After a successful trip to Cotulla last weekend that found Casey and me with
what are currently the two largest does entered in the archery division of the
Los Cazadores deer contest and Les with a nice sized sow and a shot at yet
another hog, I was ready to return for a long, Thanksgiving weekend hunt at our
Encinal ranch. In between, however, I had to make a trip to New Orleans
for business from Sunday night through Tuesday night and then suffer through a
long day of work on Wednesday. Finally, with my work complete, the family
loaded up and drove to meet my parents at their Kinney County lease west of
Uvalde. Each Thanksgiving the family members of the men on the lease
get together for a big Thanksgiving feast.
We decided not to hunt Thursday morning, and instead spent time working on
feeders and visiting with family and friends until the big afternoon
feast. It was a perfect day in a gorgeous location! After dinner,
the girls and I loaded back up and made the two hour trip to Encinal, followed
by my brother, Martin.
We arrived just a few minutes before dark and decided to make the most of the
remaining light driving around looking for deer. It didn't take us long to
spot a couple of very nice bucks as we entered the ranch. It didn't take
long for darkness to settle, so we unloaded our gear at the cabin and ate a
quick dinner. I went back out and set up my Brush Country Camouflaged ICE
Blind in a spot where we have traditionally seen some big bucks. It was
not far from where I shot the 143" buck in 1999, and it is also where my
brother, Mark, saw a nice 5 X 7 monster at the end of last season. I then
returned to the cabin to get Martin and then we headed back out to set up a
Swivel Limb that I had borrowed from Casey. We set it up in a Mesquite
tree on "Highline Road" overlooking a feeder. It was at this
feeder where I videoed a couple of nice bucks on last season's Live Hunts.
Seeing the bucks earlier in the evening, coupled with the feeling that my ICE
Blind was well concealed in the brush, I was even more excited than usual about
the prospects for this weekend's action! I had difficulty sleeping on
Thursday night as I woke frequently to check the feeder behind the house and
watch the deer that were feeding around it all night! I couldn't wait for
my alarm clock to go off! At one point, I considered going out to my ICE
Blind and sleeping there until daylight!
Finally, the alarm sounded! I showered and then dressed in my Brush
Country Henley T-Shirt and six pocket pants. I gathered my gear and made
my way out to the ICE Blind. The blind offered two shooting lanes, both
offering 10 - 20 yard shots. I set up my video camera low in one window
opening. I've found that with the video camera, mounted on a tripod, as
low as it will go in the shooting window, I can get great footage of shots by
shooting over the camera.
The Brush Country camo pattern on the blind blended in perfectly with the
yaupon and mesquite vegetation that it was up against. I also cut
additional yaupon branches and covered the front of the blind, making it nearly
undetectible, even to the human eye! Evidence of that came when, after
seeing an obviously startled cow trot by, I heard something coming toward me in
the brush across the road. Moments later I saw a human figure appear
from the brush directly in front of me! Then there was a second, followed
by a third, fourth and fifth! I remained motionless as the leader of the
aliens looked down one side of the road, then the other before turning and
heading north on the road, completely unaware that I was watching them at less
than fifteen yards!
I didn't see much else, but at about 8 am I had a couple of does work
their way in, followed closely by a young nine pointer. I filmed for a
while, then drew and placed my pin on the buck's vitals, made a mental "thwap"
in my head and then let down to let the buck continue feeding.
.I had hoped
a bigger buck would show, but alas it never did and the deer eventually wandered
off. Still, a great beginning to a great hunt!