Every year in June (the height of the rut), my husband and I plan an Axis deer hunt. It just so happens that my husband received a call from a rancher that was requesting that some axis on his property be thinned out. Perfect timing!
Saturday, June 9 at 6 am we arrive at the ranch. The plan was to drop me off at a stand. Well, on the way to the stand, my husband, Todd spots an axis behind a tree. He tells me, “Jessica it’s a good one!” We stop and I get out of the side by side. This now turns into a spot and stalk. I ease my way around until I’m about 30 yards from him. I take my time getting comfortable with my shot. He turns broadside and I take the shot. He runs about 20 yards and falls! Wow! I did it! We didn’t waste any time retrieving it. As I get closer, I realize that Todd was right. This is a good one! When I looked in my scope, I was focused on where the crosshairs were, not the antlers. As we approached the axis I immediately got even more excited. It’s huge! The biggest axis I’ve ever killed with a crossbow.We load it up in the back of the side by side and head to camp to clean it.
On our way to camp, Todd decides we will just gut it and bring it straight to the taxidermist. You should have seen us riding through town with an axis on a lowboy trailer. I’m sure pictures will surface! Ha! Later, I receive a call from our taxidermist. He tells me that it measured 34″ on one side, 35″ on the other, and 29″ wide. It scored 148 2/8. He tells me this is a trophy. I tell him, “well yes, it’s my trophy.” He said, “Jessica, I don’t think you understand. This is a gold medal axis! It’s one for the record book!”
The hunt is not over. After a late lunch, we arrive back at the ranch. As we are driving into the ranch, I spot another Axis – only this one was a doe. She didn’t seem scared so Todd tells me that we are just going to take our time. We park the truck and again, this turns into a spot and stalk hunt. I get my bow ready and begin stalking. She still didn’t seem scared. I got as close as I could and she spots me. I have the crosshairs on her as she begins to run. I follow her in the scope and pull the trigger. She runs for a few moments and falls about 30 yards. Wow! I did it again! As we retrieved this one, I couldn’t help but think about my mom. She had been on my mind all day. She passed away a few weeks prior to this hunt. She’s the first person that I wanted to call when I shot the trophy axis and now this one. I knew I couldn’t call her but I know that she is watching over smiling big! Mom, these are for you! –
Story by Jessica Dixon