Editor’s Note: Kevin Burleson has owned Heart of Texas Bowhunting for 13 years, 16-miles west of Brady, Texas. Geographically it’s right dead center in the middle of Texas. He's been a Mossy Oak Pro Staffer for 10 years and is one of the Mossy Oak Deer Thugs on the TV show on the Pursuit Channel. A bowhunter since he was 19-years old, he's also a member of the PSE Pro Staff. “I've been wearing Mossy Oak camouflage as along as Mossy Oak has been making Mossy Oak camouflage,” Burleson says. Can you imagine seeing 30 to 40 bucks each day that you hunt? The deer-management system that Kevin Burleson uses may not produce this type of results on other properties in the U.S. However, this management system works for Burleson in Texas.
We don’t want any of our hunters to be penalized for harvesting a buck that’s less than 120 inches for a 9-pointer or less or 130 inches for a 10-pointer or more. To go one step further in helping our hunters decide whether or not to shoot a buck that’s within range, we ask all of our hunters to bring a cell phone and a video camera with them when they come to hunt with us. If a hunter sees an 8-pointer that’s a big, mature buck, but he’s pretty sure that buck won’t score 120 inches, I ask him to video that buck with his camera. Then he uses a cell phone to take a screen shot picture of the buck and text that picture to me. After looking at the picture of the deer and his rack, if I determine that buck is 5- to 6-years old, then I’ll give the hunter the green light to harvest the buck as a cull buck. If he sees a buck that he’s not sure he should take a shot or not, he can use the same procedure. While he’s in his blind, I can tell him that the buck he’s looking at is either a shooter or a non-shooter.
With a video camera or a Smart Phone that has a video camera built in, the hunter has an insurance policy by giving me the opportunity to tell him whether that buck is a shooter or non-shooter. Also, when the hunter comes back to camp from his hunt, if he’s videoed all the bucks that he’s seen through the morning and afternoon hunts, I can look at his video and tell him what each buck should score and help him pick out which bucks he can shoot, if those bucks come by his stand again. Those videos also allow me to see the size of bucks that are showing up on each one of our stand sites and give me a better idea of how our management system is working. Another advantage that the hunter has with his video camera is that when he goes back home he can show his friends, his family and his hunting buddies all the bucks he’s passed-on. The videos really help us decide what bucks we should cull, what bucks we should harvest, and which bucks we should allow to survive another hunting season.
You can check out the Heart of Texas Bowhunting facebook page at www.facebook.com/heartoftexasbowhunting.
Tomorrow: Can Texas Deer Management Help You and the Land You Hunt Produce More and Bigger Bucks