An exotic hunt

July 20, 2009

Faith Outdoors

My son, Joe, returned Saturday from his week in Del Rio, Texas, at a youth hunting camp that he won from Safari Club International. He really enjoyed the experience and was able to harvest one of the exotic animals on the 10,000-acre Indianhead Ranch.

He was able to bring home meat from an axis deer that he shot on the last morning he could hunt. There were lots of animals on the ranch, but they were spread out and difficult to locate. Plus, he was only able to shoot what is known as a management buck, meaning something that is mature in age but not considered to have big enough antlers to be considered a trophy.
Still, the deer had a nice set of tall antlers that Joe is having the ranch mount for him. For me, the best part is the meat. Joe had eaten axis deer while he was there and found out how good it tastes.
The rest of our family made that discovery Saturday night when I decided to grill the tenderloins. They were absolutely delicious. There was no gamey taste whatsoever. Tonight, we are making an axis deer roast in the crock pot and I’m sure that will taste great, too.
As good as that deer is on the table, I doubt that I will go down and hunt them anytime soon. It’s very expensive to hunt at this ranch and others like it — several thousand dollars, depending on which species you hunt and what kind of trophy you end up harvesting. It would make a good once-in-a-lifetime hunt, though. If I could get an axis deer or something that tastes as good, I’d sure consider it.
When Joe was there, they mentioned the possibility of having him come down next year and be a counselor at the youth camp. He’s very excited about this. I think it would be a great opportunity and he could learn a lot while he’s there. We’ll have to see how that works out next summer. He will have just graduated from high school, so he will be making plans for college. Perhaps, this can fit in. In the meantime, we have more good meals of axis deer ahead!

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

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