It's Texas, Baby!

Texas is famous for a lot of things--cowboys, Tex-Mex cuisine, die-hard football fans and rodeos. But to outdoorsmen, it's also known for its astonishing whitetail population. Some estimates put the deer population of the Lone Star State at well over 4 million, and with many ranches boasting thousands of acres, it's a sportsmen's paradise.
South Texas--the pocket of land bordered by the Rio Grande to the south and San Antonio's sprawl to the north--produces outstanding bucks, as well as sizeable does, and hogs. Southern Outdoor Experience (soehunts.com) is one of the many outfitters who can help you plan and book your hunt. The Harris Ranch, which encompasses 17,000-acres of Texas soil on the outskirts of Uvalde, Texas, puts you up in pleasant accommodations--but the real thrill comes from the field.
December and January are great months to hunt; the bucks are still ogling the does, and the temperature is generally more tolerable than in the frigid Midwest and Northeastern United States. And around the ranch, there's no shortage of signage that deer are plentiful (note the decorations on the pillars, as well as the European mounts on the porch).
Sighting in at the range. On this particular hunt, we all toted Thompson Center Icons.
Texas is known for its diverse landscape--hills, rivers, forests, fields. But around Uvalde, the countryside is mostly desert and cloudless sky. The common view from the range or the blind is dry, dusty soil covered with grass, mesquite and thick sage.
The ammo of choice, Winchester Power Max .308.
This 10-point buck was taken from 150-yards. It took a while to get a good shot--he flirted in the scrub brush with an uninterested doe for a while before coming into full view.
In South Texas, it's not unusual to see 30 deer in a single day. Hogs and cats are more elusive (we didn't see any), and Axis Deer, Red Stag, Wildebeest and other exotics are there, but even harder to come by.
Posing with my deer, taken at roughly 8:30 in the morning.
Danny Adams, one of south Texas' guides, poses with the deer as well. Danny is an adept guide for Texas hunters of all ages and experience levels. (adamshuntingandfishing.com)
Danny was breaking in his new blackmouth cur, Abby, on the hunt. (Dogs are commonly used to track hit deer.) She's only five months old, but she did a great job locating the buck (as proven by her blood-stained muzzle). Curs are great hunting dogs, and also gentle around children and well-behaved around other pets.
The skinning house.
We made short work of whacking up our deer.
A whitetail ready for the cooler.
Quick skinning ensures the best-tasting venison.
One can't help but be a South Texas convert after hunting this game-rich country. The region is easily reachable--an early morning flight into San Antonio and a quick drive from the airport will get you there, and you can be hunting by the afternoon. Do you have some great photos from your own Texas hunts? We'd love to see 'em. E-mail them as attachments with "Texas Hunt" in the subject to OLletters@bonniercorp.com

Still looking for the best in whitetail hunting? You still need to look at Texas.