Family and Stories
Warren and Jennifer 2013
When Jennifer was growing up we always hunted together. We called our hunts special father/daughter time. Well, after the grandbabies were born, Jennifer had much less time for these special outing. Earlier this year I asked her about having a special father daughter hunt again. She was fired up and quickly accepted. We planned to hunt black bucks at the RRR Ranch after the new year. Jennifer arrived this past week and the hunt began. Jennifer has always been a confident shooter. Most ladies are! So, we tried a safari style hunt since these exotics live on the parries of India. With the sun shining we found black bucks everywhere interested in a few black buck does. Jennifer and I spotted this big old gnarly black buck at 200 yards. We moved to about 140 yards and he made us. So, we sat still and he was confused as to where we were. This old buck was pacing back and forth. I told Jennifer after about 10 minutes of this cat and mouse game she should take shot when he stopped. I asked, "do you see him in your scope?" She assured me she did. So, she took the shot and nailed this nice buck after just a short safari. It was another great father daughter memory that will last forever. We are having both exotics mounted for display over our fireplaces.
Thanks Jennifer for making more memories for your daddy.
Dori Stalks Pronghorn Out West
After hunting whitetails for over 20 years from blinds, Dori Blesh decided to take on a new challenge this hunting season. So, she headed to Clayton, New Mexico this past week for the opening of the New Mexico pronghorn season (pronghorn are also known as pronghorn antelope).
Blesh offered these comments “I talked with my guide a few months back and he said I needed to learn how to shoot off shooting sticks. I quickly googled shooting sticks, ordered Bog Pod sticks, and began to practice as soon as they came in.”
“Many of you know my husband, “The Bull” and he made me practice shooting off the sticks within the count of three. We were really supporting the Mills County General Store that week with Buck Labay selling us several boxes of shells. “, said Blesh.
The day arrived and Dori headed out to Clayton, New Mexico for her new challenge. After arriving at the ranch of 40,000 acres the hunt began. Pronghorn were seen just a few miles from the front gate. As soon as the pronghorns saw the truck, they took off in a full run. Pronghorns can reach speeds of 60 mph making them the fastest mammal in North America. It was easy to see this was not going to be an easy hunt, even for the most skilled hunter.
On the first stalk Dori and her guide Jackie crawled up a rocky slope and got within 200 yards of a bedded down buck and doe. This was just the beginning of learning how to hunt an animal with 8 power binocular eyesight. After passing up this male and having a short drink of water, another larger dominate male pronghorn was seen with 20 does on a rocky hillside.
Jackie, the guide, was confident he could get Dori a shot. After 2 hours of stalking and crawling among the cactus and lava rock, the best they could do was get within 325 yards of this larger pronghorn. “It is better to wait for a good shot, so we did not gamble on taking a shot out of my comfort range”, Dori said.
After seeing over 200 more pronghorn that afternoon it was time to head in for dinner. On the way back to the highway, which was about 5 miles, Dori and Jackie spotted a nice male that was feeding with some does and not too excitable. This unexcitable male was rare from what was seen most of the day. “We decided to go for this one”, Dori said. “If I missed, I still had another day to hunt. If I got it, we did not have to be at the 4:45 a.m. breakfast call.”
The stalk began by Jackie and Dori walking right at the herd at a fast clip. Pronghorns, curious by nature, will sometimes try to figure out what is going on. They did seem confused as they watched the hunters walk towards them. The yearling cattle running alongside the hunters in the short grass may have confused the pronghorns even more.
Closing the gap from 500 yards, Jackie stopped abruptly and quickly set up the shooting sticks. Dori, remembering her “count of three training”, took aim and made a clean shot at 220 yards. The practice had paid off. She had harvested her first North American Pronghorn on the prairies of New Mexico.
“This truly was the hunt of a lifetime for me”, Dori commented. “The planning, preparation and confidence gained before I left for the hunt made all the difference in the world in my success.” “I only wish I was in a little better shape for the long walks and crawling”, she chuckled.
Spot, Our Pet Fallow
Dori's Ten Point Whitetail Buck
Dori proudly shows off her new braces and what is now her largest buck ever harvested. The buck was taken off our ranch Friday night from 125 yards with Guide "The Bull".
The deer was over 5 years old and grossed over 140 B&C and netted over 136.. She is going to the Texas Big Game Awards this summer as this deer meets the min for our region.
Way to go Dori...
Many of you know the story of the gun I carry when I hunt. It belonged to my best friend who passed away a few years ago. The Legend, a 22.250 just does not miss. Earlier this year I was able to hook a shot around a Yucca at an antelope in West Texas to make a perfect shot at 150 yards. I do believe my guide Tex from Wildlife Systems was amazed.
Tonight, I went on a short doe hunt here at the RRR. Around 5:15, I saw this huge axis on top of a ridge about 250 yards away. Dori had bell choir and I had no business shooting a deer anyway tonight. I watched as one, two and then three axis bucks made their way across the ridge above me, very quietly.
These axis are nearly impossible to find. So, the last axis began to pass and then took a nice look at me and gave me a silloute look at 250 yards. I knew he was the big axis my friend Randy Pfaff from Colorado had hunted this summer. So, knowing this was a once in a lifetime shot and I HAD THE LEGEND, I decided to take a neck shot.
It was too late to go looking for a big deer, so it was hit or miss. Well, end of story. The Legend never misses! Dori and I spent the next hour dragging this guy up the hill and getting him to the house.
7 Year Old Axis Buck
35 Inch Main Beams
240# Live weight
250 Yard Shot
22.250 Rifle called THE LEGEND
Thanks for reading and God Bless You.
Bull's Black Buck
This blackbuck was a bully. I had just stocked some yearlings and this guy had them in a corner and was kicking butt! So, I went to the house and got my trusty rifle. When I returned, he had broke a yearlings horn. That did it. He is now on my wall"
R. Warren "Bull" Blesh
Director Texas Wildlife Association
Bull's 140 B&C with the Legend
Page 8 - Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2006
The Goldthwaite Eagle-Mullin Enterprise
Pictured to the left is Warren Blesh with a big buck taken with “The Legend”, a custom built .22-250 handed down to
Warren by a distant relative named Rip. “The Legend Lives” True outdoor enthusiasts know hunting is more about
the romance of getting ready, the opportunity to see new country, or in my case, sentimental memories. And so the
I was invited to hunt at a distant relative’s place in Goliad, Texas when I was 14 years old. You can imagine leaving Dallas, “The Big City” and going to “A Big Ranch” was quite a thrill. I met my mother’s second cousin, a
man named James “Rip” Farley. Well this guy named Rip took me hunting my first time and soon after that I found myself in Goliad every year for 38 years. Rip was pure country, kind of a cross between the Marlboro man and Matt
Dillon. Wherever he went, he carried a .22-250 which he had custom made in the late 1950’s.
Now, the gun was special too. I never saw Rip miss anything with the gun. One time I lost a bet when he shot a turkey’s head off at 225 yards. We never bet again! Last December “Rip”, then about 83, took me on what would be
our last hunt. What a great time we had riding around what is known in Goliad as the Power Ranch.
Rip died earlier this year and in his will was a gift to me. Yes, the .22-250 he carried so many years that never missed. So, the other night, I took the magic gun and a little piece of Rip with me to the back of our ranch.
Around 5:45 an older 12 point buck roamed in and the .22-250 rang true with a neck shot at 100 yards. The buck was the biggest one I have harvested in my life. It scored 140 B&C. But the real joy of the day was using the .22-250 and knowing “The Legend Lives”…
Good memories of THE RRR Ranch and "Wideboy". . .
RRR Ranch and the Indian Blackbuck "Wideboy"
It was Adam's turn. His graduation from high school several months earlier meant a trip to the RRR Ranch near Goldthwaite, Texas. His older brother Bubba had made the trip from Colorado a year earlier and came away with RRR's first blackbuck. A
dandy 4 1/2 twist, taken during midday on a spot and stalk hunt. RRR ranch proprietor Warren "Bull" Blesh told
us he had been watching an unusually wide blackbuck he had nicknamed, "Wideboy". We would be looking for him. We met Bull at his ranch in the dark and loaded up in the RRR jeep. The damp foggy January air spoke of winter in the hill country. The open jeep, sights and sounds of the early morning told us we were hunting. Bull dropped us off at the cedar box blind in the dark and we settled in. Turkeys and song birds introduced us to the golden orange
sunrise splashed across the eastern hills.
A breeze came through the open windows, the blind creaked and the hint of cedar in the air became stronger. Whitetail does and small bucks grazed within yards of the blind. Blackbuck does browsed within 50 yards. . . . we watched for an hour as we were never at a loss for pointing out another animal passing by.
Then it was time . . . . I first noticed ebony horn tips coming up out of the thick cedar and hardwood bottom, then that slender, slick, sleek color of black and white. At 120 yards he turned to look in our direction, it was no
doubt, "Wideboy". Measuring more than 20 inches tip to tip at the top of his horns he was an impressive sight indeed.
Adam waited for the right opportunity to present itself for the broadside shot. Unnecessarily, I whispered instructions to Adam. Having taken 3 good mule deer bucks in our home state of Colorado during his high school years, Adam was ready. The Winchester .243 was resting on the old cedar window frame when it barked, breaking the morning silence. "Wideboy" jumped turned, ran and disappeared. A little look, short chase and Adam had his hands on "Wideboys" hardened, ribbed swords.
Thanks Bull and Dori. . . .
We appreciate it . . .
Just Getting Started
They say to never tell a woman’s age, but this time it is a material fact to the story. Diane McKinley age 60, yes, I said it decided to take up deer hunting this year. Earlier this year, Diane’s husband Gary helped her shop for the perfect rifle and scope. They settled on a smaller stock .243 and outfitted it with a 3-12 power scope. Now, the story is not about the gun, the scope or the harvested deer, but about hunting and that you can get started at any age, even those retirement years.
Texas Parks and Wildlife has known for years we are losing hunters to other activities. Great programs such and the Texas Youth Hunting Program have been designed to help get more kido’s started hunting. Also, tort reform was passed so more landowners would open up their
private lands to hunters, allowing greater access to all the natural areas and wildlife Texas has to offer.
The story now starts with Diane accompanied Gary to Mills County the past few years. While Gary hunted, Diane enjoyed the camp and just relaxing. That was until 2008 when Diane joined Gary for an afternoon doe hunt. Gary harvested a doe and Diane said, “hey, that looks like fun!”. “I may want to try it.”
So, Gary, like any good husband quickly picked up the thought and booked Diane on her first hunt for 2009…. After many hours of practice at the old Elm Fork range in Dallas, Diane was ready.
Friday morning, November 13th came and Diane found herself walking a half a mile and getting into her blind well before shooting light for her first hunt. Action started slow, but as though it was meant to be, at 7:20 here came a trophy buck. Her respiration increased, she shook with excitement as the bucked entered the food plot. Over the next 5-7 minutes much time and caution was taken to make sure Diane had the perfect shot. With no chance of a mistake, the .243 sounded and Diane had her first buck, a 9 point, 137 Boone and Crockett buck.
Diane spent the rest of the day helping cut the meat into quarters, driving to the taxidermist and reminiscing over the moment. Later that night, Diane still could not sleep. The excitement of the day was still too much for her as it should be. She was now a hunter for life.
Welcome to hunting Diane. It was and is, never to late to get started!.