I am pumped up. It’s the morning of day four and I’d seen a magnum buck the day before that got away from me, but didn’t spook. I am hunting this week with my friend, outfitter Steve Rortvedt of Western Outdoors Guide Service.
But as I peek outside my spirits drop. A thick, almost impenetrable fog has rolled in. Visibility is measured in feet, not yards. The wind is almost nonexistent, but seems to be from the north, making the Cow Pen stand a possibility. So Steve drives me there. We park and walk the quarter-mile to the stand, but as we approach I pull out my little wind puffer and check it out. The wind is swirling slightly, but mostly blowing from the east. Yikes! Nothing could be worse for this stand. And so we grudgingly do the smart thing, head back to the truck before we ruin a good thing.
By the time we get back to the main road it is really too late to go to another stand, and so I lick my wounds and get some work done. When the fog lifts enough to see OK about 10:00 a.m. I got out and shoot a bunch of practice arrows, then pace, have lunch, take a short nap. What else can you do? We rolled the dice and lost, so suck it up.
I sat in a 22-foot tall ladder stand against an old cottonwood tree. My prototype Sitka Gear garments in the new Gore Optifade Concealment Big Game Forest camouflage pattern sure did blend in well in this environment.
Things get better by evening. The fog burns off and the wind changes to a light northerly breeze. I head back to the Cow Pen stand early and get settled in. As the evening draws to a close I have seen no deer at all, and I begin to wonder. Did I blow it yesterday and scare them off? How can that be?
And then, with 10 minutes of shooting light left, up out of the cottonwood bottom steps a dandy 8-pointer. He has light horns, long tines, and a big body. What a beautiful buck! I slowly take the Drenalin off the hanger and hook up my release. The buck walks in front of the stand 25 yards away, slowly browsing. When he quarters away I draw, settle the 20-yard pin a bit high on his chest, and the send the Carbon Express Maxima shaft on its way. The 100-grain Slick Trick slices though his chest like it was not even there, the shaft burying itself in the soft earth. The buck goes less than 75 yards and piles up. Yes!!!
My North Texas buck scores right at 40 Pope & Young points and dandy buck for this region, or any other. Taking him with good friends on a great hunt just makes it all the sweeter!
Back at the barn we weigh the buck on Steve’s digital scale. Right at 200 lbs. live weight and butter fat. The horns score right at 140 Pope & Young points, a dandy deer but not the 160-class buck I saw yesterday. Am I disappointed? Are you kidding me? This is a super deer, taken on a hunt with one of the best whitetail outfitters I have ever hunted with. It was an awesome week.
I like this place so much, I left a deposit for next year.
Come back tomorrow and I’ll wrap the hunt up with a report on some of the cool new gear I was using on this hunt.