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2022-2023 Hunting Thread


markstanco

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14 hours ago, Mr. Orange said:

I am on a place in Pearsall, which is typically killer dove hunting.  It was great for the first 1.5 weeks this year and has completely shut the hell down now.  What are yall seeing out there?  

I’m about 15 miles from you just south of Bigfoot and have had exactly the same experience.  Went from good numbers to a trickle and those are very high flyers.

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I love driving S TX.  On my way to Choke Canyon on Friday I got behind a dude in a big ass F250 towing a small bay boat with the words, "In Tow" spelled out with orange tape on the back of the boat.  I shit you not.

"Oh man, I'm sure glad he put that there!  I was beginning to think that boat was somehow just cruising all by itself down 37."

I also love some of the back window artwork I come across in Devine...

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Edited by Cajun
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I wonder what they hit with the exhaust. That tractor has seen some shit, man. 


Probably a low hanging tree branch. Dad just the same thing to our beautiful barn kept 25 year old Hew Holland. : (
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3 minutes ago, RMac5 said:

Elk is the best meat I’ve ever eaten, heard axis is better but never had it. Hope to have a whitetail doe backstrap soon. 
 

 

Elk is a great wild game meat but nilgai may be my favorite. 

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On 10/2/2022 at 7:15 PM, deadshank said:

Elk backstrap steaks at camp tonight. 

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That griddle looks like it could make a nasty burger. And by “nasty” I mean medium-rare with a slice of cheese, salt, pepper, and a sufficient amount of grease to soak into the bun. 

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2 hours ago, Kennythetiger said:

That griddle looks like it could make a nasty burger. And by “nasty” I mean medium-rare with a slice of cheese, salt, pepper, and a sufficient amount of grease to soak into the bun. 

More than one has been made on it.  Believe it.

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A neighbor is going hunting at a high fence place this weekend, the owner is looking to cull some bucks, and was offering up bucks up to 250 B&C for $4500, bucks from 250-400 B&C for $8500, which is dirt cheap for that class of bucks. He got his feathers ruffled when I told him CHIEF Jr. and I, don't really have an interest in shooting a prize "herd bull" in a pen while wearing an ear tag. CHIEF Jr. looked at me strange, I told him if you have the cash, you can go, knowing that he doesn't.

CHIEF

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Just because it it a high fence place doesn't mean you have a sure kill if you are trying to go after a specific buck. You will probably find one you like in the range you like if you aren't trying to get a particular buck, but I know of instances where nobody was able to kill specific bucks the whole season when they were only in a 50 acre pasture/pen. It's not really for me, though. Even most high fence places that don't have breeding programs or release bred deer are going to have a significantly higher concentration of deer than the surrounding area, which kinda takes some of the enjoyment out of killing a nice buck.

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3 hours ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

Just because it it a high fence place doesn't mean you have a sure kill if you are trying to go after a specific buck. You will probably find one you like in the range you like if you aren't trying to get a particular buck, but I know of instances where nobody was able to kill specific bucks the whole season when they were only in a 50 acre pasture/pen. It's not really for me, though. Even most high fence places that don't have breeding programs or release bred deer are going to have a significantly higher concentration of deer than the surrounding area, which kinda takes some of the enjoyment out of killing a nice buck.

You're pretty much spot on here.  And, there's so many variables.  Hunting on a 10,000 acre high fence place vs a 100 acre high fence place is completely different.  I have no desire to shoot a buck with a tag in his ear that comes when you shake a coffee can filled with corn.  I have and will, however, absolutely hunt deer on a big, high-fenced place.  I set out to shoot a big 8 pt cull at my uncle's high fence ranch near Freer a few years ago.  Hunted hard for four days and never saw him.  Ended up shooting another big (but totally different) 8 pt that my uncle swore he'd never seen before.  Not even on camera.  You just never know with deer.

My cousin's FIL raises deer and will occasionally let my cousin shoot an old one.  It ain't anywhere near hunting.  Here's one they were hand feeding last week.  

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My place is high fenced. With my feed bill, I don’t want to share with the neighbors or count on them to pass on great 4/5 year old bucks.

If there is a lot of browse in the pasture, there will be bucks that I have pictures from the summer that I don’t see in the fall.

As I describe my place to people, it’s fairly easy to shoot a nice buck, but it’s really difficult to shoot the right buck especially when you’re looking for 1 specific deer.

I certainly understand some of the criticisms of high fenced places, but if the place is big enough and the deer aren’t hand-fed, it’s not that different from hunting a low fence ranch.

 

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I'm generally not a fan of high-fenced ranches and/or breeding programs.  That said, my current deer lease is around 10,000 acres and is high-fenced on three sides -- the highway side and for two neighboring small ranches to the east and the west.  It is wide open where it adjoins another large ranch.

We are working hard to develop some mature bucks and there ain't none of them that are wearing tags!  

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My place is small and low fenced.  We've had it for four years and have taken one cull 5-1/2 y/o 4-pt freak WT buck.  That's it other than doe, axis and a ton of hogs.  We try our best to be smart, but it's a futile effort with small places on two sides that lease out to hunters.  Since we've had it, I've seen decent 3 or 4 year old bucks on game cams around this time of year.  Young bucks that you should absolutely let grow for a few years and would have nice potential.  Every year, they're gone after opening weekend.  I can only assume that they've been shot next door.  I just refuse to be another one of those places that shoots them too young.  And, if a big mature buck does ever wander in range, it'll be that much sweeter to know we waited and maybe played a part in letting him grow.

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From what I gathered, these bucks are in a 132 acre pen, not on 10k acres. I certainly have no problem with high fencing 10k acres of rough, brushy country. But 132 acres? I can shoot from one end to the other.

CHIEF

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I wish our high fences were down, and one side did (but for another section of same ranch) this last year.  Used to hunt a 500-ish acre high fence place in Freer and they were "finding" deer all the time. I get the sentiment, but it all depends on the place, and topo.  If they're hand feeding them and darting and whatnot, yeah, it's likely not going to be very sporting.  But at that particular place, there were way more days you wouldn't see shit than would.  And it was loaded with good deer, they were just off in the deep shit.  If I owned a place, I would do whatever I could to get it fenced.   Even "good" neighbors are iffy when a great 4 yo you've been passing walks out.  

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13 hours ago, Spaulding Smails said:

My place is small and low fenced.  We've had it for four years and have taken one cull 5-1/2 y/o 4-pt freak WT buck.  That's it other than doe, axis and a ton of hogs.  We try our best to be smart, but it's a futile effort with small places on two sides that lease out to hunters.  Since we've had it, I've seen decent 3 or 4 year old bucks on game cams around this time of year.  Young bucks that you should absolutely let grow for a few years and would have nice potential.  Every year, they're gone after opening weekend.  I can only assume that they've been shot next door.  I just refuse to be another one of those places that shoots them too young.  And, if a big mature buck does ever wander in range, it'll be that much sweeter to know we waited and maybe played a part in letting him grow.

"Prisoners Dilemma"  It stinks.  

Have you done any aerial surveys of your place the surrounding places?  Do they have fields and food plots?  First off, my guys are bow hunters, so they get out there earlier in the season before the boom-stickers start scaring all the animals.  Second, we're in the process of year round protein feeding and reclaiming the old winter wheat fields my dad used to have maintained before the mesquites launched a counter offensive.

My thought is to create a "habitat" for them if/when pressured from surrounding ranches.  Google Earth revealed there are no wheat fields within miles of our place, so that's the next step.  Just redid much of the roads, so the next investment will be in a skid-steer with a grubber or a dozer to clear the small field first (few acres) that borders a creek and a tree line (cover/water) of mesquite.  Then we keep tilling and planting.  Lucky for us, no pigs - but I wouldn't think winter wheat would matter with them?

 

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2 minutes ago, BabaYaga said:

"Prisoners Dilemma"  It stinks.  

Have you done any aerial surveys of your place the surrounding places?  Do they have fields and food plots?  First off, my guys are bow hunters, so they get out there earlier in the season before the boom-stickers start scaring all the animals.  Second, we're in the process of year round protein feeding and reclaiming the old winter wheat fields my dad used to have maintained before the mesquites launched a counter offensive.

My thought is to create a "habitat" for them if/when pressured from surrounding ranches.  Google Earth revealed there are no wheat fields within miles of our place, so that's the next step.  Just redid much of the roads, so the next investment will be in a skid-steer with a grubber or a dozer to clear the small field first (few acres) that borders a creek and a tree line (cover/water) of mesquite.  Then we keep tilling and planting.  Lucky for us, no pigs - but I wouldn't think winter wheat would matter with them?

 

No aerial surveys.  It's way too small to justify that.  We're in far western Kimble County.  It's beautiful country, but pretty rugged and poor soil for any sustainable food plots.  There's one location where I may put a small tank eventually.  If nothing else, I'd like to have a little better dove activity.  Other than that, we do try to leave the northern side of the property alone for the deer.  That's where the water troughs are and where we set up the protein feeder.  

"Prisoner's Dilemma" is the perfect description.  Heck, we even tried to buy the place next door last year to double our acreage but the guy wouldn't even entertain an offer.  I wish we did have the soil to do some sort of food plot.  I'd love to tackle a project like that.  Good luck and post some pics when you do it.  

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7 minutes ago, Cajun said:

Are those little boys playing leap frog on the lazy susan?

 

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I was wondering when someone would notice.
 

Wife decided she needed to get rid of the “circle of friends” center piece at home and deer camp would be the perfect spot.  I keep it there to annoy the dude  I share the trailer with.  

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41 minutes ago, Spaulding Smails said:

No aerial surveys.  It's way too small to justify that.  We're in far western Kimble County.  It's beautiful country, but pretty rugged and poor soil for any sustainable food plots.  There's one location where I may put a small tank eventually.  If nothing else, I'd like to have a little better dove activity.  Other than that, we do try to leave the northern side of the property alone for the deer.  That's where the water troughs are and where we set up the protein feeder.  

"Prisoner's Dilemma" is the perfect description.  Heck, we even tried to buy the place next door last year to double our acreage but the guy wouldn't even entertain an offer.  I wish we did have the soil to do some sort of food plot.  I'd love to tackle a project like that.  Good luck and post some pics when you do it.  

Google Earth will take the place of most aerial surveys.  If you can't do a food plot, the next best thing is exactly what you're doing which is habitat improvement.  Creating sanctuaries, and even going so far as nurturing the natural food you have to improve that output/performance.   

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On 10/2/2022 at 5:17 PM, Reagan1k said:

Too much food on our place in hill country.  Total bust even for hogs.  If you’ve got what I call white oaks, take a good book to the blind.  Pin/post oak acorns just starting to bud out. 

 

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OR .... you could hunt in the woods instead of on a food plot

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44 minutes ago, BHMCruiser said:

OR .... you could hunt in the woods instead of on a food plot

And that's fair - but when there are 3000 uncleared acres and those oaks are prevalent across the entire property it gets a little tough to pick which woods to hunt.

I'm not salty.  I hadn't even traveled with my bow.  I was just there to watch, cook, and clean.

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3 hours ago, BabaYaga said:

I've entertained high fencing our place.  I really love exotics, so my goal would be to bring in axis and blackbuck as well as the issues @fattyflattie brings up - neighbors popping younger deer.  I have hunters, so they'd love it.

Lots of projects.  Never enough money....

Blackbuck can be really shitty protein and corn bullies. Axis get along much better. 

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43 minutes ago, Reagan1k said:

And that's fair - but when there are 3000 uncleared acres and those oaks are prevalent across the entire property it gets a little tough to pick which woods to hunt.

I'm not salty.  I hadn't even traveled with my bow.  I was just there to watch, cook, and clean.

Understood. I'm just saying - that's where the deer are. And the big ones will not daylight on a food plot until all other resources are exhausted. 

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2 hours ago, BHMCruiser said:

Understood. I'm just saying - that's where the deer are. And the big ones will not daylight on a food plot until all other resources are exhausted. 

Agreed, with the exception that puzzy is undefeated.  We use bow season almost exclusively to hit our doe and cull buck numbers before anyone shoots a mature deer.

Most of us have been hunting on this property for decades and we don't even venture into our sanctuary areas until we're hunting hard (collective we - I don't chase horns any) after we've reached our management goals.

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21 minutes ago, Reagan1k said:

Agreed, with the exception that puzzy is undefeated.  We use bow season almost exclusively to hit our doe and cull buck numbers before anyone shoots a mature deer.

Most of us have been hunting on this property for decades and we don't even venture into our sanctuary areas until we're hunting hard (collective we - I don't chase horns any) after we've reached our management goals.

I'm glad you have likeminded people. That's the only fair way to build up and manage a good place to hunt (in my opinion).

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17 hours ago, Reagan1k said:

Agreed, with the exception that puzzy is undefeated.  We use bow season almost exclusively to hit our doe and cull buck numbers before anyone shoots a mature deer.

Most of us have been hunting on this property for decades and we don't even venture into our sanctuary areas until we're hunting hard (collective we - I don't chase horns any) after we've reached our management goals.

I love this strategy.  We always try to take our doe early in the season and definitely pre-rut.  I hunted on a great lease in Live Oak County for 10+ years.  It was 1700 acres and low fenced, but not much pressure on the ranches surrounding it.  We never had a biologist out, but by taking old culls and doe early in the season and waiting on the right deer to mature, we started to see a good balance in the doe / buck ratio and started to get some 160+ deer with some really cool antler traits.  That's without any supplemental feeding.  Just five like-minded guys who paid attention and were honest and smart about what we shot.  Damn, I miss that place.  

If you're truly working to manage a herd, it just seems logical to shoot your doe before they've been bred.  

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Another benefit to shooting doe during bow season (or early MLD time slot) is that it gives you an opportunity to identify older, potentially barren doe.

In October, many of the fawns are still running with their mother and it gives you data points.  Having multiple "generations" of deer easily identifiable early in the season allows for comparative aging that is more difficult as the year goes on.  It isn't an exact science, but given the choice of shooting a doe with a yearling still hanging close, or a doe of equal or larger body size who doesn't have a yearling in sight, I'm telling our guys to shoot the solo traveller.  

It is still accomplishing the same thing as randomly shooting doe to fill an allocation so even if she isn't barren it isn't a loss, but comparative harvest at least gives you a puncher's chance to ever so slightly improve the health of the heard and doing so over years or decades produces results.

I'm no biologist, but it makes sense, and the results indicate that it works.

Fewer doe during the rut means greater competition among bucks.  Fewer bucks means a higher probability that the dominant bucks will breed the remaining doe.

Fewer overall mouths means that the range can better support all wildlife during the winter.  And, getting that all done and over with while the weather is nice and hunters are energized by a new season means that people are less likely to slough off the responsibility on a cold, miserable weekend in December or January.

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If you have a good place that's big enough and no issues with poaching or anything like that the pressure between bow season and rifle season shouldn't really be much different. A smaller place with non like minded neighbors? Big difference.

Do the yearlings not still hang around their mothers where y'all are? Around here you often see a doe with both her fawns and yearlings. Occasionally you see a lone yearling, but mostly it's 2.5 year Olds and up when it comes to solo bucks.

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4 hours ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

Do the yearlings not still hang around their mothers where y'all are? Around here you often see a doe with both her fawns and yearlings. Occasionally you see a lone yearling, but mostly it's 2.5 year Olds and up when it comes to solo bucks.

Yes - even better way to judge.  Typically the fawns hug closer to mama and the yearlings roam a bit but you can see the connection and they are often moving together. Always nice to get 3 different perspectives on relative age....especially when the spots fade.

I don't ever like shooting a solo doe or even one of two clones without another body against which to judge.  Even experienced hunters can misjudge body size and end up shooting a yearling or button buck.  Lighting, weather, etc. all come into play when playing the age game.  When its cold and they fluff up their hide, it adds weight/size to the eye.

Another reason we don't wait late in the year to shoot doe is that we eliminate the risk of shooting a buck that's dropped his horns early.  Plenty of bucks have been mistaken for a big 'ole doe.

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6 hours ago, Reagan1k said:

I don't ever like shooting a solo doe or even one of two clones without another body against which to judge.  Even experienced hunters can misjudge body size and end up shooting a yearling or button buck.  Lighting, weather, etc. all come into play when playing the age game.  When its cold and they fluff up their hide, it adds weight/size to the eye.

Ask my 35 year younger self how I know all about this!

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