Last Wednesday afternoon I rolled into the Jack Baggett Ranch down south of Ozona, in Crockett County. A group of us were hunting as the guests of Uberti, Burris, and Realtree. I would be hunting with a Uberti Hi-Wall rifle, in .45/70, topped by the new Burris 3×9 scope. Our ammunition was the Hornady LEVERevolution 325 gr ammo. That combination ought to be able to account for just about any sort of Texas deer that ever wandered through the mesquite.
This being my old stomping grounds, I wisely told the boys that a storm was coming in on Thursday evening, we call it a Blue Norther, and that Thursday would be an excellent day for hunting. Deer will nearly always get out and feed heavily ahead of a storm.
Of course, I was wrong. I don’t think that anyone killed a deer on Thursday. And, by Thursday evening, the sleet and snow were beginning to fall. Now, I don’t know why Texas storms are so miserable, after all, the temps usually only get down into the 20’s. It may just be the humidity that comes in off of the Gulf of Mexico, I don’t know. But this storm was typical for Texas in that it was nasty, wet, and damn cold!
I usually don’t like to hunt from a blind, but the ranch’s box blinds sure did sound like a good idea on this hunt. My hunting partner, Joe Coogan, sure didn’t argue with me, either. Friday morning, I managed to brave the cold and wet long enough to put a Hornady LEVERevolution bullet into an 11-point buck at not more than 80 yards. You could hear the bullet slap and see the buck stagger before he ran into the cedars. This was gonna be a piece of cake and I was fixing to get back to the lodge and get a cup of good hot coffee.
Well, I was wrong again. Tony The Guide and I sauntered over to the place where my buck had been standing. No blood. We eased into the cedars, along the trail the buck had taken. No blood. We even did tight circles, looking for sign. No blood.
After about an hour of unsuccessful searching, we headed back to the lodge to to get the tracking dog. I was upset. Tony The Guide was upset. Long story short, the dog went right to the deer carcass even though there never was a blood trail. That big .45/70 slug had punched a caliber-size hole going in and a caliber-size hole coming out. Someone forgot to tell the buck that he was dead.
Greg Badgett (www.doubleb-outfitters.com) has the hunting concession on this ranch. And let me tell you, he knows how to put on a first-class Texas hunt. He manages the game properly and he and his good guide staff know how to put a hunter on his buck. Just as important, the lodge is clean and comfortable. Even more important, Greg’s parents, sister, and wife, handle the kitchen chores to perfection. If you hunt with these folks and don’t gain weight, you need to see your doctor right away.
Next time I will tell you about the Laurel & Hardy episode when Joe Coogan shot his buck.