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The Mccrea Outdoors Experience

Posted by Jeremiah , 21 November 2009 · 1,656 views

McCrea Outdoors Mathews TV Outdoor Channel
Now that the official results of the Texas Round-Up have been published.
I feel I can tell my personal experience from the gathering. In addition to what I've posted on the forums, I got to experience hunting west Texas myself on this trip. When I was first invited down (by Dave Watson) I assumed it was just to help tell the story. It wasn't until last week that I learned I might be hunting too. Well, I'm still not even sure who I owe the most for that all coming about. So, I just thank everyone involved. It was an awesome experience, to say the least.

Concerning specifically the hunt, I must say that the first thing that struck me was the size of the deer they have at McCrea Outdoors. Not so much the racks... We all know Texas is home to large-racked white-tail. No, I'm talking about the body size. These deer were brutes. Kenny meticulously manages his deer, that's for sure. The second thing that struck me was the expanse of the property. It seemed to me like this ranch just went on forever. With the exception of areas that hold exotics, much of it is low-fence as well. (Not that I have any problem with hunting high-fence if the area is large enough to not be like shooting fish in a barrel. But, it was still neat to see this set-up.)

The first morning in the Double Bull blind was incredible. All of the bucks that approached were still on the young side. You could clearly see they had potential to become much more than what they were. The goal was a management buck. (Something in the main-frame eight point range with some age on him... likely doing downhill a bit, if anything.) So, it was back to the lodge for some late breakfast/early lunch. Let me tell you, we ate well there. I'm not sure if the slow-cooked ribs or the peach cobbler were the highlight for me. (I'm pretty sure I know where Andrew stands though. It seems that anything that says "oink" is a staple in his diet. :p ) Oh, sorry, food took me off track here. Back to the hunt.

The afternoon of the first day brings Cody (my guide), Don (my cameraman), and I back to the same blind. (Yes, three men in a ground blind. Surprisingly, we pulled it off pretty well.) Around 4:00 o'clock, if my memory serves me correctly, deer began to move. In fact, Cody glassed a good buck a couple hundred yards away. (At first I was thinking, "Yeah right.", but something in Cody's eyes told me the deer he had just seen was different from what we had been seeing. There was almost an excitement there.) Within a few minutes of that, two younger bucks approached from nearly the opposite direction. Because of the blind set, it was as if they had literally come out of nowhere to be standing right in front of us only 30 yards away. It couldn't have been too much longer before a couple doe, along with the buck Cody had glassed earlier, arrived as well. Cody immediately alerted me that the mature buck was my shooter.

Folks, I'm just not used to seeing deer of this caliber very often where I live and hunt most of the time. So, I actually had to double check that this was, indeed, the buck I was to take if the opportunity presented itself. (This buck was the best one we had seen yet! I thought there surely had been a mistake made. :lol: ) To be truthful, my heart began pounding so hard upon verification that I could actually hear and feel it. It was like being a rookie all over again! (What a blessing.) It seemed like an hour before this deer presented a shot though I'm sure it was only minutes. I swear that he knew what he was doing because the only time he would stand broadside for me was when there was another deer between himself and the blind. Then, when the other deer would clear out, he would be facing perfectly away from me. (Mooning me... I know it.) Mind you, my heart is still pounding this entire time. I'm sure I was breathing heavy by that point and everything. FINALLY, the buck breaks to the right, but he's walking, walking... HEADED FOR A BUSH! Just as I am thinking this deer is going to go stand directly behind a bush he stops a few feet before it. This was it. A mature Texas white-tail was standing perfectly broadside only 16 yards away.

I drew my bow and anchored. The 20 yard pin found the pocket behind the front leg and I pulled through the release. Cody and I both watched as the arrow impacted. It immediately appeared to be a fatal shot. The only hesitation was on my part. I got a clear view of the arrow still in the deer as he ran away and it appeared that only about 1/3 the length had penetrated the deer. (With a 29" arrow, that's plenty of length to cross the majority, if not all, of the chest cavity. But, still, you start second guessing the shot. Did I just hit the opposite leg? Did I hit shoulder? Are my eyes playing tricks on me?) It was at this time, the highest of the high, that Cody and I both realized that Don had not gotten the impact on video. In my pure excitement, I had not asked, "Ya got him?", before releasing the arrow and Don did not speak up either. All I know is that I was at full draw with a green light from Cody and I was so keyed up I must blame it squarely on buck fever. It was a miscommunication that left me beside myself. Opinions vary on who's responsible for this and that during a filmed hunt. But, I ultimately place the blame at my feet. This wasn't my first rodeo when it comes to filmed hunts and yet I had broken the cardinal rule of shooting without knowing if the animal is in frame. (Dave, I'm still sorry, buddy.) Don revealed that it had indeed been 9 minutes that the buck had been present before the shot. That's an awfully long time to be teased like that! (I'm glad I'm still a young man with a strong ticker. :lol: )

After composing myself as best I could, we settled in to give the buck some time. We actually ended up having an even older buck come in a bit later that was really fun to watch. I got to witness first hand rutting activity on this hunt. Many buck grunts and much chasing. It never ceases to amaze me just how soft or low in volume a buck grunt really is. I think a lot of guys blow deer right out of their area simply by blowing a grunt call too loud. But, I digress. After approximately an hour (for good measure) Cody, Don, and I exit the Double Bull and head to the impact site. Not a single drop of blood was to be found. Immediately I was concerned. (If ya got no blood ya got nothin' as far as I'm concerned.) All I can say is thank the Lord that I had a pretty good view of where the buck headed and Cody had experience with tracking deer in that area as to where they typically head. The first blood would be found nearly 30 yards from the point of impact. The trail was showing spots every 6 to 10 feet, but that's all it was: spots. After about 30 to 40 yards of blood the trail just seemed to go dead. To me, it looked like the line was indicating the buck was heading to the left after jumping a short electric cattle fence. But, Cody presumed more to the right/straight. After finding no more blood in that direction we elected to head back to the lodge as we were just about out of light.

Once back at the lodge, we decided that since the temperatures were dipping down into the 20's overnight that we could relatively safely leave the deer until the next day. Cody had class in the morning and we all knew we wanted him on the trail. So, I would spend a sleepless night and a portion of the morning wondering if we would find my buck. When Cody arrived back at the lodge the next day, he, Kenny, Andrew, Brandi, Jarrod (another McCrea guide), Don, Dave and I all headed out to take up the trail. It ended up being that my hunch was correct that the deer had cut to the left after jumping the hot fence, but that only bought us about another 15 to 20 yards of blood trail. So, we eventually decided to form a line and just start walking parallel to a dry stream bed. The banks of this stream bed were fairly high and pretty steep. So, we assumed that if the buck had crossed that it wasn't a good sign at all. As such, we focused our efforts on the same side of the stream that the blind was located. After walking a few hundred yards 'til the stream takes a turn, we had found nothing but a handful of quail. (Man, those silly things scare the mess out of you when they bust out of nowhere. :lol: ) Kenny instructed the majority of us to start headed back toward the blind, continuing to search, while he and Jarrod took to the other side of the dried up stream.

It wasn't too very long before the first whistle rang out from the opposite side of the stream bed. Jarrod had found my buck not but 250 to 300 yards from the blind. He was only 20 yards on the other bank of the stream. It's as if that last bit of effort is exactly what finished him off. Needless to say, I was elated. I don't know for certain if it was tears of joy or the cactus stuck in my leg through the uppers of my Muck boots, but my eyes were definitely damp. (I just can't get around like that anymore. God really carried me. Much longer and I was going to have to sit it out.) By the time I got there, Dave, Kenny, and Jarrod were in the process of crossing the stream bed. When they emerged on my side it was pure joy for me and, I believe, everyone else as well. It turned out that my arrow had impacted just a couple inches farther forward than I had wanted, hitting the tip of the "elbow", causing the not so great penetration. That, coupled with a mid-line hit and no pass-through meant that the buck had bled buckets internally leaving very little on the ground. The shot was a sure death sentence, but only the best of hunters could have blood-trailed that deer. I'm proud of the entire group and very grateful for the support. (Dave and Kenny really proved they know what they're doing, especially.) We did the TV thing for a while, but in the moments before the cameras arrived I was just a hunter with his trophy. I had to touch him. I snapped a pic on my cell phone to send to mom and dad, of all things. This was the biggest buck I had ever taken with either bow or firearm.

I can't begin to thank the McCrea's, especially Kenny, as well as Dave Watson for the opportunity. I also can't begin to thank Andrew and Brandi enough. They made it a joy just to be there. If I had not hunted at all I would have still had an absolute blast and that's what it's all about. My own hunt was just icing on the cake. But, man, what sweet icing. It was remarkable to simply be around good, God-fearing individuals in such a setting. I know that my spirit was greatly lifted. I was truly blessed. I am positive that friendships were forged that will last. God is good. His presence was clear.

Well, without any further delay, here he is...

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From what I was able to gather, a typical McCrea Outdoors management buck. You see he has some age on him, but he just never got around to growing any G4s or higher. Of course, where I'm from we count kickers if they're big enough to hang a ring on, so he's still a 10 in my book thanks to what he has going on with the G2s. :p I never touched a tape to his antlers and, frankly, I've forgotten what he weighed. (Maybe Kenny or Micky can step in and help me out there.) So, please don't ask either question. ;) I just know he's awful pretty and he's all mine. I can't wait to see him again... honored on my wall.

Like I said in the main write-up, it was a time of firsts. It was also a time of great blessing. I am truly blessed to have been present. I can't wait to read Andrew and Brandi's own recounting. (Something happened to Andrew I just hope he talks about which, while likely not funny to him at the time, or Kenny at all, is kind of hilarious to me.) Just stay tuned is all I can say, folks. :)

Hey now that's a real nice deer! Bummer about missing out on the footage. Getting a good deer is hard. Filming it is even harder!

I am absolutely you all had a great hunt. I've been looking forward to the pictures and stories!

More to come I'm sure.
Nov 22 2009 08:32 PM
Jeremiah congratulations on a great great buck and an equal story. One question though did Dave recognize you in your new body or did you send him a picture so he would not be embarrassed thinking you were a stranger.
Great story, Jeremiah!

Congrats on an excellent buck!
High five Jeremiah. Monster buck! Great read.
Dec 01 2009 08:09 AM
Ok well I suppose I should chime in here now. I just returned from my vacation and came home to find that a storm had fried my router. Well its up and running now. So here
it is.
Well the wife and I are back from our whirlwind trip of the USA. It started with a donated bowhunting trip to Carta Valley(Del Rio), Texas. It was a great hunt the accommodations were primitive at best but we had a great time none the less. Saw lots of deer some exotics and a few hogs. Nothing ever got into range though. Next we took off for San Angelo, Texas to hunt with McCrea Ouutdoors. Also in attendance was Dave Watson from Mathews TV he has been a personal friend of mine for many years and Jeremiah Ross a blessed brother in Christ and the owner of HUNTINGRESOURCE.COM another long time friend and of course Kenny McCrea of McCrea Outdoors. This was another hunt that was donated to me. Just to clear things up I was wounded in Iraq. Any how we arrived that Sunday evening and we went straight to the blinds. Talk about some HUGE deer. Kenny had his eye on a huge 180' deer well we saw him wander into the blind that evening and I had him dead in my sites broadside at 20 yards but couldnt take the shot. The hunt is gonna be televised on the Outdoor Channel and the light wasnt good for the camera but great for me.
The next morning brought some colder temps, lots of deer but that big 8 decided not to show up till 8:50am. He offered me his side again at 20 I drew my Mathews SQ2 ya I know its an old bow, but cant really afford a new one so I had to use what I had, and let the arrow fly. That big 8 turned and ran and then we saw why. I shot the support beam on the Double Bull blind. I was sick and pretty ****** at myself. As I was wallowing in my self pity another nice deer came in a big 9 came in and I arrowed him at 22 yds. It was awesome and one of the best deer hunts of my life. I have never been on a guided hunt ever. Kenny said a few does needed to be taken out so he gave my wife a rifle and let her take her first deer. Ill have some pics to upload as soon as I can find the cable to upload pics. It was a great time. After the hunt we headed back to San Antonio reload and refit, picked up the kids and we were off to Tennessee for a few days, then off to North Carolina for a few more. Got a nice fresh cut Frasier Fir and drug her back to Texas. What a great vacation. I just cant thank Jeremiah, Dave and Kenny enough. I am still on cloud nine here. It will be the greatest hunt I will ever go on in my entire life. It was awesome being back with Dave and Jeremiah again. The three amigos rode again. I was more excited at my wife taking her first deer than I was with my deer. Silly some may say, but I know in my heart of hearts that ever happens for a reason. There was a reason I missed that HUGE 8. I guess there needed to be a good story line behind this hunt. Kind of like what Kenny said. I guess in a way it has sorta gone along with the ups and downs I have been thru since me getting wounded in Iraq and the trials and tribulations I have had to deal with. I hope to hunt with them again one day. This was truly a blessing and it really helped my mental and spiritual well being. I know I am leaving so much out but as I remember Ill post more. Jer thank you so much for this, I love you man! Dave thanks for the comic relief, and Kenny thanks for the laughs the op and the knowledge you have passed along
Dec 01 2009 06:13 PM
Brandi said she remembered that your deer weighed 185, mine was 195 and her doe was 95.
Congrats Jere! Well deserved! :)

Congrats to you and Brandi as well Andrew, I know you both are proud. :)
A truly awesome read!!! Not to mention an awesome buck.
I watched the episode the other day on Mathews TV it was great. Congrats on the buck it is a beauty. I also could not imagine having that many mice bucks around myself at one given time. Here in indiana we get large bucks but since I hunt on smaller properties we have a hard time with other hunters in the area just shooting anything with horns. I have tried talking to a few of the local hunters but they just don't understand that taking a few does and possibly not taking a antlered deer will help grow bigger bucks. They just want to shoot something with antlers even though it is a young buck with a nice rack it just has not grown to its potential yet.

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