I recently went whitetail deer hunting in the Texas Panhandle and was totally surprised with the terrain. I’d always heard of the giant whitetail bucks that live in this part of Texas, but had never hunted it. I found myself deer hunting in a whole new way. We spent a good amount of time driving around and glassing some “mountains” and I finally saw a buck that looked worthy of chasing on the third day of my hunt. The buck looked big, really big, so I decided to leave the comfort of the jeep to close the distance on foot.
I first saw this buck about 8:15 in the morning shortly after I parked along a hilltop, but he was a long ways off — probably about 1,500 yards. I watched the big-bodied buck bed down, but I moved in closer and could not find him back until later in the day. As I covered the distance, the brush seemed taller and I got a bit off track, but I knew I was in the general area. I realized at this point that I was a long way from the East Texas deer lease I used to hunt as a teenager.
Then boom, there he was at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Just when I thought the deer hunting had turned sour, my luck had changed! The buck had got up and I believed he was moving towards a water trough off in the distance. I think I really just lucked into spotting him from about 700 yards away, even though I thought I was right on top of him. As I watched the buck he bedded down again, but this time I marked him really well, just north of a lone shrub. He was in the shade and I was going to make my move.
I was able to walk down an old cleared lane for about 300 yards, but then started second guessing myself again as I got closer. I walked into the area where the big buck should have been, but it looked different at ground level. Then, it seemed like the wind was wrong from where I thought he was… about 100 yards from me. As I approached the area where the buck was bedded up, I realized the grass in the areas was about 3 feet tall. I could not see him.
I decided to sneak around to get the wind at my advantage, and then walk directly towards the lone shrub. As I got to within 30 yard I saw that I had walked right in on him! The buck jumped up and started running full-speed-ahead directly away from me. I was ready with my rifle right, having already expected that if I jumped him that it would be quick. I was right.
The buck was running dead away from me and when he cleared some taller brush, I put one him just behind his front left shoulder. The big deer did barely broke stride, but I thought the shot was good. He rounded the thick brush and I let another round fly, but I missed. Then, just like that, he was out of sight. Damn, I thought. I started second guessing my first shot, but I was confident I had connected.
I waited a few minutes to see if I could catch movement somewhere, but nothing. I knew from the first look at him through the scope that this buck was tall and had a great big frame. From behind as he was running away he looked like a water buffalo.
I decided to move into the area where I last saw him, but intercepted a blood trail before I even got there! I thought this was a very good sign, but then I walked about another 30 yards and saw him piled up next to a yucca. When I walked up to him I could not believe just how big he was. He dressed 180 pounds and had 11 score-able points. I think I really like deer hunting in the Texas Panhandle, and am looking forward to a future hunting trip to this part of the world!
If you love Texas, you will LOVE this video!