Monday, October 19, 2015

Be A Responsible Hunter


When I was in my early teens I can remember it was not unusual to see fifty plus deer including some large bucks in the oat patch on my grandfathers ranch west of Lampasas.  Now I am 61 and seeing five deer together anywhere on the place is unusual these days.  My grandfather's three hundred acre place is now cut into five places and will be cut up some more in the future.  There are several small tracts around the place now as well a couple of large ranches with lease hunters.  On one tract under thirty acres last year they killed numerous deer.  Another tract under 100 acres killed five bucks that we know of.  One of the big ranches next to us with lease hunters killed most of their legal bucks and some that did not look wide enough to meet the thirteen inch rule.  The last week of the special doe season they sure fired lots of shots.  I pulled an illegal four point out of our tank that was shot too far back.  I also found an illegal eleven and a half inch ten point last year that had been shot over the fence.  We had the top wire of our boundary fence shot in two right at one of the deer feeders on the place. 

We have deer blinds all around us, one is around sixty five yards from our fence, one is literally within ten foot of the fence.  One is right in front of the gate to our house only about two hundred fifty yards away from the house with the main shooting window facing our gate and house.  We have only a few hundred yards of scattered brush protecting us from a stray bullet. 

I have only seen one buck that would be over two and half years old this year on the game cameras, as few around here get a chance to get much age.  We have not killed a buck in five years on our tract and try to shoot a barren doe or two each year for sausage.  We feed all year round and know most of the immediate bucks by name.  Each year any bucks that are eight points are better seem to disappear no matter the width. 

I was raised to practice responsible wildlife management and respect other land owners property.  With more people buying small ranches for recreation and more big ranches leasing to outside hunters it seems everyone is out to get their money's worth out of the land.  You would think non-resident landowners and lease hunters would realize that if they just shoot everything that is legal there won't be any good deer next year.  If that buck is not big enough to put on the wall or you even have to ask yourself if it is big enough to be legal pass the shot or take a doe.

I was also taught that you don't shoot where your bullets could go anywhere near a house or over a fence to a neighbor place.  It seems with all the law suits these days hunters would be more careful and that landowners would keep a little better eye on their lease hunters.  Don't take me wrong there are a lot of good hunters and landowners here in Texas.  Just make sure you are doing what you can to be one of the good ones.  Wild Ed

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said sir. I will confess that some of our blinds are on the berecha (road) that runs along the fence between our neighbors and us. Besides being the only clear lane of fire, it helps ensure that the bullet's path is along the fence, rather than crossing it. And having a safe bullet stop beyond is important - bullets can not be called back.

I too regret deer hunting becoming so much of a commodity to be bought and sold. When I was a teen in 1970s, deer hunting was an family tradition, not a competition of "I got mine - what did you kill?" it has become today. Its driven the price of hunting leases sky high, and people who weren't fortunate to be land owners have to pay a high price for the privelage. A real shame.

Don't get me started over hunting over feeders within sight of the blind. That drives me crazy. We have several feeders, but none are within sight of our blinds, nor too close. I'd rather do without them entirely, which we did at the beginning of it becoming legal, but deer sightings were VERY scarce due to neighbors having feeders. So we feed now, but do not 'corn the road' where sightings are much easier.

Thanks for the post.