The theme for this year’s DSC Convention was “Traditions.” Teddy Roosevelt was the featured icon. He was live and in person meeting and greeting people almost like Santa Clause during the Christmas Season. I happened to catch him riding a camel.
I got to visit with several Bowsiters at the 2016 convention- Jim Willems, the president of P&Y, Blayne St. James (The Saint). Regretfully, did not get to see Tim Metcalf (Bigpizzaman) or Bert Stelly (Clutch), but I know they were in attendance.
Pope and Young had a nice booth that was manned by President Jim Williem and member Dale Hale. They were next-door neighbors to the Boone and Crockett Club booth. Also the Bowhunting Safari Consultants (BSC) crew (Neil, Mark and Jay) had a booth.
Grizzly Stik had a booth right next door to BSC. Dr. Ed Ashby was sitting in their booth and I had the opportunity to have some quality conversation with him. Later in the day I attended a great seminar that was led by Todd Smith. The topic was “Bone Splitting- Complete Arrow Penetration Setup.” I find arrow building for hunting a very fascinating subject.
Following the DSC Convention I journeyed to Buda, Texas and visited with Bowsiter, Flash Z28 (Gordon Myers), and his wife. Gordon and I have enjoyed hunting together in South Africa and Texas. While in Buda, I also visited the Cabelas store and purchased some needed hunting license.
The following day I started heading in a southwesterly direction stopping to Los Cazadores Hunting Store in Pearsall, TX. Los Cazadores annually holds the largest deer contest in the world. The divisions and numbers of entries are unbelievable. I purchased 2 pairs of netted sleeve coverings called “Dream Sleeves” which will aid me in warmer weather conditions to hunt in S/S tee shirts and break the flashing movement of white arms.
From Pearsall, I headed west to the Cinco Ranch, which is located between Eagle Pass and El Indio. Cinco Ranch is 16,000 acre ranch that is fenced on three sides and bordered on the fourth side by the Rio Grande River. It is a working cattle ranch and has oil well production. It is also the base operation for Rob Kiebler’s infamous Fair Chase, Ltd. hunting operations. It was here that I rendezvoused with Bowsiter, Drycreek (Don Walston), and his wife, Jane. I would hunt javelina and wild hog. Don was only hunting for javelina.
Don and I both arrived early enough to get in an afternoon hunt. I was placed at “Blue Stand” which is located within a stones throw of the Rio Grande River. I had a lone hog come to the feeder. Regretfully, I gut shot the animal and was not successful with a recovery. Don did not see any javelina. After Rob, John and I gave up recovery efforts on my wounded hog, we took the “long way home” and rode some of the property. We saw large amounts of javelina, wild hog and whitetail deer.
Next morning all focus was on javelina for both Don and me. I hunting “East Stand” and saw zero javelina. I spent the morning watching a beautiful buck feed as well as a variety of birds feeding on grains of corn. John was my appointed guide for the day. Rob was guiding Don. On the way in, Rob contacted John on the radio and advised him they had encountered a herd of javelina and Don was going to do stalk on them. The area was close to the entrance of the camp.
In order not to disturb Don and Rob, John decided we would mosey around and look at some spot and stalk possibilities for me. We spotted some turkeys. There were probably 50-75 turkeys in the flock. Largest turkey flock I had ever seen in my life.
Next we spotted javelinas feeding on a road. The wind was not right for a stalk. John drove down the road and the javelinas parted the road like Moses parted the Red Sea. Then in a short while they returned right back to the road to begin feeding again. The wind was now right for a stalk and we had “game on”! I left the truck and John watched through his truck rear view mirror with his binoculars. He later told me he counted 28 javelinas in the road. That is a lot of eyes, ears and noses to deal with even with the wind in my favor. I slowly approached the herd. Some saw me and left the road disappearing into the brush. Others continued to feed on the corn that is distributed daily on the road. I slowly worked my way closing the distance on the animals. I spotted a nice mature animal and put total focus on that one animal. I was successful in closing the distance to 16 ½ yds. according to my last rangefinder reading. I was already nocked. I slowly raised the bow and picked my spot and let the arrow fly. As soon as the arrow impacted the javelina started screaming and ran immediately into the thick brush.
I nocked another arrow and began to pursue toward the remainder of the herd. The limit in Texas is two javelina per year. I’ve learned not to squander opportunities. I was in full pursuit of #2. The screaming of the javelina that I had just shot unnerved the rest of the herd and they were no longer relaxed. As I slowly advanced my position toward the herd, they slowly began to disappear into the bush. This spot and stalk effort had officially ended. “Elvis has left the building”.
I went back to the spot where I had shot the javelina. From that point I spotted my arrow that had passed thru the animal. I had red blood on arrow from shaft to nock, but could not find a speck of blood anywhere on the ground. John and I entered the bush continuing to look for blood and for visual sighting of the javelina. We were unsuccessful with our efforts. We decided to go to camp for breakfast and return afterwards. We updated Rob about our situation and learned that Don had also connected with a javelina, but was unable to find his animal.
After breakfast, we all went to the sight where Don has shot and javelinas were still lingering in the area. We were not successful in recovering his animal. We then moved to where I had shot. We spread out and began a grid search. Rob spotted the javelina that I had shot lying by a log wounded, but still alive. He and Don shot at the javelina, but no one was sure about positive hits on the animal.
The thickness of the brush prevents the carrying and use of a bow. Gunpowder is the only solution to end this type of situation. A wounded javelina that can and will charge in unbelievable thick brush makes for very unsafe conditions. Even with a pistol, shooting lanes and opportunities are limited. The deal was ended when I literally crawled to about 8 feet of the animal and put the death shots on the animal with my Ruger .380 loaded with critical defense ammo.
After cleaning the animal and a bite to eat we returned for an afternoon hunt. I was placed at “Silento 1” ground blind. A little after 5 PM, a beautiful large boar came to nibble corn. I took a couple of photos and then picked up my bow. I waited for a perfect broadside shot and picked spot and released. The arrow struck the mark and the javelina charged by my blind. I could see a very visible red spot on it side and I just knew this tracking job would be a “cake walk.”
I immediately notified John and then began tracking by myself. I found a nice drop of blood a little larger than a quarter coin and then a smaller drop and then nothing. It was easy to see the trail where the animal has entered brush and then the trail forked. Did the animal go left or right? I was going down the left trail when John arrived. We decided he would work the left trail and I would work the right trail. John was finding not blood. I found a spot of blood about the size of a half a flake of oatmeal. I hollered to John to come to me. Before he got to me I spotted the javelina in a thicket. I was unable to blaze a trail to him. I stayed put where I would not lose location and John worked his way around and was able to recover the animal from the brush.
After recovery and photo time we headed to the skinning shed. Rob contacted John to let him know that Don had also shot. When we returned to camp that night, John and I learned that Don’s javelina had not been found. I learned that coyotes will eat pigs, but they will not eat a javelina. Imagine a coyote being a “picky” eater!
After breakfast the next morning we had plenty of light to search efforts. Rob, John, Don and I did a meticulous grid search of the area where the javelina “should have been laying” without success. How a mortally wounded animal can bleed so little and disappear so fast is behooving to me.
My heart went out and continues to go out to Don for successfully connecting with javelinas and then not recovering either. That makes for a very painful hunt, but if we are honest, we’ve all been there. Sometimes bow hunting can be a very cruel event.
After we gave up the search it was time to settle our debts and depart. I began my journey home and simply could not stop. I started driving toward home only stopping to fuel and restroom breaks. I departed the ranch at 11:00 AM and hit the arrived home at 1:58 AM. I had driven for an unbelievable 14 hours. I got so depressed listening to State of Union analyses and about how Wall Street had “tanked” for the day that I had to listen to some ZZ Top and Pink Floyd to get recharged on life.
In summary, I had much telephone and text message dialogue with Rob for over a year. I felt like I knew him before I ever met him in person. He is a true professional outfitter and knows his operation and quarry. His staff, facilities and game quality and quantity are all superb. Juanita and Patty, the cooks, put some awesome food on the table. They even met my diabetic dietary needs that allowed me to enjoy real Mexican food.
I reached out to Bowsite referrals on Fair Chase, Ltd and about javelina hunting. I did not know a thing about either. I got much advice from the Bowsite community about both. I wish to think those who helped me.
As I said in my opening statement- “In Texas size matters”. I had a HUGE time on this adventure and Bowsite was a LARGE part of making it fun. As we so often say in the South- “Thanks Ya’ll” !!
This is the complete outdoors store- buy a firearm, skinning, meat processing and taxidermy. Almost a drive-thru operation.
These guys have got "Job Security". They are doing the best they can with the limited support they are getting.
37# sow- a great representation of the specie.
51# Boar- A super trophy-
(Always knew a dried cow patty had purpose)
Was using a 3-blade 125 gr. Wac'em XL (1 1/4" cut)
Cool mount pix for sure
Thanks for sharing
Good luck, Robb
My next sit was at a feeder with no blind, but I already knew that these little buggers can't see what ain't moving, so with plenty of brush and near waist high cactus around, I just picked a spot mostly downwind ( it was pretty swirly ) , and sat down to wait 'em out. I didn't have long to wait ! Rob's dust had not settled before five javis came in to the corn he had poured on the ground. I hadn't had time to take my quiver off the bow or use my range finder. In fact, I was still strapping my release on. Long story short, I sat there two hours watching the one I wanted to shoot. It was either turned toward me, away from me or behind a bush all that time. Tons of blue quail poured into the site from the time I sat down, and one javi had a rather mean disposition, as he kept bristling up and popping his teeth at the corn thieves. Finally, about twenty minutes before dark, a small buck walked in and buggered the javis. When they came back in, the biggest one parked under the feeder, broadside. I drew, settled the pin square on its shoulder, and tripped the trigger. He squealed like a pig, ( imagine that ), and staggered a couple seconds and gimped off into the brush. Right then, at that moment, I would have bet my Power Ball winnings that it wouldn't go thirty yards. I called Rob on the radio and he was there in minutes. We looked until dark and marked the last blood at the edge of the " real " brush. That was to be the last blood we found. The four of us searched for an hour or more the next morning, but no javelina. I didn't win the lottery either ! :)
A word about the South Texas brush country. If you've never seen it, you can not understand how impenetrable it is. As Greg said, the animals literally have tunnels through the brush. The picture above where Rob, John, and myself are down on our hands and knees doesn't even do it justice. When we were searching for Greg's first javi, I walked within ten feet of it, it jumped to its feet and was shaking brush and popping its teeth, and I couldn't see it. I had to back out, take another direction, get on my knees and then could just make it out. When Greg delivered the coup-de-grace, he was just a few feet in front of us, and we could barely see him. He literally crawled into position to take the shot.
Now, I'll add that, as Greg and ki-ke both said, Fair Chase is a top notch operation. Almost the best time I ever had with my pants on !
wish I could have been their with my blood trailing dog to find you buddy's javelin. Forrest
I'm still popping thorns out of my skin after trailing a wounded Javi! We were in that high grass that grows around itself and is 4' high. You can, literally, walk got 100 yards and never see your feet! And the Javi tunnels underneath are too small for an overgrown bald man to fit through. A dog would certainly help, but you would need to fit that canine with armor plating to deal with those nasty Javies.
Amazing how tough those little buggers are.....
I don't know how my fat, clumsy butt managed it, but I only had one thorn in me after all the wandering around in the cacti Rob grows in his " Garden of Evil ". I can only say that I was being VERY careful as that was not my first visit to S Texas.
That was my first, ( but not last ) time to shoot a javelina with a bow. I shot one years ago with a rifle. And yes, they are tough ! Next time I will use a bigger broadhead like the 125 grain Wacem that Greg used or a good mechanical like a Grim Reaper or NAP Spitfire.
It's tough to lose an animal and know that he is dead, much less two of them. I know it's part of hunting" but it's a part I can do without !