Patio Ranch Veteran’s First Deer Hunt!
Thane was on leave after serving two tours as a combat engineer in Iraq and wanted to go deer hunting. We invited Thane to help cull some white-tail does with a group of youth hunters. It was his first deer hunting trip and he brought a lever-action 30.06 rifle which his grandfather received for retirement from the Police Department in the 1950’s and gave to Thane as a gift.
After arriving on Saturday and settling in at the lodge, we shot-in the rifle at the range, as the gun was fired only three times prior. The hunt started in the back pasture of the ranch and we began our quest by walking a ridge line – seeing blackbuck, axis, arabian oryx, Auodad and Fallow, but no whitetail. We also took the opportunity to discuss shot placement, grasses, land stewardship; walking really connects you to the land.
Later, we moved to a blind overlooking a grass savannah. To help Thane visualize a great shot, I drew a picture of a white-tail broadside and front-facing with a circle on the shot placement area, which Thane pinned to the side of the blind. A group of does and fawns came by, and after isolating the lone doe, Thane readied, waited for the right shot and squeezed the trigger. He made a perfect shoulder shot at 130 yards. Attached is a picture of the proud hunter with his first deer.
The “Last Bite” ritual was performed to honor the animal. We then field dressed the deer and enjoyed a celebratory meal and beer. The next morning we viewed game for awhile, then removed the backstrap and tender of the doe for Thane to take back to Fort Hood.
It is humbling and inspiring to meet our veterans and it is a wonderful experience to participate in someone’s first hunt. We hope this begins a new heritage for Thane and we thank him for allowing us to “…tell a different hunting story!!”