Christmas has just passed, and I’m back hunting again. And, what a season it has been for The Bucks of Tecomate so far! It has NOT gone as expected. Besides the Finland trip I wrote about in an earlier BLOG and, of course, our Texas ranches, so far The Bucks of Tecomate cameras had travelled to Montana, Iowa, Kansas (twice), Illinois (four times!), Nebraska (twice), Maryland and Ohio … and tallied a score of only 3 … yes, 3 … kills! (The fact that we didn’t kill certainly doesn’t mean the hunts were unsuccessful. When hunting big mature bucks, coming up empty sometimes is a part of the experience.) The Midwest, particularly Illinois, treated us roughly! The way the Illinois firearms season fell this year on the calendar resulted in a later-than-usual season, causing the dates to hit during the post-rut lull. The lack of rutting activity was certainly evident, but state agencies throughout the upper Midwest also quietly spoke about a worse-than-expected 2007winter that may have caused a modest die-off. From what I saw, or didn’t see, that seems plausible. Gary Schwarz and I hunted with one of the best outfitters in the Midwest, Carroll Berry’s Illinois Extreme Whitetails, and came up short. Carroll’s historical success rate runs around 75% for the three-day hunt. This year it was closer to 10%. Something was definitely amiss.
But our time in Illinois was anything but uneventful. Besides hunting all day every day, Gary and I also hosted the Versus Whitetail Challenge III, for which Tecomate was the title sponsor. Hunting all day and hosting most of the night certainly kept us busy ... and was loads of fun. For those who haven’t yet seen the Challenge, you don’t want to miss it. I think it is the best one ever … and I guarantee that the winner is the prettiest we’ve ever had! You see, this year’s winner was Olivia Angelloz, former Mrs. Nebraska! And, I can tell you – she earned it! Watch the show and see for yourself.
While the Midwest roughed us up a bit, Texas has already come through in a BIG way … and it ain’t over yet. Just before Christmas, when the rut first started cranking up here in Deep South Texas, my two hunting daughters scored BIG! (I have three wonderful daughters, but my middle daughter, Samantha, doesn’t shoot, but she loves the ranch, the outdoors and deer hunting – just not shooting. She even guides and can judge buck age and size with the best of them!) Daughter Kristin will dazzle The Bucks of Tecomate viewers with her giant 8-pointer scoring 162 B&C points. What a buck! Not only is he big, but that buck is absolutely beautiful, one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen.
And, my daughter Jennifer broke Kristin’s record for the biggest buck ever taken on El Cazador Ranch. Until Jennifer sneaked up on her 21-pointer … yes, 21-pointer … on December 15, 2008, Kristin held the ranch record with a 190-point gross B&C taken on the show last fall. But now, Jennifer holds top honors with her monster non-typical grossing a whopping 201 3/8 B&C and netting well above the 195 mark needed to qualify for the B&C records as a non-typical! And, what a hunt it was, as you’ll see next fall on The Bucks of Tecomate!
Now, let’s see – Jennifer has shot the biggest buck ever on the ranch and Kristin the second largest. What about David? Well, when you live in a house full of women who hunt, you learn that keeping the women happy is key to staying happy yourself – and to keeping your ranch! Besides, they are all darn good hunters!
With Kristin’s and Jennifer’s bucks down, there’s still more to come. My wife Debbie and I are still hard at it. I’ve got my sights set on a monster 13-pointer. I’ve seen him five times and have been “cameranized!” every time. He has always showed up when the light was too low for the camera. Isn’t that nearly always the way with trophy bucks? Hunting with a camera is a severe handicap when hunting mature whitetails, but we do it so we can share the awesome experience with YOU, our values viewers. Otherwise, I would already have a 180-plus 13-pointer headed to the Cazador “Wall of Fame.”
Jennifer Duplissey’s B&C non-typical grossing 201 3/8!
My wife has had the same woes with the camera. Three times she has had her heavy 170-class 10-pointer within shooting range in legal hours, and three times she has been camera-hooked! And she’s not liking it one bit! The last time she saw him he came in before daylight and she had to wait 25 minutes for good camera light … in 34 degree weather with the wind blowing 20 mph. By the time she was given the green light, she was shaking so much from the cold, tension and excitement that she missed! Something she has never done before. She had some very choice words for both the cameraman (my young pal, Mason Gertz) and me, words I didn’t even know she knew. I don’t think she will yield to the camera again. I’m betting that the next time she sees that buck, in low light or full sunshine, his number will be up … or else mine will be!
As you can see, there’s much more ahead. Gary Schwarz has just started the trophy hunts on his ranch. Monsters will fall there. I hope one of them will succumb to Jeff Foxworthy, who joins us on January 4th for his annual hunt here in South Texas. Jeff has already had a great year on his farm in Georgia, where he took his first Pope & Young buck and another mature 8-pointer. Yes, Jeff’s a bowhunter, a darn good one! But, he draws the line on letting cameras go along on his bowhunts. Big Georgia bucks are hard enough to kill when just one person enters their domain. Throw in a bulky camera and a cameraman, and the odds shift too far in favor of the deer.
Standby … much more to come!!!!
May Our Great God grant you and your family a Happy and Prosperous New Year,