Deer Hunting, Deer Lease in Coleman County

Question: Do any hunters out there have any information they could offer me about the Coleman County and Ballinger, Texas, area. I am wondering because I enjoy whitetail hunting an am interested in finding a deer lease in that area. I was wondering what the whitetail deer population is like up there? I’ve heard good things, but was wanting to get some other hunters insight who deer hunt in that area.

Answer: Well, I have never hunted are Ballinger or Coleman County in general, but I know this area produces a lot of whitetail deer. I have a friend that knows a guy who has a deer lease of about 2000 acres southeast of Ballinger. They are a low fence property and manage the deer herd and have had good results. I have heard that they plant many food plots and feed a good amount of protein to get the most out of the bucks. Continue reading Deer Hunting, Deer Lease in Coleman County

Habitat Management: Talk to a Wildlife Pro

Question: I have some property that I’ve been managing for wildlife for several years, but I’m not sure that I’m making any headway. I’d like to have more deer, larger bucks, and generally better whitetail hunting, but I don’t seem to be seeing any results. I’ve been thinking about getting another opinion, as in contacting a private biologist, but am not sure that they won’t just try to sell me food plot seeds. What do you think about getting a professional biologist out to my property?

Answer: Do it! I’m always surprised at how hesitant many folks are to seek professional advice when it comes to managing their property for native habitat and wildlife. It’s almost as if people think that because managing land has to do with whitetail and trees and wildlife food that they it should be easy to figure out.

If you have never assessed and managed wildlife habitat before, there’s no reason why you should know anything about deer habitat management, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. You, of course, bring the local knowledge about how deer use or don’t use your property, and your knowledge about hunting, deer behavior and deer habitat requirements are invaluable. Continue reading Habitat Management: Talk to a Wildlife Pro

Question About A Deer Lease

Question: I know this sounds like a ridiculous question, but I have an opportunity to secure a deer hunting lease from a landowner who has openly admitted to me that he intends to sell his property, but he is just not sure when this might happen. The landowner that is looking to lease his land has given me his word that I “won’t loose my money” should he sell. However, I have had no prior dealings with the man to make a sound judgement call on the strength of his word.

As I understand it, any new buyer would have no obligation to honor a hunting lease, and I cannot see him making it a requirement of the buyer. Any deer hunters ever been down this road before? No money has exchanged hands at this point, and I just want another opinion before I even think about moving further. It could be a good opportunity, but I don’t want to lose a bunch of money on a would-be deer lease. What would you do? Continue reading Question About A Deer Lease

Whitetail Hunting Is Not Just Food Plots

There is nothing in the world that I love more than whitetail hunting. There is something about it that I really enjoy, and it’s not all about hunting season. In fact, I get just as much fun getting ready for deer season. I don’t own a huge tract of land, although I am lucky enough to have 134 acres on which I’ve been able to implement my very own whitetail deer management program. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons over the years about deer behavior, what deer eat, and what they need.

In the end, for those landowners and hunters that are serious about managing deer populations, we should want to create the best whitetail habitat. For this is where quality hunting opportunities are literally born. The real secret that I’ve determined when looking at properties where individuals want to improve the deer herd is finding and enhancing the most limited habitat element. It’s easy to concentrate on one single facet of habitat and provide a whole lot of one thing, but they need it all! Continue reading Whitetail Hunting Is Not Just Food Plots

Aging Mature Bucks from Camera Photos

Question: I live in southeast Minnesota and I only want to shoot mature whitetail deer on my land, but I’m new to whitetail deer hunting and don’t really know what I’m doing. I have had my trail camera out and have seen 2 nice bucks. One is a 2.5 year old deer I believe and the other is younger. I was wondering if I could send you some pictures of them and have you age them for me and give me some hints on how to do it? Our bow season opens September 19th and I don’t want to have one of the bucks walk under my stand and shoot him just to find out that he is not a mature deer. Your help would be appreciated.

Answer: The 9 point buck looks to be exactly what you thought; a 2 1/2 year old buck. The 8 point whitetail is a yearling (1 1/2 year old buck). By the way, many people refer to fawns as yearlings. Fawns are fawns, yearlings are 1 1/2 year old does or bucks (they have their first set of antlers as yearlings).

With whitetail, some characteristics you can use for aging whitetail bucks on the hoof is to look at antler mass, the chest in relation to the belly, and the shape of the head. In almost all cases, antler mass increases with age. For example, look at the yearling 8 compared to the 2 1/2 year old 9. In addition, as a buck gets older, his belly gets larger and fuller. So does his chest.

With a larger chest and belly, this can cause the back of a mature whitetail to sway downward and make the legs appear shorter. Lastly, play close attention to a buck’s head. As a buck gets older, his head will appear shorter (from left to right) and deeper (up and down).

It’s a good idea to keep good photos of all age “known” age clases of bucks to improve your ability to accurately age deer while whitetail hunting. That way, when you get photos of deer that you are unsure of, you can compare them to your file photos and judge the new whitetail buck based on the above criteria.

What Kind of Deer is It?

A piebald and normally colored white-tailed deer.

Question: We went whitetail hunting on the last weekend of the deer season and while me were riding along the trails at our hunting camp, and on the way to our stands, my father’s freind looked to the right and saw something. He stopped the four wheeler and told me and his son to be quiet, and then he walks back couple feet and fires his 30-30!

He did not tell us what he was shooting at so we started walking to see what he got. We found a blood trail and then I saw something laying down, but it did not look like a deer. It was not completely brown or white, but it was a deer with white on the back, its head was brown, and it had brown spots on it back.

Well, I said you shot a dog to my fathers freind and he says no that’s my deer. So we walk over and sure enough it was! I was surprised this was the first time I ever saw a whitetail deer with these kind of spots. What kind of deer is white with brown spots? Continue reading What Kind of Deer is It?

Texas Offers Great Deer and Exotic Hunting

Comment: I just wanted to tell everyone that if they ever had the chance to go hunting in Texas that they should! I enjoy whitetail hunting too, but I just returned from my third axis deer hunting trip in as many years from the Texas Hill Country in the Kerrville-Ingram-Harper area. This was a free range hunt, no fences at all and I had one of the BEST times of my life on this trip.

The exotic license price was even reasonable. Although it went up $8 from the previous year. I was successful in harvesting two decent axis bucks. I also got to see many native game species of whitetail and Rio Grande turkey, as well as additional exotics moving and feeding on well-managed food plots during my hunts. Continue reading Texas Offers Great Deer and Exotic Hunting

Whitetail Hunter Bags Big Georgia Buck!

Bob Coombs shot this big whitetail with a crossbow.

A perfect deer hunting trip always ends with the hunter harvesting a big white-tailed buck, but as we know most hunts do not end that way. However, Bob Coombs had anything but a perfect hunting trip, or season for that matter, but he ended up harvesting the biggest buck every harvested in the state of Georgia with a crossbow. Coombs had watched the deer for several years, and although this article is older, pay attention to how the hunter tracked this animal and finally put himself in position to harvest this monster whitetail.

Source: “The first time I saw Brutus was early in bow season of 2004. He was very wide, but all I saw was just a blur of antlers. I didn’t see him again until very late that season. The rut had died down, and a bachelor group of seven bucks got back together. The leaves were off the trees, and the bucks were about 80 yards away, so I got a very good look at Brutus. He was about a 160-class buck, and very wide with tall tines, but he didn’t have all the split tines that he would grow the next season. The smallest buck, a little forkhorn, put his antlers down like he wanted to challenge Brutus. The other bucks just watched. That was a really cool thing to see, and I saw Brutus really well. It was just awesome. Continue reading Whitetail Hunter Bags Big Georgia Buck!