This week’s Challenge of the Hunt Video blog series comes from Intrepid Outdoors Lead Video Editor Wade McMillin, who shares the story of a ranch hand’s hunt that almost didn’t happen.
Having a full time job that entails managing cattle, crops and a robust hunting property can be overwhelming. However, that kind of work can also have its perks.
Solitude Ranch hand Josh Gullett works hard and every once in a while he gets to play hard too in the way of hunting the property he helps manage. It’s not often Josh finds the time to do this with the hectic schedule he carries, but in the Fall of 2012, a two-day window came his way and he wasn’t going to let it go to waste. As a normal morning begins for someone like Josh, he began with a tall thermos of coffee and a drive to the Solitude’s headquarters where he would meet the hunters he would be guiding for the next few days.
It was just the second day of the Fall archery season, so you can imagine the Solitude was pretty busy. But on this particular early November morning, the cards lined up in Josh’s favor and an extra camera man was on hand to take who was supposed to be his hunter.
This allowed Josh to slip into the deer woods himself for an early morning Whitetail hunt, which he thought could be his last crack at a buck. Josh and Intrepid Outdoors camera man Shawn Bare snuck into an Ameristep Carnivore Blind just before morning’s first light. In doing this, Josh was scared the early goings of the hunt may have already been wrecked as he blew out a handful of does and fawns. But what happened next made that seem like a needless worry.
About 20 minutes after entering the blind, more does showed up. With the group of does was a smaller buck that Josh zoned in on. The deer came within about 25 yards of the blind and Josh, already drawn, released his arrow true, nailing the buck in the vitals. The Whitetail ran up a hill and crashed. The hunt Josh thought wouldn’t happen at all, was now over and will be one he never forgets although his deer wasn’t a “textbook trophy.”
“That wasn’t a big deer by any means, but that was the first Whitetail I’ve ever killed,” he said. “This is my last day of season even though it’s just the second day of the season so I was just more or less trying to get a tag filled and meat in the freezer.”
Josh is right. His deer isn’t a monster, but more times than not, that’s all hunting shows focus on. That’s why we decided to highlight this hunt in this week’s “Challenge of the Hunt” video blog. Because it’s not only a successful kill we captured with our cameras, but also a story of a ranch hand who is just like anyone else trying to provide themselves with venison for the harsh winter months.
“Living on the Solitude Ranch is a lot of fun,” Josh said. “(It’s) a great privilege (that) we get to look at at all these deer year ‘round and get to watch them almost everyday. But with so many other hunters, we don’t get to hunt that much and to be able to hunt as much as I got to this year was a real privilege.”
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