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.

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