Warrior Hunt…A Story of Many Gifts!
David and Susan have been sharing and hosting Houston Safari Club sponsored youth hunts and warrior hunts with The Patio Ranch for many years. They were back this weekend for another long-anticipated hunt with a group of four military veterans and a great support group. Gene and Barbara were providing great table fare for all involved; Alex and Chris (themselves military veterans) were present to share their experiences and to help as hosts for the group; Daniel, Ray and Michael, acting as guides, were eagerly anticipating another great hunting experience with the guests. And, Eric Stumberg was at the ranch to help welcome the guests for the Stumberg family.
Friday afternoon started as usual with the with each hunter trying to shoot better grouping on their target paper at the rifle range than their fellow hunters. With all of the good-natured kidding and different points of view, a tie was finally called for the best shooting between all four shooters. After all, each had a lot of experience in marksmanship. Although very little hunting light remained, all four hunters went into the field in search for their selected species.
Eric (or Ed as he preferred) was the first to spot his quarry that late evening. With the wind in his face as well as the weakly lit western sky, Eric stalked down the hill to find a rest for a good, steady shot. With three bulls standing in close proximity, great care was needed to make sure the right bull was targeted as well as to make sure the other bulls were not in the line of fire. As a clear shot opened, Eric fired; the bull ran down the hill a short distance, fell to the ground and was still. The hunting party approached, gave thanks for the blessing of this hunt and paid respect to the magnificent barasingha bull. Photos were taken and the hunting party was able to enjoy the twilight in the sky and the coolness of this wondrous fall evening as we returned to the main lodge for a great evening meal.
The next day was exciting, event-filled, and productive. After a frustrating morning of searching for an elusive sheep, Ray (guide) was able to get Jack within reasonable shooting range on a Stumberg ram. Although the body on these sheep are not very large, Jack made a tremendous long-range shot…somewhere between 200-400 yards (dependent on the narrator of the storyJ). The experience thrilled him as evidenced by the photo. Later in the day, Jack also was able to close the distance to about 150 yards with Ray’s help to harvest a surplus fallow doe from the 600 acre pasture to augment the supply of meat for his freezer.
Justin had originally set his sights on harvesting an axis buck. However, after a Friday evening and Saturday morning with no sightings to pursue and the advice of his guide, Justin decided to switch his target animal to a barasingha. Michael (his guide) was able to locate the bull that they were seeking. When it was sighted, the presence of the hunters made the bull nervous enough that it decided to run and increase the distance between he and the hunters. It ran what might have been a safe distance to discourage a shot from some hunters; but Justin just waited for the bull to stop and survey the situation. A non-moving target is all it took for this marksman to take a good barasingha bull that will keep him supplied with meat for many months to come.
Jay had been determined to get a blackbuck when the hunt started, but they always seemed to be where Jay was not. He had seen and tried to get close to a white-tail buck, but they were on alert and were gone before the stalk started. Sunday morning brought Jay out to hunt one final time in the early dawn. He had a strong will to bring home some fresh meat from the trip. Daniel displayed a strong resolve to help Jay with his hunt and they started on stalk for a fallow doe that they had spotted from a distance. To make a long stalk story short, their determination and relentless hunting finally resulted in a fallow doe for Jay to take home.
Whether hunter, guest or ranch staff, everyone received some special gifts: lifelong memories to pass on to family, friends and acquaintances; the fellowship and sharing of experiences with good people; the opportunity to say “THANK YOU” to some of the warriors that have sacrificed much to defend our nation, our freedom and way of life. Let us be ever mindful and thankful, especially at this time of year, for this nation and those that have given so much!!
Join in in proudly thanking these warriors and congratulating them on their successful hunts. With all of the gifts given and received this weekend, there will hopefully forever be countless memories to relive and relate by every participant. Each and every one of us present this weekend are now rich in experiences so that we can for many years share with others and “…tell a different hunting story!!”
Blessings for a safe and joyous Thanksgiving!!