When I got the phone call from Eric Pawlak at Cabela's T.A.G.S. I was in a slight state of shock. I couldn't believe I'd drawn a once-in-alifetime White Sands Oryx tag. Having been to Africa I had knowledge of the animal, but I had not hunted one. With Oryx being, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful animals on earth I was ecstatic that I was going to get to hunt one less than a day's drive from my home.
After the check-in and debriefing at the base I was a little nervous because of the short season and the number of people. By ten o'clock that morning I realized how huge the area was and was pleasantly surprised by how few people I saw while hunting. I used most of the first morning to figure out the area and get to know the Oryx a little. I was quick to realize that glassing was very important. As I looked over the mesquite-covered landscape it seemed as though there was no life on the range, but as soon as I picked up my binoculars Oryx started to pop out of nowhere. After a few blown stalks it was pretty apparent that their eyesight was exceptional. The first day was full of excitement and valuable information for day two.
The morning of the second day had us heading directly to where we'd spent most of the first afternoon. I'd spotted a massive bull in this area along with numerous other Oryx so it was a pretty simple decision. Upon arrival I immediately spotted the big bull. He was again by himself and on top of a small ridge in a mesquite and grass-filled basin where he could see in every direction. I got within 700 yards then he spotted us and moved around another ridge. I thought I knew where he was headed so I ran to a vantage point where I thought I would have a shot. He beat me to it and busted me before I could touch one off. After that he'd had enough and moved off into the flats where the mesquite was taller than he was. We made a mile-and-a-half "death march" back to the truck where we decided to have some lunch and make a plan for the afternoon.
We were in the bed of the truck having a bite to eat when we noticed horns moving through the brush. We climbed up on the roof to get a better view and, sure enough, it was the big bull. He'd joined up with another group of Oryx. They were about 500-yards away and moving at a pretty good pace. We assessed the situation and, if they kept their direction, they'd have to go through some open areas in the mesquite. We hurried around to get the wind and were waiting for them as they started to come through the openings.
As they fed through the brush at 270 yards, I picked out the big bull and waited for him to clear. He finally exposed his vitals and I let the 338-378 sing. I heard the "whopp" and he went down. I quickly approached and put another shot into him at about 50 yards to finish him off. When I first touched his horns I was in awe, I had reached another pinnacle in my hunting career.
Cabela's T.A.G.S. is an essential part of my hunting career. Their knowledge of big-game hunting, the ever-changing quality and draw odds of the many big-game units in the West is top notch. With the deadlines, requirements and the rising cost of trophy tags, letting the T.A.G.S. crew handle it for me is a no-brainer. I'm never worried about whether I filled out my application correctly or if I put in for the right unit. Cabela's T.A.G.S. is a blessing for the serious big-game hunter.