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One Hunter — Plus One Hunt — Equals Two World Records!
Sometimes life throws some real zingers our way and sometimes it throws gold coins. More often than not, we get both. Such is the case of one well-traveled veteran Exotic game hunter named Alan Maiss. Alan was recently able to take not one new world record Black Hawaiian ram, but during the same hunt and on the same ranch, he also took a world record Corsican ram. Both rams were recently certified by the TGR and ROE as well as SCI as the new world records for the respective species.
Hunters know that a lot of things must come together for a successful hunt: rifles must be sighted in, the right ammo chosen for the game being hunted, there must be a basic knowledge of shot placement, moon phases will be considered, practice rounds must be spent at the estimated range for the expected hunt and a myriad of other considerations which seem to grow with each year of hunting successes and mistakes made. Archers align bows with arrows, levels are stuck on bow sights to keep them straight, broad heads are experimented with until the perfect blade and arrow match is acquired. Hand gunners shoot hundreds of rounds with well-designed pistols for the hunter in mind and sights and scopes are tuned to perfection. Even the rare muzzle loading hunter will make certain he is scoped in with the perfect powder to ball match to eliminate any potential mistake that may occur. Of course, any hunter, regardless of the weapon carried into the field, knows that fate has a way of keeping every hunter humble. The unexpected heat wave, the major flood that washes out roads, the outfitters car accident that put him in the hospital and leaves the hunter at a locked gate at four o’clock in the morning. On the other side, there are those days when everything is so right; the novice first time hunter, who does everything wrong, has so much good luck, he makes a leap into record books he did not even know existed. That same dusting of luck happens to seasoned hunters who know that in spite of all they have done to insure a successful hunt, sometimes smiles upon them and slaps them on the back with an extraordinary wonderful gift. The hunt that netted Alan two world records had the bad and good luck elements that make his story worth retelling.
Alan, a Nevada resident, was pheasant hunting in South Dakota when he met a couple of fellow hunters at the same lodge. After the usual greetings, the conversation took a natural course to home states and hunting interest. When Alan heard that the men were from Texas he asked them where in Texas did they hang their hats as he had hunted there on many occasions and in fact held the record for several exotic species that he had taken around the Fredericksburg area. As the alignment of the stars began, one of the hunters mentioned that his son in law was an exotic sheep breeder and rancher and that he had what he believed to be a new world record Hawaiian Black ram. After more conversation a consideration was shared about hunting the ram on the Zenner ranch. Now, don’t assume that this is where the stars began to align. That alignment happened some thirty years ago when Alan met Darrell Beakley, a fireman in Fredericksburg Texas who was also a part time outfitter. Alan had hired him for an exotic hunt and was so impressed with his professionalism and his heart to help his hunters be successful that he has hunted with him for 30 years. Alan pursues trophy game animals that will challenge him and help him challenge the record books, all record books. So focused on the challenge of hunting, he also uses a bow to make the hunts more fulfilling because of the increased difficulty. Darrell knows what Alan is looking for in a hunt and will always let him know when he learns of a potential trophy that will require hunting the free ranging animal on hundreds or thousands of acres.
Alan contacted Darrell about the offer to hunt the trophy ram and Darrell went to the ranch to make sure the hunt would be a genuine hunt and that the ram was of the quality Alan had always required. When he reported back to Alan that the hunt was indeed going to be a challenging hunt and the Hawaiian Black ram would probably surpass the current world record, he also dropped the bombshell that he had laid eyes on a Corsican Ram that would likely surpass the current world record as well. He advised Alan to consider trying to harvest both animals because opportunities like this only come once in a lifetime. The hunt was on.
Alan, well-practiced with his bow, knew to sling a few sticks before the hunt to be sure nothing was going to interfere with his success. After arriving at the ranch, he was surprised that his arrows kept flying to the left. He made the sight adjustment and felt comfortable that all was now in order. Within the hour he was directed to a pop up blind in the general area where the ram had been seen earlier in the week. Once inside, he waited for a couple of hours for his target. The ram appeared with a couple of ewes. When Alan stood to take the shot, he became suddenly aware that the blind was not tall enough for him to take his usual stand up shot. He also realized that he would have to do some serious contortions to get a path for his arrow through the tree limbs protecting the ram. He took his aim and released his arrow only to be startled that the arrow pulled left. The ram ran off apparently wounded, but Alan was unsure where the arrow had struck. Alan, like most hunters was sickened by the results. Every hunter knows the pain of a wayward shot, but to know that you have wounded a world class animal brings that wrenching gut feeling to a peak. Alan quickly tracked the animal, but the ram now knew it was being hunted. He kept eluding Alan, seeking refuge in the mesquite underbrush. Alan finally located his quarry and found a path between the trees for a follow up shot. When he pulled his bow string back, his world exploded. His bow string broke, sending cables, strings, arrow and clamps in all directions. After verifying that he was not hurt from the potentially serious mishap, Alan realized that his luck had taken a major tailspin. He knew that to qualify for the record books, he needed to complete the hunt with his bow. He also realized that he was in rural Texas and 30 miles from the nearest town. After a quick planning meeting with the ranch staff and the guide it was decided that the best course of action would be to get the bow repaired and resume the hunt. Good luck broke through the dark clouds when the archery shop not only had the parts to repair the bow, they discovered that the lower cam had a nick in it that was causing the bowstring to fray and eventually break. The cam was repaired, the string replaced, the bow was tuned and several practice shots at the dealer proved that the bow was ready for duty.
The hunting party returned to the ranch and began the search for the Hawaiian Black ram. He was found after an extensive search and Alan resumed his stalk. He was able to get ahead of the ram and find a suitable spot to release an arrow. This time, the arrow flew true and found the target Alan had selected. The ram piled up after a few yards. While laying hands on his trophy, Alan noticed that not only did the ram have horns in excess of 50 inches, he also guessed they had 13 inch bases. This was truly going to be a new world record.
Late that afternoon, lady luck was handing out bonuses. The monster Corsican ram was seen in a herd of 40 other sheep and he was obviously a remarkable animal. It was also remarkable that the ram broke from the herd and gave Alan a good quartering shot without endangering the other animals. That shot was achieved with perfection. Two world records in one hunt. For a hunter who has a good friend searching for the trophies he is hunting for, verifying the fairness of the chase and accompanying his every hunt in Texas, it was a great day for both hunter and guide. Darrell remembered the past hunts when Alan would fly in from out of state only to leave empty handed and would repeat the flight as many as three times before the game he sought would allow placement for a well-shot arrow. Congratulations are in order for the hunter, his guide, and the breeders who strove for years to find the perfect game animal so the three could come together for this great hunt.
After required drying time the rams scored as follows:
||ROE 146 4/8, NWR
||TGR 462.9, NWR
||SCI 181 7/8, NWR
||ROE 129 5/8
||TGR 418.8, NWR
||SCI 164 3/8, NWR
The family that hunts together…needs plenty of wall space for the trophies! There are many ways to build family cohesion today but the key is always directly related to the amount of time the parents give to their children. This is not an easy task with both parents working and the multitude of extra-curricular activities tugging at children in school. However, when both parents enjoy the sport of exotic game hunting it is most suitable to allow the children to tag along and introduce them to the outdoor life and the hunting sport. Two sets of parents exemplified that process recently with a hunt to Thompson Temple’s ranch (www.thompsontemple.net). Scott and Laura Beauchamp of Columbus, Texas have made an annual trek with their two daughters to the rocky hills of Barksdale to hunt rams for the last three years. This year, they decided to invite another couple to join them since they had also expressed a desire to get their daughter interested in hunting. So Scott and Laura, with six-year-old Emma and four-year-old Ellie in tow, brought Russell and Krystle Warschak and their seven-year-old daughter Gabby for a hunt.
Gabby, the guest, was the first up with a youth size 243. She found a beautiful Texas Dall and did everything she had been taught to do and dropped the ram under the watchful eye of two very proud parents. Her response to her first hunt began with apprehension at first (something most first time hunters experience at their first kill) but when the ram was down the only emotion Gabby knew was sheer excitement. She declared, “I was excited because I shot my first ram and didn’t miss!”
Six-year-old Emma borrowed her mother’s cross bow and quickly dispatched a bronze medal Hawaiian Black with a well-practiced perfect shot. Her response was, “I can’t wait to come back next year and shoot something bigger!” Sounds like Mom and Dad need to find Emma a job for hunt money. That’s going to be hard for a six-year-old.
The last chapter of the adventure was given to Ellie who also used her mother’s crossbow to lay down a gold medal Catalina goat. Ellie declared she just wanted to hold the ram’s head. She did and you can tell from the picture there are three equally proud hunters. All three rams will be mounted by Scott who is also a hobby taxidermist. That sounds like a skill he will need to teach his daughters to help with to help keep the walls full. It looks like the family project to get a Texas slam has indeed become a Family Slam. Congratulations to both families for making memories that will last a lifetime.
GOING FOR THE GOLD
When an archer looks to release his arrow, he does not want to hit the target, he wants to center the bulls eye. If he hits the bull’s eye, he wants to drive the second arrow into the nock and shaft of the first arrow. Such is the way of archers who also look for exotic game to hunt. They will set goals and pursue them relentlessly.
Looking to meet the requirements for a Texas Ram Slam, Junior Nuernberg did not just want the four rams, he wanted trophy class gold medal rams. So his story begins. Arriving at Barksdale Texas, deep in the rocky hills of South Texas, he had two targets in mind. Already having his Mouflon and Texas Dall, he needed to push a fatal arrow through a Corsican and a Hawaiian Black. It didn’t take long until Junior’s eyes locked on a huge Corsican with thick, full tight curls. The stalk was on, up and down the rocky hillside the ram called home. When Junior finally found himself on a ledge above the unsuspecting ram he nocked his arrow into the Mathews Helium bow he had become so dependent on. The arrow flew 35 yards like it had been trained and the ram fell quickly to the shot. When the ecstatic hunter was able to wrap his excited hands around the massive horns all he could say repeatedly was, “It’s bigger than I thought!”
Day two arrived with hunters dispersing to different ranches; so Junior went as an observer with friend, Zack Croft to the upper cliffs of the Thompson Temple Ranch. His friend decided he wanted to take a Texas Dall with a rifle but he wanted to make a long shot. That shot took place at 315 yards and another trophy ram was shot and dropped. It was a job getting the ram collected and back to the cleaning site but the afternoon was still free for more hunting.
Sometimes our plans are changed, not because of fate or some quirk of nature, but because we see an opportunity that we decide to seize. Junior knew that he needed a Hawaiian Black to complete his slam, but, when a full mane, wide bodied Painted Desert Ram stepped into view, it was love at first sight. Having numerous shoulder mounts already adorning his wall, Junior knew this specimen with symmetrical horns and coloring that defined the “wow factor” was going to add to his collection. The hunt was on. The stalk pressed the animal into a constant trot so when a clearing allowed for an arrow to fly freely, Junior released, leading the animal slightly. The ram stopped at the same time the arrow released striking the ram but not in the bull’s eye Junior had aimed at. A quick second shot put the animal down quickly without a lot of stalking.
All Junior could say when he got to his trophy was, “Beautiful, absolutely amazing.”
After all, isn’t that why we hunt trophies?
LADY FINDS RECORD DALL
Women have been emerging quietly into the world of hunting as evidenced by sporting goods stores filling shelves with pink gear and hunting attire made for women. Some women enjoy the fellowship of being with their husband or family and decided it is better to join a hunt than stay at the camp and cook. Some women can even boast of taking over 40 animals with a bow, the latest being a record class Texas Dall. Heather Ray is one such woman.
On a recent hunt for aoudad at the Big Easy Ranch in Columbus, Texas, Mike Ray and his wife Heather of Paris Texas, were looking forward to the challenge aoudad hunting always provides. Heather, as is the prerogative of any hunter regardless of gender, saw a trophy she wanted instead; a giant super horned Texas Dall ram. Mike and Heather had a cameraman with them for this particular hunt to help preserve the memories of what was going to become one hunt Heather will never forget. The team tracked the snow white Dall all day Friday but time after frustrating time, the sheep would put distance between himself and the hunters. It seemed the harder the hunters pressed, the more elusive he became. Heather wanted to draw within 30 yards for her shot but evidently the ram had been warned of her plan. After an unsuccessful and frustrating day some hunters would give up and seek less difficult game, but not Heather.
The next day was going to be devoted to getting within range of the long horned ram. As Saturday played out, so did the drama of the day before, every time the distance would be closed, the ram would spook and add yardage. It was late afternoon when this lady found the Dall of her dreams. At thirty yards she released an arrow from her Xpedition Xcentric VII bow. Her shot struck, but when the ram ran off she felt that sick feeling common to any hunter who finds a flood of sudden doubt washing over them. Was the shot bad? The ram ran into nearby woods and stood still. A quick decision from the guide to back off for a short while, then to return for a follow up shot seemed to diminish Heather’s concerns. Finding the ram standing in the woods she drew her bow, but quickly realized it was not going to be necessary. Her first shot would prove to be fatal.
Heather explains that this was her most difficult hunt in her five years of bow hunting but was also the most rewarding because of the effort required to get the trophy. When she laid hands on her ram she felt a rush of excitement because she could finally close the distance between her and the ram and get up close and personal. Mike was as proud of Heather as she was of herself. He has been her hunting mentor for those five years teaching her to handle rifles, handguns and bows, but her singular love is the bow. Upon examining the picture of Heather with her ram I noticed that Heather’s arrows and broad heads were purple. The exact shade of purple she had on her fingernails. Well, I guess it’s true, no matter what you are planning to do, you might as well look good while you are doing it.
With enough daylight for a short hunt, but the aoudads still refusing to cooperate, Mike took a very well fattened Fallow doe. Heather plans to have her ram mounted and the meat will be donated to co-workers. This hunting couple plan to seek out black bear this fall in Maine. I can’t help but wonder what color arrows she will use there.