On this episode of In the Hunt: Over the past few years, Josh and the team down at the ranch have been working hard on management. The key with deer management is that it doesn’t happen overnight, you need patience. It’s a process of a couple of years, usually about three to five years, when you really start seeing the benefits of that. Right now, they’re kind of at a point where, in the last couple of years, they’re seeing not only the benefit of managing out and coaling some of the lesser bucks, but just as important, letting some of those better bucks live.
Down at the ranch, they name deer just like you name people – so they’re not referring to the deer as ‘the tall eight’ or ‘the big nine’. But this one buck kind of slipped by without being named, because he was kind of a ghost. If you rewind all the way back to the first season, Josh was sitting with Chase, and they rattled this buck in and let him walk. He was about a four year old then and he was beautiful. It was the kind of buck Josh really wanted to age up and mature to around six or seven years.
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As he became a five year old, they would get trail cam pictures of him, but it was always at night. Then once season came, Josh didn’t get any pictures of him and he began to wonder if the deer got into a fight because there were zero sightings. One night, Jamie’s out hunting over one of the oat fields and texts Josh about this huge buck. But a pig came in and scared the buck off. It was right at last light and so they get footage and Josh is able to confirm that’s the buck he’s been looking for. And that was it – that was the only daylight image they had, where Jamie saw him as a five year old.
Coming into the next season, and all summer long, again, the team was unable to get any pictures of him. He just wasn’t around. Josh decides to get Jamie out one day, and Jamie usually doesn’t like to move around and run and gun and rattle, but they got out and nothing exciting was happening. At one point, Josh happens to look down at his phone with the Tactic Game Reveal app, and he was right there. They got in the blind that morning, it was foggy – just a perfect South Texas morning. Josh and Jamie see a few young bucks, some does, and as he looks off to his left, Josh just saw him standing in the brush. Josh notices his wide, symmetrical rack and tries to not get Jamie too excited. He directs Jamie to get the gun up, and as Jamie looks he says, ‘you know, he’s a shooter’. Josh calmly says to Jamie, ‘it’s him’. Jamie wasn’t gonna waste any time in getting this buck.
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