Lopeno long shot

By Steve Mantell, Pixabay

By Lynn Frizzell, Special to the Star

I have killed deer from as close as 8 feet and as far as 408 yards.

The 8,000 acre lease at Lopeno was a fun and very memorable place to hunt and camp. Bedside being so huge and varied country, it had few roads except for the main road from the front to the back of the ranch. There a few senderos and a lot of walking was done to hunt these remote places. My story begins in one of those places.

About a mile from camp there was huge area of thick brush that covered maybe 100 acres and inside there was a large block of open mesquite and cactus about 100 yards wide and 400 or 500 yards long. We selected a tall mesquite tree near the east end and installed a tall ladder against the trunk and up to where a man could see but be camouflaged in the highest part of the tree.

I hunted in that open ladder many times and this morning it was clear and crisp. I had fashioned a gun rest from scrap lumber so that with a rest, longer shots were made possible. A year or so earlier, I had rattled up a nice 8 pointer right out in the middle of a big opening at about 150 yards and shot him off hand, thus the idea of a rest. That buck seemed to come out of nowhere. As I looked around, he had just appeared quietly and looked embarrassed to have been caught out in the open with no place to hide.

Today, it was a perfect morning to rattle and about eight o’clock, I started tickling the horns in case there was a buck nearby. It was a beautiful morning in Zapata County! After a bit, I rattled a little louder and way down the end of that opening a doe appeared, looking around then stood still. I didn’t know she had a fawn nearby, and then I saw a nice buck appear out of a mesquite thicket into that opening and stood by a huge cactus, maybe 5 or 6 feet tall. I laid the 264 on the rest and took aim. I call it THE 264 because it has been a family gun for about 60 years and as a hand me down, is still killing deer by a nephew.

Anyhow, I took careful aim and let ‘er go! Well to my dismay I saw a big cactus leaf fly up and the buck whirled and took off in a flash like I had missed him. He turned into a nearby trail and was running flat out. I took aim with him running directly away from me, putting the cross hairs right above his ears and took the running shot and I heard the bullet hit.

It got very quiet as I waited a little while before going to look for him. As I got close to the big cactus, I started walking very slow as if stalking and saw a little fawn in the edge of the trail. The little rascal, obviously a late birth, kept looking down the trail and, as he looked away, I would move a couple of steps closer. It was an unusual adventure to have been so close to a live wild deer.  There, in the trail lay a nine point 130 pound whitetail buck! The bullet had struck him in the back about a foot behind his neck, killing him instantly.

I looked back toward the ladder and saw how far it was and stepped it back at 408 yards, the longest kill I ever made. I am seeing that event and many others in my mind as I write this.

Lynn Frizzell, a Harlingen native, has spent a lifetime hunting and fishing, has traveled extensively throughout Mexico and continues to write about his many outdoor adventures.