A few months ago I saw a posting from mulie_mike about a free range sika deer hunt that sounded like something I would like to do. I contacted him and booked my hunt for Oct 17th with my wife coming along to shoot an axis doe. Then we added a second axis doe because we really wanted two capes for a project we have coming up. She is new to hunting and this was also something that I felt would give her some valuable experience before deer season opens up.http://texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/5873805/Free_Range_Sika#Post5873805
We stayed and the Comfort Inn in Sonora and found the best price using Priceline.com for $70 a night. The hotel was spotless clean, smelled good and they had one of the best breakfasts we've had at a hotel in awhile.
The hunt is at night. Earnie was the guide and both me wife and I really enjoyed meeting him. He lives for hunting and is determined to get you your animals. There is no pressure, and after I explained to him what I was looking for, he went out of his way to make sure that's what we got. He never tried talking me into a lesser animal, and would say right away if it was too small. He also said that he has stayed out until daylight before and would again if that's what it takes.
We saw my buck fairly early, but he was a runner and took off as soon as the lights hit him. We tried a few more times, but then lost him and worked our way around the ranch looking for another shooter. We saw several 4x4 bucks that where a lot smaller that Earnie said to pass on. We also saw a very large 4x2 that just stood there 20 yards away without a care in the world that we where there. The rut was on and he was only interested in one thing!!!
While looking for sika, we would see axis deer out feeding and it was farily easy for my wife to get two of them once she got comfortable with getting in position before they wondered off. They pause for a second, then start walking into thick cover. She was thrilled with them, and we are both excited about enjoying the meat!!
As a bonus, we where able to see foxes, tons of racoons, some real nice whitetail bucks and armadillo at close range. Earnie has a new Kawasaki Mule that goes anywhere. We where never on a road, and most of it was over cactus and rocks. It's a rough ride, but the only way to cover the area.
Temps cooled off from the mid 80's during the day, down to the 50's. We wore light jackets, but probably should have had sweatshirts on under the jackets as it was borderline cold.
We went back to where we had seen my buck several times. Sometimes we never saw him, other times he took off running into the thick cover to disappear from us. Fortunately he was in the rut, so all we had to do was find some females in his area and that would sometimes leas us to him. On the fifth time of looking for him, he made his first mistake. He ran to the right into an open area instead of to the left into thick cover. I got lucky on a 80 yard running shot that took him down.
I don't know score, or even care about that. I wanted a classic 4x4 sika with a nice cape for the wall, which is exactly what I got and what I had hoped for. I feel the price for this hunt made it a bargain that I highly recommend to anybody looking for a sika deer.
The meat is very dark red in color compared to the axis does, and we're told it's very tasty. We are looking forward to enjoying it this winter.
My wife, Karen and I want to thank Mike and Earnie for a fantastic hunt and an amazing experience. It's something we have never done before and really enjoyed!!!!