If you are looking for an exclusive Texas hunting lease than you need to consider Tajos Hunts on the El Sauz Ranch. Tajos Hunt’s hunting lease is on 50,000 acres of the Nopales division of the El Sauz Ranch which is five miles from Port Mansfield Texas. You’ll find a large and diverse population of game including:
Whitetail Buck – Whitetail deer are popular game on the Tajos Hunts lease and the deer herds have been managed for sport hunting since 1986.
Nilgai Antelope – the most successful exotic in South Texas, Nilgai are native to India and were initially brought to the United States as zoo animals during the early 1920s and the El Sauz Ranch is home to a large free ranging herd. As the largest Indian antelope, adult males weigh over 600 pounds yet exhibit great endurance and can maintain speeds of 30 miles per hour when fleeing danger. They offer very challenging spot and stalk hunting opportunities.
Feral Hogs – Feral pigs in Texas are descended from introductions of European wild hogs for sporting purposes and from escaped domestic swine that have established feral populations.
Javelina – Early Spanish explorers called these small, pig like mammals “Javelina” which was derived from javelin because of their sharp, nearly straight canines. They top out at about 60 pounds and are classified as game animals and are available for year-round hunting excursions.
Feathered game – turkey, duck, geese, dove, and quail are plentiful on the 50,000 acres of the Tajos Hunting Lease. The acreage can produce large numbers of quail when conditions are right, but good populations of quail happen in poor rainfall years due to the varied habitat that covers the ranch. With the large areas of wetlands the ranch encompass, duck hunting is always good and easy to reach
Hunting Lease Memberships
Tajos Hunts is an very exclusive Texas hunting lease which is limited to 35 members. Each member can bring up to three guests on each visit with no limit on the number of visits to the hunting lease. Memberships are available on an individual or corporate basis. The annual membership is $21,000 and includes:
· staff provided lunch and dinner for members and guests – breakfast food is available on a self serve base
overnight lodging in the unique Nopales Lodge
full use of dog kennels
two covered parking bays which offer hunting vehicles and equipment protection from the elements
indoor game-processing facility with a walk-in cooler making game cleaning and storage quick and convenient
a secure and climate-controlled firearm storage and cleaning facility.
200 yard rifle range providing a safe environment for shooting sports, target practice, and sighting-in
swimming pool and deck chairs for relaxing
· fire pit and patio area which is perfect for a cold drink and spinning some tales
Each member can enjoy a very diverse hunting experience with the liberal game limits and year round access on this very large Texas hunting lease. The lease year starts April 1st and allows year round access by members on the 50,000 acres for hunting, fishing, bird watching, photography, enjoying the outdoors, or relaxing around the pool. The annual limits of game and fish per member and their guests per year include:
1 trophy whitetail buck
2 management whitetail buck
2 bull nilgai
4 cow nilgai
10 feral hogs
1 spring turkey
daily limits of ducks, geese, dove, and quail for each member and guest as set by State and Federal Law
daily fish limits are set by State law
Each member provides his own hunting vehicle and is free to roam and hunt all of the 50,000 acres as they desire. One blind and one feeder is allowed per member. Most members take advantage of the large size and hunt safari style from a vehicle rather than a blind. If a member requires a turn key approach, a vehicle and guide can be provided at additional cost.
Nilgai and hogs offer year round hunting opportunities. The Nilgai can reach almost 700 pounds and are excellent eating and a very good trophy animal. Nilgai, as well as deer, are managed to provide quality animals as well as numerous hunting opportunities. The fall season starts in September with early Teal and dove season. Dove and quail are usually in good numbers even during a poor rainfall year.
The same wetlands that provide superior duck hunting allow members and their guests to fish for redfish and freshwater catfish by driving right up to the water. Or if you prefer, Port Mansfield is just five minutes from the Lodge and gives you access to Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico for some of the best fishing in Texas. By boat, the Gulf Of Mexico is only nine miles away and once through the Port Mansfield Pass you’ll be able to go after the big ones like: Sailfish, Marlin, Tarpon, Ling, Mackerel and Snapper. Laguna Madre is a unique shallow water bay ecosystem that is home to redfish, speckled trout, flounder and a variety of other game fish year round Take your catch back to the ranch and have a fresh fish fry and get ready for another day of excellent hunting and fishing.
Member accommodations are in the Nopales Lodge which once served the United States Navy as a missile-tracking station. After extensive remodeling of the original building and several additions the former missile-tracking station now provides elegant accommodations with private cabanas and an inviting swimming pool and patio area. The lodge has 24 bedrooms and 23 bathrooms and a commercial grade kitchen. Nopales Lodge is located within the boundaries of the ranch and just a half mile from Highway 186, is easily accessed year-round and during any weather conditions via a paved entrance.
Nopales Lodge is conveniently located to the Port Mansfield 3500 foot runway or Valley International Airport in Harlingen is less than 30 minutes from the ranch. The Ranch is less than an hours drive from Mexico and the beaches and activities at South Padre Island.
Tajos Hunts is a unique Texas hunting membership because of it’s location, size, and facilities. It will appeal to both an individual for his own enjoyment or for a corporation who wishes to reward employees or entertain clients with excellent hunting and fishing trips. Since membership is limited to 35 members, you need to act quickly.
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.
Article From Plateau Land and Wildlife Management
#11 Protect Yourself From Bugs
The spring woods are full of several of God’s creatures, and some consider turkey hunters a good meal. In the Deep South, the creeks and sloughs are guarded by alligators and snakes. Nevertheless, to be honest, the real deep wood’s villains are the insects.
Gnats, chiggers, mosquitoes, biting flies and ticks are annoying and some can carry diseases. For this reason, hunters that rely on a spray repellant should make sure that the product has an adequate amount of DEET. Use caution however when using DEET as the concentration strengths vary, and some of the DEET is absorbed through the skin.
A better choice is to use a ThermaCell – a butane charged repellant that works remarkably.
Another choice for repelling insects is to wear a bug suit. These tightly meshed outfits serve as a thin “body armor” to protect you from bites.
Either way you choose, be prepared and know that insects can spoil your trip if you allow them to.
#12 Stay Out of Sight
When setting up in the pre-dawn hour on a roosted tom keep in mind that if you can see the turkeys then the turkeys can see you. A turkey’s vision is actually keener than that of a human.
I usually try to slip to within 100 yards of the turkeys I plan to hunt, and use natural vegetation to hide my movements as I approach my setup location.
Do not try to get any closer than the landscape will allow because you risk spooking the turkeys in the opposite direction.
#13 Stay Away from Obstacles
When setting up, keep in mind that turkeys normally do not like to cross natural barriers – like fences or creeks. Often hunters believe a turkey that was previously fired up and gobbling at will lost interest when he stops gobbling, but many times he has just run into an obstacle.
Knowing the terrain you are hunting can pay big dividends, by helping you avoid natural “hang ups.”
#14 Know Non-Verbal Turkey Talk
When closing the deal on a gobbler just out of gun range rely on non-vocal sounds that turkeys make when feeding; the easiest of which is to scratch in the leaves to simulate feeding turkeys.
Another non-vocal method of attracting turkeys in the morning is with the use of a wing to imitate turkeys scraping their wings in the tree. A wing can also accurately mimic a turkey flying down from the roost.
Exercise caution when using or carrying a turkey wing into the woods.
#15 Use Caution Gobbling
Though a gobble call may work sometimes, generally it will spook more subordinate gobblers than it will lure. Use extreme caution if you choose to use this call, as it will attract other hunters.
Gobble calls can be excellent locator calls, and at times can attract dominant gobblers, but they can pose a danger as they sound exactly like the birds you are hunting.
#16 Use Decoys, But With Care
In states where allowed, decoys add a realistic touch to a turkey calling setup. With the realism found in today’s models, care should be used when using decoys.
I have found that placing a jake decoy directly behind a hen decoy produces a very effective arrangement. I also like to use a jake with two or three hen decoys to imitate a flock of birds.
Keep in mind that when using a jake decoy that most approaching longbeards will move around to the front of the decoy, in an effort to challenge the “juvenile” head on.
Remember decoys can fool other hunters also. Always have a clear view well past shotgun range to reduce your risk of being shot.
#17 Know Your Woods
Being a good woodsman will win out over being a good caller any day. I have hunted with nationally known calling champions that relied solely on their calling prowess, and many times went home empty handed.
Knowing the woods where you hunt instantly helps put the odds in your favor. Knowing where turkeys like to feed, loaf, and strut enables you to strategically move and stay one step ahead of your quarry.
Turkeys are hard to stalk, but with a knowledge of the land enables you to circle around ahead of where they want to be, and in the process place yourself in a position for a possible shot.
Remember also that you cannot call a turkey to a place where a turkey does not want to be.
#18 Shoot Humanely
Hunters using shotguns for spring turkeys should aim for the area where the feathers meet the caruncles on the neck. A turkey must be hit in either the neck or head to anchor and humanely harvest. Shots to the body only serve to cripple a turkey and many times the birds are never recovered but die a slow lingering death
Archers faced with a side profile of a turkey should aim at the wing butts. A sharp broadhead is recommended as these heavy bones shield the vitals (heart and lungs) which are approximately the size of a baseball. When faced with a head-on shot, an archer can aim for the upper chest area near the beard and impale the vitals. An archer should aim for the middle to upper spine on a turkey facing away.
In short, any shot taken at a turkey must be a shot to kill and not merely wound.
#19 Use Blinds
When hunting with a novice hunter it is a good idea to employ a blind. Several manufacturers make blinds in all shapes and sizes. Using a blind enables most movement to be safely hidden from the keen eyes of an approaching turkey.
I like to use a pole blind, which is lightweight and easy to set up. It also gives me the freedom to have complete use of my hands while operating calls when turkeys are just out of range.
Last season I hunted out of a tent blind and was amazed at the results. I was able to completely stand up and stretch my legs while remaining hidden from my quarry.
The only detriment to using a blind is the lack of mobility. However, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
#20 Use a Turkey Vest
The turkey vest is one of the most critical aspects of apparel I wear when turkey hunting. I carry virtually everything but the proverbial kitchen-sink in mine. In it, I have an assortment of turkey calls ranging from box calls to several types of friction calls. This variety of calls enables me to make a wide range of turkey talk from mellow to raspy yelps and from faint to high pitch cutts. I also carry extra head nets and gloves for hunting companions who inevitably forget theirs.
I use the back of my vest to tote decoys and hopefully my long-bearded gobbler. My vest has a place to carry a water bottle as well as a flashlight. Best of all my turkey vest has a snap out seat that cushions my backside from the hard thorny and sometimes damp ground, which enables me to sit still longer.
WORDS OF WISDOM
As hunting legend Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland once said, “Any long beard is a good turkey.”
Taking a long beard under fair chase conditions is a tough proposition at best. The quest to take a mature tom can come extremely easy at times, and then cause you to go stir crazy other times.
Simply put, there are no absolutes in turkey hunting. Turkeys will defy logic at times, but most of the time they follow their daily routines.
Thanks to the efforts of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the wild turkey numbers 5.6 million birds in North America. Turkeys flourish in 49 of the 50 states, and in Canada and Mexico.
Our turkey hunting heritage is a legacy that we must pass on to those who come after us. We are most privileged to hunt the majestic game bird.
I hope this article whet your appetite for a spring turkey hunt, and I hope it culminates in a savory turkey dinner.
Be sure to identify your target, hunt safe, and introduce a new hunter to our great outdoors!
By Mike Lambeth
Weekly migratory bird hunting reports are posted from early September through early February.
North Zone Dove: Rain showers in North Texas hurt the flight a bit last week, but locals are not complaining since the region has been without rain for some time. Good flights of mourners resumed their pattern over soybeans and corn after the rain. Abilene saw half-limits to near-limits of mourning doves. Better shoots were had in the afternoon. No cool fronts are in the forecasts for the next week, especially with high pressure dominating the region. Prospects are fair to good.
Central Zone Dove: High winds and water last week put a damper on dove hunting. Uvalde, San Saba, Waco, Sabinal, Del Rio and Hondo were steady for mourning doves and whitewings. Expect hunting to improve around San Antonio as the area dries. Whitewings are good around Columbus and Sealy. Brenham hunters have enjoyed good shoots as well. Scorching temperatures have done nothing to prompt a new influx of birds. Hankamer and Devers has enjoyed good afternoon shoots. Prospects are fair to good.
South Zone Dove: The season opens Sept. 17, and corn, milo and wild sunflowers have held the largest concentrations of birds around Lytle, Uvalde, Del Rio and the Rio Grande Valley. Conditions are wet in the Valley so afternoon water shoots should not be as profitable as in dry years. Doves have been pressured in Central Zone fields around Uvalde and Del Rio are staging just over the zone boundary in corn, milo and sunflowers. A wet summer hurt sunflower production around El Campo, however, strong concentrations remain in the township and around Danevang. Prospects are good.
Teal Season: Opening day of teal season on the coast was steady on the coastal prairies, though many insisted best flights occurred later in the morning. Sunday was much slower as birds seem to disappear in historically steady locales. Many hens were harvested, giving rise to the notion that the first wave of adult drakes continued south. Good hunts were posted in Wharton County rice fields and leveed ponds. Eagle Lake and Garwood hunters reported good shoots. Collegeport hunters shot limits. Playa lakes in the Panhandle gave up good shoots. Water supplies there are in good shape from summer rains. Along the coast, biologist Matt Nelson said Mad Island WMA near Bay City averaged around three birds per man for the weekend. Justin Hurst WMA near Freeport saw slower results with just over a bird per man. The Guadalupe Delta WMA near Port Lavaca is closed due to flooding. Prospects are good.
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