The next morning was one of those kind you dream about in west Texas, 22 degrees, still, clear & frost on the ground. We left camp 40 minutes earlier this time to make sure we had time to corn the road and be parked in our spot well before first light.
As the sun got bright behind the mountains to the east, we had one doe come out and feed for about an hour about 100 yds away. A young buck came out behind her, and a little while later, a nice (but still young) 8 point came in to water at the trough by the fence. We saw a couple of bigger bucks cross way down the pipeline clearing, and a nice dark-horned 10 point crossed out of range a bit closer.
By 10 o’clock, we were ready to make a move so we headed down the fence road and turned south onto that long scendero that we first started our hunt on two days earlier. When we got to a small rise in the terrain, I spotted a bunch of deer about 800 yds around one of the troughs. With binocs, you could count 8-10 does, 2 small bucks and two racked bucks that were chasing the doe around. We didn’t have anything to lose so we eased on up to get a closer look. We stopped again at 500 out to glass again. There were 2 mature bucks running around, one being a big 8 that stuck out high & wide. I decided that that was the one. But we had to get a little closer first.
The path dropped down some and at the bottom was a patch of green bush that I told Trey was where we needed to get, any closer and I knew we’d spook them off. Well… we made it there and parked. Some of the does looked at us but after a few moments went back to feeding and being pushed around by the bucks that were oblivious to us. Now I knew we had a little time.
I had trey did out my rangefinder and give my some yardages on the trough. It was 416, and suddenly a nice 10 point came out to join the group, but he still wasn’t as big as that 8. He stretched his neck and gave us a hard look, but he just couldn’t bring himself to leave. About 10 minutes later, 3 doe came down the scendero toward us and stopped to eat corn at exactly 300 yds. I could shoot there, and right away that nice 10 came in to join them, but I wasn’t shooting. That big 8 was running all over the place tending does. He almost came in twice before going back to the trough to chase a younger buck off.
Finally, he came down the road toward us and put his head down to eat some behind the 3 does and that 10. Trey ranged him at 310 yards. I was ready when he stood broadside and lifted his head up, lettin’ a bullet fairly rip. They all tore off and we heard the hit echo back. Sounded good, but who knows if I’d hit him good or not so we decided to let him lay for an hour and called all the other guys to come help us look and bring the jeeps. I thought I saw the bullet hit the ground behind him but there wasn’t any blood where he was standing.
An hour later, my uncle almost stepped on him less than 100 yds into the brush. He tried to get up but couldn’t. I’d hit him about 6” too far back but still inside the rib cage. Bullet went in between the rib bones though and didn’t break them. Not pushing him right away paid off. He was 20” wide!
I was shooting a 7mm-08 with barnes TSX bullets and a Vortex scope that has the ranges marked in it for long distance shooting.