-By Brandon Wikman
By now whitetails are as nerved as a cat in a dog kennel. They feel trapped, uneasy and weary. They’ve been through nearly 120 days of pure torture and deer vs. hunter education. Considering the rut is over and done, the only thing big bucks, and deer in general, have on their mind is food and staying alive. There are two factors that play into killing a mack-daddy buck: food and weather. This week here on the panhandle of Texas in the small town of Mclean, the weather is on our side for a change and the amount of food is literally endless.
I am deer rifle hunting with Magnum Guides. I enjoy hunting Texas because of the extended deer season, amount of land to hunt, beautiful landscape and most of all the quality and quantity of deer! Throughout the season the owner, Steve Rortvedt, and his guides have been putting Moultrie game cameras to work and have pulled off some grand snapshots of impressive gnarly-horned bucks. Implementing the cameras on the property has been a huge success in detailing the age, structure and quality of their deer herd. It has also been a great tool in showing hunters what type of bucks they may see, or at least the ones in the vicinity. Most importantly, Rortvedt educates his clients by showing photos of bucks that are shooters and those that are not.
Aging deer is as critical as antler size to Rortvedt. A successful deer management program takes action culling deer that don’t have the potential to grow big. An important factor to remember is not antler size, but age in general. A monster mature buck is going to be 4 ½ to 6 ½ years of age. Aging deer off the foot is another blog in itself, but basically body size and characteristics play into judging the age of a deer.
I began hunting yesterday afternoon with Rortvedt’s gun, because mine was mistakenly sent to North Carolina . . . good ol’ airports. In fact, this was the 4th time that I’ve had this happen to me. If you ever book a hunt, please be sure to ask the outfitter if he has extra guns to use just in case your gun is lost along the way.
With thousands upon thousands of acres to hunt, we’ve hunted only a small chunk so far, but we have already seen more bucks and does than my cameraman and I have seen the entire year on all our hunts combined. Reason enough to love Texas deer hunting!
The first morning hunt was in the travel corridor of a creek bottom. There aren’t many trees in the state of Texas, so when you find one with good deer trails leading near it, it’s a golden stand in the making. We filmed 10 bucks our first day and had two shooters that were out of camera distance.
I’ll be here for a solid week until the season here ends, January 7th. With the abundance of trail cam photos and deer feeders, there’s no doubt that we will have our opportunity. It’s simply a matter of time, before we hit it right. Time is what we have and it usually depicts the probability or odds of your harvest success. You know as well as I do, hunting is a practice of patience and persistence.