This past week I had the opportunity to make my annual trip from North Carolina. I was going to be hunting first in South Texas about 15 miles from the border with Brush and Bay Outfitters for Rio Grande Turkeys and Javelina. In addition this hunt was going to be filmed for an upcoming episode on "Hunt Wicked Close".
The weather was hot and humid, however we were able to call in a group of 6 gobblers into our decoys and take a beautiful bird on camera. After checking out the bird and doing a few interviews we moved the blind closer to the sendero and waited for javelina. About 45 minutes passed and we had a group of 8 feed into the road. After looking them over I took the biggest one. It dropped instantly and we called it quits for the evening.
The next morning we tried to call in bobcats and coyotes but the cows wouldn't leave us alone so we called it a morning, but not before spotting a large tom crossing the road a few hundred yards ahead of us. That afternoon we set up the blind in the location where we saw the bird. We called in a few smaller birds, including one with a two beards about 6 inches each. We gave them a pass. About an hour before dark the big boy returned. After attacking the decoy he came stuck his head out long enough to gobble and it was over for him. His spurs were just over an inch and he carred a 10 3/4" beard.
The next morning I drove north 4 hours to the hill country to hunt with Cody (C3 on the forum). The plan was to take a nice free range axis buck. We meet up and he showed me two great bucks that had been coming into a feeder he had set up that were both hard horn. They had been on that feeder consistently both morning and evening the last several days and it was basically a done deal... wrong. As we all know to well sometimes the animals can make us look foolish. In the first full day of hunting with cody I had seen 5 does and one very nice 30 inch velvet buck that I passed since it was early on the first evening. The big deer had changed their pattern and so we changed our plan for my last and final sit before I would have to leave for NC the next morning.
We moved to his "honey hole" and it was defiantly that. After a few hours I had two very large bucks bolt across the field. I would guess both in the 33+ range, but no shot. About an hour and a half before dark I had 4 axis bucks come out. The two larger bucks were both around 28 inches, and one was hard horned. I made the decision to take the hard horned buck. After the shot the buck made it about 40 yards. He was a nice buck that I was happy to get. I knew before the shot that he was not one of the monsters Cody is known for but I also knew that I was short on time since I was flying out the next day and would be glad to get this buck since he was my first axis. He measured a tad under 28".
This was a great trip. I would highly recommend both outfitters I hunted with and highly thank Cody and Diane for their help during my axis hunt.
On a side note the axis buck was my final 10th species for my Exotic slam as recognized by ROE, so that made the hunt even more special.