Well worth the wait

Whoever says high fence hunting is a slam-dunk has never been to Greystone Castle near Mingus.

Our first trip to Greystone for a mature, native management buck was in late October. The deer had been hitting oat fields and LSON Executive Editor Craig Nyhus and I sat in a blind with Greystone’s General Manager, Bill Honza.

The deer moved late and only a 3-year-old 10-point and a young 8-point buck came into the field before dark.

After an incredible dinner and a good night’s sleep, we were back in the blind the next morning in search of a mature deer.

However, luck was still not on our side. Only does and a small 4-point were seen.

We departed the ranch with a vow to come back. The return trip happened on Nov. 20, when Craig and I departed Dallas for the 90-minute drive to the ranch and an afternoon sit.

Bill told us several of the bucks we were looking for had been seen in the field chasing does in the days leading up to our arrival, and he thought we could make it happen.

Does and young bucks hit the oats early in the afternoon, and we were excited when bigger horns appeared 20 minutes before dark, but the buck turned out to be a young 10-point with lots of promise — still not what we were looking for.

We left the ranch after dark a little defeated, but vowed again to return and give it one last shot.

We got the call from Bill last week and he asked us if we could be at the ranch around 1:30 on Monday. We are busy in the office this time of year, but Craig and I agreed we needed to give it one last go to see if we could find a buck that would meet our goal.

We arrived at Greystone yesterday and headed to a familiar blind named “Smallmouth.”

I joked with Craig on the way out that this might be the worst time to shoot a trophy — December temperatures in the mid 60s and a full moon. But you can’t kill anything sitting in the lodge or office, so we decided to chance it.

Several hours later and it was looking like this might be a repeat of our first two trips — not a deer had entered the field.

I was getting nervous that, despite this great ranch and the big deer that live on it, we would not get the job done.

Suddenly, I saw a deer moving from right to left into the field. The only glimpse I saw through the trees was of legs and parts of an antler.

“Here comes a buck,” I said nonchalantly.

Then he stepped into the open. My heart hit my throat as I looked at one of the prettiest bucks I have ever seen on the hoof emerge from the tree line 80 yards away.

“What do you think, Bill?”

“I think if it was me, he would have already hit the ground.”

“What do you think, Craig?”

“I’m with Bill. What are you waiting for?”

That was all the motivation I needed as I settled in for the shot. Eighty yards is not a hard shot, and my only thought was getting a solid rest and not messing it up.

Several deep breaths and one good squeeze later, the big buck was lying where he had stood moments before.

As we approached the biggest 8-point I had ever harvested, there was no ground shrinkage — quite the opposite, in fact. He kept getting bigger.

After photographs, high-fives and a celebratory cold beverage, we caped and quartered the buck and headed for home.

The third trip back down I-20 was much better than the first two.

To contact Greystone Castle for a great deer or upland game bird hunt, visit their website or call Bill Honza at (254) 672-5927.