The last month of hunting has been cold, cloudy, snowy and icy. My spirits were high heading to south Texas for sun, sand, warmth and big bucks. Well, at least the big bucks held true. Texas has been engulfed in drought and, although it’s not over, there’s enough mud across the region to give the impression that the drought is struggling to hold ground.
So far it’s rained every day since I landed in the Lone Star State. That’s not all bad. Why? It’s the rut in south Texas, and the bucks seem to like a bit of drizzle and cooler temperatures. I haven’t seen a doe in heat, but it can’t be far off because the bucks are ramping up activity daily, and the does are getting cozier by the hour with their suitors.
If you’ve never seriously thought about hunting whitetails in Texas, let me give you a few reasons to reconsider:
1. Generally, it’s a warm climate. You won’t need a Heater Body Suit! For most hunters, the opportunity to hunt active whitetails in comfortable temps is as good as a tropical beach vacation.
2. There are a lot of deer. I’m on a "management hunt," which means I’m hunting bucks that don’t meet the requirement for the best in antler potential by the age of 4 1/2 years. "Cull" and management hunts are generally more economical, and with various packages you can even shoot hogs, javelinas, coyotes and does. The price is often “right.”
3. The "late" rut. The south Texas rut takes place a month after the rut in most areas of the country, giving you another opportunity to pursue rutting, mindless bucks.
I’m only 35 miles from the Mexican border hunting free-range whitetails with Monte Cruz Lodge. My guide, Mason Roberts, has been hunting the ranch all fall and picked out a dry lake bed with several management bucks rutting through the area. Last night, just before the end of shooting light in a heavy drizzle, an old 5x5 slipped across the lake bed to hound does. I followed him through my riflescope and, when he took a breath from chasing does, I downed him.
That’s good news, but do you want to hear even better news? I’m still on the hunt for another management buck, maybe a hog or two, and even a coyote before I slip home for Christmas. I’ll keep you updated.
Have you ever hunted in Texas?