The alarm clock went off at the appropriate time 5:00 am, but it was way too early. My brother Jim, and I had arrived at Buffalo Mountain Ranch, in Abilene, Texas the afternoon before. But we got there from Michigan by driving straight through. We were whipped when we arrived, but spent the day, scouting and setting up for the next mornings hunt. H.J. Ledbetter, the owner of Buffalo Mountain Ranch had invited Jim and I to this mid April hunt, and was joining us. His drive was likewise a wearying one. Four or five hours of sleep was not much to start a hunt on. But, hey, it was hunting!
We headed out at 6:00 to find our blinds. We would be hunting on Buffalo Mountain Ranch's 4400 acres. The ranch has made considerable efforts to enhance the native wildlife population and condition by planting over 25 food plots for the Whitetail deer and Rio Grande turkey population. There are also a number of high protein supplemental feeding stations on the acreage.
The ranch hunt manager, Rick Worley, and Ranch manager, Larry Pitcox, had helped Jim and I locate places to hunt for this morning, and along with H.J., we were on our way.
Jim was on his own. Near a canyon where the Birds were know to roost, Jim began the morning. He was hoping to catch the birds soon after they flew down from their perches.
H.J. and I positioned ourselves between a couple of the food plots, hoping to catch a gobbler on his way between scouting for receptive hens. H.J. would be filming parts of our hunt.
It didn't take long for the action to start. Almost before setting down, and making our first call, the Tom's began to gobble. H.J. and I were soon talking to a number of seemingly interested Jakes and Tom's. Our decoys were set up with 15 to 20 yards, and we were reasonably ensconced, if not comfortably, in our portable blind. I was determined to take my bird with my Matthews bow, and so we didn't even bring a gun.
Jim, wanting a little more assurance of victory was prepared with his 3 1/2 chambered Mossburg shotgun. Jim too, heard birds almost immediately.
But the day's promise did not finish what is offered. H.J. and I did indeed call in a number of birds. Four big Jakes came in, but for some reason, balked at the sight of our decoys. They hung up at about 40 yards, way out of comfortable range for me. We could only watch and hope. We "talked" with those Jakes, and a number of hens that came within sight of us for well over and hour. Yet there was no calling them closer. Our morning ended with nothing to show but pictures, and Jim didn't fair any better, only seeing one hen.
We met back at base camp where we met some of the other hunters at the Ranch. Greg and Fred Abbas, from A-way Outdoors, on the Outdoor Channel, were back to film a turkey hunt. (See their Buffalo Hunt from July of 2002) The father and son team were also going to film an attempt by me, to take a Buffalo Bull with a recurve bow. All in all there were eight hunters in camp, the maximum that BMR will allow at one time.
We were served a fantastic meal of buffalo burgers, and discussed our mornings hunts with Larry and Rick.
One of the hunters had connected, and we all admired the eight inch beard on the tom.
We discussed our options and headed back to the fields early in the afternoon. Jim and I, along with H.J. headed back to our stands, hopeful that tonight we would be able to connect.
But tonight was not the night. Although, Jim heard Toms gobbling, he once again saw but one hen. H.J. and I saw another four hens, but no toms or jakes.
Although we didn't have any thing to show for our efforts, we were very pleased with the kind of action that seemed promising for tomorrow. All in All we had seen probably 20 turkeys. And tomorrow I was going to take my first crack at a Buffalo with my Samick bow.