Friends Sharing Great Times…And a Youth’s First Deer!
Claude and Layne had been on several trips to the Patio Ranch in a quest for Layne’s first deer harvest. Now, they had returned accompanied by Randy, a long time friend and hunter, for another try at a young hunters first animal. We would be searching for management animals to help with control of total herd numbers as well as removing old and less desirable animals.
The first afternoon started with a long session at the rifle range. Layne had been using a 22 Hornet single shot rifle for the last couple of years as his target weapon. Now it was time for him to get serious and learn to use the .243 that his great-grandfather had handed-down to Layne in November of 2008 at a special ceremony while the family was visiting The Patio Ranch. This was a special gift and would enable Layne to carry on the hunting legacy passed down to him from generations before. Layne was tentative at first about changing to the larger caliber; but, after the first shot was reluctantly taken (for fear of a injurious recoil), Layne was hooked and wanted to fire the gift of his great-grandfather over and over again. When the supply of shells was down to a half dozen or so, it was decided that Layne was ready for the hunt.
Randy would have the first hunter position for this evening hunt. Talk of the management axis bucks available had Randy excited for the hunt. Randy is an experienced hunter and is an exceptional shooter as well. The first trip around the pasture was quiet and uneventful; there was not much animal activity. As we moved into another hunting area, we crossed a large open area near the high ground of the ranch where Randy spotted an unsuspecting axis bull about 250 yards across the opening. Carefully, Randy positioned himself for the shot, assessing the wind and distance. Without hesitation and with the confidence of an experienced shooter, the shot rang out and the large bodied axis buck dropped in his tracks. The exceptionally large-bodied bull was past his antler prime, but was rolling fat from the good grazing conditions brought on by the late winter and early spring rains. Some time was spent admiring this great old warrior bull with torn ears from the battles he had fought with other equally aggressive axis bulls. With pictures taken and memories made, we headed back toward the house for a bite to eat and some sharing of stories.
The next morning, the search for Layne’s first animal started early. We were looking for an animal that would be within 100 yards for his first shot and that would not be an easy task. After looking at many potential targets that were much too far for a shot, we entered a pasture that held a lone axis yearling that had entered the pasture from one of the ranch’s adjacent pastures. It was found fairly soon, but was in a cedar brake about 120 yards from our position. Layne, with the help and advice of his grandfather, settled in for the shot. With the confidence built by a great shooting range experience before the hunt, Layne fired; it was a hit. Another shot was needed to finish the job, but it was done quickly.
Please join us in congratulating Layne on his initiation into the hunting legacy handed to him by his great-grandfather and enabled by his grandfather. This family tradition has roots in another generation now and the hunting heritage is strengthened for all of us by this new addition to the ranks. We invite you to build your own story as Layne and Claude and Randy did on this trip. Contact us and we would be glad to assist in customizing a hunt to your needs and wants. Then, like Layne, Claude and Randy, you too can start or carry-on a hunting legacy and forever “…tell a different hunting story!!”