Categories: Wildlife

Killer Bees and Brutal Bulls


Nothing frightens me more in the wilds of Texas than angry bees, particularly the deadly Africanized “killer” bees. These bees are spreading and have firmly established populations in the Brush Country and part of the Trans-Pecos and Hill Country.

The last time I mentioned being bee apprehensive I got some heat but the fact is while bees are super valuable to our ecosystem they can be deadly.

The sting of one bee might only cause some pain (unless you’re allergic) but the wrath of a swarm could spell death.

Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service

In the spring of 2003, I had a truly frightening bee experience. While using a box call to lure in a lonely gobbler, I heard what I literally thought was a low-flying plane in the distance. All of a sudden, a shadow passed overhead and I looked up to see a massive swarm of bees less than 30 feet up. I remained calm, said a little prayer, and watched the huge swarm pass by.

After talking with ranch officials, I learned the Africanized kind is present in the area, and thanked God the swarm did not sense how frightened I was.     In fact, I was filming a segment for Keith Warren’s television program and once the bees moved a great distance, I told the cameraman to hit record.

“They see bees can smell fear,” I said.

“That’s not true! I was just more frightened than I have ever been and about 10,000 bees flew over our heads.”

A few years before, I guided my father on a hunt for red deer out in Kerr County. After bagging a big 8-pointer, we hoisted it into a strong oak and began to skin it. Suddenly, thousands of bees moved in, started buzzing all around us, and began to cover the animal. Dad backed his truck up under the deer, I cut the hoist down, and we moved more than a mile away.

Bees are scary.

In 2003, fellow outdoor writer Lou Marullo and I were hunting near Mason and we ran into an agitated bull.

I was set up a few feet away from Marullo in a makeshift ground blind to film him (hopefully) shooting an axis deer. A couple of hours into the hunt a big, black bull came in and stood about 20 feet in front of me.

The beast struck an enraged pose as it fixated on me. I tried not to look scared, but it was too late. The bull had fire and brimstone raging in its eyes.

I did not know whether to remain still or stand up and let the bull know I was a human.

Just then, Marullo chunked a few rocks at the thing and broke its concentration. The beast walked off and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Surviving a shark attack or a bear mauling has a little romance to it, but a bovine bashing would be just a tad embarrassing.

Chester Moore, Jr.

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