Editor's Note: For this #ThrowbackThursday, we're going back to the July 2007 issue of NRA InSights, and this great doe-hunting story from then-16-year-old Tory Seago. Tory, if you're out there, we'd love to hear how you're doing these days!
I knew this was going to be an awesome hunt when I got there: There were seven of us getting to hunt, I was the only girl and I would have one whole peaceful day without cell phone service. Things were going great! I was participating in the Early Bird Hunt for cadets who had attended the North Texas Buckskin Brigade camp the previous summer. Each of us who were attending had given programs and conducted projects to earn a chance to come on this hunt held at the Stasney-Cook Ranch, north of Albany, Texas, on January 26th and 27th.
We all grabbed a bite to eat and then headed out to the shooting range to sight-in our guns and visit for a while. Everyone got their guns ready and then we were off again, but this time to the deer blinds. Melissa Clifton (one of the instructors at the North Texas Buckskin Brigade, who served as a hunting guide) and I were assigned to a pop-up blind near the road.
As the time passed, several deer started to appear everywhere. We saw so many beautiful bucks and does all around us, but we had to extra careful because this hunt was a doe and hog harvest, and many of the bucks had already shed their antlers.
Melissa knew her deer very well. Thankfully she told me what were does, bucks, yearling deer and nubbin bucks. After a while, we saw a nice doe and she told me to take a shot. We both got our hearing protection on and I went to aim, but one of them saw me and our cover was blown.
We stayed really quiet and still from then on. They all came back and after sitting in the blind for about and hour and a half, an older doe came up and I took the shot. But the doe ran, and we looked everywhere for it. We looked over where I had shot it and didn’t see anything lying on the ground. There wasn’t even a single blood trail. We were both scared that the doe didn’t die.
So, Melissa called Kent Mills, President of the North Texas Buckskin Brigade and Johnny Hudman, the wildlife manager, and asked them for help. They brought Tucker, a hyperactive Jack Russell Terrier, out to find my doe. He sniffed and started running around, nose to the ground. I thought he was crazy running around like that. I thought that surely there was no way he would find that doe. We all followed him around until finally we heard the magic words, “He found her!”
I was so relieved. The doe had crawled up under a bush and died. We got it to the truck and went back to the headquarters. Two of the North Texas Buckskin Brigade boys on the hunt had each brought back a hog, and I brought back the deer.
The next morning we got up early to eat breakfast and go hunting again. This time I went with Jean Robson (another instructor from the North Texas Buckskin Brigade) to the blind a few miles farther down the road. We saw many deer and a few hogs. I was going to shoot a hog as well but they stayed behind a tree, and I could never get a clear shot.
This hunt was great! I had never hunted anywhere other than on my farm with my dad. Getting away and going to the Stasney‘s Cook Ranch was even better. This was a wonderful opportunity for me and I will remember it forever.
The North Texas Buckskin Brigade is a part of the Texas Brigades camps, which are wildlife and leadership camps for youth ages 13 to 17. They help you to learn about wildlife, proper hunting ethics, media skills and leadership skills. When you leave camp, they ask you to do programs promoting the Brigades. If you do enough of these programs, you get to come back and go on the Early Bird Hunt just like I did.
You can also work hard enough to come back as an assistant leader to help those attending next summer’s camp and earn scholarships for college. The people running the camps and the people on the ranch are great. Everyone is a volunteer. They put so much time and energy in to the camp and kids. They really love and believe in what they are doing, and in us. I encourage anyone who is interested to visit the Texas Brigade web site at www.texasbrigades.org. You don’t know what you are missing!