Axis Deer and Pure European Mouflon Sheep…The Continuation of a Hunting Heritage!
The path to a hunt on The Patio Ranch for Joe has been a long and event-filled journey. From his youth hunting native white-tail in Pennsylvania to his proud 17 year service as a Marine in the Iraq war and finally to his present job, the flame of his hunting heritage has continued to burn inside of him. The Patio Ranch had the honor to share a hunt with Joe due to his interest in an axis deer and mouflon sheep and to be a part of his return to the hunting heritage of his youth.
After a 2:00 a.m. arrival and a few short hours of sleep, Joe’s rifle was sighted at the range to check accuracy. With that completed, the search for a specific seven year-old pure European Mouflon ram started. The sky was blue and the air cool, lending great hope that the rams would be active. After a long day of hunting, not one ram had been sighted. As luck would have it, a ground blind had been established in the same part of the 475 acre pasture where this ram had been spotted a number of times in the weeks preceding this hunt. With the shadows growing long, the hunters decided the best opportunity might be to spend the last hunting light in the area where the ram was known to frequent. Movement was noticed to the east with the last light of day failing; the reflection of what little light remained on a white saddle-patch told the hunters that a mouflon had arrived. It was the old ram running with a group of ewes! A few nerve-racking moments later as the ram momentarily separated from the ewes, Joe was able to find the ram in his scope. With enough light to still take a safe shot, Joe squeezed the trigger. The ram disappeared from the scope as it dropped to the ground where it had stood a moment before.
The next day, an axis was the focus of the hunt. Again, a beautiful clear-sky day dawned with great hope of spotting one of the hard-antlered axis in this same 475 acre pasture where approximately sixty axis deer reside in addition to the pure mouflon herd. Again, the axis were true to their nature and proved difficult to spot and even more difficult to get them to stand long enough to evaluate and shoot. With a noon lunch-time having passed, a lone axis buck was spotted about 250 yards distant. This bull obviously felt comfortable in his security as he was standing inside a block of brush that was separated by yet another small ribbon of brush from the hunters. Any attempt at closing the large gap between the hunters and the axis bull would spook the big buck. A small window in the closest brush line allowed Joe to see the confident bull clearly in his scope with no obstructions to a shot as it stood clearly inside the larger distant block of brush. Joe settled into his marksman mode and his trusty 30-06 shattered the quiet early afternoon air. The buck fell where it had stood moments before!
Please join us in congratulating Joe on the return to his hunting roots shared with his family those many years ago in Pennsylvania. The green branches in the mouth of both animals demonstrates Joe’s respect for the animals and his desire to honor them after the hunt with the traditional “Last Bite”. There is a high probability that anyone that queries Joe on his hunt and the last bite shared with his grand animals will surely hear as he goes on to “…tell a different hunting story!!”
Best wishes for a blessed Christmas season!