Big ‘Un

We had been on this lease in McCulloch County, for the past four years and finally, had just the right hunters on it; Bob Baugh, Bill Priddy, Randy Stephens, Hank Schneider and myself. The rancher was glad it was down to the five of us since he liked us and knew that we respected his land, cattle and wild game. Being the ‘jefe’ of our group he passed on to me that he was adding 280 acres, located just outside of Rochelle, to our hunting property. The new place was only a short drive west of his main ranch and brought our total of huntable acres to 2800.
Around noon we drove over to the new place and he told me that he’d seen a couple of really nice bucks hanging around the does. He also told me that this place was overrun with does and he wanted us to eliminate part of the problem, but definitely, try to get a nick buck!
As we drove through the place, glancing out into the middle of a newly planted, winter wheat field, I noticed a buck, not your run of the mill, Texas hill country deer, but a big, heavy racked, guy, just standing there and looking at us. We didn’t stop and kept on driving and the rancher remarked, “That’s a big ‘un, I told you there were nice bucks on this place.” I agreed!

That afternoon, Brad and I were the only ones on the lease, so we decided to check out our new addition. Brad was in a tree line about a hundred yards north of me and I had chosen a natural depression in the wheat field, almost like a fox hole. By 4:30 we hadn’t seen anything. The same for 5:00, but at 5:15, here came the deer – does, bucks, spikes and yearlings, at least 100 of them. At the east end of the field Brad saw big ‘un.

Big ‘un and a smaller 8 pointer, but still a nice buck, were chasing a doe. Brad couldn’t get a clear shot on big ‘un, but when he grunted, the 8 stopped, bam, Brad shot, and he told me, “Dad, he hopped when I hit him, but he ran 15 or 20 yards and jumped the fence over on to the adjoining ranch. It was getting dark and not having ‘hot pursuit’ permission, or even knowing the next door, rancher, we were in a dilemma.

We walked to the fence and a clear blood trail went from the point of impact to the fence and we were stymied. Our solution was to wait for dark, climb the fence and then sneak the deer over the fence and out. We had one problem, less than a half mile away, the ‘over the fence’ rancher was having a party and there must have been 10 or 15 cars parked there. We still had to get the deer.

As the party ‘roared’ on, over the fence we went, got into a low sneaking position, clicked on our lights and soon found the buck, a nice one with an 18 or 19 inch spread. Still in our sneaking crouch, we drug the buck back to the fence, a standard west Texas one with hog wire for the first 48 inches and two strands of barb wire above that, and it was all both of us could do to muscle the 120 pounder, up and over the wire. The ‘party goers’ never noticed us and the party ‘roared’ on.

We took the deer to a processor in Richland Springs and there, Brad decided not to have the head mounted. Bad mistake, because when we went to pick up the buck, the horns, had somehow gotten themselves lost and we were presented with the horns of a scraggly 7 pointer.

We never got big ‘un and I understand, another hunter shot him, but could never find him.