Live report from "Goat Camp" -- Uvalde Texas

Lan-Lord

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The quick report is:

Chuck got a nice pig last night, Ltdann shot a nice axis this morning, and Scott shot an axis doe during today's afternoon hunt.

A lot of nice axis bucks were seen and some nice blackbucks too. Also some scattered does. We hope to do more trigger pulling tomorrow!

The Gomers, IndianGhost, and XDhunter have been preparing ample food for everyone, and its been a great time so far. Here are a few photos from today.

IndianGhost getting the grill ready.
[attachment=50804:IG_Fire.jpg]

Nice blackbuck. XDHunter and I spotted this one from the truck.
[attachment=50805:blackbuck.jpg]
 

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BelchFire

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Now that just ain't right Chris. A shot of a "healthy" cook, but no shot of the food!
And how about the trophy poses?

I'm pulling for you guys to max out the buck pole. Let's see some trophies!

Congrats are on order for Chuck, LtDann and Scott; who's next?
 

Lan-Lord

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I didnt get a photo of those animals. I wasnt able to get a photo before they were quartered. Somebody did get pics, but they will probably post them later.

This morning, chuck got an axis buck, ltdann got an axis doe, XD got a blackbuck, and indianghost got a doe.

Here is XD's BB. I wasnt around to get photos of the other animals. We will be heading out in a few hours to hunt some more.

[attachment=50836:xd.jpg]
 

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Lan-Lord

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well I just finished killing a limit of axis poppers and beer butt chicken that just came off of Gomer's grill. dayuumm those boys can grill.

More axis on the ground tonight. 2 does and a spike. a few more are still going out in the morning to try and connect. Its been tough to spot the axis on some of the hunts... and at the same time, I saw ~25 does and a few bucks this afternoon, so it can be hit or miss. Ultimately persistance (and sometimes luck) has seemed to pay off for most of the hunters.
 

DEERSLAM

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Nice BlackBuck XD! Congrats.
Sounds like you all are having a great time.
 

BelchFire

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Very nice, XD; Congratulations! Let's hear the whole spill..........
 

Speckmisser

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Dang, my stomach is still stuffed full!

First things first, major props to the Gomer Bros. and an apology that I couldn't eat enough to put a small dent in the huge amount of food we had on this trip. That was some FINE eats, and I hated leaving so much of it on the table. I suppose if we were all as big as those boys, though, we'd have done a more thorough job.

If anyone wonders how much food there was, check out the initial thread:

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
forgot I was wandering if we could do a recap of who's bringing what.

The Gomer's

axis poppers
smoked sausage
fresh sausage
jap cheese summer sausage
pork ribs
beer butt chickens
2 goats

I think that about does it for us, what's everyone else bringing?[/b]
Friday night I ate and drank until my eyes were bugging out. Saturday, for some reason I didn't feel like eating at all until evening...which is when the goats came out, along with the beer butt chicken and those amazing poppers!

On top of all that were great offerings from IndanGhost and XDHunter... sausage, backstrap, and antelope stew... and more that I probably can't remember.

Oh yeah... we were there, ostensibly, on a hunting trip. Ya'll probably wanna know a little more about that too?

(I left my good still-camera home, so no pictures... but I did get a good bit of video. As soon as I get it sorted and edited, I'll put it up.)

Well, like Chris mentioned, it was a lot tougher hunting than our first trip. I think we were all spoiled by last year, when we had all tagged our animals by Saturday afternoon. Heck, I had an axis doe and a blackbuck the first day! Well, this time I took it right down to the wire.

Friday evening I sat in a blind until dark, watching a phenomenal number of whitetails, but only seeing one axis... a tiny spike. At the end of the evening I decided that I'd take an axis buck if we found a really good one. That simple statement really changed the tone of my hunt, as Jim, the owner of the ranches we hunted, took it on himself to make sure I got what I wanted.

Saturday morning was something of a haze. For some reason, I wasn't feeling so great. Jim dropped me off with Chris, who would video me taking the axis buck. We were in a blind where a good, hard-horned buck had been coming in, but I think we blew him out when we first set up. After a little while watching a ton of whitetails again, I pushed the chair out of the way and stretched out on the ground in the blind, telling Chris that if one came out to shoot it. I was gonna sleep.

The little nap helped some, so when Jim came to relocate us, I was a little more prepared. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the danged axis to cooperate. We spotted a really nice, wide-racked buck, but he just wouldn't offer a shot that I could take. We finally pulled out and hoped they'd be more cooperative later in the evening.

After lunch, several Alleve, and a good nap back at the lodge, I was ready for the next round. It was Saturday evening, and things were gettig tight. I had to be at the San Antonio airport by 2:00pm on Sunday, and really wanted to get some meat in the cooler before then.

We went back into the "big buck zone", and spotted my wide buck again (or his twin), bedded across a draw at about 215 yards. Unfortunately, he was bedded beside a doe, and it was hard to see which body belonged to which deer. I kept the scope on him, waiting for him to stand and give me a shot. When he did finally get up, he immediately turned his butt to me and rousted the doe before walking away. At one point he stopped and turned, a steep, quartering-away angle for a moment. I got the crosshairs behind the last rib, but then one of the smaller bucks walked behind him. No shot!

Finally the whole group walked off. We took off to get on a high spot where we should have been able to spot them, but they had disappeared.

There was no blind set up in this area, but we thought maybe I could hide in some oaks downwind of where the animals had been feeding. Jim dropped me off and I got set up. No more had the truck pulled away than a herd of axis came out about 200 yards down the road. Unfortunately, they moved around a bend where I couldn't see them. In my little spot, I was surrounded by whitetails, so there was no way to move out and get a better look. I had to wait, and hope the big boy would come back into my line of sight.

After about 30 minutes, I had whitetail deer all around me. Many were as close as 10 yards, but none seemed to notice me. The wind was directly in my face, and a dry, riverbed was at my back. I thought I was in pretty good shape, until I heard footsteps coming up the river bank. A herd of whitetails popped up on the edge about five yards away. I froze, and tried to avoid looking directly at them. It seemed to be working, as the group slowly moved off toward the road.

But then a doe stopped and stared right at me. She bobbed her head and stomped a foot. The whole herd stopped. Deer heads popped up on full alert all around me. She stepped closer. Stomped again. There was a slight eddy in the wind and that was it. She blew and flagged, then bounded away. The entire landscape became a chaos of flashing white tails and stampeding deer. I could still hear her blowing as she disappeared into a patch of mesquite and cedar.

When the scene settled down, there wasn't a deer to be seen anywhere. I sat tight, hoping the deer would figure the old doe was just getting senile and seeing things. Sure enough, they began to trickle back out of the brush. Then I turned my head to see that same old biddy sneaking right back to me, bobbing her head and sniffing the air. She stopped at 10 yards and repeated the whole stomping and blowing routine.

A few minutes later, she came back and did it again. I wanted to shoot her so bad I couldn't stand it! Instead, I tried to radio Jim to come pick me up. This spot was busted, and there wasn't much point in my staying here. Unfortunately, he wasn't receiving my calls. It was a solid hour or so later before he came rattling back down the road to collect me.

On the way out, as light was failing, we spotted a group of axis. There were no shooter bucks, but Jim pointed out a decent spike and told me I could take it for a "doe". The shot wasn't tough, somewhere around 120 yards, so I leveled the rifle where I wanted it and squeezed the trigger. The shoot felt great, and I could have sworn I heard a "thwack!", but Jim turned to me and told me I missed. I couldn't believe it. Everybody misses sometimes, but that shot felt perfect! To be sure, the deer took off with the rest of the bunch at a dead run. He sure didn't look injured. But I've seen that before, too.

I asked if he was sure, and he said the deer didn't even flinch, and that I must have shot over it. I thought about it. I was aiming behind the shoulder a little high to get the high lung shot, so I guess it was possible. LtDann and his buddy were in the truck with me. Dan gave me a quizzical look. Jim said, "well, there's no use even going to look for that one, you missed him clean." I started to argue, but thought better of it. In retrospect, I should have at least insisted on going to check for sign. The rest of the evening I replayed that shot, and I just couldn't see it missing.

On the way back to camp I debated if I even wanted to go back out on Sunday morning. I was tired and discouraged, and a little upset about the little buck. In my mind's eye I kept seeing the sight picture. I had just put the scope back on the rifle on Friday, after having a KDF muzzle brake and a Timney trigger installed, but after several rounds from the bench I was pretty sure I had it dialed back in. Maybe I miscalculated. Maybe it was shooting high? I hate when I start to doubt my equipment. But when we drove back down the road to camp, I saw my target still hanging on the boards. The Shoot-n-See target clearly showed my shots, clustered about an inch and a half high, directly over the bull.

My brother, Scott, was already back at camp when I arrived. I asked him what he wanted to do about a morning hunt, knowing we'd have to hit the road by noon. That wouldn't leave a lot of time for hunting, especially if we had to factor in field dressing and butchering. But he was dead set on trying for the nice blackbuck they'd seen earlier. We decided to give it one more go.

Sunday morning found only a small group of us hunting. We hit the ranch and split up, with Shane taking the other guys, and Scott and myself riding together. We no more got into the ranch good, than I spotted a bunch of pale shapes under the trees. There was a misting rain, and at first I was pretty sure they were axis does. They were definitely not whitetail (for a change). I hit the rangefinder and got them at 224 yards, but they trotted off a little ways. When they moved, I realized they weren't axis. They were blackbuck does. Well, the price is the same and blackbuck eats pretty good too, so I decided to take one.

We got to within that 225 yard range again and the does stopped. One of them turned broadside and put her head down. I pushed thoughts of Saturday night's shot out of my head, put my faith in the rifle, and shot her. I put the bullet high on the shoulder, aiming to break her down fast, and that's exactly what happened. She went down like she'd been pole-axed, the Winchester 180gr eTip bullet smashed the top of her shoulder and demolished the spine (more on the eTip bullet performance later).

We pulled her to the road, and radioed Shane that we had one down. I decided not to spend time dressing her then, as we still needed to get Scott on his blackbuck if we could. I was also still hoping to find a trophy axis.

We covered a good bit of ground, but we were running a little low on fuel and getting low on time as well. We made a final sweep, and as we passed a cedar thicket I saw what I was looking for. I'm no great judge of axis bucks, but this was easily the best one I'd seen all weekend. He was simply huge! But that brief glimpse through the binos was all I got. The buck turned, and vanished.

I stalked over to where I'd last seen him, hoping to find him hiding in the cedars, but when I got there he was simply gone. There wasn't a ton of cover, and I glassed it and moved all the way around. Beyond the cover was rolling oak hills on one side, and wide-open grassland on the other. I was able to find some tracks and scat, but I quickly lost the trail on the rocky, Texas ground. It was like the buck became smoke. I shook my head and made my way back to the truck.

We drove around a bit more, hoping to spot him again, but as the fuel needle kept dropping and the clock kept ticking we knew it was time to head out.

Shane had picked up my doe, so I had to wait for him to get back so I could get her dressed and butchered. I did the express job on her, put the meat in the cooler, and we hit the road.

Many thanks to all the guys for a great time. A special thank you to Shane for his hard work. There were a lot of folks, eleven of us, and I think everyone got at least one animal, with the exception of Brad (who I believe passed on shooting a hog with Scott on Saturday night). That took a good bit of doing, and Shane and Jim definitely put in the time to get us on game.

I'm definitely waiting to hear the dates for next year's hunt!
 

pickenscj

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I wanted to say thanks to all the guys at the camp for an awesome time. It was a pleasure and an honor to share a hunt with such a great bunch of people. You guys rock!!!!

I wish was i was as good a speaker as speckmisser so since i am not

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
major props to the Gomer Bros. and an apology that I couldn't eat enough to put a small dent in the huge amount of food we had on this trip. That was some FINE eats, and I hated leaving so much of it on the table.[/b]
Lan-lord, let me know how to get you those pictures we took.

special thanks to the borderbandit and jim for all the effort put in to getting me my first hog and axis buck. The Borderbandit rules!!!

and thank you xdhunter for your help with what to do with that hog, i am working on the skull now just as instructed (still want the italian sausage recipe by the way).
 

ltdann

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All,

Got home from the "goat camp a.k.a Loveshack" about 3 hours ago, some 2,500 miles round trip! I'm beat, but heres a money shot. More in the AM

[attachment=50909:tx1.jpg]

Thats horn porn enough for anyone.
 

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Swampus

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Sounds like a great hunt--Nice Axis Buck and a good Black Buck!!

What was the total animals taken?

swampus!
 

Gomer76825

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What a great time! I couldn't of been happier with my first paid hunt. It was great to meet all of my JHO brethern and experience some hunting in different country. The fact that you can get that many guys together that are so different, and have such a great time was just awsome. As for the food, Yeah I think we brought enough. Thanks again Brad for doing you fair share of getting rid of the goat. I didn't even follow you around the whole time like the guy at the sushi joint in Vegas. Thanks for all the complements on the popers and the other food I had a blast and I'm looking forward to seeing allot more pics. I got some great ones of indianghost on the lil disposable camera (mama wouldn't let me take our good one) I'll have a disc made and upload them as soon as I can. Thanks again to eveyone for such a memorable hunt, and to Shane for putting up with all of us.
 

Borderbandit

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Swampus @ Apr 1 2008, 01:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Sounds like a great hunt--Nice Axis Buck and a good Black Buck!!

What was the total animals taken?

swampus![/b]
6 axis doe
1 axis spike
1 bb doe
2 axis bucks
1 blackbuck
1 dead hog, 1 wounded
6 cottontail
3 rattlesnakes on Thursday just before the Cali boys got here

I lost count on the brain cells ....... I think there were a couple of missed shots and alot of almosts. Anyone correct me if I'm wrong.

Great weekend guys ..... enjoyed it even though we ran our arses off.
 

Speckmisser

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Video is up on the HogBlog if anyone cares to see it. Copyright issues prevent my posting it here.
 

Gomer76825

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IG did a number on the rabbits, I'm sure lady Clair was very happy with him. Second that on losing count of brain cells, couldn't even get close to a guess on that one.
 

ltdann

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Dang, I’m beat! What a great time!

Ron and I left San Diego at about 0900 on Wed, sneaking out of work early and headed to Phoenix to pick up Chuck. We got there so early in the day, we decided to forego spending the night and just push on to Van Horn. As a result, we ended up getting to Uvalde about 1500 on Thursday. We got the license taken care of and called Borderbandit and headed to the lodge to get some rest and a little sighting in taken care of. BB was ready to start hunting right then but we needed to unwind alittle.

We finally agreed to hunt for a little bit, just before dark, in order to get in the “killin’ mood”. We left in street clothes carrying nothing but rifles and 5 rounds. BB dropped Chuck and I off at a little blind not far from the lodge and hit the truck feeder a few times as he left. Ron stayed with BB. I swear, we weren’t in the blind more than 3 minutes and 8 whitetail filled the clearing. They were so close you could hear them crunching on the corn. A few minutes later, in pops this 8 pt buck that provided us with entertainment till sunset. We came out of the blind and started talking as we waited for the truck. Chuck spotted this black shape moving in the clearing and both scopes came up and we positively ID’d it as a pig. Chuck says “Is it after legal shooting time?” I respond with “ I don’t think so, we can still make him out in this light. Besides, it’s TEXAS”.

The shot rings out and the pig stops moving. After the muzzle flash retinal burns clear a little, we walk over and there lies a 150 lb porker, Chuck’s first ever and just about 60 minute’s into our first paid hunt (the pigs are free). We got back to the lodge and XDhunter was there and showed us a new way to skin and quarter a pig and in very short order, Mr. Bacon is in the freezer. This is the way to start a hunt.

[attachment=50940:197.jpg]

Since the first 4 hunters to arrive were all going for buck, we headed out before light on Friday morning to one of the ranch’s around Leakey TX. The famous YO ranch and Ted Nugent’s ranch are nearby. This a High fence operation, covering some 5000 acres. As I learned, high fence means nothing to the deer. We saw deer moving over and under the fence without much trouble. We split into two groups. Chuck and Eric with the landowner and Ron and I stayed with BB. As we approached the first cattle gate into the ranch, BB told us to “lock and load” and be ready. As we cleared the gate, Ron and I discussed who gets first crack and Ron threw that privilege to me. He would regret that decision in the next 5 minutes.

We’d gone perhaps, 200 yds when BB spots an Axis buck on his side. It was the first live Axis deer I’d ever seen and from where I’m sitting, it looked good to me. I deferred to BB as he studied it in the Zeiss bino’s. I asked “Is that a shooter?” He paused for a second and said “yeah, that’s a shooter”. “Good enough for me” I answered and popped out of the truck opposite the deer (not recommended, it spooks the deer, I was told). I leaned against the truck bed, steadied up the old 03-A3 and put a 180 Nosler Partition thru the heart and both lungs. I couldn’t believe it, the Buck ran 50 yds before doing the ole deer lean. When I went to track the deer, I learned the other reason you don’t walk much in that terrain. The ground is covered in cantaloupe sized chunks of limestone and flint and are called “ankle biters”. It’s a quick recipe for a broken ankle.

The buck weighed an impressive 250 on the hoof, the strong tine measured 31 5/8” with a 24 inch spread, the cuddle tines were 12” with a brow tine for a kicker.

A great 7 pt Axis buck in the SCI gold class that yielded 140 lbs of processed meat.

[attachment=50941:p1000208.JPG]
 

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