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#5872299 - 08/10/15 04:31 PM The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne
John Humbert Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 1666
The temperature was so hot that I had driven all the way from Plano to Boerne and didn't get a single bug on my windshield. Unheard of for my Jeep. I had to be crazy to go hunting as my dash outside temp gauge showed 107. Not a good day to be in a black Jeep. My daughter's BF, Jon, and his buddy Zac were doing an axis doe hunt with Guadalupe Outfitters, and I need to drop off a rifle for Jon. I had told them I would meet them in Boerne, and even treat them to a hotel room - and I would hunt my spot in Boerne while I was there.

I really didn't need meat, having just picked up Hannah's buck from Kuby's - and two week ago the game cam pics had almost zero axis movement. But you never know, there was still some big axis walking around. That big boy had still eluded me several trips. But I had zero expectations as I turned onto the ranch road.

The landowner had graciously put out a bale of alfalfa on Wednesday, so it had a couple of days to pull some axis in. I grabbed my rifle out of the Jeep, a couple of drinks, my Yeti can cooler, and headed to the popup. After getting settled, the feeder went off a few minutes after 5pm and I sat back and waiting for critters to arrive.

It wasn't long before I heard a soft shuffle and about 30-40 turkey (mostly poults) came running out in that comical scamper they do. At least SOMETHING is moving I thought to myself, I'm not totally wasting my time. Took some pictures of the turkey and about 6:30 the whitetail started to show up.

LOTS of whitetail. Couldn't believe so many bucks. At 6:30 is still very bright outside - and still very hot. But they came in singles and pairs and totally demolished what little was left of the alfalfa. It was a real whitetail fest for the next two and half hours. Then, right as it was getting too dark to see, I had a couple of axis appear out of nowhere. The only ones I could see clearly were a buck with big velvet bulbs, and "Mr. Wrinkles" - a huge bodied axis that is so fat is coat looks wrinkled.

Fortunately for him, and unfortunately for me, he had already dropped his horns and was sporting still raw pedacles.

There might have been some more axis - but there were so many whitetails and the axis were mixed in, I couldn't really tell what from what. So ended the first sit, but I was little encouraged at least. Maybe it would happen.

The next morning I am sitting long before daylight and scouring the field and bush with the thermal. Lots and lots of whitetail. Lots of turkey, fox, and other assorted critters. We had a nice breeze, a heavy overcast, and the temps were down to the mid to upper 70's. It felt chilly.

But no axis. Not one. I had a lot of fun though because the WT are looking great - and there are two definite shoot big mainframe 8's that will be on the hit list for me and my daughter.

At the end of the sit at around 8:30, I walked around a bit. Picked up my game cams, looked for sign, etc. I noticed that the bale of alfalfa was completely gone, and our corn shed was empty as the LO had just filled the feeders with the last of the bags. I also noticed that the field to the west had our "resident" herd of axis back. I could about 20 out there feeding, include several nice bucks.

This was a welcome sight, as they had been conspicously absent for the past two months. "Good", I thought - maybe I can entice them over to our property with a some vittles.

So heading over to Wheelers, pick up some corn to restock the shed, and a fresh bale of alfalfa and headed back to the ranch.

Got back around 9:30, drove the Jeep right out to our hunting spot, left it (and the A/C) running, radio on and put out the alfalfa and spread it around. Grabbed a bag of corn, rip the strip off, and proceed to walk around along a path through the field and spread a generous helping of the yellow crack.

While hand throwing some, I looked up and was shocked to see the whole freaking herd of axis coming across the field right toward me.

Here I am, holding a bag of corn, no rifle close by (left it in the popup), Jeep running, radio on - and the herd is bearing down on me like I wasn't even there. I ran back to the Jeep and they kept coming. They passed within 50-60 yards of me and completely ignored me - never even looked my way. I have NEVER had axis do this - those free range dude usually spook off at the slightest thing hundreds of yards away.

I stood there next to my Jeep dumbfounded - pondering whether I had time to make a run to the popup. Expecting them to thunder off any second.

After what seemed like minutes (but was probably only seconds), I jumped the Jeep and drove like hell to the popup about 100 yards away. Got out and looked back and the axis never spooked - and now were closing in on the corn/alfalfa. I'm just not believing this, so I turned the Jeep off and dove headfirst into the popup to get a gun.

The moment I turned the Jeep off, the entire line of axis immediately stopped and looked my way. Dammit, should have kept it running. Got into the popup and starting lining up on animals when NOW they spooked and headed to the fence line. Never stopping. I looked through the scope, and saw at least 25-30 axis hop over that fence one by one, never stopping, never slowing down.

They never really RAN off - but did that "I have somewhere to go" trot. Never really got a good opportunity. But now I am really encouraged, because I am almost certain they will be back in the evening.

#5872358 - 08/10/15 05:00 PM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
John Humbert Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 1666
At 1:30pm, Brad from the ranch texted me and says there is a group of whitetail chowing down on the alfalfa. Are you freaking kidding me? It is BRIGHT SUN, and well over 100 degrees - and these deer are out exposed in a field eating? What is going on? Very strange.

Brad suggested I sit all afternoon - but I am too tired, and the A/C hotel room - and the bed - is much more appealing that a mid-afternoon sit. But I did think about it strongly.

All through my afternoon nap, I am having crazy dreams and tossing and turning thinking I am missing the herd. At 4:30p, the alarm goes off and I scramble into comfortable shorts and top and am off to the ranch, 10 minutes away.

By 5pm I am sitting and waiting. The WT start showing up again, and I am still thinking it is nuts for these deer to be out in the bright sun and Texas Aug heat.

After 3 hours of watching whitetails almost solid, I reach for a cool one from my backpack and spot the axis herd out the back window. They are coming across the field from behind me - basically walking right past my parked Jeep and the house. Again, the whole herd of 25-30 animals.

I quickly switch everything around to shoot out the back/side window. When I first saw them, they were only 60 yards away - but between me and the house - no shot. So I had to wait until they crossed enough of the field to make it safe shot. The biggest bucks were already out of range, but I focus on a very big bodied, decent one with about 30" antlers, waiting for him to pause.

And pause he did, right at 162 yards, slightly quartering away from me. I tucked in the crosshairs right behind the shoulder, and squeezed the trigger. BOOM, and I saw him kick his rear legs and start to run with the herd.

And run.

And run.

And run. I kept expecting him to crumple, but the whole herd ran off to the far corner about 280 yards away. The grass is very tall in this field, and that corner drops off away from me, so I can only see heads. I see a couple of 30" class bucks, but can't be sure of which one I shot at. They all mixed together as they ran off.

Expecting to see one drop - but that didn't happen. Instead, after milling around right on the fence line for a couple of minutes. One by one I see them hop over. A couple of does, nubbin bucks stay on this side of the fence.

Now I am confused. Was pretty sure I hit him, made a good shot, and he should be going down. Don't understand him running 200 yards to fence without even slowing down. Did I hit him? How could have missed that shot? No, I must have hit him. I know rifle is dead-on perfect, as I just been to the range 3 days earlier after replacing the rings. I was clover leafing shots at 100yards.

Surely he must be down at the fence line out of view.

I waited about 10 minutes, but it was starting to get dark - so I walked over there. I was really expecting to see a downed deer - but no deer, no blood, no sign whatever.

Now I am scratching my head. Maybe he dropped out in the field and I just didn't see him. They are grouped together as they ran off, and the grass is thick about about 2-3' tall.

Backed track to the approx location of the shot taken, and walked around in widen circles. Nothing. No blood. No animal. Covered the whole area from the point of shot to the back corner. Nothing.

Now I am really upset - and confused. Even if I had pulled the shot and hit belly, I should have seen something in the 200 yards - or at the fence line where they milled around for a couple of minutes. But no - nothing.

I search until well after dark, when Jon/Zac showed up. I walked the field with the thermal - nothing. (But did scare up a few pigs that now have holes in the m).

Dejected, upset, concerned retired to the hotel around midnight. If I missed, fine - they'll be back. But concerned a hit animal got off the property and away from me.

#5872447 - 08/10/15 06:06 PM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
John Humbert Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 1666
The next morning I am out in the popup at 5am armed with the thermal and night vision. Still shaken from the night before, eager for the morning light to check on some crazy ideas I had about what happened the night before.

When I arrived in the morning, the thermal showed about a half dozen deer bedded down in the field. Which was encouraging, since it proved that an animal on the ground in the tall grass would be visible on the thermal from a good distance.

The morning had limited activity, most of the bedded whitetail got up and left before daylight. Just had a few deer come in the morning - and strangely everything kept away from the feeder, spread corn, and the alfalfa. Whereas 12 hours early they couldn't keep away from it.

By 8am, I couldn't take it anymore. I slung my rifle over my shoulder and walked out into the field to resume searching.

During the dark, I had seen a whitetail on thermal go to the area about 10 yards away from where I (supposedly) shot that deer and start pawing something on the ground. I am thinking that maybe that WT had stumbled upon the downed animal.

I went to the area I had closely marked by watching that deer and started another sweep. Still nothing. Nada.

I began working towards the corner, along a slight game trail through the tall grass. When I was about halfway there, I looked over to the fence line and there is this small axis buck standing there looking at me.

I took another step forward, and this buck hops the fence and comes straight for me! I hurriedly unsling the rifle from should as the deer ran RIGHT PAST me no more 15 yards away.

He stops about 50 yards away and starts staring me down. I try to put the crosshairs on him - but I am shaking too bad. I am shaken because (a) don't want to miss, (b) don't want to drop another animal if I already have one in the field, (c) the damned thing nearly ran me over! I lower the rifle and say "boo" and he takes off running. LOL

Now I am remembering what happened yesterday late morning. So I complete my scan and confirm there is nothing out there. I setup on the fence line behind a bush, about 50 yards down from where they crossed and came over yesterday morning while i was putting out feed.

I sit. And sit. And sit. It's getting hot. Finally, after about 45minutes to an hour, I figure the same thing isn't going to happen two days in a row.

That's it. Hunt over. Time to pack up and go home. Sorry guys, no last minute success story this time. They kicked my butt this weekend. I'm almost laughing about it - but still have a nagging doubt about the "one that got away".

Pack up all my gear, put the rifles away, put new batteries in the game cams and walk into the woods and brush line to set them. Tired, hot, beat, dejected, I head back to my Jeep for the long ride home. Take one last look at the pasture.....


.... you guessed it, here come the axis - right where I had been sitting on the fence line. All 25-30 of them. Hop the fence in perfect rhythm and calm, confidently stroll over to the feeder, spread corn, and alfalfa bales and commerce to gorge themselves.

One of the big bucks, looks up and straight at me from 300 yards away - I swear I heard him laugh.


The End

Edited by John Humbert (08/10/15 06:06 PM)

#5872523 - 08/10/15 06:42 PM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
Matpk Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 03/06/15
Posts: 1146
clap clap clap
Amazing...Next time,better luck...!!!!

#5872534 - 08/10/15 06:50 PM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
NMGW Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 1576
Loc: New Mexico
Great write up thanks for sharing. That's why they call it Hunting not Shooting. BTW I am pretty sure I have heard Elk laugh at me from across the fence, where I can't hunt. bang
New Mexico: Not Really New, Not Really Mexico

#5872652 - 08/10/15 07:54 PM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
John Humbert Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 1666
And by the way, Jon/Zac had a hard hunt all weekend for doe. Saw some axis, but one thing or another kept them from connecting. Mark, their guide from Guadalupe Outfitters, stuck with it though, and finally in a last minute drive around the ranch, he was able to put Zac in a nice fat axis doe.

I'd post pics, but Zac did the coup de grace with a well-placed head shot and it isn't pretty. 😁

#5872762 - 08/10/15 09:00 PM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
texashelms Offline

Registered: 03/01/08
Posts: 533
Loc: Texas
Summary please I didn't read confused2

#5872764 - 08/10/15 09:01 PM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
TXHOGSLAYER Online   content

Registered: 01/12/12
Posts: 14851
Loc: Katy, TX
Great story!

Originally Posted By: bill oxner
Also, I wonder why you guys are arguing if you have not tried it both ways.

Originally Posted By: bill oxner
I got 3 inches.

Originally Posted By: nsmike
you haven't seen anything, until two gays go at it.

#5872892 - 08/10/15 10:21 PM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: TXHOGSLAYER]
John Humbert Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 1666
Originally Posted By: TXHOGSLAYER
Great story!

Thanks. At least I got a good story out of it. Lol

#5872896 - 08/10/15 10:26 PM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
Guadalupe Outfitters Offline

Registered: 03/16/15
Posts: 162
Loc: Boerne, Texas
John... You're a great storyteller! I can't wait to read your story when Jupiter aligns with Mars and you get your buck of your dreams! It's going to be epic! Glad Jon & Zac had a good harvest... Luckily there's no Backstrap from ear to ear.... food
Diane Reiner Sodoro
Guadalupe Outfitters
Hunt Coordinator

#5872969 - 08/11/15 12:00 AM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
mulie_mike Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 6918
Loc: El Paso Texas
I always enjoy your posts.
Specializing in Free Range hunts in far west Texas for Native & Exotic Game. Hunts for All budgets with Financing available.

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#5873064 - 08/11/15 06:35 AM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
Elkhunter49 Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/21/11
Posts: 4087
Loc: Oak Harbor, Slidell La
Great story sir, we need to share a campfire someday! Thanks for sharing. Baker

Edited by Elkhunter49 (08/11/15 06:36 AM)
A true friend reaches for your hand but touches your heart.

#5873455 - 08/11/15 11:02 AM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
WLR Hunter Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/17/12
Posts: 386
Loc: Erath County
Enjoyable writeup - you are a great storyteller!
Huntin....Shootin....Fishin....Tex-African Style

#5873515 - 08/11/15 11:55 AM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
Luke27 Offline

Registered: 12/12/13
Posts: 241
Loc: Sweetwater, Texas
Nice write up!

#5873524 - 08/11/15 12:02 PM Re: The Wrong Way Axis - Weekend Hunt in Boerne [Re: John Humbert]
kdkane1971 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/30/14
Posts: 2118
Loc: Mesopotamia
Better luck next time John - thank you sir for a great read!

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