Check out the chompers on that javelina.
Check out the chompers on that javelina.
Callaghan Ranch, in the heart of South Texas’ Brush Country is home to some truly magnificent whitetails. Over the years it has consistently produced trophy-classed bucks scoring as high as the 190s. A fence around the main camp is adorned with the heads of some bucks that have been found dead on the ranch.
The ranch is broken into several pastures, or “traps,” that are each intersected by several two-track roads. These are the dinner tables of the ranch’s various wildlife, as corn is spread on many of these roadways several times a week.
Guide Juan Suarez fills a spreader attached to the back of his pick-up with corn. The corn is then dropped into the roadways to attract scads of deer, most of which are does and young bucks. With the brush being as thick and thorny as it is, this is really the only way to hunt the deer. When a “shooter buck” shows up, the guide and his hunter must then stalk up to within shooting range, all the while not attracting the attention of possibly several dozen sets of eyes.
Good-quality optics are essential in ageing a whitetail buck that could be feeding up to a mile away, and whether it is a buck worth stalking.
Suarez uses a 20-60×65 Swarovski spotting scope and Leica’s Geovid binocular/rangefinder combo.
Several bucks on the ranch are tagged so that Suarez and ranch manager Jeff Fischer can follow and study them throughout their lives. Here Juan had just gotten a text message from another guide with a number on a tag he’d spotted on a deer where he was hunting. Juan consulted his records to determine the deer’s age.
This is another example of the two-tracks where the deer come out to feed. You can’t see them here, but there are a couple dozen does and young bucks about a half-mile down this road.
I was hunting with a Mossberg 4×4 rifle in .30/06, equipped with the new Lightning Bolt Action trigger system. Click here to read more about the LBA.
Shooting from the prone position with a bipod provides a rock-solid rest when setting your crosshairs on a trophy buck. With so many other deer usually mingling around and feeding in the same area as the deer you might be aiming at, being absolutely certain of one’s target is of utmost importance.
Juan and I with a buck 150-class whitetail buck I shot on the morning of my third day in camp. The first two days I was in Texas the temperature was in the mid-80s and we were hunting in shirtsleeves. When we woke up on Wednesday morning the temperature had plummeted more than 50 degrees. The 15 minutes during which we laid stock-still on the ground waiting for the buck to present me with a shot felt a heckuva lot longer due to the icy cold wind blowing in our faces.
Ranch manager Jeff Fischer has plenty of reasons to be proud of the whitetail management on Callaghan Ranch, and this buck is just one example.
I shot the deer with a 150-grain Winchester Power Point bullet in .30/06. He was quartering away at 116 yards when I finally got my shot off. I was shooting slightly uphill, so the bullet entered just below and behind his vitals on his left side and rose through his heart and one lung before stopping against the hide near the front right shoulder. The buck ran just 20 yards into the brush before piling up.
Juan aged the buck at 6½ years, which is evident in his blocky head.
You can see here that the right G4 is considerably shorter than the left G4 (5 7/8 vs. 3 1/8).
The bases of the buck’s rack scored 5 (left) and 4 7/8 inches.
The G3s were far longer than the G2s: 9 3/8 vs. 7 5/8 on the left and 10 vs. 7 3/8 on the right.
A davit makes for easy work in loading a 200-pound whitetail into the bed of a pick-up.
Callaghan Ranch is also loaded with wild pigs. I shot this young boar on my last evening in camp.
These two javelinas were feeding together, along with a third, and both fell to a single bullet after it passed through the neck of the first before connecting with the head of the one behind it.
Check out the chompers on that javelina.
[Schmaltz alert!] As the sun set on another great hunting adventure I couldn’t help but be impressed by both Mossberg’s new Lightning Bolt Action trigger system and the incredible trophy whitetail at Callaghan Ranch.

Editor John Taranto travelled to Callaghan Ranch in Encinal, Texas, to test out the new Mossberg Lightning Bolt Action trigger system on their 4×4 rifle.