Ten Year Quest! My Ground Hog Hunt at Oak Creek Whitetail Ranch

I finally got him back!

After waiting more than nine months, I finally got my groundhog back from the taxidermist.


Dreams do come true.

And what a dream he is!

He is by far the most beautiful groundhog mount in all of taxidermy.

Of course, to be honest, mine is one of only a few I’ve ever seen in real life. This because I live in and from Texas where there are no groundhogs.





Ground Hog sighted!

I first saw a groundhog (AKA whistle pig, prairie beaver, rat, woodchuck, etc.) while hunting Oak Creek Whitetail Ranch in Missouri and ever since that encounter over a decade ago, I knew I wanted to take one. This finally happened just prior to Thanksgiving 2020 when I was sitting in a blind at Oak Creek with guide Jacob and my friend Joel O’Shoney.

“What’s that?” Joel said of the dark object waddling across the field.

“Gayne! It’s your groundhog!” Jacob exclaimed knowing of my wanting to take one. “It’s a Thanksgiving miracle. He’s supposed to be hibernating!”

I wasted no time at all and quickly took the over-sized rat with an easy 50-yard shot. He was every bit the trophy and then some. He carried massive claws, super elongated rodent teeth, a gorgeous red and tawny colored hide, and weighed more than 30 pounds. Despite the fact that he was obviously one of the finest groundhogs ever taken, I had to explain just how special a trophy he was and my thoughts on trophies in general upon my return to Texas.

Taxidermy Time

“Why the hell do you want me to mount that thing?” My taxidermist Neal Coldwell asked.

“I asked Neal how many trophy rooms he had been in.


I asked Neal to describe the nicest one he’d ever been in. He told me of one located in the Hill Country that was so large it featured manikins in native garb and a full-size replica of the

straw hut they lived in. The room also contained full body mounts of the Dangerous Seven of Africa, shoulder mounts of all the oxen of the world, Grand Slam after Grand Slam, and more.

“The guy has hundreds of mounts,” Neal explained. “The room rivals most museums I have been in.”

“Did you see a groundhog in the trophy room?” I asked.

Neal laughed. “No sir, I did not.”

“Mine will.”

My groundhog now commands full attention on my entry table where people ask about him and his story all the time.

Ten Year Quest! My Ground Hog Hunt at Oak Creek Whitetail Ranch

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Gayne C. Young