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John's Journal... Entry 226, Day 1


Jerry Ostroski's Biggest Deer Ever

Editor's Note: Outdoorsmen across the nation know the reputation of the Ford Ranch in Melvin, Texas, as the home of trophy-sized white-tailed bucks. Most hunters see the biggest deer of their lives there and often don't shoot these huge deer because by Ford Ranch standards, the racks aren't that nice. Jerry Ostroski - better known as Jerry "O" - played offensive lineman at 365 pounds for the Buffalo Bills professional football team for 10 years from 1992 until 2002. Ostroski has a radio show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called the Big "O" Show on Sports Radio 1430, the Buzz. He hunts at some of the best places for various types of game in the U.S each year and hunted the Ford during this past fall.

I've turkey hunted at the Ford Ranch during two springs. Each spring when we've come down here, I've seen the slides of the big deer that have been taken in the fall and the winter months at the ranch as well as the pictures of the live deer that Forrest Armke, the manager of the Ford, has photographed from a helicopter. My friend, Chris Kirby, from Orchard Park, New York, the president of Quaker Boy Calls, invited me to join him this year on a deer hunt here at the Ford Ranch, and I was really excited about getting to hunt deer here. Actually I was shocked when the first time I went to a stand at the large number of big bucks I spotted. I didn't know of any place in the world where you would see four or five really-big bucks just about any morning or afternoon that you hunted. Ninety percent of the bucks I saw sported 8- to 9-points each.

The buck I took was a nice 10 pointer, and I could tell by the posture of the other deer before I bagged him that he was the boss of that area. I hunted with a Thompson Center 7mm Magnum. I enjoyed hunting with this gun because I could hunt with it as a muzzleloader but also could take my 7mm barrel with me and hunt with it as a conventional rifle. Therefore, I could use the same gun and hunt two ways, if I hunted in a state with a primitive-weapon season that overlapped modern-weapon season. This gun featured accuracy and simplicity when I hunted it with black powder. Then when I put my 7mm barrel on it, it was the most-accurate gun I'd ever shot. I used a 3X9 Leupold scope with this rifle. The buck was at 84 yards when I took the shot. When I hit him, he reared-up on his hind legs and then dropped where he was standing. This buck was the biggest buck I'd ever taken and scored 133 points on Boone & Crockett.

I'd never been much of a horn hunter and in the past primarily had hunted deer for sport and for the meat. But after hunting the Ford Ranch and seeing all the big-antlered bucks, I'll probably be more serious about hunting horns. At first light on the first day of my hunt, I saw a buck that Forrest Armke considered a cull buck, yet that buck was the biggest I'd ever seen in my life. When all the other bucks started coming in, I had to tell myself, "Be patient. Be patient. Be patient." The Ford Ranch may not get as much publicity as some of the other big ranches in Texas do, but I don't believe there's a better place to bag a big buck or a trophy turkey than at the Ford Ranch.

I also enjoyed being with Chris Kirby, his wife Michelle, who is an excellent hunter in her own right, and other friends that I'd met while in New York as we shared this great deer hunt together. My parents raised me to enjoy the sport of hunting but also to eat the delicious animals we took. I still love to eat venison and wild turkey. I like the challenge of hunting. I believe you have a real advantage when you play on your home field - just like the Buffalo Bills had when we played ball in Buffalo. The wonderful Buffalo Bills' fans and the stadium gave us a definite advantage over our opponents. When you're hunting, you're on the home field of the bucks in that region, and they can use all their senses to try to beat you. That's the challenge of hunting that I love.

To learn more about the Ford Ranch and its hunting services, call Forrest Armke, the ranch manager, at (325) 286-4572; e-mail him at fordranch@hotmail.com or, visit www.fordranchhunting.net. I don't believe I'd ever hunted in warmer weather for deer than this hunt at the Ford Ranch the beginning of November, 2003. Luckily for me, I'd rolled-up a lightweight suit of Mossy Oak Apparel's TrekLite and packed it along with wintertime clothing. I thought, "Well, this TrekLite doesn't take up any room at all, and who knows, I may need it." I lived in that TrekLite suit the entire four days I was at the Ford Ranch and stayed cool and comfortable in my tree stand in the high-80-degree weather. You can go to www.mossyoakapparel.com to learn more.




Check back each day this week for more about HUNTING AT THE FORD RANCH ...

Day 1 - Jerry Ostroski's Biggest Deer Ever
Day 2 - Jeff Stevens Takes His Biggest Buck Ever on His Third Ford Ranch Trip
Day 3 - More on Jeff Stevens' Big Bow Buck
Day 4 - Joe Pray and Bill Pray Jr., Fourth-Generation Deer Hunters
Day 5 - A Buck For Michelle Kirby

John's Journal