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2021-2022 hunting thread


markstanco

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Since we are about 2 and a half hours away from being able to get our new license, time for the new thread.

 

Went out to my place today to mow and spray to kill off weeds. Also put some more protein in the feeder and spread out some cotton seed as well. I’ll go back in a few weeks to disc and drag in my plots. Also, got dang a bad storm must have gone though. Pulled a lag bolt out of the blind and almost pushed the entire blind off.

 

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Top buck now has some kickers that are coming in but the daylight body shots tell me he's a year away from being mature.  Skinny in the chest, leggy, and flat back.

The middle two bucks do the same thing every night - Stare at the camera and say "Y U no work - Y U look at pictures all day"

This buck below (stage left) is fully rocking the matching G2 kickers since this shot below, But I can't find the most recent one.  He's got some potential, but may still get a year.  Belly and back are too straight.

Daytime shot of double drops is one of those stags due to chemical castration (toxic plant). Stays in velvet - Horns never dropped.  Died back to 50% and then started re-growing.  They get worse (or better depending on your POV) each year.  He's a dead deer walking - No balls, nothing but a steer that eats his ass off.  Will still be a cool mount in full velvet and a ton of great venison....as close to Axis taste as a WT will come since he's got no testosterone in him.

I'll assign myself to be his hitman.  I'm not itching to shoot a big, mature buck and am on permanent cull-duty these days.  Really more fun for me b/c I don't get invested in chasing ghosts and don't feel the need to bust my ass hunting that hard.

 

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This guy still has a baby face, but he'd be tempting up close from a bow blind.  Massive potential here if he'll just hang around and not wander off and get shot this year.

Looks to be a good year in the hill country.  He hasn't even had one mouthful of protein and he's sporting some good bone for a 3 yr old....mother nature is providing plenty of groceries this year.

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Edited by Reagan1k
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37 minutes ago, Spaulding Smails said:

@Reagan1k what county are you in?

Southern Llano county - Enchanted Rock area.

We've been blessed with the ability to invest time and money....mostly time.

This is a low fenced ranch on all sides and even has some 16 frontage, so it's not a true sanctuary, but we try to make it such for the bucks.  They get every opportunity to reach 5 years plus if they don't roam across the boundary or try and play chicken with trucks on the highway.

Many years ago we made the decision to see what would happen if you fed a little and let bucks actually mature, instead of shooting "good" bucks at 3 or 4 years.

Results have been pretty amazing.  The hill country will produce +150" deer on the regular if hunters will just let them get there.  Genetics often get blamed for the typical hill country buck, but in reality our observation is that a lack of patience is to blame.

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After 2 long years of not getting to do any hunting, I'm jumping back in with both feet this Fall. 

Dove trip booked for South Zone opening weekend right outside of San Antonio.

Brother got on a deer lease with some buddies a year ahead of schedule. I should be able to tag along as a guest on at least 1 or 2 trips. If the place turns out to be worth a shit, I'm gonna try and get on the waiting list and hopefully get my own spot sometime soon.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Reagan1k said:

Southern Llano county - Enchanted Rock area.

We've been blessed with the ability to invest time and money....mostly time.

This is a low fenced ranch on all sides and even has some 16 frontage, so it's not a true sanctuary, but we try to make it such for the bucks.  They get every opportunity to reach 5 years plus if they don't roam across the boundary or try and play chicken with trucks on the highway.

Many years ago we made the decision to see what would happen if you fed a little and let bucks actually mature, instead of shooting "good" bucks at 3 or 4 years.

Results have been pretty amazing.  The hill country will produce +150" deer on the regular if hunters will just let them get there.  Genetics often get blamed for the typical hill country buck, but in reality our observation is that a lack of patience is to blame.

How big is the property?  Lots of pressure, similar to E. Texas that prohibits growth.  

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Agree on all fronts, @Reagan1k.  I just moved into a rent house, and the deer in our neighborhood are legit. It's amazing what you start to see when deer get some age going.  And, 2,000 acres makes a world of difference in reducing the pressure!  

As much as I love our spot and the terrain and being with my folks, we're just too small to produce deer of any size.  We've had the place for three years, and we've seen some decent deer (max 3.5 years) on game cameras, but they either turn into ghosts (or presumably sausage) in the first few weeks.  Our place is <200 acres and surrounded by other tracts ranging from 150-600 acres.  The first two years, we saw fairly limited hunting pressure, but last year, that pressure seemed constant.  We've harvested one whitetail buck and one axis buck in three years.  The whitetail was a 3.5 year old 4 point that was a great cull and first buck for my son.  I'm becoming resigned to the fact that, no matter how hard we manage and protein feed, we're not going to ever see anything of a decent size.

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35 minutes ago, hornmpa96 said:

The size of the property makes a huge difference. I grew up hunting on 300 acres in Gillespie County with our neighbor running day leases for hunters. Any nice 3 year old buck didn’t have a chance to make it to the next year.

Yep - On the Managing for Wildlife topic I talked about day leases and how back in the 60's through the early 80's the combination of day leases and doe permits (not tags on a license) set the hill country back decades.  Big reason for the buck /doe ratio imbalance.

There's nothing you can do to combat day leases, especially during the rut when bucks roam.  The only hope is to have enough ground to give them everything they need and no reason to leave for the 90% of the year they aren't chasing.  That's tricky, because it often means not hunting / not hunting very often, a good portion of your property if its small.  Setting up those sanctuary areas cuts down on your hunting access so it's a tradeoff.   I've seen it done with decent success where a buddy groomed a property to hunt from his boundaries inward......Making the inner circle an all inclusive deer resort and only hunting / traveling the perimeter.  He is a bowhunter so that helped, along with the fact that the property was single in purpose....to hunt.  No joy rides with the kids on the Ranger, and no hiking around kicking rocks and shooting cactus with .22's. 

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1 hour ago, fattyflattie said:

I really need to get my butt down to the lease and get to work.  Haven’t been able to make the time lately, but need to make it a priority. This thread might be the kick in the ass I needed.  

I feel you on that. I haven't been out to our lease since late spring for Turkey and hog hunting due to travel and work. Dad was able to make it out last weekend to get feeders running, I'm gonna head out sometime in the next week to top off feeders and check his camera for activity. Bow opener will be here before you know it.

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After 2 long years of not getting to do any hunting, I'm jumping back in with both feet this Fall. 
Dove trip booked for South Zone opening weekend right outside of San Antonio.
Brother got on a deer lease with some buddies a year ahead of schedule. I should be able to tag along as a guest on at least 1 or 2 trips. If the place turns out to be worth a shit, I'm gonna try and get on the waiting list and hopefully get my own spot sometime soon.
 
 

Kiss ass when you go and bring expensive whiskey.
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Seeing quite a few nice caribou racks in the back of trucks on the highway the past couple of weeks.  The weather has finally taken a cool turn and Fall is in the air.  Couple of buddies have had good luck sheep hunting.  Those full curl Dalls are a tough catch.  Moose season starts Sept 1.

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12 hours ago, mooseoutfront said:

Seeing quite a few nice caribou racks in the back of trucks on the highway the past couple of weeks.  The weather has finally taken a cool turn and Fall is in the air.  Couple of buddies have had good luck sheep hunting.  Those full curl Dalls are a tough catch.  Moose season starts Sept 1.

Apparently you don't live in Pearsall. Where is it you see these caribous, Dall's sheepsezzes and moose?

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On 8/17/2021 at 4:00 PM, deadshank said:

This upcoming weekend is the weekend to start cutting brush off the river road canopy so the tractor / shredder can get through, fill feeders and prep for deer season.  
 

Suddenly my workforce has disappeared. 

We had a buddy on a lease with us in South Texas from 98 - 07 that we affectionately referred to as "Blister".  We named him that because he'd always show up after the hard work was done.  

I'll be doing the same next weekend.  Still have a few trees to get down after the New Years Day ice storm.  One big Red Oak in particular is resting right across the dry creek bed behind a feeder that I need to get out of there to open up some sight lines.  Not looking forward to cutting up that big bastard, but it'll sure make for some great firewood.  

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1 hour ago, Spaulding Smails said:

We had a buddy on a lease with us in South Texas from 98 - 07 that we affectionately referred to as "Blister".  We named him that because he'd always show up after the hard work was done.  

I'll be doing the same next weekend.  Still have a few trees to get down after the New Years Day ice storm.  One big Red Oak in particular is resting right across the dry creek bed behind a feeder that I need to get out of there to open up some sight lines.  Not looking forward to cutting up that big bastard, but it'll sure make for some great firewood.  

Come cut down my dead Lacebark Elm in my front yard (fuck you winter storm) and I will let you set up a feeder and harvest as many squirrels as you want.

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Very excited for hunting season.

My uncle passed away in February and my aunt sold me their country homestead because she wanted to move back into town (Snyder, Scurry County). 20 acres for the immediate homesite and another 800 acres of jointly owned family land surrounding it on two sides. Sad not to have my uncle around anymore, but excited to be able to keep the land and the house in the family.

My brother has kept a feeder out there for several years behind the farm house. My uncle, who was housebound in his later years, loved looking at the pictures that would come in from the camera. He called them his "house deer" and they were (still are) off limits. There are several doe and fawn pairs that come by daily, along with some pigs as well. 

However, the first buck of the year showed up this past week:

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As did a couple of coyotes:

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And I think this is a dove taunting us in advance of the opener next month:

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4 minutes ago, markstanco said:

Any recs on these new LED street lights I am seeing? We would like to have a nice light on a pole about 20 feet in the air at camp.

Why?  I’m in a rage when people leave exterior lights on when sitting around the fire pit under a starry night.  

Just curious. 

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Why?  I’m in a rage when people leave exterior lights on when sitting around the fire pit under a starry night.  
Just curious. 

Sometimes you need light. Unloading, fixing something, cooking, etc. We don’t want it on while listening to music and sitting around the fire.
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12 minutes ago, Reagan1k said:

Pretty sure that dude isn’t a dude (anymore)   Will know in a month or so but I’m betting he’s another one who lost his gender identity to hypogonadism. 
 

Yeah I remember you saying that.  Twig but no berries. He’s going to eat so damn well. 

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Plot question.

Kinda new in the deer hunting. I’ve been duck hunting since the mid 90s. But I have a 12 year old that wants a deer so I’m a deer hunter now.

So I took my 25 gallon 12v sprayer and crushed the grass/weeds in front of my feeder full of protein 3 weeks ago. I went out last week and it worked.

So my plan is, In two weeks go out there with the disc and turn it over and add some seed and drag it.

I’m north Texas, less than a mile from the red, do tell what to plant. I have a disc and drag and that’s it.

Also, my feeder is inside of panels because fuck pigs eating my expensive protein.

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8 hours ago, markstanco said:

Plot question.

Kinda new in the deer hunting. I’ve been duck hunting since the mid 90s. But I have a 12 year old that wants a deer so I’m a deer hunter now.

So I took my 25 gallon 12v sprayer and crushed the grass/weeds in front of my feeder full of protein 3 weeks ago. I went out last week and it worked.

So my plan is, In two weeks go out there with the disc and turn it over and add some seed and drag it.

I’m north Texas, less than a mile from the red, do tell what to plant. I have a disc and drag and that’s it.

Also, my feeder is inside of panels because fuck pigs eating my expensive protein.

Lots of outfits will claim to have the best seed blend......ALL claim no till, drought resistant, 100" extra horn growth, etc.  Lots of marketing claims,  but with anything, the devil is in the details.

 I'm not a food plot guy, but the people I know who have had success have taken a soil sample and a short list of goals to the local Ag Extension and had them make a recommendation on any needed soil amendments and best performing plants for the area.  That narrows down the shopping list a lot.   From there you can weed through the various blend....sorry for the pun.

I have heard that doing a blend often gives you better results, because it staggers germination time, and the plot continues to evolve and produce groceries as the weather changes.  YMMV. 

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