I thought yall would enjoy my writing/pictures of my 2007 Red Stag hunt.
- October 5th-7th of 2007
- Wendell Reich of About Hunter's Quest International
& Red Bluff Ranch
- Red Stag
- Browning Stainless Stalker in .338 Winchester Magnum, with Federal 250 grain Partitions
- Northwest Texas
What makes a hunt truly memorable? Is it taking a trophy while in camp with great characters? Or is it the hardships that come before and after the hunt? Well, maybe both…
Approximately one month before the hunt I had received the much awaited information about hunting Red Stag on Wendell’s Red Bluff Ranch near the Texas/Oklahoma border. The hunt would be for a management animal that needed to be taken out of the herd. My friend Jacob would be coming along to get out of town and experience the hunt with me. After speaking over the phone to Wendell and through Private messaging and email, we had set a date for the first weekend in October while the Stags were still rutting.
The hunt took place during the “rut” or “roar” of the stags. This is the time of the year when the Stags are fighting, gathering their hinds, and as stated before, Roaring! The roar of a red stag is something that everyone needs to experience, as if you had walked onto the ranch in the dark and did not know what was out there, you may have thought it was a Grizzly bear coming up on your tracks!
Once we arrived at the ranch at 5:30pm on Friday (and lost for 20 minutes trying to get around the dirt roads with no names) we were able to unpack and see the beautiful country that surrounds the camp house. With steep canyons, abundant wildlife, and river frontage, I couldn’t find a single flaw.
First things first we went ahead and checked the zero on my rifle to make sure it hadn’t shifted from the 4.5 hour drive from Midland to the Ranch. After agreeing that the rifle was still where it should be we began glassing the valley of food plots, thick cedars, and tall grass to try and locate my stag.
It was beginning to get dark out so we headed out in the camp truck and went to a location near a water hole to glass and watch the animals coming out of bedding and out into the fields to feed and rest in and near the water hole.
We found my stag nearly 300 yards across a field and without shooting sticks I did not feel comfy risking the shot. We had a younger stag with a huge rack in the water hole bellowing out roars with his females close by; but for some reason or another the stag we were after did not feel like fighting and kept his distance to around 300 yards. I guess since the younger stag knew that no other males were heading his way, he decided to pull a “Stags gone wild” in the pond and the rest is scarred, funny, and history.
The camp house was extremely cozy, especially for being so far from populated civilization. With A/C, Running water, and Direct TV, our stay was more than enjoyable.
The Living Room
Back into the living room from the kitchen
Looking upstairs from the living room
And for the wild boar guys….
After the previous evening hunt, sleep was hard to come by just thinking about the roaring, which started back up at 6:30am on Saturday Morning. Once awake and ready to go we headed out to the far corner of the ranch to glass for the Stag moving about.
We spotted numerous other Stags, spikes, hinds, fallow, whitetail, and aoudad from the hill, but we could not find the stag I was after so after an hour or so from glassing we moved to a different area to look over more land. While driving around I was able to get a few pictures of a few of the Mule deer on the ranch
Once at the new area we watched over a couple of young whitetail bucks feeding, one a decent 6 point and the other a big 9 point, until they walk off into the brush. We spotted a few recognizable Stags that we had seen from the other glassing point, with more hinds heading our direction but still no sign of the Stag we were after. I began to wonder if he would ever show whenever I pointed out to Wendell that there was a stag walking up to a water trough in one of his fields. After a quick look Wendell saw that it was him and we set up in position to ambush him in-between the field and the water hole he may have been heading to. The stag would have to cross about 650 yards worth of heavy brush to get to where we thought he was heading. Once realizing that it doesn’t take an hour to cover that distance, we decided to head back to the camp house to take a siesta, figuring that the stag had done the same in the thick cover we watched him walk into.
Every 10 minutes or so we would glass over the surrounding fields to see if the 90 degree temperatures would tempt the stag into one of the watering holes on the ranch for a nice wallow. As if I had seen a ghost, I rallied Jacob that I had seen the stag and that I thought he was following a group of Hinds over to the water hole we had sat over the night before. We gathered our gear and headed back to the hill where we were about 133 yards from the water hole.
Once we arrived to the area, the Stag was just barely getting into the water and was knee deep already. At the shot the stag was taken off of its feet like it was hit with a refrigerator! All you could see was the crown of his horns, only for him to regain his footing and stand back up! We were all shocked as he acted like he was going to head to the center of the pond where we would have to fish him out, and then slowly head back to the shore. When he reached the shore and was clear of the water, broadside again he shook the water off of his thick fur as though nothing had happened, and immediately after I sent another 250gr partition through both shoulders. At this shot he took off on a steady, broken leg hop to the 40ish yards where he lay. We were amazed that he lived as long as he did with both bullets through the lungs and through both shoulders.
I had forgotten the Camcorder in the rush to get to work Friday morning but Jacob still got the shot on film with the digital camera. If you look closely on the right you can see all of the females and on the left you can see the stag hit the water, with Wendell doing narration
It wasn’t until after the second shot that I began to shake. Knowing that you have such a large animal down on the ground was just an unbelievable feeling…although we have all felt it at one time or another it feels like the first time each time the feeling returns. Once we came upon him and saw the crown above the grass, the camera began to really go off and the work started.
Me with the Stag
Jacob and I with the big stag
Wendell and I with the trophy down
You never really know when the work begins until the work begins! Wendell was an excellent host and in the 90 degree heat he went straight to work getting the animal cooled off
We weighed the stag at somewhere around 500lb with part of him still touching the ground
The “high seat”