“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey
Indescribable are the emotions I feel about this old broken horned blackbuck antelope. When Adam and I first saw him with land owner Warren Blesh he was fighting in a food plot. The following morning I watched him in my binoculars fighting on the hillside from half a mile away. I waited in the blind, the wind whistling through the window. My stomach did back flips as I contemplated shooting scenarios. We watched whitetail deer make their way out of the creek bed. I walked, I crawled. I laid, belly down, in the grass. Adam & I found his herd only to find he wasn’t there. We spotted him just before the sun set that evening & tried to cut him off. He chased does in the other direction. We woke up earlier and walked in the dark. The moon, only a sliver in the sky. Daylight came & I really, actually, never expected to find him again at all. And then, there he was. Alone.
At 8 years old, his horn may have been broken but his spirit was not. The chips and cracks in his horns told his story. He was a warrior for many years where he called the Texas hill country home. I never thought I’d harvest an exotic game animal like this. Perfectly imperfect, “Broken top” will always have a special place in my heart.
Hunting in Texas is like no other place in the United States, especially in the Hill country where exotic game species are highly prevalent and can be hunted year round. Texas is unique. I have to remember this when outsiders infringe their negativity. Years ago, in another lifetime it seems, I may have cast a judgmental eye as well.
A blackbuck antelope originally calls the plains of India and Pakistan its home range. Due to habitat loss, its numbers continue to dwindle there where it is no longer a game species. In Texas, thanks to the demand for unique hunting opportunities, both high fenced or free range, the blackbuck has been flourishing. It ranks second most prevalent exotic game species after the Axis deer. Hunting them is nothing like hunting a whitetail deer. Blackbuck rely heavily on their eyesight, are hard to pattern, are active all day and are timid feeders. Mature blackbuck males are extremely territorial and mating can take place at any time of the year.
Adam told me to stay low to the ground so, low to the ground I stayed. So low that I wasn’t even looking to see what may be ahead of me. As we made our way up a steep rocky creek bed I came to the top, slightly out of breath. There it lie at my feet, an arrowhead. I looked at Adam who moved on ahead of me not knowing my discovery. I quickly and quietly slipped the arrowhead in my pocket.
It was a reminder to me of our past. Styles, circumstances and even the types of game animals we seek may change over decades but without hunters, a piece of history and hunting heritage is lost. If this arrowhead could talk, what could it tell me about it’s maker? Did he sit and listen to the wind whistle the way I had? How different did the landscape appear in his view? How similar? It’s true the arrowhead could not talk but it had already comforted my heart so much. I was walking in the footsteps of hunters before me.
I gave the arrowhead to land owners Warren and Dori Blesh who said it’s the first to be found on the property. It turns out, according to a local historian, the arrowhead may be upwards of 2000 years old! I knew Warren and Dori would cherish it just as much as I cherished the opportunity to enjoy the hill country and the unique hunting heritage that lies there.
For more information on blackbuck and RRR Ranch in Goldthwaite, TX visit: