“Big Tex” has caused much unrest since the 2015 season commenced- Between hundreds of trail camera pictures last year showing core areas gravitating towards a neighboring property, one opportunity to harvest him during a mid-December late muzzleloader hunt, and just shy of 30 miles of boots on the ground with Schatzi our shed hunting German Shorthair Pointer to have failed to find his sheds this spring, we had high aspirations but realistic expectations for 2016.
Unlike many other shooters, “Big Tex” was absolutely elusive throughout the spring and summer months. Infact we only had a handful of photos of him during the first three days of July before he had pulled another Houdini on us. Our concerns were concreted- he was spending 99.9% of his time on a neighboring clear cut thicket just outside of our 2700 acre farm.
Using last year’s pictures and topography maps, we were able to connect the dots and dial in two ridges he was using at the time on the adjoining parcel. We then hung four new sets towards the end of July at topographical features that would encourage traffic coming off of the two ridges that we thought “Big Tex” had frequented.
As luck and dedication would have it, we finally had definitive proof days before a pair of clients arrived that this ghost was in-fact “Big Tex” and not another monster dubbed “Rolex” who has been a showstar for our cameras on a nearby section of the farm. For three evenings in a row, “Big Tex” payed one of the new sets a visit just past shooting light. We were confident with their late summer ritual of a pattern that all we needed to seal the deal was a drastic change in weather.
The front we had been waiting for moved through bringing cooler evening temperatures, appropriate wind direction, and falling mercury- it was time to send someone to that stand. Just as predicted, the rains came around 7pm and had tapered off shortly thereafter leaving behind a cool breeze and cloudy skies. This evidently had the deer on their feet much earlier as our client saw two younger bucks crossing a creek with a “very wide” buck shortly behind at around 7:35pm.
This wide buck stopped broadside at 22 yards just as our hunter came to full-draw. Upon touching the release with the 20 yard pin centered, the buck moved forward. The buck jetted off and up one of our steeper ridges. Upon inspection of the recovered arrow, our worst fears were confirmed. The shot was back with the faintest amount of blood at the point of contact. We immediately vacated the area to resume the track the following morning.
Camp had never been so quiet. With two hunters on day two of their hunt and two unrecovered bucks, calls were made to have a bloodhound used in aiding us for “the wide buck” and a solid eight point in full velvet. Prayers were said and we all were up late playing the shots over and over in our head instead of sleeping.
Morale was extremely low by the time we attempted to track what may have been “Big Tex” after trailing the velveted eight point 400 yards. He had escaped us and Mack’s nose with what appeared to be a much better shot than the one put on the “wide buck”. Unlike with the eight point, Mack took off up the steep ridge where the ghost vanished into the timber. He was on a bee line up and over two ridges, every step seemingly more excited. Literally within 20 minutes and a few beads of sweat, we had reached our destination.
The words to describe the emotions we were and are feeling still escapes me. Absolutely blessed and so grateful to be a part of our client’s largest buck to date and closing the chapter on “Big Tex”. Congratulations Jacob!