked the zero on my rifle before the hunt!
I later determined that the rifle was firing 10 inches high and right at 100 yards. The ball missed a few yards. It is always better to miss cleanly than to hurt an animal. Later I took an older doe with Scott ?? s 6.5 Creedmore. Jeff took a big eight point pointer from the awesome hunting spot that he says he will never forget.
To sum up, this turned out to be a hunt that I will never forget. What more could an old hunter, an awe-inspiring hunting country, deer galore, and wonderful friends, old and new!
Look ?? The life of a sportsman ?? on Carbon TV next week for a segment on this hunt. Contact Outdoors writer Luke Clayton by email www.catfishradio.org.