In the Pursuit of Maturity
SENOR LORENZO, catorce grande…ees no meurto! Meee, I seed heem eem en brasada, dos noches.” Said Chris, holding up two fingers. He was describing the buck I had hunted the year before, obviously without success.
I shrugged, “No comprende o’ great Upper Tamaulipas hunting guide.”
“Okay, The 14-point made it through the winter. Saw him a couple of nights ago just before dark. No question it’s the same buck, same basic antler style. But this year he’s a typical twelve with possibly a kicker or two.
Looked like he’s at least nine-years old. Sway backed and bellied with almost as loose skinned about his face as you.” said Chris with a smile. “Saw him in the food plot there at the ‘the wall.’ I think he’s living in that area.” He continued, “Planted that food plot back in late September with Tecomate’s Greenfield. Lots of dead grass in the field, but a goodly amount of green forage growing under it. The deer have really been hitting it of late.”
“Sounds good! I just put a new Trijicon scope on my .300 H&H Mag, Ruger No. 1. It’s only roughly sighted in with Hornady’s 180-grain soft points. I need to run by the range and make certain it’s shooting where I want it at 100 yards” I explained to Chris Treiber, manager of the Sandstone Mountain Ranch.
He suggested we stop by the range on our way to the lodge. A few minutes later I put three shots into less than a half-inch group just above the x-ring at the 100-yard target. Evidently, I had sighted it in better than I thought. My rifle/scope/ammo were ready for action.
About an hour later Chris and I headed to the natural rock outcropping, ground blind I called “The Wall”. Although it was in the low 80s deer started feeding into the food plot within minutes after we arrived at 2:30 pm. Before leaving home I had checked wildlife activity charts, which indicated today there would be a peak feeding period starting just before 3 pm.
I have come to rely heavily on these published “major and minor feeding periods” in determining when I really want to be in the woods. Although I will hunt every chance I get, I really want to be “in the woods” when those times occur during daylight hours. Over my somewhat long hunting career, I have shot numerous big, mature bucks during these times, especially when those times occurred during the mid-day.
First afternoon we saw numerous young and old bucks including some I might have considered taking had it not been that I was looking for a particular buck. To me one of the great hunting challenges is selecting one buck on a particular ranch, and then hunting him to the exclusion of all others.
In setting such a goal, sometimes I have come out on top, but most of the time I ended up not using a tag on that ranch. Yet in the process I learned much about whitetails, especially mature bucks.
Next morning Chris and I hunted another part of the ranch. We rattled in several bucks. I dearly love rattling, especially when mature bucks respond, or for that matter any age bucks.
We hunted throughout the day and saw numerous bucks from about ten in the morning until three in the afternoon, a peak activity period, based on the moon phase information. One of the deer we saw could have been our targeted buck. But, we only got to see him for about three mili-seconds.
Our afternoon’s hunt, seated behind “the wall” was relatively slow. We only saw four young bucks, and a handful of does and fawns.
Fast-forward a couple of days, during which time we hunted hard, hunting “the wall” only when the wind was right for that stand. Late afternoon of my last day of hunting, the activity chart suggested a major feeding period beginning a few minutes after sunset.
With about twenty minutes of legal shooting light remaining I spotted a buck mostly hidden behind white brush on the field’s brushy edge two hundred yards away. He appeared to be tall-tined, long main-beamed with a spread beyond his ears. Even without the aid of my 10X Meopta binoculars, I could count ten points.
Taking a closer through binos I could see he was actually a typical twelve, six points per side. His body was essentially hidden behind brush, but his head was fully visible. The rack looked very much like the 14-point I had seen the year before. I turned to look at Chris and saw him smiling and then nod a “yes” even before I could ask the question.
The buck strode into the field, made a move on a doe and then threatened a younger buck. I followed him through the scope. When he stopped, I gently squeezed the trigger. The buck fell in his tracks.
Love it when a plan comes together!
Email Larry Weishuhn at ContactUs@fishgame.com