By Michael Deming
By the time December rolls around here in the west, all of the big game hunting has pretty much come to a close. There are a still a few late archery hunts and some very limited draw things available, but few opportunities at some great critters and a good hunt.
This is precisely the reason we started hunting in Texas. When we are slowing down, they are just heating up with some of their very best hunting. Since the entire state is pretty much private land, you either have to lease or find a quality outfitter with property. Finding an outfitter in Texas isn’t hard, but finding a really good one and one that you get along with, can be a bit more challenging. We found DaVine Springs Ranch about an hour north of Austin several years ago and have been visiting them each and every year since. They are a family run business and a first class operation. The very first time we visited them, I felt like I was visiting relatives and it has only gotten better with every return trip.
We purchased a premium trophy whitetail hunt for the Pro Membership Sweepstakes and David Bloom from California was the lucky recipient of this hunt. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing David for many years and he was one of the very first people to sign up to become a member of the sweepstakes. He had always called and asked why we hadn’t drawn his name and he was more than shocked when I let him know that he was heading to Texas with me. David has done a lot of hunts over the years that I’ve known him and he always says he is a trophy hunter, but seldom fills his tags with anything of size. There is always a good reason for it; at least in his mind. So, I was pretty excited to get to be along on this trip as the cameraman to share the experience.
DaVine Springs Ranch is known for their genetics of huge whitetail. Lane Wolff is one of the family owners of this great operation and he personally put the smack down on the ranch record buck, which stretched the tape to 348”. That number is correct and not a type-O. A whitetail with nearly as much bone as a really good bull elk. This mount is in the lodge and is a spectacular trophy.
David and I rolled into the lodge the first week of December and as always, we were greeted by the whole family. Brian Wolff is the dad and also the dedicated camp chef. He knows his way around a smoker better than anyone I’ve ever met and soon had us served up a great steak dinner. After dinner, we looked through an abundant amount of trail camera pics, which Lane had compiled over the season. The rut was coming to a close when we arrived, so many of the bucks we were considering had broken points and were no longer ideal candidates for our lucky hunter.
This was a pretty expensive hunt, but there were several bucks on this ranch which would require an additional trophy fee due to their massive size. The Sportsman’s News team and the Pro Member Sweepstakes wasn’t willing to pay for these additional fees, but we let David know that he was more than welcome to shoot those deer if we got fortunate enough to get a crack at one. He would just have to pick up the freight on this expense.
After dinner, we still had a couple of hours to get into the blind and look around. On the way to the blind, one of the most impressive whitetails I’ve ever seen on the hoof was working a doe and gave us a great opportunity to look him over. This whitetail is the thing that dreams are made of. He had tremendous mass and matching whopper droppers on each side. I have no idea how big this deer truly was, but Lane felt like he was in the 275-280” range. With this being the first evening of our hunt, David decided not to spend the additional trophy fee at this time. We sat until dark and saw some respectable bucks, but nothing we were willing to drop the hammer on yet.
The next morning, we were all in the blind well before daylight. We could see deer movement and several bucks grunting, so we knew we still had a bit of rutting activity going on. As the grey light faded, we could see two really good bucks. Both were right around that 200 inch mark and David would happily shoot either one of those bucks.
As if on que, they headed for the trees with only a couple of minutes to spare before legal shooting light. We were all a bit bummed, but optimistic that we still had plenty of time. Thirty minutes later, both bucks came back into the field pushing a doe. David wasn’t wasting any time with this just being a passing visit. I had barely gotten the camera rolling when he pulled the trigger on the largest of the two bucks. He was a whopper, 215” whitetail and finally a trophy worth mounting for David.
With another day and a half left to hunt, we also hunted a Black Buck and viewed twenty plus species of exotics. DaVine Springs Ranch is a Sportsman’s News Platinum Approved Outfitter and a first class operation. We will be giving away another trip to this destination January 30th, 2017, so if you’re not a member yet, get signed up for a chance at this great trip and many more great adventures and gear packages along the way!