After five hunting outings without finding the right buck, I finally connected with my "buck of a lifetime" on Friday, and I'm still grinning like an idiot!
Hunting at the R-Squared Ranch in Kimble Co, I spent a few hours in a blind without much action (a few very healthy whitetail bucks off to a good start on this year's racks) and then decided to make my way back to the ranch's cabin and spot & stalked along the way. I had strong breeze in my face and the vegetation was still pretty green from all the rains, which allowed me to move fairly quietly. As I approached a mild slope, I heard a big hog grunt in alarm about 10 yards from me. Armed with a bolt-action rifle and rapidly losing light, I decided to keep walking up the hill rather than go into the brush to find the hogs. twenty yards further up the hill I heard a huff and there he was, maybe 50 yards away. I had a short time to assess size, and decided to take the shot. I heard a solid hit and felt good about it, but then pandemonium opened up as a whole sounder of pigs started squealing and headed straight down the hill towards me. In the fading light I racked up another one, aimed at the biggest blob, and took a shot, which turned out to be a spine shot that dropped a big sow right there. Talk about mixed emotions, elation from finally finding the axis, my heart pounding from the hog charge, and the sudden realization that the only light I had to go find the buck was one of those little green lights on the brim of my cap! Luckily, the axis took a double lung shot and dropped about 40 yards from where I shot it. When I walked up to it, I couldn't believe what I was seeing, not only did he have a really tall and wide rack with cool bladed main beams, he was over 200 lbs. and had the biggest neck I've ever seen on an axis! This is the buck of a lifetime for me and represents a lot of effort and patience (passing up on other bucks) and frustration. I'd say it was worth it!
HUGE thanks to Jay Light of the R-Squared for his patience, skilled guiding and overall, his generosity, this was one of the most memorable hunts I've had in almost 40 years of hunting.