Manchurian Sika…Short Stalk, Sweet Reward!
As most hunters understand, a hunting experience can never be predicted. It is usually longer or shorter than expected, hotter or colder, more strenuous…or not…or one of any countless other results of unpredictable variables related to animal behavior. Almost no amount of preparation or planning can equip one for every possible hunting situation. Not knowing what will develop on any particular hunt is one of the great joys of hunting; the surprise and enjoyment of a completely unique experience is what most hunters seek.
Bryan had been on the ranch hunting with friends since the day before. A successful hunt the afternoon prior had given all participants at the dinner table last evening plenty of material with which to weave great tales. As the tasty Mexican food dinner prepared by Teresa and enjoyed by all vanished before my eyes, the stories of great hunting experiences past filled the evening with a great and entertaining fellowship.
The next morning revealed itself as another wonderful day to be hunting..and Bryan had his sights set on finding a Manchurian Sika. Everyone was guardedly optimistic, but not quite prepared for what was seen on the top of the hill as the hunting party approached the hunting pasture. A large sika bull, backlit by the rising morning sun, was topping a hill and disappearing down the other side. After stopping at a distance so as not to alarm the large bull and other smaller bulls that were in his company, we waited for the animals to move out of sight. That allowed the hunters to approach unseen and with a good crosswind so that the deer would not catch the scent of the hunters.
Wes and Bryan quietly approached the hill top behind the cover of a small oak motte so as not to be silhouetted by any animals on the other side. After arriving under the cover of the screening oaks, Bryan was able to more carefully evaluate the sika bulls: a very large specimen was in the herd and slowly grazing down the hill. This bull fit Bryan’s idea of a great sika and the decision was made to get in position for a shot. Another tree was approached for cover while giving a clear field of view in the direction in which the bull was moving. After a few more minutes of waiting as the bull turned and moved while feeding, a clear view was finally presented. A shot was taken and the bull ran off into the cover of a nearby juniper thicket…and then there was silence. After waiting an agonizing 4-5 minutes that seemed like much longer, the hunter approached the spot where the large sika had disappeared. The magnificent bull was lying still…
That evening at dinner, as the good friends gathered to share another meal and reminisce of the day’s events, many stories were heard. All of them were different, but had so much in common: they all talked most of the times shared with friends, the memories created and the feeling of sharing in the beauty of the magnificent creations in the world of nature. I invite you to join us here on The Patio Ranch to build your own memories and experience an adventure so that you too can “…tell a different hunting story!”