My wife, Jennifer, and I arrived home about 9:15 PM Sunday night from my 60th birthday Axis hunt at the FF Hunting Ranch outside of Sonora, Texas. The whole setup at the ranch is well thought out in optimizing the overall experience. We really felt we were receiving the fully personalized treatment. The professionalism and dedication to you being successful is so evident in every aspect of your stay at FF.
Without reservation, this was one of the most phenomenal, satisfying experiences I’ve had this side of 30. Jennifer and my son Tommy made it unbelievably special, yet I don’t think I’ve hunted this hard over a 4 day period, ever.
I hunted Thursday evening through Sunday morning, seeing more game in one sitting than I’ve experienced in some entire seasons. Sitting in blind, then getting down for a long stalk in thick South Texas brush. The Saturday morning stalk was amazing, just being in the middle of a spread out herd of Axis deer in such thick brush, with the bucks growling, roaring, whistling, as they mysteriously drifted south to their sanctuary… that was worth the trip in itself.
I’ll fall short in telling you about the many excellent meals, camaraderie, and well earned naps, but just know they were integral to the entirety of the experience. Tommy is an excellent cook, and Jennifer had created some of her magic beforehand, with each meal being an experience in itself.
I finished Sunday morning’s hunt without connecting with my objective, and was perfectly happy to look forward to trying it again next year. Although Gerald Faldyn, the co-owner / personal guide, asked if I wanted to do one last drive around, I was reluctant as he had the Outdoor Channel coming in at 2 PM for a 5 day hunt, and it felt a bit like desperation.
Nevertheless, with Tommy joining us (when he had originally planned to leave Saturday afternoon, then first light Sunday when I hadn’t had an opportunity to get a shot off by Saturday), we went for the final gasp, knowing chances are low, but odds are nil if I don’t go out.
As only appropriate, my opportunity didn’t present itself until we had exhausted every chance there was. We spotted the herd as they were filtering through the brush, pretty much single file. An Axis doe spotted something about us, got several others on alert, but wind was in our favor. Time froze for a bit as she tried to make out what we were, and either reverse course or take flight forward. However, the volume of animals behind was restless, and started pushing the line forward. An acceptable buck finally appeared, but had a doe in front of him. Once I had a shot, only the back half of him was visible. The hit sounded good though.
The whole episode from time I pulled trigger, to time we retrieved the deer is almost an equally long story, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
So looking forward to next year!
– Tom Taylor