We awoke to clear, crisp, Piney Woods morning. The
thermometer on porch read 48 degrees as Ryan and I climbed
into Leo's truck for the short ride to our drop-off
point. Everyone was quite certain that this would be
the morning. It seemed ideal
We made our way to the ICE Blind and settled in
quickly. The moon was bright enough for us to
see the feeder out the windows of the blind. We had
not been in the stand long, when we heard an agitated deer
snorting behind us. It seemed certain that the
deer had been there when we entered, and was now
upset that the disruption had ceased.
We sat patiently, watching the sun rise in hopes of
seeing game file into the feeder. It was not to
happen. Other than the snorting deer when we first
got situated, we neither saw nor heard indications of
animals in our area. At about 8:00, we decided to
force the situation somewhat. We exited the ICE
Blind and started east down the road we were hunting near.
This put the wind directly in our face. At a curve
in the road, not more than 200 yards from our feeder, we
suddenly noticed a doe on the edge of a pine
thicket. She watched us carefully as Ryan attempted
to get an arrow nocked. There was no doubt that the
deer was in range. She gave us what I'm sure she
thought was plenty of time and then fled the scene.
However, one smaller doe stayed put and didn't seem to
realize we were there. Ryan and I decided that I
would continue down the road and he would stalk towards
the deer. By this time, she had pegged us, and
the short stalk ended in a snort and white flag.
As we made our way around the perimeter
of the ranch, we were amazed at the amount of sign in the
roads. The deer and hogs both use the roads
heavily. As we rounded one bend at a brushy point in
the road, I noticed a furry, red object, moving in the
weeds. We froze and watched two very small pigs root
around in the brush. Ryan made a quick stalk attempt
on the hogs that ended with him narrowly missing a small
black pig. It was exciting to finally get him a shot
opportunity. Click the pick below for a video of the
Ryan stalks a dangerous piglet!
Our trek continued around the ranch, with us jumping up
several different groups of deer. No other
opportunities occurred, but Ryan wasn't giving up.
Back at the cabin, Leo suggested that he corn the roads
in hopes the hogs would find their way to the feed.
After corning the main routes, Leo took Ryan to a feeder
where he thought they might could stir up some
action. Leo tripped the feeder and bolted to the
brush blind in which Ryan was already positioned.
Picturing Leo bolting conjures up an image that would make
your skin crawl! Before Leo could make it to Ryan,
hogs were scrambling from the nearby brush. Ryan
readied for the shot as several smaller pigs fed under the
barrel. Leo reported that he was screaming in his
mind at Ryan to "SHOOT"!!! Ryan, though,
was waiting for the larger hog, that was held up in the
brush, to make it's way out into the clearing.
Folks, it's now very late in the game, Ryan is out of
time-outs and needs to score, yet, he's wanting the bigger
pig!! Leo whispered to him and Ryan decided to make
his move. As soon as he brought the bow up, the pigs
scattered! A great opportunity slips by and the men
make their way back to the camp. Ryan caught more
than his fair share of grief for the debacle, and was at
one point dubbed "No-Shoot-Um"! We got a
great laugh as Leo shared the story.
Ryan and I decided to venture out to check
the corned roads. We had not gone far when we
noticed a tail twitch around one bend. Buck!
This was a less than attractive 5 point and we gave
serious thought to attempting to close the gap for a
shot. At 40 yards, I decided that the we couldn't be
sure the buck was one of the management bucks that Leo had
given us permission to shoot. As we got to with
about 30 yards, not being too careful because of no desire
to shoot, the buck fled.
This little buck came close to being a
Continuing on, we got to the east border of the
property. Ryan, leading the way, waved to me
indicating something ahead. Sure enough, two doe
were feeding in the road. They were unaware of our
presence, so we slipped into with 40 yards. I held
up as Ryan inched forward. This felt like a real
opportunity. As Ryan got to about 30 yards, the
animals sensed us and became nervous. They watched
us intently and stomped in aggravation. Just as soon
as we thought they would flee, they would put their heads
down and nibble on more corn. Ryan held tight
as I filmed. He had one youpon to clear before he
would have an opportunity to shoot. At this point,
the doe did us a favor, she walked out on the right side
of the road, just reaching the point of exposing herself
to Ryan. Without provacation she lifted her head and
stared at us nervously. We froze in our positions
and then sighed as she stomped, snorted and bolted.
Ryan was so close, yet it just wasn't to be.
Ryan closes the gap on an unsuspecting
Later in the hike, we found ourselves looking at a
group of about 6 very small pigs. I stood and
watched the pigs from about 10 feet. Ryan drew back
and let go at one, sending piglets scattering in every
direction. Our last chance at putting meat in the
freezer, once again proved fruitless.
I'm sure I speak
for Les, Mr. Bassham and Ryan when I say that this weekend
was a blast. Leo Martinez is in a class by himself,
as is Buck N' Boar. The accommodations at this ranch
are to be envied. Leo is a fine host and makes you
feel very at home. I felt like I was spending the
weekend with long time friends. What more can you
Ryan, I hope you had as much fun hunting
with me as I did with you. You are one serious
bowhunter and you have a lot to look forward to with your
hobby and everything else. Do what you can to get a
bow in your Dad's hand, and we'll get together again
at Leo's place! Thanks again, Les, Mr. Bassham, Ryan
and Leo for a terrific weekend. A special thanks
also goes out to Robert Rutledge and the fine folks of
Brush Country Camouflage for supplying Ryan with his
camo. Ryan looked and acted like a pro in his Brush
From left: Les, Leo, Casey, Ryan and Mr.