By Timber Hawk Pro Staffer, Jim Miller
We arrived at the Tasajillo Flats Ranch and let me tell you what; There’s a lot of Tasajillo Cactus on that Ranch! We spent most of the evening getting ready for a night hunt for hogs, bows to be sighted in, clothing made ready, blinds set up and dried out, chairs checked and made sure none was going to collapse on us! We were ready for the night hog hunt which, by the way is legal here in Texas.
Around 10:00, after a great meal of Grilled Rib Eye Steaks, we set off to check several feeders that Chad had set up with his overhead “KILL LIGHTS” attached that were programmed to go off @ 11:00 PM / 12:00 AM / 1:00 AM. It was sure to draw in hogs all during the night! The key is to be at the feeders about 15 minutes before the feeder goes off, and you must be downwind in an area where the hogs will not circle and get a snoot-full of your stinking body.
We went to the first setup and the feeder was on the back side of a dam for a stock tank (pond). We were downwind and above the hogs when the feeder went off . . . pigs started to roll in! We had our choice of medium-size hogs, big hogs or monster hogs! When Chad hit the hogs with his light attached to his Video Camera, they scrambled for the the brush for a moment or two and then started to filter back into the feeder. We had a really huge hog to come in who just could not resist the corn and Jonathan got his Mission Crossbow into position. He came to hunt hogs he was about to close the deal!
Hombre, let me tell you that new Mission Crossbow / MXB-360 is deadly! Jonathan loaded a bolt tipped with the new Grave Digger cut-on-contact expandable broadhead, took aim, pulled the trigger, and the devastating combo zipped through that hog faster than you can blink an eye! The boar ran maybe 60 yards and was history, that huge boar suffered the extreme penalty!
We moved to another feeder that was set up in the same manner and I had the feeling this was gonna be a slam dunk! Jonathan had gotten into a bunch of cactus earlier in the day and I was giving him a hard time about all his whining . . . Well sometimes it’s best to not say things about other people’s misery! “FOR IT WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU”
We were walking over the dam in the dark “No Lights” and you guessed it, I walked right straddle a Tasajillo Cactus and Hombre did that hurt! But nary a whisper of agony did my mouth emit! For I knew I would be hounded for the rest of the week by Jonathan. NO EXCUSES NOW, we had eased over the dam and came upon a huge monster hog cruising around the feeder waiting for the “free lunch.” Chad had the camera up and I thought he said he had the hog on film and I drew and shot WAY TOO fast as the hog was about 12 yards from us! Chad was not ready nothing on film, clean miss, and NO FOOTAGE SUCKS but at least there’s no record of me missing . . .
Wayne arrived early, like 4:30 AM @%!#$
We got up and moved out to find Gobblers. We stopped on a ridge and, using a Box Call, Wayne gave a loud cutt and yelp, which was immediately answered by three different Gobblers! We drove to the closest Gobbler, set up on a (Run & Bow) situation. One of the toms was very vocal, having Gobbled about 30 times, and we had maybe 4 or 5 other gobblers that fired up off to our right. We called for about 30 minutes and nothing came close but all of these Gobblers were fired up, and that meant WE were fired up.
Wayne suggested that we move to another area where we had heard the first group of gobblers. I was wearing a Black Mathews long-sleeve shirt as I thought we were going to set up a blind and hunt out of that. WRONG! Wayne wanted to do the “Running& Bowing” which is really tough with a bow for ANY kind of animal, especially turkeys.
Instead of being in full “Lost Camo” I was now sneaking around with half Lost Camo and a Black Mathews L/S T-Shirt . . . But you do know, you make the best of a situation . . .
We worked ourselves into an Oak Motte and I gave a Lost Call and man did a nearby Gobbler fire up! He was running toward us and all on film, when the Gobbler got within 25 yards he was running and strutting and as he went behind a bush I came to full draw and got picked off! Before I could put a pin on the Gobbler he was going back the way he came from only faster! I turned and looking into the Camera and said “that was exciting!” Only to have a Gobbler, Gobble way off to our left I turned and gave a cutt and cackle that was what they (yes they) wanted These Gobblers three of them were coming very quickly and then they hang up. I could not see or hear them, Wayne, had moved my Avian Feeding hen and we knew those Gobblers should be able to see the decoy, but Instead of coming to our right these Gobblers came fast and furious after I gave a cluck and purr and the world lit up with Gobbles and very close within 40 yards. Remember the old movie The Mountain Men with Charlton Heston (Bill Tyler) & Brian Keith (Henry Frapp)” Where Brian Keith, was reflecting on how he wanted to go where the Beaver was so thick they would be running to Bill Tyler’s traps and saying take me Bill Tyler take me? Well, these three old long-beards running toward us in the Oak Motte were all saying “Take Me, Jimmy Miller, Take Me!”
As I drew my bow one of those Gobblers spotted me and turned off walking and alarm-purring, I started to purr back to him with my diaphragm/ Bradley Custom Calls (Bat Girl). Just then one of the Gobblers strayed to the left and walked out at 40 yards to meet my sight pins as I was at full draw and the deadly VAP-350 Lost Camo Shaft with a new No Limits / Grave Digger Chisel point pounded the Gobbler. This is one deadly Big Game head! Available in Cut-on-contact or Chisel point expandable with 2 – 1&3/4 cutting diameters. The arrow took the Gobbler through the wing butt, destroying the internal organs with feathers flying everywhere as he went to low running, never making more than 25 yards and was dead!
The recovery was very exciting; taking an old mature Tom Gobbler without the concealment of a Ground Blind and all on film! As we were doing the cut always I noticed this Gobbler was very special, the Tom had three beards, with the first beard 11 inches / the second beard 7 inches and the third beard 6 inches. A grand total of 24 inches, with Spurs of 1 & 14 inches and weighed 23 lbs. This was one heck of a Rio Grande Gobbler.
The rest of the week was brutal, with sever Thunderstorms, tons of rain and all low lying areas had lots of flooding. Then it turned cold, with lots of wind, over cast and miserable!
RIO GRANDE GOBBLER
WEIGHED: 23 LBS
SPURS: 1 & ¼ INCHES
BEARDS: 3 TOTAL, FIRST BEARD 11-INCHES / SECOND BEARD 7-INCHES / THIRD BEARD 6 INCHES
BOW: MATHEWS, CREED 29 @ 70 (LOST CAMO)
ARRROWS: VICTORY VAP 350’S (LOST CAMO)
ARROW REST: RIPCORD, (LOST CAMO)
BROADHEADS: GRAVE DIGGERS / CHISEL
CLOTHING: GAME HIDE (LOST CAMO)
SIGHTS & STABILIZER: AXION ARCHERY / (LOST CAMO)
OPTICS: BRUNTON, ETERNA 10X32’S
CALLS: BRADLEY CUSTOM CALLS: BOX, SLATE AND DIAPHRAGM
KNIVES: KNIVES OF ALASKA
BOOTS: RUSSELL SNAKE BOOTS
BACK PACK: TIMBER HAWK
RELEASE: SCOTT, SILVERHOOK (LOST CAMO)
FLASHLIGHTS: ELUSIVE WILDLIFE TECH. / KILL LIGHT
LIGHTED NOCKS & VANES: FIRENOCKS