All throughout the hunting season, Mission Alaska has been using Hidden Antler Camouflage. It is the perfect balance of light and dark and works everywhere. We have used it on the Northern Slope of Alaska, Rocky Mountains, and the Hardwoods of Pennsylvania, and when we are wearing Hidden Antler, “Stuff Happens!” We love it and cannot say enough about it. Check out www.hiddenantler.com to get some gear of your own.
This past week we got the opportunity to hunt with our good friend, and creator of Hidden Antler, Brandon Key. Brandon is a Texan through and through and had been telling us about the great hunting opportunities down there. We finally took him up on his offer, and headed down to South Texas.
Brandon is the Deer Biologist at The Frijolia Ranch in Three Rivers Texas, and introduced us to his friends, Jason and Norma Mims. Wow! What great people, and unbelievable ranch. Set in the beautiful South Texas brush country, The Frijolia Ranch is a Texas Paradise. Game is plentiful and the people awesome. Our nights were spent picking the guitar, while steaks sizzled on the fire in the warm December air. What a great Texas experience! Check out www.brushbucks.com to learn more.
As soon as we got to the ranch, we met up with out guide Tony and were immediately on some hogs. Austin was up first and was trying to stick one with his long bow. Tony is part Apache Indian and is a world-class guide. His hunting and tracking skills are unbelievable, but not only does he put you right on the animals; he also shares his knowledge of land. His people have lived there for generations and Tony continues to shares his ancestor’s knowledge of the flora and fauna. Needless to say, Tony got us right on the hogs.
We crept through the thick brush undetected. Once again the Hidden Antler Camo kept us concealed and broke up our outline perfectly. Tony spotted the hogs and Austin and I crept in closer. We waited for them to feed into an opening and as soon as the first hog appeared, Austin stuck him with his long bow at 10 yards. We got some awesome footage of the shot and you’ll have to check back for the webisode, coming soon.
Right after the hogs, we met back up with Jason and Brandon. They were telling us about the deer management program on the ranch and we drove around to see first hand what good whitetail management was all about. The Frijolia Ranch has a large and healthy herd with lots of great trophy whitetails. There was one deer however, that Jason said had to go. This young buck did not have the best genetics and Jason did not want him to start breeding other does. We saw which one he was and would be after him the next morning.
We got after it the next day and set out to find the buck Jason needed taken out. We hunted that morning and although he never showed himself, we did get to see something very rare. Two monster bucks came out of the brush, locked eyes, and it was on. They battled only a couple yards in front of our blind. You could hear antlers crashing and feel the force of the fight. One deer finally backed down and they disappeared again. It was unbelievable to see such a spectacle in nature and one we will not be forgetting.
That evening we were back in the stand and it was not 10 minutes before we caught a glimpse of the buck we were looking for. He was with some other deer and was not presenting a good shot. We waited, but he took off back into the thick brush. I thought I had lost my opportunity, but moments later, he stepped back out and this time was clear. He fed a few more feet and I squeezed off a shot through his high shoulder. He dropped right there in his tracks.
Even though this was not close to the biggest deer we saw at the Frijolia ranch this was my largest antlered deer that I have ever taken. I was so excited and thankful to harvest a Texas Whitetail. Most of the time people just show the huge bucks being shot, but this hunt was focused more about deer management. He is still a trophy deer in my book and will provide great tasting meat for the upcoming winter. The Frijolia Ranch goes to show you what great deer management can achieve, and I was honored to be a part of it.
Make sure to check back soon for the Mission Alaska: Operation Texas websiode here on www.missionak.com. In the mean time, check out www.hiddenantler.com to get some gear right in time for Christmas. Also check with Jason Mims at www.brushbucks.com to learn more about hunting at the amazing Frijolia Ranch.
Thanks to everyone for making this experience possible and check back soon for the webisode!