The Spotted Dragon 
  The Hunt  
It's back to the Ranch! This time, my wife is joining me hoping to get a shot at a pig. She wants ham and bacon. I'm hoping for another Axis. It's supposed to rain this weekend (again). Dee Dee is also coming with us because our neighbors, who usually watch her when we go away, are off to Houston for the weekend. See the pictures from the hunt on the right.

25 February 2005

We worked almost a full day, then headed home to pack the truck. We're getting a late start on this trip, we'll get to the Ranch after dark. So, the first night will be a hog-only hunt. It's just a couple of days past full moon, so if the weather is clear we should be able to see fairly well.

We arrive at the Ranch about 6:30. It's not quite completely dark, so we decide to drive my truck to the feeders to put some corn, alfalfa, and pig bait out. On the way, we surprise about four Whitetail (at least two bucks) who were at the feeders. I drive the truck back down the lane and return to the blind to see what shows up. Nothing much to see - until I decide to spotlight one of the feeders with the red spot. Wow! About 15 pair of eyes are looking back at me! Looks like a space alien convention! Those reflective eyes are really spooky. I tell Frank and Lora, then spot them again. I keep the spot on, and we see lots of deer there, of various types. One notable one is a white deer, but we can't tell the type or sex. Frank thinks it's a fallow buck he's seen before.

Since nothing has shown up at either feeder or the alfalfa other than those deer, we decide to walk out and check the hog trap and the other hog feeder. On the way, Frank spotlights another herd of deer - and in there is a HUGE Axis buck! A definite trophy! It's running away though, and we can't shoot them at night anyway. There's nothing in the trap or at the feeder so we decide to walk back to the house the long way around to avoid the feeders. It's a long walk, and we arrive back completely bushed. Time for bed!

26 February 2005

We wake early to rain. Darn - that's not what we want! After a snack at the house, we head out to the blind and see nothing for the whole morning hunt. It's raining the entire time. Not a good morning for hunting! We leave the blind and it's still raining. We head back to the house for breakfast (mmmmm, pancakes!).

Lora and I go back to the bunkhouse and take a nap - a couple of hours later DeeDee goes berserk, barking up a storm! Frank has come to the garage attached to the bunkhouse to work on putting a new motor on a feeder. I go out and help him figure out how to get it mounted. After some discussion, we go back to the house for lunch.

Tonight's hunt was a repeat of the morning. Lots of rain, some wind, and no animals. Just near dark one animal does show up - an Axis buck. Kind of young, with a pretty nice rack but not trophy quality. We watch the Axis until it gets really dark, then head back to the house for dinner (mmmmmm... pizza!). Everyone's pretty tired from the late night last night and the early morning today, so we decide not to go back out for a pig hunt tonight.

27 FEBRUARY 2005

This morning dawns (well, not quite dawn!) dry. The porch at the bunkhouse is almost dry. Should be a good morning! Over to the house for a quick snack and then out to the blind.

After a little while, we notice a fog starting to roll in. Nothing moving - it was clear, so we were hoping to see some animals. The fog doesn't bode well. However, I notice something moving in the fog - it's a pig! Can't really see it, it's more like a shadow than anything else. Frank looks, and decides it's a pretty good size. I give the binoculars to Lora and she can't find it. So I look again - it's gone. A few minutes later it returns. However, it's really foggy so we can't get a shot. It disappears again.

I short time later, I notice movement at the alfalfa pile on the other side of the blind. It's a deer this time! After studying it for a few minutes, I figure it's a whitetalk buck. The fog is still fairly heavy, and even at 60 yards it's hard to tell. As I'm watching, the buck moves off fairly quickly and a hog shows up at the alfalfa! Frank looks at it and decides it's larger than the other hog we saw. But before we can get Lora there with her rifle, it takes off. So it's back to waiting.

A little time passes, and Lora spots a whitetail buck at feeder 1. It's pretty nice - an 8 or 9 point. It should be a shooter in the fall. Then, Frank spots something white on the other side of the blind! It's the Fallow buck from Friday night - all white and really pretty. It's accompanied by a brown and tan fallow buck and a pair of whitetail bucks! They warily walk around and sniff the air, they are real skittish. The feeder hasn't gone off yet, and they don't appear to want to go to the alfalfa possibly because of the hog scent. Eventually they walk across the road to the feeder where the first whitetail buck is. All five of the deer feed there for a while, then the first buck walks off into the woods. One of the two remaining whitetail bucks walks towards the blind and passes by only about 30 yards away. He's heading towards the other feeder, which finally did go off about 10 minutes before.

Lora's watching that buck at the feeder and two other animals walk out. She notices something different about them and calls Frank over. He says they're two Sika does. One is noticeably larger than the other. After some discussion, I decide to take a shot at the larger one since an Axis hasn't come out yet. I take aim and take my shot - she drops on the spot! Turns out my shot hit her spine and severed it just at the base of the neck. But she's still alive so I have to shoot her again with Frank's .38 pistol. We drag her back to the road and wait in the blind for a little while to see if anything else shows up. The fog has come back a little, so we're hoping a pig will come in.

Nothing comes back except the other Sika doe, so we leave the blind to dress out the Sika. She weighs 75 pounds dressed. We take her to the meat processor before heading back to San Antonio. White Frank and I are running our errand, Lora gets a chance to see a flock of wild turkeys at the house! But by the time she can go get the camera most of them are gone. Another mostly successful hunt! Lora didn't get a shot at a pig, but we have some good meat to prepare soon. Maybe we'll go back again soon on a full moon weekend and get that hog for Lora.

Frank's House
Frank's Place

Dale's Sika
My Sika Doe
Three Deer
The white Fallow buck and friends

Fallow Bucks
The two Fallow bucks

Whitetail Buck
One of the whitetail bucks

Sika Doe
A Sika Doe

Wild Turkeys