Ray: Antlers When It’s Dry as a Bone
Rut Reporter Brandon Ray is an expert on the region. Ray was born in Dallas and shot his first deer...
Rut Reporter Brandon Ray is an expert on the region. Ray was born in Dallas and shot his first deer with a bow in Central Texas at the age of 15. The full-time freelance writer manages his family’s Texas Panhandle ranch, is a licensed New Mexico guide, and last year took a 184 gross P&Y non-typical trophy. States covered: TX, OK, NM.
Even when things are horribly dry, there’s still the little things that keep us excited for the upcoming deer season.
A few weeks ago, my sister, nephew and a couple of his friends came to visit the ranch. The teen-age boys, apparently unaffected by the 100-degree heat, made long hikes each day to explore the rugged canyons on the ranch. One canyon in particular produced a few treasures.
When John, Ryan and Sam knocked on my door, my jaw dropped. The boys were holding five shed antlers they’d found in that small canyon. That canyon is a sanctuary. I stay out of it in the fall and winter, so the bucks have a safe retreat. Obviously, they like hiding there.
The two biggest sheds were from mule deer bucks I recognized from 2010. The biggest shed is from a bomber buck I hope to catch up with this fall.
The right side shed sports a huge back fork; a G-2 that measures 16-inches, a G-3 that measures 11 1⁄2-inches, a G-4 that measures 8 1⁄2-inches and mass at the base like a baseball bat. If you score the shed, double it and add spread, he scored about 165-170 inches B&C last year. I have a long history with this buck. I think he was 6 1⁄2-years-old last fall. So this year, if my estimate is correct, he’ll be 7 1⁄2. If his rack grows even a little, he’ll be a toad. And my mule deer tag will be reserved for him.
So even in times of a drought, there are small things that keep us excited for the days ahead!