Hunting

Tagging Out at the VF Ranch!

As you can probably tell from the title, I tagged out! I am now done with Whitetail for the season! We were back at the VF Ranch in Sonora this past weekend. Some special moments happened at this hunt, and most took me by surprise.

The first special moment I want to discuss was when I had a face mask on with Emily and another girl hunter. Oh, and the huntmaster! That was a blast! It was about 22:30 and we were all very giddy. Giddy + face masks = laughing. Laughing + face masks = scary faces! We looked kind of creepy with only our teeth showing! That was one heck of a night to remember.

The next moment was when we were all helping a girl search for her doe. I was in a group with two other girls (one of them was the girl we did face masks with). All three of us found antler sheds and that was my very first shed! Usually, I love finding things. When I found the antler, I think I was more excited about finding something other than deer poop and cow patties! When we walked under a tree, I saw bones on the ground and some in the tree. I’m not too superstitious or anything but I was spooked. When we turned around and started walking out from beneath the tree, I saw antlers sticking up from beside a log. At this point, I’m practically shaking! I walked over to the log and saw it was a skull. I jumped up and thought, “heck naw!” When I decided to be brave, I used my antler shed to drag the skull towards me. Bam! I have my very own Axis skull! The skull and shed was not the only special thing about this tracking event. Not only did we learn about tracking but it was the perfect time for the hunters to become friends. I had a great time tracking with my crew!

The next special moment was when I tagged out. After every deer I harvest, I feel more like a successful hunter. Now we have 13 deer in our freezers!

I cannot forget to mention when I found a mesquite branch that made a perfect triple marshmallow stick! Marshmallows for everyone!

Now let’s talk about when I was in the blind. On Saturday morning, both my sister and our dad was with me. I had several bucks come out at the feeder, but we were hunting for does. I had several yearlings come out and finally a few does. I took the shot on a doe and she dropped where she stood. To add, she did not have a yearling with her. After she had died, a yearling came up and drank some of her milk! Later on, another small doe came and drank from her. I waited to see if I could get my last doe but I only had yearlings after that.

During the evening time, we were out at the blind at 15:30 After a buck and several does came out, I had to make the decision of which doe to get. Almost all of them were about the same size so I chose the one that looked older. I shot her and she ran about 10 yards. When the feeder went off at 16:30, we stayed and watched the buck. After a little while, we decided to check on the doe and head back to the truck. When we were walking to the truck, a herd of humongous Aoudad started running off! They were big enough and close enough that I wished I wasn’t on the ground! Although they weren’t right up on me, it was still scary seeing how big their horns are. By the way, Aoudad run like gorillas. Figured that out!

This hunt was a total blast! I wore my Hunters HD Gold Velocity glasses, and I used my Vortex Optics Viper scope. Like always, they were a great pair! 

Shooting

Florida State Steel Challenge Championship

We drove all the way from East Texas to Okeechobee, Florida for the State Championship! I used to think our Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee trips were far, but after this trip, nothing compares.

There is one thing about this match that I love: they had a practice tier 1 match on Friday. This allows competitors to shoot the whole match a day before the state match begins. Since we aren’t able to regularly practice all the stages, I was happy to warm-up before I shot two stages, in particular, for the first time in a while. The warm-up day is not only a good idea for preparation, but it leaves competitors feeling confident. At the warm-up match, I shot a 78.73 with my RFRO and a 74.85 with my RFRI.

My dad, sister, and I were ROs for the whole match. I shot in a separate squad from them, so the experience was different. During the first stage or two, I was nervous but then I settled. I had a great RO partner both days so that helped also.

I also witnessed my very first squib. Of course, I had no idea that it was a squib but I knew something was up. One of our shooters was about to shoot the stop plate in his first string when his gun made a popping sound. That is literally the best way to describe it. Pop. He shot again and both bullets came out! When he was getting ready to shoot his second string, I noticed the two hits on the stop plate. When he finished the stage, the other shooters said it was a squib. He checked to make sure his pistol was fine, and he finished the match. From stories I have heard, squibs seem dangerous and I am glad nothing bad happened.

I finished the match with a 76.72 in RFRO and a 74.90 in RFRI. I shot several personal bests at this match, and they will be included below:

RFRO-

  • Pendulum- 8.88
  • 5 To Go- 8.93

RFRI-

  • Pendulum- 9.51
  • Outer Limits- 11.92
  • Smoke & Hope- 7.21

I am glad we were finally able to travel to Florida. I had a great time talking to our Florida friends and seeing what the Sunshine State is all about! Considering how sunburnt I am after matches, one would think I could remember to bring sunscreen… Nope!

See y’all next time!

Sponsors:

Allchin Gun Parts

Hunters HD Gold

Vortex Optics

Hunting

TYHP Hunt: VF Ranch in Sonora, Texas

Well y’all, I finally did it! I shot a deer without blasting the shoulders off! You see, I tend to feel more comfortable taking heart shots, but I decided to make my dad happy by doing lung shots. As of now, I have harvested seven deer. Most of those were shoulder shots, and I have a good reason for loving shoulder shots. The first reason is because deer usually drop with heart shots. The second reason is because I know the shoulder is farther from the gut. It’s just a mental thing, really.

On Saturday morning, my dad and I went out to our blind. Before the sun was up, I saw something white just hopping around our view. I assumed it was a Blackbuck because I know Whitetail deer don’t have that much white on them. I guess Blackbuck does like jumping before sunrise…? Anyway, when the sun came up, we had several Whitetail bucks come out. I’m talking mature eight pointers to small spikes. We were loaded! Sadly, our job at this hunt was to shoot does. After watching the bucks act like bucks, I heard trampling. It sounded like a herd of tiny elephants were coming from behind us. Sure enough, several Aoudad came out. Because the bucks were chasing off does, I was glad that they gave the bucks a hard time. Imagine this scene: about 30 Aoudad under the feeder acting like hogs, an Axis spike being bullied by the Aoudad, and several big Whitetail bucks being scared of the Aoudad. It felt like I was watching National Geographic! After watching several does that never came into sight, I finally saw three Blackbuck does that were heading to a perfect spot. There was a big one, slightly smaller one, and one was the smallest. As I was aiming at the big doe, my dad told me to wait because he wasn’t sure they were grown. We’re used to Whitetail does and those Blackbuck does were tiny. He googled their size to make sure they were grown. By the time we were sure they were grown, the biggest and smallest Blackbuck doe had gone into the tree line and out of sight. I decided to go for the only one in view. We were elevated so I tried to take that into consideration while aiming at her. I took the shot and she dropped. I was happy to see the Aoudad stayed at the feeder! I also scared off the bucks. The shot was at 0830 and she was about 100 yards away. After calming down, I was back to business and ready for another. At 0925, I shot a Whitetail doe. She was around 120 yards out. This is the doe I shot perfectly!

At this hunt, I decided to try not blasting off the shoulders. I had two chances to prove I could do it and on the second deer, I did it. While I was shooting the first deer, I kind of forgot about my plan… At least I remembered for the second one! When I was aiming for the shot, I tried to aim about one inch from the shoulder. When I shot her, I swear she jumped up several feet and arched her back like a cat! I was scared that it was a bad shot, but my dad assured me it was a good one. He saw the exit and a lot of blood. When we went to find her, we had one heck of a blood trail. She spurted so much blood from the exit wound- blood was everywhere. I also saw pink foam which I knew meant a lung shot. This relieved me a little. We found her laying by a tree and I was worried. I legit asked my dad if she was for sure dead! I get spooked when my deer run off because my first four deer dropped on the spot. After learning that she was dead, I was thoroughly relieved.

Just like the other TYHP hunts I have gone on, this hunt was a blast. We were on the VF Ranch in Sutton County, Sonora, TX. I appreciate the owners for allowing us to hunt on their ranch!

I wore my Hunters HD Gold while hunting and I absolutely love them. Throughout our hunting time, I was looking at the deer with and without the glasses. Every single time I put them back on, I was amazed! The leaves were greener and the deer fur stood out more with the glasses on. Alongside Hunters HD Gold, I was hunting with my Vortex Viper. The Viper is clear and makes hunting easier. Both of the products paired together make a perfect team!

Now it’s time to debone the meat and grind it up; burgers, sausage, and jerky, here I come!!

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My Second Hunting Trip

A few weeks ago, I was in Junction, Texas at a Texas Youth Hunting Program hunt.  When we arrived on Friday, I was excited to meet the other hunters and guides. Also, we saw a herd of deer right after we drove into the location. Compared to last year, it was obvious the deer were healthier. This was very exciting!

During the two hunts I have been on, Fridays were for getting to know the hunters, guides, and for practicing. During practice time, the hunters shoot at a target and determine if they are ready to hunt. Usually, it is after this point when the hunters open up. At this hunt, Emily and I got along with the other girls instantly. We all cooked the first meal together and we were able to talk a lot during this time.

On Saturday morning, I was in a blind with my dad. Before daylight, we heard deer in the tree line. The feeder was about 100 yards in front of us, so we definitely couldn’t see them. As the sun was slowly making it’s way up, I definitely saw a rabbit. Now for the other “deer” I saw, they were just shadows… Anyhow, once the sun made it’s full grand entrance, the deer came out. We were surrounded by deer; soon, we had deer in front of us, behind us, and to both of our sides. I’ve never taken such slow deep breathes in my life! There were several spikes and other small bucks. I guess me killing Casanova (the 10 pointer from last year) must have allowed the other bucks to grow out and start their own dominances. We also saw a few Axis deer off to the side! They were not where I was comfortable shooting them, so I waited for them to come further out. They never did. I did find two eight pointers and I decided to go for the one with the largest body. It was also obvious that he was the dominant one of this herd. The feeder went off at 0800 and he just stood beneath it eating. He was constantly harassing the does that were trying to eat. This buck was an especially smart one. I assume he knew we were there as he always kept either his head or butt to us. When I had my perfect broadside view, I took the shot. He fell right under the feeder.

The other does came out fairly quick. They were very skeptical of us. They kept stomping at us waiting for a reaction. I gave them one… just not the reaction the doe wanted. But before I get ahead of myself, I am going to tell y’all what I accomplished at this hunt. This may not seem major, but I shot her while she was angled towards me. I had only ever shot deer while they were broadside. While I was aiming, I was wondering where I should hit. In my head, I tried to picture a doe with one line going through the heart at broadside then I added more angled lines for representation. This is hard to explain, but I think y’all understand that I tried to use angled lines made from the same entry point. I took the shot where I thought would be best. The shot entered just in front of the shoulder and it exited in the ribs. I about started panicking when she ran 20 yards. All my shots before this one were heart shots, so they instantly dropped. I was scared that I gut shot her, but I did have a little faith restored when she dropped. I took my binoculars and watched to see if she was still breathing. I felt a little better when I saw she died quickly.

Soon after, time was over and we checked on the deer. Everyone knows I beelined for the buck! I was not ready to see the doe yet. When we arrived to the feeder, I saw I had yet another heart shot. His body was just as big as Casanova’s from last year! I was having some major flashbacks. Next, we walked over to the doe. For some reason, I was scared she was still alive. That’s how terrified I was about her not dropping. As I saw earlier, she was dead.

That afternoon, I was in the blind where I shot Casanova last year. Also, I had the same guide that was with me. I was hoping maybe I could have the same luck I did last year. Sadly, I didn’t get that luck. I did see a herd of Axis, though! This was the second time I saw Axis during this trip. They never came into my view. However, two pairs of does came into my sight. I decided not to shoot them because they had yearlings with them. Also, I wasn’t too set on shooting another deer because I didn’t want to tag out. Then comes out a doe that looked different from the others. You could just look at her and be like, “Hm, something is different.” I had no idea what she was at the time, but I did notice that the whole one side of her tail was black. Also, she was more grey than whitetail. Another strange thing I noticed was she was alone. She was eating in front of us for over an hour. No other deer came with her. Two more things I noticed: her ears were more pointed and her belly was not white like a whitetail. I did some research and found that she looked like a blacktail deer! This is surprising and hard to believe because they are not in this area.

The next morning, I was hunting with my dad again. This is the last morning of the hunt. I decided early on that I was not shooting a deer unless it was an Axis. A few whitetail spikes and does came out. Just like what other people said about this blind, something was scaring them away. The deer kept looking off to the side where we can’t see. They soon ran off. We heard Axis barks and I was instantly excited. I waited for them until it was time for us to stop hunting. Earlier, we heard shots and I was sure at least one of them was Emily. We drove to pick up Emily and her guide hoping to see a deer or two. I was even hoping maybe she shot one of the Axis! Turns out the shots didn’t come from her.

Just like the last hunt, this hunt was very enjoyable. I had a great time talking to everyone and I appreciate all the hunting stories! I learned more about hunting and what the TYHP is for. The Texas Youth Hunting Program gives youths the opportunity to hunt and learn several things about hunting including wildlife conservation, harvesting, and tracking. So far, I have had a blast at every hunt!

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2019 RCSA World Championship

This year’s World Rimfire match was held at the Old Fort Gun Club in Van Buren, Arkansas. Let me tell y’all, it was cold; especially on Friday when the wind was blowing. Speaking of the cold, many people were having trouble with their pistols. One the best tips we have received is to keep magazines and ammo warm. This helps keep the pistols running smoothly. During this match, I had several malfunctions. I had no problems with the cold; my limited pistol was just worn from use. This brings me to my next topic: staying in the zone.

Here lately, I have been trying to push past my own mental barriers. I already have a barrier to push through at the beginning of matches, but malfunctions add another layer of bricks to the barrier. I was truly tested at this match. With this match being the breaking point of my limited pistol, I was having at least one malfunction on every stage. This meant that I really had to be on top of my game. I, alongside many other athletes, have zones. I have a basketball zone, Taekwondo zone, Krav Maga zone, and a shooting zone. Every zone is a learning experience.

The first step to having a zone is knowing what a zone is. The zone or flow is a mental state in which an athlete can perform to their greatest ability. This is when noise is silenced, time slows, and everything seems to be perfect. The first time I noticed my basketball zone was in my seventh grade year. I was playing a basketball game and I had a very Hollywood moment. All I saw was the ball, the court, and the players. I saw no bleachers and I heard no screams. This all happened while I was running down the court with the ball and several players were right at my heels.

To put this in perspective of shooters, I have another example in relation to shooting. Every time I shot a perfect stage, I was in my zone. Once I am in ready position and waiting for the buzzer, all I hear is my breathing and the stillness in the air. I hardly ever even hear the RO’s commands! When the buzzer goes off, I do my thing. Time seems to slow as I make my shots and this usually ends quickly. As soon as I have a confirmed hit on the stop plate, I start getting ready for the next string. At this point, my mind is blank and my times almost never register in my head.

The second step is to control your zone. When I played basketball, I knew when I was in my zone. I never told myself, “Hey, get in your zone.” It just happened. My shooting zone is different. I am still in the process of “controlling” my zone. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. I have noticed one thing that helps me get in my zone: breathing. This seems pretty obvious, but it is harder than it seems. When I used to step up to the shooting line, my heart was already racing. This is no bueno. Taking deep, controlled breaths will help slow your heart rate and keep you steady – mentally and physically.

On that note, relaxing is another great way to get in the zone. I have noticed that I will grind my teeth when I shoot. Every time I make the conscious decision to unclench my jaw, I am able to get in my zone. Notice I said conscious decision? As I mentioned earlier, my mind is blank when I’m in my zone. This means that anytime I think about anything while I shoot, I am not in my zone. This correlates with controlling my zone. I try to push all my thoughts away and just focus on shooting. It’s just me, my gun, the plates, and the timer.

I explained all this to get to my main point. After having a malfunction, it is crucial to take a breath, relax, and get in your zone once again. When I have a malfunction, I am usually pushed out of my zone. When I notice this happen, I stop for a second and take a big, deep breath. I clear my head the best I can and prepare for my next string. Also, I found I can relax quicker if I drop my shoulders. Dropping my shoulders allow me to know that all the stress and anxiety is out and I am ready for the next string.

As an RO, I know that some days can be long and exhausting. We’ve been standing there timing people all day long and we can’t wait for it to be over. I can say for myself and several other ROs that we don’t mean a thing when we accidently rush the timing process. When you as a shooter need a breath between strings, take that breath! Don’t feel rushed by the ROs or other shooters! I tell myself this all the time and I still feel rushed sometimes. Just remember that when you are in the box, you do what you need to do in order to shoot your best.

I have seen another thing as an RO: shooters give up. While shooting my limited pistol, I had many malfunctions. Malfunctions aren’t fun and they can make anyone frustrated or want to quit. Do not quit! Remember that you got this! When malfunctions occur during a string, it is essential that you finish the stage with smooth runs. I have seen many people shoot crazy strings after a malfunction. I don’t mean good crazy, but strings with many make-up shots. This is because of one of two reasons: the shooter either quits or is an anxious type of excited. There were a few times that I had trouble calming down after a malfunction. After realizing that I wasn’t calm, I took another deep breath and carried on.

Now it’s time for match talk. I was squadded with Cole and Rick Busch, Kurt and Sydney Wojtowicz, Larry Sitter, and Timothy Guerrero. I had an amazing time hanging out with the squad and I can’t wait until I see everyone again. On Friday, Brian Conley with Hunters HD Gold was shooting cowboy. It was quite a sight to see! 😂

I appreciate all the people who made this match possible! Every year, I look forward to the Rimfire World Championship, and this one left me satisfied. Also, congratulations to Nate Gibson for his win!! You have achieved so much this year! Keep it up! Congratulations to all the other winners!

Thank you for reading my blog! 😁

My placements:

31st overall with Open
43rd overall with Limited
2nd Place Lady Open Division
2nd Place Lady Limited Division

My sponsors:

Hunters HD Gold
Tippmann Arms
Vortex Optics
Allchin Gun Parts
Striplin Custom Gunworks
Tactical Solutions
Ally Outfitters

Match Sponsors:

CCI
Hunters HD Gold
Tactical Solutions
Tandemkross
Volquartsen Firearms
Vortex Optics
ADCO Firearms
Tippmann Arms
Taurus
Steel Target Paint
Ruger
Walther Arms
CWA
Red Hill Tactical
Allchin Gun Parts
Pro-Shot Products
JP Enterprises
Kel-Tec
Revo-Gear
Striplin Custom Gunworks
Range Tactical Gear
Primeaux Steel Targets
Timney Triggers
Galco Gunleather
MCE Digital Armory
Breakthrough Clean Technologies
Brownells
Hogue
F.J. Feddersen

Uncategorized

2019 Mississippi Steel Challenge Championship

During the 2019 MS Steel Challenge Championship, Emily and I RO’d for two flights on Saturday. The first flight was stationary and the second flight was traveling. For my first flight, I RO’d on Outer Limits. In the afternoon, Emily and I RO’d a squad with James Rushing, Grant Kunkel, and Raegan Hearn (Pineapple Shooter). I had a great time visiting with them! Plus, I was able to watch Grant shoot, so that’s a bonus! Did I mention how hot it was? The feel like temperature was 100 degrees at times! It felt like someone was rubbing sandpaper all over my face. I may or may not have forgotten to put on sunscreen the day before…

By the end of the day, I was exhausted. I’m talking saying-the-commands-in-my-sleep exhausted. I am already a sleeptalker/sleepwalker so that part isn’t so crazy. There were several times when I woke myself up saying commands. Emily even said that I kept her up! Now I can literally say I RO in my sleep. Cha-ching!

I shot my rimfire pistols on Friday and my rimfire rifles on Sunday. When the match was over, I noticed that I shot new personal bests with both my pistols! My RFPO time was 83.75 and my RFPI time was 91.62! I am slowly but surely getting faster with my pistols. My goal was to stay in the seventies with both my rifles. My times were 75.34 (RFRI) and 80.38 (RFRO).

I had a great time at this match! We had the opportunity to talk with the Kunkels and McCoys, and that’s always good. See y’all at the Rimfire Challenge World Championship!

I appreciate everyone who made this match possible! Nick Brandt did a great job running this match! Every time I RO, I realize how much work ROs put in. Thank you!

Thank you to all the match sponsors: Tippmann Arms, Pine Burr Area Council, Tandemkross, RangeStore.net, Springfield Armory, Team Match Tracker, Volquartsen Custom, Montana Gold Bullet, Hunters HD Gold, MCE Digital Armory, Steel Target Paint, Range Tactical Gear, Tactical Solutions, and Firehouse Subs.

Our squad on Sunday \/

IMG_1099

I placed:

1st Place Master Class RFPO

1st Place Lady RFPO

1st Place Lady RFPI

2nd Place Lady RFRI

3rd Place Lady RFRO

 

Sponsors:

Tippmann Arms

Hunters HD Gold

Vortex Optics

Allchin Gun Parts

Striplin Custom Gunworks

Tactical Solutions

Ally Outfitters