We arrived at camp on Saturday morning (12/13/08) shortly before noon. Pete and I where hunting QV Ranch located just East of Throckmorton, TX. We would be targeting whitetail does, wild hogs, and anything else that was legal to shoot. "When in Texas you do as the Texans." After getting settled, stretching our legs after the 8 hour drive from Missouri and watching UMD win the DII National Football Championship we where off for our first evening hunt of the trip.
12/13/08 PM- We where hunting a new lease "The Hargrove" a couple miles north of the main ranch. The property was made up of a huge wheat field with some thick mesquite on the north end of the property. Pete and I hunted about 600 yards a part on each end of the mesquite patch. Both of us where hunting out of shooting boxes. We had temps in the 60's, mostly clear skies and light south winds. I had zero activity on the evening and Pete had a couple small bucks around his stand.
12/14/08 AM- We woke up to clear skies, temps in the mid 50's and a light south wind. We hunted another lease about 15 miles from the main ranch called the Jarman Lease. Pete and I both hunted here in February and saw lots of animals. Needless to say we where both excited to be back. Both Pete and I saw a lot of deer all morning long and could have shot several mature does. Since we had 2 ½ more days to hunt we held out and just watched the show. I had one nice 4 ½ year old buck that I grunted inside 50 yards. He ran off every deer in my area and even postured some cattle that where behind my blind. Along with all the deer I also saw a large coyote and a big bobcat. Neither of them offered me a shot. I was able to take my first Rio Turkey in the morning. At one point I had over 50 turkeys around my blind before I finally got a clear shot at a mature bird. Below is a picture of my TX Rio turkey.
12/14/08 PM- Pete and I hunted just south of the main ranch for our evening hunt. We had a slight south wind, temps close to 80 and clear sky. I was running the video camera and Pete was doing "most" of the hunting. On the way to our blind we bumped a large covey of Quail. Shortly after settling into the blind Pete saw a Monster Armadillo sneaking through the cactus to our left. Pete made room for me to slide into his window and I made an easy 40 yard shot. Varment #1 down. With about 40 minutes of video light left I noticed movement about 150 yards to our south. We glassed the brush and noticed 4 deer (3 does and a young buck) moving our direction. The buck broke off but the 3 does continued walking from south to the north. After a couple minutes the 3 does crossed about 80 yards directly in front of our blind. I stopped the last of the doe when it got centered in the video camera and Pete put a perfect heart/lung shot on the ol' girl. She held it for 30 yards before giving up the ghost. Our first Texas deer and first whitetail kill on video. Right before dark the wind switched to the north and picked up to 30 mph. Shortly after that the temp dropped from 80 degrees to 50 degrees in five minutes, and kept falling throughout the evening. Wind and cold would be the story for the rest of our trip. Below is a photo of Pete with his doe and my armadillo.
12/15/08 AM- We woke up to temps in the upper 20's and a north wind blowing from 20-30 mph. The wind was absolutely brutal! Pete and I where hunting together again in the AM but this time I had the gun and Pete had the video camera. Our morning hunt was back at the Jarman lease. As soon as you could see we where covered up in deer. At one point we literally had deer all around our box blind. There where several smaller bucks, one nice tall & wide 10 point and tons of does. After careful inspection of all the does Pete and I picked out our target for the morning. After Pete got some good video footage of all the deer I made an easy 45 yard shot on a big mature Texas doe. The 30-06 put her down in her tracks.
Below is a photo of me freezing with my first Texas whitetail.
12/15/08 PM - The wind picked up throughout the day and the temp kept dropping. Because of this Pete and I decided to shorten our afternoon sit and also hunt inside the fence at the main ranch. There is a large population of wild hogs on the ranch along with some African Plains deer. Owner Ben Koonce gave us the okay to kill an exotic doe if we wanted. The evening was pretty slow for me. I did see two sets of exotic deer but all of them where young bucks. Pete on the other hand, was covered up in critters all night long. Pete saw several fallow deer, black bucks, Rio turkeys and hogs. Pete was able to take a pure white Fallow deer doe on video and a huge 300# sow hog. Below are a couple pictures of Pete’s hog.
12/16/08 AM- The wind finally died down over the evening but temps remained in the 20's with clear skies. Pete and I setup together in the #2 box blind I killed my turkey in, at the Jarman lease. We where hoping for another parade of deer and turkeys so we could get two more kills on film. Instead we got zero. All we saw on our morning hunt was a small spike buck and 5 does cut through an opening about 130 yards to our west. Nothing else moved all morning.
12/16/08 PM- Pete and I where back at the Jarman lease for the PM hunt. On the way into the lease we saw several deer moving around. This was a good sign for the evenings hunt. The temp had warmed up into the upper 30's, we had clear sky and the wind was blowing from the south at 5 mph. We where back in the #4 box blind that I had shot my doe at the morning before. Shortly after getting settled the deer parade started. Right away we had a nice sized button buck work into 70 yards that nearly got shot. Pete and I went back and forth for several minutes trying to decide if it was a legal doe before finally getting close enough to see it was a young buck. That would be the story of the night. Every deer that worked into our blind for the first 2 hours was small buck or a button buck. Finally, with about 20 minutes of our hunt left, two mature does stepped out a 120 yards north of our blind. The Scentblocker suits earned their money as the deer were directly down wind from us and never had a clue Pete and I where in their world. After a good five minutes worth of glassing to verify the deer where not buttons I touched off a shot and made a perfect 120 yard heart shot. Slickhead thought about holding it for all of 10 yards before going face first into a cactus. That concluded out TX 08 doe/hog hunt.
12/17/08- Pete and I hit the road at 8 AM and headed for Missouri. I ended up making the entire trip all the way back to MN, because the entire family was sick. I finally black dogged into my driveway at 2 AM on 12/18/08.