Monster Bucks of The Covenant Ranch
by Rick Philippi

Over a year ago I booked my deer hunt at the prestigious Covenant Ranch in the Texas brush country of Webb County.  A good friend of mine, General Leroy Sisco, had told me about the big deer down there for years and finally I decided to take him up on his offer of joining him on a deer hunt. 

The ranch is 8,888 acres of South Texas Brush Country at it’s best.  It is a haven for many different species of Texas Wildlife. Whitetails, hogs, javelena, and an abundance of varmints cruise the property. A major creek runs through six miles of the acreage.  The landowner has a commitment to raise big bucks through proper game management and feeding programs. Believe me when I say he has accomplished that and more.

Upon arrival at the ranch we were greeted by the staff and shown our accommodations for the next four days.  After visiting and unpacking, Leroy and I decided we could work in an evening hunt.  Putting on our camouflage and getting our gear, we were off to our "Macho Blind".

The "Macho Blind" is awesome.  I have never seen a blind that was so well suited to its habitat. 

It holds up to two people comfortably.  The blind is placed down in the ground up to its windows.  The deer can actually see over the blind, they have no fear of it.   It is very feasible to bring big bucks within ten to twenty yards of the blind, which makes for an excellent bowshot.  This is the Covenant Ranch’s way of getting their bow hunters within excellent bow range of big bucks. (AWESOME TECHNIQUE)!!

Leroy and I headed out to our blind.  Leroy was on the video camera while I was doing the hunting.  It was a very calm evening with little wind and our anticipation was high on the deer moving.  It was a hot and muggy evening and sweat poured profusely from my face as I sat in anticipation.  Thirty minutes had gone by when we noticed a couple of does making their way by the Macho Blind.  A minute later a nice eight-point buck was in hot pursuit of the does.  The rut was heating up. 

I was here for a trophy buck and there was no way I was going to shoot the eight pointer.  So I just sat in delight and enjoyed the show as he chased the does.   Darkness was now falling down around us and it was getting hard to see my sight pins, so we decided to call it an evening.  We headed back to the ranch and ate dinner.  Man, do they put on a feast.  The food is outstanding!!!!

The next morning found Leroy and I back in the Macho Blind.  We actually got in forty-five minutes before a hint of daylight.  I think I dozed off about twenty minutes.  The first crack of light found three does with two bucks at twenty yards from the blind feeding.  One buck was real nice.  He was a three-year-old ten point.  I passed it in anticipation of him growing up. 

Time passed and the five deer meandered away into the thick mesquite Brush.  Twenty minutes elapsed when Leroy whispered, “here comes a shooter”.  Looking to our left, we saw a huge nine pointer making his way directly to the Macho Blind. I slowly turned to get a better look.  We both sat motionless in anticipation as the 140 class deer got within twenty-five yards. 

Slowly I reached for my TSS High Country bow.  Getting the bow to the shooting position, I waited for the big guy to enter my shooting window. 

The buck never did. Leroy said he veered off unexpectedly.  We both sat there amazed at how quickly the tables had turned.  Oh well, it was just great seeing such a good buck so close. 

The next morning we returned to the Macho Blind.  At daylight a nice ten point came in but did not present a good quality shot, so I passed.  We saw a few more deer. Everything slowed down so Leroy and I concluded our morning hunt. 

For the evening hunt, I hunted with the ranch manager whose name is Jody Turner.  Jody and I drove to the north side of the property to hunt a new Macho Blind that had not been hunted for a few days. 

Settling into the blind, I noticed some movement off to my left and a large doe with a fawn walked within three yards of my location.  I thought to myself, how unbelievably close you can get to these deer sitting in these Macho Blind’s.   The doe and fawn fed for ten minutes and disappeared into the thick mesquite brush.  Jody and I sat intently looking for a big guy to step out of the brush.  Finally, after great anticipation, I noticed some movement directly seventy yards out in front of me.

To my amazement, a majestic looking chocolate colored twelve pointer stepped into the sendero.  And the big chocolate colored buck was walking straight towards me. 

As I studied his large and wide rack, my heart rate picked up dramatically.  I seriously thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  I closed my eyes for a second.  A little self- talk helped me get myself composed.   I estimated the Boone and Crockett score of the rack to be around 150 with a twenty-inch spread.  What a specimen!! 

The deer fed twelve yards from me.  The only problem, he was facing me, not giving me the shot opportunity that I needed.   Keeping myself composed, I waited for the lethal shot. 

Finally the buck moved into that perfect broadside position.  Slowly I raised the HIGH COUNTRY TSS to a shooting position.  Picking my spot, I released and the arrow cut right through the buck’s chest like a knife through butter.  The buck bounded off into the thick mesquite brush.  I looked at Jody and told him I felt I had a good hit. 

We sat in the blind for twenty minutes.  Getting out, we walked up to where the buck had been feeding and directly behind where he was standing I picked up my arrow.  It looked as though it was a good lethal hit. 

We started looking for blood; to my surprise, we could not find a drop.  Darkness was now hovering around us so Jody said we should go back to the ranch and get some help and one of his tracking dogs named Bully.

One hour later found us back at the shot location with some help and Bully.  Finally, some one shouted out, “I got some blood”.  From that point on we would find blood and then it would seem to dry up until we could not find anything that resembled blood.  We marked the last blood and decided to come back the following morning in the daylight. 

That night I slept terrible.  I started questioning if I made the shot I thought I did.  My mind was clicking a hundred miles per hour.  I finally closed my eyes and got some shut-eye. 

We were back at the last drop of blood the next morning.  We actually brought and extra tracking dog with Bully.  We were on the trail for ten minutes when one of the guys with a tracking dog yelled, “I found him”. 

I stopped and thought, no way. 

He yelled again “ I found him”. 

In the excitement, I turned quickly to head in his direction and I tripped and fell into a cactus bush.  I must have had thirty cactus needles in my left leg. {It seems like everything in the Texas Brush country either bites or sticks you.} 

It did not matter.  I went straight to where my buck lay.

Approaching the deer, I felt the relief of finding him overwhelm me.  So many times when you walk up to a dead deer, it seems as though ground shrinkage takes over. 

This big deer was the complete opposite.  He actually looked bigger than I thought.  We all started high fiving and shaking hands.  What a joyous occasion to say the least.  It was absolutely awesome!!!!

My time at the Covenant Ranch was thoroughly enjoyed.  The folks who run and own the ranch were an absolute pleasure to be around.  They are a great group of Christian, God loving people.  They do everything in their power to put you within bow range of a quality Pope and Young buck. Another plus is their tracking dogs.   I am convinced that without the dogs, I would not have found my deer; it is just an added insurance policy. 

For those who are looking for a great bow hunt, this is the real deal.  There is never a guarantee, but this is an opportunity for a bow hunter to get within bow range of a big buck.   Anyone interested in a bow hunt on The Covenant Ranch can contact Hal Gahm at (210)-310-9499 or by Email. Their web site is www.covenant-ranch.com.
 

Rick Philippi
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Covenant Ranch
P.O. Box 1607
Freer, Texas 78357
contact Hal Gahm at 210-310-9499

Toll-Free Phone Number
 830-997-1669 ext. 106
Web:covenant-ranch.com

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