Why, we as hunters, do what we do?
I am Kasi Geraci, a Guest Host on Universal Huntress with mutual passions for hunting and conservation. Our TV Show, on the Pursuit Channel, along with the beautiful Morani Ranch, located in Uvalde, Texas, came together creating a once in a lifetime hunting package. This exciting experience was auctioned off at the 2016 Safari Club International convention in Las Vegas. The highest bidder would be privileged to a Whitetail and Aoudad filmed hunt to be aired on 1 Episode of our TV show. I was honored and thrilled to be apart of this conservation and educational effort.
The Morani Ranch, to say the least, is gracefully extravagant. It's foundationely based in in animal conservation. Not only is the Morani Ranch surreally beautiful and full of animals like lemur, Black Swans in the front pond, Tortoises, giraffes and animals from all over the world, but it's apart of many well respected organizations that are selflessly giving back to promote Conservation. Kevin Reid, the owner of the Morani ranch is not only kind and warm hearted, but he's one of the most knowledgeable men I've had the opportunity to visit with and learn from. He said one thing to me that I will never forget, "You can't stop poachers, but that wont stop us from saving our animals." And that's the foundation this ranch is based on. They are involved in projects that bring endangered and extinct animals from overseas to regenerate and protect their herd population in Texas. Once the herd is at a healthy and stable number to keep regenerating on their own, they will send them back to their natural habitat! The best part, the ones involved in this project are hunters and I was beyond happy to be involved.
At the SCI convention in 2016 a man by the name of Bill bought the hunting package for his wife, Liz, as a surprise! She just recently got into hunting (although she's been into shooting for quite sometime & owns the shooting range!) but she's been dreaming of a whitetail hunt for quite sometime. Bill & Liz arrived at the Morani Ranch and we immediately headed to the shooting range, then dinner to get a game plan for the hunt the next morning. Liz was hunting for whitetail first, but this hunt was going to be a gem. It was an all women's hunt, we were guided by a woman named Diana, I was the TV Host & Liz was the Huntress.
Liz was up to bat at harvesting her very first whitetail and it happened much faster than we anticipated! Our huntress is a bundle of joy and excitement, which made hunting alongside her very enjoyable.
Three girls in one stand and after about an hour of sitting still, we restless and READY to see a big buck! (Imagine 3 ladies in a small stand having to be quiet for over an hour!) Finally, a beautiful buck comes in from our left side of the stand and makes his way to the field directly in front of us. Right when we got a good look at the first buck, we see antlers moving in from through the trees and we spot two more bucks. Liz had to move quickly, but her options to choose from as beautiful as she had dreamed, so her decision of which buck was hard a difficult one. Our guide talked her through the different types of bucks that presented themselves and Liz took a shot. Liz's Sniper skills came through for her first buck, her experienced precision resulted in him running only about 40 yards before he went down. The most memorable moment through the entire hunt, when Liz's husband showed up and she was proudly standing with her personally harvested Buck. He was beyond proud of his wife; as we all were! This was not just a buck, it was a respected animal, ethically harvested. And the bonus.....all proceeds went towards SCI and conservation. Oh, and now, she's officially shot a bigger buck than her husband, you go girl!
Up next, Liz was hunting for an Aoudad. Now this hunt for Liz was a little more challenging than the whitetail hunt. The weather started changing which made it harder to pattern the Aoudad. And on top of that, our group, consisting of 5 people, were spot and stalking this animal. The Aoudad at the Morani Ranch run in very large groups, which makes it hard to hunt, especially with such a large group. We would spot a mature Aoudad, make a stalk and frustratingly get busted. This happened about 7 times and Liz was slowly filling with frustration. The Guide & Liz came up with a new game plan and we were eager to give it a try. If we pushed a group of Aoudad over a cliff and knew we could get to the other side right at our last shooting light. We jumped in the jeep and tried to make it around this cliff in time to get a stalk in. We made it in the nick of time, pursued a stalk and were busted! I look at Liz and for the first time during this hunt she was speechless. We hopelessly hop back in the jeep to head home and spot a group about 300 yards away. No one says a word, we quietly creep out of the jeep and the shot was taken. Liz's shooting skills once again paid off! She shot uphill, on the side of a ridge and over 250 yards away all at last light. In the end, hunting with Liz was great, but it wasn't just a hunt. It was passionately hunting for a purpose all because SCI, Universal Huntress TV, the Morani Ranch, Liz and her Husband united together for conservation.
When arriving at the ranch, it was a slim chance I personally would be able to hunt. I wasn't there to hunt, but knew in the back of my mind it MAY happen. Liz harvested her two animals and we had an extra day at the ranch, which made my odds of hunting much greater! Kapp, our producer pulled me over to the side and said they wanted me to hunt a very special animal that they thought wouldn't make it through the winter. I was actually Facetiming my family when Kapp came in to tell me what animal it was, a Pere David Deer! Also known as the Milu or Elaphure. Excitement overtook me! For me, this was a lifetime dream animal to hunt! I knew this animal was rare and originated in China. To be exact, it is extinct in its natural habitat. The Morani Ranch brought in multiple Pere Davids to breed and eventually reintroduce into their natural homeland of China. The bull I was stalking was old, but he didn't get this old by being unwise, he was a smart cookie! We started out the next morning but ended with no luck. The spot and stalk was uneventful and never gave me get a good shot, he moved on. I was beyond frustrated since I only had one more hunt that evening. We left immediately after lunch heading to the area we thought he may be. Hours pass with no luck. Then all of a sudden, the guide catches a glimpse of him. We rush, getting on foot and make a stalk but things go south quickly. It starts to rain, we push him further and have no luck. All conditions were not in my favor, but thank the Lord I had my GWG rain gear! Once again, we move quickly, with great effort I set up and get in place. My cross hairs, setting breathlessly on his shoulder......and the shot was taken! Vividly I remember my legs shaking and heart beating intensely after this shot. Yes, at one point I lost hope, but somehow, by the Grace of God, it all came together and I not only have a beautiful Memory hanging on my wall but forever in my heart.
Liz and Bill are the best of the best. They purchased a hunt because they knew it was for a great cause (and Liz really wanted a whitetail!) These three hunts weren't only a blast, but we now share many forever memories. We were all apart of a successful conservation effort that was executed while pursuing our passion and being "in the moment" of hunting. It was nice to sit back and remember Why. Why we, as hunters, need to stand together to educate others on conservation and why we do what we do. Oh, and don't forget putting meat on the table for yourselves or for those in need is the bonus!