McManus Camp 2016 Hunt Reports and Photos of All Bucks
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Please note: Hunts are posted in reverse order with the most recent hunt at the top of the page. To follow the season in order, scroll to the bottom of the page and work your way to the top.
Hunt 4 December 7 - 10
The multi-year string of 100% success on trophy bucks remains unbroken. The last four hunters all collected good ones.
On this final 2016 hunt at the McManus Camp, we hosted four veteran Adobe Lodge hunters, but two of them were new to the McManus Camp. Lee Wilson, Gulf Shores, Al was at our Home Camp back on Hunt # 3. His amigo, David Kervin, Mandeville, LA accompanied Lee at the Home Camp a year ago for the 2nd time. But for both, it was their first time to get to hunt with Beaver McManus.
Coming from way-south in Florida were a couple of former Cubans, Luis Echenique (Miami) and Jose Gonzalez (Coral Gables). Both were here a year ago, and returned to continue the fun hunting in West Texas. It didn't take long for the action to get hot and heavy. David, Lee, and Jose all collected bucks on the first afternoon's hunt. And good ones they were.
Lee Wilson's buck, a 19 1/2" ten pointer, taped 132 inches, a sho-nuff trophy. Jose's buck was a whopper of a six point, 19 1/4" wide.
Luis waited a day or two to finally put his tag on a 17 1/4" ten pointer. Lee, David, and Luis also took does.
With some family health issues arising back home, Lee and David clocked-out early. Both Jose and Luis did, too, but Beaver moved up steak night to accommodate their early departure. Both men, having escaped Cuba just as Castro was coming to power, have some fascinating tales of their early days during those difficult times.
So once again, for who-can-remember-how-many-times, the McManus Camp was 100% successful on bucks. Beaver McManus has a track record that is hard to match on low-fence, fair-chase hunting operations. Year after year after year - McManus Camp hunters all take good bucks.
Hunt 3 November 30 - December 3
Ellsworth Harris, Elmer, NJ, called to ask about hunting the McManus Camp with his grandson, Drew Haglen. Before the dust settled on the deal, Ellsworth and Drew had a couple more buddies signed up for the trip, as well - Kenny McKelvey, also from Elmer, and Tom Fitton, Woodstown, NJ.
So it was an all New Jersey bunch on hand here at the McManus Camp, deep in the heart of the rut. As the format has been set for all the hunts during the season, they started hunting Wednesday afternoon. The weather forecast predicted rain to begin on Friday afternoon. Would the deer move during the wet spell? As it turned out, all tagged out before the moisture came.
That first afternoon, Tom Fitton saw a coyote but failed to shoot it fearing he might scare away any deer. It worked. A buck he liked showed up some time later and Tom nailed him.
The next day, grandpa Ellsworth and grandson Drew both collected bucks the same afternoon. Ellsworth's trophy was a tall seven pointer, but Drew's buck turned out to be the best of the season so far at the McManus Camp. The 19 7/8" eleven pointer taped to 143 3/8 inches.
Before the rain came on schedule as predicted, Kenny McKelvey put his tag on one Friday morning. His buck was a 16" nine pointer. The unusual rack had both eye guard tines forked, but one of the forks had broken off which kept him from being a true ten-pointer.
Sure enough, after the rain began, hunters reported seeing few deer. But on Saturday, with drizzle and rain still coming slowly, the deer began to move once again. Drew reported seeing a buck that was even bigger than the one he took. With one final hunt next week at the McManus Camp, maybe some lucky hunter will get him. Hope so, anyway.
The final tally showed the four hunters all found good bucks. By choice, they all passed on an opportunity to take a doe. Indeed, since they had flown to hunt, they left all their deer meat with Beaver.
Leslyn McManus, Beaver's beautiful wife and chief camp cook, feeds much wildlife right there around camp. Shown below are numerous gobblers that will almost run over you to get to Leslyn and her bucket of corn. A favorite camp buck, "Choppo," was in attendance, as well, as you will see. In a couple of the photos below, Beaver and all four hunters can be seen standing near the bunk house to watch the "live action wildlife show."
And like last week, there is yet another photo of different mule deer buck. Beaver collected this photo right there at his house. As you will see, the buck has lost one side of his antlers, but he is a mule deer, no doubt.
Hunt 2 November 16 - 19
In camp for the second hunt of the season at the McManus Camp were two veterans and two first-timers. Multi-year veteran McManus Camp hunter was Dave Hitchner, Bridgeton, NJ. The other vet was Larry Nickollof, Longview, TX, here on his 2nd McManus Camp hunt. The first time Larry hunted with us a few years ago, he lived in Corpus Christi, TX.
First-timers were Mark Bostain and Todd Frizsell, both from Granite Falls, NC. They drove the entire distance, too. It's a long way from here to there, but when the dust settled, it was surely worth their trip. Todd collected a magnificent eight that lacked only a couple of inches hitting the 130 milestone.
Mark got a good buck for his first one, but when he exercised the opportunity offered by Beaver McManus to take a 2nd buck, he put his tag on one heck of a whopper. Despite losing maybe 6-8" of horns broken off in battles, that giant buck of Mark's was taped to have 140 1/8" inches, a sho'nuff trophy whitetail.
Three of the four hunters in camp took two does/each. As you might suspect, the does were all taken by those who drove and brought plenty of coolers for all the meat. Dave Hitchner, the only one to fly, took no antlerless deer but surely could have if he wanted. All took bucks, of course, with one second buck taken. The only bad news was Todd Frizsell. Todd missed a shot at a coyote he had spotted which was stalking some fawns. Later, Todd missed a gray fox. Beaver, who is always interested in reducing the predator population, contemplated issuing a fine of some kind for poor Todd for missing those shots at genuine varmints. Oh, well. Maybe Todd scared them plumb out of the country.
When an interesting photo taken by a hunter comes our way, we like to include it in our collection. Dave Hitchner sent us an excellent photo of a mule deer he spotted at one of Beaver's corn feeders. There is no doubt: he is not a whitetail. Upon receiving Dave's photo, it was forwarded to our biologist. He remembered seeing a mule deer from a helicopter during a deer census on a nearby ranch a few years ago.
Regarding mule deer, you would have to travel almost a hundred miles west of here to have a good chance of seeing one. So this fellow, captured on film by Dave Hitchner, is way, way out of his home range. A former game warden explained that it is illegal to take a mule deer around here because there is no established hunting season for them in any of our surrounding counties.
The next hunt at the McManus Camp will be Nov. 30-Dec. 3. Check back a day or two later for our report on that hunt.
Hunt 1 November 9 - 12
You talk about veterans, with experience knee-deep in hunting with Beaver McManus - why, that's all there was on the first hunt of the 2016 season. And they all re-booked for next year with this year's hunt only half way done.
Darl Hospelhorn, Waynesboro, PA will be back for his 13th time. Darl's old neighbor, Ed Miller, now living in Fayetteville, PA will be on his tenth hunt. Back next year for the 7th time each will be Jeff Hastings, Hagerstown, MD and Bill Wurfel, Robbinsville, NJ. Now that's lost of trips to Texas and the McManus Camp. What makes this so?
When you see the success these guys had in the photos below, you'll know why they are addicted to McManus Camp hunting. All four collected great bucks. And they did it by noon Friday, with plenty of time to spare. With no desire to take does, the troops spent the last few hunts after varmints, and they were successful here, too. Darl Hospelhorn took a huge coyote while Jeff Hastings got a gray fox (but missed a bobcat, doggone the luck).
Interestingly, some non-traditional weapons were used. Jeff Hastings collected his 18" nine pointer with his pistol, a 730 Waters. Bill Wurfel, as he has the past few hunts at the McManus Camp, once again used his .50 caliber muzzle loader. And Ed Miller was similarly limited to but one shot as he used a single shot rifle. No doubt, when a hunter remembers he has only one bullet in his gun, he knows his aim must be true.
Lucky for Beaver, the hunters graciously spaced out their harvest so as not to over-burden him in the skinning shed. Darl took his buck, if you can believe it, with less than 30 minutes of hunting that first Wednesday afternoon. Ed was next in line on Thursday morning. That afternoon, Jeff brought his buck into camp. Then, on Friday morning, Bill Wurfel got his trophy. A buck a day keeps the doctor away.
So we will get to see all these guys, God Willing, next year for another great adventure with Beaver McManus.