Made a turkey hunt last week to Caldwell county Texas which is near San Antonio. I normally make this trip for the opener, which is April 1st, but work had me bowed up and had to push this trip back to this past weekend. Turkeys were not very active and never heard a gobbler on the roost. Riding around we would see a few gobblers out roaming around but they were not very interested in responding to calls. I believe it was just to late in the season and the turkey rut was pretty much over with. I did strike up a few gobblers during midafternoon but had no luck in getting them to come in. I setup one afternoon with my decoys (Hen and Strutting Gobbler) in an area I had seen several gobblers and called in 2 Jakes and 3 nice long beards together. They came in silent, and I was able to take a nice Rio Gobbler at 40 yards. He had a 10â beard and 7/8â spurs. Hogs were everywhere and I kept my .243 rifle in the truck while riding around on the ranch. I took two nice boars and one big sow which made for some fun stalking up on them. It was the slowest turkey hunt I have ever been on in Texas but can only figure it was just too late in the season. Next year I plan on going earlier if work allows. I hope all the turkey hunters had some success and had fun just being out in the woods. It is time to start getting ready for my summer food plots and salt licks back in Louisiana.
Turkey season so far has been fun, I have worked several gobblers and called in several hens over the first week of the season. On Sunday 4/11 I was able to close the deal on a nice gobbler. At daybreak I waited for the birds to wake up and start singing. I did not hear a gobbler, so I eased down to a creek that has a nice flat with an old logging road crossing it. Earlier in the week I had heard a gobbler in that bottom and there was plenty of turkey sign in that area. I setup where I had good cover and a good view of the bottom. I made several soft yelps and after about 15 minutes I had a gobbler sound off on one of my calls. I quickly let out a cackle and he gobbled again. He was not far, maybe 150 or so yards. I yelped at him again and he gobbled and was getting closer. I made a few more soft yelps, and he would gobble and get closer. He was fired up! I decided to shut the calling down and just sit tight. Within a few minutes he showed up walking down an old logging road about 100 yards from me. When he got to the flat just before the creek he went into a full strut and would gobble, what a sight to see! He would go back and forth on that logging road strutting and gobbling. He was just wanting the hen to come out to him. A crow flew by and let out a call and he gobbled. I decided not to call and play hard to get. I could see him pretty good and after about 15 minutes and 15-20 gobbles later I believe he got feed up with the hen not coming to him, so he came out of his strut and started walking straight at me. I let him get to 20 yards and put the BOOM on him with my 12ga 3 Â½â #6 turkey load. What an adrenaline rush! My Tom had a 9 Â½â beard and 1â spurs. After getting back to camp we went and ran our catfish lines and pulled several nice catfish off our lines. The season has been fun with turkey hunting, catfishing, and camp life. It just does not get any better than that! Good luck out there turkey hunting, be safe and patient with the turkeys.
Only 5 weeks away and getting ready for what I hope to be a very good turkey season. The winter storm last week destroyed a lot of my woods. The ice storm dropped trees down all over the place and we are spending time just clearing roads and making sure everything is ok. I hope the wildlife came through it ok and all these down trees will help with some habitat improvements nature made!
Here are some interesting trail-cam pictures (from July through October) of a buck I have on my place that has injured his left front leg earlier this year which has caused deformity in his antler development. Back in August it really looked bad and I figured he would die from infection. But as you can see it seems to be healing good and I expect him to make a full recovery. I have read where and injury affects the opposite side of the antler development. I have two other bucks with similar leg injuries which I am trying to figure out what might be the cause. Any input is welcomed.
I planted my summer food plots back in early May with Cow Peas and Soy Beans. It didnât take long and the deer started hitting the plots hard. These summer plots are great ways to keep track of the Does and when they drop their fawns along with the bucks and how they are developing their head gear. I was surprised to get this odd looking buck on camera and figure he damaged his left anther before growth started. Also noticed a higher level of ticks on the deer this year compared to previous years, I assume due to the mild winter. Hope you enjoy the pics.
February and March are great times of the year to do wildlife Habitat improvements on your hunting land. Most hunting seasons are over, and the weather is still cold or cool, hardly any bugs or snakes out moving around, and you can really see what your habitat looks like at its lowest point of the year. Every year on my place we try and make 2-4 spots each the size of a football field where we hinge cut unwanted trees or areas where the trees are too thick to produce quality timber. This gives us a two-fold return, one we get some great wildlife habitat and second, itâs giving us TSI (Timber Stand Improvement) which equals a better timber stand for future logging operations. In this case we are really wanting to take areas that have lost the natural vegetation growth due to heavy tree canopy and open the forest floor for better food and cover for the deer herd and turkey flock. In five years of doing this we have documented the deer and turkeys have flourished. The neat part is it takes very little money and most landowners will agree to this effort if you present a solid plan to them. This is only one of the tools we have implemented on the property but goes a long way to improve the hunting and wildlife living in and around the property. The key is to make our property more appealing to deer and turkeys so they will stay longer then on the neighboring propertyâs. The pictures on this report show what the area looked like before we started and then after we completed the TSI. We had two chainsaws going with one person cutting and one person pushing and spent approximately one hour to complete an area the size of a football field, leaving only the best quality trees standing. It was a great time to bring the kids and teach them the importance of quality habitat and what it takes to keep a good healthy deer herd. I will post more pics of this area as spring and summer growth occurs. I also plan to put out a few trail cameras to capture wildlife use in this area.
The last day of the primitive season I was fortune enough to take a nice buck with my .35 Remington CVA Hunter. I decided to drop the gut pile in front of one of my trail cameras. Within a few days there was nothing left but cleaned dirt. Buzzards started first followed by foxes, coyotes, and then the hogs rooted up the blood-stained grass down to dirt.
Iâve been spending the last few weeks in the woods getting ready for Turkey season and checking on the deer herd. Bucks have started dropping their antlers the last few weeks. I am also hitting the racoon population hard to try and help the turkeys nesting within the next month or so. Racoons are horrible on the turkey nest. I wish every club and turkey hunter would get involved with trying to reduce the numbers of predators. I have seen and read that most southern states have seen a drastic decline in turkey populations over the last few years. I believe and have also read the main culprit is predators. Iâm using the DP coon traps. They work great, very easy to set and use. I use marshmallows for bait as a racoon can not resist a big marshmallow. I hope you enjoy the trail-cam pics. The month of March will be spent doing habitat improvements by hinge cutting and hack and squirt to unwanted tress and along the edges of my food plots. I will post pictures later on how that project is going.
This past Saturday afternoon my good friend took this nice 10 point from my place near Sicily Island. We had numerous trail-cam pics of him and had him patterned pretty good during bow season but just could never close the deal. Gun season changed that and he was able to put this nice buck down with one shot at 100 yards. If you have been following my post we put a lot into major habitat improvements every year and also are very strict on NOT taking young bucks. With those two combinations we are seeing some great returns and a good age class of bucks coming up.
Just returned from my annual deer hunting trip to Nebraska, this year made 26 years I have been chasing deer in that state and have enjoyed every season. The weather was unusually warm but that didn't slow down the deer action much. There were five of us hunting this year and we all had our two buck tags and lots of Doe tags. We were hunting both public and private land in the Pine Ridge unit. It was neat to see Mule Deer, Whitetails, Antelope, and Elk all on the same trip. It was just a great DIY type hunt with great success and a lot of fun in wide open country.
While running through several thousand trail-cam pics I noticed something strange, while taking a closer look I saw that I had a big rattle snake under one of my feeders. I had over 20 pics of him just laying there while the Doe was feeding around. It finally decided to move on.
I want to share this info as I just love monitoring my property along with the deer herd. Over the last 5 years I have put together that the majority of the Does on my property give birth around the 4th of July. If you backup 200 days that puts the peak of the rut around Mid-December in my area (Catahoula Parish). This big Doe is still carrying on August 8th and by the looks of it will give birth any day. Backing up 200 days puts her getting bred around January 21st on the 2nd rut. If you look at the âLouisiana Estimated Deer Breeding Periodsâ That the LDWLF puts out is dead on the mark for peak rut in my area. Collecting data every year and bouncing it off of the LDWF data they have can help tremendously when planning vacation time for hunting the rut.
As summer draws to an end and I keep watching the bucks grow their head gear itâs getting very exciting. My mineral licks and trail cameras have been a valuable tool for me to get an idea of the quality of deer I have running around on my place. With 5 years of intense habitat improvement projects and letting the young bucks walk I am seeing some very good results. My next major project is to try and eliminate the coyotes as much as I can. They are taking a toll on my deer herd as my fawn count is way down again for several years in a row. Hope you enjoy the pictures
Here are a few neat trail-cam pics of a Doe in Hot weather and you can see the blood veins on the back of her ears on a sunny hot day, then the next picture itâs has been raining and the temp is 10 degrees cooler. The ears are a cooling mechanism to help with body temperature. The last pic is just a neat pic of the 3 Does and a small buck in the back ground. Hope you enjoy.
Checked my trail cameras on my mineral licks this past weekend and see the bucks are putting on their head gear and the Does are about to bust with fawns.
This was my second trip of the 2019 Texas spring turkey season. This trip I would be down in Zavala county chasing big Rio Gobblers in that south Texas brush country. I had two tags left to fill and I would be hunting a huge ranch which had a solid turkey population. I have hunted this ranch for the last 8 years and know the area pretty good. I left Port Allen around 4:00am on Thursday for the 11 hour drive. Picking up my close friend near San Antonio we arrived at the ranch just in time to unpack and ride around the ranch to see if we could stir up any gobblers and put one or two to bed. I was able to fire up a few gobblers and setup on them only to have young birds come in. I also bumped into a huge rattle snake while trying to close the gap on a gobbler. Talk about an adrenaline rush! He rattled when I got within a few feet of him as I wasn?t paying attention to the ground. A quick shot of turkey load put an end to that threat! As dark approached I could hear what sounded like several gobblers along a creek about ï¿½ mile away so I eased closer down a road that ran along the creek towards them. As I got closer I could make out several gobblers strutting in the road about 400 yards from me. I just sat back and watched them until they made their way towards the creek and flew up on the roost between the road and the creek. So I was set for the morning! I had what appeared to be several big gobblers roosted and I also heard a few more close by. Friday morning I went back to the area the gobblers were roosted in. It was about an hour before daybreak as I wanted to ease in as close as possible down the road where I had last seen them before they went to roost. I set out my hen decoy and eased back into some bushes where I could watch down the road. The view was tight as I could only see down the road and I knew I could have birds come in from behind me but this was the best setup I had. As the song birds started their morning off so did the Gobblers! I let out a few soft tree yelps and the woods exploded with gobblers. I couldn?t believe what I was hearing. It sounded like 8 or 10 gobblers along the creek stretching for about 150 yards are so. Every time one would gobble the others would answer. I would let out yelps and the creek bottom would explode with gobbling. This was a once in a lifetime event to hear something like this. After good light and about a thousand gobbles later I heard the closest turkeys fly down. They were close and less than 100 yards from me. Down the road about 80 yards I watched 3 long beards appear in the road and start strutting and gobbling. 3 Jakes showed up and was between the hen decoy and the 3 strutting gobblers. They were freaked out and didn?t know what to do and just stood there. About that time something caught my eye to my left and two big long beards stepped out in the road right next to the decoy. They circled the decoy and immediately knew something wasn?t right. I put the bead on one of them and BOOM, hit him with 12 gauge 3 ï¿½? Winchester #6 XR Turkey load at 30 yards. He rolled and before I could get another shot at the other one he had run out of site. My Gobbler had a 10 ï¿½? beard with 1 3/8? spurs. Friday afternoon I setup in the same general area and called in several young gobblers and Jakes. So right before dark I moved locations farther down the creek about a mile and roosted several more gobblers for in the morning. Saturday morning I setup in a nice clearing that ran along the creek. As daybreak came so did the gobbling. There were two gobblers within 200 yards of my location. I made a few soft tree yelps and had both of them fired up and gobbling. I heard the closest one fly down and I made a cackle which put him in high gear heading towards me. I saw him walking fast down a cow trail towards my location out at 100 yards. I threw out a few yelps and got him all fired up. He was gobbling and strutting. The other gobbler was closing in but I couldn't see him yet. The first gobbler approached to within 70 yards and hung up and the 2nd gobbler went silent. The gobbler I was looking at had me pegged and was just strutting around in circles. After about 10 minutes we he turned around facing away from me in full strut I made a soft yelp, he came out of strut and came in to 35 steps. He went back into full strut and I got ready and clucked at him. He came out of strut and stretched he neck out looking for me. BOOM, I let him have a solid load of #6 Winchester XR turkey load. I smoked him and he did a flip. He had a 10 ï¿½? beard with 1 1/8? spurs. What an awesome Texas turkey season I had this year. Two great trip in two different areas that produced 4 great Rio Gobblers with tons of awesome memories. Back to my place this coming weekend in Catahoula parish for the last weekend and hope the weather finally cooperates. Take care be safe and hope you turkey hunters are enjoying some of the great outdoors this spring.
I just completed my first of two spring turkey hunting trips to Texas this past weekend just east of San Antonio in Guadalupe County which is a 4 gobbler tag county. I arrived in the afternoon on Thursday and the weather was perfect. 70 degrees, sunny and very light breeze. I headed out to a creek bottom Iâve hunted before that runs along a cow pasture. I setup where I could see both the creek bottom and flat along with a view of the cow pasture. I also decided not to use my decoys as not knowing how many turkeys were in the area and cows get very curious of decoys. Once settled in I made a few soft yelps and got an immediate reply from a gobbler some 200 yards away. I got a little aggressive with my calling and got him fired up and gobbling at every call I threw at him. Shortly I caught some movement along the creek and watched as 4 hens were walking fast in my direction. They had me pegged and was walking straight at me. I knew the gobbler would be following so I got ready with my shotgun pointed in the same direction as the hens came from. All 4 hens walked up to within 5 yards of me and stopped. They were looking around but making no calls. After a few seconds they moved around behind me and started walking off. Thatâs when I saw the big gobbler coming up the same trail as the hens did. He was a Hoss with a big rope for a beard! As he came in one of the hens which was behind me made an alarm call and froze the gobbler in his tracks. But it was too late as he was standing 40 yards in a nice opening. BOOM, I let him have a load of 12 gauge 3 Â½â number 6 Winchester XR Turkey load! What and adrenaline rush! I was only there for less than 30 minutes and had my first gobbler of the trip down. He had an 11 Â½â beard with 1 Â¼â spurs. I still had plenty of daylight left so I moved to another location and roosted 4 or 5 gobblers for the next morning. Friday morning as daylight came I was deciding which gobbler to go after as the woods were alive with gobblers gobbling on the roost. I settled for the closest one and worked him for several hours playing cat and mouse with him. He had several hens with him and I caught several good looks at him as I would try to out flank him. I had no luck breaking him away from his hens so I decided to try him in the afternoon. Friday afternoon I setup in a nice flat with scrub oaks that was adjacent to a creek bed. I put out both my gobbler and hen decoy in a nice opening about 20 yards from my location. I started making soft yelps and as the afternoon went buy I started getting a little more aggressive with my calling. About an hour before sunset I got a response from what I thought was two gobblers. I threw out a few more calls and had them locked in on me gobbling at ever call I would make. It was so cool as it was one of those picture perfect hunts. Every time I would make a call they would gobble and get closer. I got my shotgun ready and pointed in the direction I last heard them gobble which was only about 75 yards away. I made a soft yelp and there they were only 20 yards gobbling. To have double gobblers that close to you gobbling is awesome! I put the bead on the biggest one and BOOM. He rolled and the other took off before I could get a shot on him. This was another good gobbler with 8 Â¾â beard and 1 1/8â spurs. A cold front came in Saturday and the wind really picked up and the temps fell. I did work several more gobblers but they were locked up with hens and had no interest to come see a lonely hen in the bushes calling to them. I found a few awesome antler sheds from this past seasons bucks that survived which is always a neat find. I plan to head back to Texas in a few weeks and try to fill my remaining turkey tags on some of those big Rio Gobblers. Louisiana Season opens this coming weekend at my place near Sicily Island which I hope to connect with a big Eastern bird. I hope you enjoyed the story and good luck if you are trying your luck at any gobblers this season.
This past weekend while checking my trail-cameras and looking for antler sheds I ran across a mature Doe that had been recently killed and half consumed. It was covered up with leaves and small limbs and the guts had been removed and covered completely up about 10 yards away. Known predators in the area are coyotes, bobcats, and bears. Iâve never seen coyotes cover their kill and not sure about bears, but bobcats yes. I thought this would be a good thread to start and see what opinions might come up and what has other people seen. I setup two trail-cameras to see if I can catch some action but I left a lot of human scent while examining the remains. My best guess is there is a highway about 400 yards from kill site and maybe the deer was hit by a passing vehicle and then taken down by a predator. No drag marks from kill location which indicates it was killed there.
Also found one very nice new buck hooking and have several bucks on camera starting to drop their antlers.
Finally getting a few fawns starting to show up on cameras around my place in Catahoula Parish, best guess they were born around first of July time frame. No twins yet just singles. This could mean two things 1. The Momma Doe is moving each fawn separately which is good or 2. The coyotes, Bears, and Bobcats and picking them off. Time will tell as we move closer to fall and I monitor the fawns on camera and hopefully start seeing twins. I also have a big pregnant Doe on 7/25/18 which indicates secondary rut (mid to late January). Coyotes are an ever growing problem and need to be kept in check. Hard to do this year round and wish we could trap them during the summer months.
Here is one of my food plots where I planted Iron Clay Peas back in Mid-May. The deer pretty much left it along until around July 4th. At that time something changed and they started hitting the peas hard. Within a few days all the peas in this small half acre food plot was whipped out. Deer day and night eating until most all the peas were gone. Even had a Doe bring out her little fawn to get in on the action.