Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Covenant Ranch Day 2

The following is a continuation of Wednesday's post, and describes day 2 of my hunting trip down at Covenant Ranch last week.


The day started out leisurely. I got up around 9:30 a.m. (only 7 hours of sleep last night) and took a walk down by the lake to look for birds. It was colder than I had anticipated so my t-shirt soon felt very insufficient. I saw a Shrike (probably Loggerhead Shrike), some Meadowlarks, Turkey Vultures, a Crested Caracara, some Grebes (probably pied-billed or something), a pair of Wigeon, some sparrows and some shorebirds including Killdeer and what may have been Dowitcher (I need to brush up on my shorebirds before going down to the coast in April).

We had breakfast, relaxed for a while and around noon some of us went out to look for the pig Tyler shot last night. When we approached the general area where he shot the pig, we saw a coyote which seemed to indicate that the animal was nearby and that there would probably be very little left.

Tyler's first kill on the Ranch

Sure enough we found the pig, almost completely eaten by coyotes, yanked off it's lower jaw which housed some nice long tusks, and headed back for lunch. Some of the guys went out to the range to work on their rifles while the rest of us hung out at the lodge reading books and waiting for lunch. After we ate, I played some pool with my buddy Valor (who beat me this time), and then went out to the lake-side to search for arrowheads and spearheads with Daniel and Michael Fowl. We found a few chips of rock that looked like possibilities, but it's hard to tell.

Valor is definitely the best 7-year-old pool player I know! He and I really enjoyed our (numerous) games against one another.

The evening hunt began around 5:00 - a little bit later than the previous evening. Bradley Pierce and I were in a blind in the south side of the ranch. It was octagon-shaped and had a nice clear view of about 7 different shooting lanes. Mr. Turner dropped corn in two or three of those and then headed back to the lodge. We waited for at least 30 minutes without seeing too much besides two hungry Javelina that began rummaging around for corn, and a badger which crossed the road. Then, just before the sun set, I noticed a small deer in range. I was commenting how it looked really small and how I was hoping for something bigger, when a nice big doe stepped out behind it. At this point my heart was really pounding!

The pair were in plain view and within range, so I opened a window and got set with my rifle ready to take the shot when the deer was positioned just right. She was grazing and wouldn't stay very still, moving every few seconds across the road. And I was shaking with excitement and didn't have the confidence I could hit her if I shot. So I waited and passed up two potential opportunities to shoot (which I REALLY REALLY SHOULD HAVE TAKEN! *disciplinary slap on the cheek*). Then she ducked into the brush on the other side of the road and never reappeared. It was getting dark at that point and Brad said we probably had less than 40 minutes of possible hunting time left. We saw a buck and a few more deer far off, but it was too difficult to identify whether or not they were shooters, and it would have been even harder to hit one in the dwindling light. Eventually we had to call it quits and head back to the lodge. I was (and still am!) super disappointed in myself for not firing when I had the chance. That was my first and only opportunity to get a deer and I didn't take it. I won't let that happen again the next time I'm lined up on a nice deer (and believe me, there WILL be a next time!).

My good friend Daniel all geared up and ready to go get some varmints!

This evening (around 10:30 p.m.) we had another varmint hunt which produced almost no animals whatsoever. It was fun to hunt out the rack truck (essentially a F-250 with a big metal stand mounted in back which raised the hunters about 15 feet off the ground), but we only got a very brief glimpse of a bobcat running across the road, Mr. Gobart shot at a hog which we spotted but it ran off and we didn't pursue it far. It was a very uneventful hunt overall.

The "Rack Truck." This thing was really cool (I mean that literally, it got really really cold at night when we hunted out of it!).

My writing is probably getting less and less coherent since it's nearly 2:30 a.m. so I'm going to get some much-needed rest. Tomorrow we pack up and go home.

When I have the time I'll post a followup post with additional pictures and anything I missed in these very sketchy journal entries. And then there's still my camping trip at Enchanted Rock earlier this week - so much to write about lately!

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