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Thursday, January 5, 2012


Whitetail Fever

For decades the pursuit of the North American Whitetail deer has mesmerized hunters all across this wonderful continent. Its amazing to think that one species has demanded this much attention across the hunting world but its true. The whitetail deer continues to lead men, women, and youth into the wilderness year after year in search of their next trophy. Even though a majority of whitetail hunting takes place on an individual level there is no denying that families over the years have enjoyed the fellowship and camaraderie that comes with whitetail hunting.

The stories of a father and son going on a whitetail hunt together will live on for many years to come. If you are involved in the hunting industry in Texas it is no surprise that it has grown immensely in the past few years. Just take a stroll through your local Wal-Mart and browse through the hunting section. When Wal-Mart stores are stocking their shelves in early August with camoflauge clothing, ammunition, and archery supplies for the upcoming hunting season that should tell you a thing or two about the economic impact hunting has on the state of Texas. I believe a good portion of these products are dedicated to whitetail deer hunting. As the industry grows so do opportunities for hunters.

For example, some of my friends enjoy hunting public land that is available in their geographic region. This can be rewarding from the standpoint that you may not have a significant amount of money invested when you get the opportunity to harvest your trophy. The downside is that you are at the mercy of other hunters and their ethical and safe hunting habits. This can be a challenge. The shared hunting lease is a popular choice for many because it offers multiple hunters to share the cost of the lease. For instance, a private land owner may have a 2000 acre parcel that they charge $10,000/year for the hunting rights. If you divide that up between 10 people it only costs $1,000/person. Its a popular option for many Texas hunters today. The upside is that its relatively inexpensive to participate in hunting activities that year.

Coordinating hunting priority among numerous hunters can be a problem and there are usually several rules that accompany shared leases like these. The chance of harvesting that true giant may be decreased because of the competition of other hunters that share the lease with you. Keep in mind that in addition to the initial lease fee there are hunting leases that do not provide deer feeders, corn, living accommodations, you end up spending several thousand dollars on the chance to harvest a less than trophy class whitetail buck and you may be disappointed. What seems to be the most popular choice among today's whitetail hunters is the privately owned game ranch. This option provides hunters the opportunity to pursue numerous trophy class whitetail bucks. These ranches usually have professional guides available at no additional charge to assist hunters during the hunt. It takes time to plant the food plots, hang and fill feeders, and maintain the hunting blinds. Time is one thing that the average hunter does not have to perform these necessary steps.

Many game ranches around the state are now breeding whitetail deer. Deer breeders are helping the cause by providing superior genetics in the whitetail industry. No matter which avenue you choose to pursue your next whitetail trophy you can be assured that there are few feelings that compare to Buck Fever. Its almost indescribable to someone who has never spent time in the wild outdoors. The only experience that compares is spearing a big fish with my speargun. For me, Buck Fever sets in on the morning I wake up and get ready to climb in the treestand. Whether you're a rifleman or archer the adrenaline is ever present. I've had the pleasure of harvesting whitetail bucks with my rifle and bow and I can honestly say there is no feeling like it in the world. It starts in the spring with the planting of high quality food plots.

Whitetail deer love highly palatable nutritious food plots. Not only are you providing great nutrition to the deer but also a great area to hunt in the fall. Game cameras help hunters keep track of deer they may have seen last year or deer they are interested in hunting this year. You can actually watch deer grow their antlers on these game cameras and it only adds to the anticipation most hunters already have. When summer comes most whitetail bucks are in full velvet and are showing all of their antler characteristics. Its an exciting time of year and it means that hunting season is just a few short months away. For myself opening day is the first weekend in October. Lots of hard work and preparation have been put into the last 9 months and the next 3 months is fun time. Some people might think that sitting in a tree for 3 hours every morning and 3 hours every evening is a waste of time but I couldn't disagree more.

The whitetail buck hunter yearns for nature time. Time that is spent just observing God's wonderful creation. We wait and wait and wait for the antlers to part the brushline. Each breath is counted as our every move from this point on is calculated. Whitetail deer are so alert that the slightest mistake can end the hunt quickly. Hunting the wind is imperative during whitetail season. As deer approach I make sure that I know my distances. Once I'm in my treestand I make several reference points with my range finder so I can be ready when the deer get close. Its moments like these that can't be re-created.

As a bowhunter we live for moments like this. Its time to clip the release on the D-loop. Once you pull the bow back and get situated on the target time seems to stand still. I literally have forgotten everything up to that point. The mind is so focused at this point you could hear a pin drop. Its like the movie Matrix and everything is in slow motion. All of the work you have done to this point comes down to this shot. As the trigger releases the majestic flight of the arrow takes its path right into the vitals of your target. A few moments go by as you run the shot over and over in your head confirming that an accurate shot was made. The great reward is recovering your deer and knowing you met the challenge of harvesting a great trophy whitetail buck. If this does not get your fire started then your wood is wet!!!!!

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