November 6: Dan Thurston & Ingrid Shacklett

Contact with the “Goat Shed Stud!”

Dan harvested his deer on November 7th and Ingrid harvested her deer on November 9th.

November could not arrive any faster! My cameraman and compadre, Billy Goode, and I loaded up the truck and hit the road heading south to the Lone Star State. Our destination: my friend Al Shacklett’s two thousand acre family farm in Blanco, Texas. We were about to make some serious contact with the giant whitetails of Texas!

Al has several cameras set up throughout his property, capturing the many monster whitetails rampaging across his land. One particular deer had taken up refuge in a draw right next to an old goat shed. Nicknamed the “Goat Shed Stud,” little did I know that our paths were going to cross during this particular Texas adventure in a western style showdown that I would never forget.

The first morning hunt began on a sour note. The deer movement was slower than ever. We witnessed plenty of horses and donkeys amble within fifteen yards of our stand, but not one single shooter buck wandered out in front of us. With the morning hunt proven to be a bust, we regrouped and headed for the stand near the old goat shed for our afternoon hunt. Once again, the hunt began rather slowly. As the afternoon progressed, I became certain that we’d have to call it a day and return empty handed, but around five o’clock, our luck changed.

An ancient, rugged, six and half year old Texan beast strolled out from his brushy haven. I knew it right away, I was in the presence of the aptly named, “Goat Shed Stud.” My heart began to race, and I motioned to Billy to be sure to frame him properly on camera. This was it, the big moment, “The Goat Shed Stud” and me, the hunter and the hunted. I was on his turf, in his homeland, an environment he had perfected survival in, having outsmarted predator and hunter for six and half years. This was going to be no easy task.

I reached for my PSE Dream Season X-Force GX bow as the deer continued to graze and slowly work his way toward us. At twelve yards from the stand he came to a stop; I released the arrow and watched it slice clear through him. Contact, mister! The old guy never knew what hit him!

After harvesting the old Texan bad boy, I eagerly offered to film Al’s wife, Ingrid, on a hunt of her own two days later on November 9th. One year ago, we received the upsetting news that Ingrid had been diagnosed with cancer. An avid lover of the outdoors, Ingrid never gave up hope that she would continue to participate in one of her favorite pastimes. Her personal triumph over adversity and her story of overcoming a deadly disease with such grace are truly inspiring and uplifting to everyone. I jumped at the opportunity to help capture one of her hunts on video and be a part of her story.

Al set up Ingrid in a single person blind that was unfortunately, too small for both of us to occupy, so he constructed a tripod above it for me to film the hunt from. Needless to say, communication was going to be difficult, but we kept our heads up and hoped for the best. After a little while, a buck strolled onto the field. Ingrid, the ever-patient hunter, decided to pass on it and see what else lay in store. Time passed, and no other opportunities came. Right before dark, the buck we had seen earlier in the day, returned to the field. Ingrid gave me the signal that this time, she was not going to let this buck slip by. She aimed her PSE TAC-15 crossbow and squeezed the trigger. The arrow rocketed off the bow on a collision course with the deer’s vitals. It tore through the buck, and it expired shortly after.

Another stirring chapter added to Ingrid’s story. Her perseverance and drive to continue to take part in the sport she loves after so much adversity is an encouraging story for all us to never give up hope and to never stop believing that anything is possible. You are a great example and inspiration for all the men and women struggling with life threatening illnesses who strive each day to continue to take part in the activities they cherish and love. Thanks so much, Ingrid, for allowing me to be a part of your story, and to both Al and Ingrid for their friendship. This is one trip I know I’ll never forget! -Kansas Dan


Side Note:  Ingrid also harvested this beautiful 5 Year Old 140 Class 11 Pointer earlier in the year before my arrival.  See Pics attached