Back before the turn of the century, 20th century of course, Jake Shroder invited me out to Arizona to go quail hunting, 1999 was the specific year, but this was to be a different kind of hunt. Jake was big into field trials and his Brittany’s had won many of them in the Midwestern states. He and his wife, Peggy Jo, would drive up, starting in Montana, then attend the local trials there, then slowly make their way back to Arizona, attending field trials and winning many, the field trial portion of the trips were always made on horseback.

He had one particular dog, big for a Brittany spaniel, Ned Pepper, that was a champion field trialer and Jake decided that on this hunt we would ride, ride horses that is. Not having been on a ‘hoss for years, not since my “cowboying” days, it sounded like a fine plan to me, but by day 2 the saddle, a McClellan saddle, and I’m sure the U.S. Cavalry used the same one during the Civil War, it had rubbed me raw! Rubbing pain aside, we would be hunting Gambel quail, an elusive, hard running bird that had confounded many a hunter! Confounded us too!

Jake’s idea was fine, we’d be “a horse”, even on the horses Ned Pepper would be running way ahead of us, we’d see him point the birds, then ride up, unscabbard our shotguns, walk into the birds, then shoot them on the covey rise. At least that was the plan, the plan was sound, but the Gambel quail would simply run off during the time we’d ride up.

Arizona has lots of Federal and State land, semi arid, almost desert and we tried this approach for 2 days, and I might add, getting “0” birds. As I said, the plan was sound, but the Gambel’s wouldn’t have any part of it. So, the 3rd day, my last in Arizona, we went back to our traditional hunting style, driving and walking!

We’d pick out a likely looking wash, drive down it until we flushed a covey, then get out of the truck and chase the birds. It seemed as if Ned Pepper never tired, he chased birds for the first 2 days and was ready to go on the 3rd day too, what a dog! The 3rd day was a charm, we must have run across 5 or 6 bevys, had some real good shooting and limited out easily.

My troubles, badly chapped thighs, didn’t end with the quail hunting. Our government had just begun checking articles packed in carry on baggage, remember this was 1999, but checked they did. In my haste I’d neglected to remove 3 shotgun shells and put them into my luggage. Of course, the Southwest Airlines attendant, this was before TSA, checked and found the shells in my carryon and this created quite a stir! Before you know it, I was up against the wall, hands and feet spread like a common criminal, but cooler heads soon prevailed and I was allowed to board, without the shells of course. A fitting end to a “raw” hunt!

Deer Season, November 27, 2012

After returning from Suzanne’s ranch, aptly named “The Dirty Boot Ranch” and spending Thanksgiving, along with a couple of a couple of days hunting with Wesley, we saw several doe, but no bucks. Checking the answering machine I saw Mickey Donahoo had called, calling with the Boone & Crockett scoring on my big buck.

Calling Mickey, I got the full story from him.  The buck, classified as a “Typical”, scored 142.5, but if both G-4’s hadn’t both been broken off, Mickey thought the buck would have scored over 150.  Two other points are broken off, but had little impact on the scoring.  The age is still unknown, but my guess of 4-1/2 or 5-1/2 is close.

Here’s the “best” picture from Steve Bridges, the owner of the local newspaper, “[The Goldthwaite Eagle]” and click on it to see a very successful, local newspaper!


It took me almost a year, but I finally got the game cam “shots” of a wounded buck, feeding on December 23rd last year. It’s a long story, mostly about my own foul ups, but these “shots” are astounding.  First, on the 23rd, the buck comes into MaMaw’s blind, obviously no one was hunting there and, probably, it had just been grazed in the chest by a misaimed bullet.

Then, on the 25th, Layla doesn’t let anyone hunt on Christmas day, the same wounded buck was chasing a couple of yearlings, one a button buck, the other a doe away from the feeder at the corner blind.  He didn’t catch the little doe because I followed both over the months and she had no fawn.  However, now, she’s chased her brother off, he’s a 4 pointer waiting for next year and she’s out trying to find a buck.  That’s the way things go!

Because of the severe drought last year, antler development was poor and I have no way of knowing, if the wounded buck has survived this long into the new season, but I do know that the big buck that I shot on November 7th, definitely had not been wounded before!

Deer Season, November 21, 2012

On Monday, November 19th, Mickey Donahoo and I went out to try and get a doe or a spike.  Way before first light, probably before legal shooting time too, I saw a buck come gliding by, this was a really good one and from what I could see maybe neared the big one that I had shot previously.  Grunting, the buck stopped for a moment, then resumed his hunt for a doe.

Right at sun up, Mickey saw a real nice 8 pointer, with tall horns, probably this year a 3-1/2 year old and right now would score over 120 B&C.  It will be a big buck in the years to come!  You know, I really cuss our county’s one, buck limit, but it allows the bucks more time to develop and produce bigger racks!  Maybe it’s not so bad after all.

About an hour into the mornings hunt I noticed a buck just standing behind a mesquite tree, no frosts yet and the trees are still loaded with leaves!

He just stood there for a few minutes then he came out, nice brow tines, good horns, an 8 pointer, probably another 3-1/2, but not the nice one Mickey had seen earlier.

He dawdled around, I took more pictures then he walked on into the thick stuff.

Mickey saw more doe, but no shooters, not the big one he was looking for so our morning hunt drew to a close.  Mickey was interested in seeing a picture first hand of my big buck, he’d seen the one in the newspaper, grainy and all but wanted a real picture.  His remark was, “Wow!”  He’s a taxidermist and will do this buck and he said it would score 140 to 150 B&C.  Just so long as it’s over 130, I’ll be happy!

Deer Season, November 18, 2012

The last day the hogs showed up was November 9th, that figures because on Tuesday the 13th, I got the hog trap back operating, I replaced the springs on the door and adjusted the trap lever.  Where’d the hogs go, no sign of their further depredations or droppings, where’d they go?

Mills County is currently blessed (?) with Special Antler Restrictions from our Parks and Wildlife Department, ie, a one, buck county, I’ve got a big one and it’s still not scored yet. So, if I want another buck, I’ll have to go behind a high fence or at least to another county, without antler restrictions.

Turning my attention to spikes and doe, we need to start thinning the doe out and there’s only one spike, he showed up at the water trough the last night I had the game cam there, but there’s a very strange horned young, buck that I couldn’t figure if it was a spike or a maybe a deformed buck.  Sending the picture of the buck to the Game Warden, he replied that it was a spike and could be harvested as one.  The ‘shots’ of the spike follow.

For me, my hunting season is about over, but now the fun starts and here come the grand kids!

Deer Season, November 14, 2012

Getting back from Suzanne’s in Paris, Texas, late on Sunday night, the first time I got to go after the hogs again was on Monday evening.  This time the feeder didn’t go off and, of course, nothing showed up.

Yesterday I went to Marble Falls, this is the same place that produced the marble, tons of it, for our magnificent State Capitol, not sightseeing though, I attended a meeting of the local chapter of the Sons Of The American Revolution, also since I had multiple Grandfather’s that served in the fight for our freedom, this will help me to chose the correct one for membership.

Back to deer hunting, the hogs are back and showed up on the night of November 9th, the hog trap is ready, the feeder has a new battery and my red night light is all charged, so tonight I will be back in MaMaw’s blind for a go at the hogs, here’s 2 of the rascals.

Monday afternoon was a mad house, the Editor and owner of the local newspaper, The Goldthwaite Eagle, wanted me to take some pictures of my big buck for the paper, this week’s edition of course.  Easier said than done though because I didn’t know if the local processor, Mills County Locker, had caped the deer or not.  One call to the locker was all it took for me to go by the processor, pick the buck up and take it to the owner’s house for pictures, but I still don’t have the buck aged or scored.  Pictures made and the results are below.

The passers by, U.S. Highway 183 and Texas Highway 16 (The Texas Forts Trail) are Goldthwaite’s main street, needless to say, the buck created a lot of stares in the back of my pickup!

Challenge Unanswered

Yesterday afternoon I went down to MaMaw’s blind to try and get a shot at some pesky hogs, they’re back after I thought they’d gone off my place.  Not having been in the blind for 15 minutes, I saw movement on my left and as I turned I saw it was a doe followed by the biggest buck I’d ever seen.  Scrambling to try and get a shot at him, I had to slide the window open, poke my rifle outside, then the buck, for some reason, turned broadside to me, boom, my .243 exploded and down he went!  Down for the count, shot, as I later discovered, right in the shoulder where I was aiming (of course).  Here’s the buck on the ground!

Then the fun began, not 5 minutes later, up walked another buck, a young 8 pointer that has been hanging around all our feeders, intent on fighting this big one, strangely lying on the ground and not responding to his challenges.  The first picture shows the buck, an 8, walking down the road and the second shows him kicking up dust trying to get the big guy to fight.
Finally, deciding that the big one just wouldn’t fight, the 8 pointer walked off into the thick stuff.  Then the doe, the big one had been following, showed up at the feeder and let out a bawl just like the doe call marketed by a large, outdoors supplier.

Her bawl was answered soon by the 8 pointer who walked out and began nibbling at the corn and protein scattered around, both jumped out of the feeder, then the chase began and we all know the ending.  The picture shows both in the feeder area.

Sitting in the blind until dark, my wait for the hogs was in vain, but I still had to take care of the big one.  Walking down to the buck, I snapped this picture of him, all 10 points lying exactly where he fell.   As the picture shows, the big one had definitely been fighting because 4 of his 10 points had been broken off during past fights.

Mickey Donahoo and his wife were gone out to his hunting lease, I called him anyway to let him know that I’d shot a big one that I wanted him to mount, no answer.   Layla and I loaded up the big buck and took him down to the processor and just as we got home, Mickey called, they’d just got back home and I related the story to him.  He told me that he’d both score and age the buck, so for Layla and I, it’s off to Suzanne’s to take care of her, we’ll return Sunday, then probably more deer hunting and stories.

Deer Season, 2012

Opening morning of the 2012 deer season found me in the corner blind awaiting sun up.  Sun up came and went, no fusillade of shots, it sounded like the third or fourth day, not very many shots, until around 8:30 AM, then a steady booming.  Finally, a yearling came out then followed by its doe, look carefully the yearling is to the right, inside of the feeder, head down feeding.

Tim went to the Porta Potty blind, missed a doe, while Colton and a friend shot a spike.

They had to get back early, so they cleaned it and left before I could get a picture, but here’s a “shot” from a game cam of the eliminated spike.

Saturday afternoon I went out to a feeder that had only been feeding for the past 2 weeks, for a while nothing, then a yearling came out and fed, then an overly cautious doe, obviously the mom, came out and fed too.  The doe kept looking over into the thick stuff, she’d feed, then quickly glance up, repeating this process several times until she and the yearling trotted off, exactly to where to she had been glancing.  No pictures of course.

No hunting Sunday morning and I went out to MaMaw’s blind that afternoon and got eaten up by mosquitoes, only saw 2 doe and a yearling, one of the doe and her yearling are pictured below.

Monday morning I was up early and walked to a stand away from any feeders, by 8:30 I hadn’t seen anything, then a buck walked right below where I was sitting, stopped, looked up, as if he didn’t see me and kept walking on, checking his rub line.  He stopped, turned his side toward me as I got the .270 up and on him, right in my scope, then I didn’t shoot.  He was so close that I couldn’t risk getting up the camera.  He wasn’t “Big Daddy”, but the 8 pointer in the “shot” below.

Back on rub lines, bucks will check them occasionally, rub lines are territorial and they are always in a straight line around the bucks territory.  Below are 2 pictures of rubs, the first is by the stand I was using and the other is 150 yards away, in a straight line.


More Outdoors Pictures, November 1, 2012

Rifle deer season opens in our great State this Saturday morning and I plan on opening it, God willing, in MaMaw’s blind, the same one where Colton shot his big deer last year, see my post, [Deer Season, December 26, 2011].  The reason I’m going to MaMaw’s blind is because one particular big buck, I have named him “Big Daddy”, has been frequenting the spot and it will tickle the readers to see this sequence of “shots”.

Early on the morning of October 27th, this nice 8 pointer showed up at the feeder.  His neck isn’t even very swollen, has good brow tines, but not much height to his horns.  Then 2 days later at almost 8:00 AM, “Big Daddy” shows up, a very mature buck that I had been seeing nosing around the doe, he’s been around 2 evenings this week, he’s ready, but they aren’t!
Here’s a good look at his size and swollen neck as he runs a doe out from under the feeder.

Then, as a doe stares at him, he goes over beside the feeder enclosure and lies down, I have never seen this before!  He’ll just wait around for a hot doe to show up, besides he needs his rest.

He finally moves on off, still searching, but then show up at the water trough, early in the morning of the 31st.  This “shot” really shows his big neck and size.