My Trophy Oryx
January 16, 2019
Editorial Staff (287 articles)
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My Trophy Oryx

Huntress takes exotic scimitar-horned oryx

By Rylie Granger

Christmas 2017 was a huge holiday for me. I received one of the best gifts ever: a surprise hunt to Cactus Creek Bowhunting Ranch in Nixon, Texas. My boyfriend, Gage, was adamant on surprising me. I had been asking for a hunt since he killed his axis. I honestly did not think that it would really happen, but it did.

My hunting addiction started when he took me to shoot my first doe. Growing up on a farm, I was raised around hunting, but the deer are a tad bit different than the Hill Country. I am truly blessed to have met someone who has such a passion for this sport. He has helped me along the way to becoming a huntress.

Our hunt started on March 12, 2018. That Monday, we woke up at 6:15 a.m. and went to sit in a blind. I went to the ranch to shoot a fallow deer. The guide, Jake, had sent us videos of the fallow a few weeks before, and that was when I knew what I wanted to fill our freezer with.

As we watched the fallow in some brush, we realized it only had one antler. I was thinking, “No way the exotic I had chose just lost his antler?” but sure enough, it happened. We watched for a little bit longer, and saw him jumping around and then he shed the other one. Basically, my hunting trip was over.

A new target

We left the blind and went back to the house for breakfast. On our way to the house, we spotted the scimitar-horned oryx. This animal was so pretty, interesting and intriguing. I looked over at Gage when I said, “OK, now I know what I want to shoot!”

My mind and mood changed tremendously. We ate breakfast and went back to see what we would have to do to get a shot at this beautiful animal. As we made our way towards her, she knew exactly what we were doing. We decided to set up in a blind for the afternoon hunt, in hopes the oryx would come out to one of the feeders.

A few hours went by, and we saw nothing. I was disappointed. Instead of coming to the feeder we were at, she went straight to the protein feeder 50 yards from the cabin. Lord knows I was stressing out about this.

I was thinking, “How did we sit in a blind for hours, being as quiet as possible, and then when we show up throwing washers and talking, the oryx is hanging out?” She knew we were there and we realized we would have to outsmart her. Monday night went by and I was full of anxiety and excitement. All I could think was, “I really hope I can get a shot off.”

A day for stalking

Wednesday morning we went stalking. Yes, walking acres and acres in brush and cactus, with hope of finding her. I was so nervous. We found her, but every time we came close, she ran away with the young bull beside her.

We had finally pushed the oryx and the bull into a L-shaped part of the ranch. As we sat there, trying to figure out how we would find a place to get a shot off, the bull paced back and forth for 10 minutes. I have never seen any animal do that before. It kind of seemed as if he knew he was out of options.

The female never came near to where he was, because she was smart and knew what was happening. We knew that if we tired them out and ran them for just so long, they might slip up and make a mistake. Gage and I finally got to a place where we could set up for the shot and hide behind a huge pile of mulch. Jake went around the other side of the property, and made himself apparent to the oryx.

Preparing for excitement

As he did that, the animals slowly made their way towards our set-up. Finally, I saw an opportunity to get a shot off. The young bull was in front of the female for a while, once they decided to come out of the brush. As the oryx made their way out of the brush, my adrenaline started pumping.

I pulled out the .308, and set it up perfectly on the dirt hill. The oryx started to make her way back into the brush when Gage said, “Rylie, as soon as she gets by the brush, I am going to make a sound, and that’s when she will turn. You will have to take the shot then.”

That split second felt like a solid 20 minutes. She made her way in, Gage made the sound, and there she turned for a perfect vital shot that I could not pass up. I turned the safety off, and took my shot. She was 75 yards away, and I hit her right in the heart, puncturing both lungs. I knew I did it. After she fell, I started breathing, shaking and couldn’t believe that I had lived one of my dreams.

Not only did I kill my first exotic, but I killed a trophy exotic. Her horns measured 36 inches. I could cherish the memories with the guy who taught me what I know about hunting. We will have a freezer full of meat, a shoulder mount, and a story to last us a lifetime! I cannot thank him enough for showing me the true meaning of being outdoors.

See this member story and others in the latest issue of The Journal, on newsstands now.

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