The big eleven point eased into view from the right. I nudged Jeremiah, Miah for short, to alert him to the buck’s presence. Miah couldn’t see him yet because of the near total coverage of the brush blind we were sitting in. We were overlooking a field sowed with winter wheat and about thirty yards from a game feeder. As the buck eased into Miah’s window, I indicated to him that this was a real shooter. I ranged the buck, twenty eight yards, and whispered the distance to him.
The buck eased out of my window, and I could just barely see him as Miah raised his
bow, drew, found his anchor point and released. The arrow shot out of the blind and towards the buck, but to my dismay, and Miah’s, the arrow passed in front of the bruiser as he bolted out of the field. I couldn’t believe my eyes and Miah just hung his head in frustration.
It was the fourth day of our five day hunt at Buffalo Mountain Ranch, in Abilene, Texas. The morning had broken clear and near freezing with just a slight wind from the northwest. Jeremiah, my son, and I were sharing one of many brush blinds built around the ranch. Although Miah has hunted whitetails before he has never had a real shot at taking a nice buck. And Buffalo Mountain Ranch was one place where he would have a real opportunity to do just that. My job, on this hunt, was to catch Miah’s kill on video.
After watching the buck run off, I could tell Miah was about to give it up. I had to chuckle, as I related the many, many, many… deer that had run off on me with their pretty white tails waving goodbye. “This is why they call it huntin’ son”, I told him.
We had come in to the ranch the weekend before Thanksgiving and were greeted by the Ranch Manager Larry Pitcox, and Hunt Manager Rick Worley as we got in just at sunset. Too late to hunt that evening we got our gear ready and waited for other hunters to come in with their stories and hopefully some venison.
Buffalo Mountain Ranch is an archery only ranch where they work very hard a deer management. They are constantly striving to improve the quality and quantity of wildlife food and habitat and hence the deer population. They have a size and point restriction, and even a couple of deer that are off limits as they try to improve the genetics of the deer population.
Rick and his wonderful wife, Tammy, where showing Miah and I some of the pictures of bucks they had filmed throughout the summer and fall. Deer sheds decorated the walls and Rick and Tammy showed us pictures of these deer from last year, and what they looked like this year. The Lodge was decorated with elk, buffalo and deer mounts in addition to the buck and elk sheds, including a nine point that I had shot a couple of years ago and had mounted there.
Ranch owner, and good hunting buddy, Jay Ledbetter joined us after his afternoon hunt. We chatted about deer, blinds and strategy for the next hour or so as other hunters trickled in. There were reports of nice deer, shootable, but passed up in hopes of bigger bucks but no-one was successful this afternoon. We planned our morning hunt with Jay and Rick and headed off with dreams of monster bucks and venison steaks in our heads.
Jeremiah loves hunting, but he has a heart condition that has kept his hunting experiences down to a minimum. In the last couple of years we have been expanding his opportunities to hunt and he has stepped up big-time to the challenge. A year and a half ago, we were able to get Miah on video as he took a real nice Russian Boar with a perfect double lung shot. We hoped to do the same with a buck this week.
Our mornings and evenings seemed to merged together. It was great actually sitting with Miah as we jointly watched many deer in different stands come in to graze a field or come into a feeder. We saw numerous shootable bucks, but I wouldn’t let Miah shoot beyond a range that I knew he was comfortable at shooting. Nearly every morning and evening we saw deer and even elk once or twice. There were at least five separate bucks that were shooters and within what I considered to be my range. But each in turn, would stay just out of range for Miah, or would spook as Miah would get ready to shoot. Only one time on a stand did we not see any deer. We had many opportunities to take a crack at spike bucks or does, but we passed on those opportunities to try to get one of those big bruisers. Miah, ever vigilant for deer, was also very capable at nudging me from my
naps, ah….deep meditation at times as well.
It was about 8:30 in the morning after Miah had missed the eleven point. I could see through a little hole over Miah’s shoulder and a big deer with a very thick neck walked past. Without even seeing his rack, I could tell this was a nice buck. Nudging Miah, I indicated the direction this buck was coming from and urged him to get ready. I readied my Sony Handicam video Camera and waited for the buck to ease out from behind the cedars. He walked boldly into the field. He was a wide and tall eight point, and by his snout you could tell he was an older buck. His G2 tine on the left was broken, obviously from locking racks with other bucks on the ranch, but he was still a fine specimen.
The old boy stayed just at the outside edge of Miah’s range and we waited to see if he would come any closer. The camera was running, the buck was feeding, but he wasn’t getting any closer. I nodded to Miah. I zoomed in on the buck to catch Miah’s shot. As I heard Miah touch off the arrow, I was astounded to watch the buck crouch, turn ninety degrees and bound away – all in the time it took for the arrow to reach the spot where the buck had stood. Another miss, but it was all on film.
Later, as we looked at the film, you could tell that Miah’s shot would probably have been high anyway, but it was astounding to see how quickly that buck reacted to the sound of Miah’s bow. If it weren’t on film and I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes, I am not sure I would believe it myself.
We hunted again on our last day. Saw more nice bucks but none we could get a shot at. And even the does stayed out of range that last quite day. Was this a failed hunting trip – not in my book! I got to spend five days hunting with my youngest, in close quarters. I got to share the excitement, and feel the frustration. We saw a lot of deer – many really nice bucks and even got close enough to get a couple of shots. Buffalo Mountain Ranch treated us like best friends, and it was another opportunity to hunt with my hunting buddy Jay. Oh Yeah, this was a very successful hunting trip. We’ll be back!
In the five days we hunted at the ranch, other hunters took five very nice bucks, and others turned done a number of nice bucks hoping for a bigger one. For more information about hunting on Buffalo Mountain Ranch, check out their website at www.buffalomountainhunts.com