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They say it ain't over till the fat lady sings... I don't know if it was the coyotes in the distance, or if she had started to hum, but my hopes for taking a Texas whitetail were already gone...I had just finished doing my 'farewell to the season interview' from the blind. Rod Owen and I were getting skunked so far. Not one single deer had showed to the foodplot that we had chosen for our final sit. It was our last afternoon of the final group hunt for Dream Season "The Journey". Rod had turned the camera around to let the tape run out on a timelapse of the sun going down. He said "it could all change in just one minute", but in my mind it was already over. We had about 10 minutes of camera light left when I looked up and caught movement on a hill about 300 yards away. I immediately turned around and grabbed the camera handing it back to Rod who was in disbelief of our sudden change of fortune. In total shock, I said "I don't know how many points he's got, but he's extremely wide and plenty old! He's definitely a shooter!"

Arriving at the Matador Ranch, I was absolutely blown away! The place was nothing short of outstanding, to say the least. Now I'm just a redneck from Arkansas, so I was not used to the 5 star accomodations of the Ranch. At supper time, we had so much silverware that quite frankly it was confusing. You can give me a "spork" and step back on most occasions. But here, they had it going on! I don't believe you could get to eat that well at the governor's mansion. Five course meals at every sitting. I knew by day 4 that it was gonna be dangerous for anyone to sit across from me in the event that my pants button busted of my jeans like a bullet, due to the pressure that was fixing to be applied. I mean, we were gonna look like the klumps by the time we left, if we kept the pace from the first supper. Everything about the place was phenomenal! But we came to hunt primarily. We didnt know at the time, but were not gonna be disappointed when the trip was over.

Rod and I had a giant buck on us first morning, but I decided to hold off. Over the next 3 days I passed buck after buck. We had seen over 60 bucks already as we crawled into our blind for the final hunt on the final day. I'd be lying if I said I should not have pulled the trigger in the first 5 minutes of our hunt. I was regretting it now more than ever. The other 3 teams had already taken 3 fine bucks and the pressure was building by the minute. I knew in my heart that it was a small chance to see a shooter in the evenings with every buck kill and most of the activity happening in the mornings.

Now back to the beginning... The buck was not alone as he came towards our position on the edge of a 5 acre foodplot. He was following a doe that appeared to be in estrous, despite the time of the year. I looked behind him to see a nice 10 point and smaller 8 point following them as well. He stuck tight on the doe as she slid under the barb-wire fence of the plot. A few seconds later, he leaped the fence at 150 yards which made him easily in the range of the T.C. Dimension. He walked closer and closer until he stopped at 100 yards. He was quartering to me slightly as I rested the sights of the Nikon scope just in front of his left shoulder. He stomped his foot for reasons unknown, and that was the ticket to be sqeezing the trigger... It was now or never... Booom!!! The gun went off as the recoil hit, leaving me wondering if my shot was true. The buck ran favoring his left shoulder. The blood was exiting his body at an extreme rate, due to the Winchester bullet that had struck him perfectly. He never made it out of the plot before expiring on camera!

What an awesome feeling in the final minutes to be closing a season out with an interview one minute, and be celebrating the final kill of Dream Season "The Journey" just moments later. I was so excited that words couldn't really express my feelings. I believe that my team-mate Rod was even more excited than I was which made the moment even more special. The time we spent with all the other teams was what I enjoyed more than anything else. I truly feel that we have grown closer as friends throughout this journey than I ever imagined we could. The highlight of watching the Catch-A-Dream banquet through Skype was touching as well. Tyler, the Catch-A-Dream recipient, was successful in taking his buck at Tara, as well as a doe at 189 yards. We wish we could have been there to share it, but the floods of the mighty Mississippi had changed our plans. Special thanks to the folks at the Matador Ranch for taking us in, and accomodating us for our final group hunt. Thanks to the guides for all their hard work, and the cooks for the 10 extra pounds! Thanks to Rod for sticking it out and filming me take 3 of my bucks this fall... couldn't have done it without you bud. Rod had his best season behind the camera also. He filmed 4 kills and took a great buck on the first group hunt.

Looking back on my Journey this fall, I had the best season of my life. I took 5 whitetail bucks, including 2 in my home state. I took my best buck in Arkansas by nearly 20 inches (160 & 5/8"s). My son and wife took bucks of 154 & 163"s as well. As a family we took 7 bucks averaging 140 inches. Team Reconyx took 8 bucks total... But the most emotional hunt that I'll share with everyone this summer was simply of a doe that I took with a recurve at Hadley. A hunt that brought back some of the greatest memories of my life. I can't wait to share these hunts with everyone this summer on Dream Season... I'm sure you'll see why the show is appropriately named "The Journey"... Most of all, thank you Lord for blessing us this season!

Everyone please keep our friends Joe & Pam Shults in your prayers throughout the year. We love you guys. May God bless and comfort you...