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Day 1
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Day 3 


Live Hunt Details

Michael Middleton
      Martin Middleton
      Paul Schwander
      Jason Treadaway
      Curtis Hamlin
      Kavin Vann
      Debi Vann
      Daniel Vann
      T.J. Rodgers
      Team Showboat
      490 Other Hunters!

Aransas NWR, Austwell, TX

     October 7th - 15th

Hit Counter Aransas Group Hunt

Day 1

The first weekend of the public hunt at the Aransas NWR is over, and the weather conditions made for difficult hunting, and sleeping!

I picked up Jason in Stafford on Friday after work, and he and I made the 4-plus hour trip to Hoppers Landing in my pickup. I had been experiencing problems with the alternator and A/C unit the previous few weeks, but after changing the alternator last Sunday, I felt like we could make the trip without replacing the A/C compressor, as I had determined that it was simply a bad bearing in the clutch. We arrived without any difficulty, save missing our road, Hwy 239, and ending up in Refugio. It didn't cost us too much time, as Hwy 774 offered a straight shot from Refugio to the refuge.

We arrived at Hoppers Landing at around 9pm. I was amazed at the number of campers and tents circled around one another just off the bay.  It looked like a little tent city!  We drove around to the back side of the group and located Paul's and Martin's pickups.  We knew we were at the right place.  Everybody was gathered around the Team Showboat canopy trying to seek shelter from the wind.  After a brief round of introductions to Wayne, Tom, Kevin, Kavin, Curtis, Mark and a host of others, we set out to erect our tent.  Jason had brought his big cabin tent in which Martin, Jason and I were going to spend the weekend.  Unfortunately, he had left the poles at his apartment!  I had brought my 3 man dome tent as a backup, so we weren't completely left out in the cold!  We managed to get it set up and tied down in the strong, whipping wind.  It was a tight fit for the three of us, but we managed and slept relatively well, considering the tent was noisily flapping in the wind.

We awoke at 4:30 on Saturday morning.  As I tried to start my pickup, the engine began smoking!  I shut it down and Kavin Vann pointed out that the A/C clutch and pulley had frozen and would not turn!  Jason, I headed out with Paul to an area near Paul that he had scouted for us the day before.  Jason had also forgotten his permit, so he opted to sit in an ICE Blind with me and hold the camera while I hunted.  Paul showed us our location, which was on the way to his blind, and we quickly set up the ICE Blind. 

The wind was still kicking up pretty hard, and the ICE Blind offered some protection.  It was still an hour before daylight when we settled in, so Jason took a little siesta in the blind!  When it finally got daylight, we sat for several hours without any activity.  When Jason finally awoke from his nap, I decided to put him on post while I checked the opaqueness of my new Country camouflage cap!  Imagine my surprise when I started reviewing the tape to see that he had taken the liberty to do some filming for the sake of the hunt!

Finally, at about 10 am, we decided to get out of the blind and take a look around the area, since we had not yet seen any of the refuge in the daylight.  

As we were exiting the tent, we heard the sound of something moving in the brush.  I grabbed my bow and exited the tent, and soon identified the sound to be hogs!  They had not yet detected us, so I moved off in the direction they were heading.   

I spotted a couple of the hogs as they moved off, but they never presented a shot opportunity in the thick, heavy brush.  Paul came back by shortly after and we headed back to camp.  Paul had seen a number of hogs, but elected not to shoot so as not to have to drag them back to the truck!

We returned to camp after a short stop to get Jason a reissued permit, which was permit number 492 for the hunt!  The number of tents that littered (literally with the winds) was astounding.

Martin drove me into Victoria to look for a new clutch/pulley assembly for my pickup, and to re-string his bow, which had been partially sliced by a loose broadhead in his bow case!  Thanks to Jack Thatcher at South Texas Archery for getting him fixed up with a new string, and for not charging Martin the normal labor charge for installing the string and peep!  I also picked up a Third Hand bow holder for my ICE Blind.  Unfortunately, we were unable to find the part, and could only locate the entire a/c compressor with the clutch.  We decided to wait until Monday so we could check with the local GM dealer to see if they had the part in stock.  The difference between a $40 part and a $300 part made it worth making the 50 minute drive back to town in hopes that they would have it!

When we got back to camp, Kavin, Debi and their kids were ready to make the trip back to the refuge.  Most of the Showboat boys, and Paul and Jason, had decided that the wind was too strong to allow for much deer movement, and were not going to make the afternoon hunt.  I didn't figure we'd have much luck hunting in the wind and rain, so Martin and I decided to spend some time at the refuge scouting for locations for Sunday and Monday.  We went to his stand location and hung a Swivel Limb in the tree next to his Strong Built chain-on.  Because it was not a straight tree, the chain-on stand was not level and made for an uncomfortable morning's hunt.   We identified a couple of other promising areas, and then hung another Swivel Limb in a tree overlooking a pipeline.  It was the same pipeline on which Paul had placed his Gametamer Quadpod, and was only about 75 yards from his stand, but we felt it was a bit better setup.


The wind and rain had intensified by the time we got back to our temporary home at Hoppers, and everything inside the tent was wet.  Team Showboat was gathered around their campfire under a shelter telling hunting stories from past hunts and keeping their insides warm with a round of Tequilla!

Because the tent was wet, I decided to sleep in the cab of my pickup.  Curtis invited Jason to stay inside his tent, while Martin found a dry spot inside the dome tent to sleep on Casey's cot that I had borrowed.

We held high hopes that the wind would let up by Day 2, but as you'll soon see, it only got worse.  Keep checking in, though, because the hunt is not without adventure. . . and success!