wvhitman
(old hand)
12/14/18 03:17 PM
No Country For Old Men

I like to mix my hunts up and not do the same animals a lot. My first big game hunt was with Steve Jones of Back Country Hunts eons ago for pronghorns. I got a nice at 265 with my .338 JDJ. Steve was a nice guy and he put on a good hunt. I was hooked for life.
I noticed an add of his for Carmen Mountain Whitetails in west Texas. I gave him a call. He explained Carmens are a little smaller than Coues and geographically isolated from them. Sounded like my kind of thing. Faye was up for an adventure, so I signed on.
Getting there was an adventure itself. Fly to El Paso, drive to Marfa, then go 35 miles on the most godforsaken, roughest, rockiest road I've ever seen. The camp was some very old buildings transformed to small bunk houses. A generator provided electricity a few hours a day. No heat at night, just sleeping bags. Been there, done that, but not Faye. She was a trooper and toughed it out without a complaint.
I was the only handgunner in camp, as usual, but several tech guys from Ruger were there the week before. They killed all their game with .44 revolvers (don't know what) from 140-180 yards. THey also tested a new handgun rest that was a tripod with a single screw on top that fitted only to the grip of the revolver. Looked strange, but the guides said it worked.
The first day was surprising for the game I saw- beaucoup javelina, lots of desert mulies (no big horns), a fair number of big bodied elk (no big horns), and just a few Carmens (no bucks).
For three days, including one of rain, we glassed until my eyes were ready to pop. Javelina and mulies were taken by the other 4 hunters in camp. The other whitetail hunter and I saw one- maybe- shooter.
Day 4 was cold and clear. Steve parked on the highest knob around and we glassed for 4 hours. He finally spotted a shooter about 2 1/2 miles away. It was bedded. He placed guides on several knobs to watch the buck while we moved on it. My brain said "that's a long way, old man. Got in in you?"
WE were able to drive a little over a mile away from the buck. We were still 3 ridges away from the deer. He was still bedded. Steve asked if I could do the walk- 15-20* slope, massive amounts of rocks from 3" to boulder size, and tons of brush, all with stickers. My brain said, "are you crazy", but I told Steve I'd give it a try.
The stalk was memorable. Slipping, tripping, sweating, breathing hard, falling for the next hour+. We finally got to the ridge before the deer. Steve ranged him at 350. I said I was ready. He said we need to get closer. That's guide talk for "I got a chubby old man, breathing hard, with a damn handgun. No way I'm letting him screw this up. We gotta get a lot closer." We trucked on.
The cover ran out at 265 yards. There were several large rocks that I could put my backpack on, not flat, but upright

Notice the largest bushy cedar on the upper right of the photo on the far ridge. The buck was 30 yards to the left.
Steve mashed the little brush down with his Bog Pods. The buck saw the commotion and stood up. It was now or never. I was on auto pilot. Crosshair slightly above the center of the shoulder, squeeze the trigger, and send the old 120 gr. Nosler Solid Base on its way. I hear a loud POP! and the deer drops straight down. I say, as I do on all my hunts," Did I hit it?"
Steve says, "My God, you dropped it. I don't believe you made that shot". The 2 guides radioed and said the same thing.
Steve said I could head back to the truck and he and a guide would bring it back. That wasn't right. I slipped, tripped, and cussed another 265 yards (felt like a mile) to the deer

Notice a few things. No brow tines, very narrow spread. Steve said this was in the upper 10% of Carmens. I'll show you a photo of Steve with a better view of the mass on the deer.

You can also see my walk on this photo. Look 4 ridges back in the center. The truck is at the bottom of that ridge.
After helping clean the deer Steve said I could start back while one guide came to help him pack it out. I thought downhill would be easy, but I slipped, tripped, cussed, and sweated all the way back. I got to the truck the same time as Steve.
That night in camp each guide came up to me and said they couldn't believe a man my age could have made that walk. I'm still feeling the effects of it now.
It was a challenging, hard hunt, and I'm proud to have made it (at my age). But, I have to admit that west Texas is "No country for old men!"


MS Hitman
(enthusiast)
12/14/18 05:46 PM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Congrats on a fine hunt Doc.

Brenden
(addict)
12/14/18 06:57 PM
Re: No Country For Old Men

That is great. Beautiful deer and congratulations on a difficult hunt.

jamesfromjersey
(Shootist)
12/14/18 07:15 PM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Good for you Doc on a fine deer.....You did it perfectly.... and what a shot....


Sawfish
(old hand)
12/14/18 07:34 PM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Congratulations on a very unique trophy,

Okie Hunter
(addict)
12/14/18 10:58 PM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Congrats on a great hunt.

Bob Roach
(old hand)
12/15/18 12:34 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

You got your trophy, and did not have a heart attack getting it done. All is well, nothing broken, What a Hike!
I consider myself to be in pretty good shape "For My Age". I would have probably went for him, just like you did, against my better judgement.

Great Job

Bob R


Randy M
(old hand)
12/15/18 06:29 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Great story and write up. Thanks for sharing.

REDHAWK1954
(Pooh-Bah)
12/15/18 09:36 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Great story and shooting as always.

Randominator
(enthusiast)
12/15/18 10:05 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Awesome hunt Hitman. When I grow up, I want to be like you.

98Redline
(addict)
12/15/18 12:31 PM
Re: No Country For Old Men

I love to hear about us handgun hunters impressing the guides.
Far too few people appreciate how accurate a skilled handgunner can be and that distances that are normally considered ?rifle distances? are often times inside our range as well.

Congrats on that nice buck.


KRal
(Shootist)
12/16/18 12:11 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Congrats on a very unique whitetail, Doc! Thanks for sharing the story.

ruger4570
(addict)
12/16/18 07:17 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Congrats. I'd say the only thing easy on your hunt was the shot (for you). Quite an adventure.

Buck_358
(member)
12/16/18 07:37 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Doc
Congratulation on a successful / challenging hunt ? Thank you for sharing your story!


45MAN
(veteran)
12/16/18 08:32 PM
Re: No Country For Old Men

DOC: WHAT A GREAT ADVENTURE AND HUNT. A WEST TEXAS MULE DEER HUNT IS ON MY BUCKET LIST.

wildcatter
(journeyman)
12/17/18 11:41 PM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Congrats, fer not just the trophy, but for still get'n it done! boots on the ground and to bull headed to change,, a man after my own heart!

I hope to hear about another in your future, your story gives other the drive they need to keep it up as well!


PsTaN
(addict)
12/18/18 09:20 PM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Grats!! Keep on keepin' on, Doc ... cool looking animal.

Tell us more about that newfangled rest those guys were using.


NRA_Dave
(newbie)
12/19/18 08:47 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Doc, you are a beast! Awesome story and buck!

wheelguns
(old hand)
12/20/18 10:57 PM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Congratulations Doc, very Unique Buck. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

AlanF
(stranger)
12/23/18 07:08 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Good job. Rugged country.

wvhitman
(old hand)
12/23/18 09:57 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Thanks, every one. That was one heck of an adventure for a guy my age. I've just now recovered from it!!
It's been the same story on every big game hunt the last 35+ years- see the chubby old guy and the tiny gun. Guys draw straws to see who the looser is for my guide. I always get the last laugh. Only been skunked on one hunt, ever, and no shot was fired then. And they always say, "My God, I don't believe you made that shot".
I've tried to represent handgun hunters well, and I know I've made some believers.


Seminole Wind
(enthusiast)
12/24/18 10:01 AM
Re: No Country For Old Men

Doc, you are, and always will be, an entire chapter in Handgun Hunting history. Thank you for promoting our sport so well.