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 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 with in ten foot of the fence.  One is right in front of the gate to our house only about two hundred fifty yards away 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