Posts Tagged With: outdoors

Feeder Pen Fail

First Bow Hunt of the Year

Date: June- October 19, 2013

Reported By: Craig Emmite

Just to give you a heads up for everyone to fully understand what happened on our first hunting trip of 2013 I will have to start at the beginning when the Lost Boys first started this journey. Every year we work so hard in the off season so our spot will be better than anyone else on our lease. We get out there when it’s the hottest part of the summer, putting stands up, filling feeders and for the first time ever building a feeder pen. We do all this well before the season opens  so when we get close to the start of deer season we don’t have to be out in the woods disturbing the area we plan on hunting in a few months. Like we do every year, we try to improve our spot in a different way so we can have a leg up on the other hunters in the area. Our big plan this year was to supplement feed something besides corn and a protein block. The trick was that we have cows that come onto our place, as well as, hogs that in the past have emptied our gravity feeders. We decided to build a large feeder pen and put both a gravity feeder with a protein pellet and corn mixture inside and a spin feeder with just corn.

It Was Hot

Feeder Ped From Tree Stand

When we drew up this plan in our heads it seemed easy enough but boy were we wrong,  this pen tested our dedication, being out in the hot summer sun, hammering t-post into the ground and clearing everything from bushes to small trees, all in hopes that deer would be the only ones to be able to get into the pen. After a day of blood, sweat and lots of talk of giving up, the pen was up. The only thing left to do was to put up the game camera and get back to some air conditioning and a much needed shower.

Trucks Packed With T-Post, Fencing, 4-Wheeler and Corn

Having A Little Fun While Getting It Done

After a few weeks we go back to check the game camera and see how everything was holding up and the pen looked great, no cows or hogs got in for sure but something was missing and to our surprise the game camera was gone, a sucky situation. Nothing will make you hate mankind like someone stealing your game camera but once we accepted the camera was gone and forgave the people in our County, we planned another trip. We go back up to fill the feeders one more time and to set up another game camera, this time with a lock box drilled into a nice big tree, mow the grass down inside the pen and make sure the last of what we needed to do for the bow stands was done. We also set up another camera over a bait site just down a game trail leading to the feeder pen just to be safe.

Bait Site

But a worrisome thought started creeping into our heads. Since we have no pictures of deer in the pen we had no idea if they were jumping in and normally by this time of the year we can start to put deer on our hit list but besides some tracks inside and around the pen we really didn’t know how everything was working. We had to cross our fingers and pray that we would finally get some good news the next time we came up

It’s now just a few days before the big weekend, Justin and I are so excited we are not sleeping so we throw caution to the wind and decided we would make a night trip up to the lease to check the game camera. We get out there in the middle of the night, get the first SD card out of the feeder pen, camera reads over 4000 pictures, excitement at an all-time max, grab the second SD card over the bait site, camera reads over 200 pictures we literally couldn’t be more excited. We get back into the truck and check both SD cards and our only possible fear came true.  The camera in the feeder pen took over 4000 pictures of squirrels and birds and only showed 3 deer actually in the pen. While the bait site had multiple deer running past it and eating out of the bait pile along with a bunch of hogs. We worked so hard to get this pen up only to find out we didn’t build a deer feeder pen but a squirrel sanctuary. The deer were going to the bait site behind the pen and we had pictures of them walking around it but only a brave few jumped in. With it only being days before the hunt there was nothing we could do about it. We decided to go up and hunt just liked we planned but we were going to have to cut the fence down if we wanted to save the rest of the season.

1 Of The Fews Bucks That Showed Up

We Had More Pigs Than Deer Show Up

The weekend comes and all that is going through my mind is we aren’t going to see a thing because why would we, the feeder was what was drawing them in. The only hope I had was that they would come into the area for the bait pile. We get up to the lease, and after a little debating we decided to go out in the middle of the night to toss some corn around the bait site and open up the door to the feeder pen.

What Our Bow Stand Looks Like

For the first time since we started hunting together Justin and I don’t pull an all-nighter, instead we get some sleep and wake up to early and get out there hours before the sun comes up. As we walk to the stand we nervously joke about running into hogs, it’s one thing to have a rifle with you but we had a bow strapped in a backpack and Justin had a pocket knife. To say the least it was a fast walk to the stands, insuring one another that what we just heard wasn’t bigfoot or hogs. As the sun came up and we started to see some action, we realized another problem that we were going to face, when we set up the lock on stands we planned on the deer walking down the main game trail focused on the feeder. The problem was the deer weren’t focused on the feeder, they were just walking around all willy dilly like, coming out of game trails we didn’t even think they were using which left us more visually exposed. And since we decided to throw out some corn the night before the deer could sense something sketchy and were very jumpy while walking in. At one point we had 2 does coming in and every little sound made them jump. They were about 14 yards away and before they came into one of my shooting lanes a squirrel literally chased them off. We ended up seeing around 10 does but only 2 of them came near us, the rest that we saw were out of bow range. Though the feeder pen was an epic fail there was a brighter side, the deer were there, it felt good that our area was so naturally good that even if we didn’t want to feed we would still see something. Our first hunt of the year wasn’t what I hoped it would be but at the same time it was a chance to escape from the real world, to take some time away from growing up and to chase an adventure.

No Matter What, You Have To Keep Your Spirits High

Categories: camping, deer hunting, Hunting, outdoors, road trip, texas, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Hunt for A Hero

Date: February 3, 2013

Report By: Chris

Team Members: Chris, Craig

Weather Conditions: Sunny and clear, High in the 60’s low in the 50’s

Hunt With Our Heroes Banner from their Facebook Page

Last year, while browsing the Texas Hunting Forum, I came across a post by a man named Nathan Nelson offering a list of free hunts to veterans and servicemen. He was offering an Aoudad Ram, a Red Deer stag, two Whitetail Deer bucks, a Fallow Deer buck, and two Sika deer stags. The drawing was open to anybody serving or who had served in any branch of the military, policemen and firefighters.

I immediately thought of my older brother Tom, who is a member of the Houston Police Department. I entered his name in the drawing, thanked Nathan for what he is doing for our servicemen, and wished everyone good luck.

I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the prize. Tom is the best policeman I’ve met. I’m not just saying that because he’s my brother either. He works a rough shift in one of the worst neighborhoods in Houston. He sees some of the worst things that go on in our society on a daily basis that most of us won’t ever have to experience. He keeps a level head and a cheerful personality through it all.

One of my more proud moments of him came around Christmas in 2011. Tom responded to a burglary call. The victims of the crime were a single mother and her 5 year old son. The thieves had stolen all of the child’s Christmas gifts just a short time before Christmas. The mother had no money left for new presents. Tom and a few of his fellow officers pooled their money and bought the kid all new Christmas gifts. Tom isn’t one to boast about his achievements either. The only reason I found out about this is because it was in the Houston newspaper later that week! I’m very proud of him to say the least.

Back to the story, I’ve never won anything in my life, so I really wasn’t expecting to see Tom’s name on the list of winners. I never even told him that I entered his name, so I wouldn’t get his hopes up. About a month after I entered his name, there was a new post on the forum announcing the winners of the drawing. As I opened it up and read the list, my heart skipped a beat when I read that my brother had won the trophy Fallow deer hunt! Shortly after, I received an email from Nathan with the details. Everything was paid for, and I mean everything: the lodging, the hunt, the guide, the taxidermy, and the meat processing!

I was very excited to be able to call Tom and let him know that in 6 months he was going on an all-expense paid trophy fallow deer hunt. I think Tom thought I was joking at first. He was in shock and disbelief when I told him the details, but when he realized that it was real, he was pumped.

The next 6 months went by slowly as we anticipated the big day of the hunt. Over this time I got to learn more about Nathan Nelson and the organization he has been putting together. Nathan’s charity is called Hunt With Our Heroes. He built it from the ground up by taking servicemen on these hunts out of his own pocket. He is just now launching a Facebook page and Website where he will be able to start accepting donations. He puts together so many of these hunts that he is busy almost every weekend.

Unfortunately, when the time finally came around for our hunt, Nathan was unable to come along due to a personal situation. I was really looking forward to meeting the man that has given so much back to our heroes. Maybe we’ll be able to take him shark fishing sometime!

Tom Ballin with 2 pairs of sunglasses

Nathan gave Craig and me the green light to go along on Tom’s hunt to video tape and get pictures, so Tom, Craig, and I loaded up in the truck Saturday afternoon and made the drive North of Austin to the small town of Bertram. Somehow, we turned a 3 hour drive into a 5.5 hour drive. There is nothing like road-trippin’ with your brothers though. We arrived late in the evening, filled our bellies with some local Mexican food, and settled down at the Cedar Creek Inn. We sat on our porch for a few hours, talking, sipping on whiskey, and hoping about the next day’s hunt.

Cigars and whiskey will make anyone a little crazy

Hanging out with my brothers is my favorite thing in the world

We spent some time with another resident of the hotel named Monty Montana

When we finally laid down to sleep, it felt like our eyes had just shut by the time our alarm clocks were screeching at us to get up. Before we knew it, we were up, dressed, and had the car packed just as the guide was pulling up. Our guide was Jake from DB Hunting Ranch. He guides a lot of Nathan’s hero hunts, and he was a blast to hunt with.

Jake had a pretty cute Jack Russel puppy that came along for the hunt. He told us a story about how the puppy bayed up a water buffalo the week before!

Jake picked us up and we headed out to a ranch about 20 minutes away where there was a brute of a Fallow Deer. When we got to the ranch we were joined by another guide. The ranch was really beautiful. There was lots of hilly terrain covered with cedar trees. As we drove up, we spotted a few Black Buck Antelope, lots of Corsican Rams, and a couple donkeys.

Some of the animals and scenery from the ranch

The hunt was fast and furious from the moment we got on the ranch. We made about 3 different stalks once we located the fallow deer that we were after. He was with another Fallow buck that was nearly as big as he was. After a few failed stalking attempts, it was decided that we should let Tom go alone with the guide so they would have less of a chance of being spotted.

They held up behind a cedar tree and waited for the deer to pass by. Just like the guides expected, the 2 fallows came trotting out into the open. Tom centered the scope right where the guide told him to place the shot, squeezed the trigger and hit his mark. His 30.06 with a custom accubond load that our dad made did the trick. The deer ran about 30 yards and then folded up. Unfortunately, since we we’re able to come along on this stalk we didn’t get video of the shot, but we sure got plenty afterwards.

Craig, Jake and I went and met up with Tom and the other guide after they confirmed that the animal was down. We walked up to the biggest fallow I’ve ever seen in person. Tom had a smile on his face ear to ear and was excitedly thanking everyone for the opportunity.

Nice thick bases and great palms!

My favorite picture

Customary shirtless picture

Jake took great care of the animal. He gutted it right away and then we took it directly to the meat processor. Tom was still in shock that he didn’t owe the processor or taxidermist anything because Nathan had taken care of every aspect of the hunt. After shaking hands with Jake and thanking him for guiding the trip, we were back on the road to Houston.

I’ll always remember this special weekend as I’m sure Tom will also. I couldn’t think of anyone better to get a trip like this. The only thing that could have made the trip any better is if Nathan Nelson was able to come along. We were all looking forward to getting to know him.

He has inspired us to start giving a little back to the community also. Starting this year we are planning on launching a program to take servicemen on shark fishing trips. We can’t afford to give as much as Nathan has, but we hope that we can provide a good time, doing something that not a lot of people have tried, for some guys that have sacrificed a lot for us. We are hoping to do 4-5 of these trips in 2013 and see how it goes. If it goes well we are going to try to expand our program for 2014.

Once more I’d like to give a huge thank you to Mr. Nathan Nelson. Go like his Facebook page and keep an eye out for his upcoming website launch. He will have a place to make donations once his website is up and running. He is constantly giving away trips on Facebook to servicemen and the general public, so check it out!


Categories: deer hunting, exotic hunting, Hunting, outdoors, road trip, texas | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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