The Spotted Dragon 
  The Hunt  
My neighbor Mark and I went back to the ranch on the YO Ranch outside of Kerrville here in Texas. It was predicted to be a rainy weekend, and it sure was!

12 November 2004

I worked about a half day, then came home and loaded up the truck for the trip to the ranch. We wanted to get there on Friday so we'd be able to get our full contingent of hunts in. We arrive about 3:15 in the afternoon and unload the truck and get dressed for the hunt. We headed out to the blind around 4:00.

After some time sitting in the blind, there's movement at Feeder 1. Four Axis deer walk out of the woods in a line! A very nice buck, a doe, a fawn, and another buck (a slick spike). The buck is awesome, and both Mark and I debate about shooting him - but neither one of us (unfortunately) can afford a trophy at the moment. Drat! A viedeo of the four Axis is available on the right.

Well, it's Mark's turn to shoot first, so he tracks the doe for about 20 minutes while she and the other Axis move about in the feeder area - back and forth, among the cedar trees, etc. Finally, she comes out from behind the cedar by herself. Mark makes a good shot and she does a backflip before running off into the woods. We find her a few minutes later about 30 yards away. Our first deer - and on the first hunt!

We took the Axis back to the cleaning area after taking some pictures (see the picture on the right) and got her weighed (105 lbs) and gutted (75 lbs). We then headed back to the house for dinner.

13 November 2004

The morning hunt was a little disappointing. We only had whitetail show up at the feeders. I was hoping for an Axis (I like the meat better than whitetail) so I didn't take a shot. Anyway, there was a buck and a doe there. The buck had a messed up rack and last year would have been shootable as a "management buck", but the rules are different this year, so we just watched as the two walked around and fed on the corn. Later, lightning and thunder started up, and we had brief periods of rain. The deer seemed oblivious to the storm, strangely enough. We stayed for a while and didn't see anything else, so we headed back to the house for breakfast.

A little later we went out to the large cedar piles to burn them, and one of Frank's guests was there to help do work on the ranch so he got his chainsaw and we spent the next hour or two piling up cedar for burning. Boy, that cedar burns hot! There's nothing like a nice 25' tall bonfire on a cold and rainy day. Nothing else to do for the day since it's cold and rainy, so we spend time inside watching football and resting.

Later, we went out again to hunt for the evening. It looked like another slow night, since it was still drizzling and windy. However, when the first feeder went off, a whitetail buck walked right by the feeder - less than 10 yards away! He was the same one we saw that morning - and he went straight to the feeder. He spent a bit of time there and then walked off into the woods. Nothing else showed up for a while, then an Axis doe just walks out of the woods! We took the time to make sure she was actually a doe and not a spike buck. As I was getting ready for my shot, she walked behind a stand of cedar. I'm hoping she doesn't walk away! A minute later, she shows herself again, but is head-on to me so I have no good shot. After another 30 seconds or so (seems like a long time) she turns broadside and I take the shot. She leaps about 4 feet in the air and tries to run off. We go out and find her about 10 feet away. Another nice Axis doe! We stick around in the blind for a while longer, since we still have about an hour of daylight. Just as we're getting ready to leave, Frank notices a Black Buck antelope running into the area. I haven't seen one of these yet, so we spend some time watching her before we leave to get the truck to get my Axis.

We took the Axis back to the cleaning area after taking some pictures (see the picture on the right) and got her weighed (100 lbs) and gutted (75 lbs). We then headed back to the house for dinner.

14 NOVEMBER 2004

We decided to sleep in since Mark and I both got our deer, and it was a good thing. We woke up to heavy rain. Nothing moving in that mess! After another great breakfast, we packed everything up and headed back to San Antonio. Another successful hunt!

Frank's House
Frank's Place

Mark's Axis
Mark's Axis

My Axis
My Axis

DEER (mpg)