LET’S GO DEER HUNTING!

Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Luke Clayton, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

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    "LET’S GO DEER HUNTING!"
    by Luke Clayton

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    Luke Clayton


    WHITETAIL RUT UPDATE- Ask any veteran whitetail hunter the best time to harvest a mature, heavy antlered buck and the answer will usually be: “During the peak of the rut (breeding season).” Mature bucks are secretive by nature and seldom show themselves during daylight hours but during the breeding season, they lose some of their caution when they actively chase does in estrus. If you only have a few days to hunt, try to schedule your time in the woods to coincide with the peak of the breeding season, and then plan to stay in the woods all day. You’re just as likely to see a buck chasing a doe in estrus during mid day as during early morning or late afternoon.

    Soon hunters will be setting around campfires all over the country, talking about hunts past and the encounter with the big buck morning’s light will bring. The hunter’s calendar has many highlights but nothing come close to comparing to the opener of deer season. This is a special time for those of us that love the fall and beginning of hunting season. If you have the opportunity, invite someone to tag along on your trip to the lease on opening day. Chances are pretty good your enthusiasm will become infectious. You might just expose someone to the rich outdoor experience that you have come to love!

    Here’s an update on the rut from several ranch managers:

    The whitetail rut always seems to get started a bit earlier in portions of east Texas than the rest of the state. Dr. Robert Mcfarlane, owner of the Big Woods Hunting Ranch (www.bigwoods.net) in Anderson County reports bucks were actively chasing does a week ago. “The rut usually peaks here around the end of October and the first week in November. We seeing lots of rutting activity and with a buck to doe ration of close to 1 to 1, antler rattling has been very effective.” says Dr. Mcfarlane.

    Outdoors writer Bob Hood checked in and said he’s witnessed smaller bucks actively chasing does on the ranch he hunts near Lampasas. “The peak of the breeding season should begin in this area in a couple of weeks. We’ve been seeing lots of rubs for a couple weeks and a few scrapes started to show up. Right now, it’s mostly the immature bucks pursuing does, this will change soon when the rut peaks . Then the big boys will come out of the heavy cover and loose some of their caution.” tips Hood.

    John Bryan manages the whitetail herd on the Holt River Ranch (www.theholtriverranch.com) in Palo Pinto County and reports the rut in the early stages with smaller bucks chasing does. The mature bucks have not become active as but by the 2nd week of November, Bryan expects the rut to be going strong.

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    Photo by Luke Clayton

    I bow hunted this past week up in Jack County on Squaw Mountain Ranch (www.squawmountainranch.com) and found the deer to be in pre-rut. Bucks were still in bachelor herds but these all male groups should break up any day as the rut approaches. Now is prime time to pack your rattling horns and buck grunt calls into the woods. If you see a buck walking out of bow or rifle range, try antler rattling or using a grunt tube to entice him within range. The worst thing that can happen is for the deer to continue to depart your area. There’s a good chance that he will hear what he thinks is a buck fight and walk back into your rifle/bow range.

    Down in Trinity County, Mark Balette with B & C Outfitters (www.easttexasexotics.com) says he’s seeing plenty of rubs and scrapes. “The rut usually kicks off by the 2nd week of November around here. Some years, we have an intense breeding season where it seems every buck in the woods is up chasing does, other years there’s a ‘trickle rut” where the breeding season is not as intense but often lasts until late November.” says Balette.

    REDFISH BITE STEADY AT FAIRFIELD LAKE- If battling a big redfish is your goal, a trip to Lake Fairfield might be a better option that a long drive to the coast. Guide Cory Vinson with Guaranteed Guide Service (www.nofishnocharge.com) reports fishing for the lake’s freshwater red fish (red drum) has been excellent. “On most trips, we’re enjoying lots of action on fish up to 20 pounds. Cut bait fished near bottom is accounted for most of the fish. We position the boat in areas with heavy concentrations of baitfish and redfish and set our 6 rods, it’s unusual to wait very long between bites.” tips Vinson. Redfishing is usually very good at Fairfield during the winter months but this year the bite became steady in early October and, if past winter’s are any indication, the big fish bite should get even better with the onset of cold weather. To book at trip with Vinson, call 469-867-4299.

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    Outdoor Tip of the Week: Shooting ranges will be busy the next week with deer hunters sighting in their rifles in preparation for the opener of rifle season. If you’re mounting a new scope on your rifle, make sure all the screws are tight on the ring and bases but don’t tightening then so much as to strip the threads. Tighten the screws on the rings a little at a time to avoid putting too much pressure on one side of the rings and not enough on another. To avoid wasting costly ammunition, bore sight your rifle before firing the first round. I like to begin the ‘sighting in’ of my rifles at 30 yards. Most centerfires sighted in at this close yardage will be very close to dead on at 100 yards. ALWAYS move your target out to 100 yards and adjust your point of impact to the desired position. Many flat shooting centerfire rifles sighted in 1.5 inches high at 100 yards are capable of placing the bullet within the vitals of a whitetail sized animal out to 300 yards with a ‘center of shoulder’ hold. Remember most scopes adjust to one minute of angle. At one hundred yards, one click of the elevation or windage screw moves point of impact a quarter-inch; four clicks moves point of impact one inch. If four clicks moves point of impact 1 inch at 100 yards, how many clicks does it take to move the bullet one inch at fifty yards? The answer is 8 clicks. It took me a good bit of thought to fully under how this works. This bit of knowledge can also help you save ammo, especially if you wish to make adjustments at 50 yards. LC

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    Correction in last week’s column: In last week’s column, I covered the championship crappie tournament held by Crappie Anglers of Texas (CAT). The web site for this great organization was incorrect. For more infomation on CAT, go online to www.crappieclub.org.

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