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My 5th TPWD Public Hunt Experience.

snake284snake284 Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
Edited at 3:45 PM Central Standard Time 12-16-2013

Through the years from time to time I have put in for the drawings for various public hunts with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Back in the 80s I was picked for one at a state park on Toledo Bend Reservoir. I put my dad on the card with me and we took his travel trailer all the way almost to the Louisiana border. I saw one deer that I didn't shoot and my dad never left the travel trailer.

In 2008 I got inspired again to try it again and got drawn for a hunt in Boggy Bottom out of Palestine Texas. It was an antlerless-spike hunt. I had a shot at a nice spike at about 60-80 yards. I was hunting with my .280 Remington built on a 98 Mauser action. I shot three times at it but I didn't see it go down. I didn't have a good rest, but I knew I hit it. But my failing was getting up too quick to go find it. Evidently it had lain down next to the fence along some private land and when I got up to go find it it must have heard me and jumped the fence with its last bit of energy and gone off on that private land to do because the park ranger who was helping me look for it found where it had lain down and it looked like 10 pigs had been stuck there and left to bleed out. I learned a valuable lesson then, don't get up too quick. Give the animal plenty of time to die.

The next year, 2009, I put in again and was drawn for an either sex hunt At Brazos Bend state Park near Lake Jackson. I had put my lifelong friend, Curtis on the tag with me. Curtis lives in Lake Jackson so that was convenient. They told me to just stay at there house. So I did, and for the next three days Curtis and I hunted at Brazos Bend. There was lots of game and I saw some nice deer but none presented a good shot. Also the resident game warden gave us a speach on what was legal to shoot and not. When he finished, I was not at all inspired to shoot at anything. At that time, Brazos Bend was one of the first areas to adopt the 13 inch rule, which is for a forked horn deer to be legal it must be 13 inches minimum width inside the main beams. The fines for small deer are enough to break you from sucking eggs, that's for sure. So that put a damper on that hunt. I never saw anything that I would be willing to risk a $1200 or $1400 fine for. I have since learned to judge width better and while I am pretty conservative about this, If a deer is clearly legal I can see it and will shoot it.

Then in 2011, i put my grandson in for a youth hunt at James Daughtry WMA out of Tilden. Actually, I always put him in for a drawing every year. We got drawn for that one and went. My grandson shot at two different doe, but missed. That was his first time and he has come a long way since.

This year I put in for Lake Sommerville Nails Creek Unit out of Giddings Texas. I'm happy we got drawn for this hunt. My grandson shot at and hit a doe. But the Parks people do the searching there so I could only look for it within sight of the blind and not beyond. Then the parks people took over he search when they came to pick us up. I understand the reason for this safety discipline because with 20-40 strange people in off the streets to hunt, they don't know for sure about who they're dealing with, so the safety standards there are very rigid. One of the parks people found the doe, but still alive. It jumped up in front of him and got away. He didn't have a gun to finish it off but he said the deer looked to be injured, probably gut shot the way it was humped over. I believe the problem was that Blayne shot it just like I had told him. He shot just behind the front leg. Well, I had told him this before the hunt and meant it for a deer standing perpendicular to him. The problem was the doe was quartered in somewhat toward him almost facing him and at that angle a shot at just behind the front leg would put the bullet going toward the rear of the deer into the guts, missing the heart and lungs. This was my fault for not telling him before he shot to move the POI up toward the front more. Anyway, another lesson learned. I'm going to take Blayne out to my lease this weekend and see if we can stumble on a hog or a spike.

What I want to say about these public hunts is I recommend everyone in Texas that needs a place to hunt should put in for one. Those of you in other states should check with your wildlife departments and see what kind of hunts they put on. I have met some great people doing this and this weekend was no exception. The guy heading up this hunt, Darrel Fisher, was totally first class. The rest of his crew was equally as good. They made us feel like family and when you have 30+ people coming in off the streets to hunt there has to be a lot of pressure to make things not only safe, but enjoyable for the participants and is no small task. But the people at Nails Creek did an exemplory job of it. I won't be hesitant to recommend Nails Creek to anyone. It was a good experience with knowledgeable good people. Though Blayne didn't bring a deer home, he had a good, positive experience.
Daddy, what's an enabler?
Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.


  • JayhawkerJayhawker Posts: 18,317 Senior Member
    Question about your either-sex hunt at Brazos Bend...if it was an either sex hunt why all the hoo haw about antlers?
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • snake284snake284 Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Jayhawker wrote: »
    Question about your either-sex hunt at Brazos Bend...if it was an either sex hunt why all the hoo haw about antlers?

    Because, after that game warden's speech I was very cautious. I never saw one close enough to where I could I D it as a doe. I have shot what I thought was a doe at a distance only to see it grow antlers as I walked up on it. What I thought to be does were aout past 200 yards. But I did manage to get a hog. Believe me, that game warden's speech took the wind out of my sails for shooting at anything. Texas Parks and Wildlife wants a perfect herd. That's all well and good, but I think they're overdoing it a bit. Just my opinion.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
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