Note: Deer & Deer Hunting Editor Dan Schmidt has just returned from a week-long rut hunt near Eldorado, Texas. This is the first installment of a five-part blog series on his adventure. Check back for updates.
I’m not sure who coined the phrase, but they weren’t kidding when they said God blessed Texas. This state is not only breathtaking, it is a deer hunter’s paradise. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to have had opportunities to hunt the Lone Star state in December. Each and every time I’ve been here, the experience has provided an instant jolt of resurgence. Not sure why that is, but I do believe it has to do with the fact that hunting anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line during the rut provides unique observations into whitetail behavior that you just can’t experience anywhere else.
Deer & Deer Hunting videographer Jay Ellioff and I flew into San Angelo and made the drive south to the Vatoville Outdoors ranch (Steve and Michelle Anderson; 325-450-0287) with my good friend Tim Anderson of Mossy Oak. Tim has hunted this ranch between Sonora and Eldorado, just outside of the famous Texas Hill Country, for many years. He’s had some success, too.
I’m not sure why I seem to always be the snake-bitten traveler, but, yeah, it happened again on this trip. It started with a three-hour drive to Milwaukee in ice, rain and overcast conditions for the flight to Dallas. It escalated with a roller-coaster puddle-jumper flight from Dallas to San Angelo. I think the flight attendant said it best when she looked at me from my front-row exit seat and sighed, “Oh my God, you look horrible!”
With a panicked look on her face, she rifled through the nearby magazine holder and fished out two barf bags. “Here take these,” she said in desperation. “And please just try not to spill.”
“Um, thanks,” I moaned as sweat cascaded down my forehead. “I hope I won’t need to use them.”
Thankfully, I didn’t. I somehow managed to gain my composure for the rest of the flight and was feeling somewhat normal by the time we touched down in San Angelo.
“Don’t worry about it,” said a fellow hunter on the flight who was seated one row behind me. “You know, getting sick before a hunt is a good luck charm.”
He said that in all seriousness.
His prediction seemed to be going my way as we retrieved all of our bags, left the airport and made it to the sporting good store in plenty of time to buy our deer hunting licenses. Believe it or not, we got those licenses and were back in the truck and heading to camp in less than 10 minutes. There is no nonsense when buying a deer license in this great state. Hand over your ID, and the cashier will smile and have you on your way before you can figure out how to pronounce “sendero.”
By now you must be wondering how any of this has to do with the headline to this blog post. Yeah, I kind of saved that for last on purpose.
After rolling into camp, unloading all of our gear and getting our room assignments, I learned that my roommate would be a fellow editor friend who I haven’t hunted with in quite a while. It was late, and we needed to get some sleep in anticipation for that first morning in the stand. That’s when my roommate uttered those five dirty words:
“I snore like a bastard.”
Oh, well. I’ve heard worse. Time to grab my blanket, pillow and head for the sofa.