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Texas Ram Hunt by Jim Miller

July 9, 2013 - Mathews Inc

INFLIGHT OUTFITTERS
MATHIS, TEXAS

This was to be our first (1st) day of hunting @ Inflight Outfitters; this is a First class operation. Of Course we arrived late in the afternoon due to WAY TOO many stops on our way. You would not believe all of the stops we had too made! We finally arrived around 4:30 PM. After all of the manly hugs, back patting, and hand shaking. David suggested that we get ready in a hurry and get out to a blind for the evening hunt. I was ready to go within 15 minutes got my bow out and shot a couple of arrows into my Hips Target and we were on our way to a blind that had been set up for a couple of weeks in advance so the animals would be use to the blinds, As we approached the blind, we saw several wildebeest and blackbuck. As we crawled into the blind, God it was miserably hot, lots of wind but not much into the blind which increased the misery factor! Within 30 minutes we saw several whitetail bucks to start to feed out into the Guajillo flats, NOTE: Guajillo is an acacia spreading shrub with many stems from the base or sometimes a small tree. This plant is abundant on limestone and caliche cuestas of the Rio Grande Plains, Trans Pecos and southern Edwards plateau. This plant is browsed by cattle and whitetailed deer but is poisonous to sheep and goats when eaten for prolonged periods. The leaves have a crude protein content of about 20 percent. Guajillo is an important source of nectar for honey production. Finally the animals really started to move, after the whitetails came the blackbuck and they were feeding on a flat moving toward us, along with several Rams of various lineage, it was great to watch the different species of animals to start moving and took our minds off of the heat. Finally about 7:00 PM we spotted two really great Nubian Ibex after what seemed to be an eternity the Nubian Ibex came to the waterhole to drink and did they ever drink, the camera was running and I ranged the largest Ibex that had over 34 inches of main beam on those beautiful scimitar shaped horns and he was exactly 25 yards! That monster Ibex gave me every opportunity to put an arrow thru the boiler room! But, for some reason I did not? I have no idea why? I don’t know why, I’ve always wanted a great Nubian Ibex; I had a real bad case of brain freeze! Don’t ask me why? I will forever regret not shooting that Trophy of a lifetime. We returned to the lodge and had a great meal and lots of laughs how one person can let a Trophy of a lifetime walk, let me tell you my cameraman was not a very happy camper. Tomorrows another day.

The next morning we were up and moving at 4:30 PM after a couple of cups of “Natures Coffee Kettle” 100 % Columbia / It was pouring down, I mean getting it and there we sat drinking coffee and watching it rain. We finally gave up and just loaded up in the truck and headed for the blind. We returned to the same blind, it continued to rain. Finally it stopped raining and the game started to move. First we had several Blackbuck to move out into the field feeding, and then out came the Rams but everything was way too far off. We sat till 9; 30 AM and called it quits at this waterhole! Back to lodge a big breakfast and we decided to go to another area, to see if we can find one of the monster Rams.

Later, we traveled the pastures of this 10,000 acre Estate, seeing all kinds of animals, Gemsbok, White Lipped Wildebeest, Nilgai, Impala, Axis, Aoudad, hogs, and every kind of sheep and goats you and imagine. We went to a waterhole and the activity around this tank was unbelievable! There was no place where you could not put your hand down without putting your hand on some animals track! We constructed a natural blind in some of the thickest brush and sat down in 2 folding chairs next to a live Oak. Within 30 minutes after settling into the afternoon I glanced over my right shoulder and there stood an Axis fawn, 3 Axis Doe and 2 Monster Axis Bucks! They were looking at us 7 yards away and they wanted a drink of water. Finally, the fawn must have thought that Wayne was the ugliest thing he had ever seen! They took off back the way they had come and I was in shock, they did not give an alarm bark! Strange for Axis deer not to give an alarm bark when surprised, close but no cigar on a monster Axis buck. We decided to move now to the opposite side of the tank and again set up a natural blind for another ambush, we had been in this spot and we were down wind from the tank, and out of the blue clear sky another monster Axis Buck walked to within 5 yards of Wayne, with camera rolling! Awesome, the buck was really thirsty as he had his tongue hanging out and wanted a drink! You should have seen that Axis Bucks eyes when he realized he had gotten WAY TOO close to Wayne. He turned inside out and was breaking brush for at lest 100 yards getting the flock out of there.
This set up was awesome, I had seen a yellow headed Blackbird, Green jay, male painted bunting “one of the world most beautiful” taking a bath @ the tank, Black Bellied Whistling Duck, which occurs in the summer only in Texas, Which allows the time to go way too quickly! Then we heard a feeder to go off that we was not aware off and of course we had to get up and go to see what was in scarfing up the yellow akerns? To our surprise @ 6:00 PM were several sows and their shoats! We started to do a stalk and I had dropped my rangefinder, we got to within what I thought was about 40 yards and we (Wayne, my cameraman & Editor) and I decided to try to get to within 30 yards and “put a pig on the pit” well let me tell you the best laid plans of men and mice do go awry! We returned to the tank, re-established our seats to see what would come just before dark, and we were not disappointed. We had 5 huge Gemsbok bulls to come in but hung out in the white sage about 40 yards from us and no shots to be had No opportunities, 2 days down and no arrows launched. Back to the lodge and a great supper with much conversation about politics, bowhunting, and the quality of the animals on Inflight Outfitters ranch, late night and I wish I could find that Rooster crowing at 4:30 AM??? Time to get up and a final go at our last day of hunting.

After much conversation we decided to return to the Ground blind and it was a very entertaining morning, we had all kinds of birds around us and this one Mockingbird just about drove us crazy constantly singing, and we did not see one big game animal. As the morning progressed I had visions of a Red Ryder BB Gun to put an end to the Mockingbirds continuous singing, then the final insult the Mockingbird was sitting above our blind and dropped a big load of whitewash! Right thru the shooting window and right at our feet, TIME TO GO! We moved out to start our spot and stalk treak, using our pick up we would drive to a high ridge and glass for Sheep, after the third stop we spotted a herd of four rams traveling together and working thru a huge guajillo flats toward a huge caliche ridge with nothing but White Sage and I knew if those rams got into that White Sage we would never find them! My cameraman and I saddled up and we were on the move to get in front of these moving Rams, for about 5 minutes we lost sight of the Rams then we seen the largest Ram moving by himself? Somehow these Rams had separated and this Ram was moving very slowly thru the White Sage and was defiantly being very cautious in his movement. To me it looked like he was going to try to find a cool spot to bed down. It was brutal, the heat was on Tempts in the mid 90’s and high humidity plus the wind was howling with gust over 30 mph! We were working along a sendero as the Ram entered a huge a mixture of white sage, guajillo, frijolillo, granjeno & black brush meaning thick stuff! The Ram was well hid along an old cattle trail, I thought we had lost the Ram only we kept moving in the direction that the Ram was traveling we had an interception point of about 30 yards, as the Ram walked out into the sendero I gave a burp the Ram froze in the middle of the sendero, I had picked a spot on the Ram and Wayne said, “DON’T SHOOT” I could not believe I was being called off of the Shot! I was still at full draw and 10 minutes later (in reality it was about 30 seconds) I got the go ahead and I tried to settle the sight pin down on the Ram and the bow went off, the wind was howling, 30 plus mph and did push my bow around. At the shot! The deadly Victory VAP-350 / lost Camo arrow tipped with a deadly Grave Digger Cut on Contact broadhead Went completely thru the hind legs, the Ram lunged across the sendero, running for his life. We sat down and talked about the shot and what had happened! I was in Wayne’s face asking him why he called me off of the shot. Wayne advised that the camera had shut down a first in all of my years of hunting. The Ram ran about a mile and every time he hit the ground there was a spray of blood. It took us over 3 hours of time to locate that Ram! The irony was that the Ram ran right past our blind we had sat in for three days and the ram died about 100 yards from the blind. The Grave Digger really did bail me out from a poor shot! Summer hunting, is a great way to get out and get rid of those summer time blues, if you’re looking for a summer hunt, Texas is the place to be, and it’s not that expensive! Less money than the airline ticket to Africa! Plus a great place to take your family on a summer vacation. Check out Inflight Outfitters

RAMS SCI SCORE 135 7/8 PLACING THIS RAM WAY UP IN THE ARCHERY BOOK.

EQUIPMENT USED:

BOW: MATHEWS CREED (LOST CAMO)
ARROWS: VICTORY VAP-350’S (LOST CAMO)
BROADHEADS; GRAVE DIGGERS / CUT ON CONTACT
CLOTHING: LOST CAMO A/T
CAMERAS: SPYPOINT M-8 (LOST CAMO) & XCEL ACTION CAMERA
OPTICS: BRUNTON EPOCH 8X32’S
SIGHTS, STABILIZERS, ARROW REST: AXION ARCHERY (LOST CAMO)
RELEASE: SCOTT SILERHORN (LOST CAMO)
LIGHTS: ELUSIVE WILDLIFE TECH. (LOST CAMO)
NOCKS & VANES: FIRENOCKS (LOST CAMO)

BOOTS: RUSSELL MOCCASIN SNAKE BOOTS

KNIVES: KNIVES OF ALASKA

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