As fate would have it, I left a hunt in Nebraska a day early and was able to drive to McLean, Texas in time for an afternoon stand shift. I am hunting this week with my friend, outfitter Steve Rortvedt of Western Outdoors (formerly Magnum Guide Service; 352/209-5942) Steve and wife Angie run a small, buttoned up operation near McLean, Texas, just off historic Route 66 in some of the most beautiful hunting country I have seen anyplace. Their leased land features a great mix of winter wheat, alfalfa, and corn interspersed with brushy creek bottoms thick with big cottonwoods.
In addition to a huge whitetail population, the ranches hold magnum numbers of Rio Grande gobblers (you can take them on your bow license with an inexpensive stamp) and as big a crop of wild bobwhite quail as I have seen anyplace in the U.S. in recent years. The Rortvedt’s take quail hunters, too, and I hope to be one of them this year. Oh, and did I mention the bass and panfish ponds? And the food?? This place is definitely not on the Weight Watchers program!
Guide Jeff Oglesby, left, and Outfitter Steve Rortvedt do lots of pre-scouting to make sure hunters are set up in areas where there is lots of deer sign. This rub is right next to my first evening stand.
After getting in at lunchtime and having a bite to eat, I was able to pull out my battered Block 4×4 and shoot a few broadheads (I am shooting a 70 lb. Mathews Drenalin, Carbon Express Maxima Hunter 350 shafts, and Slick Trick broadheads this week) to make sure everything survived the road trip. Having hunted here before I had a pretty good idea of the drill, and when Steve said his Moultrie game cameras had pictures of several good bucks in more than one area, choosing a stand to sit became a simple matter of checking the wind and trolling the dice. As fate would have it, I drew the same stand in which I had filmed a TV show for Muzzy two season back and shot the 11-pointer. What’s the downside???
I got nestled in early. The stand is in a slim finger of trees that splits a field from some CRP through which deer love to travel to the winter wheat field a half-mile distant. I got settled in three hours before dark, but as luck would have it, all I saw this evening were four very young bucks and two does.
No matter. I have plenty of time left. My spirits are riding high and I know it’s just a matter of time before good things happen.
Come back tomorrow and I’ll share with you how things turn out.