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The Tale of Muck-Boy
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2013 Muck Boy Texas Deer Hunt Report
Click for McLean, Texas Forecast

2008 Texas Deer Hunt, 2012 Texas Deer Hunt

Two Muck Boy Mizzou Crew team members are getting ready to head to West Texas for a deer hunt. I have posted trail cam pictures showing some of the wildlife they will be encountering while on stand.

I am lucky enough to travel to West Texas each year to experience hunting whitetails in a different and challenging environment. The chance to hunt whitetails in different terrain than you are used to is a great opportunity to challenge yourself as a hunter, to adapt with your game and of course to enjoy a weekend of good old West Texas hospitality. I was once again fortunate enough to be invited down by my friend and Muckboy crewmember Toby to hunt his Cattle Ranch. He has a beautiful piece of land covered with Mesquite trees and split by draw. I talked Toby into placing a trail camera this year and the pictures had my adrenaline flowing and fueled the decision to leave Missouri at the beginning of the Rut, to take a chance while the bucks should be chasing does through the mesquites. We had seen several good bucks, a ton of doe movement and even a large hog on camera, everything including the weather and moon pointed to it being a great hunt.
We will start the trip the way any hunting trip should, at the range. I know that I should have made it to the range more than two days prior to the trip but life happens, between family, work and bowhunting it just wasn’t in the cards. I loaded up my Savage 111-7mag, a box of Hornaday 139gr SST and my spotting scope and headed out to make sure that everything was ready to go. I was about to find out how ready I wasn’t. I loaded the detachable magazine with 3 rounds and loaded it into my rifle, racked a round, took aim and let it fly. The sound of something hitting the bench immediately drew my attention; it was my magazine. After further inspection a flat spring fell out of the magazine well and the magazine would not fully clip into the rifle. With no other time to visit the range, I loaded six more rounds one by one and sent them down range. With all of the rounds within a 1 inch group, 2 inches high at 100 yards I was comfortable and needed to get to my local gun shop.
I pulled into Pistols Plus in St Charles and explained my situation. They spent the next 40 minutes getting the spring back in place while taking extreme care to not affect the zero of my rifle. I couldn’t be more grateful and this is just one of the many reasons that I buy local. I am pretty sure that if I wouldn’t have had this experience if I would have purchased this rifle at one of the big box stores. With everything in working order, I was ready to pack up and hit the road.
The eleven hour drive from St Louis to West Texas isn’t exactly the most exciting part of the trip but I could have done without my brand new trucks oil life indicator going off just outside of Tulsa. After resetting the indicator and crossing my fingers, I pulled into town just in time to check into the hotel and grab dinner at the one restaurant located in town. One thing about small town America restaurants, the food is usually great but I always tend to gain at least a few pounds while on these trips.
Thursday morning was finally here and 4 am came early after a long drive, catching up with a friend and dreaming of the monsters that were waiting for me in field. On paper, today looked like the best day we would have with cooler temperatures and less than a 10 mph wind. The rest of the week the temps would be rising and the winds would be picking up to 25-30 mph and 75 degrees on Saturday. After climbing in the tripod and intently into the mesquites until around 11 am, the first morning came to a conclusion without seeing anything. We decided to head in, grab some lunch and get back on stand hoping for a much better evening hunt.
Thursday night wasn’t the night for us either, Toby seen one small fork horn and I spent the evening hanging out with the cattle. It is one of my favorite parts of hunting on a cattle ranch, the cows seem to gravitate towards you in the stand. I know that they do not bother the wildlife and they always keep you on your toes, especially when you have a 1500 pound heffer rubbing up against your old tripod. When we returned to the hotel we took the chance to speak with several other hunters that had been in town all week. We found out that we weren’t the only ones not seeing anything, deer movement had dropped drastically over the last few days and it seemed like the rut had just switched off. Even with that info we were still hopeful and willing to do our part. Sometimes all that you can do is be in the stand, because you can’t shoot them from the hotel room.
Friday morning was a little cooler than expected and after a very slow first day, it could only get better. The morning started off slow, no early morning movement and nothing using or checking the feeders. The cattle came though and visited me early in the stand but kept moving after a few minutes. Looking to my right out of the tripod the two track that goes behind me curves around and follows the wash. I believe that hard work and persistence are two things that are needed to be a truly good whitetail hunter, but luck and chance are very high up on the list also. Luckily by chance I was looking down that road towards the wash when a deer sprinted out of the mesquites and back into them just as quickly as he crossed. I knew that he was a buck that I would be happy with so I found an opening and shouldered my rifle. Within seconds he was in the small clearing and I gave a quick muuuuuuuh” (go ahead, sound it out, you know you use it in the woods) which caused him to quickly pause. I had my scope turned down and quickly placed the reticle on my target and squeezed the trigger. The buck jumped and bolted, concerned that he hadn’t fell, I racked another round, got in front of him and squeezed the trigger again. The buck made a sharp turn and rolled just behind a mesquite about 30 yards from where I took the first shot. It had all happened so fast, the challenge of the West Texas terrain was a far cry from the open farm fields of Missouri and Michigan.
I had successfully harvested a buck that I knew would provide venison for my family and look great on the wall. It was time to retrieve him, smile for pictures and get the meat on ice. In other words, the work was just beginning. After a quick drag out to the road, a few pictures and loading him up in the truck we got moving on skinning and breaking down the carcass. Within 45 minutes of the shot, the meat was on ice, I believe that Toby has the sharpest knives on the planet. The morning hunt was a great success but we still had a few more hunts left, a buck for Toby and possibly a doe still on our minds.
We were back out on stand early on Friday evening, but the hunt was very similar to Thursday evening. No movement; Toby didn’t see a single deer and I had the cows hanging around most of the hunt. As I enjoyed a beautiful West Texas sunset the cattle moved down past the feeder. It continued to get darker and I continued to glass the countryside. With only a couple minutes left to shoot, a hog walked out of the trees and under the feeder to gorge himself on the corn left from no deer movement during the last few days. I quickly placed shouldered my rifle, placed the reticle on a true trophy and then remembered the cows were moving down past the feeder. I grabbed the binos and glassed looking to see where they had gone. It turns out that it is pretty tough to spot black cows walking through mesquite trees in the dark. I heard a cow moo behind the feeder and the choice was clear, I would have to let this hog live for another day. It was difficult to sit there watching him feed, broadside and at 100 yards knowing that the smart thing to do was to pass. I waited for Toby to pull up in the truck and watched the hog scamper back into the trees. Until next time, knowing that my backdrop was clear and that a ricochet from a pass through would not endanger any of the cows was more important than any harvest. The adrenaline from the events of the last few minutes ended the hunt on a great note and made for some interesting dinner conversation.
Saturday was our last day of hunting for the weekend and we were out in the stand shortly before shooting hours. We had to switch to warmer weather gear even though the wind was much stronger. The weather reminded me of last year’s hunt, warm and windy, very windy. We stuck it out for a while with neither of us seeing any movement and then decided over text to call it a hunt.
We had only seen two deer over two and a half days of hunting, not what either of us had expected. The trail cameras showed deer almost every morning and night. We don’t know what changed, but something changed the movement. Speaking to other hunters, it wasn’t only where we were hunting it was the whole area. It was time to pack up the trucks, head back to our families and give them a break until the next time.

I am very fortunate to be able to hunt in Texas each year and I was lucky to harvest a beautiful 8 point this year. Hunting trips with friends are always the same no matter how many deer you see while in the stand or whether you harvest an animal or not. The trips always have great experiences, camaraderie, and very tall tales.

Click Images for a larger View

Pre Hunt Pictures

Toby & Hunter With Opening Week Coyote

Good Eats

Day Time Does

He May Be the One

Pictures for the Hunt

Some of the Locals

Guess I don't need Cover Scent

He Made the Mistake

Toby & Kirk

What You do'in?