February does, however, have a couple of redeeming qualities
– Valentine’s Day and my birthday! So when my husband, Gary asked if I wanted to spend my birthday in Texas, I was packed and
ready to go before he got the last word out of his mouth. We had been trying to schedule a hunt with Thompson Temple
(Record of Exotics and Wildlife Ranch) in Barksdale,
. So I called immediately and scheduled our ram hunt. We settled on the days for our hunt
and did MapQuest for directions. Finding out that we would be passing very close to the Busy B Ranch in Jefferson, we knew we couldn’t get that close without stopping by for a visit. We have spent
many wonderful days at the Busy B. The
accommodations are great, the hunting is awesome and Jason Bonner and his
family have become great friends. We left North
early on Saturday morning with freezing
temperatures, snow forecasted and the wind blowing tree limbs down. Fourteen hours later we pulled in at the Busy
B to rain, but at least it was only rain!  After stowing everything in the cabin and taking that huge sigh that
says we have arrived, we met J.D. Bonner and just rode around the ranch. We made our plans for the next day and
returned to the cabin. The next morning brought torrential rain again. Gary decided to try his
hand on the bow preserve for hogs but I decided to sit in a blind (where I was
relatively dry). The rain finally let up mid-morning and ALL the animals came out during the lull in the weather. I watched black buck, axis, fallow and several types of rams come into the field. 
Finally a nice Catalina ventured into bow range and I could not pass him
up. My Pearson bow, Carbon Express Arrows and Muzzy broadhead found the mark and we were bringing this Catalina
back to North Carolina.

We spent several more days at the Busy B and the weather
improved each day. Gary and I managed to
take a couple of hogs during our stay. 
Our time was again over at the Busy B and we hit the road to finally
meet Thompson.

We arrived in the town of Barksdale, Texas and
with the temperatures topping 80 degrees, we quickly shed our sweatshirts and
jackets. We checked in at our motel and
drove out to the Ranch. We finally got
to meet Thompson and swapped tales around the campfire with the others hunting
that weekend. Reluctantly we left the ranch and returned to town.


Bright and early the next morning, our anticipation
increasing by the minute, we pulled up at the ranch, ready for the rams. The area where we were hunting was covered
with small rocks as well as large boulders, so the going was slow. We would catch a glimpse of the rams every so
often but then they would seemingly just disappear, dropping off the side of
the mountain and gone.

Several rams were taken during the morning and lunch was
spent with pictures and getting the animals back to camp. For those of us still
trying to harvest an animal, we grabbed a quick snack and headed back to the

After searching and walking, walking and searching, we
finally got a glimpse of a nice Mouflon type ram through the woods. This was what we had been searching for as
this was the only ram that I needed to complete my Texas Slam.

We eased down the hill, trying carefully to not disturb the rocks and alert the rams to our position. 
Other hunters were coming up and spooked the rams – right in our
direction!! I picked out my ram and as
he walked right beside my hiding place, took the shot!

My Valentine ram scored Silver in the Exotics Record Book
with my Birthday Slam taking 2nd in the Record Book in the Bow
Section for that year.

Our brief escape to Texas made returning to North Carolina
and the cold, wind and snow not quite so bad! 
Plus turkey season didn’t seem so far away now!

Author’s Note: Since this trip, J.D. Bonner passed away unexpectedly. We valued his experience but more than that
his friendship. He will be missed.