Chris Jones | Mossy Oak ProStaff
Most of Texas’s deer and turkey hunting land is tied up in leases. Many hunters haven’t considered the possibility of leasing land in Texas to hunt deer and turkeys, because they believe that all the leases already have been taken. However, Texas is a big state, and it has a lot of land and a lot of deer and turkeys on those lands.
By doing a little research before the season, I believe a hunter can come to Texas and still find land to lease, especially for bow season. I also believe that the smaller the properties are, the easier they are to lease. Many of the big ranches are already leased, or the landowners have hunt-for-pay hunters on their lands. The small 50, 100 and 500 acre leases will be the easiest leases to find. Often, these leases are in prime deer and turkey hunting areas, and they may not have been hunted ever before.
If you want a really good lease, you'll probably have to pay $500 to $3,500 per person to lease that property for a year – perhaps 1000 or more acres. But on the smaller tracts, you may discover some very reasonable leases where you’ll have good opportunities to take some nice bucks and longbeards.
The Importance of Scent Control:
Because our bow deer season starts in September, our weather is usually very hot then. At the end of September, the Texas air temperature is almost always going to be in the high 90s or more. So, scent control is a major issue. I use all the Scent Kapture products for controlling my scent. During early season, I wash my clothes in Scent Kapture clothes wash, bathe in the body wash, take the spray with me to spray down often and carry a refill bottle of Scent Kapture spray in my pack. If I have a full bottle of Scent Kapture, I may leave the refill bottle in my truck, because I always want to have that odor-control product with me.
The weather and the wind determine the amount of odor-control spray that I use. The big advantages that I have with the three properties that I control is that I don’t have to hike nearly as far as someone who hunts public lands, and I've always got a way to get into my property with a favorable wind.
Feral Hog Hunting in Texas:
Another advantage that hunters who lease land or hunt public lands have in Texas is that they can take wild hogs during deer season. I'm covered up with hogs where I live. Hogs are critters of opportunity. I don’t think you really can pattern hogs, because they can be here today and gone tomorrow. Hogs usually travel creeks. If they hear a feeder go off, they'll run to it. If they smell corn, they'll run to it. If they can’t hear or smell feed, they’ll just tear up your pasture looking for some.
My best hog I've ever taken weighed 460 pounds. I had a feeder that I had put out in the summer and early season. This feeder kept getting knocked over, and all the corn spilled out on the ground. So, I put a trail camera close to the feeder to find out what was knocking the feeder over. On the trail-camera pictures, I saw a giant hog jumping up to the spinner plate on the feeder and turning the feeder over, and then eating most if not all of the corn that was in the feeder.
I leave feeders running all year long to try and hold deer on my property, but the more I feed the deer, the more hogs I have on my property So, I often cut the feeders off for 3 or 4 months in hopes of getting the hogs to relocate.
The area where I had this feeder was very thick. I had to cut a trail to get my four-wheeler into this place. To get the feeder into this spot and to be able to slip into this site undetected, I hunt this area from a ground blind. I was hunting early in the morning, and I saw a couple of young bucks and a few does. All of sudden, the deer spooked and ran out of the region. The hog came in so early in the morning that all I could see was this huge black silhouette. So, I waited for about 10 minutes, until I had enough light to see through my peep sight. I aimed a little below his lungs in the heart area. Then I pulled the string back on my PSE Evo bow.
Because I draw 70 pounds, I felt certain I had enough poundage to take this big hog. Once I got the bow back to full draw, the hog was facing me. So, I held the bow back for what seemed like an eternity until the hog turned broadside. Then I released the arrow. I watched the arrow hit right where I was aiming, and I knew I had made a heart shot. As soon as the hog took the arrow, he went running off into the thick brush. I decided to stay in my blind, hoping I still might have an opportunity to take a buck. Because the weather was cooler, I knew the hog’s meat wouldn’t spoil. I waited for 1-1/2 hours before I looked for a blood trail. I was amazed at how far that hog ran after I had made a heart shot on him. He traveled bout 120 yards, even though I got a full pass-through with my arrow.
Chris Jones is Mossy Oak’s Regional ProStaff Manager for whitetails, turkeys and big game for Mossy Oak in the State of Texas. But Jones also hunts Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio and Tennessee.