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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2014 at 16:49
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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This year, I had the wonderful opportunity to hunt an exotic animal again. So began my pursuit for European Fallow Deer.
 
This place was called Knowleton's Laguna Vista Ranch and it's near Batesville, Texas in between Uvalde and Pearsall.
 
When I arrived, I met this older gentleman, who you could tell loved the ranch lifestyle as he shook my hand the Leather like grip was evident that this was a man with great labors. He instructed me to head up to the Lodge and park behind the building and that I was more than welcome to look around outside until everyone else had arrived.
 
Shortly after I parked, I leaned the seat back, rolled the windows down, and listened to the traditional Texas folk music of Robert Earl Keen Jr, Max Stalling, Mark David Manders, and Charlie Robinson until my guide Jed Knowleton arrived.
 
I was interrupted as this young woman approached my truck and introduced herself as Cookie, Ashley Cookie and she invited me in, and said that she is working on some snacks before we headed out. In the middle of preparing her bounty, she explained that there are several rooms and to just make myself at home.
 
Doing just that, I found a room, unpacked my Leupold McKinley binoculars and went out on the back porch and started glassing a food plot area.
 
There was everything imaginable on this place. I viewed American Bison, Scimitar Horned Oryx, Black Buck, Barasinga, Elds Deer, Nilgai, Wildebeest, and Zebra feeding below me.
 
Soon Jed arrived and he and he asked me how I like my truck, I asked him if he were a Cummins fan and he stated that he was. We engaged about diesels talking about all the changes in later years of production and then migrated to various hunting stories of the past, feeling one another out.
 
Ashley then came to us and said that she had some fresh appetizers and home salsa made for us.
 
After a brief moment taking it all in, Jed mentioned, we could drive around, get a feel for the property and see if there was anything that jumped out at me.
As we loaded up in this custom Jeep, we descended hill where I was glassing earlier that morning.
 
Moving forward, you could see Blackbucks taunting one another for territory and chasing ewes around. It was like watching children at the park.
 
Once we were out of the clearing, I was in a familiar element, picking the debris of mesquite looking for the tale tail evidence and sign for Fallow. We picked out several and as we drew near, discovered they were too young or didn't obtain antler characteristics I was focused on persuing.
 
One thing that I found was unique about this Jeep, was there was a road feeder on the front of it. Turns out this is common practice in South Texas for hands to drive around sprinkling corn on the pathways of ranches to entice animals to come out of bedding areas and refuge in order to choose from the menus of animals available on the property.
 
I had expressed to Jed, since the Lodge was elevated, we ought to go up there for greater field of view and see what is walking around. While glassing this area, I was overview about 1500 acres of very heavily wooded and dense brush areas.
 
While scanning these areas Jed and I were discussing the theories of quantum physics, because he didn't know who beiber was although midway through the discussion on matter, he spotted a small group of animals on the pathway about 800-850 yards away.  While using those Leupold McKinley's I was able to really focus on these beautiful Axis Does feeding on the area where we had road fed with the Jeep. Very cautiously, you later then were able to see Adult Axis Stags and fawn migrate out into the open.  While watching the Axis, I was also continuing to scan the area. Again...seeing Scimitar Horned Oryx, more Axis, and some blackbuck ewes, still not seeing what we were looking for.
 
About this time, the sun was making its daily decent west and they sky was darkening with a full moon overhead. A hunter's worst fear...hunting a weekend with a FULL MOON, but regardless of that, I had my best foot forward and a very optimistic attitude.
 
At this time, I turned around to go inside to get some water and as I was coming out, I noticed four bumps off to my left. Walking back to the Jeep, I grabbed my binos and explained to Jed, if he had seen those.  He looked and said that one of those was his breeder buck bedded down.  Scanning in that same area, we located one, that was bigger than anything I had seen thus far.
 
We loaded up in the Jeep to move down the road for some better perspective. As we drew closer, we were able to tell, that this was a nice mature buck, but now our problem was the wind.
 
During this time, we had a lot of wind and it was swirling about us and it was evident out in the meadow as well because of how the winter wheat was being tossed around.
 
Now what we had to figure out was a plan to stalk in without blowing our cover. Now the hunt is on, because this guy in a wide open area with no obstructions and everything is in his favor.  We loaded up in the Jeep and made are way around the North East part of the ranch and as we turned, there was a HUGE Chester Fallow in the middle of the road, we locked eyes and then he bolted into the brush at full speed. There was no way from me to pursue him, because everything was so thick, my attempt would have been futile to say the least.
 
We proceeded down the road near the opening to the large meadow area, parked and began to stalk in.  As we began to close the distance we were about 500-600 yards away.  We were walking on the backside of this dam, years ago, there was a lake on the other side, this provided excellent cover as we closed some distance. We approached 323 yards according to the RF and as I was setting up, Jed thought we could move forward a little closer.
 
Now, we are belly crawling over some fertile south Texas black dirt and we moved about 75 yards. Trying to catch my breath and calm down, I set up again. Luckily the scope I was using had mil-hashes and I was able to determine he was about 250, Jed came back at me with 253 yards to confirm. I had since made my elevation adjustment on my Leupold VX-R Patrol and now trying to determine the wind direction and speed.  Again, this wind was whipping all around us.
 
I slowly waited for the wind to die down, and watching him through the scope, you could tell, that he began to smell something was off.
 
As he began to move, I waited for the perfect spot to be open, you know the spot where you like the round to go...happens to be my favorite spot as well.  About this time, I have managed to calm down and my breathing is under control. Again, a huge wind gust came from behind me and he turned his head right over in our direction and began to leave, I then squeezed the trigger and followed the bullet, watching the impact. I was a little late with my reload just in case, but after seeing the impact, I was very confident of the shot and knew that it was clean.
 
Now the sun is setting on this beautifully mild day and while the hunt was short, IU honestly had the best canvas for photos anyone could dream of.  The Texas sunset, with her tempered blue skies and the red/orange hue radiating off the clouds, you could ask for something more gorgeous.
 
<
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2014 at 16:58
cheaptrick View Drop Down
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Very nice!  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2014 at 18:51
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Congrats Skylar thanks for sharing and a great picture...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2014 at 18:59
cheaptrick View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Skylar McMahon Skylar McMahon wrote:

 
 

While scanning these areas Jed and I were discussing the theories of quantum physics, because he didn't know who beiber was although midway through the discussion on matter, he spotted a small group of animals on the pathway about 800-850 yards away. 

Laugh
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2014 at 22:16
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Originally posted by Skylar McMahon Skylar McMahon wrote:


There was everything imaginable on this place. I viewed ...Barasinga...feeding below me.


I thought at first that you'd gone and made that word up, just to see if we were paying attention...
...'cause that's something I'd do!

But damned if there ain't such a critter, also called a "swamp deer!" Very unusual looking antler form! I learn something new every day!
 
Originally posted by Skylar McMahon Skylar McMahon wrote:


While scanning these areas Jed and I were discussing the theories of quantum physics, because he didn't know who beiber was


It goes without saying that it's damn near impossible to discuss one without the other, and it's pretty much a given that this topic will come up sooner or later on a hunting trip!
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Beautiful fallow buck and beautiful photo of it, Sky!

Congratulations! Of course you know you have to bring me a sampling of fallow meat now, consistent with the tradition you've already started... right?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 05:08
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Skylar, the deer and the pic are spectacular.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 07:32
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Kudos Skylar.  Excellent  Great write-up (you've been hanging with Ted again haven't you?) and great fallow. Looking forward to more pics!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 08:49
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Beautiful fallow buck and beautiful photo of it, Sky!

Congratulations! Of course you know you have to bring me a sampling of fallow meat now, consistent with the tradition you've already started... right?
 
Yes, this is a new tradition, matter of fact, I already have a recipe in mind that I will prep and bring with me next time we are able to get together.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 08:51
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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Originally posted by bugsNbows bugsNbows wrote:

Kudos Skylar.  Excellent  Great write-up (you've been hanging with Ted again haven't you?) and great fallow. Looking forward to more pics!
 
You know he's not just another pretty face...he's a thinker and when you hang out with like minded individuals, it is intoxicating and it just rubs off.
 
Ted, has a thing about him, it's like pixie dust, he only has to sprinkle a little, if you believe...you can fly! Bucky
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 10:01
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Trying to follow it Ted's trail is sometimes a challenge. At the first Hog Killtacular was the first time I had rode an ATV. He was leading the way down a dirt trail beside a long abandoned field. Then turns left into the 6' tall weeds and brush. Following him, then he dissapears for a few moments and reapears 30 yards away. Pulling forward I find a nearly shear 12" drop down into a creek. He is on the other side with a grin and yells you can make it. Hesitantly I sit for a moment and thought, Well here goes, so down we go, Me and the ATV. In a heartbeat was on the bottom Alive. Hammered it and drove up the other side. Instantly  with his challange he had taught me the capability of the 4 wheeler and my ability to stay with it. God how I love it now.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 10:21
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He had me on the back of the ATV when he climbed a near vertical bank of a dried up creek bed. I never thought we would have made it up that bank, but we did. I think you were behind us, Lile. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 11:25
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I frequently hunt that area, but a little further down the road.  The scrub gets really, really thick, and a towed trailer or hitch feeder is about the only way to get things into the open.


Great animal, great picture.

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awesome
love that area and terrain

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 12:48
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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

He had me on the back of the ATV when he climbed a near vertical bank of a dried up creek bed. I never thought we would have made it up that bank, but we did. I think you were behind us, Lile. 
You were with Ted and Colby was with me on the way down. He was more unsure of my ability to climb the bank out. Probably a smart move. Better safe than a broke neck.
Skylar and CFII arrived later with the RAZOR.


Edited by 3_tens - March/26/2014 at 13:08
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 14:51
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You boys are on the verge of talking me into planning another get-together, and maybe even throwing in a little hunting for good measure, just 'cause... and that's damn hard to do!Big Grin
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Man I'd love that! 

PM inbound Ted.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 15:53
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Here's a few of the pictures that I took. I do not want to post all of them, because Ted and I were talking about shooting in aperture and adjusting the exposure.  So, there were a lot of shots.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 16:00
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

You boys are on the verge of talking me into planning another get-together, and maybe even throwing in a little hunting for good measure, just 'cause... and that's damn hard to do!Big Grin
 
I bet someone around here could twist your arm.
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What's the A T M on the guys hat represent?? Bucky

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 16:28
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 16:35
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Oh...that's right! You all do have a football team down that way. I almost forgot.  Get Your Popcorn Ready
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 16:36
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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

Oh...that's right! You all do have A football team down that way. I almost forgot.  Get Your Popcorn Ready
 
We have more than a football team here.
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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

What's the A T M on the guys hat represent?? Bucky


Your future enlightenment.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2014 at 17:57
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Nice pics, Sky!
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