“TWO OF THOS FOUR BUCKS look like they’re legal,” my brother Glenn said. “The eight-point on the right, when he looked our way, his inside spread is at least an inch beyond his ears. Probably a bit over 14 inches, beyond the required 13.”
Glenn and I were glassing a small bachelor herd on our place west of Houston. The bucks were feeding on Japanese honeysuckle I had planted, then fertilized, the previous winter.
“That ten-point looks about seventeen inches outside, he’s definitely legal,” observed Glenn. “He looks a whole lot like the broken-off-both-back-tines buck we kept seeing last season. Glad we decided to pass him. He’s really got a nice rack this year.”
I nodded in agreement. The other two bucks looked like two-year olds. Both had eight points with good tine length and nice mass. Both, too, had inside spreads right at the legal thirteen inches, based on ear tip to ear tip measurements of thirteen inches, the average for our area.
Glenn and I decided they were too close to the line. They would be safe on our combined property. The two larger legal bucks looked older? The eight-point was likely three. The ten-point appeared to be a four-year-old.
“I’ve got numerous trail camera photos of the ten-point. The big eight-point is similar in shape to a buck that showed up after the deer season closed.” Glenn continued, “Let’s stay here until it’s fully dark to see what comes in.”
Then with a loud sigh he said, “Finally, it’s our time of the year once again!”
I knew exactly what he meant. All summer we had patiently—well, not that patiently—waited as fawns were born and bucks developed their full complement of antlers. Now with the approach of autumn the mystery of what bucks would look like was solved.
Before darkness brought an end to daylight we saw five more bucks. Three were fork-horns. The fourth buck was another legal eight point about 17 inches outside. Body size and confirmation suggested the buck might be five years of age. The fifth was another legal ten-point.
On our way home we pulled memory cards from five trail cameras. Over iced tea we reviewed the photos. We found images of five more bucks, four eight points and one ten. Three of those bucks were easily legal.
Our game plan for the fall is for us to take a total of four bucks, two by him and his family, two for me and my family. We also plan on taking six does during the bow season.
“What are you planning to plant?” asked Glenn, knowing we would not be putting seeds into ground until late September.
“Austrian winter pea and triticale, but then also I want to do some over-seeding with wheat and oats,” I told him. “Then I’ll plant some small plots of various blends to see what will grow in the tighter soil and what deer will eat. If I find something that grows well and the deer really like, I’ll plant more of it next fall. What about you?”
“Thinking the same. Bought a bunch of oats and wheat seed to use on my place on the prairie—planting the bigger fields more for cattle than deer. I’ll do some Austrian winter pea over-seeding along the tree and brush lines specifically for deer,” he continued.
“I’ll bring my bigger tractor from the prairie for us to use to plant. When are you going to be gone?”
I explained that I planned to spend most of my time in Texas and surrounding states this year to film hunts for our DSC’s Trailing the Hunter’s Moon television show which airs year-around on Pursuit Channel. “Not hunting Europe this fall, so September is pretty open. I’ll start getting serious on mountain hunts and whitetail hunts out west during October.”
“Tomorrow I’ll check deer blinds for wasps. Later this month, I’ll hang an old coat or shirt in them so deer get used to movement and someone being in the blinds. I’ll also leave a pair of dirty socks each time I get back here so the deer get used to human odors around the area of the stands.”
I was thankful that after many years of living more than four hours away from my property, I was now living within 30 minutes. I was thankful, too, that I had been able to lease the hunting rights on the property adjoining mine and my brother’s—property I had hunted in my early youth.
“I’ll be back tomorrow. Need to sight-in my Ruger .300 Win Mag and my old Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter pistol in .44 Mag. I’ll grab some Hornady ammo for those and your .270 as well.”
Indeed it is “Our time of the year!”
Email Larry Weishuhn at [email protected]