Deer season for firearms opens this weekend in Texas, and most of my diehard friends are out at their leases in South Texas getting ready for a few solid days of hunting. Lots of these folks have their own places close to their homes, yet still lease land in South Texas where the big bucks roam. One of my friends, Cowboy, has been leasing his place down south near Laredo for near twenty years now with a good friend and a steady group of fellows that's been there the whole time.
Likewise, my friend David and his family have had the same lease in the Hill Country, near Stonewall, Texas, which itself is near Johnson City, Texas (birthplace and ranch of L.B.J.). It's a much more lush area than the Laredo/South Texas area in terms of live water and captive ponds. The area has bounced back well from the killer drought of record of 2011 that reeked havoc and dry wells all throughout this part of Texas. Mother Nature can do amazing things in terms of both devastation and bouncing back.
I plan to go out to David's Stonewall lease once the season opening frenzy dies down a bit, after most folks have used their tags. Hogs, of course, plague that area as they do the rest of Texas, and in the past couple of years the hog action on their large lease has taken out some fawns as well as lots of habitat, cover and feed plants.
They've got hookups out there for their trailers and have places to keep stuff under cover in barns during the rest of the year. They've got the run of the place and have stands spread across hundred of acres. There's also a couple of decent ponds with two pound bass and catfish aplenty. They use the lease year round, and it's a nice spread.
I must admit that although I'm not deer hunting anymore, I do hunt hogs and predators. But game cameras fascinate me, and I enjoy watching game camera pics and vids that friends send me with the type of wildlife visiting their feeders. I suspect we'll see some actual mountain lions and not just bobcats or cougars in the Hill Country of Texas this year.
Along with the start of deer season means that it'll be trout stocking time in 30 days or so. They generally do the first stockings in far north Texas where it's less hot and humid, sometime around the first few days of the month of December. They will release the exact stocking schedule sometime in November but it usually follows the same general pattern from year to year.
I also urge sportsmen of all states to buy the combo type fishing and hunting license in your state, if that's available, even if you are a fisherman and not a hunter or vice versa. It pays to help the Parks and Wildlife Department in your locale. In Texas, ours is having trouble, and private donations have been made in lots of areas benefiting them. As Texas doesn't have much public land or public use land to begin with, State Parks and Natural areas are important places for families to fish and camp.
I always get the combo license, even though I'm usually not hunting anything I need a license for, like predators or pests. If it keeps the trout stocking going, and the best trout fishing for stocked rainbows often goes on in state park lakes, then I'll keep buying the combo license.