Every year, we go hunting deep in the country outside Kerrville, Texas. MSB lives for this time of year. He starts planning and dreaming of this trip around August and, I’m sure, counts the days to the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
I was too sick to go last year, and I didn’t hunt this year–too much work to do. I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to go to the Hill Country again, so I packed up my computer, some editing tools and notebooks, and planned on a working holiday.
Hubby knows how much money he can spend, and how many deer that adds up to, and consequently, how much sausage and ground venison we can ultimately share with family and friends. He’s got everything figured out. We aren’t trophy buck hunters, no way we could afford it, we hunt to fill our freezer with what will be the bulk of our red meat for the year. Where we go, we’re charged what amounts to $3/pound; the only place cheaper is our own property.
The ranch where we hunt has not just white tail, but axis, fallow, sika, black buck, and a few other kinds of deer. My preference is axis–they taste most like good ol’ beef. Fallow and the others cost quite a bit more, so we steer clear of them and go for the white tail and axis.
This year, my brother-in-law and his grandson joined us. It wasn’t 17-year-old Grandson’s first hunt, but it was his first hunt in his own stand.
We started our trip with our traditional drive from Hunt, Texas outside Kerrville to the renown Y.O. Ranch, refreshing our hunting acuity. That part of Texas has a lot of exotic animals in the deer family, but it also has tons of white tail, and since axis have done so well in Texas, there is a lot of them, too, and they’re hard to contain. I’ve seen them jump over those super-high game fences from a stand-still. There’s also a lot of wild turkey in that part of our state. Seeing them is always fun, but I’ll stick to the kind that comes from the supermarket. They don’t cost as much.
We had a great time spotting them behind the game fences of various ranches, and the guys were so excited. They were expecting a terrific season this year. But when they got in from their first hunt Monday morning, Grandson was the only victorious hunter. MSB was disappointed in his morning, but optimistic for the evening.
When dark fell and the guys came in from their second hunt of the day, all three of them were a tad long-faced. No one saw anything.
MSB was really upset–unusually so. Hunting doesn’t cost a dime if we don’t get anything, but if we’re not going to get anything, there isn’t much point in going. He fell asleep with his disappointment Monday night and woke up Tuesday grumpy. The last hunt, and he was no longer optimistic.
But the last hunt is where we saw God’s hand moving.
Grandson is from a large family with a tight budget. He was funded for one deer, which he took the first day. The hunt would’ve been over for him if his grandfather hadn’t said he’d pay for a wild hog or two. Well, since no one saw anything in the second hunt, the brothers told Grandson he could take another deer on the third hunt, and whoever was short of meat would buy that deer from him.
All three of them took a deer that last morning, and Grandson had the bonus of a nice size hog. Problem with Grandson’s deer is that it was a fallow doe–one of those expensive jobbers.
Granddad hadn’t budgeted that in and felt like he was in a mess. But MSB said he’d pay for half–with money he wouldn’t have had if he’d had a successful hunt all three times out.
Coincidence? I think not. I think it was a God thing, and you won’t be able to convince me otherwise.