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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.

Friday, July 30, 2010


What are the advantages of booking a trip to bow hunt in Texas at a managed game ranch as opposed to public land or a hunting lease?

Texas bow hunting ranches offer several advantages lease properties or hunting on public lands. Trying to find farmers that will grant permission for you to be on their land can be frustrating. Not only can this endeavor be time consuming but you may be surprised at how many farmers and ranchers simply don't want you on their property. Unfortunately too many hunters have not been respectful of livestock or cleaned up hunting areas giving others an undeserved bad reputation.

The major benefits of bow hunting on Texas managed game ranches are you know exactly where you are going, you are assured that game will be in the area and you also know that the animals are in great condition and some will be of trophy size. In addition you can package your hunt, including several species in one outing, including some really incredible opportunities for hunting exotics you can't find outside of a high fence game ranch.

Where are Texas bow hunting ranches located in the state and what types of game hunts are possible?

Texas bow hunting ranches are located all across the state. Bow hunting ranches can be found as far south as the border with Mexico but tend to be concentrated in the south, central, and western parts of the state. That being said, the piney woods area of east Texas and the drier areas of west central Texas are also home to some outstanding Texas bow hunting ranches.

Besides native species such as whitetail deer, and turkey, there are also a variety of other bow hunting options. Some ranches offer pheasant and goose hunts in addition to a wide range of exotics. Popular exotic hunts include aoudad sheep, sika deer, fallow deer, elk, axis deer and black buck, and feral hog hunting. It is important to do some research and check around on the internet to find out what each of the Texas bow hunting ranches have to offer in the way of native or exotic game animals and birds.

What is the cost of a hunting trip on Texas bow hunting ranches and how does this compare with other areas of the country?

As with most types of guided hunting opportunities, Texas bow hunting ranches will have a variety of different hunting packages to offer. The price for each hunt is determined by the species or group of animals you want to hunt, if you are going for a trophy buck or not, and how long you are staying for the hunt. If accommodations and meals are included in the cost of the package expect to pay more than if you are staying in a hotel off site and providing you own meals and transportation.

The ideal year round conditions in Texas tend to help keep the cost of feeding and maintaining herd sizes down, so many hunters find that Texas bow hunting ranches offer very reasonably priced hunts that are highly competitive with other hunting markets.

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Monday, July 12, 2010


Bow Hunting Hogs Texas Style

In spite of potential mid-day heat, visiting Escondido Ranch can be very refreshing, as you hang out in the river for most of the day and hunt early in the morning and later in the evening. On this trip we were anxious to bow hunt feral hogs. We had been talking about reducing the feral hog population with our bows for several weeks. I was getting very excited and anxious to start the afternoon hog hunt as I practiced shooting my bow.

After discussing strategy as to which area of the ranch we would target for hog hunting, it was decided that we would seek out the feral hogs at a ground blind at the top of the ranch.

That evening, Tony and I slowly approached the blind and eased around the brush to get a glimpse at the feeder. Sure enough, a large herd of Aoudad were at the feeder. Excited, we started glassing the field to see if one of the big trophy males was in the area. We saw several animals in the 25 plus inch range, but the large trophy size male Aoudad were not to be seen.

As I eased into the ground blind, the Aoudad moved on and vanished into the brush. I settled in and waited. It did not take long for an Aoudad to move towards the feeder followed by the rest of the herd. Within about 10 minutes of grazing, the entire herd lay down about 25 yards from the blind.

As the evening progressed, the Aoudad moved on into the canyon. I sat and watched the sun going down over the hill as the cedars faded into gray. I was beginning to think that the hunt was over, when a large feral hog emerged from the shadows and trotted towards the feeder.

I ranged him at about 35 yards, pulled back and released my first arrow ever at a live animal… Alas, the arrow sailed over the hog’s back. But, I was not upset. In spite of the miss, it was awesome to have the opportunity. It was so intense!

I was gathering my thoughts and trying to come down from the rush, when the same feral hog came back for a second glance at the feeder. With a renewed sense of purpose, I snuck out of the blind and stalked to within 20 yards of the animal. My first thought was to put down the bow and shoot the hog with my pistol, but the rush of a potential bow kill was too intense. I drew back, placed the pin on the hog’s vitals and released the second arrow. Oops, and another miss! Sigh… The shadows grew long and there would be no more opportunities that evening. It was time to pack up.

The next day, we strategized about the best place to video my next feral boar hunt attempt. We chose an elevated tree stand which could situate two hunters. Tony was on the camera and I was the shooter. Within 30 minutes, Tony spotted a feral hog making his way from the canyon. Although, I was unable to see him, Tony whispered that it was a large feral boar. Tony is simply good at identifying the sex of many animals. Must be all those years spent on a farm.

The hog wandered within 20 yards of the stand. Before Tony, even had a chance to tell me to shoot, I was already drawn and I released the arrow. The arrow hit the boar just behind the ear. The animal fell straight down and expired immediately. Needless to say, we were excited. I was thrilled to have my first kill with a bow. And as an added bonus, we got it all on VIDEO. Sweet!

As we were taking pictures of the harvested feral hog, we received a call that there were more feral hogs by a river blind. Tony and I quickly loaded the black feral boar in the back of the truck and headed down to the river. Determined to harvest another feral hog, we probably set a record for the amount of time it took us to get to the other side of the ranch.

We parked a couple of hundred yards away, jumped out and began our stalk. It was getting dark, but the fading light was on our side. It would be much harder for the feral hogs to see us with the sun at our backs. We made a successful stalk into the wind. As we emerged on the edge of the brush we noticed a much bigger problem. We had two bull elk in velvet and a trophy axis mixed in with the feral hogs. We had to wait.

Tony made sure we had a clear shot before giving me the go ahead. The arrow quivered through the air, and as on the day before, right over the feral hog, skipping and sparking along the rocks. The hogs jolted away from the feeder. But since we did not expose ourselves, the feral hogs saw no immediate danger and re-approached the feeder. By that time, I already had another arrow drawn. Tony gave me the distance and the arrow cruised straight into the hog. It fled into the brush with the rest of the animals.

Another fist pump and a few high fives we were two for three with a bow that night, new Escondido Ranch record for bow kills in one evening! We retrieved the hog and made our way to the cleaning station. We took a few pictures and arrived at the main house for a few cocktails and a delicious dinner.

A special thanks to the Wiseman Family for another successful hunting weekend!

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