bird hunting 4.56

We put together a group hunt for white-tail and mule deer bucks and had a good response and a few more had circumstances come up which forced them to back out of the hunt. It’s understandable with most people interested having to drive over 6 hours to get to the Area. We hunted the southwest part which allows all terrain vehicles. Our plan was to take my Kawasaki Mule down river to the area where no motorized vehicles were allowed and hike in back where most others would not be hunting. The plan worked well as most hunters were in the all terrain vehicle area.

The first night I arrived solo and after spending the last few minutes of day light scouting out where we were going the next day, I started cooking up some chili waiting for the crew that was meeting me there. It was a great campground with not many others around and plenty of places to setup camp. The crew (Blake, Brian, and Loren) pulled in around 8pm pulling a 32 foot camper which definitely proved to be more comfortable than the tent I had packed. We attacked the chili pot and turned in knowing the next day was going to be a long one.

The First Morning Hunt
We woke up a little past day light knowing that we had no idea where we were going to hunt so we spent some time scouting. It was some seriously rough country down along the Canadian River bottoms. After going up and down many rough hills and canyons, we finally found out that going straight down the river bed was the best way to get to where we wanted to hunt. This was the roughest terrain I had taken the Mule on since I got it at and I was seriously impressed with its abilities and doing what it did loaded with 4 adults and gear.

We were almost to our planned hunting area when Blake spotted a decent 6 point whitetail in the river bottom crossing where we had just driven. Brian had not shot a deer before so Blake told him to get out, load up, and take his best shot. It was a quick shot with extreme excitement on top of that so it resulted in a miss. I was pretty happy just seeing a buck that early in the hunt and figured it had to be somewhat in rut to be unwary enough to cross right where we just drove. At least we still had the whole hunt in front of us.

The First Afternoon Hunt
We decided to spend the whole day out hunting and not head back to camp so we split up and started scouting around looking for good traveled trails and rubs. There was a huge bottom land area that I ended up stalking the whole afternoon. I found some great rubs and really good evidence of deer bedding up in a few places. The tough part was finding a good place to setup. Most of that part of the country is either totally flat fields or extremely rough canyons. This area was the fields. It would have been great to have a tree stand around a few cottonwoods I found.

After a couple hours I just had to stop and take a lunch break and what a lunch it was…

I found a great trail to setup on and built a little ground blind. The wind was quite severe bringing on wind chills in the 20s(at least that’s what it felt like). Dark came quick and I had not seen anything moving at all. I had spent the last hour on a ridge overlooking the river. Everyone else only saw a couple does, but where there are does there are bucks!

I also had thoughts going through my mind this whole time because of the public hunting and orange suits all over the place. There were quite a few hunters out there and you just had to respect the space around each one and find your own place. My biggest hope was that everyone else would just respect the space I was hunting and find their own. You can see here about how it was in most places we hunted. The scary ones are the ones close to you that you don’t see.

Can you find Waldo in Orange in one of the next 5 photos?

…and we also had a fair share of “off road groups” who had nothing better to do than drive their rigs straight down the river during the first weekend of deer season. I’m sorry but that’s flat out disrespectful – bunch of jerks! (ok take a deep breath Allen)

Stovall Ranch, 70,000 acres, Low fence, Brewster County
Lodge elevation: 3023 ft

A KnockOut Guide Service
Keith & Jordan Oliver, Seth & Heath Noble.

Solunar Table said it was a “Good Day” to hunt. It was.

8 hours after leaving Austin, driving West by Southwest, I was still in Texas. On US 385 South, 31.8 miles south of Marathon, I turned down a dirt road. The GPS told me it was called, “Dove Mountain Rd.” named after Dove Mountain. 19 miles down the dirt road I started to doubt my directions. 25 miles down the dirt road I found the KO LODGE.

I thought it was a six hour drive, and now that it was 9:00pm, can you believe that Keith Oliver was standing outside in 33 degree weather (later I found out he was also sick) waiting to greet me? I met the guides (his family); the other hunters; went to bed; listened to Mr. Size 19 shoe snore; and then the hunt began.

Speaking of the “hunt,” I have never hunted Mule Deer. In fact, I didn’t know that Texas Mule Deer are Desert Mule Deer, which are different from Rocky Mountain Mule Deer. Apparently 90% of the forms that your Taxidermist might use are for the Rocky Mountain Mule Deer, so you might want to double check to remind him if you harvest a Desert Mule Deer.

Jordan and Keith took me out in a 1984 CJ-7 for our morning hunt. I could talk about the Mule Deer we didn’t get; yes, that big, wide, mature, 10 point frame. Or, I could tell you about the Black Bear we saw at a 100 yards while trying to flush the Mule Deer. I fumbled for my camera but failed to produce a photo of either!

Note to self (Lessons for a Beginner) after my first Desert Mule Deer Hunt:

Don’t JUST look in the distance, look within 100 yards, especially in any draws, gullies, or coulees.
Make sure you tell your Guide to speak direct and blunt if you are a beginner. What is the point of asking me what I think when I don’t have anything to compare it to?
Discuss your harvest goal before leaving for the hunt, so that if you see a potential deer there is no time wasted talking.
Clearly discuss the distance at which you can make a clean, comfortable kill shot so that when you are within that distance there is no time wasted talking.
Be honest with yourself… are you going to get nervous on the trigger since it is your first time to hunt a Desert Mule Deer. If so, communicate.
Consider that if you are shooting your first deer you might want to harvest a mature representative of the species, rather than hold out for that huge “trophy” that you might not even see.
A very important indicator of the potential size of the mule deer you are hunting will be the amount of rainfall in that area during the last Spring.
Day One: Morning Hunt
21.2 Miles of spotting; 6.0 mph moving average; 4 mph average speed.
We saw a mature 10 point frame (didn’t get off a shot) and a Black Bear. The Outfitter has never seen a bear but there have been rumors of a bear recently which I guess, turned out to be true.
Chris (another hunter) harvested a SCI Gross Green score of 137 6/8 Desert Mule Deer.
Seth (guide) added a fox to his Medicine Stick.

Day One: Afternoon Hunt
29.4 Miles (Total Trip Miles, which means we only drove 8.2 miles); 6.9 mph moving average; 3.3 mph average speed; 4:15 hrs Moving Time; 4:33 hrs Spotting Time
Jordan and I left the camp house and didn’t have time to get settled before we came upon a couple of does down in a Gully to our immediate left. We paused and Jordan noticed a buck. All of a sudden a 2nd buck steps into sight and the two Mule Deer started to wrestle. We were able to catch it on tape, so enjoy. After watching the two bucks, Jordan decided that one of the bucks was a mature 8 point and if I agreed, he thought I should harvest the buck.

Day Two Morning Hunt
53.0 Miles Total Trip Miles; 6.7 mph moving average; 3.7 mph average speed; 7:53 hrs Moving Time; 6:18 hrs Spotting Time
We saw three mule deer does, one 8pt immature buck, a covey of quail, and an animal running very fast in the distance that we couldn’t identify. We looked for Aoudad (Barbary Sheep) since we were told they are in the area but never saw one.

Day Two Afternoon Hunt
We saw three more mule deer bucks but no shooter. The other group of hunters saw nothing but a family of Javelinas.

Day Three Morning Hunt
We saw lots of bucks and does, but the hunter had a particular size he was looking for and chose not to shoot.

Day Three Afternoon Hunt
84.1 Miles Total Trip Miles; 6.9 mph moving average; 3.9 mph average speed; 12:12 hrs Moving Time; 9:21 hrs Spotting Time
I shot a fox in the neck at about 75 yards with my .223 with 5x Leupold; and when I shot it a family of Javelinas flushed and I shot the two largest. I have always thought about mounting two big Javelinas and now I will. I have attached a number of photos, including an image of the GPS tracks from our travels.

I found this trip to be very educational. The Guide and his sons did a great job. The diversity of wildlife, the indian caves, the amazing landscape, the amenities of the lodge, and the excellent food made for a great trip. Originally, I was invited by another hunter to join this group. At the last minute, the other hunter did not show up, and because I was the guest of the other hunter, I did not do ANY HOMEWORK on where I was going or what I needed to bring.

Bottom line, this caused me to not be well organized, to be “stressed”, and worst of all, to not be prepared. Thank God for the Walmart in Ft. Stockton where I bought a sleeping bag, but otherwise, I showed up without ice, snacks, any type of alcohol to share with the staff, late, and distracted. I didn’t relax and take a deep breath until the afternoon of the second day. I learned a good lesson and won’t let that happen again. It reminded me of a quote I read many years ago, “To do two things at once is often to do neither.”

Related Videos:

How To Score A Mule Deer

Hunting Grapefruit at the Stovall Ranch

How To Field Dress A Deer
Last Friday I took two of my children, Naythan (10) and Brooklyn (8), on a turkey hunt at the Thunderhole Ranch in Coke County. Things have been so busy lately that the only way I could work in a trip was to take them out of school — even then it was rather rushed. You see, the Thunderhole is nearly 300 miles from our home, and I could not leave for the ranch until after coaching basketball practice on Thursday evening. We arrived just before 2am and I grabbed four hours of much needed sleep before waking the kids and beginning our hunt. I had explained to the kids that it would be a whirlwind tour of the ranch with about as many hours driving as hunting, yet they were eager to join me. I was unsure whether it was the opportunity to be with dad or the chance of missing school that lured them, but I was thankful they had at least shown an interest in hunting.

We all came into this hunt as novices: my daughter had never been hunting before in her life; my son had been out with me twice this spring, and while we’d seen plenty of birds we had not fired a shot at a gobbler yet (and prior to this he’d been quail hunting just once and dove hunting twice); and I had killed three hens to date but had never hunted spring gobblers before this year. By virtue of my alleged maturity and prior experience, I found myself in the role of teacher, one I welcomed as an opportunity to pass along my passion for the outdoors. But I would soon find that on this trip, my daughter would be the real teacher and I had much to learn.

Our day began slow and grew even slower as the sun slid higher into the sky. We opted to set up in a ground blind that could accomodate the three of us confortably enough, and I looked forward to spending so much time with my children that day absent the usual distractions of television, homework, and life generally. It’s a good thing, too, as that is just what we did — we spent lots of time together without even the distraction of a turkey gobbling in the distance somewhere.

We hunted most of the day and took a late afternoon ice cream break before climbing back into the blind, which we had moved to the northern end of the ranch near a feeder and high traffic area. It was now about 5:30pm and we had yet to see or even hear a turkey. Throughout the day we had fiddled with slate and mouth calls, examined deer and turkey tracks, watched quail and dove, and generally enjoyed our time together, but it became clear that they were really hoping to at least see some turkeys before leaving. Ten hours of hunting without so much as a glimpse of the intended game can try anyone’s patience, let alone that of young kids.

We goofed around on the calls again as it approached 6pm, making noises that were almost certain to frighten off any birds within a mile. We even joked that we were likely to summon any turkey “field medics” to the area given how sickly our clucks and yelps sounded. Perhaps this was because I allowed my expectations to wane and became a little anxious to get packed up and headed home, or perhaps I just couldn’t ask my children to try to remain relatively quiet for any longer. Either way, I suggested that we could stay as late as 6:30pm but by then would need to load up and head home (this would get us home around 11pm, and I was already rather exhausted). I mentioned that if we were going to stay, we’d need to be a little more quiet and alert. I also gave my kids an out by asking them, “Do you kids think we are going to see any turkeys today, or should we just call it a day and head home?”

“Is your glass half-full or half-empty?” my daughter questioned sincerely. “Half-full,” I said, half-heartedly. “You have to be optimistic!” she stated, knowing I was less than enthusiastic. The teacher became the student, and I learned my lesson quickly. “You’re right,” I declared. “There are some turkeys on their way to see us right now, and we just have to be patient and optimistic.” Pleased with my answer, the young teacher turned to her elder brother and asked, “Naythan, what about you?” “Maybe,” he said with no enthusiasm but lots of honesty. “No, you have to be optimistic,” the teacher repeated. This all but settled the matter, and as if on cue, the feeder went off right away, giving rise to real optimism in all of us.

Looking at my watch every minute or two, I found my hopes slipping away. It was now 6:28pm and I could not justify staying any later than 6:30 given that we’d still not seen nor heard a single turkey. I was most disappointed that my teacher’s lesson would seemingly be lost, and I worried that it would dampen the spirits of this sweet first-time hunter who’d invested nearly twelve hours already. I should not have been surprised (though I admit I was) when I looked up from my watch to see a hen turkey moving toward our blind at about 25 yards. Within the next 20 minutes we spotted three hens, but still no toms and no gobbling. After seeing no activity for about ten minutes, I told the kids we’d give it another 5 minutes or so and if we did not see more turkeys we’d have to call it a day.

About one minute later my son excitedly whispered, “Dad, I see two males.” Sure enough, about 50 yards out were two bright red turkey necks poking up above the grasses and cactus. They slowly made their way toward us, and at 20 yards the lead tom presented a clear view. My son and I had already discussed a plan to count down and shoot simultaneously if the shot presented was one outside of 15 yards (because he was hunting with an old fixed choke .410 and we wanted to ensure a clean kill). We both were in position and I counted down before letting my Remington 12 gauge roar. The bird crumpled instantly, and when my ears could hear again, my son said, “Dad, I forgot to cock my gun — I didn’t shoot.” He was a little disappointed but the disappointment soon left. I was pleased that he again showed patience and safety awareness, and he was pleased that his third trip to hunt turkeys finally paid off with a gobbler, even if he hadn’t pulled the trigger. More than any other game harvest in my life, this felt like a real team effort.

We savored the moment, looking at the beautiful tom and examining his wing feathers that were well-worn from strutting. Although no record-book tom, he was a respectable gobbler with an 8 1/2 inch beard and 7/8″ spurs. We talked about the opportunity we’d shared that day being outdoors together and about the blessing of having our needs met by the animals God has placed on this Earth for our benefit. Then, as we packed up our gear, my daughter said, with a broad smile and a sparkle in her eyes, “Dad, I really like hunting! I’d like to come again sometime.”

Right then and there I knew that I had been much more a student than teacher that day, and suddenly recognized that my cup was far more than just merely “half-full.” While I’ve known for a long time now that lessons learned hunting often transfer to life generally, I had not appreciated how life’s general lessons could so profoundly apply to hunting. My first spring turkey will be forever memorable, not because of the size of the bird’s beard or the excitement of the hunt, but because of who I shared the experience with and the profound lesson I learned that day — from an eight-year-old girl on her first hunting trip ever.


Texas –

by Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Many Conservation Reserve Program contracts are due to expire this September, and landowners need to give careful consideration as to what comes next for once highly erodible land, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

The land put into the federal program commonly called CRP in the mid 1980s provided permanent grassy cover on this relatively poor cropland, which was a tremendous benefit to wildlife, said Ken Cearley, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist.

Approximately 36 million acres are currently in the program in the U.S., with about 4 million acres of that in Texas, much of it in the High Plains.

“Landowners today find themselves at a crossroads because their contracts may be expiring fairly soon, and they know they can either re-enroll or break that land back out,” Cearley said.

“If you choose to return the land to farmland, you can expect a significant decrease in its value for wildlife.”

There are a few things a landowner can do, however, to ameliorate some of the loss of wildlife habitat, he said. For example, grain farmers can leave stubble as high and as long as possible in the field for cover, as well as leave waste grain on the surface.

Cearley advised landowners to also think about leaving waterways and drainage areas in grass, as well as leaving a wide band of grass around playas and around field perimeters.

“If you keep the field in grass, you need to go through the mental exercise of deciding what your priorities are. Are you mainly interested in wildlife, livestock or a combination of the two?” he said.

If the land is grazed without any kind of modification, landowners can expect to see brush encroachment in many parts of the state, he said. Denser brush favors white-tailed deer, lesser brush favors mule deer and very little to no brush might favor pronghorns, for example.

“You can enhance the field by modifying that brush,” Cearley said.

“You might want to encourage some brush if your goal is to have white-tailed deer. Or you might need to control some of that brush if you’re thinking about quail production, because quail can get by on 10-15 percent brush cover in many areas.”

DeDe Jones, AgriLife Extension risk management specialist, said landowners choosing to develop the land for wildlife enhancement could see some increased land values and additional income potential in the form of hunting and fishing leases.

AgriLife Extension recommends six practices to benefit wildlife on former CRP land: controlled grazing, interseeding of forbs and additional grass species, prescribed burning, woody plantings, invasive brush management and fall/winter strip-disking.

“It may seem a little cost prohibitive at first when you think about developing former CRP land for wildlife, however there are several government cost-share programs available,” she said.

Those include the Grassland Reserve Program, Wetland Reserve Program (if there is a playa lake on the CRP land); and the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program. Any of these programs can help offset the wildlife-development expenses, Jones said.

“There is a lot of income available out there if you develop your land for wildlife,” she said.

The Texas A&M Real Estate Center estimates an additional increase of about $75 per acre in land value if it is developed for wildlife, Jones said.

She said a Tulia hunting operation told her they would see a profit of about $150 per gun during dove and pheasant seasons. Additionally, a Canadian ranching operation, offering a whole hunting experience to six to eight hunters a year, indicated it would net about $10,000 a year off that hunting enterprise.

“The potential definitely exists to increase your overall land value as well as get a little bit of income off these former CRP lands that you develop for wildlife,” Jones said. “Choosing to develop former CRP land for wildlife can be very beneficial to the land, the water, the wildlife and maybe even a landowner’s pocketbook.”

She did advise landowners to do a careful economic analysis in the form of partial budgeting to look at the benefits of developing the land versus the expenses before making any decisions.

Patrick Warminski, AgriLife Extension risk management specialist, said one of the most important things to consider when making decisions about what to do with the land involves the economic costs associated with conversion.

If the choice has been made to put it back into a crop production, the landowner typically will be looking at a dryland wheat or grain sorghum crop in the Panhandle.

“The first thing you have to do is remove the grasses, which will require the use of several different tillage trips,” Warminski said.

For a dryland wheat crop, the landowner can expect to spend between $130 and $160 per acre; and for a dryland grain sorghum crop, the cost will be between $190 to $210 per acre, he said. “And that’s just going to be to get the land back suitable enough to plant those two crops.”

If the decision has been made to use the land for a livestock grazing operation, it may be necessary to remove the old grass and forage with a prescribed burn and apply fertilizer to encourage new growth. The expected cost of that process is about $40 to $60 per acre, Warminski said.

Two other aspects to consider are fence repair and possible water-well repair or water-well drilling, he said. If the fence is in bad shape, to upgrade to a five-strand barbed-wire fence will cost about $6,400 per mile, including gates and corner posts.

For a windmill, the expected cost will range from $20,000 to $44,000, and a submersible pump with electricity will run in the neighborhood of $16,000 to $30,000, Warminski said.

“We know overall through the years CRP has been a valuable contributor to wildlife habitat in country that was formerly cropland,” Cearley said. “We can see that benefit continue if we decide to keep our country in grass and manage it with good land stewardship in mind.”

Landowners wanting more information on decisions concerning CRP land, as well as recommended budgets and frequency of management practices, can go to to find three publications in the “After the Conservation Reserve Program” series.

The publications are “Land Management with Wildlife in Mind,” “Economic Decisions with Wildlife in Mind” and

“Economic Decisions with Farming and Grazing in Mind.”

As a true Texan born and raised I feel extremly lucky to be living in one of the best states in all of America to enjoy the great outdoors. With the coming of the new fall hunting season I am eagerly awaiting cool weather which will host classic Dove hunts early for me. I really look foward to the begining of hunting season so I can dust off that old shotgun and sight in the trusty deer rifle in preparation of a new hunting season. I like to share my outdoor experiences with others so I have recruited my brother-in-law, son and anybody else willing to put up with me on hot september afternoons to hunt Dove. I take Dove hunting very seriously and plan my outdoor outings very carefully to ensure 100% success. I like to hunt at least two weekends in September, three in October and then start deer hunting in Novemeber. This year I plan to focus most of my hunting time in the cooler months chasing after a trophy wild boar. Last year I shot a nice buck and look foward to adding a fat pig to the tall hunting stories I like to share with others.

Already we have been hitting the coast this summer chasing after the elusive redfish and sleek speckled trout to satisfy our outdoor appetite. If I can’t be out in the mesquite brush hunting then I would rather be knee deep in shallow water heaven filled with tasty game fish. Becuase of the summer heat we prefer to do our summer fishing early in the am or late in the evening. There is nothing better the getting up early at the crack of dawn to head out on the water for some early day wade fishing or relaxing in the sunset of a great evening fishing trip. This year I was fortunate enough to put some great eating fish in the freezer to fry up at the ranch when deer hunting.

I consider myself an outdoor activist and enjoy recruiting new members to our elite society of hunters and fisherman. I am blessed to have an extended family that love the outdoors and have access to family ranch land. One of these locations is a sweet piece of South Texas located near Mathis lake loaded with whitetail deer. The best part of the deal is that I don’t have to pay costly lease fees or trophy fees, it is purely a family run hunt club. All that is required is respect of the land and a promise to lend a helping hand off season to ensure the property is kept in prime condition. If this was not good enough I am also happy to say that my father is part of a historic hunt club of aluminum workers who lease a small ranch near the famous King Ranch. Good bucks have been shot at this location for many years and the place is loaded with huge wild boar. A bonus to this classic South Texas deer lease is the amazing quail and dove hunting that can be had.

I promote hunting and fishing as a way to deal with stress and life in general with a positive activity that can influence our youth to be good stewards of the land. I absolutely enjoy taking my ten year old son hunting and fishing with me on all my outdoor adventures so I can ensure that this great outdoor tradition will be passed on to others. I hope everyones outdoor adventures are plentiful and boutyful this hunting season and would like to wish all the outdoor sportsment good luck affield this year. May you catch that big fish that had been eluding your hook and may you take that nice buck that you have been dreaming about for all those years.
Sara pointing quail was witnessed by two friends one time and sparked a story which is not true, but possibly could have been. It goes like this: Once, I invited a couple of friends quail hunting. When they arrived, I had Sara ready to go and they asked why I was taking her. I replied that we needed her along to act as our bird dog to find the quail. They began to eye me in a strange questioning way, but shrugged their shoulders and came along. Well, it wasn’t too far into the hunt that Sara stopped and pointed. I told them to get position quickly and away the quail went. They each got one bird and the excitement rose to a high pitch. One of them exclaimed that was a sight to see, a mule pointing quail like a birddog, the only difference being that she did not point her tail straight up or lift one foot, she just used her ears. The other said that the birds had spread out along the edge of the river and he had marked them down. Let’s go after them! I told them as calmly and politely as I could that we couldn’t go after the quail down by the river. They wanted to know why and I told them the reason. If we go down to the river, the quail hunting would be over. Sara wouldn’t hunt quail anymore because she would rather fish than hunt!

We had a few Santa Gertrudis cows and bulls. One of the bull calves was selected for a show calf and the training began. After the show, we kept the little bull for a herd sire. He was really a gentle natured bull. That is until one day before it was planned he got loose and joined up with the cows up top. We called all the land that was not under irrigation up top and everything else down bottom. I went up to get him on Sara Gay and took his halter and a lead rope. I hitched up the girth pretty tight and roped the bull that was now approaching 1200 lbs. and would be close to 2000 when he was fully grown. He stood still while I put his halter on and loosened the lariat. Well this bull definitely did not want to leave the cow that he had just bred and I did not know for sure that we were going to be successful taking him back down bottom. I nudged Sara Gay and she slowly took up the slack and the bull began to pull back. Sara leaned into the load and rocked over in her shoulders to the other foot and pulled the bull off his balk and we began to move. We moved off at a good pace and Sara kept the bull moving right along and got him back in the barn pens where he belonged without a hitch except for his protesting all the way.

When we were hunting elk or deer in the mountains, Sara would see about half the animals before I did and I saw the others before she did. I guess it was different lighting for different types of eyes that made the difference as to what was seen first. Sometimes when we were going down a steep slope, something would begin to pinch her and she would turn in toward the high side of the trail and buckjump in place a couple of times, then I would get off and check it out to find the problem. I finally quit using a crupper under her tail and would use the back cinch behind under her tail and this proved to please her much better and kept me from sliding forward as well. We were coming back at night one time with no moon and hardly any light at all when Della the mule that was in the lead at the time stopped abruptly. Don Vestal got off and cautiously felt with his feet in front of Della and discovered that the trail had been washed out and therew as a drop off. Don got back on and turned Della around and gave her her head. She worked down the bank to the side of the trail and went on down the trail. The next time that she stopped, Don got off and found the back of the horse trailer. I cannot end the story about Sara Gay just yet because she is still living and enjoying her oats every day. At the time of this writing the date is November 6, 2006. In March 2007 she will be 39 and holding. People have asked why I still keep her and I tell them that we have been over hill and dale together and she saved my bacon several times by not panicking in adverse situations that could have gotten me hurt badly or worse.
Free range stalk.
Written on: 12/24/2007 13:23 by: wheeless621 Click a star to rate this entryAverage user rating: 4.8 (of 5 total)
Yesterday, a man that my father-in-law does some work for invited us to go hunting on his 2000 acre ranch. He is a quail hunter and isn’t real big on deer hunting. I’ve been all over this ranch several times and know my way around it pretty good. We built the roads so I know where they all are and where they go. As most of you have heard me say, 99% of my hunting is done on a 15 acre plot outside of town. My Father-in-law went to one side of the ranch and got in one of the owners son’s stands. Not me, I get enough sitting at my own place. I started at the gate and walked the other half of the ranch. The place is one hill after another with shooting lanes for his quail hunts checker boarding most of it. I wanted the chance to hunt like I used to before my dad lost his lease in SanSaba Co. 10 years ago. I put all the gear I could carry on and headed out. I got to use my binos for the first time in years. I walked and glassed for about two hours. I got tired and sat down for a bit on the side of a hill, where I had a real good view, and started glassing from there. Finally I saw some movement just past another hill about 400 yrds or so away. All I could see were three does with my binos but they were just past the edge of the hill. I started out walking parelell to them till I could put the hill they were beside between me and them. Then made the trek across the open ground between them and me. While I was where I couldn’t see them they had walked up the hill I was going towards. When I finally crested the hill (after what seemd like hours because the dry grass sounded to me like I was walking on broken light bulbs.) They had just reached the top of the hill also. I was expecting to be loking down at them instead we were eye to eye at the crest. I had just seen one of their heads and she had noticed my movement. I had to freeze in my tracks. I had blundered up into a spot with no cover. So I just was squatting there trying my best to look like a harmless old bush. I guess she bought it cause she went back to eating. But I was still out in the open with her not 20 yards away. Finally she turned her back to me and I was able to move to some cover. Haven’t had to low crawl in a while, but I managed. They walked back down the same side of the hill they had come from and I followed. I didn’t shoot any of them, I just wanted to see if they had brought their boyfriend with them, which unfortunatly they hadn’t. But I had a great time. Man, I miss this stuff. But he told us we could come back again. So maybe next time I’ll get to test myself against someone a little more wary. I have no doubt that if that doe had been a mature buck it would have all been over when I first crested the hill. I wouldn’t have gotten that second chance. But hey, I’m a little rusty, alittle older and a good bit fatter than I was back in the day. All in all, though I came home empty handed I had a great time that brought back some wonderful memories.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

As Charity’s family babysitting time had expired, plus there was make-up homework to help the kids with and laundry to do, Charles headed out to “Prairie Chicken Paradise” on his own. He was making his way out to the paradise, in an area that used to surprise us when birds got up, but we’ve been surprised enough years to now know that a flock resides in these very low, almost nonexistent dunes on the way to our usual hunting grounds a mile and a half away from the road. It was there that he took his only bird of the day, with unknown numbers jumping right into the sun, he instinctively fired at the sound of the wingbeats since he couldn’t see and was able to put one on the ground between him and Sam.

They made their way back to the deep dunefield that has consistently produced for us throughout the years, but not a flush was to be had. BB began tracking hard, so since there seemed to be nothing else going on, Charles and Sam followed along. BB was tracking a coyote, who jumped up and ran, but Charles was in no mood for fur and called the dogs off to head for home. It was time to enjoy the company of our family and good friends in the Nebraska Sandhills.

Despite the long summer drought and unseasonably hot conditions, Charles, Charity and the dogs were able to have success on their traditional sharptail grouse and prairie chicken opener by relying on proven approaches to covering ground and relocating known coveys that they’ve hunted for over a decade.

Preparing the trip’s harvest for the freezer, minus 2 grouse that were already consumed.
Nothing says Memorial Day Weekend like a family picnic. And this past May 26th, the Team (Debra, Diana, and Chris) was invited to attend a “family picnic” of sorts for the Texas Big Game Awards Edwards Plateau Region. As we arrived in Burnet, Texas and entered the Galloway Hammond Center you couldn’t help but feel right at home. We were greeted with rows of tables lined with red and white checkered tablecloths, BBQ Brisket and sausage, cobbler, and good old-fashioned iced tea. Kids of all ages were running around having a great time. Sounds like a picnic to me.

As we made our way around the room, we met Lee Loeffler with Texas Land Bank and asked if he could use some TexasHuntFish stickers for his table. He obliged and asked us if Allen Shannon put us up to this. Turns out that Lee and Allen are friends and he just spent the weekend with him on one of their famous family camp outs. Click Here to read Kamping For Kids II by Allen Shannon.

Next we found the hosts of the evening, David Brimager, Assistant Vice President of the Texas Wildlife Association and Dr. Dan McBride, President of the Texas Taxidermy Association and big supporter of TWA. These guys are tireless supporters of TWA, TBGA, the TPWD and the Texas Youth Hunting Program, and not to mention two of the nicest guys on the planet. The room was buzzing with excitement as the awards ceremony neared and the room was filled with the smoky smell of country BBQ.

As the food was being set up, we were fortunate enough to talk with two custom knife makers, Charles Miller and Mike Morgan, about their passion for knife making. They both work out of the Burnet, Texas area using the best materials available. Knife making is a true art that takes time to master. While Mike’s craftsmanship is of a high quality, he still considers himself an apprentice and explained that it takes years to master the craft. Charles Miller is highly knowledgeable and had some very interesting things to say about his journey into knife making.

Find out more about Charles Miller Custom Knives and Mike Morgan Custom Knives.

Coming Soon Diana’s interview with Charles Miller

The cowbell sounded and dinner was on! We enjoyed fine country BBQ and I have to admit that this was one of the best “banquet” meals I’ve had in a long time. What a relaxing build-up to the night’s big event. After dinner, we settled in to watch the awards being handed out to young and old.

The backdrop for the awards ceremony was a very impressive wall of mounted trophies, including the 202 2/8 (net score) first harvest for 10 year old girl, yes 10, Mariah Gary shot on the Six Gun Ranch. Her father told that Mariah had been asleep in the stand and he had to wake her up to take the shot, to which she replied, “Is it the big one?”

Both her parents and younger sister were very proud of her and some of the older men were asking if they could switch their smaller bucks out for hers. Many of them also said that they’ve never harvested a buck that big and have been hunting for 20 plus years. Mariah just smiled and looked at her dad. She was one of many winners that night.

Cami Carrosco won the first harvest essay contest, which Dr. McBride pointed out that there is not an age limit on the contest. Whether you are 10 or 100, you can win. Cami’s buck scored 133 2/8 (net score) and was shot on the Nelms Ranch.

She said it was an unforgettable experience and one that she will always treasure. Whether it’s hunting with your dad or an official Huntmaster, passing on the hunting heritage for present and future generations is essential to the goals of the Youth Hunting Program put together by the Texas Wildlife Association and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

The awards ceremony also honored many Texas Landowners for their pursuit in passing on the hunting heritage. Among them were the Six Gun Ranch, Nelms Ranch, Apache Springs Ranch, Kerr WMA, West Kerr Ranch, and many others. They were honored for participating in land and wildlife management, conservation efforts, as well as for supporting the Youth Hunting Program. A couple of landowners brought a very large display of native Texas plants with information cards showing their effects on different animal species like Quail, Deer, and Turkey. I asked them how long it took to gather up all these plants and they very proudly stated it took them all of 20 minutes or so. Check out the pictures.

We had a great time and hope that next year’s banquet will be filled with more members and their families. Our thanks go to David Brimager, Dr. Dan McBride, and everyone at the TBGA, TWA and TPWD for allowing us to support your conservation and education efforts. See you next year.

Hunt Hard. Fish Smart. Explore Texas.

~Debra Heater

Find out more about these organizations by visiting their websites:

Texas Wildlife Association

Texas Big Game Awards

Texas Youth Hunting Program


Conservation. Hunting. The Ducks. That’s what it’s all about.

The festivities for the 2007 DU State Convention began on Friday at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Austin. I was welcomed by several large trucks with DU stickers on the back windows and I was pretty confident I was in the right place. One truck even had “DU” as the license plate, which is pretty intense. Don’t you have to pay for special plates? 🙂 The owners of these vehicles were the Area Chairs, District Chairmen, National Delegates, and highly involved members who DU wanted to take the time to encourage and recognize for their time and services.

My point is that every single member there was very involved and very proud to be a part of the Ducks Unlimited family. I learned that these men and women were some of the most avid and “hard core” hunters. They don’t play around in the field. They are the hunters who sit in the cold, wet conditions in the (very) early morning because they want to.

And THAT, my friends, is why it’s so important that they keep everyone updated on their efforts and achievements. DU is a national non-profit organization that dedicates time and money to the conservation of wetlands and waterfowl habitat in North America. The best way to keep everyone around is to make sure they are always having fun, right?! Which is probably why DU Texas has 177 chapters and has so many dedicated members, volunteers, and staff.

A brief synopsis of the weekend:

Friday night we went to the Texas Disposal Systems Game Ranch and Pavilion in Creedmore, TX (south of Austin) where we mingled and ate with the other members and saw all the exotic wildlife from Africa out on the ranch…AND all along the walls of the pavilion, but those were mostly just the heads of the animals. There was a full bar, frog legs and quail for dinner, and a full band entertaining us with country music.

Saturday was a series of meetings and an awards luncheon, honoring the top chapters in Texas and their achievements. Whenever people had “down time” during the day, they could head over to the hospitality room across from the big ballroom and grab a drink “for here” or “to go.” The entire weekend I felt like everyone genuinely loved the people they partnered with in this organization and they had so much fun joking around with eachother. John, Bud, and I were able to get a couple of interviews that day and those videos will be added to the journal later.

Saturday night was a blast as we saw awards given to the ones who exceeded expectations, whether financially or with their time…but all that was just the beginning of the night. Next was the live auction, raffle, and silent auction. I must say, those ladies who sell the raffle tickets are professional saleswomen…relentless. It is rare to find someone in the room who hasn’t bought a few tickets. During the live auction they carry around the item up for bid so people can get a better look…at the item, of course. George Williams became a victim of this (see picture below).

All in all, it was a great weekend and I would encourage all of you to go to to find out more about what you can do for the Ducks.

Special thanks to:
John White (TX/NM Regional Director) – for letting me help with the gift bags and for making sure our team was all set up before we even arrived for the weekend.

Bill and Donna Pyle (District Chairman) – for taking me under their wings that weekend and making sure I got everything I needed, including good conversation.

Benjamin Jones (Area Chair) – for letting John Schwarzlose, Bud Force, and I interview him and sit at his table at the Saturday night Auction and Banquet.

Crispin Morin III – for taking our banner around Texas with him and his DU team, letting people know that supports Ducks Unlimited.

The Gokey family – Rob and Kyle, thank you for sitting down with us and sharing their experiences as a father and son team. Amy (and their daughter, Paige) thank you for letting us set up a table in the vendor room.
HB5029 was passed by the Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday, November 4th by a vote of 64-44 with two members not voting. It made its way over to the Senate, and on Wednesday, November 5th, Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema assigned HB5029 to Senator Shirley Johnson’s Appropriations Committee. During the Sportsmen’s Rally on November 4th, Senator Shirley Johnson introduced the resolution making the mourning dove the “Michigan Bird of Peace”.
This is the resolution that Senators Johnson, Jacobs, Brater, Clark Coleman, Clarke, Jelinek, Leland, Scott and Toy introduced:

Senate Resolution No. 192.

A resolution recognizing the mourning dove, Zenaida macroura, as the Michigan Bird of Peace.

Whereas, The mourning dove is an American bird known for its sad, cooing call. Its grayish-brown feathers and long tapering tail are widely recognized in Michigan, as is its soft and mournful sound. The mourning dove, or Zenaida macroura, as it is known in the scientific realm, is a peaceful songbird; and

Whereas, The day of the mourning dove begins early in the morning when it begins to look for food and water. The doves then rest during part of the afternoon, seek more food and water, and before nightfall, return to their nests built loosely of twigs in a tree or bush or on the ground. Many scientists believe that a male and female mourning dove mate with each other for life. Bird watchers will note that mourning doves are often found in pairs and, as parents, the doves are both responsible for feeding the young, called squabs, which are born blind and almost featherless; and

Whereas, The dove has traditionally symbolized peace. It is often depicted with an olive branch in its beak. Mourning doves do not eat olive branches, but do, however, feed on weed seeds and insects. It is a peaceful bird which will swiftly fly from conflict on strong wings that make a whistling sound as they move through the air. The mourning dove plays a quiet but vital role in the fragile and beautiful ecosystem that is the Michigan water wonderland; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate, That the mourning dove, Zenaida macroura, be known throughout the state as the Michigan Bird of Peace.

Pending the order that, under rule 3.204, the resolution be referred to the Committee on Government Operations, Senator Hammerstrom moved that the rule be suspended.

The motion prevailed, a majority of the members serving voting therefor.

The question being on the adoption of the resolution, Senator Hammerstrom moved that the resolution be referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.

The motion prevailed.

I would encourage you to have all those interested in seeing HB5029 become law contact their senators and the members of this committee and also Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema and tell the Senators that you want this bill passed out of committee and passed by the Senate and given to Governor Granholm to sign into law.

Remember, the best way to communicate with the legislators is by scheduling and attending a “Face to Face meeting” with your legislator. These meetings can be done in Lansing, but many of the legislators will meet with you in their home districts. The next best way is to write a personal letter and mail it. A less efffective way is to fax that letter. The least effective way is e-mail.


The best defense is a
united offense.

As a kid there were two skills I mainly learned from my father, how to work and how to hunt. My father was in the army, I remember him talking once about the $800 he got a month and where it was to be used. Needless to say we didn’t have a lot but by hunting and raising a garden we ate pretty good.
Venison, quail, pheasant those are meats you might find in a swank restaurant but we also had plenty of squirrel, rabbit, dove and an occasional ground hog…hell I even ate a raccoon once. To me this was normal, to me the best meat you could buy from the grocery store were hamburgers and hotdogs because when we did buy a steak from the store it was a cheap cut, tough as shoe leather and laced with fat and gristle, which, by the way, my dad made us eat. You know…”Finish everything on your plate boy, there are starving people in India that don’t have as much as you.”
Hunting was different then, we’d jump in the truck drive out into the country, stop at a house and ask if we could hunt their property. Sometimes it was yes, sometimes it was no, but it was simple…straight forward. My dad would make friends that way and when he did our freezer was stocked for the year.
Deer hunting………………The first deer hunting experience I had was on Fort Hood. There’s a rod and gun club there and during the season they set up a lottery for soldiers/hunters. The soldiers arrive about 4:30 am for the morning hunts, 2:30 pm for the afternoon hunts, wait to see if they were drawn, the lucky ones are taken to a stand in a big army truck everyone else goes home. My dad took me one afternoon, we were drawn and I remember well the bumpy ride out to the area we were to hunt. We laid down behind a downed tree and waited for a deer to come out so my dad could shoot it. I wasn’t hunting, I was there to observe, I was six years old. It started getting cold and as it did my teeth started chattering, I couldn’t help it. My dad became really perturbed and pushed my down under a heavy green army canvass we were laying on and told me to be quiet.
The next several hours were miserable to me, etched in to my mind, I reckon for the rest of my life. We didn’t get a deer that day but as we stood in the dark waiting for the big army truck to pick us up we looked at the stars and talked, my dad wasn’t angry anymore and I heard for the first time a deer snort, “the warning there’s danger present”, he said. The ride back was just as bumpy, a truck loaded with cold soldiers in camo and a couple of dead deer.
And that was deer hunting to me for the next ten years, laying on the ground scanning a brush line, looking out across a field from the loft of a barn, aiming my rifle out of the second floor of an old dilapidated farm house, no matter where it was it always seemed to be cold.
Then things changed, my dad retired from the army, went to a community college on the GI Bill and started an AC business and for once we had a little money. He had a lease we could hunt and we built blinds with soft seats, sliding windows and even propane heaters. Part of it was because we had money but I think the other part was because my dad was getting older and just wanted to be comfortable.
The last year my dad hunted was the year I stopped hunting and didn’t hunt again for about ten years. It was the year after I graduated highschool, I bought into the lease and could hunt when I wanted for the first time. My dad bought the back end of a refrigerated truck and set it up as a meat processing areas complete with a bandsaw to cut steaks. The thing that made me stop hunting was that my father shot more than the legal limit that year. I won’t say how many more, it still embarrasses me. I became really perturbed, I wanted to push him down under a heavy green army canvass and tell him how disappointed I was in him. After that, what he had taught me about hunting meant next to nothing to me.
Time ticks on and after about ten years I started hunting again, rediscovering some of what I had lost. I rifle hunted a couple of times in Bandera with reps. from a wine company trying to smooze me. Took a couple of deer and pretty much stopped again unsatified with the same ol’ same ol’. A few more years went by and I was talked into trying bow hunting by a friend of mine. I’d played around with compound bows as a teenager and was really quite good though I’d never hunted with one, but this was traditional, the classic stick and string. So my de-evolution began, I had to relearn everything, not moving for an hour at a time, covering my scent , learning the subtle signs that tell you where to set up, making myself invisible in my surroundings.
I’ve been hunting a ranch by Lake Buchanan for almost a year now. Dozens of times I sat there and watched the day turn into night, sometimes sitting through the night to watch the sun come up again. In those times I’ve only taken four shots with my bow and with those four shots I’ve taken three hogs and a deer. All clean, ethical. All easy to track.
Last night I walked down one of the ranch roads, found a place where game traversed and sat back a little ways in the brush, a cool wind in my face, a lane in front to take a shot if presented. My bow sat three feet away leaning against a wild persimmon. As I sat there a hawk swooped between me and my bow, oblivious to my presence, the tip of it’s wing inches from my face. It flew out through my shooting lane and landed in a tree across the road from me. It perched there for a minute and then started back towards the opening. At the last moment it saw me, spread it’s wings stopping in mid air, changed directions and was gone.
I watched a group of deer feed ten yards in front of me, three does and a couple of yearlings. Two of the does were mature, one was huge. I could have taken her but I was waiting for a buck I’d seen in the area earlier this year. I watched them for about thirty minutes as they grazed and made their way off. Later I had three bucks come out, three I had seen with the buck I wanted. One was a four and a half year old eight point. Classic Hill Country rack, not real high, not real woody but symmetric. Another eight, not as big and a younger six. But the one I wanted wasn’t with them, probably split off by now in anticipation of the rut. As they moved into the brush the two smaller bucks started to tussle a bit then they were gone. The light faded and I walked back to camp in the dark, through the woods not bothering to turn on my light. Best hunt of the year, what hunting is to me.
Your dog would die for you. You would not do the same for him

-Quote from my good friend CB

I swore I’d never have another dog. Forget the bird dog, German Shorthaired Pointer thing. Just no dog. Not after Nikko. And that was almost twenty years ago. Even though every year the girls always asked for a puppy, I just couldn’t bring myself to it.

Nikko was my best friend.

We’d hunt quail all over the rapidly disappearing brush in Hidalgo County back in the early 1990’s when I was in college. We’d bum around in my little black Suzuki Samuri without a top, just Nikko and I looking for likely fields to shoot, sometimes overgrown ones over by Sugar Road in Pharr, or maybe way out Conway north of Mission, busting covey after covey.

My freezer was always full.

Once we went hunting north of the University on Hoen Road, a tumbleweed-grass field that just looked ripe for codorniz. We hunted and hunted that grey, cold afternoon, but no covey. Suddenly Nikko came on point, but just as quickly began jumping back and forth barking his still puppish yap….

That’s when I heard it.

The telltale dry buzzing of a big old rattlesnake.

My hair stood on end as I bolted forward just in time to see Nikko standing on rock solid point, the big old cascabel reared back ready to strike, head the size of a damn steam iron. I screamed at the top of my lungs “NIKKO!”. He jumped backward, trance broken, and I unleashed both barrels of my old side by side over his head, and into the snakes, which disintegrated into a fine mist of red.

Neither one of us wanted to hunt any more that day.

But there were many more days to come, and when I finally lost him (a whole ‘nother story), I swore I’d never have another dog.

Besides it’s kind of like having a family member that never grows up, and my own independence just wasn’t ready for the commitment of the whole thing.

Well, I don’t know what possessed me to do it, but about a month ago another little German Shorthaired pup found his way into our lives. We named him Assault, a play on words actually (Get it? Assault? A-Salt-y dog….)

When we went to pick him up in Edinburg, he rode home uncrated in the back of the Volvo. To show his newfound love for me, he immediately planted several Assault-bombs in my jacket behind the back seat.

Right now he’s asleep in the crate after a rather frustrating puppy morning out. Assault seemed more intent on pointing at cats and chasing the check cord than on whoa and dead. Happier rolling and sniffing the grass, chewing on palm fronds to sooth his cutting teeth than on heeling and fetching.

Sometimes they just have to be pups.

For the most part though he just wants to please, and training is coming along well. He points at the wing, responds reasonably well to commands and even came along duck hunting with us several days ago. The girls kept him tight leashed, but he perked up at the gunshots, and swam and splashed in the cold Laguna Madre waters, waiting for his master to knock down a couple of redheads.

There is joy mixed with sadness in my heart. Joy at the innocence of a new puppy, sadness over how short the time we get to enjoy them is. And I guess that’s true of all things. Besides, I watch my girls and this critter and wonder why I waited so long to let another gun dog into our collective lives. There is a bond that cannot be duplicated, and they deserve that too.

So for now, my little pup sleeps. Sometimes they just have to have puppy days.
Current year Texas hunting and fishing licenses (except year-to-date fishing licenses) expire Aug. 31, and new licenses for 2010-2011 will go on sale Sunday, Aug. 15.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issues about 2.1 million hunting and fishing licenses annually through the agency’s 28 field offices, more than 65 state parks and at over 1,500 retailers across Texas. For a $5 administrative transaction fee, licenses may also be purchased online through the TPWD Web site or by phone (800-895-4248). Call center hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday — Friday. The online transaction system is available 24/7. A license confirmation number is issued at the time of purchase for online and phone orders, and the physical license is mailed separately. Confirmation numbers will verify that a license has been purchased, which is sufficient for dove hunting, but will not allow hunters to take fish or wildlife that require a tag.

Dove Hunting Requirements
In addition to a hunting license, all wing shooters will need to purchase a game bird stamp. To hunt doves or teal in September, a Migratory Game Bird Stamp ($7) is required. Duck hunters also need to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp and receive HIP (Harvest Information Program) certification. HIP certification involves a brief survey of previous year’s hunting success and is conducted at the time licenses are purchased. Certification will be printed on the license. Lifetime license holders must also be HIP-certified and purchase the Federal Duck Stamp to hunt migratory birds. All other state stamp endorsements are included with a lifetime license.

There are other mandatory endorsements to consider at the time of purchase, too. An Upland Game Bird Stamp ($7) is required to hunt all non-migratory game birds, including turkey, quail, pheasant, chachalaca and lesser prairie chicken.

Of course, anyone who purchases the Super Combo license package, the best bang for the buck at $68, automatically gets these needed stamps. Sportsmen ages 65 and older qualify for a discounted Senior Super Combo for $32.

Lifetime License Drawing
Hunters and anglers can also take care of their licensing requirements for life with the purchase of an $1,800 Lifetime Super Combo, or you can enter for a chance at winning a lifetime license through a special drawing. Entries for the Lifetime License Drawing cost $5 each and may be purchased wherever licenses are sold. There is no limit on the number of entries that may be purchased. Winners will be drawn on Dec. 30, 2010 and June 30, 2011. If you enter by Dec. 27, 2010, you will be eligible for both drawings.

Mandatory Hunter Education Certification
Hunter Education Certification is also required of any hunter born on or after Sept. 2, 1971 and who is at least 17 years old. For hunters who are unable to work in a hunter education course before hunting season for whatever reason, TPWD does offer a deferral option that allows people 17 years of age or older a one-time only extension to complete the state’s hunter education requirements. The individual must first purchase a hunting license and then may purchase the deferral option #166.

Hunters using the deferral must be accompanied by someone 17 years old or older also licensed to hunt in Texas. The accompanying individual must have completed hunter education or be exempt from the requirements (born before Sept. 2, 1971). The extension is good for one license year, by which time the person with the deferred option needs to complete a hunter education course.

This option is not available to those who have ever received a conviction or deferred adjudication for lack of hunter education certification. They still must take the course before going afield.

Big Time Texas Hunts
Also available through license agents and online are chances for TPWD’s Big Time Texas Hunts. The Big Time Texas Hunts program offers the opportunity to win one or more premium guided hunts with food and lodging provided, as well as taxidermy in some cases. The crown jewel of the program is the Texas Grand Slam hunt package, which includes four separate hunts for Texas’ most prized big game animals — the desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer and pronghorn antelope. There are several quality whitetail hunt packages available, as well as opportunities to pursue alligator, exotic big game, waterfowl and upland game birds.

Entries for the Big Time Texas Hunt drawings are $10 each and are available wherever hunting licenses are sold. They may also be purchased online at a discounted price of $9 each. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may purchase, All proceeds from Big Time Texas Hunts benefit conservation, wildlife management and public hunting.

On the Net:

bird hunting 3.24

The Bird Hunting In Texas Web Site (the “Site”) is an online information service provided by Cubeta, Inc. (“Bird Hunting In Texas “), subject to your compliance with the terms and conditions set forth below.
1. Copyright, Licenses and Idea Submissions.
The entire contents of the Site are protected by international copyright and trademark laws. The owner of the copyrights and trademarks are Bird Hunting In Texas, its affiliates or other third party licensors. YOU MAY NOT MODIFY, COPY, REPRODUCE, REPUBLISH, UPLOAD, POST, TRANSMIT, OR DISTRIBUTE, IN ANY MANNER, THE MATERIAL ON THE SITE, INCLUDING TEXT, GRAPHICS, CODE AND/OR SOFTWARE. You may print and download portions of material from the different areas of the Site solely for your own non-commercial use provided that you agree not to change or delete any copyright or proprietary notices from the materials. You agree to grant to Bird Hunting In Texas a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual license, with the right to sub-license, to reproduce, distribute, transmit, create derivative works of, publicly display and publicly perform any materials and other information (including, without limitation, ideas contained therein for new or improved products and services) you submit to any public areas of the Site (such as bulletin boards, forums and newsgroups) or by e-mail to Bird Hunting In Texas by all means and in any media now known or hereafter developed. You also grant to Bird Hunting In Texas the right to use your name in connection with the submitted materials and other information as well as in connection with all advertising, marketing and promotional material related thereto. You agree that you shall have no recourse against Bird Hunting In Texas for any alleged or actual infringement or misappropriation of any proprietary right in your communications to Bird Hunting In Texas.

Publications, products, content or services referenced herein or on the Site are the exclusive trademarks or servicemarks of Bird Hunting In Texas. Other product and company names mentioned in the Site may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
2. Use of the Site.
You understand that, except for information, products or services clearly identified as being supplied by Bird Hunting In Texas, Bird Hunting In Texasdoes not operate, control or endorse any information, products or services on the Internet in any way. Except for Bird Hunting In Texas- identified information, products or services, all information, products and services offered through the Site or on the Internet generally are offered by third parties, that are not affiliated with Bird Hunting In Texas a. You also understand that Bird Hunting In Texas cannot and does not guarantee or warrant that files available for downloading through the Site will be free of infection or viruses, worms, Trojan horses or other code that manifest contaminating or destructive properties. You are responsible for implementing sufficient procedures and checkpoints to satisfy your particular requirements for accuracy of data input and output, and for maintaining a means external to the Site for the reconstruction of any lost data.



Bird Hunting In Texas makes no representations whatsoever about any other web site which you may access through this one or which may link to this Site. When you access a non-Bird Hunting In Texas web site, please understand that it is independent from Bird Hunting In Texas, and that Bird Hunting In Texas has no control over the content on that web site. In addition, a link to a Bird Hunting In Texas web site does not mean that Bird Hunting In Texas endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content, or the use, of such web site.

3. Indemnification.
You agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Bird Hunting In Texas, its officers, directors, employees, agents, licensors, suppliers and any third party information providers to the Service from and against all losses, expenses, damages and costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, resulting from any violation of this Agreement (including negligent or wrongful conduct) by you or any other person accessing the Service.
4. Third Party Rights.
The provisions of paragraphs 2 (Use of the Service), and 3 (Indemnification) are for the benefit of Bird Hunting In Texas and its officers, directors, employees, agents, licensors, suppliers, and any third party information providers to the Service. Each of these individuals or entities shall have the right to assert and enforce those provisions directly against you on its own behalf.
5.Term; Termination.
This Agreement may be terminated by either party without notice at any time for any reason. The provisions of paragraphs 1 (Copyright, Licenses and Idea Submissions), 2 (Use of the Service), 3 (Indemnification), 4 (Third Party Rights) and 6 (Miscellaneous) shall survive any termination of this Agreement.
This Agreement shall all be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of The United States of America applicable to agreements made and to be performed in The United States of America. You agree that any legal action or proceeding between Bird Hunting In Texas and you for any purpose concerning this Agreement or the parties’ obligations hereunder shall be brought exclusively in a federal or state court of competent jurisdiction sitting in The United States of America . Any cause of action or claim you may have with respect to the Service must be commenced within one (1) year after the claim or cause of action arises or such claim or cause of action is barred. Bird Hunting In Texas’s failure to insist upon or enforce strict performance of any provision of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right. Neither the course of conduct between the parties nor trade practice shall act to modify any provision of this Agreement. Bird Hunting In Texas may assign its rights and duties under this Agreement to any party at any time without notice to you.
Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.

From Outdoor Wire:

To a waterfowl hunter, a duck band is a treasured find. Affixed to a duck call lanyard, these rare small metal rings become testaments of the hunter’s skill or luck and reinforce the conservation success story they represent. Not all bird bands are viewed as prizes, however. In fact, the ones affixed to the migratory game bird that gets the lion’s share of hunting attention in Texas are not being viewed at all. This summer, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. has been trapping mourning doves and attaching tiny metal leg bands to them as part of a larger national effort coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. White-winged doves are also being banded across the state and TPWD will be banding approximately 3,000 whitewings. Banding began June 1 and concludes Aug. 15.

As whitewings continue to expand across the state, keeping tabs on these dove populations is becoming increasingly important. Only three states are consistently banding white-winged dove, with the Texas banding program being the most comprehensive. Dove band recoveries are revealing extensive travel records and offer interesting insight into the ecology of this prominent migrant. For instance:

Most banded mourning doves in Texas do not survive to see a second year and extremely few live past three years of age. The oldest mourning dove ever recovered in Texas was 9 years old and the oldest mourner ever recovered was banded in Georgia and was a whopping 31 years old!
Mourning dove shot in Texas come from 21 states including Texas, with the most out-of-state banded birds coming from Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. A few banded birds traveled all the way from Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The oldest white-winged dove ever recorded in Texas was 17 years old and the oldest whitewing ever recovered was banded in Arizona and was 21 years old!
White-winged doves banded in Texas have been recovered in four states including Texas, four countries, and one in international waters (oil rig). The farthest recovered white-winged dove banded in Texas originated in Hidalgo County and was recovered in Nicaragua, 1,242 miles from the original band site. For Texas, the implications of dove management are significant considering the Lone Star State boasts fall dove populations in excess of 40 million birds and its 300,000 dove hunters harvest about 6 million birds annually or roughly 30 percent of all doves taken in the United States. Dove hunting also has a major economic impact, contributing more than $300 million to the state economy. But, despite having more dove hunters than any other state and harvesting more birds than any other state, Texas has the lowest dove band recovery rate in the nation.

“I think most dove hunters aren’t aware of the banding effort,” said Corey Mason, TPWD’s dove program leader. “Unlike with ducks, hunters aren’t looking for bands and because dove bands are only about the size of a bead they don’t stand out.”

Size does not diminish the importance of these bands and the information they provide wildlife biologists. Data obtained from banding are used to estimate survival and harvest rates and population abundance. These estimates are then used in population and harvest models to determine hunting regulations. The complete 2003-2010 Dove Banding Summary is available for review online.


If you keep your handgun clean it will operate at its best and won’t have any of the malfunctions associated with poor maintenance. A good rule to follow is to clean your handgun every time you use it. If you plan to clean it after every five hundred rounds, for example, you probably won’t keep track of how many rounds you shoot and won’t clean it according to your planned schedule. The result will be lack of cleaning and a lot of residue buildup in your handgun.

This can be a good opportunity to teach gun safety to children and other family members. You can teach the parts of the gun and demonstrate safety rules such as keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and always keeping your finger off the trigger.

Cleaning kit

Make your own cleaning kit. You will need to supplement any kit you buy by adding some additional items. You will want to combine all the items you get into a basic cleaning kit special kits for each caliber handgun you have.

A basic cleaning kit should include:

(1) nylon bristle and stainless steel brushes

(2) a rod in segments

(3) patch holders that screw into the rod

(4) a dental pick

(5) nitro solvent

(6) gun oil.

The special kit for each caliber should include:

(1) bore brushes in the correct caliber. For a semi-automatic pistol you need two bore brushes, one brass and one stainless steel. For a revolver you need two sets. A long one to use on the chambers and a short one to use on the bore, one set in brass and one set in stainless steel.

(2) patches of a size that will fit through the bore.

(3) Keep the special kit for each caliber in a zip lock plastic bag. You could put a card in each bag with the caliber written on it for easy reference.

Keep your cleaning kit in a box or container that you can carry with you to the range if you want to clean your gun there before bringing it home.

Gun cleaning safety

Follow all the rules of safe gun handling while you are cleaning your gun.

Before you start to clean your handgun, unload it and put all live ammunition in another room. Re-check to make sure it is unloaded. Clean your handgun in a place where you are alone and won’t be pointing the muzzle at someone else. Don’t have the television on or any other distraction that may take your attention away from the task of cleaning your gun.

Cleaning a revolver

Most of the problems with revolvers come from poor maintenance that allows lead shavings and gunpowder residue to build up around the forcing cone, under the star, in the chambers, and in the bore. Cleaning your revolver every time you shoot, no matter how many or few rounds you shoot, will eliminate these problems.

The bore and cylinder will have residue and blow-back from the discharge. There will also be residue inside the bottom of the frame and the front of the cylinder. If you shoot lead bullets there will also be lead shavings on the forcing cone and in the bore.

Start by cleaning the bore.

(1) Look inside. If it is a mirrored surface it won’t need the heavy stainless brush, as double passes with the brass bore brush will do. Use the short brush so it will pass all the way through the bore into the cylinder opening.

(2) Dip the bore brush into the solvent, then push it all the way through the bore.

(3) Be careful that you don’t strike the rod against the edge of the muzzle. This can cause scratches that will affect the accuracy of the gun. Also be careful not to push the end of the bore brush against the firing pin on the inside back of the frame. Place a folded patch or small piece of leather over this area to help protect it.

(4) Push the brush all the way through the bore so the bristles all leave the bore. If you do this you won’t be trying to pull the bore brush out with the bristles bent backwards inside the bore.

Where ever you put solvent, it has to come off. Don’t let solvent run down inside the revolver; it won’t come out by itself. Hold the revolver so solvent doesn’t run down inside the hole around the firing pin.

Clean around the forcing cone. Dip a brush into solvent and brush this area. Then clean it using a dental pick to remove small lead shavings. Then brush it again.

Next, use the patch holder on the rod and the proper size patch. Run it through the bore a few times. It will come out dirty. Keep changing the patch until one comes out clean. Then use clean patches around the forcing cone and wipe this area until the patches come off clean.

Use the long bore brush in the chambers. There are two reasons for this. First, after cleaning the bore the brush you used will be compressed and it won’t clean as well. Second, the chambers are much dirtier than the bore since this is where the cartridge detonates. The brush will get very dirty and you shouldn’t use it on the bore next time you clean the revolver. If you use a long bore brush in the chambers you will easily tell it apart from the short bore brush.

It doesn’t matter which direction you clean the chambers from, front or back. Dip the brush into the solvent and run the brush all the way through and back a couple of times in each chamber.

Clean any residue from under the star. Use a dental pick around each space under the star and follow this with the nylon brush.

Then run clean, dry patches through each chamber, changing them until they come out clean from each one. Wipe off the whole cylinder including the ejector rod and under the star with clean patches.

Clean off the frame with solvent on a bristle brush. Wipe it clean with patches. Brush around the trigger with a nylon brush.

Put a few drops of oil on a patch and push it through the bore then wipe it on the frame and cylinder. Don’t leave excess oil on the gun because it will attract dust and lint. Take it off with a clean patch. Put a drop of oil on the shaft under the star and one drop on the front of the extractor rod. Work the rod a few times then wipe off any excess oil.

Wipe off all the cleaning equipment and put it away.

Cleaning a semi-automatic pistol

You need to disassemble a semi-automatic pistol to clean it. Follow the instructions in the gun’s manual manual. You generally only need to remove the slide, barrel, guide rod, and guide rod spring.

Clean the barrel first. Look inside the bore. If it is a mirrored surface it won’t need the heavy stainless brush, double passes with the brass bore brush will do. Dip the bore brush into the solvent, then push it all the way through the bore. Push the brush all the way through the bore so the bristles all leave the bore. If you do this you won’t be trying to pull the bore brush out with the bristles bent backwards.

Next, use the patch holder on the rod and the proper size patch. Run it through the bore a few times. It will come out dirty. Keep changing the patch until one comes out clean. Wipe off the outside of the barrel with a clean patch.

Next clean the slide using a bristle brush dipped into solvent. Clean all along the guide rails. Use a dental pick on the area around the firing pin; there will be a lot of residue build-up. Use a bristle brush in this area. Finally clean off the solvent with clean patches.

Wipe the guide rod and guide rod spring with patches wiping off any residue and oil. Wipe clean any other parts that you need to disassemble for your pistol.

Using a brush dipped into solvent clean the frame, around the hammer, along the rails, and other exposed parts. Be careful that solvent doesn’t run into parts where it will be difficult to remove it. Use the dental pick to remove residue build-up. Remove the solvent with patches until the patches lift off clean. Brush around the trigger with a nylon brush. Wipe inside the magazine well with patches.

Put a few drops of oil on a patch and push it through the bore then wipe it on the barrel, guide rod, slide, and frame. Don’t leave excess oil on the gun because it will attract dust and lint. Take it off with a clean patch. Reassemble the barrel into the slide. Put a drop of oil on each rail then reassemble the slide onto the frame. Rack the slide back and forth a few times to disperse the oil. Wipe off all excess oil.

Wipe off all the cleaning equipment and put it away.

1911 History

The following information was provided by

The Colt Model 1911 was the product of John Moses Browning, father of several modern firearms.

The pistol was designed to comply with the requirements of the U.S. Army, which, during its campaign against the Moros in Philippines, had seen its trusty .38 revolver to be incapable of stopping attackers. An Ordnance Board headed by Col. John T. Thomson (inventor of the Thomson sub-machine-gun) and Col. Louis A. La Garde, had reached the conclusion that the army needed a .45″ caliber cartridge, to provide adequate stopping power. In the mean time, J. Browning who was working for Colt, had already designed an auto loading pistol, around a cartridge similar to contemporary .38 Super (dimension-wise). When the Army announced its interest in a new handgun, Browning re-engineered this handgun to accommodate a .45″ diameter cartridge of his own design (with a 230 gr. FMJ bullet), and submitted the pistol to the Army for evaluation.

In the selection process, which started at 1906 with firearms submitted by Colt, Luger, Savage, Knoble, Bergmann, White-Merrill and Smith & Wesson, Browning’s design was selected, together with the Savage design in 1907. However, the U.S. Army pressed for some service tests, which revealed that neither pistol (Colt’s or Savage’s) had reached the desired perfection. The Ordnance Department instituted a series of further tests and experiments, which eventually resulted in the appointment of a selection committee, in 1911.

Browning was determined to prove the superiority of its handgun, so he went to Hartford to personally supervise the production of the gun. There he met Fred Moore, a young Colt employee with whom he worked in close cooperation trying to make sure that each part that was produced for the test guns was simply the best possible. The guns produced were submitted again for evaluation, to the committee. A torture test was conducted, on March 3rd, 1911. The test consisted of having each gun fire 6000 rounds. One hundred shots would be fired and the pistol would be allowed to cool for 5 minutes. After every 1000 rounds, the pistol would be cleaned and oiled. After firing those 6000 rounds, the pistol would be tested with deformed cartridges, some seated too deeply, some not seated enough, etc. The gun would then be rusted in acid or submerged in sand and mud and some more tests would then be conducted.

Browning’s pistols passed the whole test series with flying colors. It was the first firearm to undergo such a test, firing continuously 6000 cartridges, a record broken only in 1917 when Browning’s recoil-operated machine gun fired a 40000 rounds test.

The report of the evaluation committee (taken from ‘The .45 Automatic, An American Rifleman Reprint’, published by the National Rifle Association of America) released on the 20th of March 1911 stated :

“Of the two pistols, the board was of the opinion
that the Colt is superior, because it is more
reliable, more enduring, more easily disassembled
when there are broken parts to be replaced, and
more accurate.”

On March 29th, 1911, the Browning-designed,Colt Produced 1911 Pistol, was selected as the official sidearm of the Armed Forces of U.S.A., and named Model 1911.

Again a special thanks toJohn Caradimas of for the pictures and information.

Disassembly of the 1911 Auto

The following information was provided by

Disassembling the M-1911 type of pistols is a straight forward and simple process. It requires a minimum of tools (actually before Colt’s Series 80 pistols, it was possible to completely disassemble and re-assemble the pistol without ANY tools), like a pair of tweezers, a punch, etc, althought you can improvise!

Before starting to take the pistols apart, follow one simple safety rule. Make sure the gun is empty. Remove the magazine and pull the slide back and lock it in the open position. Check that the barrel’s chamber is empty. Always think safety first.

Before you proceed any further, please remember that at some time, you will have to reassemble the pistol. So please, for your own sanity, before you start taking things apart, study how things look when the gun is still intact. You might also want to read some Reassembling Notices, I ‘ve put together. OK, here we go!

Taking it apart
After making sure that the pistol is empty, release the slide manually and let it slide slowly forward. You can release the slide, using the slide release lever, but some authorities recommend against doing it with an empty gun. With the slide forward, and facing the muzzle of the pistol, press the recoil spring plug inwards until the barrel bushing is free to be twisted clockwise, until it uncovers completely the recoil spring plug. BE CAREFUL, the recoil spring plug is under pressure from the recoil spring, so if you do not keep it pressed when twisting the bushing, it can fly away (I learned that the hard way!).

Remove the recoil spring plug and the recoil spring. Cock the pistol’s hammer to the full-cock position (NEVER EVER cock the hammer to the half-cock position. It is an unsafe condition and should be avoided at all cost). Now pull the slide to the rear, until the slide release lever end is aligned with the small circular notch, on the left side of the slide.

Push the axis of the slide release lever from the right side of the gun, towards the left side. The slide release lever will pop out. Pull it completely off the frame of the gun.

Hold the gun upside down and push the slide forward and remove it from the frame. You can remove the recoil spring guide now.

Facing the muzzle of the barrel again, twist the barrel bushing anticlockwise and pull it out. Move the barrel link forward towards the muzzle and remove the barrel from the front opening of the slide.

This completes the every-day field stripping procedure. It is normally not recommended to proceed any further, unless you are sure of what you are doing, in which case you wouldn’t be reading this anyway, but let’s go on.

We shall continue, by removing whatever is left on the slide. If your gun has a Colt Series 80 safety, push the Firing Pin Lock Plunger up and using a punch push the Firing pin inwards. Release the Firing Pin Lock Plunger so that it keeps the Firing Pin inside its opening. If your gun does not have a Firing Pin Locking mechanism, simply push the firing pin inside its opening, using a punch (or other pointing tool).

Using the punch, pull down the Firing Pin Stop and remove it. Cover the Firing Pin opening with your thumb, and press the Firing Pin Lock Plunger again, to release the Firing Pin. This action will allow the Firing Pin to move back against the pressure of the Firing Pin Spring. Remove the Firing Pin together with its Spring. Pushing the Firing Pin Lock Plunger inwards, pull the extractor slightly backwards. You must pull it enough, so that the Firing Pin Lock Plunger can be freely removed from the bottom of the slide.

Remove it and then remove the extractor completely.

This completes the stripping of the slide.

You are now ready to continue. Grasp the hammer with the fingers of your left hand and release the trigger, while holding the hammer. Do not simply release the trigger, allowing the hammer to fall forward. This practice can destroy your gun.

The next step will require that you remove the Mainspring Housing. To do so, use a punch and a hammer (or any relatively heavy object you can find, like a shoe) and punch the Mainspring Housing Pin out, towards the right side of the pistol. Be careful not to punch to forcefully and have the pin fly to the next room. The removal of the pin will be helped if you exercise a slight pressure at the bottom of the Mainspring Housing, towards the upper of the gun.

After removing the Mainspring Housing Pin, pull the Mainspring Housing down and remove it from the frame. I would not suggest that you disassemble the Mainspring Housing.

However, if you do want to do it, use a thin puch to push the Mainspring Cap Pin out, by pushing it from the outside of the Mainspring Housing to the inner side. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL, as the mainspring is under considerable tension and it can fly away, hitting you on the face.

After removing the pin, you can remove the Mainspring, its cap and the Mainspring Retainer.

Cock the hammer again and move the Safety Lock upwards, while in the same time pulling it out of the frame. NOTE that the Safety Lock cannot be removed with the hammer uncocked.

When you remove the Safety Lock, the Grip safety can also be removed.

You may now remove the 3-prong Sear Spring at the rear of the grip. To do that lift the hammer strut first.

Push the Hammer Pin from the right side of the gun, towards the left. This will allow you to remove the hammer. Simply push the pin out, do not punch it. BE CAREFUL as the removal of the Hammer Pin, will also allow the removal of the Upper Sear Lever (if your gun is a Series 80 one), so make sure you don’t drop it and loose it.

Before proceeding any further, take some time to familiarize yourself with the arrangement of the Lower Sear Lever and the Upper Sear Lever, which form the Colt Series 80 firing pin safety mechanism (if, of course your gun is so equipped). You may now remove the Sear Pin. Slowly push it out from the right side of the frame to the left.

When removed, the Lower Sear Lever (for Series 80 guns), the Sear and the Disconnector can be removed. Turn the pistol upside down and let the parts drop into your palm.

Using one of the prongs of the Sear Spring you can unscrew the Magazine Catch Assembly. To do so, push the Mag Catch Assembly in, as if you were releasing a magazine, while in the same time unscrewing the small screw on the right side of the Magazine Release Assembly. Push the Assembly to the right side of the gun and remove it.

Push the Trigger to the rear and remove it from the rear of the gun.

Slowly pull the Safety Lock Plunger, the Plunger Spring and the Slide Release Plunger off the Plunger tube.

Finally, find a screwdriver, which exactly matches the slots of the stock screws on your gun and unscrew the four stock screws. It is important that the screwdriver is of the proper size, as if it is not, it might slip and you could end up with scratched screws. Sometimes, when you remove the stock screws, a stock screw burshing might get unscrewed, instead of the screw. In that case, get a pair of plyers, hold the bushing with them tight and unscrew the stock screw from the bushing.

That completes the disassembly of the pistol. The ejector and the plunger tube should not be normally removed from the frame. If you do want them removed, use a small punch to push out the corresponding pin, which holds them in place. The pin is located in the slide rails, right under the ejector. Push it out and then lift the ejector. Now the plunger tube can be removed.

If you want to disassemble an M-1911 magazine, press the follower down, with a small stick (I usually use the full-length guide rod) and insert a pin (possibly the hammer strut) thru one of the magazine hole’s, in order to keep the mag spring down. Turn the mag upside down and shake it until the follower falls off. Remove the pin that holds the mag and remove it.

Not difficult, was it?

Reversing the above procedure, you can put the gun together.

Again a special thanks toJohn Caradimas of for the pictures and information.



Safety is the most important issue regarding gun ownership, possession and use. A gun accident can happen in a fraction of a second, and may result in a tragic injury or death. Safe handling of guns can reduce gun accidents. Safe gun handling can be learned and incorporated into gun handling and shooting procedures. Gun safety rules must always be practiced, there is never an exception.

Adults who own a gun should learn and practice gun safety every time you handle a gun: in your home to store it, clean it, or put it into a case to take to the range, in a vehicle to transport a gun to the range or hunting area, and when shooting at a range or when hunting.

a. Learn gun safety rules

There are many rules for safe gun handling. Two very important gun safety rules are:

(1) Always control the direction of the muzzle and point it in a safe direction.

(2) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Always control the direction of the muzzle means that whenever you pick up, put down, shoot, clean, store, transport, or touch a gun in any way, make sure the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction. A safe direction is any direction away from people and animals and away from any object you don’t want to shoot. At a range it is down range or towards the berm or backstop. At home it means away from walls, ceilings, or floors that are between you and other people. A safe direction always depends on where you are and where other people are. If you don’t know, or aren’t sure, where other people are, assume people will be in places that people normally are or might be. For example, if there is a building in sight, assume people are in it; if there is a wooded area, assume people are hiking in it. You need to check safe directions before handling a gun. The reason for this rule is, if the gun goes off accidentally it is less likely to hurt anyone if it is pointed in a safe direction.

Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot means just that. Don’t put your finger on the trigger, or even into the trigger guard, as you pick up a gun. Keep your finger out straight along the frame of the gun. When you are on the firing line at a shooting range, in your shooting stance and have the gun up pointed at the target, then you can put your finger on the trigger. If you aren’t ready to shoot a target at a shooting range or ready to shoot while hunting, you have no reason to have your finger on the trigger. The reason for this rule is, if you don’t have your finger on the trigger, the gun is not likely to go off accidentally.

There are many other rules for safe gun handling and they can be found in hunter safety, gun and shooting books and pamphlets. They are all important and should be followed. The range where you practice will also have some of its own safety rules. You must read and observe all of these. Gun safety saves lives and accidental shootings. Gun safety is the responsibility of every person who owns, possesses or uses a gun.

Gun Safety Rules

These are not all the rules that should be followed to be safe with a gun. They are, however, many of the basic rules. Add to this list when you find new rules in other books and material. Keep incorporating into your safe gun handling practice new gun safety rules as you learn them.

Always control the direction of the muzzle, and keep it pointed in a safe direction away from any person, animal, thing or direction you don’t want to shoot.

Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Treat all gun as though they are loaded.

Keep the gun’s safety on until you are ready to shoot.

Keep guns unloaded when you aren’t using them.

Lock guns and ammunition away from children and careless adults.

Never point a gun at anything that you do not intend to shoot.

Never treat guns as toys.

Don’t use alcohol or drugs (including non-prescription drugs) when you are using a gun.

Never pull a gun toward you by the muzzle.

Range safety rules

Always keep the muzzle pointed down range.

Always wear eye and ear protection.

Obey all posted range rules.

Leave the action open when you put your gun down for any reason.

Don’t handle your gun or any of your equipment when the range is cold or when anyone is downrange changing targets.

If you need to clear a malfunction, turn your body, not your gun, so you can keep the muzzle downrange at all times.

Immediately follow all commands of the range officer.

Avoid talking on the firing line, so everyone can hear the range officer.

Carry guns to and from the range in a carrying case.

Only take ammunition for the gun you are using.

Know how to safely decock your gun.

Practice with an experienced and knowledgeable shooter for safety and coaching.

Never step or reach in front of the firing line to pick up your empty cases if the line is hot (people are still shooting).

Make sure the barrel and action of your gun are clean and free from any obstructions.

b. Read the gun’s manual

New guns come with a manual. Thoroughly read the manual for each gun you own or are going to shoot. They contain safety information about the particular gun you have. There usually is some information about the safety features and mechanisms on the particular gun the manual is describing. Pay particular attention to this because some models have special safety features that you will need to know about. Knowing, and using, the safety features of the gun you have is as important as the general safety rules.

c. Take courses

Take as many shooting courses as you can. Each course you take will reinforce the general safety rules and will give you an opportunity to practice them under supervision. Courses will also let you practice different shooting techniques and styles and let you see how the safety rules are integrated into each. The more you shoot, the safer you should become.

Consider taking a hunter safety class, even if you aren’t a hunter. These classes generally provide good information about gun safety, gun handling, gun laws and how guns work. In addition you will likely learn interesting things about the environment, ecology, wildlife and other topics.

d. Practice

Practice shooting whenever you can. The more you handle your gun, load and unload it, and shoot it, the more comfortable you will be with it and the safer you will become. If you leave your gun in a case from one year to the next, you won’t be familiar with it and its safety devices the next time you take it out of the case. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about handling the gun, you won’t be as safe with it. If it has been a long time since you handled your gun, take it in its case to a course or gun club and get some more instruction and help with handling it.

e. Join a gun club

Gun clubs generally stress safety. They are a great place for you to practice shooting in a safe place with people who appreciate your gun-safety attitude. Before you join a gun club attend one or more meetings, visit their gun range and notice how they practice and enforce gun safety and talk to members of the club to learn their attitudes about gun safety. If the club practices good gun safety, join it.

Joining a gun club can give you the opportunity to make shooting a hobby, let you meet other people with a common interest and can lead you to opportunities for competition if you like to compete.

f. Teach your family gun safety

Teach gun safety to everyone living in your home. The rules will be different for other adults who may use the gun from time to time and for children, who should never handle a gun without adult training and supervision.

Teach your children gun safety rules and that they should never handle a gun, no matter where or when they see one, but they should always tell a trusted adult about seeing a gun. Talk to your children about the dangers of guns and how they can be safe.
Gun Safety Rules

Gun safety can prevent gun accidents. Learning and always following gun safety rules will make everyone safer—gun owners, shooters, hunters, collectors, and the adult and child friends, family, and neighbors of gun owners.

These are basis gun safety rules. There are no magic three or ten or any number of gun safety rules. Everything you can do that contributes to gun safety is as important as any other gun safety rule. Practicing gun safety will make it a part of the way you handle a gun every time you handle one.

Teach gun safety rules to children. The first rule for children is NEVER TOUCH A GUN. Teach children to never touch a gun and to tell a trusted adult any and every time they see a gun, or what they think might be a gun. Teaching gun safety to children can involve teaching them how to load, unload, and shoot a gun under the close supervision of a competent adult (of course, with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian)l.

Here are basic Gun Safety Rules:

Always keep the muzzle of a gun pointed in a safe direction.

Don’t touch the trigger until you have the gun pointed at a safe target and you are ready to fire.

Treat every gun as if it is loaded.

Use the safety, but never rely on it.

Never load a gun until you are in a safe place where you can use it.

Unload a gun immediately after you use it.

Only use ammunition which exactly matches the markings on your gun.

Always read a gun’s manual and follow the manual’s instructions exactly.

At a shooting range, always keep a gun pointed downrange.

Always obey a range officer’s commands immediately.

Always wear adequate eye and ear protection when shooting.

Be certain of your target and what is beyond it before you pull the trigger.

If a gun doesn’t shoot when you pull the trigger: keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and take your finger off the trigger; wait thirty seconds in case of a delayed firing; unload the gun carefully, hold up your free arm while facing down range to ask the range officer for help if you need it.

Keep the barrel and action clear of obstructions.

Store guns with the action open.

Store ammunition and guns separately out of reach of children and careless adults.

Never horseplay with a gun or use it as a toy.

Never handle a gun belonging to anyone else or before you have read the gun’s manual.

Practice operating a gun empty before you attempt to load and shoot it.

When you transport a gun in a vehicle, make sure it is unloaded and safely contained in a gun case.

Never lean a firearm where it may slip and fall.

Do not use alcohol or mood-altering drugs, including medication, when you are handling guns.

When loading or unloading a gun, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

When you are cleaning a gun, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

When unloading semi-automatic guns by removing the magazine a live round, ready to fire, may still be in the chamber. Always rack the slide after removing the magazine and look for an empty chamber.

If you need corrective lenses, always wearing them when handling a gun.

Know the effective range and the maximum range of a firearm and the ammunition you have.

When cleaning a gun, make sure it is unloaded and all ammunition is in a different room or in a closed container away from the cleaning area.

Clean firearms every time they have been used.

Teaching Young Children Gun Safety

This article sets out one way to teach gun safety rules to children. However, this is not the only way to teach gun safety rules. Every parent and adult knows his or her child’s abilities, propensities, personality, and characteristics that make this or any other learning technique suitable for each child. Each parent and adult who uses this article must interpret and apply the information to suit the training needs of his or her child and assume the responsibility for so doing.

Safety rules for children

Gun safety for young children should include the basic gun safety rules:

If you find a gun don’t touch it.

Go and tell an adult you trust that you found a gun.

These rules, if followed, can keep a child from picking up a gun, get them away from the gun (in case a playmate picks it up), and will alert an adult to the situation.

Rules for teaching children gun safety

Follow basic rules for teaching children gun safety:





Teaching gun safety

Role playing can be used to teach gun safety rules to children. Here is one way to do this.

1. Cut out photos of guns from magazines to use as props. If you don’t have gun magazines in your home, ask a friend for an old issue or buy a gun magazine at the news stand. (It’s a small investment to help keep your child safe.) Choose photos of different looking handguns that are approximately the size of real guns. Cut around the outline of the gun removing the background from the photo.

2. Set a time to talk to your child about guns and gun safety. If you are a gun owner: Explain your views on guns (you are a hunter and enjoy a sport that provides food for the family, you have a gun for protection, you have a gun as a tool required for your law enforcement job, you are a gun collector, gun dealer, or gunsmith, or whatever). Also explain that other people have different views about guns and that some people don’t like guns and feel they are bad things.

If you don’t own a gun: Explain why you don’t have a gun in your home (you don’t like guns and think they are dangerous items, you don’t think guns should be in homes with children, or what ever your reason is). Also explain that other people have different views about guns than you have and that they may have guns for some lawful reason (even if you don’t agree with it) and that your child may be in a friend’s home where the parents do own guns.

Explain that guns are not toys and that they can cause very serious injury and can kill people and that children should never touch or play with guns. (Each parent must decide if they want their child to learn how to shoot a BB gun or air gun under appropriate training and supervision, but this is a different topic.) Explain that gun accidents can happen very quickly and easily.

Explain that what they see on television isn’t real and that violence isn’t glamorous or fun.

Ask your child what he or she knows about guns. If your child has questions about guns, that you can’t answer, find a hunter safety class or gun safety class that is appropriate for the age of your child and attend it together, even if you don’t own guns the more you know about them the safer you and your child can be if you encounter a gun at a friend’s home.

3. Explain the gun safety rules to your child. Get your child to repeat the rule back to you. Ask if he or she has any questions about the rule.

Prepare ahead of time how you will address issues such as:

Will your child get into trouble for “snooping” in your home or that of a friend or neighbor? Will this fear prevent your child from reporting finding a gun? Will you punish your child for snooping or reward him or her for reporting finding a gun?

If your child is at a friend’s home and find a gun, should your child tell his or her friend’s parents or come home and tell you?

If your child finds a gun outside, on the street, in a park, or any place at all, should your child tell you, a teacher, a police officer, or someone else? What situations will help your child make the decision who to go to and tell about finding the gun?

If your child is with friends who want to play with a gun, how can your child leave and tell on their friends without being viewed as a tattle-tale or afraid?

If your child can’t find an adult, or an adult they trust, what should she or he do?

4. Set a time to role play. Show your child the photos of the guns you cut from the magazine. Don’t let the child hold the photos, treat the photos like guns, keeping them pointed away from yourself and the child. Explain that you are going to put these “guns” in places that people may keep guns and when the child sees one, he or she must not touch it and immediately come and tell you or another adult in your home.

For young children you can start the practice by putting the “gun” in an obvious place in the room you are in and let them practice seeing it and coming to tell you. Then place it in a different room and let them go and discover it and come and tell you. Make sure the child never touches the gun. You can do this by having him or her say aloud “Don’t touch” when they see the gun. Repeat the role play two or three times a day, a couple days a week, for a month or so. Repeat it every few weeks for a few more months. Then monthly thereafter.

If your child picks up the gun during the game, immediately, calmly say “Stop, gently put the gun on the floor, come here to me.” Then talk about the danger of touching guns and repeat the gun safety rule. Have your child repeat the rule and answer any questions about the rule. Do the role play again.

When you think your child has learned the safety rule, put the gun photo in a place the child will likely come across it at a time when you haven’t set up a role playing session. If your child comes and tells you he or she found a gun, congratulate him or her. If he or she comes to you carrying the gun, you need to start over from the guns-are-dangerous lesson.


You can use toy guns instead of cut-out magazine photos of guns. If you do this, whenever you handle the gun you must follow basic gun safety rules of:

Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction when you pick up, hold, and set down the gun.

Keep your finger off the trigger.

Treat it like a real gun.

Store it in a safe place when it isn’t being used for learning the gun safety rules.

Never let your child play with the gun as a toy.

Your child will see how you handle the gun. If you are careless and let the muzzle hang down and point at your leg as you walk, put your finger on the trigger, point it at the dog and say “bang,” or some other un-safe behavior, that is what your child will learn.

Robert Ruark knew what he was talking about when wrote the seminal piece on big-game hunting in Africa, Use Enough Gun. Sure, you can kill tough game with light rounds, but if you want to consistently be successful in difficult situations, you need to use enough gun in order to get the job done.

While late season birdhunting in pheasant country isn’t the same as stalking the plains of Tanzania, it is a demanding business. Roosters are well educated and aren’t going to wait around to see if quartering dogs and approaching humans are out for stroll, they are going to run and break long. These birds are up early and rarely relax on the roost 30 minutes after sunrise unless the weather is foul. And by foul, I mean bone chilling cold with snow piled around them . I know this, but for some reason I thought I would be clever on my January 16th outing and carry a 20 gauge. The allure of carrying a gun that is light, some decent shooting during the season on my part and the fact that we were heading into country where we were more likely to see quail than pheasant convinced me that I could get by without my trusty SKB 12 gauge. That decision might have also been influenced by 2 days of heavy labor digging out a terrace for a new dog kennel . Sore shoulders can certainly sing a siren song.

Whatever my motivations might have been, the decision was made and I headed out early with 2 griffs and a great birdhunting partner. As we approached the area we were going to push first, a covey of quail scurried across the ditch. I patted myself on the back for having the foresight to save my sore arms the trouble of carrying the 12 gauge.

We started in a CRP field bordering a cut corn field. Definitely a promising spot for birds. The dogs went to work, but it was obvious early on that they were on a pheasant. They moved quickly and pushed hard through a patch of sunflower that had to be 10 feet tall. No covey on the planet moves like a rooster looking to see what is happening on the other side of the county. My partner and I kept pace and as we approached the end of the field a big gaudy ditch chicken broke out past the 40 yard mark. It is amazing how such a big bird can blast out of heavy cover and move when he has a reason. Needless to say, this crossing shot was not to be had. By the time I gathered myself for the shot, he was moving at top speed and 50 yards away. Undergunned for that one. With that defeat under our belts, Matt and I headed to the next field.

The next field was considerable larger and we worked the edges where the CRP met the corn. While the dogs covered ground and indicated that birds had been there, nothing was seen. As we came to the end of the field we made the determination that this place was vacated. This was public land and there was every reason to believe that we were too late. Well, you know what they say about assumptions. With no birds and no birdy dogs, I decided to add to the soil’s moisture profile. About the time I was ready to commence relief, my partner’s shotgun barked and a lone quail sailed onto the bordering private ground. Quickly I collected myself and walked over to him. “Did you see any others?” I asked.

“Nope,” he responded. We stood there a few minutes scratching our heads. I call the dogs over but they didn’t really hit on anything. Now the wind was against us and it was a dry morning, so I’ll give them a pass. But as I stepped into the brush and resumed my efforts at irrigation, that lone quail’s covey mates boiled up around me just when I was really getting going. Guess I need to be more careful where I aim that thing.

With the shotgun broken over my shoulder and the fact that I was a bit exposed, my chance at a shot was handicapped to say the least. Missed again and this time my red face had less to do with my shooting than it did with my particular position for the shot. We moved on to the next field. These birds had been traumatized enough.

The following spot we hit was less promising, but there was a brushy creek weaving through corn, so it couldn’t be passed up. As we shuffled along, I noticed a little finger of cover weaving up an old waterway in the middle of the corn. Matt and I changed course and the dogs closed in on it. Immediately Sam locked up on the one spot of brush in this patch. BB came up behind him and locked up as well. Matt and I closed in quickly. As if out of a hunting show, we walked in on the point and a nice covey broke. This time everything worked out and I made a nice shot on a bobwhite. The covey headed for thick cover and we followed. We put up a few more, but they were in thick enough stuff that neither of us a shot.

My lone quail, with Sam and BB

The day progressed and after a late lunch, we hit one last field where we had a score to settle with a particularly wily rooster. This 80 acre piece was all CRP, with brush along the borders. We worked the entire piece and had some nice dog work on a hen. As we approached the last clump of plum brush, the dogs put up another hen. After Matt and I watched her sail away, we took about 4 more steps….now you know what happened next. Our wily adversary broke cover at 50 yards flying faster than any bird should naturally move. Undergunned again. I might have had a chance with a fast moving 1 ¼ ounce load of 4’s out of an improved modified choke, but my fateful decision at the beginning of this trip sealed my fate.

What did I learn from this trip? Always trust the advice Robert Ruark when it comes to hunting tough game and don’t take a leak in the spot where a lone quail flushes.


hunting – quail – dove 1.23

P-Arrow Plantation has been extensively managed for game and fish for 30 years. Its owners offer hunting and fishing for individuals or for corporate retreats. The P-Arrow is located in Livingston, Alabama, east of I-59 and I-20 halfway between Birmingham, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi.

Located on the P-Arrow is over 100 acres of lakes for largemouth bass, crappie, and bream fishing. The P-Arrow is a prime location for exciting whitetail deer hunting from shooting houses overlooking green fields or tree stands.

Hunters can ride on a Belgian Mule drawn wagon carrying English Pointers and English Setters, or ride Tennessee Walking Horses to experience covey rises of fast flying bobwhites from sedge grass covered pine hills or stream side fields of partridge peas, Egyptian wheat, and corn. We have opening day dove hunts. Private dove hunts and turkey hunts are also available.

For those who simply want an outdoor experience in the old South, nature trails and historic tours are available.

Quail Hunts
There are three types of Quail Hunts which are available. They are:

The most authentic southern style quail hunt is by Belgian Mule drawn wagon. Dixon and Luke are our 1600 pound mules that pull the dog wagon. A hunt master and Hunt scout on a horse will direct each hunt. Lunch will be provided in the field by a cook.
The other type of quail hunt we provide is a full or half day hunt using the John Deere Gator with a customized box to carry the dogs and seats on top to carry the hunters. A scout on a horse will direct the hunt along with a hunt Master.
We also provide customized quail hunts to fit your desired experience.

All of the birds are either native or early released birds. There is NO LIMIT!!!

Dove Hunts
Opening Day Hunts are available. Hunters are served an excellent BBQ Lunch!!

Turkey Hunts
You will enjoy our Spring Hunts over chufa fields and wild game sorghum. We provide our turkey hunters with a personal guide.

Deer Hunts
Guided whitetail deer hunts are available. You may hunt the wary Whitetail Buck on green fields from comfortable shooting houses or tree stands. Bow hunting is encouraged!! We also offer customized hunts.

3 bed rooms /3 baths (1) king (1) queen (1) twin and a loft with a king and a full bed and a full bathroom. Every bedroom comes with its own private bathroom.

P Arrow consists of eight lakes that comprise 110 acres stocked heavily with Northern, Florida and Hybrid large mouth bass. Additionally, different lakes have coppernose, bluegills, shellcrackers, and crappie. The largest lake on P-Arrow is horseshoe lake, which contains about 33 acres of water and has quite a bit of grass in it. For the angler who enjoys fishing rubber rats, rubber frogs, swimming worms and grass type baits, this lake can be very exciting. Another honey hole at P-Arrow, the brewer pond, is more than 65 years old and contains a native strain of large mouth bass. It is also home to shellcrackers blue gills. If a fly-fisherman likes to catch bass and bream this is the place for him to do that. Pruitt built coyote lake with the structure fisherman in mind. After seeing Ray Scott’s video on how to build a pond to produce big bass he adopted many of the ideas for Scott’s tape.

Available are guided largemouth bass and bream fishing trips in over 110 acres of lakes. Bass as large as 14 pounds have been caught. And, catches of as many as 50-75 fish a day are the norm for the P Arrow fishing experience.

A guide will accompany the fishing party. We will provide you with a boat and a guide for the length of your trip. Fishing for Bass are catch and release.

Clayton Batts – Fishing with the New Bio-Bait!

P-ARROW Plantation is truly a heaven on earth. The staff is some of the best people you will ever meet and the food is worth coming in early for. It is truly an outdoorsman’s paradise whether you come to fish or hunt; I promise that you will leave with a smile on your face. The cover is abundant from fishing trees in open water, to simply beating the banks you are guaranteed to catch fish. The fish are strong and healthy and willing to bite anything in your box. The question is not when am I going to get a bite, but how big is the fish going to be. Thanks for a great trip and hope to see yall very soon.

Clayton Batts


Nothing says Memorial Day Weekend like a family picnic. And this past May 26th, the Team (Debra, Diana, and Chris) was invited to attend a “family picnic” of sorts for the Texas Big Game Awards Edwards Plateau Region. As we arrived in Burnet, Texas and entered the Galloway Hammond Center you couldn’t help but feel right at home. We were greeted with rows of tables lined with red and white checkered tablecloths, BBQ Brisket and sausage, cobbler, and good old-fashioned iced tea. Kids of all ages were running around having a great time. Sounds like a picnic to me.

As we made our way around the room, we met Lee Loeffler with Texas Land Bank and asked if he could use some TexasHuntFish stickers for his table. He obliged and asked us if Allen Shannon put us up to this. Turns out that Lee and Allen are friends and he just spent the weekend with him on one of their famous family camp outs. Click Here to read Kamping For Kids II by Allen Shannon.

Next we found the hosts of the evening, David Brimager, Assistant Vice President of the Texas Wildlife Association and Dr. Dan McBride, President of the Texas Taxidermy Association and big supporter of TWA. These guys are tireless supporters of TWA, TBGA, the TPWD and the Texas Youth Hunting Program, and not to mention two of the nicest guys on the planet. The room was buzzing with excitement as the awards ceremony neared and the room was filled with the smoky smell of country BBQ.

As the food was being set up, we were fortunate enough to talk with two custom knife makers, Charles Miller and Mike Morgan, about their passion for knife making. They both work out of the Burnet, Texas area using the best materials available. Knife making is a true art that takes time to master. While Mike’s craftsmanship is of a high quality, he still considers himself an apprentice and explained that it takes years to master the craft. Charles Miller is highly knowledgeable and had some very interesting things to say about his journey into knife making.

Find out more about Charles Miller Custom Knives and Mike Morgan Custom Knives.

Coming Soon Diana’s interview with Charles Miller

The cowbell sounded and dinner was on! We enjoyed fine country BBQ and I have to admit that this was one of the best “banquet” meals I’ve had in a long time. What a relaxing build-up to the night’s big event. After dinner, we settled in to watch the awards being handed out to young and old.

The backdrop for the awards ceremony was a very impressive wall of mounted trophies, including the 202 2/8 (net score) first harvest for 10 year old girl, yes 10, Mariah Gary shot on the Six Gun Ranch. Her father told that Mariah had been asleep in the stand and he had to wake her up to take the shot, to which she replied, “Is it the big one?”

Both her parents and younger sister were very proud of her and some of the older men were asking if they could switch their smaller bucks out for hers. Many of them also said that they’ve never harvested a buck that big and have been hunting for 20 plus years. Mariah just smiled and looked at her dad. She was one of many winners that night.

Cami Carrosco won the first harvest essay contest, which Dr. McBride pointed out that there is not an age limit on the contest. Whether you are 10 or 100, you can win. Cami’s buck scored 133 2/8 (net score) and was shot on the Nelms Ranch.

She said it was an unforgettable experience and one that she will always treasure. Whether it’s hunting with your dad or an official Huntmaster, passing on the hunting heritage for present and future generations is essential to the goals of the Youth Hunting Program put together by the Texas Wildlife Association and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

The awards ceremony also honored many Texas Landowners for their pursuit in passing on the hunting heritage. Among them were the Six Gun Ranch, Nelms Ranch, Apache Springs Ranch, Kerr WMA, West Kerr Ranch, and many others. They were honored for participating in land and wildlife management, conservation efforts, as well as for supporting the Youth Hunting Program. A couple of landowners brought a very large display of native Texas plants with information cards showing their effects on different animal species like Quail, Deer, and Turkey. I asked them how long it took to gather up all these plants and they very proudly stated it took them all of 20 minutes or so. Check out the pictures.

We had a great time and hope that next year’s banquet will be filled with more members and their families. Our thanks go to David Brimager, Dr. Dan McBride, and everyone at the TBGA, TWA and TPWD for allowing us to support your conservation and education efforts. See you next year.

Hunt Hard. Fish Smart. Explore Texas.

~Debra Heater

Find out more about these organizations by visiting their websites:

Texas Wildlife Association

Texas Big Game Awards

Texas Youth Hunting Program
4,100 acre year round lease in Zavala County approximately 7 miles south of LaPryor and 8 miles north of Crystal City. Classic South Texas mesquite brush country, lots of drainage, rolling terrain. There are lots of good roads cut throughout the property which provide better access to the brush and an increased amount of terrain for “joy riding”. The property has about 3.5 miles of Nueces River frontage. There is a dam about 4 miles downstream that creates a small lake (reservoir). We are on the top end of this reservoir and it makes our entire river frontage approximately 60 yards wide and 20 feet deep (even in drought conditions). The water is a clear/blue/green color, not muddy like most rivers that you find in South Texas. It is perfect for taking the kids swimming in the summer, launching a small boat/canoe/kayak, or tying out limb lines if you like big catfish. The river bottom supports an entirely different ecosystem than the brush and has huge live oak trees, some of which are over 5’ in diameter at the trunk.

There are 4 tanks and the fishing is great. Several black bass approaching 8 lbs have been caught, 4 kids with night crawlers and bobbers will land about a dozen 2 lb. channel cats in about 45 minutes.

There is a 160 acre field by the river that can be irrigated (irrigation is unusual in South Texas). We currently have 40 acres of oats planted in the river field and another 25 acre plot in the center of the ranch.

I have hunted this ranch for the last 4 seasons. I am now looking for 3 seasoned hunters to enjoy and steward this ranch with me. The owners and their family could not be nicer people and their desire is to establish long term relationships with quality hunters who are respectful to them and to their property. Any hunters who can fit that mold will have the opportunity to hunt on their ranch for a long, long time. The opportunity for longevity is invaluable to anyone who is looking for a new lease.

The base lease cost is $7,950 per gun. There are additional camp expenses that are split by the group (electric bill, insurance, all feeder corn, protein, biologist fees, maintenance, etc.). If you sign up for this lease, you will be required to pay $2,500 to our camp account for your portion of the expenses for the year. This amount should cover all of your camp expenses for the rest of the lease term which runs through February of 2010. If there are any surplus funds in the camp expense account at the end of the year then those funds are redistributed to the group. I take care of keeping all feeders full and batteries charged. You will be required to contribute 2 corn feeders and 2 protein feeders (protein feeders must be at least 700 lb. capacity). You may be required to contribute a blind at some point, but that isn’t required or needed at this time. All corn/protein feed pens are built and in place (17 total). All hunting locations are established. All members have equal access to all hunting locations. There are currently 18 hunting locations set up (1 without a pen for corn only). You only need to bring the feed equipment to the ranch and I will get it set for you. If you are buying new equipment I may be able to pick it up for you and deliver it to the ranch.

We operate under a MLDP Level 3 permit. This extends “rifle season” for bucks and does from Oct. 1st – Feb. 28th, doe harvest may be limited after the rut. The MLD also allows/requires hunters to use tags provided by the TPWD. Under MLDP Level 3, any one individual may harvest many more than 5 deer per season which is the traditional individual tag limit.

We are a management minded group and it is expected that any trophies taken are Post Mature (6.5 years old and older). We have harvest guidelines for management deer that will be provided to those that are interested in this lease.

Over the last 4 seasons we have harvested 79 Does, 88 Cull Bucks, & 2 Trophy Bucks. One of the Trophy Bucks taken scored 171 B&C and was a natural 13 point with a broken drop. In a typical season we see around 3 – 4 deer that score near or above 160 B&C. Most of those deer were aged on the hoof as being “4.5 – 5.5” and not post mature so they were not taken. We have shot several large 8pt. culls that were in the mid 130 – mid 140 B&C range. Antler growth was down this year like it was all over South Texas and we only identified 2 bucks over 160 this past season. The doe to buck ratio has consistently been 1.5 Does: 1 Buck. The herd density is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 deer per 18 acres.

This is a low fence ranch. The west boundary is HWY 83 and across the highway is the La Chaparosa which is a top end ranch. There is a high fence on the La Chaparosa about 600 yards in from the highway and runs parallel to our fence line. The north neighbor is a 5,000 acre pasture out of the Mac Pryor Ranch. This north neighbor is leased by a 12 gun group of 6 bow hunters and 6 rifle hunters. The north neighbor has been managed for 15 years, they shot 3-4 deer over 160 B&C this last season and the largest of those was mid-170 B&C (in a drought year). The ranch which is on the west end of our south fence line is rarely hunted and this property is wild and raw. The neighbor on the east end of the south fence line leases to hunters that corn our fence line and have corn feeders close to our fence line, we consider this neighbor a bad neighbor concerning management. The east boarder is the river which is deep & wide and is probably as good as a high fence. Overall, out of the 14 miles of fence line that boarders and surrounds the ranch, I would say that about 80% of it is occupied with “good” neighbors for a low fence situation.

This will be our 5th year feeding protein and we have 17 protein feeding locations (one per 241 acres). We have completed 4 years of herd management. When we took the lease in 2006, the ranch had been basically not hunted for decades (probably not since the 1970’s). The only hunting pressure prior to our 2006 lease came from an outfitter who purchased 6 bucks per season during the 2003 & 2004 seasons. As far as trophy management goes, in 2006 we were starting from scratch. The ranch is still a work in progress concerning herd development. The rancher to our north told me that it took them 8 years to develop their herd to the level that it is today (3-4 160 class deer taken per year). Point is, don’t consider this lease if you expect to shoot a 160 class post mature buck in your first season, while that is certainly possible, I believe that we are about 3 years away from having a top end herd where 3-4 160 class bucks (or better) are taken each year. In the last 4 years I (personally) could have killed 2 bucks at or above 160 B&C on this ranch. Neither buck was clearly post mature, and they both walked.

We have an open guest policy on this ranch and lease members do not need to sit in the blind with their guests, but lease members are responsible for their guest’s actions and for any game that is harvested by their guest. A lease member may bring more than one guest, but we are limited to 12 hunters on the ranch at one time so we just have to coordinate with each other when we are bringing people down. Kids are welcomed and encouraged. The owner likes to saddle up horses for the kids a few times each year. We have the opportunity to arrange access to horses and riding equipment by contributing something to the owners feed costs. Keeping your own horse on the property could possibly be arranged (for a fee).

Our camp consists of a well/water system, septic, a 16,000 s.f. crushed limestone pad/parking area, covered deck, cleaning area, and 2 Conex storage boxes (one for feed and one for storage). New hunters will need to bring down their own mobile home or R.V. There are spots set up on the crushed limestone pad for trailers to be parked. They have septic lines, electric, and water hook ups in place for easy set up.

The owner also has a relatively new three bedroom mobile home that sits behind their homestead (this is about 1.5 miles from our camp). We can use this trailer whenever it is needed for spill over, or if you were down there with your wife or a guest and you didn’t want to stay in an R.V. This trailer has a big screen TV with a dish so we typically watch the football games over there. The owner’s mobile home is only for spill over and is not to be used as any hunter’s primary lodging when on the property.

There are lots of turkeys. Quail have been good in wet years but not in dry years. Dove hunting on the tanks is always steady, there are some fields that have re-grown old plantings and have been full of dove. There are lots of ducks & sand hill crane. Plenty of pigs, coyote, etc. We can’t shoot bobcats.

There are a total of 8 guns on the ranch. I am one of the guns.

Thank you for your time and interest. If you are an experienced management minded hunter and easy to get along with then you will be welcomed. Anyone who is laid back will enjoy our group and this ranch.
News Release
General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406

Sept. 22, 2010

Weekly migratory bird hunting reports are posted from early September through early February.

North Zone Dove: Best hunts have been in milo, corn and sunflowers around Abilene, Lubbock and Amarillo. The absence of cool fronts have not encouraged new migrants to find Texas, though a brighter moon might prompt new birds to head south this week. Red River hunters have enjoyed afternoon shoots over soybeans, roosting trees and ponds. Hunter participation has waned since the opener. Prospects are fair to good.

Central Zone Dove: Wet conditions have hampered the flight near San Antonio. Brownwood and Stephenville hunters have seen fair afternoon shoots around grain fields. Harrison and Panola county hunters have found best shoots around goatweed and plowed ground. Sealy and Columbus hunters saw more birds this week since nearby South Zone fields were hunted. Hunts near Hankamer, Winnie and Anahuac were fair. Prospects are fair to good.

South Zone Dove: Good shoots were posted in sunflowers, plowed ground and corn around El Campo and Danevang, despite heavy rains throughout opening weekend. Rain slowed hunts around Port Lavaca. Bay City hunters were inundated with rain, which limited the flight. Rain bands coming off the Gulf of Mexico drenched Rio Grande Valley hunters. Prospects are good when the region begins to dry.

Teal Season: It has been an average teal season along the coast with plenty of rain and little cool weather. Hunting slowed as a whole on the prairies and marshes since no cool fronts have prompted new ducks to migrate. Many hunters did report better flights early this week, probably due to the upcoming full moon. Unofficial harvest reports indicate more hens have arrived, giving rise to the notion the first wave of birds (mostly adult drakes) have moved south. Typically, the majority of adult drakes migrate first, then hens that did not raise a brood, then hens with their first-year. Most bluewings are in drab plumage, but hens and drakes can be distinguished by their chevrons (wingpatches). Males will have a solid white chevron while females will have broken blotches of brown that breaks up the white on the wing. Teal season ends at sunset Sept. 26. The regular duck season open Oct. 30 in both the North and South zones. Prospects are fair to good.


More Information:

Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.

Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context.

Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.

To copy text into an editing software:

Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
Select all.
Paste in a document in your editing program.
English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.

E-mail — This link launches your e-mail client with the subject and message filled in. All you need to do is fill in the recipient.

If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to [email protected] and mention Plain Text Pages.
Wildlife biologists at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are cautiously optimistic about quail prospects this season, which gets under way Saturday, Oct. 30 statewide.

This past winter a two-year drought in the major quail hunting areas of the state was finally broken. Range conditions and more importantly, according to TPWD, nesting and brood rearing habitat greatly improved, setting the stage for a marked increase in production. Unfortunately, after two years of unfavorable weather, the number of quail available to breed had become quite low. In general, quail rebound fastest from the remaining pockets of survivors from last season.

“Low carryover is the biggest obstacle to recovering quail populations,” said Robert Perez, TPWD upland game bird program leader. “Quail species are hardwired to take advantage of good reproductive environmental conditions. It’s part of their survival strategy. So many are consumed each year, the species relies on a high reproductive output in order to persist on the landscape. We expect a greatly improved season over last year but a hen can only do so much in one year. Given another wet winter and spring we could expect a much stronger rebound next season.”

Perez indicated those ranches that managed habitat for quail during the extended dry spell will likely see more birds this season, which runs Oct. 30-Feb. 27.

The daily bag limit for quail is 15, with 45 in possession. Legal shooting hours for all non-migratory game birds are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The bag limit is the maximum number that may be killed during the legal shooting hours in one day.

Since 1978, TPWD has conducted annual statewide quail surveys to track population trends. This index uses randomly selected, 20-mile roadside survey lines to determine annual quail population trends by ecological region. This trend information helps determine relative quail populations among the regions of Texas. Comparisons can be made between the average number of quail observed per route this year and the long term average for quail seen within an ecological region. The quail survey was not designed to predict relative abundance for any area smaller than the ecological region.

Following are summary prospects for each region this season:

Rolling Plains
This region received timely winter, spring and summer rainfall resulting in excellent breeding conditions for bobwhite quail. The summer rains extended the window of opportunity for nesting. If a hen failed in her first attempt, there was ample time for a second attempt. The limiting factor was the number of birds available to breed. Field reports indicate that quail have made a strong comeback in areas that held birds last year. Other areas have improved as well but to a lesser extent. It’s a good idea to scout ahead to be sure the areas you plan to hunt are holding birds.

The average number of bobwhites observed per route was 8.0 compared to 6.6 last year. This is well below the Long Term Mean of 21.5. Despite low counts, enough young birds and coveys have been anecdotally reported that we suspect hunters will be able to find birds. Public hunting opportunities can be found at the Matador and the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Areas.

South Texas Plains
Although considered one of the last strongholds for quail, South Texas is not immune to drought impacts on quail populations. The 2009 season was no exception and quail numbers were down. Consequently, it will effect the 2010 season.

There should be greater nesting success and production of bobwhite quail this year on those properties that have an adequate number of carryover birds from last year. On many properties that did not implement the proper management techniques or limit grazing pressure, there will be fewer birds available for production. In these areas it could possibly take a few above average years to regain those populations to normal levels.

This region also experienced a wet winter, spring and summer. South Texas also had very few days 100 degrees or greater. Cool-wet summers are ideal for quail reproduction but similar to the Rolling Plains, carryover was a limiting factor. Overall, our surveys indicate an increase in population compared to last year but still below average across the region. The best opportunities will be on well managed sites that held over birds from last year.

The average number of bobwhites observed per route was 8.61 compared to 5.2 last year. This is well below the Long Term Mean of 18.6 and is predictive of a below average hunting season. The Chaparral and the Daughtrey Wildlife Management Areas provide public quail hunting opportunities.

Portions of the Trans-Pecos ecological region received timely rainfall while other areas either missed the rains completely or received it at times less beneficial to scaled quail. As a result, reproduction varied across the region. Field reports indicate that birds can be found in areas with good range condition. Reports from the western edge of the Edwards Plateau (the Stockton Plateau) indicate an improvement over last year but still below average.

The average number of scaled quail observed per route was 7.2 compared to 16.9 last year. This is below the Long Term Mean of 17.5. Public hunter opportunities can be found at Elephant Mountain and Black Gap Wildlife Management Areas.

Other Areas
TPWD surveys indicate that bobwhite numbers in Gulf Prairies are similar to last season. Hunters should focus on the central and lower coast in native prairie habitats. The Cross Timbers and Edwards Plateau continue to report numbers well below their respective Long Term Means. Although there are certainly areas within each region where some quail hunting opportunity remains, this survey is not designed to detect changes in localized populations, especially in fragmented landscapes.

CLICK HERE for article on Texas Parks and Wildlife
Common Gray Fox, Urocyon cinereoargenteus (Schreber), a medium-sized fox with grayish upperparts, reddish brown legs, tawny sides, and whitish throat, cheeks and mid-line of belly; sides of muzzle and lower jaw with distinct blackish patch; tail with distinct blackish stripe on upperside and black tip (no white on end of tail as in the red fox; tail roughly triangular, not round, in cross section; skull with distinct lyrate temporal ridges, which meet only at hind part of skull. Dental formula as in the red fox. External measurements average: total length, 970 mm; tail, 347 mm; hind foot, 143 mm. Weight, ordinarily 3-5 kg, occasionally as much as 9 kg.

Distribution in Texas

The gray fox is essentially an inhabitant of wooded areas, particularly mixed hardwood forests. It is common throughout the wooded sections east of the shortgrass plains and in the pinyon-juniper community above the low lying deserts.

This fox is adept at climbing trees, particularly if they are leaning or have branches within 3 m of the ground, and it is not unusual for it to use this escape device when pursued by hounds. Contrary to common belief, gray foxes are not strictly animals of the night, but they are much more active then. They have been observed on many occasions in the daytime under conditions that suggested they were foraging. When so encountered, they often move to one side behind a protecting screen of vegetation and wait for the intruder to pass.

Gray foxes usually den in crevices in the rocks, in underground burrows, under rocks, in hollow logs, or in hollow trees. In eastern Texas, one was found denning about 10 m above the ground in a large hollow oak. In central Texas, a den was found in a hollow live oak with the entrance about 1 m above the ground. Two unusual den sites which have been documented include a pile of wood and a field of sorghum into which a fox had “tunneled.”

The gray fox is omnivorous; the food varies with season and availability. Based upon the stomach contents of 42 foxes from Texas, the winter food consisted chiefly of small mammals (cottontails, cotton rats, pocket gophers, pocket mice), 56%; followed by insects, largely grasshoppers, 23%; and birds (doves, quail, sparrows, blackbirds, towhees), 21%. In the spring the diet was but slightly changed — small mammals, 68%; insects, 25%; small birds, 17%. In late summer and fall, persimmons and acorns led with 30%; insects, 26%; small mammals, 16%; birds, 14%; crayfish, 14%. In these 42 stomachs, chicken and quail occurred once each, and mourning doves twice. Consequently, as judged from these analyses, the usual food habits of the gray fox do not conflict much with man’s economy.

In Texas, the breeding season begins in December and continues on into March. Most females captured in March and April are gravid. The three to six pups are born in April or May after a gestation period of about 53 days. At first they are blind and helpless, but they grow rapidly and soon leave the home nest, possibly because of the heavy infestation of fleas characteristic of such nests. Then they seek shelter in rock piles, under rocks, in piles of brush, or in other sites that offer concealment and protection.

Of some interest is the possible relationship between gray foxes and coyotes. In sections of Texas where coyotes formerly were numerous, the gray fox was scarce; now, after elimination of the coyote, the gray fox has become abundant. Perhaps the coyote tends to hold this fox in check under conditions where they both occupy the same area.

Gray foxes are thought to live six to 10 years in the wild. Major factors causing mortality include predation, parasites, diseases, and man. The gray fox is among the most important of Texas’ fur-bearing animals.
credit to :

When to keep and when to kill the prickly pear

Like most things in life, the prickly pear cactus has it pros and its cons. For anyone who has ever had a brush with prickly pear glochids, those tiny, barbed spines that can inflict a world of hurt, it might be difficult to envision particular positives at that moment. But fans of the slightly tart, almost citrus flavor of nopalitos, made from the tender young pads of the cactus, are happy to extol the prickly pear’s culinary virtues. The brilliant magenta fruit of the prickly pear – the tuna – can also be eaten raw (once denuded of its spines and peeled) or used to make sweet jellies or syrups. In his accounts of experiences in the area now known as Texas, Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca noted the prickly pear as a staple of the native peoples’ diet. During times of drought, the prickly pear has long served as an emergency source of food for livestock. Ranchers have often initiated controlled burns or used “pear burners” to rid the cactus of its painful spines, making it easier for cattle to eat.
But while a plate of fajitas con nopalitos washed down with a prickly pear margarita is all fine and tasty, what about prickly pear and wildlife?
In moderation, prickly pear is an excellent plant for whitetail deer, javelina, and other wildlife. As a bonus non-nutritional benefit, bobwhite quail and small mammals utilize the cactus for screening and protective cover. It can also serve as a protective “nurse plant” for more desirable woody and herbaceous plants. Like many other native plants, it has its wildlife-beneficial features, as long as it is limited on a property. It also occupies an aesthetic place on the Texas landscape, particularly during the spring when its delicate pink buds blossom to showy yellow flowers. However, when landowners have too much of a good thing and prickly pear density and abundance suppress native grass, forb, and shrub diversity, then it needs to be controlled. In addition to crowding out other native plants, over-abundant prickly pear can also limit some wildlife management practices such as mowing and discing due to concerns about spreading the prickly pear.
Unlike other cacti which tend to grow slowly, the fast growing prickly pear can spread at a sometimes alarming rate. This tends to happen in pastures that have been subjected to long-term overgrazing. Once prickly pear gets established in dense stands, the only way to reduce its dominance is to kill it. Options for doing so include digging out the plants (roots included) by hand or with equipment, which is labor intensive, and the plants must be gathered to prevent creating new plants from loose pads. Prescribed fire followed by immediate grazing can reduce its dominance and has other benefits, but the most practical, long-term solution for problem prickly pear is to have it professionally treated with a herbicide.
It takes a strong herbicide to take down prickly pear and, if not carefully applied, it can kill other desirable plants. Herbicides that control prickly pear are almost all controlled use herbicides, which means you must have a license to buy and use them.
Because many landowners do not have a controlled use license for prickly pear herbicide, or the experience to assess the value of leaving some prickly pear for wildlife, Plateau offers prickly pear removal as one of its many Wildlife Management services. Plateau takes the time to thoroughly treat each plant individually to get the best possible kill without wasting expensive herbicide, and to make sure that only the target plants are treated.
The best time to treat prickly pear is when the invasion is still limited to small, but abundant, plants. Select plants should be retained for the positive benefits they provide, including cover and food. While prickly pear control can be done year round, the best seasons to do so, if a herbicide is used, are spring to early summer, and then in the fall, as post-treatment rainfall is important to move the herbicide into the soil. But, as we all know, Mother Nature doesn’t always follow the calendar, so ideal windows can shift from year to year. Summer applications can also be very effective if soil moisture levels are adequate and rainfall is expected.
Because successful herbicide application takes planning, landowners in need of prickly pear control – or those in need of an assessment of their prickly pear situation – should contact professionals like Plateau prior to the ideal treatment seasons so a treatment plan is at the ready when the time is right.

Early summer is also the only good time to do foliar herbicide applications for mesquite. Half-cutting mesquite is best done during the spring/early summer period as well.

credit to: Article From Plateau Land and Wildlife Management
A step by step guide to get you in the field!

Dove Hunting in Coppell Texas is a great sport for all ages. Whether you are 12 or 50, it can be rewarding. I started at age 17 and haven’t missed an opening day since. As the summer begins, my heart and mind always go to September 1st (opening day North and Central Zones in Texas) although it is likely very different in your area. With all that said, if you would like to try it out I have some practical things for you to do to make getting started easy.

Getting started falls into two basic categories:

What to purchase?
What to do?

What to Purchase

I know, you are thinking this is going to be expensive. It can be (if you have the money), if not, you can start out on a shoestring budget, like me. There are many items that make dove hunting more comfortable but they are not necessary to start dove hunting. I’ll begin with the bare necessities.

A Shotgun
I don’t think there is any way around this one, unless you are real good with a sling shot. There are many options when it come to a shotgun. The basic categories are; pump action, auto-matic, and over and under. All three have there advantages and disadvantages. The other things involved in purchasing a shotgun are , what gauge and what brand.

A pump action shot gun is the least expensive type of shotgun. Pumps can be purchased for around $300. Winchester and Remington have decent entry level pump shotguns. A pump simply means that the discharging and reloading of shells is done by pumping the gun backwards and then forward. Contrary to popular belief, this can be done very quickly and all have shot a lot of birds with a pump. A pump’s advantages are it is a great starter gun and the cost will keep some money in the bank if you are on a budget.

An automatic shotgun is an upgrade from a pump. An automatic shotgun ejects the spent shell and reloads the chamber automatically (hints why it’s called an automatic). Both the pump and automatic hold three shells(with the plug in). For a beginner and even for me (as I shoot an automatic), the third shot can be a life saver. Automatic shotguns can be pricey though.

Gauges: When buying a shotgun, size does matter. The smaller the number the larger the shell.

Mourning Dove

The bottom line is you have to have a gun, so decide on your budget and make a purchase that will last a life time. Let’s keep a running total….

1-pump-action gun = $300

2. A place to Dove hunt near CoppellTexas

I’d say this is a necessity. Here again, this depends on your bank account. There are several ways to hunt without paying ant outrageous amount of money. In Texas, they have public land and for around $50 one can access thousands of acres. The trick is finding a spot with birds. There are also day hunts for around $100 per day, and even some leases for around $150 per season (usually these suck). If you’ve got the money, look for some established leases in the newspapers. They can range anywhere from $300 to $1000 per gun. Again, a gun is no good if you don’t have a place to shoot it (preferably with birds on it or flying by).

1-pump shotgun @ $300, 1- public land permit @ $50

3. Hunting license

I don’t think this needs too much elaboration. Depending on your Texas, should be around $10-50. You also may need additional “stamps” on your state license.

1-pump shotgun @ $300, 1- public land permit @ $50, 1- hunting license @ $40,


You can really go crazy here if you want, but there are a few ‘must haves’.

Shells. I could write a novel on this, but to start just buy some 8 shot dove load. Buy a case (10 boxes), should be around $60.
Bird/bullet bag.Probably a three pouch camo, $15.
Chair. Get a comfortable one. They are cheap $30 max.
Camo clothing. Depending on your climate, you’ll need pants and a shirt. The more pockets the better. You might want to buy some boots too. We’ll say $100.
Other accessories you might want to get could be a water bottle (camo, of course), flashlight, hunting vest, a new cooler (to put all your birds you kill in), camo hat, and polarized sunglasses. For now i won’t figure these into cost.
1-pump shotgun @ $300, 1- public land permit @ $50, 1- hunting license @ $40, 1-set of accessories @ $205.

That’s it! The grand total to get you into business is around $600. It sounds like a lot, but if you don’t wait until the last minute you can budget it in over time.

In the next article, I’ll cover what to do to get started dove hunting in CoppellTexas.

Dove hunting is a popular form of sport that is embraced by many people in CoppellTexas. When hunting for dove, there are numerous factors that can go into making every hunting excursion successful. Some helpful dove hunting tips would include such topics as the hunter’s armament, concealment, decoys, and a good working knowledge of a dove’s normal activity.

Armament is the easiest external factor to control while hunting for this fowl. Try to keep in mind that doves are small birds and smaller caliber ammunition will be required. The best guns to use are either repeating, pump action, or double barreled shotguns in 12, 16, or 20 gauge varieties.

Concealment and decoys are both good ways to attract and shield oneself from being spotted by potential prey. A decoy works by portraying the look of doves and attracting them into a predetermined kill zone. Doves, like many birds, are pack animals and are attracted to other doves. However, when attracting doves, one must be well camouflaged because doves have very good eyesight.

Finally, the knowledge of dove behavior and the seasons for hunting them are critical to being a good hunter. Doves are seed eating animals, so a dove hunter should place himself and his decoys in wherever there is a healthy supply of seeds. They are also easier to spot in the morning to the mid-afternoon.

Dove hunting is a popular sport because they are a plentiful animal that can be found in many locations in the United States. When going on a dove hunt, a person must use smaller caliber ammunition out of a shotgun and remain well hidden. Place decoys in heavily seeded areas and wait for them to come to you. One things is for sure, dove hunters will find that after years of hunting these fast moving birds, they will end up being a crack shot.
Have a questions about hunting in Argentina?
Los Gauchos Outfitters is based in the US and we are here to answer your questions. We have all traveled the route and know the country and the hunting – so ask! Please contact us with any other questions and have a good time bird hunting in Argentina.

How do I get to the Santa Fe Lodge in Argentina ?

Clients from the USA will fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE airport code) and then transfer to the domestic airport for a flight to Santa Fe, Argentina. Please keep in mind the costs associated with transportation from Buenos Aires interntational airport to the domestic airport. We have a great guide who can meet you – contact us for more information and fees associated with our travel service within Buenos Aires, Argentina.

What Argentina hunting is available at the Santa Fe Lodge ?

Bird hunting at the Los Gauchos Santa Fe Lodge will give you the best of bird hunting in Argentina.

Morning Duck Hunts
Afternoon Argentina Dove Hunting
Afternoon Perdiz Hunting
Do we need waders for the duck hunting in Argentina ?

Pack Your Duck Hunting Waders
Yes. Please pack some light weight waders for the morning duck hunts at the Santa Fe Lodge.

What do I need to travel to Argentina (visa or passport) ?

Currently USA citizens only need a valid current passport to enter Argentina. Please note your passport must NOT expire within 6 months of entry or exit from Argentina.

There is a new fee for North Americans entering Buenos Aires. The current rate is about $142 and is paid when you arrive at the airport.

How do I get to the Santa Fe Lodge ?

When you land at the Santa Fe Lodge, our head guide will be there to meet you and transfer you and your group to the Santa Fe Lodge. The drive time is about 1 hour 30 minutes from the Santa Fe Lodge.

What is the Santa Fe Lodge like ?

The Santa Fe lodge is able to accommodate up to 8 hunters. Rooms are designed for double occupancy. Please inquire if you would like a single room. Depending on availability we can accommodate you (there is a fee to reserve a single room at the Santa Fe Lodge).

What are the limits for the Bird Hunting at Santa Fe in Argentina ?

The limit for the morning duck hunt is 25 ducks per day per hunter. There is NO limit for dove hunting in Argentina. The limit for Perdiz is 10 Perdiz per hunter.

What does the daily rate include at the Santa Fe Lodge ?

The Argentina BIrd Hunting Trip at the Santa Fe Lodge includes:

Lodging, Beverages, Guided Hunting (Ducks, Doves, Perdiz), Guns, Tips
Ground Transfer Fee – includes the transfers in Santa Fe, Argentina and during your hunt. This fee DOES NOT include any transfer in Buenos Aires.
License – includes the bird hunting license for ducks, doves, and Perdiz.
What is the hunting season in Argentina ?

Argentina Hunting Seasons
The Argentina duck hunting season is May 1 to August 31. The Perdiz season begins May 1st and ends July 31st. Dove hunting is available year round in Argentina.

Can I bring my own shotgun to Argentina ?

Yes, you can. Our daily rates include the use of high quality Benelli m2 semiauto shotguns. You will have to pay a fee of $110 at the airport and there is a fee to have our guide meet you at the airport to assist with registering the gun. Please make sure you keep all licenses with you at all times. When you depart, the officials will have to see the license.
Duck Hunting in Uruguay has gained its notoriety through the focus on the duck hunting land and rice farms and duck hunting guides that are keen to the behavior of the Uruguay ducks and the calls that bring the Uruguay into the fields in high volume flocks each day during duck hunting season. While duck hunting in Uruguay rarely makes national news, the duck hunting Los Gauchos provides in Uruguay has every reason to make the headlines.

The duck hunting in Uruguay is the way it used to be in the US during the beloved winter duck season. Much of Uruguay is still farmland with the capital, Montevideo bare of skyscrapers and high population. Farmers in Uruguay rely on their crops including rice farms and much of Uruguay’s economy is based on the agircultural rewards of Uruguay rice farms. Ducks that migrate into Uruguay during the winter months (May to August) congregate around the rice fields and potholes and marshes. This is one reason why Uruguay is such a duck hunting paradise.

Los Gauchos is set up right on a private rice farm and the lodge is within minutes of these duck feeding spots. Thus, duck hunting in Uruguay is a satisfying occurrence for all duck hunters, young and old and everything in between. Los Gauchos operates four lodges for the Uruguay duck hunting trips. One is dedicated to pure duck hunting both morning and afternoon duck hunts with lodging about 15 minutes from the duck blind. The lodge is equipped with wireless internet, full kitchen and dining room, private baths, double occupancy and large living room with a fireplace to enjoy the Uruguay wines and food.

Los Gauchos Outfitters has two Duck Hunting Lodges that offer the best in duck hunting. Waterfowl hunting and the meals, service, guides, and experience is worth a million – but the rates we charge are NOT even close.

Duck hunting in Uruguay should be the best trip – from pre trip planning to flights to/from Uruguay to the service before, during and after your Uruguay duck hunting trip. Guess what – Los Gauchos ranks high and the bottom line – is near the bottom. Huh?

Duck hunting in Uruguay – $599 and below! So contact Los Gauchos Outfitters today to find out about the duck hunts and the packages they include. We look forward to seeing you in duck hunting paradise – Uruguay.

The Uruguay duck hunting is set apart from the other hunting trips in Uruguay. It is a seasonal affair, with the Uruguay duck hunting season starting May 1st and lasting until the end of August. The hunting lodge is a great experience for the advanced duck hunter, the beginning duck hunter, or the waterfowl hunter who just wants to experience the best duck hunting in Uruguay. While many stories have been released talking about the duck hunting population dramatically decreasing, the stories and research does detail the fact that sons are more likely to hunt if their dads or grandfathers are avid duck hunters.
Uruguay is a peaceful country without the modernization that tends to keep the young duck hunters away from the fields. Los Gauchos welcomes father and son pairs, as we usually place two hunters in a blind with a duck hunting guide. The species of ducks is vast and many are only found in South America.

See the photos for the various ducks that are abundant in Uruguay: Rosy bill pochards, Silver Teal, and White Faced Tree Duck are just a few of the many species of ducks one will experience on a Uruguay duck hunting trip.

Uruguay duck hunting provides the duck hunter a duck hunting season year round, since seasons are opposite those in North America. Access and availability is large in number. So contact Los Gauchos Outfitters today to find out more about the outstanding duck hunting in Uruguay and how the ease of getting to Uruguay and enjoying the Uruguay duck hunting lodge will bring back and create many good memories.

See the professionals taking advantage of the authentic Uruguay duck hunting outfitters, Los Gauchos. Duck hunting in Uruguay has never been this good and season after season Los Gauchos Outfitters provides.

There is a place…in the southern part of the South American continent, where wingshooting dreams are made into realities—365 days a year. In Uruguay, it is open season on doves and pigeons, and duck season is open from May until September. The dove hunting in Uruguay can only be described as out of this world! Only Argentina dove hunting can compare, and the duck hunting in Uruguay has made this little country famous throughout the world in waterfowl hunting camps, and chat rooms alike.

All the buzz has created quite a stir on outdoor television networks as well, and no one has brought more bird hunting in Uruguay to your television set than Los Gauchos Outfitters. Since 2003, we have been featured in one episode per year, and our credits include: Benelli American Safari, Benelli Dream Hunts, The Beretta Bird Hunter’s Journal, American Gun Dog, and Final Approach TV—where one can always watch the world’s best waterfowl hunting destinations live, and in color.

Many of our clients who have never been on a Uruguay hunting trip ask us what type of packages we offer with respect to our Uruguay bird hunts…our answer is this: Any and all of them. We can customize your bird hunting vacation to fit your mold, with an emphasis on the species that you wish to hunt and/or fish for. We have been doing this with our Argentina bird hunting trips since 2001, often planning overlapping trips between the two countries. A lot of our clients have been dove hunting in Argentina for years, and are ready to try something new; not just a new Argentina wingshooting trip, but an entirely new country as well. This is typically when the subject of bird hunting in Uruguay comes up, and we encourage all of our clients to give wingshooting in Uruguay a shot, because no other destination that we have more consistently pleases our clients.

Uruguay bird hunting offers the volume of shooting that our clients have come to expect from hunting in Argentina, combined with the unique class and charm that makes bird shooting in Uruguay a lot like hunting in northern Spain, or the south of France, the only difference being that instead of costing 2,000 Euros per day, the trips cost approximately $2,000 U.S. dollars for three or four days of hunting in Uruguay, depending on your quarry.

“I have never seen duck shooting like this, and I have been duck hunting in Argentina for over a decade!”

Mr. L. Haggar—Boston, MA

“Incredible Perdiz hunting! The only upland bird hunting trip that I have ever been on where I reached my limit of ten birds in less than an hour was this one. I was done in a record 37 minutes!”

“I just loved the dogs. Each day we had a different one, and all I could think about was how lucky these dogs were to have a chance to be Perdiz hunting in Uruguay almost every day during the Perdiz hunting season in Uruguay.”

Mr. and Mrs. J. Hollowell—Elko, Nevada

“Too much good food and wine. We travel on our stomachs and found the cuisine in Uruguay to be delightful. The birds were plentiful, the dog work was outstanding, and the in-the-field service was first rate. We will return for another Uruguay hunting trip sometime in the near future.”

Mr. and Mrs. L. Brennan—Elyria, OH

One of the things that might stand out from the testimonials above is the fact that two out of three of them were from couples. Bird hunting in Uruguay is our top couples shoot, because everything is close by, and our Uruguay dove hunting lodges offer plenty of recreational activities for hunters and non-hunters alike—activities such as: Spanish classes, cooking classes, horseback riding, and shopping and city tours. Day tours to Colonia are probably the most popular, followed by tours in the city of Salto, where one will find some of the only naturally occurring hot springs in all of South America.

If you would like more information about bird hunting in Uruguay, give us a call right now at 800-420-8707. We will be happy to send you a catalog featuring all of our destinations hunting in Argentina and Uruguay. Our experienced staff has been to all of these destinations many times, and our managers have worked as outfitters and guides for some of the best operations for wingshooting in Argentina.

In addition, Los Gauchos Outfitters offers fishing in Argentina and Uruguay. Try a Cast & blast on for size. If you and yours are anglers and hunters, this trip will exceed your expectations in every area: high-volume birds, and BIG fish—the Golden Dorado fishing in Uruguay is excellent.

For more PHOTOS AND VIDEOS, select the following link, and get set for some hard-hitting action: