Tag Archives: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Poaching or just curious? Deer on Flying Hat Ranchito

Southeast gate of Pecan Tree Pasture, deer season opening day, November 5, 2011, 7:35 a.m.

(The following datum comes from Field Notebook No. 1, October 29, 2011 –.  These are the original notes I took this morning on the first day of the regular deer season in north Erath County, Texas, November 5, 2011.)

7:50 a.m. In the far field at Pecan Tree Pasture.  One rifle shot to the south, a loud report.  41 deg. F.  One photo taken at southeast far gate.  No deer yet sighted.  Traffic light on State Highway 108.  Owl call, hooting, in the grove.  [I am parked between the grove and pecan tree, having entered from the far southeast gate to contain deer? within the field.]

No deer stands sighted on Old Bryant place, the Dooley place, that I can see.  This is different from past three years.  Two years ago, I sighted nine deer stands from my place.

Crows cawing — very few.

7:59 a.m., flock of crows flying east to west.

8:00 a.m.  Solitary deer sighted between me and water trough on my pasture road.  I am at the grove-pasture gate.

8:01 a.m.  Rifle report to the far south.

Deer may have come out of the grove gate by the water trough.  Deer leisurely walking up the pasture road.

(Bring binoculars next time.)

(Clear brush around fence in places so the F-250 is not scratched.)

A gray, short-bed pickup cruises by my open southeast gate, turns off road by gate, pauses, then goes north on SH 108.  No identification of the gray pickup.  Not a neighbor.

8:10 a.m.  Chickadees or wrens fussing in the mesquite brush, grove.  Will the solitary deer I saw cross SH 108?

8:14 a.m.  Rifle report to the east at some distance, estimated three miles distant.

8:21 a.m.  Rifle report to my southwest, very loud, very loud either on Dooley or Woods place.  I can almost smell the gunpowder.  [I carefully listen for bullet coming through air, but hear no sound.]

Far away to the south, another rifle shot.

A white-flatbed pickup passes on SH 108, slows down by field, turns around and comes back by deer at water trough, slows down, goes up road, turns around and then heads south on SH 108.  He probably saw the deer on my place.  Not a neighbor.

Big bluestem grass abounds in this field.

8:50 a.m.  Leave field.

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Notes, corrections, additions:

This year the rifle sounds are greatly reduced in number for the opening day of the general season.  The pickups that turn around and gaze into the far field where I have deer may be curious or may be looking for an opportunity to poach.  I can’t monitor and don’t want to monitor my field constantly.  I am glad that the deer stands have been significantly reduced in number from several years ago.  I have Tony Navarro to thank for that.  Game Warden Tony Navarro’s great-grandfather signed the Texas Declaration of Independence.  I rode with him in his outfitted pickup a couple of years ago when we scanned Flying Hat Ranchito for game. 

Game Warden Tony Navarro's card

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Filed under Deer, Field Log

Bucks and bourbon: Texas deer season

 

This post is supported by Texas Hunter Safety Course online for Texas.  The Texas Hunter Safety Course online is endorsed and recommended by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

By all means hunters, speed to your lease with these essential items before sunrise!  Please don’t, you shouldn’t speed.  Remember that in Erath County, Texas, the general hunting seasons is November 5, 2011 — January 1, 2012: bag limit 4 deer, not more than 2 bucks, and no more than 2 antlerless, all seasons combined (citations from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department).

The Flying Hat Ranchito is closed to hunting because of the deer population decline.  In 2003, the White-tailed deer count was daily at 15-16, but this year the count has declined to three (3) deer, two doe and one fawn.

In truth, I recommend that you eliminate all of the following items below except a non-scope deer rifle and the deer from your hunt.  (And, yes, I have and still hunt without scope.)  Dress appropriately, maybe even a bit of camouflage, but considering the number of unschooled hunters out in the veld, you probably should wear red or orange.  Those of you that need to hunt for food or as an essential supply to your winter larder, I have no quarrel — in fact, I don’t like to quarrel or wrangle, in most cases — but the accumulation of the following “essential” items should be pared down whether venison is imperative or not.  I don’t like all the gadgetry and waste of resources.  To wit, I recommend these changes:

Build a natural blind of brush, hide behind a tree, sit on a log, get lost in the shinnery in order to scan and conceal. (Wear red or orange somewhere on your body, preferably above your waist.)

Do you really need an all-terrain vehicle to run up and down pasture roads or across fields?  Of course not.  Walk, glide through the forest, the grove, the bush.  Forget the telescope, use a less powerful rifle and stalk quietly the deer you seek to slay.  I think I would keep the flask and contents purely for exorcising the chill — two sip limit after the hunt, of course.

These changes, if adopted, will exercise your body, get you close to your kill and the extra money saved can pay part of your kid’s college tuition.

Of the following, what items can you eliminate and still achieve your goal?

Essential item no. 1: camouflage clothing

Essential item no. 2: all-terrain vehicle (ATV)

Essential item no. 3: the deer stand

Essential item no. 4: 30.06 rifles, some with scope

Essential item no. 5: bourbon whiskey flask

Essential item no. 6: White-tailed deer (bag limit is four).

Have a good hunt and feel liberated from the technologies of the present day!

(Please catch the field report of November 5, 2011, later on this morning in a separate post!)

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Notes, corrections and additions:

This post was originally entitled, “White-tailed deer season opens in Erath County: essential recommendations.”

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Hot spots and Possum Kingdom Lake wildfire 16 APR 11

US Highway 180, south of Possum Kingdom Lake

I went out this morning to view and photograph the Possum Kingdom Lake wildfire event. I was not able to see Possum Kingdom Lake because I do not have press credentials and State Highway 16 was blocked at the intersection of US 180.

Today the winds are calm, but tomorrow afternoon a Red Flag warning has been issued for west-central Texas.  I drove the F-250 from our ranch north of I-20 on SH 919 to Gordon, cut west along the Schoolhouse Road north of Gordon to St. Boniface Catholic Church on Dodson Prairie.  The elk behind the high field fence on the Guest Ranch appeared unharmed.  After driving by St. Boniface, I turned north on SH 16 and journeyed to US 180, turning west and headed in the direction of Possum Kingdom and Breckenridge, Texas.

As I ascended the small mountains about Ioni Creek on US 180, I saw blackened trees and fence posts that had burned last night.  The pasture lands were turned to cinders, but I saw no livestock affected.  Hotspots of fence posts and erosion barriers emitted smoke and flames.  Towards Possum Kingdom Lake, the Highway Patrol blockaded SH 16, and after a few more miles going west on US 180, I turned around and started back to the ranch.

I turned south on SH 16 towards Strawn, past Schoolhouse Road and St. Boniface and then realized why the Texas Forest Service and state officials had ordered an evacuation of Mingus and Gordon last night.  The fire last evening had leapt the highway and was headed southwest towards the two villages.  The Forest Service, Brazos Volunteer Fire Department and the Lone Camp Volunteers (other volunteer departments were also involved) had stopped it last night, but the frontline of combating it today and tomorrow was east of SH 16, about six miles north of Strawn.  The Texas Department of Public Safety and Forest Service set up command posts in Strawn.

The winds tomorrow are forecast out of the south at 25 m.p.h. so the winds will carry any fire to the north and east.  The Possum Kingdom Lake fire will not affect us.  We will wait and see what else transpires when the dry line (nicknamed the Marfa Line) passes by tomorrow afternoon, lowering the humidity.  Our ranch lies south of I-20 and we will be prepared for any outbreak of fire in our area.  That means that we have trailers hitched, grass and lawns watered and the dogs ready to go with Star, our paint gelding.

With the exception of the sunset photograph, I have the photographs arranged in the order I traveled and time that I shot the pictures.  When I came back to the house, I had to take off my coat and leave it in the utility room because it stank of smoke.

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Notes:

Correction:  the church is St. Boniface, not St. Alban.

Changed verb conjugation: leap, leaped, leapt.

All photographs were taken NEF, uploaded JPEG.  NEF file sizes ca. 10 megs., a digital negative.

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