Austin Sterling, My Second Hunting Trip
by Austin Sterling
(Sugar Land, TX, United States)
Do you still remember the first few hunting trips that you had? One of mine was on a hot Texas summer day; my dad and I were on our way to meet the owner of Turkey Ridge Ranch at his place of business. Here he comes in his Ram 3500 pulling bales of hay. The owner took us down the road and then took us to a rocky unpaved road. Once we got to his ranch, he introduced us to his ranch hands/guide.
After the introductions one of the guides, James, got us set up for the hunt. We got on the Yamaha Mule and went off past a small river and into the hills. At first we were enjoying the scenery, and after an hour of driving around, we went back the owner’s house. My dad and I got some water. And James got a 6-pack of Keystone lights; the first beer he drank. A herd of blackbuck ran across the rocky road. Right as I got the gun, the herd ran into the thick line of trees. After a while, James had another beer. And out of the trees came a single blackbuck. My gun already in hand, the buck was running away from the mule and then disappeared into the trees.
Around 6 o’clock at night, James has a third beer. When this happened, we saw an old blackbuck running at the top of the hill. About half way up the hill, we saw another herd of bucks trying to run out the alpha male of the pack. Once we got to the top of the hill, we saw the herd approximately 200 yards eating grass.
Trying to set up my shot on the mule, there was no room in the front of it. So I move to the back, but still no room. All of a sudden my dad grabs the roll cage and said “Use my arm.” So I propped my uncle’s Remington 6mm on my dad’s arm, waiting between heart beats while holding my breath, I take the shot. The bullet traveled down the hill across a pond. The deer fell where it stood having a mini seizure while the other two deer ran off. After celebrating, our guide took us to the deer; and I found out that I shot the blackbuck directly in the heart with no other body damage. After setting it up for a picture, we threw it in the bed and headed to the owner's house to gut it.
When the owner came out the saw the huge smile I had on my face and said “I’m going to donate another hunting trip so someone else can have a smile that big.”