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Sunday, November 27. 2011
Friday was a beautiful day, minimum wind, a lot of deer movement, but no shootible bucks seen. Saturday was a day taken off by me because Sara, my grand daughter, had a beautiful, baby girl, another great for me! So, Suzanne, Rebekah, Wesley and I ,drove over to Killeen to visit with Sara and the newborn. The picture shows a proud Great Grand Pa holding Callyn Elizabeth. As we were driving over, Randy, however, went out Saturday morning and even after sleeping in, saw at least 10 doe and yearlings.
A funny thing happened on Randyâ€™s way out to his blind to hunt on Saturday afternoon. For no real reason, he took this â€œshotâ€ of a big deer track and he followed the tracks all the way past the tripod stand he would use to later shot a deer. Sunday morning this distinctive track would be instrumental in finding the buck!
Later Saturday afternoon, this was a different story. Randy saw a big buck, he texted Laura with a â€œShoot or no shoot,â€ she asked me the same and I told her to text Randy and ask, â€œHow big and was it limping?â€ His reply was, â€œNo to the limp and 4 inches outside its ears.â€ My reply to Laura was, â€œShoot!â€ He did, his .243 boomed, but we later found out that the shot was about 3 inches low, plowing into the bucks lungs, but not a knock down, kill â€˜em on the spot one. Telling Laura to text him with, â€œIâ€™m on my way with the tractor,â€ I walked outside and about the same time the â€œnortherâ€, with a cold north wind was howling!
Bundling up, then starting the tractor, I chugged toward the blind and upon arriving, found Randy looking for the deer. Apparently his shot had not felled the buck on the spot. We looked in one direction and the other, finally, it was almost dark, after about 30 minutes, we found where the buck had gone down, with a copious amount of blood on the ground then we knew the shot had been a killing one! Following the blood trail, it led us to our property fence along the County Road and we assumed that he had jumped over.
Meanwhile, Colton had shot a nice doe, had cleaned it and was on his way to a big date. This was the big doe that Wesley and I had seen on Wednesday afternoon.
Back to the tractor, back to the house and we drove around to the spot the buck had cleared our fence, no blood, but there was a splash on the other side of the road where he jumped the neighbors fence, cutting across her pasture. It was after 8:00 PM, it was getting plum cold too, so we figured to wait until morning to continue the search.
Sunday morning was real chilly, 37 degrees, Randy called both neighbors, the lady wasnâ€™t home, but Lester, my neighbor to the southwest said we could hunt for the buck and he would come out and help us. Going on into town for Sunday School, I announced to my class that we had a buck down and were still looking for it, so by acclimation, the class said for me to forgo todayâ€™s lesson and, by all means, find the buck!
Picking up Spike, our wonder Dachshund and having 5 Grandkids, Suzanne, a good tracker, Randy, who is color blind and canâ€™t see the blood, and Wesley, who with Spike ultimately found the buck, we all drove around to Lesterâ€™s gate and awaited his arrival. Letting us in his pasture, he went around to get his big 4 wheeler and by then, Randy, Suzanne, Wesley and Spike were burrowing through the thick stuff, following the blood trail, the trackers lost contact with Spike, then breaking through the briars, in a small clearing, Wesley spied the dog guarding the deer, a nice 9 pointer, with a 16-1/2 inch inside spread. The "shot" of the trackers shows the thick stuff Wesley crawled through, Wesley missing, was taking the picture. Loading up the deer, Lester was nice enough to drive the buck around to my house so Randy and Will could begin the clean up.
Success was ours, a real team effort, after 14 hours we found the buck, with the cool weather, it was still cool in the middle of the day on Sunday, the meat was good and pictures taken. We persevered in our hunt for the buck and it really paid off!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 17:45 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, November 12. 2011
This year 2011 is looking strangely like the past years on the ranch, but this year, especially, we are encountering extremely high winds, it will blow hard from the southeast, then come roaring back with a strong wind from the northwest. Deer are skittish with high winds and curtail their movement, however Iâ€™m hearing that for the past few days over the County, buck sightings, chasing doe are increasing. Maybe this year will be like most of them past, when the best hunting for bucks will be later in the season.
This leads me to remember some past late season hunts and the first to mind is about a buck that depredated my peach trees! The day before I had spooked a nice buck, 8 or 10 points, out of my freshly, plowed garden. As I rushed inside for a rifle, I peeped around the corner and saw the buck disappear into the tall grass, this being one of our periods of ample rainfall, then he was long gone before I could get the scope on him.
Sitting in a blind the next week, on December 7, 2007, before the sun came up, I was thinking, will I ever get a good buck this season? A good chance had been last week when I flushed a shooter buck out of my garden, then as I checked my watch (again), it was 7:45 AM, when I heard a soft grunt come out of the thick stuff. Pleased that my game ears really worked as advertised, I got ready because I knew this was a buck announcing his presence in the area.
Within 20 minutes, a doe walked out and began to sniff around the fence of the feeder, slowly circling it, she acted real nervous, then jumped over the fence and began nibbling at the corn. She looked up, stared intently into the thick cover, then nibbled some more, stared some more and I tensed up anticipating that a buck would show soon.
Sure enough, out walked a nice one, either an 8 or 10, horns well outside the ears, a nice looking deer. For several seconds, more like minutes, he was masked by a cedar tree, so I set up on the opening where he should cross, out he walked and bam! He hopped, but didnâ€™t fall, staggered off as the doe jumped out of the feeder pen.
The buck was done for, so I unloaded my rifle, climbed out of the stand, and looked up, here came the doe. She stood 50 feet away from me, looked at me as if to say, â€œWhereâ€™d the buck go?â€ She circled the area once more then walked off, tail down, in frustration Iâ€™m sure, to begin her search for a new buck.
Walking over, I saw the buck down, a close look showed 10 points, then nudging him with no response, I went to get Spike, our wonder daschund, for a little tracking practice. Layla and I loaded up Spike and drove to the feeder, put him out, he made one cross wind trot, swing around, smelled the buck and headed straight toward it. He now took over the buck, guarded and nuzzled it and to get him away from the deer, I had to put on gloves to pick him up so we could load the buck.
Looking more closely at the fine buck, it struck me that this was probably the same one Iâ€™d seen exiting my garden, the stand is about 600 yards from it. Bucks range for miles, but this one may have stayed too close to home. Anyway, finding a hot doe was his down fall!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 12:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, May 20. 2009
What a beautiful day, I thought as I stepped outside for my morning walk.Â The sun just coming up, no wind and a brisk, cold for late May down here, 52 degrees, our record for today is 47. Â
Iâ€™d have company this morning, my wife, Layla, our dog, Spike, and cat, Bo, would be accompanying me.Â Having told Layla about Mondayâ€™s exciting walk, she was going along today.
We marched out on to the county road and for almost a half, mile saw nothing but two cows.Â Providing some excitement, the cows rushed the fence trying to get at Spike.Â These cows hate any dog, or coyote looking animal and, if not for the fence, big trouble for little, Spike!
Nothing, no deer, â€˜dillos or skunks showed up on this walk. Just Spike and Bo, tagging along.
We did sound like a traveling, circus going down the road!Â
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hill Country Happenings at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, July 21. 2008
Nothing exciting on my last 2 morning walks, but yesterday, I took my camera along anyway.Â Layla was in Tulsa running a national championship softball tournament for 50, 55 and 60 age classes, so my other 2 â€œwalkersâ€ Bo and spike, joined me and I did get a good picture of them.
Walking along and coming up to a cross fence, there was a yearling doe and you can see we both surprised each other, so I snapped a â€œshotâ€ at her.Â
Nothing else of interest, but Iâ€™ll keep taking the camera along!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hill Country Happenings at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, July 17. 2008
Each morning I get up around 6:00 AM and go out and walk a mile plus.Â Most days it is already warming up, some days itâ€™s cold, some, very rarely, itâ€™s raining and I stay in.Â Today was bright and clear, so walking outside and enjoying the rising sun, I thought to myself, take the camera, you might see something of interest.
The next thing I knew, here came Bo, our cat.Â Bo is fearless and extremely protective of his territory.Â Last week he successfully drove off a large dog that had strayed into our yardÂ Note Boâ€™s lack of a tail.Â It fell victim to a fan belt! And, right behind him came Spike, the wonder dog!
They walked on for several hundred yards, then their short attention spans kicked in.Â Bo started hunting and Spike sat and rested for a while.
So much for todayâ€™s walk, but, from now on, Iâ€™m taking a camera with me.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hill Country Happenings at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 28. 2007
Our central Texas Deer season opens in a few days and I think a post and picture of a very, unappearing, successful hunt would be quite appropriate.
My "second rut" buck!
Getting out of bed early the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, it was raining copiously and I decided to sleep in, telling myself that I would try hunting around noon. Noon found me climbing into "Poppy's Stand" stand that was near a corn feeder and a well used Deer trail. Of course, as I climbed into the stand, the seat had caught some water from the rain, finding me without even a hankie.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, February 24. 2007
Deciding to retire on May 1, 2005, to my ranch in Goldthwaite, Texas, had not been the difficult decision that I had expected. My son, Brad, had returned from his tour in Iraq and was looking forward to a safer tour of duty in Colorado. Months before my retirement I even planted some peach trees and I had just put in my garden, one of my â€œgiftsâ€ being a very green thumb!
In 2005, spring Turkey season opened on April 2, and not having the time in the past to indulge in this spring sport on my ranch, and since I was retiring on May 1, and especially, since my ranch lies in the middle of some fine Turkey country, I decided that I would try to get me one.The alarm went off at 6:00 AM and up I jump, pull up my Wranglers, slip on some socks and my work boots, and tucking in my camo tee shirt, head out to my jeep. I wanted to get a good â€œstartâ€ on the Turkeys. I stepped out of our side door and, whoa, where am I? It is freezing and I go back and look at our inside/outside thermometer and see it is thirty-two degrees. It was in the mid sixties when we went to bed last night and the evening weather report did not include freezing temperatures.
Quickly my plans change. If it hasnâ€™t already, I know there will be a frost and my peach trees and tomatoes are blooming. Covering them up is out of the question, so the only thing left is to water them and hope that the water will freeze over the blooms and prevent them from freezing.
Out of my work boots and on with my insulated boots and quickly putting on my insulated overalls I head out to the garden and apply a liberal dose of water to the peach trees and tomato plants. I will know soon if this works. Now on to the Turkeys, dawn is breaking crisp and clear, and Iâ€™m behind schedule.
After my hunt, I laughingly say I pulled a â€œRandyâ€ and drove and parked the Jeep directly under the elevated blind. Randy, my son, has been known to do just this when heâ€™s late to a hunt. Getting out of the Jeep, I sling my rifle a Ruger, Model 77, .22 caliber, magnum, with a 3 X 9 power, Weaver scope and climb up into the blind.
Laying the rifle down, I survey the blind. The windows are frosted and I canâ€™t see out but I have disturbed two angry red wasps that found shelter from the cold in the blind. I open one window and out flies one of the wasps, while the other takes exception at my having disturbed him and attacks me. I parry his first attack with a handy seat cushion, then whack him a good one and down he goes, and â€œsmushâ€, under foot he succumbs. Now hopefully, down to turkey hunting. I clean the frost off of the windows and open all of them to try and balance the temperature.
I sit down and load my rifle, thinking that no self-respecting Turkey would come within a mile of this blind with all the racket that Iâ€™ve made. Fifty yards in front of the blind is a food plot which I had just planted and some excess seeds were scattered about it, and to my surprise, out walks a Turkey hen and begins to make â€œhen soundsâ€, soft clucks, and starts picking up the seeds. I didnâ€™t have a camera with me, but I have some great â€œmind picturesâ€ of her.
She clucks and nibbles for almost fifteen minutes and Iâ€™m thinking to myself â€œI guess no tom is going to come along,â€ when the silence is broken by the loudest Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, I have ever heard. There, right next to the Jeep is a beautiful, multi colored, tom Turkey, in full strut, his wing tips touching the ground, slowly moseying toward the hen.
Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, as he walks and struts right up to her, and making a fatal mistake, he turns away from me, and my scope comes to rest right in the middle of his back and, Bam! He jumps about five feet, straight up, feathers fly, and he walks off, the hen following. I quickly ejected the spent cartridge and quickly loaded and ejected another round before I caught myself. Nerves had hit me. I didnâ€™t get a second shot.
Closing the windows, I unloaded my rifle and climbed down out of the blind and stepped off forty yards to where the Turkey had been standing, then heading off in the direction he took, I found him down, in a creek bottom, forty yards from where he was hit.
Once back at our ranch house, Spike, our miniature Dachshund, posed for pictures with me and the Turkey. Spike, who tracks and finds deer when we shoot one, took possession of the bird and guarded it until I loaded it into my truck and headed to a taxidermist in Lampassas.
The first, spring Turkey shot on my ranch is displayed in a flying mount, on a wall in the great room of our ranch house. I did save the tomatoes, having a â€œbumperâ€ crop, which lasted until Thanksgiving! But the peaches were a different story. Off of four trees, I only harvested twelve of them.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 13:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, January 29. 2007
Getting up at 5:00 AM and slipping on my workout clothes, I opened the side door of my house, in the Texas Hill Country, southwest of Goldthwaite, Texas, and was preparing to go outside and get into my truck for the ten-minute drive to the gym, when the â€œglareâ€ hit me.Â Not so much the glare but the complete whiteness of the early morning.Â The TV weather had reported a Winter Storm Warning, but so many of their warnings fizzle out I had not mentally prepared myself for snow on the ground and snow piling out of the sky.Â Flipping on the TV, sure enough, they reported it was snowing in their north and northwest viewing area.Â So much for a workout.It kept snowing for well into the morning and everything was white!Â I did notice that my newly planted Garlic was bravely sticking barely above the snow.Â Wow!Â We must have at least four inches and counting.Â The field behind our house looked like a bowl of whipped egg whites, and a crazy thought popped into my mind, if we get two or three more inches I could get out my skis and ski down the county road or take a leisurely swing down my field.Â That would make a good picture.
Growing up in Houston, and living most of my life there, we would see snow, maybe once every ten or fifteen years. We have hunted Quail in the snow in Arizona, sledded down the hills in Georgia and pounded the slopes, skiing, in New Mexico, Colorado and Utah, but having all of this snow on the ground and falling out of the sky on my place was more than exciting.
After breakfast we, my wife and our wonder dog, Spike, headed out to my truck, cleaned the snow off of the windshield, put it in four-wheel high and â€œplowedâ€ out onto our place.
The first stop was a water trough, frozen (I broke up the ice), framed by snow and on down the road, where we both noticed how pretty the snow was on the prickly pear cactus.Â We couldnâ€™t resist a picture.
Spike was bouncing up and down wanting to get out into the snow.Â Being a miniature Dachshund, he only has three or four inches of ground clearance, but out he went, nose to the ground.Â No game was moving but he was hunting.Â My wife was worried, that with his short hair, he would get cold, poor baby.
We checked on a deer feeder and there were signs of activity early in the morning, but the tracks were almost snowed out. Driving on, we noticed deer tracks crossing the road.Â Stopping and letting Spike out, he quickly found the trail and the â€œhuntâ€ was on.Â He hunted for several hundred yards, me following.Â Spike is short, no more that ten inches tall.Â I am six feet tall.Â Spike runs under the brush and trees while I plow through the snow and brush covered with snow.Â Not even having a gun and having enough of this fun, I call off the â€œhuntâ€, pick Spike up and head back toward the truck.Â The little dog had been in â€œhog heavenâ€ hunting in the snow.
The snow had stopped by the time we got back to the house and we shed our wet jackets.Â Looking out over our place and thinking how great this moisture would be for the land,Â how sloppy it would be for a couple of days and how dirty our vehicles would be, helped us to appreciate the warm, cozy house and the fire glowing in the cast iron heater.
Spike wanted to get back to hunting!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Weather at 11:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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