Family Hunting Experience…A Lifelong Dream!
A young man from Southeast Texas had long thought and dreamed of deer hunting, bird hunting …just any hunting and fishing. Although he had found the time to take a few fishing trips as well as a few trips to the marsh next door to try his hand at bird hunting, he had never taken the time away from his family (Angela his wife, oldest daughter Chelsea, twins Caitlyn and Chloe and Conner the youngest) to take on a lease in the chase of deer. His priorities have always been with his family.
During the early months of 2010 Todd was found to have lung cancer and was given only a few months to live. As a friend talking to Todd I found that he continued to carry the dream of “the chase of the hunt” that had been with him since his youth. With this conversation still fresh in my memory, one place came to mind that would possibly fulfill this wish for Todd…The Patio Ranch. I spoke with Gary at The Patio Ranch on several occasions and together we put together what we thought would be a good hunt for Todd and, just as importantly, a great experience for his family as well. A few calls and a few weeks later, I was lucky enough to be meeting with Todd and his family in the Texas Hill Country for a hunt at The Patio Ranch.
As we drove toward the ranch all Todd would say is “this is crazy” in reference to his anticipation of the Patio Ranch experience. The drive in was a filled with the beauty of the land, river, and of course many different animals. Upon our arrival at the Patio Ranch main lodge (myself and daughter Makenzie, Todd and Angela, Caitlyn, Chloe, Conner and nephew Colby Gobert) we were greeted by (guide) Wes and (ranch manager) Gary. We got everybody moved into their rooms, went over the safety aspect of the group hunt (this was truly a group outing) and Todd, Gary and Wes headed out to the rifle range to test fire Todd’s .270 rifle. On their return to the main lodge, Gary announced that Wes would be taking Todd and myself out on the hunt accompanied by Colby. Gary would take the non-hunting party to look at the other parts of The Patio Ranch and its many animals.
After looking at several locations where deer usually would be found, we began to make stalk after stalk looking for the perfect deer. We had several great stalks and spotted deer on every stalk, looking them over and then moving on to look at other deer always in search of “The One”. The August heat of Texas began to take a toll on the whole group. We returned to the Lodge, prepared a cooler of drinks and hit the trail once again. At approximately 7:30 p.m. Todd got the first of his deer. We found a large group of Axis, with a doe that fit the bill. Wes gave Todd a last minute bit of advice and Todd did the rest.
The next morning found us looking for that “one” Axis buck. The morning started off slower than the day before; but soon, we were on the deer again. Once the buck of choice was located, a plan was put together to get him into the opening. After a hard uphill walk for Todd, the deer began to move as we wanted. Then, the situation started to look bad for us as some Red Deer began to show up and put our stalk in jeopardy. Just as we were about to move to the next location an Axis doe walked right out in the middle of the Red Deer and started to eat. We thought “this just might work after all”. Somewhere close to 9:30 a.m. there were Red Deer and Axis grazing together with Todd’s deer slowly moving into sight. Once the deer presented himself, Wes looked him over, and gave Todd the “OK”. A few minutes later, with Wes helping Todd stay steady and me filming, Todd took the “Shot of a Lifetime” and put the Axis buck down in his tracks. Excitement filled all three of us as the hugs and high fives were flying free.
The rest of the story turns to a more personal spin, as everyone tells me that I did a great thing for the Scott family. I know I could not have made this happen without the help of The Patio Ranch…with special thanks to Wes foremost for the excitement and sincerity you showed with Todd to make this hunt be a “Hunt He Will Never Forget”. And Gary couldn’t have done anymore to make the kids and Angela’s trip to The Patio be any less than wonderful. To Wes’ wife, your hospitality and cooking were something we as a group will never forget. I said at the beginning of the hunt that we wanted a good hunt; what we accomplished was giving a well deserving man, his family and friends some GREAT memories. Thanks Patio Ranch.