Hunting Tips, Questions, Stories & Discussion
Focusing on managing Texas wildlife habitat and natural resources for native and exotic wild game species, for this and future generation of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
WIN AN AXIS TROPHY HUNT
Labels: axis buck, axis deer, axis deer hunt in texas, axis deer hunting, axis deer hunts, axis deer recipes, axis doe hunt, axis doe hunting, bow hunting, Bow Hunts, deer, deer culling, deer hunting
Monday, September 17, 2012
Let's Get Ready!
Hope everyone had a productive summer and is looking forward to hunting season. I know that we at Escondido Ranch couldn't be more pleased with the weather throughout the summer because it brought us more rain than expected and the animals are looking fabulous. The bucks are carrying more mass than ever before and the does are sporting sleek, shiny coats.
We've been very busy this summer and we hope you will enjoy the new blinds that were built over the past few months. You can enjoy more space and a better view from our newly constructed blinds. If you've been a guest at our ranch before you know that there is always an abundance of wildlife and this year is even better.
The ranch has over 20 bow and rifle blinds that overlook river crossings and food plot/feeding areas. So it doesn't matter what you prefer we will have you covered. We also enjoy a good 'spot and stalk' if the situation calls for it.
Some of our whitetail bucks are boasting antlers that will score in the 180's. We have numerous whitetail bucks that will score as 'Management Bucks' (under 140") also. You will have the opportunity to hunt any whitetail buck that will fit your budget.
The same goes for our 'Exotic' species. Fallow deer are becoming more and more popular and if you are looking to harvest a nice mature fallow buck you will certainly have the opportunity. Fallow deer have a European descent but they have become very prominent here in the hill country of Texas.
Its not called 'The Most Beautiful Deer in the World' for nothing. Escondido Ranch is home to several herds of Axis deer. They say that there is more Axis deer living in Texas than in their original country of India and I believe it. These deer not only are the prettiest to look at but also eat like a 'filet Mignon.' Their beautiful red coat with white spots really stand out among other exotics. The Axis bucks have been 'braying' throughout the summer during their peak breeding season and I can tell you that some of these bucks are 'MONSTERS.' These 'big boys' can have main beam lengths in excess of 35 inches. Not only do they make a great trophy but they taste as good as a beef fillet.
Aoudad Sheep have always been one of my favorite species. They are so unique and elusive. With their long 'chaps' (hair on bottom side of neck and chest) blowing in the wind and handlebar-curled horns they truly speak the word 'Exotic.' They have a mysterious way about them that can never be tamed. They originated in North Africa but many herds now make their home in the hill country part of Texas. We have some really nice rams that will stretch a tape measure to 30 inches and carry 'chaps' that literally drag the ground when they walk.
An exotic ranch wouldn't be complete without the gorgeous Black Buck antelope. The bucks have been busy this year breeding our does and establishing their 'jet black' coats. Some of our bucks are working on their 4th curl and are getting close to 20 inches of horn. These little guys make a trophy hunters collection complete.
If your into 'Big Game' animals and like Rocky Mountain Elk you will enjoy seeing some superior bulls that have big 7X7 frames. They are bugling as we speak. Its quite a serene sound to wake up in the morning to several bugling elk at Escondido Ranch.
Come visit us this year and be treated like family as you eye witness these amazing animals.
Check out our new videos on our website that showcase all the wildlife we have been seeing recently: http://www.escondidoranch.com/escondido-hunting-videos-62.htm
Labels: aoudad sheep hunting, axis deer hunting, trophy axis deer hunting, trophy black buck antelope, Trophy Elk Hunts, trophy whitetail buck, whitetail deer hunt
Monday, February 27, 2012
Wounded Warrior Eric Edmundson Returns To Escondido Ranch
Describing a trip to Escondido Ranch
is best done by using your senses:
First of all, the sights are phenomenal! It is Texas hill country at it's finest. The challenge
to find the animals will test the finest hunter.
The sounds of the ranch go from complete silence to thes ound of the Axis deer
or an Elk
. You cannot beat it!The smell of fresh air and the outdoors stay with you as you hunt in a variety of settings throughout the ran
You can feel the ruggedness of the land
as you go about the ranch by foot or ATV.
Finally, the taste. Food is exceptionally made and served in family style to give you every opportunity to share the stories of the hunt of the day with others.
I am grateful to be able to come back to Escondido Ranch. Thank you Kurt and Betty for the opportunity! We hunted hard, saw some great animals and got a chance to once again experience Texas! The animals lived another day but we have great memories.
Labels: texas axis deer hunting, trophy axis deer hunts, Wounded Warrior Project
Texas Youth Hunting! What it's all about!
To all the wonderful people at Escondido Ranch
Having just spent part of the weekend at your facility with my twelve year old grandson, during the Texas Youth Hunting Association hunt, I wanted to write and tell you what a wonderful time Clay and I had. You folks run a very top-notch operation. Everyone connected with your facility is gracious, kind and thoroughly professional beyond words. The way you treated the young hunters
was simply marvelous. I know that Clay was excited for weeks about this opportunity and came away from it with nothing but wonderful memories. I certainly did!
Our first hunt of the day was not successful from a shooting perspective, but when you are literally surrounded for over an hour by huge bull elk
, it is pretty difficult to consider it a wasted morning. What a fantastic experience to watch bull elk banging antlers and playing with a Sika buck for literally an hour. Wow! When a twelve year old boy is just in awe it is a pretty special thing and doubly so for his grandfather who gets to witness all this with him.
During our late afternoon hunt we didn’t see anything right away and it looked for a little while like we may not get any chances to shoot. Then all of a sudden a huge Axis buck
gradually walked across our field of view. We were not hunting Axis
, so once again we simply sat back and quietly were in awe of this beautiful animal. This old grandfather was so proud to watch his young grandson simply enjoy the opportunity to see something so special. Once again I cannot that you enough. It is a memory we both shall have forever.
Dusk was quickly approaching and yet no Whitetail
or Sika had made an appearance. Then like magic there they were! Two doe and a small Sika spike. Because of your wonderful generosity in allowing our youth to take a Sika doe
, Clay was ready. After a little discussion with the guide on which deer to shoot, I handed the 243 shell to Clay which he quietly loaded and then raised his gun. With grandpa far more nervous that he was, he gently squeezed off the round. One hundred twenty five yards away a Sika doe fell over sideways. He had put the bullet right through the heart. After being picked up by your crew we proceeded back to camp. Once again your organization was extremely professional as Clay’s Sika was dressed out, skinned
and hung up in the cooler.
This was just truly a spectacular experience for this grandfather and grandson. Thank you so very much.
You certainly have my permission to use this as a testimonial and I am more than happy to recommend Escondido Ranch to all hunters!
Labels: sika doe hunting, texas axis deer, texas whitetail deer, youth hunting in texas
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Buck of My Life
From opening day until Nov. 28, 2004, I let several young bucks
and small hogs
walk into and out of my sights. I had my single buck
tag ready, hoping that one of the big ones would make that fatal mistake. On Nov. 28, in Goliad County, Texas, a wide-racked buck
did just that. I have been on this deer
lease for four seasons now, and I have seen my share of bucks and hogs. I'm not much of an antler hunter, but I've never seen such a beautiful buck. So I could not pass up this opportunity.
On Saturday, Nov. 27, Tino Ramirez's guest, Robert Ramirez from San Antonio, and I had seen this massive buck
and smaller bucks in the middle pasture. Robert and I walked down to the fence line, trying to get a better view. The bucks' antlers were wide and dark brown with a small kicker on the left side. We watched that buck for 1 1/2 hours. We could even hear it snort. I said to Robert, Man, that would be the buck
of a lifetime to shoot. As the evening came to an end, so did the hunt. While leaving the pasture, we saw the buck
run off and jump over the fence.
The next morning, as sunlight reflected off the shadows of the game feeder, I saw three does. Suddenly they all ran off, and out from my left came a big, wide buck. He was walking slowly toward the feeder. I got out my binoculars. I could not believe my eyes! It was the same buck
I had seen in the pasture Saturday. I tried to stay calm and take several deep breaths, but I couldn't. I could hear my heart pound in my chest and thought it was going to come out. After viewing this monster, there was no doubt I was going to take him. He was walking slowly toward the feeder. I let him get through the barbed wire fence and used my range-finder to get an accurate yardage to the feeder. He was 60 yards away. I lined up my crosshairs and aimed for the shoulder. BOOM! After the shot, I looked out of the deer
blind window and said to myself, I know you didn't miss. I secured my rifle and climbed down the blind. I approached the feeder slowly with adrenaline pumping like crazy.
When I saw the massive rack, I howled, YES! YES! Back at camp, my dad, Gene Garcia, and father-in-law, Duane Mac Payne, had heard the shot. They were waiting for me. We headed back to where my monster buck
lay. It was so heavy that it took all three of us to load it on the basket. Since I was going to have a shoulder mount made, I was very careful while skinning. I called my hunting buddy, James Doodle Jarnigan, and told him about my buck
. He was in Michigan at the time and said he was very happy for me and proud of me. The way I see it, it's just being there at the right time and the right place. It was an awesome and memorable day in my life and I got to share it with my dad and father-in-law. I will never forget it. My daughter, Emily, told me that she wants to go hunting with me. I've taken her before and she really enjoyed seeing the deer
, and birds
coming to the feeder. I plan on taking Emily this season.
Hopefully she will be able to harvest a nice buck
and get it mounted. I want her to remember the times we spent together and how to appreciate the outdoors. I took my buck
to be processed at A&A Processing, and had my buck
mounted by Tom Eyler, at South Texas Taxidermy. They do a super job with the processing and mounting. My 13-point buck scored 159 5/8 Boone and Crockett, and had an amazing 21 1/2-inch spread. David Garcia Corpus Christi, Texas
Labels: texas whitetail deer, trophy whitetail buck, whitetail deer hunt, whitetail doe
Friday, January 20, 2012
A Great West Texas Hunt
It was Thanksgiving weekend in 2001 I had been invited to hunt West Texas on a privately owned ranch. I had never hunted and was a little apprehensive about what to expect. We arrived Wednesday afternoon we had a surprised greeting by the ranch owner who informed us he had just purchased land next to the ranch making his ranch over two thousand acres. He invited us to take a ride after we got settled in to look at his new property to see if we wanted to hunt on it or on his older property. He said the new land had not been hunted on for a few years because of illness to the past owner and there may be some big surprises on it.
We were then taken to the bunkhouse that would be our home for a few days, after we unloaded our things I was taken out back given a safety talk about safe hunting and handed a 308 rifle, after a safety lesson on safe usage and care I was told to shoot at the target which was a paper plate with a x marked on it. I received step by step guidance as I amid and took three shots, two on the right of center and one to the left all within a 1 1/2in circle. I must say I was disappointed on missing the center a little pride thing with several experienced hunters watching; however, I was declared ready to hunt and we were told to meet at the truck and bring our rifles because you never know what you might see. I was told to set up front so could receive more safety information they wanted to help me to make sure I had a good time, learned the safe way to hunt and take home some meat.
We drove around the older property seeing beautiful White Tails
and Axis bucks
, we also saw a lot of Fallow
and Whitetail does
. We then started to look at the newly acquired land; we had driven around about fifteen minutes as we started making a right turn we all froze. Just off to the right about seventy five yards in a clearing were five large bucks
circling with a doe
in the middle. At first they did not see us; the doe
was trying to find an opening to run however every time she moved the bucks countered by making the circle smaller. They were acting like a pack of wolfs slowly circling the pray. The doe
notice us first turning her head; two buck
directly in front of her turned their heads to see what she was looking at. That was all the opening she needed. She darted between them before they could react. Four of the bucks
flinched looking at her then back to us, the fifth one never moved.
Finally one of the bucks
turned to chase the doe with the other three following. The fifth buck a big 8 point was still standing frozen. I was told to slowly rack in a bullet and to slowly get ready to take a shot. Everyone was frozen watching with anticipation on my first attempt to shoot a deer
. I was talked through each movement and finally took the shot. The buck
lurched forward and took about twenty steps then dropped. My heart was pounding as we approached the deer
, everyone had remain quite until we stood there looking down at this magnificent animal. Finally the silence was broken when someone said you're hooked now and I think you lying about not ever hunted, that was a good shot. We all laughed but could not believe what we had just witnessed and to have that buck just stand there as if he was saying here I am waiting on you take your shot. They were right I was hooked by the time the weekend was over.
We had a great weekend with each of us killing several deer
. I killed a fallow
and white tail doe
and missed a shot at a turkey
. I took a lot of kidding that weekend about not being truthful about not ever hunting. Although it is hard to beat your first hunting experience I always looking forward to my next hunt and what surprise it may bring.
Labels: texas whitetail deer, whitetail buck hunts, whitetail deer hunts, whitetail doe hunting
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
It was cold that morning. I want to say the red line of the rusty outdoor thermometer was nestled in close to twenty-two degrees, but it was too frosted over to tell for sure. The specifics didn't matter. My companion told me all I needed to know, her head cocked, quizzically staring into the thickly frozen surface of her water bowl. Friends like these, huh girl? I muttered as I scratched her head and turned to walk back into the cabin, thinking murderous thoughts about a certain Houston weatherman and his consistent inconsistency.
This cold front had arrived a day early. The dog padded behind me into the cabin
, equally disgusted with the whole thing. We stood side-by-side under the dim light of a naked bulb and stared at the meager contents of my bag. White cotton socks. Thin pants. I suddenly understood what Robert Shaw meant in Jaws when he growled, We're gonna need a bigger boat. With no boats, figurative or otherwise, at my immediate disposal, I settled for layering and put into action a time honored move called, Put On Everything You Got. Snugged, cinched, and buckled, I poured the last of the coffee into a styrofoam cup and gingerly stepped out into the blackness. Twenty steps after the cabin door clicked shut behind me and I was already losing my nerve. The wind was up, whipping out of the northeast with the fresh urgency of a new front. I fumbled with gloved hands for the Jeep key as the last of the cabin's warmth was blasted out of me. At that moment, on any other day, I'd have tucked tail and been back in the sleeping bag faster than you can say hypothermia.
Nature's a tough mama, and going toe to toe with her over 22 degrees and a stiff north wind usually puts you on some end of the losing stick. That dark, icy morning and I were engaged in a hand-to-hand battle of wills, but it was only the undercard in a much larger fight. Today was different. Today was the day I would confront HIM. I'd spent most of the season staring at little more than signs of his ghostly passing. The blind was on the north end of the East Texas lease, perched on the edge of a small pipeline overlooking a creek bottom. It was a quiet side of the property, densely wooded with very little traffic. The perfect hideout for any buck
wise enough to know so. The scrapes were already there in October, dotting the eastern tree line. It didn't take much scouting to spot the two rubs on another trail, both trees over six inches in diameter. His rutting sign was everywhere and was revisited and freshened with such manic frequency that you could sense his hysteria.
The monster is here, lurking somewhere in this area. And he's lovesick. We've played our chess match all season, the waiting game that ensues between hunter and hunted. In my favor is his desire to breed
, a primal force constantly gnawing at him to ignore the safety of his thicket and venture out into the open. In his favor is patience, experience, and the light of a full moon. As the season progresses, the stakes raise. Time is a factor and it's all on his side. I've logged hours upon hours in this blind, with little more to show for it than chapped lips and stiff legs. He's elusive, this one, but he's still here. Tracks appear in the sandy road over night, and does in the area are still skittish, very much in heat. Come hell, high water, 22 degrees or a stiff breeze, we're having this out today. I find the Jeep key, jam it into the ignition with renewed purpose and head north. I ease into the area with plenty of darkness left and am positioned before daybreak. The wind eases slightly but persists nonetheless, carrying my scent away from the creek bottom. Advantage hunter.
I reach down to my right and check the gun. Everything is primed as first light washes over the pipeline. It starts with something as small as a nagging feeling in the back of your mind. Something is not as it should be. The tree lines are empty, branches slowly swaying in the morning wind. The pipeline is empty. I chalk it up to early morning jitters, or maybe too much coffee. But it won't go away. Something is here. I cut my eyes from left tree line to right, desperate for an indicator, rifle now in my lap. And just like that, in one single hair-raising instant, he's standing on the edge of the pipeline. Time slows down, and I struggle to confine the franticness of my movements within a hunter's calm. That old familiar feeling of blood hammering through veins hits me like a freight train. Months of planning, scouting and sitting do little to ease magnitude of the moment, and I struggle to contain my breathing as I find the monster in the scope. I whisper my father's advice like a mantra in my head, squeeze the trigger, squeeze the trigger, squeeze the trigger. Everything culminates in the roar of the .7mm-08, and just as quickly as the moment is upon me, it's over. He scored 144 B.C., and to this day remains the deer
I am most proud of. I never listened to that weather man again.
Labels: texas whitetail deer, trophy whitetail buck, whitetail buck hunts, whitetail deer management bucks
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