They enjoy successes once again, too.

    Brian Cortez lives near San Antonio, Texas but has come to the Crookston area numerous times in recent years to visit friends while fishing and hunting. He’s also invited friends to come to Texas to hunt, and has submitted tales to the Times in the past. What follows is his account of his 2018 deer hunt in this area.

    I tried to convince my long time friend Andy Reyes to fly with me to go hunt up north but he refused to take me up on my offer to buy his plane ticket.  Andy’s never flown and wasn’t going to either.  I had to fold and drive with Andy and his brother Jaime.  

    We stopped at Cabela’s in Buda, Texas on the way up and Jaime placed an order for a rifle on hold at the Cabela’s in Fort Worth, Texas.  As we walked into the store, the two brothers went off to browse and I went for a golden opportunity to kick ‘em in the ribs.  I went to speak to the firearms salesman “Freddy” and asked him to go along with a joke I had for the brothers.  The salesman obliged.  Andy and Jaime went up to the counter and asked to see some of the hardware and after a couple of looks, “Freddy” asked, “Can I help you with something?  You guys look like you’re all over the place!”  Andy responded, “Yeah! My brother’s here to pick up a rifle you’re supposed to be holding for him.  It’s under the name of Jaime Reyes.”  

    Andy and Jaime gave the details about the rifle on hold.  The salesman responded, “That’s already been sold to another customer.”  After some Texas style comments of disapproval, being deep in bull droppings, Jaime blurted out, “Something’s gonna happen here!  We need to speak to the manager!”  The salesman “Freddy” responded, “You’re speaking to him.”  

    Andy’s face sank deep and he was starting to sweat.  The look on his face was priceless.  The salesman couldn’t go any further and pointed at me and said, “It was his idea.”  Both Andy and Jaime had been snagged hook, line, and sinker.  Other workers and customers were hovering around to see the outcome.  We all laughed about it.  The brothers appreciated the joke and it was a good start to a very long non-stop trip.  

    I had been bragging about the bone cold weather up top and that they were in for a very cold experience as this would be my tenth trip.  It was Jaime’s turn to drive and as we were in Topeka, Kansas he asked me, “Are we almost there yet?”  I said, “Not even halfway.”  The brothers realized I wasn’t lying when I told them Crookston, Minnesota is a long haul from San Antone.      

    Dale Berhow of Erskine was kind enough to host us on the hunting trip as myself and the brothers hosted Dale and sons in the past on several Texas hunts.  Gunnar Berhow rigged up a hunting stand on public land near the town of Erskine way up in a tree for Jaime to hunt from on the afternoon of the opening day for deer hunting.  

    I wasn’t much help other than being the designated photographer during the stand build.  

    Like Andy, not wanting to fly up, I wasn’t going to climb up a tree that high to assist.  Jaime was later dropped off and he hiked his way over to the tree stand.  Upon settling in, not long after, he had deer activity in the area.  A doe was being chased by a young buck grunting.  Jaime opted not to take a shot at the young buck.  

    The experience for him was awesome as he witnessed a true deer world event.  Jaime enjoyed being way up in a tree on a simple stand that he took part in building.  A nice buck came out of a thicket several hundred yards away and was making its way right towards him.  When the deer got closer, he knew that he was going to take a shot at it if it presented an opportunity.  The buck trotted right by the tree below him and continued past.  When the buck was about ninety yards away, Jaime sounded out his best imitation of a doe bleat and the buck stopped square to him.  He took his shot, the buck staggered about twenty yards and collapsed.  

    The first day of the season, 1,400 miles from home, first out of state deer hunt, and he connected on a very nice 8-point buck!  His own hunt pressure was off his shoulders.  He was extremely excited and definitely had buck fever.  After all the hugs, high fives, and photos, we all took turns dragging the deer out.  I asked Jaime what he thought of his afternoon hunt.  There was a long pause as he was admiring his buck and he said, “Unbelievable.”  

    Andy and I decided where we were going to hunt the following morning.  The brothers were asking about the lack of snow.  I told them when the snow gets here, they will enjoy it.  They laughed and commented on how their phones were lying to them about the snow.  

    The following morning, Monday, we woke up to snow!  Jaime slept in.  On Monday afternoon’s hunt I had a whopper doe come out so I decided to take it.  It was a seventy five yard shot.  I was holding off on a particular buck I had been seeing in hopes that Andy might get a crack at it later if he sat at that spot near the town of Fertile.  

    On Tuesday both Jaime and I slept in.  Andy now had the hunt pressure of tagging a deer.  In the afternoon he hunted the same spot I had been hunting.  He saw a doe several hundred yards away walking into the side of the brush that was in front of him.  After a short while, a doe came out of the brush.  He lined up on the doe as it was facing directly at him, looking as if it knew he was in the stand.  Andy took the shot and it was clean as the deer flipped backwards and fell.  It was his last chance on a deer.  

    The brothers got to experience the cold weather along with the snow.  Overall, between the good food, the friendship visits, hunting experiences, harvested deer, and good stories, we had a blast.  

    On our drive back to Texas, given the distance, Andy just may change his mind about flying up next time.  

    As for me, whether I drive or fly up, it’s always a bone chilling trip.  Y’all are tough!