Hunters Moon

As we come off this last full moon “The Hunters Moon”, the fishing remains consistent. I’ve been catching solid stringers of trout and reds with a trout average around 3 lbs. and a flounder here and there, for a nice addition to the stringer. The flounder have definitely started their fall migration, there has been some nice fish at the cleaning tables. The trout and reds have been good on free lined piggy perch and shrimp under a popping cork, and flounder on a slow rolled paddle tail wading along drains and grass lines.

On a different note, bookings usually remain consistent through November but with most still licking their wounds from Hurricane Harvey and hunting season in full swing. I decided to take a friend up on an invitation to come hunt a south Texas whitetail. Bill and India Shackleford are clients turned in to dear friends who own one of the finest whitetail ranches in not just south Texas but in the entire state, “Lost Creek Ranch” in Dilley, Texas. In 2015 Bill harvested a deer that scored 218 and some change, winning him first place in Los Cazadores Big Buck contest and first place Texas Big Game Awards. This is quite the accomplishment considering “I didn’t helicopter a deer with a brow tine for the first three years”. Bill and India bought this ranch with the intentions of turning it into a trophy whitetail ranch. Implementing the strictest management plan, doing helicopter surveys to count deer and bringing in one of the states top wildlife biologist by the name of Mark Mathews, and they did just that.

Tony Gonzalez’s deer scored 183 and Bill Shackleford’s deer scored 181 both dressed weight 200 lbs. Ranch hand Desee Ramirez.

What’s up hogboy? because of my email. When are you gonna come hunt a deer? We’ve been seeing a wide racked deer I think you’ll like, there’s a cold front approaching, you need to try to get him before he gets in a fight and breaks his antlers. Oh yeah don’t forget to sign up for a big buck contest! When Bill calls to invite you to come shoot a deer, you go! That reminds me, Congratulations on the wedding Bobby and Jessica Bringier love ya’ll sorry I couldn’t make it.

I get to “Lost Creek” on Thursday morning about 5:00 am, I have enough time to put a feeder on my truck and head to the stand. I visited with Bill and India the week before, we went over deer pictures from game cameras showing me different deer on the harvest list but most of all my deer. The reason for going over these pictures is to avoid shooting the wrong deer, maybe he likes that deer for himself, his grand son, or another friend. I’ve prided myself on not having made a mistake on the ranch before and Bill and India have been proud of me for that also. Well my morning hunt was slow, a few turkeys came in, a bobcat crossed a corner of the oat field, and a fox walked down a sendero then jumped out of site. I go back to the barn and joke around with Desee the ranch hand/comedian, he shows me some culls shot and a deer he was seeing.

Game time! Captain, come say hello to some of my guest, you need to get back in the stand and quit messing with Desee y’all come in. We say our hellos, look at deer again to clarify. This is your deer, his brow tines are unique they almost touch and this next antler, they call that an inline tine. When you look at deer of this caliber in the stand, it’s real easy to make an expensive mistake. The hunt was pretty slow, a few young bucks, some does and fawns that got spooked by something and left. It started getting dark so I put up my video camera might as well pack up, it’s not smart to shoot to late for tracking purposes. I look up and there he is! Running into the oat field, I pull the video camera first to get a picture of him for Bill. I zoom in and notice the brow tines almost touching then the inline tine, that’s my deer. I grab my rifle, click the safety, breath a deep breath and squeeeeeeeeze pop! He drops, I chamber another round and stay on him and stay on him and stay on him and start looking at all of these tall tines, oh no I shot the wrong deer! My heart sinks, I didn’t shoot just the wrong deer “I shot a giant”, I may have just shot the largest deer I have ever seen while in a live hunting situtaion. Desee shows up, alright Tone you got him! Dez, I shot the wrong deer. He laughs then consoles me, it’ll be alright. Bill shot one too, I’m gonna go get him and I’ll meet you at the barn.

So they pull up to the barn, Bill’s smiling you got your deer Hogboy! Why is there a jacket over the antlers? Uhhh I shot the wrong deer! So, you’re a good friend to us lets see. No Bill you don’t understand he’s a giant. He’s A What? I pull off the jacket, Holy Cow He’s Gorgeous Tony! Are you happy? I never been so excited in my life but I’m a wreck. Well I’m glad you got him.

India shows up with the camera and her eyes look astonished. I shot the wrong deer, I’m sorry if it was yours. It was, and smiles. I don’t want to hear another thing about it, enjoy it Tony.

We ended the night with a nice dinner and some great stories of their times on safari, Thank you so much Bill and India for the beautiful buck, your generosity and your friendship.

Tony Gonzalez Inshore Fishing | 210-846-5083
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