The Spike

On October 28, I packed my bag and we got everything in the truck to go on another TYHP hunt. For those of you who don’t know, Texas Youth Hunting Program is an organization that gets kids out into the field for not very much money. It’s pretty awesome and I have been on a lot of hunts with them. Check it out at tyhp.org.

Anyways, this hunt was on the Middle Valley Ranch in Schleicher county, Texas. It’s close to El Dorado.

We were driving for about 3 hours. When we were almost there, I was continually staring out the window, trying to figure out what the land we would hunt was going to look like. However, this turned out to be pointless as the land was constantly changing from flat with  thick brush to rolling hills. The place we finally stopped at was somewhere between the two.

We set up out giant 240 square foot tent, which took about an hour, and then we had dinner. Dinner was an amazing stew made by the Huntmaster. Once that was over, the Huntmaster went over what we could and couldn’t shoot.

We were allowed to shoot mature whitetail does and spikes. We could shoot hogs, coyotes and wild cats too. We could shoot two deer.

Interestingly, while the Huntmaster was telling us all this, we were serenaded by a rattlesnake ten yards away constantly rattling at us.

We got to bed late. I didn’t get to sleep until even later. But we were up early by 5:30 the next morning.

We had a few snacks and headed out into the blind around 6:15. It was very dark and pretty cold. We sat there for about ten minutes when I thought I saw something moving to our left. I tapped the guide’s shoulder and said, “Is that a deer?

It sure was. That deer was ten yards away from us and didn’t care at all. He just walked on to the feeder in front of us as if we didn’t exist.

We could barely see and had to wait another 20 minutes before we could really see the deer. We still couldn’t see well enough to figure out what it wasn’t, though. All we saw were small antlers.

Unfortunately, he decided the right time to leave was five minutes before it was light enough to tell what he was.

We saw nothing for the rest of the morning except doves and a woodpecker. We found out later that the feeder the buck had come to was actually empty. That probably wasn’t helpful.

We headed back around 10. When we picked up the guy we had dropped off, he had two deer on the ground.

We went back to camp and cleaned his deer. One was a doe, one was a spike. Then we had pancakes and sausage for breakfast. It was really good, especially because I had worked up an appetite in the blind.

After that, we went to the shooting range. My brother and I took three shots total and we were done, since the rifles were on and we were accurate enough.

Then we got to go back to camp and relax for a little while. I was tired and had no complaints whatsoever about that. We had lunch and rested for about an hour before heading out into the field again.

This time, we were at a different blind. It was the one the other guy had killed two at that morning. It was warmer than the morning, the wind was perfect and in our faces, and the feeder was 50 yards away. I was ready.

We watched birds and squirrels for about two hours. Then a buck came in. He was a small 8 point. We watched him for a while. It was pretty cool.

Then it got interesting.

Ten yards away from us, a huge buck burst out of the brush and trotted to the feeder. He was a tall, perfectly symmetrical 10 point. 

He was really nice. The pictures don’t show it all that well. I really wanted that buck, but we weren’t  allowed to take him. It was fun to watch, though.

Later, another buck came in. This one was another 8 point, but he was much bigger than the first.


It was about half an hour until we had to stop shooting, and by now I had figured I wouldn’t get anything that night. That’s about when we saw a spike.

The feeder was 50 yards in front of us. This deer was about 250 yards away and far to the left. I hoped he would come in to the feeder, but since the big bucks were there, he wasn’t planning to do so. He moved in the general direction of the feeder, but very, very, slowly. Then he moved the other way agin. I knew he wouldn’t make it to the feeder before the end of shooting time.

However, he had a change of mind. He didn’t go to the feeder, but he did come a lot closer to us. He stayed far to the left of the feeder, but walked back toward the trees and past us. I quickly pulled my gun out of the blind window it was in and put it through the far left window. It was a bad position. I would be shooting across the whole blind. It wasn’t very steady at all. But then it was only about a hundred yards away, which is an easy shot, so I was going to try anyways.

I put the crosshairs on the spike. My heart was pounding so hard, the crosshairs went completely off the deer every time my heart beat. I’m surprised I didn’t break a rib with it going like that.

My mom was sitting on the left side of the blind, so she was closest to the end of the barrel. She said she could see the tip of the barrel moving, twitching, with my heartbeat. Then she saw it move less and less until it stopped moving, as I practiced my breathing routine. That’s when I pulled the trigger.

The deer went down on the spot. He didn’t run even a foot. Perfect shot.

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We took it back to camp and cleaned it. He weighed 77 pounds without the guts.

I got to bed late that night, around midnight, and I was right back up at 5:30 the next morning. We got into another blind around 6. We saw one buck close to us and a few does 300 yards out. I would have taken that shot, but we weren’t allowed to shoot over 150.

After that; we headed back to camp, packed up and left. It was a pretty good weekend for me. My brother got a deer too, so we headed home with a cooler full of venison.

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