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Friends in the Texas Hill Country

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2013 at 16:45
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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Allow me to prefeace with this.

 
Earlier this year, I had an amzing opportunity to hunt with who is now a very good friend of mine, Jason Wallace, and we recently spoke with one another at the Texas Trophy Hunters Extravaganza show in San Antonio Texas. While talking with one another, he brought up a point about having too many animals and asked if I was out of meat.
 
With a somewhat sarcastic look on my face, I replied to him, with yes, I am out of meat actually and I could certainly use more meat for the freezer.
 
He mentioned to me, that he had an unusual year with females in general. But mostly Audad ewes and Elk cows. Where he was going with this, was he needed to do some culling. He wanted me to bring some friends and he was offering these to us for reasonable prices.
 
Now, I'm having the internal struggle of who to invite.
 
My first call was Rifledude, because he has never hunted exotics and I haven't seen him in a while.
And I invited a couple other guys as well.
 
Friday, after work, I head out, making my way to the most beuatifull part of Texas in my opinion, the Texas Hill Country.  Matter of fact we were heading to the very same place where, I was able to harvest my Axis.  I had spoke with Ted and the other off and on, while driving down.
 
Ted arrived first, then Brian and Matt. Shortly after they arrived, I pulled in. Talk about dark, actually there is next to no light pollution out there and my favorite part, no cell phone service.
Looking at the stars and the cresent of the moon over head, I was ready for a weekend of hanging out with good friends and looking at several majestic creatures on this goregous ranch.
 
Once we arrived at the bunkhouse Jason came out to meet everyone and explain where we would be bunking for the evening. In the midst of arrival, I know my excitement to catch up with Jason and Ted took over and we engaged into conversasion and as the yawning became more contagious, I realized that it was three O'clock in the morning and the sun was going to be on top of us before we knew it.
 
I went and laid down and took a couple hour nap. Then Jason came in our room and said "Cock a Doodle doooo" softly. In the midst of my excitement, I sprung out of bed and started to wake everyone up so we could head out and begin the sacred part of the weekend.
 
Saturday morning we spent a lot of time looking and deciding on stand locations. After we decided on stand locattions and dropped everyone off, I was on my way to the stand I was going to hunt. I have to be honest, I was jealous of his locattion.
I sat and waited and was glassing the area when I heard one shot go off.  Then I hear another shot go off. And I'm thinking, Yes! the guys are seeing animals and harvesting what they came here for. Then everything goes quiet for a while.
Then to the right of me, I hear suppressed fire, then a pig squeeling, and all of a sudden two scimitar oryx bulls run 15 yards in front of me and I still hear rocks turning from being kicked. So at this point, I pulled my bow back and I'm sitting at full draw, because hear still hear animals coming. Now four black buck ewes run in front of me and I look over my right shoulder and hear come more....audad, whitetail, sika, fallow, but here's the kicker, they all ran right behind me. DANG IT! knowing that all my opportunities had just passed me by, I decided to come down and make my way over to where I heard the shot. I started up the hill and Jason heard me and explained where he was.
 
I met up with Jason and Matt, we loaded his pigs. Matt shot one time and hit three pigs. We loaded up one of the younger ones in the truck and drove over to pick up Brian and the other Matt. After picking them up, we started making our way over towards Ted, when we saw a huge herd of Audad. I still hadn't had a chance to shoot one, and all of a sudden, all of the ewes and calves leave and there are two rams, heads up on one another....they rare back and WHAM! the fight is on. For fourteen minutes striaght they hit each other, then go side by side hooking one another trying to bring each other down. I was 283 yards away from essentially a NATGEO exclusive. It was simply awesome to visualize how one projects dominance over the other in order to be an alpha male. After that was over, we were in just about total darkness and we pick Ted up.
 
Ted was explaing how his night went, and I will let him post what he saw.
 
But now we are on our way up to the bunkhouse. Ted had prepared chicken and Jason's dad Ross was babysitting it while and I started warming up our sides and at the same time, we took Matt's back straps from the pig he shot.
Now for this, I cleaned the backstraps up and I had made a large batch of rub, but I always bring a small container of it, because you never know when you will run accross something that could use a littler seasoning.
After everything was done, Ted helped me plate everyone dinner. While we are plating there was a moderate roar of excitement from the guiys talking about how the Audad came to the feeder, but once the paltes hit the table....SILENCE!  You know it's good when the entire lodge is quieter than a church on Monday night.
 
After that, some of us went out again, looking for other game, but then came back to the bunk house to get some rest. It had been an exceptionally long day.
 
After a good night sleep. We woke up and were getting packed up and ready to leave.
But, Ted went out and hade a fatal introduction with a great looking non-typical axis buck.
 
I had a blast.
 
So here's the recap from the hunt.
Brian shot a 20" Audad Ewe
Matt W. shot a 19" Audad Ewe
Matt M, shot three pigs with one bullet.
Ted shot a great non-typical Axis buck.
I personally struck out, but that is not what this weekend was about.
 
This trip was about getting together with friends in the outdoors. Hanging out, rooting for one another to be succesful, sharing in the triumph and cutting up with each other in the deer camp.
Many of you here are like minded and love hunting more than anything in the world, but that is just part of it. Observing the habitat and viewing all the creatures that were created, talking about it, all the ups and the downs, how you got to that part. Sometimes when all the stars align and everything is perfect, you have the wind in your face, your scope is on, the air is crisp, the leaves are changing its nearly cinamatic and you all know how it ends, but its the body that gets you there that makes it exciting and the friends you have with you when it happens to share it with.
 
That is what this was about. How one friend turned into several based one excursion to the Texas Hill Country.
 
I have to get the photo off my phone, and I will post them shortly for you guys.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2013 at 17:18
cheaptrick View Drop Down
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Great story! I bet you didn't have to twist Ted Winkle's arm to go hunting! Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2013 at 18:39
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Nice
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2013 at 21:42
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I really appreciate Skylar inviting me on this hunt, as I had a fantastic time! Mark, to say he didn't have to twist my arm to get me to go on a hunt is the understatement of the century! There's nothing I'd rather do than go hunting, and Skylar has become a great friend and hunting buddy.

I will post my account of the hunt very soon, hopefully tomorrow. Right now, I'm winding down from a busy day, I'm super tired, and I have an epic headache from a combination of lack of sleep, the remnants of seasonal allergies, and the affects of the allergy meds. I still haven't even unpacked all my stuff yet. Stay tuned...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2013 at 04:27
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That sounds great. It's always good to get out of town, be among great company, enjoy some fine grub. No matter what the hunting results might be. And away from the cell phone too!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2013 at 07:53
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Mark, I couldn't even say:  "Ted, would you like to hu....." Yeah, I'm ready, let go!"
 
 


Edited by Skylar McMahon - October/16/2013 at 10:25
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2013 at 09:48
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and at least Ted can cook...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2013 at 11:04
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Excellent story Skylar.  Your so right, hunting is so much more then just pointing and shooting.
 
Its the entire experience and it a true bond builder!  Hunting with someone forms a bond simular to the bond soldiers who serve together form.  It can last life time!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2013 at 11:56
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Originally posted by Skylar McMahon Skylar McMahon wrote:

Mark, I couldn't even get Ted, would you like to hu....." Yaeh, I'm ready, let go!"
 


Oh, I'm sure of that!! No doubt. Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2013 at 12:57
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Awesome
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2013 at 21:17
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Great story.  I am surprised Ted wasn't at your place that night of the phone call.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2013 at 05:41
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Very nice trip.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2013 at 07:02
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Great story Skylar. You Texas boyz be lucky... the hunting around my area sux bad. I'm jealous!!! Sounds like a great trip.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2013 at 10:26
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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Originally posted by budperm budperm wrote:

Excellent story Skylar.  Your so right, hunting is so much more then just pointing and shooting.
 
Its the entire experience and it a true bond builder!  Hunting with someone forms a bond simular to the bond soldiers who serve together form.  It can last life time!
 
Bud, ever think about coming to Texas?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2013 at 10:27
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Originally posted by bugsNbows bugsNbows wrote:

Great story Skylar. You Texas boyz be lucky... the hunting around my area sux bad. I'm jealous!!! Sounds like a great trip.
 
We will see you next week though. I would hang in there brother. Christopher helped me greatly when I was hunting. You are in great hands.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2013 at 10:32
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Here's some pictures from this past weekend.
 
Friday evening, Jason shot this ewe. Notice anything unusual?
 
Here's Brian with his ewe, shot Saturday evening.
 
Here's a couple of Matt's ewe shot Saturday evening.
 
Out of respect for Ted, I will wait to post his pictures.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2013 at 11:08
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        Excellent   Excellent   Excellent   Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2013 at 00:08
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This was a great trip!

First, I have to be honest...
I've never had a very positive view of hunting within high fenced ranches, so I arrived with some preconceived bias. I knew I would have fun regardless, hanging out with friends in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, but I always felt high fence ranch hunting was cheating and unsporting. I still do if the acreage is too small, the animals aren’t really wild, or “hunting” methods are used that don’t give the animals a “sporting chance.” However, I have to say this trip changed my mind. In a way, it’s really no different than fishing for Florida strain largemouth bass stocked in a Texas farm pond. The fact the fish was introduced and would never occur in the pond naturally doesn’t detract from the fun and challenge of catching them. If the property is large enough (this one was over 3000 acres IIRC), wild animals still act like wild animals. If the land has plenty of cover and the critters are determined not to be seen, you won't see them, the same as whitetails. As with any other hunting encounter with game animals, you also have complete control over whether or not to take any shot opportunity presented to you. As there’s no guarantee on outcome and no script, it’s still hunting. Besides, how else would an east Texas boy have an opportunity to hunt a trophy Axis buck (or more accurately, “stag”… I looked it up; however here in Texas, we call ‘em bucks) without traveling to India or Sri Lanka?

 

As Skylar said, I’ve never hunted exotics, unless you count feral pigs, which are technically “exotics” in that they’re not native wildlife species. I’m a deer, hog, and occasional elk hunter. “Exotic” to me means “I never see it when I’m deer hunting.” Anyone who knows me very well knows I would rather go hunting than pretty much any other endeavor a human being can do. So when Skylar called to invite me on this hunt, he’d barely uttered the first sentence past “hello” before I said “I’m in!”

 

Skylar…“you had me at hello!”

 

I echo Skylar’s view of the Texas Hill Country, a.k.a. “Edwards Plateau.” It is by far my favorite region of my home state. It has a unique, rugged beauty to it unlike anyplace else in the world. Places like the Rockies and Alaska are certainly more majestic and vast, but no place is so synonymous with “whitetail deer” in my mind than this region. It’s rocky, rugged, and it seems every living plant that grows out of the ground there except the live oak trees has thorns on it. If that weren’t enough, it’s also home to scores of diamondback rattlesnakes! Yet, for all the inhospitable things that live here, it’s strikingly beautiful to the eyes of this beholder. The ranch we were hunting is located near Rocksprings, in Edwards County. My dad once had a deer hunting lease about 70 miles from there, near the small town of Harper. I killed my first three whitetail deer there when I was 12, and I’ve had very fond memories of that place ever since. As a kid, I couldn’t believe it was possible one piece of property could have so many deer! There are areas of the Edwards Plateau that have the highest concentration of whitetails of anywhere else on planet Earth. I’d still be hunting somewhere in the Hill Country every fall today if it weren’t so ^$%&*@! far from my house! I’m the kind of guy who hunts every possible weekend during deer season and who burns every vacation day I have on hunting, so I prefer hunting close to home, where I can leave at a moment’s notice after work and be there within an hour.

 

This particular ranch is literally “in the middle of nowhere,” a 20 mile drive down a gravel road, off a remote county road, miles from anything. No cell phone reception, no noise, no distant city lights visible in any direction. Perfect! I was so anxious to get there, I arrived 2 hours before anyone else showed up. Since I didn’t know our hosts or where to meet up with them, I parked off the gravel road a few miles from the property boundary, opened the windows, and relaxed, listening to the sounds of the night woods until the guys – Matt B., Matt W., Bryan, and Skylar showed up. It turns out I’d already met everyone except Matt W. before.

 

Once we arrived at the camp, I knew this was my kind of place. The cabin (an old frame house) was decorated with animal hides and game mounts. Thankfully, it wasn’t some

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2013 at 05:07
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Congratulations Ted, great trophy, great trip and great story.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2013 at 05:46
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Most excellent!!!  Excellent  Excellent  .
 
Scratch another one off the bucket list!!!! Yippee
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2013 at 07:51
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Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2013 at 08:11
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Ted, you are a master story teller, my friend! Loved reading every word.

Let me guess a.....7mm-08? Big Grin
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Nope.  Wait for it.........

....7mm WSM!Wink 7-08's big brother.

New rifle I put together using Borden Alpine action, Rock barrel (8.5 twist), PTG "canoe" style aluminum bottom metal, all metal coated w/Robar NP3+, McMillan Hunter's Edge stock, Jewell Trigger, Wyatt's extended box, Ruger follower, Talley LW rings, Leica ER 2.5-10X42 scope w/ #4.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2013 at 09:50
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cool.
I love that area, my buddy has a place between the YO ranch and Rocksprings..

Regarding high fence places.
Our lease (just south of Seguin) is suedo high fence, drive by the place and you would call it high fence but it's technically not.. 
Deer can jump if they want to

It's 6500 acres and it's hard hunting, deer can disappear when the acorns drop and good luck stalking them in the thick stuff..  


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2013 at 10:42
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Great write-up Ted... and congrats on the fine Axis. Excellent
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