An Old Friend and Something New

“Jim, we need to plan a whitetail hunt for this fall. Are you interested in coming back to Texas?” I asked thinking I already knew the answer.

Jim, as in Jim Bequette, former editor of SHOOTING TIMES and long with numerous other high quality publications owned by Outdoor Sportsman Group and their television shows, was quick to respond with “Yes! What do you have in mind?”

Before I could explain a couple of options he added, “I’ve been doing some consulting with Avient, the company that is very involved in anything having to do with polymers, and they’re working on a new project.  Do you think you can find a hunt where we might also invite Jesse Baird, one of their Vice-Presidents to join us?”

I knew Avient owned numerous other companies and had a hand in archery equipment, law enforcement equipment and a whole lot of other manufacturing companies that used polymers in their production of products, which covers a huge gamut of items. This was something I learned while in Alberta hunting whitetails with Ron and Maria Nemetchek’s North River Outfitting.  One of the other hunters in our camp was with the Austin (Texas) Police Department SWAT Team. It was he who had mentioned Avient to me when I asked him about some of the equipment they used.  He went on to explain several of the items they used were built directly or indirectly by Avient.

“Give me an hour to try to track down Travis Wright with Heart of Texas Outfitters.  I’ve been talking to him about hunting with him just below the Oklahoma border.  Let me check if he can accommodate a third hunter.”  I had already started planning a hunt for Jim and me, with Travis.  “I’ll call you back as soon as I get with him.”

I was able to catch up with Travis a couple of hours later.  “Yes,” he did have room for one more hunter on a ranch near Seymour.  A few more calls and I had a hunt set up for Jim, Jesse and me.

Fast forward to the early part of December. I met Jim, Jesse and his lovely wife Kaitlyn in Seymour, an old western town just below the Oklahoma border. I quickly learned Jesse and his family were serious whitetail hunters who owned and managed property in central Ohio, and they had taken some really nice whitetails in the past.  I also learned he was a bowhunter, but loved hunting with rifles as well.

“I can show you our new product. Jim and I will be hunting with them. One is chambered in .300 PRC and the other in 6.5 Creedmoor. They were custom built for us, using some of our designs and products. I would ask you hold off really telling people about them until after we introduce them at the 2024 SHOT show in late January. What I can tell you, shooting Hornady’s Precision Hunter ammo both are superbly accurate, lightweight and fun to shoot as you’ll see when we go to the range,” stated Jesse.

I “ooooo-ed and aaahh-ed” when I saw and shot them.  Indeed, they were extremely accurate at distances of 100 out to 300 yards and revolutionary as well.

It was really good to again share a camp with Jim.  He and I almost immediately started recalling some of our previous hunts together going back to the previous century.  I reminded Jim about the evening before I initially went to the SHOOTING TIMES office then in Peoria, Illinois. Back then the publication was owned owned by PJS Publications.  The several days before our meeting I had been hunting deer in Iowa.  With moments of precious legal shooting time remaining on the last afternoon I shot a monstrous 8-point, a buck with 30 ½ and 31 ½ -inch long main beams and an insides spread of 28-inches; one of my all-time favorite bucks. Unfortunately, to get to their Peoria office to finalize our “deal” I had to leave immediately after my hunt.  I was only able to take a couple of hasty, night-time pictures of my buck.  The next morning at 9:00 I signed on to be on staff with SHOOTING TIMES to write the “Lock, Stock and Barrel” column and also serve as a hunting editor.  That was the beginning of dear friendship!

We also recalled a monstrous 8-point he had taken on the Stasney’s Cook Ranch north of Albany Texas on our first official hunt together.  Hunting with Dan Walker, our guide, we found the big buck.  It spent much of its time on the neighboring Nail Ranch across the fence from the Cook.  Johnnie Hudman, longtime friend and hunting partner was at the time was the Nail’s hunt manager.  The morning Jim shot the big 8 point, Johnnie and a client were also looking for him as well…

Jim shot that buck with one of the very first 7mm STWs Kenny Jarrett built for the round designed by SHOOTING TIMES’ writer, Layne Simpson. It was built on a Remington Model 700 action.  Not long afterwards Remington started chambering the 7 STW in a Model 700 Sendero.

There too had been other hunts and hunting camps I shared with Jim. All had been great fun and successful in many more ways than putting license tags on the critters we hunted.

Settled into the comfortable camp we met Bob Winfrey on whose leased property we were going to be hunting.  Bob and I quickly realized we shared numerous mutual friends, and that my cousin Doyle Weishuhn was his best friend.  A short time later Wyndel Wright, Travis’ dad, arrived. Wyndel and I had met many years ago in a small Alaskan airport as we awaited flying to our respective hunts.  He and I too share many acquaintances.  Thus, for me our hunt was almost like “old home week”.  Needless to say there were very few quiet moments while we were all in camp together.

Wyndel and Bob shared the cooking duties and the food they prepared was/is beyond compare, from steaks to bread pudding and everything in between.

We primarily hunted from very comfortable raised deer blinds, watching feed areas, food plots and travel areas.  Jesse was the first to take a buck, an ancient 8-point management buck using his new “Avient products” chambered in .300 PRC, shooting Hornady 212-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter.  It was the first whitetail deer taken with their new creation.

I should have taken a really nice 10 point.  But, even “old-rangers” sometimes make mistakes.  My mistake was I had not chambered a round once I got into the deer blind. I had removed the cartridge from my 7mm PRC before crawling up the ladder. Once comfortably seated I simply propped my rifle against the wall, obviously thinking I had again loaded it when I got settled.  I had not!

The mature buck gave me one chance.  I took it and pulled the trigger…on an empty chamber!  With that he was gone!

Two days later an ancient 10-point made an appearance.  This time I was ready, had a round chambered and pulled the trigger on a 175-grain ELD-X Hornady Precision Hunter. Shot in his vitals the buck took three steps and dropped.

As has long been a practice, as a wildlife biologist, one of the first things I did at his side after whispering a prayer of thanks was to run my index finger over his lower jaw teeth. They were worn to the gumline.  While he his antlers were not quite a big as the earlier buck I “snapped on” he was a least four our five years older. I could not have been more pleased.

What I failed to mention is we, Travis and I stayed in the blind after my buck dropped.  Ten minutes later a large bodied, mature doe showed up.  One quick shot put her down as well.

The night before Bob had received a call from an organization in Seymour which provides food to those in need, asking if they could possibly get some venison should we take a deer.  We nodded approvingly. One of the reasons, beyond being part of the property’s wildlife management program, that I shot the doe.  The two deer I donated would go a long way to ensure several families would have something to eat during the Christmas holidays.

Jim’s buck came late in the hunt.  Jesse and I had both taken bucks, and had other opportunities.  Jim had not.  Travis asked me if Jim might consider driving to another ranch about two hours distant from where we hunted for the last afternoon’s hunt.  There he thought he could put Jim on a really nice 8-point that had been frequenting a large greenfield.

I sent Jim a text and suggested he go with Travis and me to another ranch for the afternoon’s hunt.  He agreed.

Just shy of three hours later we were seated in a blind overlooking a large food plot.  It did not take long for the first deer to arrive. Then, just as Travis had said a monstrous 8-point strode into the field!  Jim got ready and waited for the buck to come closer.  A shot from Jim’s 6.5 Creedmoor, shooting 143-grain ELD-X Hornady Precision Ammo and the buck was down.

Interestingly with each step we took toward the buck, his antlers seemed to grow!  At the deer’s side after receiving congratulations from Travis and me, Jim knelt, looked down at the buck then at me, “Reminds me of another great 8-point I took with you when we first hunted together. Going to have to have this one mounted as well, and hang him next to that original big Texas eight-point.”  I could not have been more pleased or excited for my friend.

In the not too distant future once Avient releases their new product, I will tell you more specifics about it.  I know if you are a shooter or hunter you will indeed be most interested.

In the meantime you might be able to learn more by going to  I will also have more information in the future about their new product on my new website,, scheduled to go live in late December. There you can keep up with some of my latest hunting adventures, watch episodes of “A Sportsman’s Life” (I filmed a couple of episodes about our hunt) which I co-host with Jeff Rice and Luke Clayton, listen to my podcasts and, procure copies my latest books, DEER ADDICTION and CAMPFIRE TALK (which I co-wrote with Luke Clayton).

An old, dear friend, and, a new friend whose company is on the forefront of a new direction for firearms…  Pretty special way to spend some time in the “deer woods!”

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