I have been hunting deer since I was 10 years old. I have been hunting with a bow since I was 14. The last 25 or so years I have been strictly a bowhunter. It is my passion. I can not think of anything outside of family, that compares to sitting in the woods and having Gods world wake up around you.
My life revolves around 2 seasons. Deer season, and getting ready for… “deer season.” It has been that way since my Mom and Dad starting taking me hunting on our family ranch in Lampasas County, in the Texas Hill Country. I shot my first buck while laying my gun across my moms back so that I could hold the gun steady. The memory is as fresh in my mind today as it was back in 1978.
I am raising two boys who I hope will follow me into the woods for many years to come. My oldest Hunter who is 13 years old has already taken a wide 9 point buck with his Great Grandad’s rifle as well as a nice 10 point. He has also killed a couple pigs with his bow. My youngest boy Chase, who is 11, is trying to get his first deer this season. I can’t wait to Spend some quality time with both of them this year.
It was not until I was in my early 20s that I started to get really serious about hunting older deer. Since I spent so much time on the ranch during deer season as a teenager, I was able to kill a lot of deer. It was fun and I would not trade it for anything in the world, but I knew I was just out there shooting deer. There was not much of a challenge in it. So after I killed a big bodied mature buck with my riffle, I decided to switch to bowhunting.
Most of my 20s were spent trying to find the best way to hunt trophy deer. First I had to be somewhere that actually had them. My Hill Country ranch did not. At least not yet it didn’t. So I started popping down to South Texas on day hunting operations that specialized in bowhunting. I actually took my first buck with a bow on one of these places. It was at that moment I knew there was something special about South Texas. For one they had big deer, but there is just something about all that mesquite and prickly pear that keeps you wanting more.
Well since I could not afford a lease down in South Texas, I decided to try and make my hill country place the next best choice. I enlisted the help of a buddy, Bruce Letbetter, to start building my ranch into something we could be proud of. It started with pulling all the cows off the place, then we started feeding protein to the deer. That was in 1998. At that point in time, we did not have any 4 year olds on the ranch, much less a mature deer. So we decided to wait and see what happened with the protein.
The second year of feeding we saw a major jump in horn quality as well as overall body weights. Could this actually work in the Hill Country?
Well the first deer harvested after our feeding program was put into place was a mature 13 point that scored 137 P/Y. This was huge for us. This proved that we could really grow them if we tried.
Since 1998, we have really done some special things for a low fence ranch in the hill country. In the last 14 years, we have killed 11 deer that have made P/Y. The smallest was a 126 9 pointer, but the top end really blew up. We have killed 2 bucks over 150Y/Y, and a bunch in the 40s and 30s.