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Hunt 8 December 10 - 14
John R.Newsome, Effingham, IL, our all-time best-ever, most faithful client, hosted family, friends and employees on this hunt. Unfortunately, illness kept John from coming. But his son, John A. (Johnny) and grandson John IV (Quatro) took over and did a most credible job.
At our traditional kickoff meeting and orientation, we tell hunters to be prepared on that very first afternoon to put a bullet into a buck that "melts their butter." Some are hesitant, not wanting their buck hunt to conclude so soon. But all hunts do not have a story-book ending where, during the last ten minutes of his final day, a hunter collects the largest buck he has seen. Indeed, already a couple of times this year, the largest buck of the hunt was taken the first afternoon. And we remember years where the largest of the season came on the first afternoon of a hunt.
And so it was on Hunt 8. Josh Kerr, Alvin, TX, an amigo of Quatro Newsome, on that very first afternoon of the hunt brought in a buck which now moves well into the lead as the largest buck taken so far in 2017. The 19" 5x5 taped 146 2/8 inches and weighed 170. A broken-off eye guard kept him from hitting the 150-inch milestone.
So Josh and his buck set the bar mighty high for the rest of the troops in the field. And a credible bunch of hunters they were. They included three who had taken our top buck of the year honors on four previous occasions - Tom Rentfro 2013, 2014; John A. Newsome 2010; and Myron Woomer 1996.
But that first night, other good bucks came in, as well. David Marrow, Magnolia, TX and Brian Burke, Naperville, IL, both kinsmen to the Newsomes by marriage, were the lucky hunters. Next morning, Johnny found a buck with a most unusual set of points on his antlers. We called him an 8 x 6 on his 18" rack.
That night, Tom Rentfro harvested a main-frame 12 pointer - a superb trophy, but unfortunately, an eyeguard was broken smooth off. Broken antlers here in mid-December with the rut beginning to taper-off somewhat are to be expected. But frankly, some observers had predicted much worse breakage back before the season got underway.
We had asked all eleven hunters to do their best to collect three does/each. They almost did it. When the final shot was fired on the last morning, we counted 31 does on our tally board. Plus, Quatro collected a dandy javelina and David Marrow had himself a nice fox. And Brian Burke elected to take a second buck, a tall ten pointer.
A long, long time guest of the Newsomes is Tom Anderson, now from Coal City, IL. Tom's ten pointer hit the 130-inch mark and was the second best of the hunt.
All eleven hunters collected bucks with one second buck harvested. Four were 4 x 4's. Four were 5 x 5's. Two were nine pointers. Then there was that 8 x 6 and the 6 x 6. That's a pretty good set of whitetail bucks any way you look at it.
The weather continues to be super-stable. Lows at night run from 25-35 at daylight (yes, there is frost on the windshields) to 65-75 during the afternoon. So you need a heavy coat early in the morning, but only shirt-sleeves during the afternoon. There has been some, but not much wind. Dry weather continues. The half-inch of rain last week has already disappeared. The wheat is hanging on by a whisker where deer are abundant even during mid-day. At sundown, scores of deer can be seen in the fields.
Our next hunt runs December 18-22. The one after that is December 27-31. Four hunts are scheduled for January, and we still have slots open January 18-21.
Hunt 7 December 5 - 9
The mild weather we've had since the first hunt back in early November came to a halt. Hunt 7 was cold almost from start to finish. And we got a bit of moisture, too - maybe a grand total of a half-inch over three days. Not much, but it will surely help our wheat and winter weeds.
In camp to experience all this was the most diverse group of the season. Three of the eight in camp were first-time visitors to the Adobe Lodge Home Camp. They were Tom Tekavec and Ken Shipley from WV and PA respectively, plus Tom Peterson, Odessa, FL. Two were long-timers with a dozen or more hunts at Adobe Lodge. They were Ray Hudgens, Jupiter, FL and Marie Boehler, Amsterdam, NY. And three had 2-4 years Adobe Lodge experience. They were Craig Nowell, St. Martinville, LA; Aaron Roberts, Corpus Christi, TX; and Mike Dellis, Ahwahnee, CA. Actually, Mike had never hunted our Home Camp, but had been with us when we hunted the F-Ranch many years ago.
So if you have kept track of the domiciles mentioned above, only two came from the same state, but they came as singles from the east and west sides of Florida. Speaking of singles, all came alone except two - Tekavec and Shipley were together, but they live in different states. Mercy - my head is already spinning. Forget all these mindless statistics. How did they do?
As mentioned earlier, it was cold almost the entire time. Since the rut is hot and heavy now, and with this being the first real cold spell of the season, one would think the deer hunting would have been fast and furious. As things happen in this crazy sport, the hunt evolved slowly over the four days. When the hunt kicked-off on Tuesday afternoon with a chilly north wind, the hunters brought in several does and reported seeing plenty of small bucks but no large ones. And only a few does. Tom Peterson, however, collected a beautiful 28 lb. bobcat that blustery afternoon.
Wednesday, it rained all day. Actually, it would be best described as a drizzle. It fell so slowly that our roads hardly got muddy. Temperatures during all this time were around 35 or so. A few does got harvested, of the few that were seen. Observers speculated that with the rut hot and heavy, the smaller bucks hang-out at the feeders while the larger bucks are out chasing does. But not always. That night, Tom Tekavec collected the largest buck of the hunt - a whopping 19 1/2" ten pointer.
Thursday, it was even colder with some "almost flurries" of snow. As you might imagine, the wind chill was disagreeable, but the troops kept up the good work by continuing to collect does despite few opportunities to do so. The rain came to an end, but Aaron Roberts, from Corpus Christi down on the Texas coast, was getting photos from his family of a snow in that normally balmy city. They wound up with maybe 3 inches or so, something which happens less often than once per decade.
Now it's Friday morning, the last full day of the hunt and our eager troops have only one buck on our tally board. But Mike Dellis doubled our buck harvest on this particular hunt that cold morning by taking a good eight pointer with a most unusual eye guard point. Check out his photo below. The others finally accumulated a respectable number of does as they continued to accommodate their outfitter's wishes by hammering down on the anterless deer. And never mind the brutal hunting conditions. Finally, Friday afternoon, some of the choosy hunters made good shots on their selections.
Aaron Roberts found a good nine pointer he liked. Craig Nowell found a buck with kickers all over the place. We counted twelve altogether. And Ken Shipley got an 18 1/4" eight but says he turned down a monster five pointer. When shown the photo of a giant six point taken back in 2010 with a 24" spread, Ken declared the five point to be much wider and taller. Maybe someone will tag him before the fat lady sings in late January.
On the final morning with the temperature in the mid-20s, all three of the buck-less hunters rose to the challenge but came in empty-handed. Craig Boehler, formerly a hunter who has now converted to an Adobe Lodge guide for his beautiful wife, Marie plus Craig Nowell from south Louisiana, announced he was ready to quit. His Adobe Lodge guiding job was getting him down. Why? What could have happened? Craig Boehler, the guide, had put Craig Nowell in a blind where javelinas are known to roam since Mr. Nowell wanted one to hang on his wall. He located Marie where he thought she'd have the best chance at her goal - a big, mature buck.
As things so often happen around here, Mr. Nowell (who already had his buck) sees a possible candidate for Boone and Crockett. And wouldn't you know it? Marie sees nothing but javelinas. We hope Craig Boehler will recover from all this stress - actually he is one fine guide.
Here's the final tally for the eight hunters: of the five who took bucks, one was hunting under the "Trophy Option" while four were regular price. Of the three who failed to take bucks, two were "Trophy Option" and one was a regular price hunter. Seven took three does/each; one took two does making a total of 23 does for the group. And don't forget that bobcat.
We still have three slots open on our January 18-21 date. Remember, the price on that hunt is discounted to $2500.
Hunt 6 November 30 - December 4
This sixth hunt of 2017 is dedicated to the memory of Bill Knapp - whose obituary and story appear elsewhere on this website. For the first time since way back in 1997, Bill wasn't here. But no doubt he was here in spirit to join his offspring and friends.
Last year, Bill set up his annual trip to Adobe Lodge to include grandson, Dylan Knapp. This year, Bill had asked to include another grandson, Andrew, Dylan's year-younger brother. The goal both years was for the boys to take their first-ever buck. Since Bill had collected our coveted "Buck of the Year" honors three times and son Eric, the boy's father had also won this annual award, Bill's goal was to "pass the torch" to the next generation of hunters.
One of Bill's long-time amigos, Wendell (Mac) McPherson last year brought HIS son, Brian, along on their annual trek to West Texas. This year, Brian, in turn, brought along his daughter to hopefully take her first-ever buck.
After Bill's initial trip here way back in 1997, he has been accompanied ever since by Ray Reynolds. And a couple/three years ago, Ray's son, Andy, came along with Dad.
So you might say the entire hunt consisted of family and friends introduced to the delights of Adobe Lodge hunting by Bill Knapp. Indeed, Bill had told friend Ray after that first visit that he had found a place they could both go until they got too old to hunt. Ray, now 85, will try to make it back next year but must cope first with some health issues for his wife and himself.
The only "outsider" in camp was our old amigo, Mike Kramer, Lake Villa, IL who had to move his date due to complications with his schedule. Bill Knapp, when contacted, had graciously accepted Mike onto this special hunt. Sadly, Bill didn't quite live to see it all come together, but had it not been for him, none of us would have ever come to know the rest of the Knapp family, the Reynolds family and the McPhersons. To all of us at Adobe Lodge, that is the real blessing of the hunting camp. We get to know people from all across this nation whom we would never had met without this deer hunting business.
With this being said, it is difficult to see how the hunt could have unfolded any better. For one thing, the weather was extremely mild with modest temperatures and winds. That first night, Andy Reynolds drew blood from a buck, but on-the-spot analysis by his guide, Bill Scott, called for a halt to the search until the next morning. It worked. Andy's buck was a dandy - a 21" ten pointer. If that wasn't enough, his dad, Ray, that very same morning of the search, collected a beauty of his own. You would think that a buck the size of Andy's would best all the rest, but it wasn't to be.
Andrew Knapp downed a magnificent 12 pointer, 20" wide. Actually, he's a main-frame ten with a pair of twin kickers on his G-2s. No, Andrew's first-ever buck can't win Buck of the Year honors but he comes close. He's only a mere eighth of an inch behind the 140-inch buck taken by Lee Wilson back on Hunt 3. But Andrew has clearly started down the trail to replace his grandfather as "Legend of Adobe Lodge."
The hunters were encouraged to take lots of does, and they did their best. The skinning shed was busy; our freezers were jam-packed; and we had to send to town for more butcher paper.
Next day, Dylan Knapp got a buck, a 9 pointer with an unusual configuration on his left beam. Then, on the third morning, things real got busy when Mac McPherson, Mike Kramer and Eric Knapp all tagged out on good bucks.
But Brian McPherson, guiding daughter Renae, a senior in high school, were having heck. After easily collecting a nice doe on the first afternoon for her "first-ever deer" as a proper "dress rehearsal" for the big event should an acceptable buck come along, poor Renae's luck had gone south. And the entire camp was pulling for her to get that first buck. Finally, on the last night, she did it. A 19" eight pointer. Yep, dad Brian was one happy camper, but his relentless guiding for his daughter had prevented his own quest for a buck. Brian was the only hunter without a buck, but did manage to collect a couple of good does with one of them, at 105 lbs., the heaviest of all the does taken over the four days.
Also on that last night, Mike Kramer fulfilled one of his goals by collected an impressive javelina with a set of the most wicked teeth we've seen in a while. Check the photo of these dentures below.
So eight for nine with two "First-Evers" on bucks; twenty three does; and one javelina. Dylan Knapp also hit two prickly pear cactus pads with one shot, as confirmed by his guide, Tony Kieffer which cost him that third doe. Very minor bad news for an otherwise super-successful hunt and tribute to Bill Knapp.
Hunt 5 November 25 - 29
Each year beginning back in 2009, our Adobe Lodge compound has been invaded by seafood people, hosted by Trey Pearson and JBS Packing Company, Port Arthur, TX.
Despite being mightily impacted by the Harvey storm (and you should have heard some of the stories told by those on the front lines), here they came in force. In addition to Trey, Jimmi Stringfellow has made every trip. Others in the group - Lance Stringfellow, Clinton Jones, Brent Zirlott, and Don Savely - are frequent guests. Boaty Campbell was back for the second year. The only first-timer was Ryan Ancelet. But in order to accurately understand the results of this hunt, here are a couple of important facts:
1. As a whole, these guys have much experience hunting the San Angelo area.
2. They are mighty competitive, both on bucks and does.
There were rumors of "a pot" for the largest doe. So with everyone's "selectivity factor" dialed up to the max, the harvest went mighty slow. At the kickoff meeting, the group had been urged to take lots of does. But unless a particular doe was a candidate to win that pot, she was given a pass. Only one or two were brought in for butchering each half-day. At the half-way point in the four day hunt, we could tabulate only 13 does. Four had two; one had three; and two had one/each. And no bucks.
But during the first half of the game, Brent Zirlott, did manage to collect a nice gray fox. Brent's main contribution was, however, treating one and all to all the raw oysters they could eat. Brent and his son operate an impressive oyster farm off Murder Point, AL. Some of our guides, unused to such bounty here on the edge of the desert, pigged out on the treats. Shrimp - the business of almost all the hunters - were featured every meal except breakfast.
Finally, on the third night, a couple of dandy bucks were photoed. Clinton Jones, Irvington, AL, who has won our "Buck of the Year" honors twice, brought in the widest buck of the year so far with an outside spread of 23 1/2 inches on his eight point frame. Brent Zirlott collected a super-high horned eight, as well. No telling how long those G-2s were - we forgot to measure them.
Next day at noon, Boaty Campbell brought in another eight point that topped the 20-inch mark. And thus ended the buck harvest, even with an evening and a morning hunt yet to go. When it was finally over, 19 does had been harvested, the heaviest of which at 107 lbs. was taken by Boaty. Other hundred-plus pound does were taken by Ryan Ancelet, Clinton Jones, Jimmi and Lance Stringfellow, and Brent Zirlott.
The weather continues to be seasonally mild. Temperatures at daybreak are in the 30s when it's cold; in the high 40s when it's not. Daytime temperatures are similar: high 60s on a "cold day" to almost 80 when it's warm. Rain is badly needed but refuses to come. The rut is hot and heavy now, no doubt about it. Bucks are hungry and keep the does away from the corn feeders. Many, many dead deer and varmints are seen on area highways.
Hunt 4 November 18 - 22
Once again, a magnificent buck was taken by an experienced hunter on the first night of the hunt. Lyle Olson was the lucky guy. His super-heavy horned ten pointer showed all the rest of the hunters in camp just what the potential was, and sure enough, the buck harvest was slow and deliberate as everyone patiently waited for a butter-melter. Lyle's dandy buck had raised the boiling-point for them all. Lyle, from Chapin, SC, reminded us this was his 14th trip in a row to our camp.
But just because the buck hunting was slow, that doesn't mean the doe harvest was too. Remember we are leaning on all the hunters to bear down on the antlerless deer this year. And they did, probably averaging 5-7 does per half day. Which kept our skinning shed hopping. Although the weather was super decent and typical for this time of year (30s early; 60s-70s late afternoon), the reports of buck sightings were sporadic with some seeing a dozen or more while others saw only one -or two - or none. And there were reports of bucks running does, but maybe not quite in earnest yet. It's hard to tell.
On the second afternoon, Pat Keough, Rye, NY connected with a 17" eight pointer during a perfectly beautiful afternoon. Five does were butchered, as well. So after three outings, the picky hunters had found only two bucks they liked. Next morning, Jim Davis, St. Louis Park, MN got a ten pointer. Jim, on his third trip to Adobe Lodge, was introducing Ralph Anderson from Minnetonka to our Texas-style hunting. Finally, on the third night, not only Ralph, but three others tagged great bucks. Four in one night - mercy.
In addition to Ralph's eight pointer which weighed 161 lbs, the heaviest of the hunt, Adobe Lodge multi-year veteran Ed McFarland, Lyle Olson's amigo from Anderson, SC collected a heavy-horned eight, 17 1/2" wide. The photo crew was super busy that night with Donald Keough, Pat's son, taking a 16 1/2" eleven pointer with a kicker on a G2. Last but not least, Scott Murdoff, on his 2nd Adobe Lodge adventure, got his photo made with a high-horned main-frame eleven pointer. Scott hails from Plano, TX up near Dallas.
Bringing up the rear of the photo session that busy night, Pat Keough showed us his 55 lb. javelina which he is getting shoulder-mounted to display back home in New York. That will keep the bad guys away.
Headed into the home stretch then, six of the eight hunters had filled every slot on our tally board and clocked-out early. That left only Scott Murdoff who needed a couple of does and Dude Phelan, Ocala, FL still hunting. Dude, who had stayed over from Hunt 3 reported seeing plenty of bucks. Mostly. But every now and then, Dude's pickings were poor. But he was after a good'un. Hunting under our unique "Trophy Option" plan, Dude was content to be choosy, waiting for one he judged to be worth the trophy fee. Sadly, it didn't happen. Dude, accompanied by his lovely wife, Stephanie, for both hunt dates, returned home with a cooler jam-packed with deer meat from the five does he harvested during his stay, but no buck. Dude wasn't a bit disappointed - he re-booked for another pair of back-to-back hunts for 2018.
If you have managed to keep up with this rambling narrative, you will have counted seven bucks and twenty-four does plus one javelina for the eight hunters in camp. And they took all available slots for 2018. Can't do better than that.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. Indeed, we have much for which to give thanks. There is not room enough on this web page to list all our blessings. But we are thankful.
Hunt 3 November 13 - 17
Six Adobe Lodge veterans and two newcomers were in camp for our third hunt of the season. Alabama sent two, Georgia had two, Florida had a couple of single hunters, and one each came from New Jersey and from Virginia. By supper on the first night, everyone knew everyone but the talk was all about that buck taken the first afternoon of the hunt.
Lee Wilson has been at our Home Camp five times but has also hunted the McManus Camp and a no-frills ranch in our group, plus several other places in Texas before he found us. So Lee, who hails from Gulf Shores, AL, knows a good'un when he sees him. No doubt, his 20 1/2" ten pointer takes the lead as the season's best so far with an even 140 inches of horns on his head. Lee had set the bar mighty high for the rest in camp.
Lee's hunting amigo, Ken Carter, who now lives also in Alabama, was similarly in the lead for Biggest Buck honors last season until a couple of whoppers were tagged after Christmas. Speculation among the guides had it that the hunt would proceed slowly as the rest of the troops would hold out waiting for something spectacular. That failed to come to pass. Bucks were taken right along, about one per half-day.
Next to claim a buck was first-timer, Kevin Yeater, Snellville, GA. Unfortunately, a missed shot cost another hunter (who insists on remaining un-named) a near-contender to Lee's buck. That afternoon, Matt Shubert, who took the final slot on this hunt date only a couple weeks ago, found some G-2s and 3s on a buck that appeared to be almost ten inches long. But dad-gummit, one main beam was broken off a few inches back of the tip. So the lucky buck got a pass from Matt.
That same second afternoon, good news and bad news came to camp. The good? Ben Yeater who is Kevin's son from Monroe, GA, collected a heavy-horned 11 pointer with kickers off both G-2s. The bad? Dude Phelan, Ocala, FL who hunted with us last year for the first time since the early 1990s, hit one that could not be found that night.
Next morning, Dude and guide Buryl Williams searched high and low finding only one small drop of blood. No telling how far they walked. Because Dude was certain the buck would be found and because Buryl had heard the shot make that distinctive "Whop" when a deer's body is hit, the pair used our Polaris Ranger to more thoroughly cover the large, hilly area. They looked under every bush and rock that afternoon. Still no buck. What a bummer!!! And if that wasn't enough, there were reports of yet another missed shot by yet another hunter.
That third night, finally good news returned. Ken Carter tagged a tall-horned dude. Ken was the only hunter to collect his limit of three does, too, earning our profound gratitude. Speaking of does, only eight were taken by the eight hunters with two DNF does posted on the tally board.
On the third morning, H.B. Lantz got a 17 1/2" ten pointer that had the end of his left main beam missing. Was this the same buck seen by Matt Shubert? Even with the missing tines, H.B.'s buck lacked only an eighth of an inch hitting the magical 130 number. Had those antlers been intact, he was easily a mid-130s type, for sure.
As an aside here, our taxidermist says such missing tines or pieces of main beams can be restored so that even the buck's mother would suspect nothing artificial whatsoever to her darling baby boy. Lesson: don't let missing antler parts stop you from getting a good buck. Only your taxidermist will know for sure, and he ain't telling.
On the last night, Matt Shubert and Bill Wurfel collected a pair of ten-pointers that looked like twins. Nothing like a photo-finish to set an outfitter's heart to racing. Bill collected his buck with his .50 cal. muzzle loader, too, just as he did at the McManus Camp last week. He loves that polution-causing weapon.
Nevertheless, counting that DNF on the buck, all were successful, and the best news was the fact that five of the eight re-booked for 2018. Dude Phelan, and his lovely wife, Stephanie who is here as a non-hunter, will be staying over for Hunt 4, the last hunt before Thanksgiving. The weather was mostly decent for the entire hunt, but a bit warm at times. It is supposed to get cooler for a day or two, but nothing super cold, thank goodness.
Hunt 2 November 8 - 12
We have been praying for rain. On the day Hunt 2 got underway, here it came. Thank You Jesus. And we will deal with wet weather and muddy roads the best we can. As it turned out, only the first afternoon of the hunt was affected.
The hunt kicked off two-shy of the eight on our list. Scott Patterson and son Ryan were late getting here due to Ryan's school schedule down in Houston. Scott's brother, Lynn, from Kingsland, TX was here for the kickoff. He had introduced both kinsmen to the delights of Adobe Lodge hunting several years ago. Lynn, originally from Odessa, TX, has been here 10-12 times. He is a proud uncle who is coaching his nephew on the finer points of bow hunting.
Jim Mousseau put together a group of four - his sister, Cheryl and her husband Stephen Moon from Freeland, MI, plus their cousin Pete Mousseau from Macomb, MI. Jim, who now lives in Golden, CO and Pete were both here on our final hunt of 2016. Interestingly, all four re-booked for 2018 before leaving camp.
The eighth hunter was Peter Ruseski from San Diego, CA. Faithful readers will recall seeing Peter's Porsche in camp last year. Danged if he didn't come in that same rig once again. You have to admit there are precious few hunting camps with a Porsche in the parking lot. And that sleek vehicle sped back to California loaded down with healthy venison. No other vehicle of that make has transported as much deer meat. Ever.
No doubt, many more deer were out and about during the cooler weather on this hunt compared to the near-record heat days of the previous hunt. And, for sure, many does were taken as we had asked the hunters to do. But of the eight hunters in camp, only four of them took bucks. That might be alarming to those who don't know this bunch as well as we do. Actually, the four bucks were about what we had projected. Here is the deal:
Peter Ruseski comes to harvest does for his freezer back home in southern California where few people eat meat of any kind. Peter does, and loves it, especially venison. Peter wasn't going to shoot even at our fabled "Buck of the Year."
You could almost say the same thing about Scott Patterson, Lynn Patterson, and Jim Mousseau. To be sure, all three would probably have shot at a super-monster, but none was seen by any of them. All were hunting under our unique "Trophy Option" price, and all were perfectly content to take their quota of does and to bypass bucks which failed to meet their high standards.
The four bucks taken by the others were good ones, as you will see in the photos below. Ryan Patterson took his buck that first morning he was in camp. That same busy day, Stephen Moon got a pair of javelinas, the first he'd ever seen. But Stephen's gun was off. His guide loaned him a gun - the defective weapon could be dealt with later on back home.
Pete Mousseau, on the second afternoon, reported "missing" a buck. Guide Jerry Watts, who has been here longer than anyone and who has heard this tale before, insists that when a report comes in of a "missed" shot, you had better dang sure check it out. Sure enough, the next morning, the search party found Pete's missing buck. And when you see Pete's photo below, you will agree it would be a crying shame to lose a buck such as this one. The rascal had almost 133 inches on his 18", nine-point frame.
Using that borrowed gun, Stephen Moon collected his buck, yet another eighteen-incher, on Thursday afternoon. So finally things were going our way.
But uh-oh. On Friday afternoon, Cheryl Moon also reported a missed shot. Were we about to see the same thing, once again? Not quite. After much discussion and game strategy, Cheryl told her guide, Tony Kieffer, that she wanted to see if that same buck might return once again. With split G-2s on both sides, he would be easily recognizable. And that's exactly what happened. He returned; this time she didn't miss. Way to go, Cheryl. Never mind that some of his points had already broken off. We called him a nine, but he was once a ten. And at 162 lbs. was the largest buck of the hunt.
So eight hunters collected four bucks and 24 does. Plus Jim Mousseau got himself a nice fox; Stephen Moon took those two javelinas; and Pete Mousseau removed a couple of feral hogs earning our everlasting gratitude. Altogether it was a great hunt with five re-bookings. The three Patterson's promised to return once Ryan's school schedule next fall comes into focus. As it stands now, there are three slots open for 2018.
Hunt 1 November 3 - 7
The calendar said it was hunting season, but it surely didn't seem like it. Except when we looked around camp. We could count seven of the eight hunters were veterans and have been here many times. They were raring to go. Yep, it was time to hunt alright.
Take John R. Newsome, for example. He has been coming three-five times each season since 1995. John was accompanied as usual by his faithful sidekick, Myron Woomer. Both are from the Effingham area of Illinois. Tom Biehl, from Fleetwood, PA, is another with many years of continual Adobe Lodge experience going back to 2001. That's seventeen years in a row for those who are mathematically challenged. Tom's son, Hunter, has been coming almost as many years. We love father/son groups.
And we had another batch of them, too - Joe Ivey with sons Russell and Tony were here once again. All are from the Houston area. Joe, who first hunted alone with us about five years ago, is now bringing both offspring along for the great and glorious good times they have hunting whitetails.
The only first-timer was Melvin Ellington from Hyattsville, MD. Melvin says he lives only six minutes from downtown D.C. - mighty close to the swamp, if you ask me.
So how did they do, you ask? Mighty good, we claim, especially given the weather conditions and the full moon. Indeed, until the final morning, we had record temperatures almost to the 90s every day. At daybreak, it would be all the way down to the low 70s. And no wind to speak of. And then on the third morning, it was so foggy you couldn't distinguish the sex of a deer at 100 yards. Despite these challenges, the hunters collected almost a full tally board of deer. We had asked them to take three does apiece if possible. They almost did it.
Tony Ivey collected a dandy 3x4, but in doing so, he got to see something mighty rare. His buck had been in a "fight-to-the-death" with another evenly matched combatant. No telling how long the battle lasted, but with all the warfare in motion, Tony had heck finding a decent shot. Most hunters, including me, have never seen a sho'nuff fight - just a little sparring around a feeder, and that's about it. Having a ring-side seat for such an event is a priceless added treasure you get from being out in the woods hunting whitetails. That's the good news.
The bad news was the DNF (did not find) posted on the tally board next to Melvin Ellington's name. We were all pulling for him, too, since he is undergoing chemo for lung cancer and was supported on this hunt by his sister, Donna Reynonds back home. His treatments over the past year or so have interfered with his strength and abilities, but he soldiered on and did manage to collect a couple of antlerless deer along the way. Melvin re-booked for next year, even though his doctors give him less than a year. What do they know, he insists - they were saying that a couple of years ago. What an attitude!!!
The stats of the hunt, despite the heat, were as follows: eight hunters collected seven bucks plus that DNF. Eighteen does were butchered, but there were a few DNF's on them, as well. Four collected three/each; two had two plus a DNF each; one took two; one elected to take none. So that makes 25 deer butchered in our skinning shed. It was a busy place, for sure. Hunter Biehl, on the final morning of the hunt, accompanied his dad who was keen on collecting a buck he had seen earlier. Hunter got a nice gray fox, his first-ever. Tom settled for a lesser buck than what he was after - all a part of the sport.
Joe Ivey re-booked their party of three even before they got to camp. So did Melvin. Tom Biehl, eighty two now, hates to make a firm commitment, and Hunter will let us know later. As it stands now, four slots are open for the 2018 season.
A cold front moves through our area as the next hunt kicks off. So maybe that will make the deer move even better.