The Spotted Dragon 
  The Hunt  
A colleague at work owns some 60 acres on the YO Ranch outside of Kerrville here in Texas. He invited me and Lora to come hunt on his land, and I finally had a chance to go. Lora didn't go because she decided the rifle she had just wasn't sized for her. So I took my neighbor Mark with me on the hunt.

13 DECEMBER 2003

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ... oops. This day staryed very early. After getting to bed at about midnight (went to a most excellent Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert on Friday night), I got up early at 0300 and started packing the truck for the hunt. My neighbor Mark came over and we left about 0330. A little over 2 hours later we pull into Frank's place on the YO Ranch. He showed us around a bit and we unloaded the truck and got dressed to hunt. We went out to the blind in the dark and flipped a coin to decide who would hunt from which side of the blind. Frank has a blind with two windows overlooking two feeders and a cleared lane. Mark won the toss and chose feeder one and I got feeder two and the cleared lane.

After an hour or so, we saw two deer appear at feeder one. One was a buck and we think one was a doe. But we couldn't tell because it was still a bit too dark. We aren't allowed to shoot a buck with a certain number of points, so we needed to be sure before the shot. It was still too dark to shoot by the time the deer left the feeder. A little bit later a deer walked through my feeder. But I didn't get a shot. I think it was a doe. After light got better we hadn't see anything else. Frank was just about to go outside to get another shooting platform (the windows are a little high) when I saw three deer approaching my feeder. I told Frank, and he grabbed his binoculars to check them out. He told me they were Axis, and two were shooters. I got my rifle and sighted in. The two shooters were almost side by side. The larger of the two was in the back, but I had a clear shot. As I settled down and got the scope on the back Axis, she turned and that blew my shot. So instead of waiting, I decided to take a shot at the other one. I got my scope on that one, and took the shot. Unfortunately I shot too quickly and didn't get a good hit. The Axis was hit but it was a bit too low, and as it turned out she turned as I shot and the bullet went through from front shoulder to rear hip instead of straight though the body. The other two ran about 10 yards and stopped. They almost came back to the feeder again, but my Axis fell and they both took off. After a little while waiting to see if the other two deer would return, we went out to check on my Axis. She was still alive, unfortunately, so I had to shoot her again.

We took the Axis back to the cleaning area after taking some pictures (see the pictures on the right) and got her weighed (110 lbs) and gutted (80 lbs). We then headed back to the house for breakfast. A little later we went over to the YO Ranch restaurant. Lunch was good... and Ted Nugent was there with his family! He was staying on the YO Ranch that weekend, and was going over to the lodge later to take pictures with all of the hunters on the Ranch that weekend. We took a drive through the YO Ranch's exotic game area and saw lots of interesting animals, including three giraffes and a zebra.

Later, we went out again to hunt for the evening. Nothing showed up, though, so it was a long cold wait in the blind. However, Frank made some awesome pizza so the evening wasn't a total loss. Several animals showed up behind the house at the pond. Some whitetail and we think a couple more Axis. Late that night, about midnight, Frank woke us up to tell us about a very large hog at the pond. Mark, who handn't had a shot yet, decided to take a shot at it. There was a half moon up, so it was hard to see to shoot. After he shot, we couldn't find any blood or hair so we decided he hadn't hit it. We did search around for about a half hour, but could find no trace. So back to bed.

14 DECEMBER 2003

I woke up about 0330 for some reason and decided to check out the pond. From the house I could see something there, but I wasn't sure what it was. I woke Frank up and after looking through his binoculars and me spotlighting the animal with his red-filtered light, he concluded it was a raccoon. Ok, sorry to disturb you Frank, back to bed again.

We got up early again, and headed out to the blind. It wasn't as cold as yesterday, but it was still cool in the blind. We sat there until the sun was full up, but nothing showed up again. So we decided to try flushing game. We split up and walked through the woods trying to get some game to move. Nothing.

Frank had said we could shoot some target practice if we wanted, so I decided to take him up on it. He had some 1/4" steel plates hanging from hooks and the only one I could see (because of the tall grass) was about 30 yards from the picnic table by the blind. I sighted in on the weld line in the middle of the plate. Bam! The plate split in half and went flying! We picked up the pieces and found that my shot hit right on the weld line! I hung up the half with the hook and took another shot - and put a bullet clear through the plate! You can see the plate on the right. My shot is the smaller of the two holes on the bottom. I took another shot and missed, then shot one more time and again put a bullet clean through the plate. No more bullets left, so back to the house for a late breakfast. Frank made breakfast tacos (mmmmmmmmmmm!).

I had to get back to San Antonio for a computer show (I was upgrading my business computer) and for my flag football game that night. Since Mark hadn't shot anything yet, he decided to stay on and ride back with Frank later. Just as I was getting ready to leave for my game, they came driving up with my Axis and one that Mark had shot on an early hunt that afternoon! So a successful hunt by both. After my game (we lost by 2 points, drat!) we took the deer down to be processed. The meat is supposed to be the best of the venisons - very close to beef but with no cholesterol. When I get back from Christmas vacation we'll see!

Frank's House
Frank's Place
Hunting Area
The Land
Nice Sunrise
A Deer Feeder
A Deer Feeder
The Blind
The Blind
My Axis
My First Deer!
Me and Frank
Me and Frank
Steel Plate
7mm Power
Back of Plate
More Power!