& Surrounding Areas
DEER Country 2019-2020
TPublished he Junction Eagle in Kimble County Since 1882
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First state Bank has been providing banking services here for over 70 years, serving the local real estate market as â€œthe #1 real estate lender,â€? promoting the business community, supporting the ranching industry and helping our community and our youth. Enjoy your stay in this beautiful county, and let us know how the friendly folks at First State Bank can help you.
First state Bank offers a variety of loan types to serve you: real estate lending, home construction, consumer, home equity, as well as internet banking service. The Friendly Bank
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The staff at The Junction Eagle welcomes hunters and visitors to the best hunting country in the great state of Texas. While you’re here in the splendid “Land of Living Waters”, we want you to enjoy yourselves, forget about the shenanigans in Washington (What a mess!) and have the most successful hunting experience ever. Kimble County has a lot to offer hunters: whitetail deer, exotics, turkey, feral hogs, quail, javelina, bobcats, coyotes, red fox, predator contests, welcoming free breakfasts and lunches; and there are some of the finest folks here that you’ll ever meet anywhere. We encourage you to shop with our advertisers. The local merchants who advertise in our Hunters Guide demonstrate they want, will work for, and appreciate your business. They have years of experi-
ence in stocking what you need, and they will go out of their way, with typical Hill Country hospitality, to make sure you are well served. We hope visitors to Kimble County will enjoy this publication. We’ve attempted to give you some hunting information, a little local history and info about local services. The Junction Eagle’s graphics lady extraordinaire, Ashley Lundy, worked long and hard to bring you this special edition. We think she did an excellent, excellent job for our advertisers and for you. We are always grateful to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the enormous cache of information provided. In this Guide, we are pleased to publish the work of wildlife biologist Macy Ledbetter, Kimble County Historian Frederica Wyatt, The Noble Research Institute, Quality Deer Management Association, Texas Tech Junction and the beautiful wildlife photography of local Robert Stubblefield. Many thanks to the folks at Simon Brothers Cafe for hosting Bubba and Clem for our photo shoot, and Dennis Villanueva of Rawhide Taxidermy for giving them a much-needed facelift. Thank you for choosing to visit us. Be careful; have a great time while you’re here.....and come back soon! Jimmy and Debbie Cooper Kistler, owners
The Junction Texas and Surrounding Areas
Kimble County Hunting Forecast - pgs. 8-11 West Bear Creek - pgs. 12 & 13 The Shift - pg. 15 White-Tailed Deer Misconceptions - pg. 17 Axis Deer Are on the Move Near You - pg. 19 Wild Game Dinner - pg. 20 Wild Game Recipes - pg. 23 Exciting Events in Junction - pg. 26 Lodging and Restaurant Directory - pg. 27 Places to Set Your Sites On - pgs. 28-29 Local Spotlight - pg. 30 From the Editor of the Junction Eagle - pg. 31 Kimbleville - pgs. 32-35 Corn vs. Protein Pellets - pg. 37 Bowhunting at Ground Level - pgs. 38 & 39 Antler Growth - pgs. 41 - 43 2 Survey Methods in Great Detail - pgs. 44 - 47 2019 TTU Axis Deer Project Update - pgs. 49- 51 Feed Pen Design - pgs. 53 The Fall Armyworm - pgs. 54
HUNTER’S DUMPSTERS are available through January behind Kimble Market located on the north side of town near Interstate Highway 10. Please take advantage of these to dump your camp trash. They are for your convenience. NO CARCASS DUMPING, PLEASE!
A Welcome from State Representative Andy Murr On behalf of my friends and neighbors in Kimble County, I’d like to welcome you to Junction on the banks of the beautiful North and South Llano rivers. Having grown up here, served as County Judge and now serving as our area’s State Representative, I suppose my objectivity regarding the allures of Kimble County could be called into question. But in my humble opinion, you have chosen to visit the finest 1,251 square miles Texas has to
offer, and we are all very happy that you did. Our part of the Texas Hill Country is deeply important to the multi-billion dollar hunting, fishing and recreation industry. Texans purchased well over a million hunting and fishing licenses last year, and many of those hunters and anglers chose to spend time in our county’s pastures and on our pristine river banks. The opportunity to spend time surrounded by nature, with family, and with friends, proves to be constant enticement to visit our “Land of Living Waters.” Please note that our Texas Legislature continues in its steadfast role to ensure that the State of Texas remains a reason-
able and pragmatic steward of native wildlife and waters, a protector of our fundamental rights to hunt and fish, and a supporter of continued research and study of the natural world around us. As someone who grew up on the land, I zealously support the gifts of the outdoors that surround us all. Once again, welcome to Kimble County. I hope your stay is pleasant and enjoyable, and that we will see you again in the years to come. Sincerely yours, Andrew Murr Member Texas House of Representatives
ADVERTISING INDEX Affordable Air & Heat ..................................................................... Allison Well Service ......................................................................... America’s Best Value/ Legends Inn ......................................... Best Western Dos Rios .................................................................. Bierschwale Land Co. ..................................................................... Border Patrol ...................................................................................... Capital Farm Credit ......................................................................... CarQuest ............................................................................................... Cool River Cabin ............................................................................... Cooper’s BBQ .................................................................................... Cowboy Cottage ............................................................................... Econolodge .......................................................................................... Elite Automotive ................................................................................ Exciting Events ................................................................................... First State Bank .................................................................................. Gipson Construction ...................................................................... Harames Brothers Paint & Body Plus ..................................... Harames Ironworks .......................................................................... Heart O’ the Hills Taxidermy........................................................ Hill Country Artisans ........................................................................ Hill Country Well Service ............................................................. Hoffman Services ............................................................................. Holiday Inn Express .......................................................................... Hull Construction ............................................................................. Isaack’s Restaurant .......................................................................... Jazzy Cowgirl ...................................................................................... Johnson’s Pest Control ................................................................. Junction A&M Club ......................................................................... Junction Automotive/NAPA ......................................................... Junction Deer Processing ........................................................... Junction Fuels .................................................................................... Junction National Bank .................................................................. Junction Police Department ....................................................... Junction Short Stop ........................................................................ Junction Warehouse ....................................................................... KC Predator Management ...........................................................
48 52 18 7 36 50 40 25 18 21 24 18 48 26 2 50 48 48 34 24 31 50 7 31 10 24 48 21 6 34 40 56 50 21 24 34
KC Sheriff ’s Office ............................................................................. 50 Kevin Wall Dirt Work ......................................................................... 18 Kimble County Farm Bureau ....................................................... 40 Kimble Processing ............................................................................. 3 Listing for Lodging and Restaurants ......................................... 27 Lowe’s Grocery and Market .......................................................... 22 Lum’s BBQ ............................................................................................... 14 Lyssy & Eckel Feeds ........................................................................... 42 Mark Kikpatrick Hounds ................................................................. 21 Molesworth Cedar Shearing ........................................................ 34 Paddler’s Porch ................................................................................. 14 Pecan Valley RV Park .......................................................................... 18 Picadilly Pizza ........................................................................................ 21 R.D. Kothmann Real Estate ............................................................. 36 R&R Mechanical .................................................................................. 48 Rawhide Taxidermy ............................................................................ 34 Rhino Linings Kerrville ..................................................................... 48 Rhodes Brothers Taxidermy ......................................................... 34 Robinson Plumbing ............................................................................ 21 Rocksprings Automotive ................................................................ 48 Rodeway Inn of Junction ................................................................. 7 Secor Equipment ............................................................................... 25 Segovia Truck Stop/Restaurant ................................................... 14 Simon Brothers Merchantile & Cafe ....................................... 42 Simply Generations ........................................................................... 24 South Llano Farm ................................................................................ 21 Spring Branch Trading Post ........................................................... 52 Spring Creek Outdoors ................................................................... 11 Spurs Liquor .......................................................................................... 14 Star Stop Food Mart 17 .................................................................... 55 Star Stop Food Mart 18 .................................................................... 55 Subway ...................................................................................................... 55 Surety Title Co. ..................................................................................... 36 Texas Tech University-Jct ............................................................... 40 Trey Sullivan Real Estate ................................................................. 36 West Bear Creek General Store ................................................. 46 Whitetail Junction Ranch .............................................................. 16
ABOUT THE COVER:
After getting facelifts from Dennis Villanueva over at Rawhide Taxidermy, Bubba and Clem tell whoppers at Simon Bros. Cafe in Roosevelt. As the evening goes on, rack size and shot distances grow ever-bigger.
A message from the local Game Warden
Texas Game Warden Carter Ball wishes everyone a successful hunting season. Warden Ball reminds everyone that hunters need to make sure they tag their deer/ turkey immediately upon killing and also to fill out their harvest logs on the back of their licenses after each kill. Licenses must have the month and date cut out, and all information filled out immediately after the kill. Inked out dates are not accepted. Also very important is to maintain proof of sex of the kill. For whitetail deer, it is the head of the deer harvested (skinned or unskinned) with antlers attached and for turkey, it is a leg with the spur attached, or the bird, accompanied by a patch of skin with breast feathers and beard attached. Hunter education is also required for everyone over 17 years old. If you were born on or after September 1, 1971, hunter education is required. Hunters under 17 years old, who are not hunter education certified, need to hunt with an adult who is either certified or exempt due to age. All landowners and hunters are encouraged to call Warden Ball immediately at 325-215-9129 or the Sheriff ’s Office at 325-446-2766 if they believe they have a poacher or see a road hunter. Warden Ball looks forward to working with the citizens and hunters of Kimble County. Happy and Safe Hunting!
Same location for 43 years.
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State Inspection Station • AND •
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2019-20 Hunting Season Forecast for Kimble County ou know that old saying about Texas weather, the one about hang around a few minutes and it will likely change? Well nothing could be closer to the truth than the Kimble County rainfall pattern dating back to last fall. Of course you remember the incredible flood back in October 2018, with thirteen inches of rain that month. You may recall that Kimble County typically receives 25” of rainfall in twelve months, but in 2018, the total amount was almost 33”! December of 2018 ended with over two more inches so the wildlife headed into the winter months in fine physical condition and the ground soaked up the moisture like a sponge. 2019 started out dry with no real rain until March, but from March to the end of June over twelve inches found Kimble County ground. The habitat and the wildlife had a great mid-winter and stored up their resources for the remainder of the late winter. As spring sprung, the rains arrived once again, just as the grass greened up, the brush put on new growth, and wildlife had their babies. The table was once again well set for a banner production year. And then July rolled in like a blow torch— hot, dry winds and less than one inch of rain the entire month. August saw less than two inches, and September was below average. The lush, green grass that was present in late spring and early summer quickly dried up. Wildlife species, such as deer, turkey and quail, started out perfectly and got off to great starts; antlers were growing well, and hens hatched above average clutches of chicks, just as the mid July heat arrived. As the insects and seeds disappeared, so did the surplus of young animals that were unable to cope with the harsh conditions. The hot dry winds sucked the moisture from the ground as forbs
and standing water began to disappear just as the youngsters were dispersing and trying to make it on their own. I know this is a natural cycle and Mother Nature’s way of sorting things out so that only the tough survive but that doesn’t make it easy to witness. Mid summer, many landowners rallied and sold off livestock, filled protein feeders and ran water lines trying to deflect the negative effects of the summer months, and on many ranches, this was the difference between success or failure. Our neighbors to the west were not nearly as lucky because their lush spring went quickly to dire, straight summer and that caused the anthrax spores to rise to the top of the soil and greatly impact all mammalian species. Huge die-offs of wildlife and some domestic animals were widespread and aggressive. Longtime ranchers report this may be the worst outbreak they have ever witnessed. By now, the weather has cooled down, and the outbreak has subsided, but the damage has been done. Again, some say this is a natural cycle, as anthrax spores reflect weather patterns, but that still doesn’t make it easy to witness. Kimble County was spared the anthrax outbreak but not the fluctuating rainfall patterns. Hunters headed to the woods this fall will be able to recognize the signs. Mother Nature can be our perfect partner or our worst enemy sometimes. When she cooperates with our plans and schedules, great things can happen. Managing for wildlife is like a chess game with Mother Nature—she makes a move, you make a move. Things change at odd times and responses should be swift or you may get left behind. It is a check/ check-mate game of survival at times, just as it is a blessing of abundance
Macy Ledbetter Guest contributor
Macy Ledbetter is a professional wildlife biologist with a life-long passion for wildlife, habitat, and hunting. Macy earned his degree from Texas A&M University and now operates his wildlife consulting business, Spring Creek Outdoors, based in central Texas on his historic family ranch. Macy is a fifth-generation rancher and actively manages his ranch for optimum cattle and wildlife production. His client list totals over two million acres in all corners of Texas and Mexico. He understands and explains wildlife management processes like few others and can make each individual step palatable and educational for his clients. When he is not surveying wildlife, hunting, or writing about game management, he may be found supporting legislative projects or involved in a wide array of public speaking activities. With a full time staff of three degreed wildlife biologists, Spring Creek Outdoors can help you with all of your wildlife, habitat and fishery needs, so contact Macy today at Macy.Ledbetter@gmail.com or check out his website at www.SpringCreekOutdoors.com
Photos courtesy of Macy Ledbetter, www.springcreekoutdoors.com
at others. I have spent considerable time in the fields and brushy draws of Kimble County recently, conducting surveys. The following are my observations and summary of the data I collected this year:
Thankfully, 2011 is far behind us now despite the still-standing dead cedar and hackberry trees serving as stark reminders of its devastation. The fawn production following the historic drought was Mother Nature’s way of replenishing the stock, so if your property is well managed and cared for, you should have a number of mature bucks in the pasture this fall. Those bucks came through last fall’s rut in excellent physical condition and had excellent early antler-growing conditions. This means the buck fawns born in 2012 and 2013 are now fully mature, have surplus nutrition and are showing their true genetic potential. I have seen some outstanding bucks this year, so for those management practitioners, you will be well rewarded this fall. Fawn survival rates varied throughout the county, and they ranged from 70% in the eastern portion of the county down to 55% in the central portion and back up to 80% in the western portion of the county. It appears that the older females were more successful than the younger ones at raising fawns, and there are a good number of twins this fall.
Antler quality and body condition are, generally speaking, above average this year. There is a huge acorn crop this fall so that will make hunters not too happy while the deer will bulk up and remain fat pretty much all through the season. Fat deer don’t move as much, and they certainly don’t visit corn feeders, so you may want to reconsider where you spend your time afield in the first half of the season. I would recommend locating the oak thickets and set up down wind and be patient and not worry about staring at a corn feeder for the first few months.
For the past several years, turkey numbers have increased until this year. The hot dry summer months proved too much for most birds so the hatch either failed completely or was only marginally successful. There are certainly exceptions along major waterways, but in the dry land pastures, turkey production is down this year and spring turkey hunters will be well aware of that in the coming months.
I realize Kimble County is not a strong quail locale; however, their numbers are hanging on in most areas. The landowners who leave grass on the ground and practice some form of brush management,
especially in the deeper soil areas, do still have some quail. Covey size is down again this year with most numbering 6-8 birds so these are not really huntable numbers, but they are worth reporting. If you have quail on your property this fall, you should be happy because they had a rough year, and I wish them much luck this winter.
Rabbits are a great “indicator” species of your herbaceous habitat health. Cottontails prefer low growing grass in order to hide while jackrabbits prefer bunchgrasses to hide behind and bare ground to run on. Earlier this year, we had both, and each species was abundant, but as the summer went on, the cottontails faltered while the jackrabbit flourished. Keep your eyes peeled this fall, and I bet you will find many more jackrabbits than cottontails until the rains return.
Speaking in general terms once again, feral hogs did suffer from the drought this summer. Sounder size is down this year as sows struggled to raise their normal litter size. The hot dry summer months moved a lot of hogs around as they scrambled for reliable water and had to work hard to Continued on page 11
Est. in 1950
Jennifer SideS - Owner
cia e p S ch
un L y l i e at n Da a c YS! l yo u IDA Al R F n ho C atfis
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Mon. - Thurs. 6 A.M. - 9 P.M. • Fri. & Sat. - 6 A.M. - 10 P.M. Sun. 6 A.M. - 2 P.M. 1606 Main Street • 325.446.2629
Purchase a hunting license from: Lowe’s Grocery, West Bear Creek, Hill country Hardware & True Value, Hill Country Sporting Goods, parker lumber & the South Llano River State Park. Continued from page 9
find forage. I conducted many feral hog aerial shoots after game surveys this year, and what we observed and harvested was way down from a typical year.
One notable difference I saw this year was that most predator species such as coyotes, bobcats and grey fox numbers were up substantially. The coyotes had a great spring and summer and we harvested many pups or “new” coyotes still traveling in family groups. I suspect hunters will see and hear more coyotes this fall than in recent memory, so do your deer herd a favor and help me control their numbers. Grey fox numbers are sharply up this year too, and that typically means a spike in rabies, distemper or even tularemia cases. Grey fox are small critters but can be very aggressive and approach humans and pets in broad daylight, so be careful and keep your head on a swivel and on pets nearby when in the field this fall. A shotgun and predator call are wonderful things to have available and to introduce kids to the art of calling. Grey fox are easily called within shotgun range, and this year’s bumper crop could provide some incredible fun for young and old hunters alike.
It is going to be a good, even above average, hunting season this year, despite the acorns. The acorns will mean hunters must make adjustments to be successful, but the game you harvest will be in prime or very good condition. Hunting healthy animals is what it is all about, so hunt hard, hunt smart and use the information in this edition of The Junction Eagle’s Hunters Guide to help make yourself more successful. Take a kid hunting with you this fall. It doesn’t have to be your own kid, but do your part to support our hunting and outdoor heritage, and challenge yourself to introduce at least one new person to the wonderful, and much needed, awesomeness of wildlife management and outdoor experiences. Macy Ledbetter, wildlife biologist www.SpringCreekOutdoors.com
Photo courtesy of Macy Ledbetter, www.springcreekoutdoors.com
Spring Creek Outdoors, LLC
Comprehensive Wildlife and Habitat Consulting with Professional Wildlife Biologist, Macy Ledbetter.
Office: 325-623-5464 Mobile: 361-449-6376
WEST BEAR CREEK, by Sarah Harrison and Frederica Wyatt The Junction Eagle In an earlier year, Frederica Wyatt, county’s greatly revered historian, wrote a history on the site of West Bear Creek store and has graciously agreed to share it with The Junction Eagle readers to enhance this article about the West Bear Creek, for which the staff was greatly appreciative. Her article was entitled “The Saga of the General Store” and the following are excerpts from her writings.
a Hunter’s Paradise
During early days in the village of Junction City, the title to this property passed through the hands of several local entrepreneurs and other early owners until it was sold to C.W. Cross in early 1907. Charlie Cross, a former King Ranch cowboy, and his comely wife, Sallie, operated a general store and wagon yard on the site. The jail was only a “stone’s throw away,” and Charlie served as part-time jailer. Mrs. Cross sometimes cooked for the prisoners. Oldtimers recall that the Red Cross sewing room during World War I was located at the Cross general store and adjacent residence. Of necessity, the frontier general store featured feed, salt, ladies’ shoes and other wearing apparel, jewelry, cowboy boots,
West Bear Creek General Store owners Tom and Linda Johnston.
hats, molasses and other foodstuffs in bulk form. Every store had pickle and cracker barrels and a huge block of cheese. It was a favorite gathering place for folks to visit, gossip and try their hands at a game of dominoes. William M. and Penelope Allen appeared on the scene in September, 1920, and purchased the property--lock, stock and barrel--and continued to operate the general store until selling to the Junction Investment Company in 1926. (The Allens were the maternal grandparents of Dorothy Schaefer and John A. Liverman and the first of five generations to sell groceries in Junction.) The property was then acquired by W.P. Riley, and in 1936, his widow sold to Kimble County. The building that housed the general store was rectangular in shape and served a number of businesses during the Depression and World War II. Joe Cunningham and James M. Holt bought the property in 1941 and rented to a number of people through the years. A grocery store was contained in a part of the old rambling building, as well as a cafe, and later a fur and pecan house. A secondhand store occupied the building at the time of its demise, hastened by an out-of-control truck-tractor that failed to negotiate a curve on old highway 290 that ran through Junction. The sidewalk in front of the building is still intact. After the second World War and after the building was razed, a bowling alley was erected on the east part of the property. As time went along, other addi-
Fordtran “Ford” Johnston, son of owners Tom and Linda, moved back to Junction in 2018 to help his parents run the store.
tions and other owners had interest in the land and improvements. Witting Wool and Mohair was located there for a time, followed by Hagood Feed and Lumber. In 1976, Luke Hagood sold the business to Bill Mansfield and Vernon Jones, and Kimble Hardware and Supply was operated by the Mansfield family, until a few years later it became Mansfield’s General Store.” Finally, the present owners, Tom and Linda Johnston, purchased it from the Mansfields, renamed it West Bear Creek and still run it as a general store, with a large variety of merchandise to serve Kimble County and its visitors. West Bear Creek General Store, located on the east end of Main Street in Junction, has everything a hunter might have forgotten to bring from home. According to Ford
Hunters enjoy the delicious eats provided at West Bear Creek’s Hunter’s Lunch on the Friday before general hunting season.
(aka Fordtran) Johnston, son of the owners Tom and Linda Johnston, if a hunter has his/ her gun, West Bear Creek will provide everything else needed. Hunters go to WBC for protein food for animals, to receive help in setting up fences (either wire or panels) and feeders for their deer pens, to buy ammo and even to purchase clothes for themselves and their families. There are eight employees, and one or two will load up protein feed and deliver it all over the county. Locals and visitors often go by just to “sit a spell” and visit in a space provided in the store. Ford really enjoys that the same hunters come to Junction year after year, becoming like a family to West Bear Creek owners and employees. He said the Johnston family has had the same hunters on their ranch property for many years. When asked what business West Bear Creek does when it is not hunting season, Ford replied that they carry just about everything ranchers need and that hunters need these same tools also. Besides, he added, many conscientious and knowledgeable hunters start coming to buy protein food to begin feeding the deer in March or April, knowing that this will make the horns better and that does will fare better also. West Bear Creek gets extremely busy about two weeks before and after Labor Day, with hunters getting leases and blinds ready. On the Friday before hunting season begins, West Bear Creek hosts a Customer Appreciation Luncheon from 11 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on the lawn, just to say “thank you” to hunters and locals alike. Besides
serving hot dogs and chili, the WBC family also has raffles and door prizes to add to the celebration. Tom and Linda Johnston bought the store, which was then named Mansfield’s, from Bill and Hazel Mansfield. In deciding what to name the store, they decided on West Bear Creek because the headwaters of West Bear Creek is on their land. Their son, Ford, came back to Junction to stay in 2018 and to run the store and give his mom and dad some rest and time off. Ford’s full name is Lewis Fordtran Johnston (Lewis after his mom’s dad and Fordtran after his dad’s dad); his dad’s name was Thomas Fordtran Johnston (thus called Tom); his granddad’s name was Fordtran because he was named after Dr. Fordtran, the doctor who delivered him. And that’s how Fordtran came about! Interesting inheritance! Sadly, Ford’s granddad Fordtran died a month before Ford was born, however, his grandmother, Velma Johnston, whom he stayed with often, told him plenty about his grandfather. Ford smiles when discussing the enjoyable relationship he has developed with the great hunters who have been coming for a long time. He said that having conversations with them and catching up with their news is always a highlight.
Hunter’s Party Friday, November 1 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Locals and visitors grab some tasty grub at West Bear Creek’s annual hunting season party.
Welcome Hunters! Patio
Bar & Grill
’s The Town h! Porc Favorite
Complete River Outfitters & Hunter’s Hangout!
Diesel All Grades Of Gas
Tire Service Mechanic On Duty
Come watch your favorite sports event after your hunt, and enjoy a cold beer and a bite to eat.
Call for extended Kitchen Hours!
for call in orders 325-446-2829 PaddlersPorch.net
126 Flatrock Lane Junction
115 Old Segovia Rd, Junction, TX 76849
Exit 465 Off IH-10
Truck Stop: (325)446-3193 • Restaurant: (325)446-3693
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2323 N. Main Street Junction, TX • 325-446-4200
have been a huge fan of whitetail deer ever since I can remember. I learned to hunt them with my father as he carried me into the woods and up to his favorite tree stands to sit with him. Because of my upbringing chasing whitetail deer, I decided to make a career out of them. I ate, drank, slept, dreamed and chased anything and everything to do with whitetail deer. I subscribed to every deer-related magazine, and I pushed lawnmowers hundreds of miles to help pay for each subscription. My passion became my schooling, and my schooling became my career, and for that I have been extremely blessed. But something is changing. As I enter my fifth decade loving whitetails and my third decade managing them professionally, I see a shift in the paradigm, and it concerns me. My career has carried me into many valleys and thickets throughout Texas managing whitetail deer, and I am beginning to see more people managing for other than whitetail deer. I spent my entire life studying, loving, scrutinizing, researching, handling and learning about whitetail deer, and demand has remained very strong---until lately. More recently, the calls are more about exotics
species—those non-native species introduced from other countries that include critters such as axis and fallow deer, blackbuck/nilgai/kudu/ gemsbok and scimitar horned oryx antelope, just to name a few. Whitetails are being dethroned as the king of wildlife in many parts of Texas, and there are multiple reasons why. One of the primary reasons this is happening (because I ask every new client) is the government over-regulation of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has placed such restrictive movement/hunting/permitting regulations and testing requirements on whitetails so many landowners (and hunters) are losing interest. Another reason is that, as ranches shrink in size, the need for income and year-around use becomes paramount. Whitetail season lasts only four to five months while the bills arrive all twelve. Exotic species do not fall under TPWD’s regulatory authority and may be hunted each month of the year and able to generate income accordingly. Exotic species are, as a general rule, very good to eat. Both males and females are very tasty table fare and provide a steady supply of venison to the families’ freezer and
some female exotic species produce impressive headgear that may also be harvested as trophies. Some properties may not be conducive for whitetail deer, such as open grassland (native or improved) or rocky hills instead of quality soils with quality browse plants. In such cases, many exotic species excel and flourish because the habitat may be more similar to their original homeland. As larger acreages are split into smaller ones, the habitat becomes more fragmented and exotics are much more forgiving than are whitetails. The proliferation of high fences are three fold these days—high fences are a requirement of some TPWD permits; maintaining control on smaller acreage is difficult; and exotic species value (hunter demand) continues to increase. So as you travel down the back roads of Texas, realize there are many reasons you are seeing more and more exotic species in the pastures these days. I will forever be a whitetail deer enthusiast, but it appears that exotic species are here to stay. Macy Ledbetter, wildlife biologist www.SpringCreekOutdoors.com
Welcome all Hunters!
Family â€˘ Corporate â€˘ Individual
JUNCTION, TX www.WhitetailJunctionRanch.com
Contact Tommy @ 210-247-8317 for rates or more information
Trophy Whitetail & Exotic Hunts
Our lodge at Whitetail Junction Ranch offers all our guests Hill Country lodging with all the comforts of home. Our facilities are relaxing and very quiet. Experience the Texan style of western living with all the modern day amenities including a pool table and television for your entertainment.
Robert Stubblefield, Texas Tech University
By Will Moseley Wildlife and Fisheries Consultant Noble Research Institute Like most subjects, there is a plethora of misinformation about whitetailed deer biology and management. Most people try to be well informed about deer because they enjoy observing or hunting them. However, even the most well-intentioned deer enthusiast has trouble finding accurate information about deer on the Internet or TV. Most websites and TV shows are trying to sell a product and can mislead the user about deer “facts.” This article addresses a few common deer misconceptions.
There is a common thought that only large adult, or “breeder bucks,” do the majority of the breeding in the wild. However, studies have shown that at least 30 percent of the breeding is done by bucks younger than 3.5 years of age. In populations with a high proportion of bucks in lower age classes, breeding by bucks younger than 3.5 years old increases. This is due to the breeding strategy of white-tailed deer. A buck tends a doe for a short period before she comes into estrous then tries to breed her while she is receptive (usually for about 24 hours). Most does come into estrous around the same time, so an individual buck does not have time to breed a significant portion of the does.
This is a common thought among hunters because they see more does than bucks while hunting. However, bucks are not any smarter than does. With significant doe harvest, most hunters see as many if not more bucks than does. This tells us that this behavior is effected by hunting pressure and not brain power.
Culling is a popular topic among land managers when it comes to managing for trophy deer. However, it is difficult to cull deer that have inferior antler genetics because bucks do not express all the antler genes they carry and does contribute at least 50 percent of the antler genetics. Also, we have no control over breeding pairings of free-ranging deer. Young bucks not old enough to express their genetic potential for antler growth are often the victims of culling attempts. Wild bucks usually grow bigger antlers each year, so you never know what will happen if they grow old enough to express their antler genetics.
Spike bucks are typically viewed as genetically inferior in trophy management. When there is a high percentage of spikes in a deer herd, it usually indicates other issues besides genetics. Generally, the deer herd is above carrying capacity, and the animals are not getting the proper nutrition. It could also indicate a skewed sex ratio with does being bred later, resulting in late-born fawns that are bred late the following year. These fawns can be spike bucks as yearlings but can develop very nice antlers if allowed to age and have proper nutrition.
Food plots are a very common management tool. However, food plots rarely increase the overall level of nutrition enough to note an increase in antler size. The key to managing food for wildlife is to have a diverse landscape of native woody and herbaceous plants. The old adage regarding food plots “when you can grow them you don’t need them, and when you need them you can’t grow them” is very true. However, food plots can be a useful tool to increase deer visibility for observation or to aid in doe harvest.
These are just a few, among many, misconceptions pertaining to white-tailed deer biology and management.
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xis deer, or chital, or the large white spotted “fawn-lookingbut-bigger” deer are usually found behind high game fences—but not always. The axis deer is originally from India and was imported to Texas around 1932! This beautiful red coat with white spots and large white throat patched cervid grows antlers just like our familiar whitetail, but each antler typically only has three points per side! The beams are long and may extend upward nearly three feet off his head, with a top tine creating a fork and a long brow tine jutting straight out near the head similar to an elk. Only the males have the antlers but both sexes’ coats looks the same. Seeing axis for the first time, many folks think they look like a giant whitetail fawn based on their familiar camouflage pattern. Today, axis are found in more than 92 of Texas’ 254 counties, and their numbers reach into the hundred thousands and are considered the most abundant exotic ungulate in Texas. There is a huge population held on high fenced ranches but realize the low fenced populations have exploded in recent years—including those in Kimble County. Axis deer prefer lowlands and bottoms,
especially near and along watersheds, but will certainly venture into rougher country to seek shelter if needed. Axis deer are gregarious herding animals, meaning they stay in large groups for safety. Herd counts of 75-150 animals are not uncommon. They are classified as both browsers and grazers, meaning they will eat the tender leaves and tips of bushes and trees when available but can and will
Today, axis are found in more than 92 of Texas’ 254 counties and their numbers reach into the hundred thousands and are considered the most abundant exotic ungulate in Texas. also consume various grasses, unlike our native whitetail deer. Axis deer are larger than whitetail deer with mature females weighing up to 150 pounds and mature males exceeding 250 pounds! The males produce antlers depending on their birth dates because axis breed year around. It is common to see bachelor groups of bucks with some males having just shed their antlers while some are in soft velvet and yet others are in hard antler. Axis bucks,
or bulls, emit a bugle-like bellow as they gather females in their harem, and both sexes emit alarm calls and high-pitched barks when they feel threatened. The gestation of axis deer range from 210-238 days, and single fawns are normal and twins are rare. Because they are herding animals, the group helps to defend and raise the fawn, meaning axis deer have excellent survival rates, unlike whitetail deer that try to raise their fawns on their own. Axis deer can be aggressive around feeders or water sources against whitetail deer and especially in large herds. Whitetails are shy by nature so as the axis deer population grows and expands, the whitetail population suffers. Axis deer are beautiful animals and even better table fare. With only 1% body fat, the venison is tender and sweet and highly preferred in fancy restaurants and by hunters alike. Axis are not regulated by any government agency, may be hunted year around and day or night (with landowner permission, of course) and there are no seasons or bag limits. Macy Ledbetter, wildlife biologist www.SpringCreekOutdoors.com
Photo courtesy of Macy Ledbetter, www.springcreekoutdoors.com
Annually the Saturday after Thanksgiving NOVEMBER 30, 2019 • STEVENSON CENTER, JUNCTION
by Connie Booth President, Kimble County Wild Game Dinner Association he Kimble County Wild Game Dinner began years ago with a handful of volunteers interested in hosting a dinner for hunters traveling to our area during deer season. Today, 35 years later, this dinner has become one of the premier wild game dinners in the state of Texas. More than 100 volunteers work every Thanksgiving weekend to host this great event, which is now attended by upwards of 1,500 every year. BBQ’d wild hog and brisket, sausage of various meats such as elk or pronghorn antelope, fried catfish, Ed’s famous chili and beans, Jesse’s famous aoudad calabacita, fried venison, axis, blackbuck, sika and fallow are served along with all the trimmings. Local organizations, students, and some families make volunteering at our wild game dinner part of their Thanksgiving tradition. All provisions possible are pur-
chased in Kimble County, including the over 30 guns and customarily, 50 plus other prizes that are raffled off at the event. There are several specialty raffles, such as the Keystone Cricket 22’s for kids 12 years and under, the Ladies Only Raffle, the High Roller Raffle and the Super Combo Raffle. The $10 meal ticket offers the opportunity to win the Grand Prize and is the only raffle requiring the winner to be present at the time of the drawing. Many local businesses and supporters sponsor these specific raffles, and most local businesses contribute, either monetarily for the purchase of guns or with item donations from their establishments. Proceeds from this fun event are split three ways: one third kept as “seed money” for next year’s Kimble County Wild Game Dinner, one third goes to the Junction Volunteer Fire Department, and a third to the Kimble County Chamber of Commerce & Junction Visitor Information. These organizations work very hard to produce this tasty dinner each year, and it contin-
ues to grow. Enthusiasts for the sport of hunting contribute greatly to this community’s economy, and we take pride in hosting the very best wild game dinner we can, each and every year. We always put our best foot forward and welcome all families, hunters and travelers into our community, as well as the locals who come out to support us! Kimble County hunting opportunities and the Wild Game Dinner attract hunters and their families from all over the state of Texas, and from adjoining states as well! Special presentations are made every year to our returning veterans, hunters taking their first animal during the Thanksgiving holiday, and certain long time attendees. This is a family event, and has become one of the signature events of Junction and Kimble County. Come join in the fun this year as we host the 35th Annual Kimble County Wild Game Dinner, the Saturday after Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. at the Stevenson Memorial Center. You won’t regret it!
Mark A. Kirkpatrick
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Wild Game RECIPES Wild Pig Slow Cooker Carnitas Dip Recipe By Michael Pendley author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 480 min Serves: 6-10 Difficulty: Easy Ingredients: 4 pounds wild pork shoulder or ham, cut into 2-inch cubes 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons salt 2 teaspoons black pepper 1 tablespoon oregano, dried 1 tablespoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon ancho chile powder ½ teaspoon smoked paprika 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup of orange juice 1 12-ounce can of beer ½ cup of lard ½ cup diced green chiles Medium yellow onion, diced 4 cloves of garlic, minced Juice of 1 lime Cheese Dip: 14-ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed 12-ounce bag of frozen corn 1 8-ounce block of cream cheese 4 ounces of sour cream 3 cups of Mexican cheese blend Instructions: • Mix the brown sugar, salt, pepper, ancho, cumin, oregano and smoked paprika into a rub. Coat the pork well on all sides. • Season the pork with the dry rub mixture. • Add the seasoned pork to the slow cooker along with the olive oil, orange juice, beer, onion, green chiles, garlic and lard and lime juice. Cook on high for 6 to 8 hours or until pork shreds easily. • Leaving the juice and cooked onions, remove the pork to a platter and shred with two forks. • Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients except the shredded cheese. Stir well and cook for one more hour on high. • Add the shredded cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and everything is combined well and creamy. Serve with chips for dipping. Find more recipes like this at www.realtree.com/ timber-2-table-wild-game-recipes
Venison Bourguignon By Lisa L. Bynum - The Cooking Bride Running out of ideas for deer meat recipes? This venison recipe is a Southern remake of Julia Child’s most famous dish -- bourguignon. It’s rich and hearty and perfect for a chilly winter night.
Hunters Casserole with Ground Venison A ground venison recipe that will have all your family rejoicing! Layers of golden potatoes, green chilis, lots of garlic and a savory blend of soft cheeses make this hunters casserole a big win!
Cook Time: 3 hours Total Time: 3 hours Serves: 6
Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 35 min Total Time: 55 min Serves: 12
Ingredients: 6 slices bacon coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil 3 pounds venison or lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes 1 carrot peeled and sliced 1 onion thinly sliced 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 2 tablespoon flour 3 cups full-bodied red wine 2 to 3 cups beef stock 1 tablespoon tomato paste 2 cloves mashed garlic ½ teaspoon dried thyme 1 bay leaf 18 - 24 pearl onions 1 pound quartered sliced fresh mushrooms 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Ingredients: 2 pounds unpeeled potatoes 1/2 cup butter 2 pounds ground venison 1 Tablespoon olive oil 1 cup chopped white onion 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper 3 cloves garlic 4 oz can chopped green chilies 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper 2 eggs, beaten 16 oz container cottage cheese 14 oz container ricotta cheese 8 oz sharp cheddar or monterey jack cheese
Instructions: • In a large covered ovenproof casserole dish or sauté pan, sauté the bacon over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, reserving the grease, and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Reheat bacon fat until almost smoking. • Dry the meat with paper towels to ensure that it will brown properly. Brown meat in oil in batches. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon, reserving the bacon grease, and set aside with the bacon. • Sauté the carrots, sliced onion, and garlic for 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the black pepper and flour and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, to remove the raw flour flavor, about 2-3 minutes more. • Add the wine and the broth, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole dish or sauté pan and toss with vegetables. • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover casserole dish and place in the bottom third of the oven. Braise for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat pierces easily with a fork. Alternately, add everything to the crock of a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. • Forty-five minutes before serving, sauté the mushrooms and onion in butter for 3-5 minutes. Add to the casserole or crock pot and continue cooking. • Serve stew over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.
Instructions: • Using a large pot, boil two pounds of skin-on golden potatoes in lightly salted water until fork tender. • Drain the potatoes and mash them well with ½ cup of butter. • Spread your mashed potatoes into the bottom of a 13×9 pan or two smaller square roasting pan(s) and set aside. • Brown two pounds of ground venison in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and drain the cooked meat if necessary. Remove the meat, but do not clean the pan. • In the same pan that you cooked the meat, sauté 1 cup of chopped white onion, ½ cup of chopped yellow bell pepper and three minced cloves of garlic for three minutes. Add the undrained can of green chilis, 1 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce, 1 tsp. Hungarian paprika, 1 tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. cracked black pepper and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. • Stir your cooked vegetables into your bowl of meat and spread it on top of the mashed potatoes to make the second layer. • In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese and remaining ½ tsp. of salt. • Pour the cheese mixture on top of the meat layer and top with 8 oz. of shredded cheese. • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Find more recipes like this at www.cookingbride.com
Find Nutrition Facts and more recipes like this at www. cleverlysimple.com
Junction Warehouse company Calling all hunters!
Did you know... Junction Warehouse carries a wide variety of deer feed and hunting products! SOME OF THE PRODUCTS WE CARRY:
We can mix & deliver bulk game feed!
Purina Feeds • deer Blocks corn • alFalFa Hay Protein Pellets • Maize deer Feeders • tiMers Deer StanDS HUNTER’S LUNCH 2nd Saturday in November
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JUNCTION, TEXAS for these
2019-2020 Events! ______________________________________________
Oktoberfisch Fly Fishing Festival
Memorial Day Celebration
ENJOY FLY FISHING, CLASSES, VENDORS, RAFFLES & FELLOWSHIP
March 14-15, 2020
Annually 3rd Saturday Weekend in October
Predator Calling Contest
10/83 RV PARK, 2145 N. MAIN 325.446.3138
Veterans & Boy Scouts Troop 420 Placing of Flags Predator Contest with Cash Prizes and Drawing FLAGPOLE AT JUNCTION CEMETERY ON US. HWY 377 S at end of Contest on Sunday (Must Be Present to Win). For more info: 325.446.3157 For more info: 325.446.3190 ______________________________________________
Hunters Welcome Events
website: www.fredericksburgflyfishers.com ______________________________________________ 1st Weekend in November
Deer Hunting Season Opens
FRI: Hunters Appreciation Lunch WEST BEAR CREEK GENERAL STORE SAT: London Hunters Breakfast LONDON COMMUNITY CENTER SAT: Hunters BBQ Lunch SIMON BROS. MERCANTILE/LYSSY & ECKEL FEED/ROOSEVELT
2nd Saturday in November HOLEKAMP’S JUNCTION WAREHOUSE COMPANY ______________________________________________ Kimble County
WILD Game Dinner
Annually, the Saturday after Thanksgiving November 30, 2019 • November 28, 2020
EAT WILD GAME, WIN GUNS & HUNTS & LIVE AUCTION OF HUNTS & RESORT TRIPS! ______________________________________________
Christmas Happenings Sunday, December 1, 2019 (evening)
CHRISTMAS TRAIL OF LIGHTS - JCT. CITY PARK
Thursday, December 5, 2019 (Noon-8pm)
LATE NIGHT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING IN JCT.
Saturday Dec. 7, 2019 (Day & Evening)
4th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS AT THE RANCH
SOUTH LLANO RIVER STATE PARK
Fun activities for the Family. For more info: 325.446.3994
Memorial Day Monday 8 am - TRIBUTE CEREMONY Honoring Fallen
10 am - PARADE ON MAIN -
“Saluting our Military and Fallen Heroes”
Predator Washer Pitching Contest
For more info, Chamber of Commerce: 325.446.3190 ____________________________________________
$1,000 Guaranteed Payout
Cowboys & Cajuns Together Again
700 Springs Ranch Tour
Saturday June 6, 2020 ON 5TH STREET BESIDE THE COURTHOUSE
March 14, 2020
Annually 1st Saturday in June For more info: 325.446.3190 ______________________________________________
STREET DANCE “Jody Nix & The Texas Cowboys” Dance for Free, Eat for a Fee HOT-TO-TROT CRAWFISH BOIL, WELSH, LA
Annually in March or April MEET AT COURTHOUSE IN JUNCTION.
Motorcade leaves PROMPTLY at 10:00 AM for Ranch. Bring ____________________________________________ Bag Lunch and Lawn Chairs. For more info: 325.446.3190 ______________________________________________
Kimble County NRA Banquet Annually in March or April COKE STEVENSON MEMORIAL CENTER
Easter Happenings PETS PARADE
DRESS UP YOUR PET & JOIN IN THE FUN FOR FREE! Easter Eve, Saturday ANNUAL EASTER PAGEANT
AMPHITHEATER BELOW LOVER’S LEAP • DARK THIRTY ______________________________________________ SM
ANNUAL COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS CANTATA ANNUAL LIGHTED CHRISTMAS PARADE FEATURING SANTA
Junction A&M Club Scholarship Golf Tournament
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, MAIN ST. Friday, December 13, 2019 (Evening)
MAIN STREET DOWNTOWN, ENDING IN JUNCTION CITY PARK - Santa Claus will hear Children’s wishes after the parade in City Park For more info: 325.215.9376 ______________________________________________ Fifth Annual Junction’s “Trial on the Pecos Trail”
TSDA Sheep Dog Trials February 11-16, 2020 HILL COUNTRY FAIRGROUNDS
JUST FOR WOMEN! JUST FOR FUN! ______________________________________________
Annually in April
DINNER & SILENT AUCTION AFTER TOURNAMENT
www.junctionaggies.com fb.com/junctionaggies ______________________________________________ Kimble County
Disc Golf Events
For info: Hoyt Moss 325.446.6565 or Charlie Chapman 512.557.2482 ______________________________________________ Bluebonnet Casa
Saturday, June 13, 2020
For more info: 214.714.5653 or 325.446.6043 ____________________________________________
Easter Saturday Morning 11 am CITY PARK PAVILION
Annually, 3rd Saturday in April Saturday, April 20, 2020 SOUTH LLANO RIVER STATE PARK
Sunday, December 8, 2019 (Evening)
Benefiting Lexi Cardwell Scholarship Fund
For more info: Derrick Ard, 325.215.9425 ______________________________________________
Outdoor Women Gone WILD in Kimble County
3rd Annual “Hit for Sticks”
Annually in May For more info: 325.347.6474 ______________________________________________
Annually July 4th Weekend July 2nd, 2020 FREE FIREWORKS DISPLAY! DARK THIRTY • CITY PARK, ALONG THE LLANO RIVER
Sponsored by City of Junction
July 4th PARADE ON MAIN – 10 AM
CELEBRATE THE 4TH IN JUNCTION!!! ____________________________________________
Hill Country Fair Assoc. Summer Classic Rodeo
Annually, 2nd Full Weekend in August HILL COUNTRY FAIRGROUNDS DANCES & PARADE and Annual Martin Memorial
Open Car Show
For more info: 325.446.5658 email@example.com ____________________________________________ Junction’s 6th Annual
BBQ Cook-Off & Kow Kick Family Fun Festival
Labor Day Weekend, Sat. September 5, 2020
LONE STAR BBQ SOCIETY SANCTIONED COOK-OFF – $5,000 Guaranteed Payout WASHER PITCHING CONTEST – $1,000 Guaranteed Payout KIDS’ CARNIVAL • LIVE MUSIC • RIDES • VENDORS • KIDS ACTIVITIES ____________________________________________
Up & Back Boat Race
Labor Day Weekend, Sat. September 5, 2020 SOUTH LLANO RIVER - BEGINS & ENDS AT THE DAM
For more info: 325.446.2622 or 210.289.2982 ____________________________________________
FOR EXACT EVENT DATES AND TIMES, VISIT: www.junctiontexas.net OR CONTACT: Kimble County Chamber of Commerce & Junction Visitor Information
402 Main Street, Junction, TX 76849 • 325-446-3190 • Email: JunctionTX@cebridge.net
AREA CABINS and CAMP GROUNDS AND RV PARKS BEAR CREEK PROPERTIES JUNCTION 361.701.8059 Off the Cleo Highway, FM 2291, on KC 210 email: firstname.lastname@example.org BON TON ROULET CABINS ON THE RIVER 325.446.3154 10 miles South of Junction on US Hwy 377 S. email: email@example.com CHARLIE’S BED ‘N BUNK 817.408.7329 or 214.649.1447 905 College email: firstname.lastname@example.org COOL RIVER CABINS 866.41-RIVER 4 Miles East of Junction on Hwy 377 N. on the Main Llano River www.seedsource.com/ecotourism/cabin.asp COURTHOUSE CASITA 325.446.4620 419 College email: email@example.com www.airbnb.com 10/83 RV PARK 325.446.3138 2145 N. Main JUNCTION SOUTH LLANO RIVER RV PARK & RESORT, a Good Sam Park 325.446.3388 210 Old Cedar Creek Road at the SE Corner South Llano Bridge & Loop 481 www.southllanoriverrvresort.com MY BLUEBONNET HOUSE 325.257.7210, 305 E. Main firstname.lastname@example.org www.airbnb.com
SOUTH LLANO RIVER CABINS 830.302.8836 9436 Hwy 377 South, 10 Miles South of Junction on the South Llano River www.southllanorivercabins.com TERRA FIRMA CABIN 830.997.0249 in Kimble County 15 min. from Junction www.llanoriveradventures.com THE OUTBECK GUEST HOUSE 817.408.7329 or 214.649.1447 905 College – Back Lot email: email@example.com RV and TENT CAMPGROUNDS ABOVE AND BEYOND RIVER RESORT a Good Sam Park 325.446.3388 210 Old Cedar Creek Road at the SE Corner South Llano Bridge & Loop 481 www.aboveandbeyondrvresort.com firstname.lastname@example.org 10/83 RV PARK 325.446.3138 2145 N. Main SCHREINER PARK (JUNCTION CITY PARK) 325.446.3880 Call City Hall to Reserve, On the South Llano River in Town (No Hookups) Note: Camping Limited to 3 Nights SOUTH LLANO RIVER STATE PARK 325.446.3994 For Information 1.800.792.1112 For Reservations 512.389.8900 Five Miles from Junction on Hwy 377 S. on the South Llano River www.tpwd.state.tx.us
CANOE, KAYAK and TUBE RENTALS PADDLER’S CABIN 325.446.2829 KORNER STORE TUBE RENTALS 126 Flatrock Lane 325.446.8823 email: email@example.com 2 Blocks from Flatrock Crossing www.airbnb.com 601 S. Llano www.paddlersporch.net PADDLER’S PORCH 325.446.2829 SCHREINER PARK (JUNCTION CITY PARK) 126 Flatrock Lane Located Along the South Llano River in email: firstname.lastname@example.org Town. Swimming, Tables, Bar-be-que Grills, Small Covered Pavilion. (No Hookups) www.paddlersporch.net For Reunions or Large Parties, Please SOUTH LLANO RIVER CANOES & KAYAKS Reserve at City Hall 325.446.3880 325.446.2220 Note: Camping Limited to 3 Nights Located 6 miles from Junction on Highway 377 South on the South Llano River TONY’S KAYAKS, 830.609.8836 830.609.8329 or 325.446.3360 315 US Hwy. 377 South
MOTELS America’s Best Value Inn - LEGENDS INN 325.446.8644 877.445.8444 1908 N. Main www.abvijunctiontx.com email: email@example.com
ISAACK’S RESTAURANT 325.446.2629, 1606 Main www.isaacksrestaurant.com LA FAMILIA 325.446.2688, 1927 Main IVY’S LONDON GROCERY 325.475.2296 Downtown London, TX, on US Hwy 377 N www.londondancehall.com
BEST WESTERN DOS RIOS, 325.446.3700 244 Dos Rios Drive off N. Main www.bestwestern.com/dosrios ECONO-LODGE 325.446.3730 111 Martinez Street firstname.lastname@example.org
JUNCTION BURGER COMPANY 325.446.2695, 1619 Main LUM’S BAR-B-QUE 325.446.3541, 2031 N. Main
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES JUNCTION 325.215.4377 304 Dos Rios Drive off N. Main www.ihg.com
MCDONALD’S RESTAURANT 325.446.8005, 2416 N. Main MAURICIO’S QUICK STOP 325.446.4204, 1101 Main
LAZY T MOTEL 325.446.2565, 2043 N. Main
PADDLER’S PORCH PATIO BAR & GRILL 325.446.2829 126 Flatrock Lane email: email@example.com www.paddlersporch.net
MOTEL 6 325.446.3572 888.4-MOTEL-6 200 IH 10 West at Exit 456 www.motel6.com
PICCADILLY CIRCUS PIZZA 325.446.4524, 1977 N. Main
THE HILLS MOTEL 325.446.2567, 1520 Main
PILOT FLYING J TRUCK STOP 325.446.2085, 2342 N. Main
RODEWAY INN OF JUNCTION 325.446.4588 877.424.6423 184 Dos Rios Drive off N. Main www.choicehotels.com/ires/html/ RodewayHome
SONIC DRIVE INN 325.446.9200, 2337 N. Main SUBWAY 325.446.8989, 1014 Main
SUN VALLEY MOTEL 325.446.2505, 1611 Main email: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE DONUT PALACE 325.446.3536, 1815 Main TIA NENA’S REAL MEXICAN FOOD 325.446.4031, 2429 N. Main
RESTAURANTS A & M GONZALES CAFÉ 325.446.4202, 1106 Main
WILD ROOSTER & GRILL 325.446.3148, 2349 N. Main
SIMON BROS. CAFÉ 325.446.2604 3879 W. State Loop 291 - Behind Simon Bros. Mercantile/Lyssy & Eckel Feeds
PRIVATE PARTIES ABOVE AND BEYOND RIVER RESORT EVENT CENTER 325.446.3388 210 Old Cedar Creek Road at the SE Corner South Llano Bridge & Loop 481 www.aboveandbeyondrvresort.com email@example.com
BIG HUNGRY CAFE 325.446.2215, 2341 N. Main CITY SWEETS & EATS 325.446.2626, 1907 Main COOPER’S BAR-B-Q & GRILL 325.446.8664, 2324 N. Main DAIRY QUEEN OF JUNCTION 325.446.2121, 2345 Main
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“Land of Living Waters” Come to Junction Texas, where the North, South, and Main Llano Rivers, and the Path of Totality for the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024, intersect!SM
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SOUTH LLANO RIVER STATE PARK
1927 Park Road 73 Junction, TX 76849 Five miles from Junction on Highway 377 S
Entrance Fees Adult: $5 Daily Child 12 Years and Under: Free
CITY PARK & COUNTY PARK Located along the South Llano River, just below the historic metal bridge that leads from town to Interstate 10. • Fishing, swimming, disc golf, BBQ pits, picnic tables, pavilions, canoe launch, playground, basketball and volleyball courts
KIMBLE COUNTY LIBRARY & O.C. FISHER MUSEUM
208 N 10th St, Junction, TX 76849 (325 )446-2342 Hours:
Mon., Tues. & Thurs. 9 a.m. -6 p.m Wed. - 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Fri. - 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Houses memorabilia of US Congressman O.C. Fisher, a Kimble County native.
LOVERS LEAP Beautiful sunrise and sunset views over Junction at Lovers Leap hilltop. Cross the South Llano Metal Bridge, take Loop 481 to the first “scenic view” which leads you to the top of the hill for a breathtaking view.
JUNCTION DEER HORN TREE The Deer Horn Tree is a must photo opportunity in Kimble County. Sitting in front of Kimble Processing facing Main Street, it is composed of hundreds of deer antlers. It was erected in 1968 by the Kimble Business and Professional Women’s Club.
TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY JUNCTION LLANO RIVER FIELD STATION 254 Red Raider Lane Junction, Texas, 76849, 325-446-2301 Home of the largest inland field station in Texas, and the Internationally recognized Outdoor Learning Center. Call and schedule a tour of the campus!
KIMBLE COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM The Kimble County Museum’s new home is located 130 Hospital Dr. Junction, TX 76849 (325) 446-4219 Open Mon. - Sat. 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Sundays open by appointment only.
FT MCKAVETT Historic Site • Reenactments Star Parties 7066 FM 864, Fort McKavett, TX 76841 (325) 396-2358 Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Adults - $4 / 6-18 - $3 Seniors - $3 / 5 and under Free
LONDON COMMUNITY London Community Hunter’s Breakfast Nov. 2 (annually first day of open season) Breakfast 9:30 - 11 a.m. at London Community Center
ROOSEVELT COMMUNITY Lyssy & Eckel Simon Brothers Mercantile 3861 TX-291 Loop (325) 446-2604 Hunter’s Appreciation Lunch Simon Brothers Mercantile Nov. 2, 11:30 Sausage wraps, beans and fixings until food runs out!
Colt Brandenberger, right, kneels with the hogs he and his dad, Dale Brandenberger, shot near Telegraph. Photo courtesy of Colt Brandenberger
Skylar Mogford killed her first deer along side her grandfather Bobby Mogford last year on Mogford River Ranch in northeastern Kimble County. Photo courtesy of Brad Mogford
Six-year-old Kenley Sodolak, shows off her Axis deer she harvested with her dad Matt Sodolak and furry friend Foxie. The deer was taken at Galle Ranch near Mountain Home on low fence property. Photo courtesy of Matt Sodolak
This impressive Whitetail deer was taken by Lisa Wise on Galle Ranch near London on low fence property. The deer scored 157 2/8. Photo courtesy of Matt Sodolak
Photo courtesy of Matthew Brown
Buck Casey, center, kneels with the Axis buck he harvested this year. With him are his grandchildren Truitt Brown, left, and Ruby Brown.
From the Editor of The Junction Eagle Debbie Cooper Kistler Once upon a time, a long time ago when I was in grade school, and it was illegal (punishable by fines) to shoot two-point deer, my daddy took my mother deer hunting. It turned out to be the first and last time that would happen in their 52 years of marriage. I remember there was substantial disagreement between my parents about exactly what happened that day, but shortly after the “incident”, as my dad referred it, he wrote his version of the the events. He also gifted my mom with the mounted remains of the deer she shot that day.
Here is his version: The Story of the Three-point Buck OR Have I Told You About My Recent Heart Attack? OR Why Not to Marry a “Daddy’s Girl” OR The Game Warden Forgave Her…Why Shouldn’t I? I decided to take my bride hunting! Seemed like a good idea at the time. This was no small chore, like getting out the weekly newspaper…filling out my income tax forms…or painting a house. This entailed dragging her out at 5:00 a.m. while listening to the sleepy snarls of “It’s not a good morning!” “Dr. Howell said hunting is not good for my pleurisy!” “Let’s do this after while. I need to get my rest while I can.” “My gloves don’t match my hunting outfit.” Undeterred, I pressed on. Finally, after feeding, smoking, and swarthing her in blankets, and with heavy-lidded eyes and much unintelligible muttering, we
Marvin and Laura Wilson, Owners
reached the ranch. At this point, the spirit of the hunt came upon her...for a full thirty minutes. From that time until four hours later, I heard a monotonous litany of, “I’m hungry; I’m thirsty; I’m cold; I have to go to the bathroom”, etc. At 11:30, I pointed ahead to a deer some 150 yards away. “It’s a doe,” said I. This, in little more than a whisper. “It’s a buck,” said she. “It’s only got two points,” said I. “The SOB has eight!” said she. As the blast sounded and the deer fell, my feeble “Don’t shoot!” was completely drowned out. Rushing up to the animal (which one should never do), eyes shining and with a triumphant look over her shoulder at me, she proudly announced, “My daddy taught me to shoot!” What I’d like to know is where was Daddy when the Arithmetic lessons were being handed out.
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A COUNTY SEAT Compiled by Frederica Burt Wyatt vast Texas county known as Bexar was to be the mother of several lesser counties created by an Act of the Legislature on January 22, 1858. Among those in the rugged wilderness area was one named in honor of Alamo hero George C. Kimble (sometimes spelled “Kimball”) who had led the 32 men of the Gonzales Rangering Company to fight the Alamo in March 1836. Kimble County was to remain an unorganized entity for eighteen years and was attached to Gillespie County for judicial purposes until September 6, 1875, at which time the previously-organized Menard County became the seat of government for the fledging County of Kimble. The Texas Almanac, in 1867, “Kimble County takes in the headwaters of the Llano, extending down that boisterous, roiling, foaming little river about fifty or sixty miles.” The county “is noted for the good timber upon the innumerable little streams which rise within its boundaries and empty into the Llano, for its rich and immense number of bee caves, for its many salt licks, and for its inexhaustible supply of winter pasturage.” The 1867 article further states there is “no blacksmith shop, no store, no grocery. “ We quote another statement from the Almanac: “The people of Kimble have suffered terribly from Indian depreda-
tions for the last twelve months. Very few of the residents are living upon their own lands.” The area was a part of the Fisher and Miller Colony land granted to Europeans immigrating to Texas from the “Old World. They were reluctant to settle on a frontier beset by dangers and privations and chose to remain in the more civilized areas of Fredericksburg, New Braunfels and elsewhere. Three years later, when the 1870 United States census was enumerated in the unorganized county, the post office was Fort Mason. Although the 1867 Almanac entry reported a population of fifty families, the 1870 United States census reflected a total of sixteen heads of households with a total of seventy-two persons residing, within the limits of the county. There seems to be no existing record of the petitioners asking for the formal organization of Kimble, but by February 15, 1876, a county government was in place. Kimbleville, a small settlement on the north side of the Llano River, some distance, about one and one-half miles, below the junction of the North and South branches of the Llano, was selected as county seat. It was near the locale of a former Texas Ranger Camp established by Captain Henry McCulloch. Today, the site is approximately one-half mile northwest of U. S. Highway 83. A sign over the ranch gate carries the designation of “Kimbleville”. Another locale in the “running” for the designation was the village of Denman
(later known as Junction City) at the confluence of the North and South Llanos. Rivalry between the two sites was destined to continue for some time. According to oral history, William B. Miller offered a tract of land for the site of Kimbleville. The Confederate veteran, aged fifty-two years of age, had moved his family to Kimble before the county’s organization. In a rather belated news report, a north central Texas newspaper, printed the following several months after the fact: “Miller’s ranch on the Llano has been selected as the county seat of Kimble County”. Although written history reflects 1876 as the date of the founding of Kimbleville, a local delayed birth certificate reflects Walter Belle, son of Marion and Lizzie Cox Belle, was born December 1, 1875, at Kimbleville. News of the county’s organization spread state-wide, and one media item stated: “The people have held an election in Kimble County to organize and set the machinery of the government in motion. The county court has met twice, and at the last account had ordered a new registration. Adjourned to 17th instant. About 123 votes were polled last election.” The first county officials were selected at the election of date February 15, 1876, and included William Potter, county judge; Frank Latta, sheriff; E. K. Kountz, county clerk; N. Q. Patterson, county treasurer, M. J. Denman, county surveyor, and
William Graham, county attorney. County Commissioners were James R. Steffey; Felix Burton; Henry Pearl (my greatuncle) and Alexander Vancourt. Two of the other officers were T. J. Bailey, tax assessor and J. A. Burt, animal and hide inspector. Kimbleville’s claim to fame occurred in the Spring of 1877 and was detailed in the report of Major John B. Jones when he wrote George W. Steele, Adjutant General in Austin. The cominunique dated May 6, 1877, was from Fort McKavett, Texas. Major Jones reported on the infamous “outlaw roundup”. With thirteen fellow rangers, on April 18, 1877, he reached the headwaters of the South Llano in Edwards County. The following day, he divided and dispatched the forces to Johnson Fork, to Cedar Creek, to the South Llano, and to Maynard’s Creek and thence to the North Llano. In a time span of three days, the entire area was scoured, and a total of forty-one arrests, thirty-seven of which were in Kimble County, were accomplished. As a result, a session of District Court was scheduled at Kimbleville. District Judge W. A. Blackburn of Bumet, accompanied by District Attorney Frank Wilkes, rode overland to hold court. At their request, they were provided an escort of Texas Rangers for their protection against the organized crime element scheduled to stand trial. A grand jury returned twentyfive bills of indictment and would have found more but for the absence of witnesses and lack of time. Alas, only nine honest citizens could qualify as petit jurors, and the cases were continued for another term. Several indictments were found against County Judge William Potter and Kimble County’s second Sheriff J. M. Reynolds, and they resigned during the court session. Appointed to serve in their stead, respectively, were N. Q. Patterson, Judge, and John B. Gorman, Sheriff. Their appointments were at the recommendation of the grand jury. Another person of interest in the Court proceedings was J. A. Burt. Ironically, in spite of his election as the first Animal and Hide Inspector, Burt was, conveniently, an ally of the lawless element in Kimble County. It is to be noted that the said Burt was not related to Drs. J. W. and J. M. Burt, who came to Kimble in the early 1880’s.
N. C. Patterson (son of N. Q. Patterson), John A. Miller, (son of Kimbleville founder William B. Miller), and J. R. Steffey, (first county commissioner from Precinct 1), were named as commissioners to select a panel of jurors for the Fall term of Court. The late Daniel Morales once recalled his father, Meliton Morales, was a member of the jury at the first court session and told his family the court was held under a tree. Meliton Morales, who moved from Goliad in 1874, had established a ranch on Viejo Creek (later known as
FIRST COURT IN KIMBLE COUNTY (SITE: 1/2 MI. NW, ON MAIN LLANO RIVER) HELD IN SPRING OF 1876, UNDER A LIVE OAK TREE THAT HAD A HIVE OF WILD BEES IN ITS TRUNK. THE SITE, “OLD KIMBLEVILLE,” HAD BEEN SUGGESTED AS THE COUNTY SEAT. DISTRICT JUDGE W.A. BLACKBURN, OF BURNET, ARRIVED BY HORSEBACK. DISTRICT ATTORNEY WAS FRANK WILKS. THE JURY WAS SEATED ON JUDGE’S BENCH AND A PIECE OF GNARLED LIVE OAK LIMB THE GAVEL. PRISONERS AWAITING TRIAL WERE CHAINED TO NEARBY TREES. MAJOR TRIALS WERE FOR HORSE THEFTS. TEXAS RANGERS WERE ON HAND TO TESTIFY AND TO GUARD COURT, AS THIS WAS DURING LAWLESS ERA. (1967)
West Bear Creek.) Throughout the years, other old-timers recalled that the meeting of that District Court was held under the spreading limbs of a native oak tree. Its history is contained in an Official Texas Historical Marker near the site. The judge’s bench consisted of planks nailed between the tree and a smaller one nearby, and the judge’s gavel was a knotted live oak branch. In lieu of a jail, the
accused defendants were chained to trees. Seats in the makeshift open-air “courtroom” were logs from the area. Legend recalls a swarm of bees had taken up residence in the tree, and sometime during the court proceedings, the judge called for a recess in order to retrieve the stored honey. Kimbleville continued as the seat of county government but was never the site of a postal station. Harriett Lindamood Kountz, wife of Dr. Ezekiel K. Kountz, was appointed postmaster at Denman when the first Kimble County post office officially opened May 11, 1876. Three months later, the name was changed to Denman City. The village and its post office were namesakes of Emily Ann Alsup Turner’s son, Marcellus J. “Sel” Denman, the local surveyor who platted the township. On June 18, 1877, the post office’s name was changed to “Junction City”. Eventually, on May 5, 1894, the name officially became “Junction”. Due to a lack of an appropriate building to house the court proceedings at Kimbleville, all records were brought by District Clerk E. K. Kountz to the village of Junction City. His general store and post office building was designated as the repository of said official records. A letter to Texas Governor R B. Hubbard was the bearer of dire news and bespoke of bad times in the land of the Llanos. Deputy Clerk John C. Kountz of Junction City dispatched the message on September 26, 1877. He reported that on Friday night, September 14, 1877, he was awakened by the roaring and light of a fire in the Clerk’s office in Kimble County, Texas. At the time, that office was still in the Kountz building northeast of the county square, and young Kountz was sleeping in said office. He dispatched for help, and before long the flames were extinguished, and no real harm was done to the official records. (Those of us today may draw our own conclusion as to the identity of the arsonists in the unsuccessful “outrage”, inasmuch as persons indicted in the Spring were scheduled to stand trial during the Fall term of Court.) Although some accounts relate the Kountz building across from the public square was erected in 1879, it is now to be concluded the actual date of construction Continued on page 35
DEER PROCESSING DEER • HOGS • EXOTICS
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Kimble County Predator Management, INC. Minimum $75 (0-750 acres = $75.00) or Total Acres: ____(x) 0.10/acre=_____
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Continued from page 33
was 1877 or before. Kimbleville was still alive and well, for a news report dated December 17, 1877, was published, in part: “All quiet since District Court. D. A. Baker has moved his store up to Kimbleville and is doing a lively business. “ Before his move to Kimbleville, Daniel Asbury Baker built the first store in the county in 1873 at a location near the mouth of Johnson Fork Creek not far from the old military supply road. The store building was constructed of logs, and most commodities were freighted from Kerrville in ox wagons. Baker’s wife was the former Anninta Turner, daughter of the widow, Emily Ann Alsup-Denman Turner, who moved to Kimble in 1874. Two Baker children died during the family’s residence at Kimbleville and are buried there in unmarked graves. Exact location of the burial sites is lost to time. News from Kimbleville in February, 1878, reflected, “A printer named Joseph H Henry, formerly employed in the Denison News office, has just been elected Justice of the Peace in Kimbleville, Kimble
County, in this State. The News says he will make a good one. In all probability, the recently-elected Henry was the coroner following a shootout in the streets of Junction City on March 8, 1878, when four men were killed, including Deputy Sheriff Sam Gorman (brother of the Sheriff), Major Jones and the Frazier brothers (or cousins, as the case may have been). The above statements give credence to the fact Kimbleville was the seat of government for more than two years. Sometime in 1878, Junction City was the victor (by twelve or thirteen votes) in the ongoing struggle to become the county seat of Kimble. Cries of voter fraud echoed throughout the valley! By September of that year, a report from the Galveston Daily News reported “Work on the Courthouse (in Junction City) is still progressing.” Alas, all records from the famous court proceedings at old Kimbleville and other county records were destroyed on April 22, 1884, when the wooden courthouse was consumed by fire in Junction City. The “First Court Tree” in Kimble County is
among ninety-nine other interesting trees listed in the Texas Forest Service Book entitled, Famous Trees of Texas. When we bemuse the history of Kimbleville, we borrow words from a poet of long ago, who penned “Naught but tradition remains” of his village. In the case of our Kimbleville, today’s remnants of that early township include, not only tradition, but the stately and gnarled old oak with its historical marker that bears witness to a time that was.
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Corn Protein Pellets
hat is the difference between feeding corn and protein to your deer herd? Corn is used as an attractant to bring deer to a location for viewing or hunting and is low in overall nutritive value. Protein feed is nutritionally high and is used to supplement the natural diet of deer to help them maintain a consistently high level of health and body condition, which translates to increase antler size and fawn crops. Protein pellets are a complete package of vitamins, minerals, fat, proteins, etc. in a highly digestible form. Digestibility is the key to absorption, meaning without being absorbed into the blood and body, it is worthless. This is where protein pellets are extremely valuable, as they are very digestible. The deer absorbs the entire pellet with very little waste in their feces, making the protein pellet a very efficient vehicle to deliver the ration. Percentages of protein and the micro- and macro-nutrients differ among rations (recipes) and among manufacturers, so read the tag carefully to be sure you are getting a quality product with the right ratios of components for what your deer need. The purpose of feeding protein pellets is to offer a supplement to level out the peaks and valleys of the nutritional swings the native habitat typically goes through as the seasons or as weather patterns change. It is not a “cure all” or “super booster” designed for a specific period of time. It is meant to be used practically year around and to SLOWLY and STEADILY help the deer stay in top physical condition. It should be used from the end of the rut until hard antler. By doing this, you are helping does to carry, deliver and nurse fawns, and bucks to recover from the rigors of the rut and grow a new set of antlers. A buck begins growing his antlers approximately one week after shedding the previ-
ous set. When bucks are malnourished and pulled down from the rut and lack of rainfall, their bodies go into a self-preservation mode (thus why skinny bucks shed earlier) in order to stay alive. If supplemental feeding is used during post-rut, the deer would not sink to such a low nutritional level, and his body would not have to play “catch up” from a nutritional perspective. So, offer feed after the rut through the entire antler growing process, and you will increase the chances your bucks will grow to their full genetic potential. Corn is used as attractant for hunting or to congregate deer for counting and observing purposes. It has a specific role in your management plan, even though it is not as beneficial to a deer’s health as is protein feed. Corn contains less crude protein (7-8%) than a deer’s body requires just for basic daily maintenance (12-14%). Corn to deer is like candy to you and me. It is high in starch and carbs so it works well for energy and heat production but does almost nothing for nutrition. Because it is so attractive to deer, yet nutritionally non-beneficial, do not offer corn in free choice feeders. (Unless mixing it with protein to get deer to become accustomed to a new feed, but that is another subject completely.) Corn is used in spin/timed feeders to attract the deer to the area when and where you want them to be. Corn spun out of a timed feeder helps to put the deer on your schedule and not the deer’s schedule. Corn is a great attractant and equalizer, and combined with three boxes of quality ammo, is the best winter management tool available this year. Macy Ledbetter, wildlife biologist www.SpringCreekOutdoors.com
By Jake Grages, QDMA If you’re a deer hunter, there is no doubt you have felt the rush of adrenaline when a deer is spotted heading your way. The feeling you get as you reach for your weapon and ready for the shot, your target unaware of the ambush waiting from above. Now can you imagine the rush you would feel if you were sitting on the ground, eye to eye, about to take that same shot? I used to hunt very conservatively. I knew the bucks that frequented the area. The last thing I wanted to do was educate them and risk blowing a future hunt. I would sit and watch bucks from afar as they chased does around or passed by a couple hundred yards away from my setup. Until a friend of mine, who’s a seasoned archery hunter, told me some simple, but wise words of advice about ten years ago: If a deer is on his feet during daylight, you need to move in and kill him before that changes. To this day, that statement resonates with me. It obviously applies to more than just hunting on the ground, or even hunting with a bow, but in this article, I will explain how it has made me a better hunter, specifically when bowhunting from the ground. I’ll start by describing the three main methods of ground hunting, offer some tips on how to be most effective in each scenario, and end with several pros and cons when you’re not 15 feet up.
Hunting off a stool tucked behind a downed tree or in a crop field can be effective but challenging. If you are bowhunting, it can be even more of a challenge. You have to sit almost completely motionless and try to find the best time to draw your bow. Some of the whitetail’s western range is very desolate country — wide open space with very few trees. Many deer spend their whole lives bedding in cattail sloughs, seas of warm-season grass or undisturbed prairie. Some states that come to mind are Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Dakotas. I am most familiar with South Dakota, having spent several falls chasing prairie whitetails there. You would be hard-pressed to find a tree that wasn’t planted by man in the county I most often hunt. Of course, the few trees that would be perfect candidates for a treestand are never growing where you need them to be. If a deer is on his feet during daylight, you need to move in and kill him before that changes. I was on an evening scouting mission in early October a few years back when I noticed a very large deer walking down an old fencerow that ran between two huge standing corn and sunflower fields. He was with some other deer but a few minutes behind them. I knew I needed to be back the following evening for a look. Sure enough, there he was like clockwork doing the same exact thing! There wasn’t a tree for a mile, and I didn’t dare pop a blind up there on the chance I might bump him off his pattern. The best option was to sit on a stool tucked backed in the sunflowers. A couple of days later, I had my dad ready for the ambush. After all the does and smaller bucks moved on by, it was show time. The bruiser eventually appeared and received an arrow behind the shoulder as he stepped into the skinny shooting lane of bent sunflower stalks we made on the way in. I would much rather have had a blind brushed in weeks in advance, but it just wasn’t an option. In this scenario, sneaking in and setting up as non-intrusively as possible while he was still on a pattern was the best course of action. Of course, a ground-hunting scenario like this isn’t limited to western states. It can be utilized anywhere. If you stumble on a repeated pattern of a target deer or group of deer you want to kill, particularly during the early season when breeding is far from their minds, any sudden adjustment to their environment may be detrimental. In these situations, the key is to be discreet and blend in to what’s already there.
If you have the time to prepare, why not use a ground blind to conceal your movement? In many situations, it is overlooked and can be a deadly option. Especially in places where you’ve historically viewed deer using a particular part of your property and/or you predict and influence their use through habitat work like food plots or thick bedding areas. You can build one out of existing materials found in nature, or you can place a manufactured blind where it needs to be. Heck, you can put it in the middle of a cornfield if you want to! Don’t settle for that tree 50 yards away from the heavy deer trail you anticipate deer walking down. We all know there is never a perfect tree right where you need one!
LIKE ANY HUNT, PREP WORK IS KEY WHEN USING A GROUND BLIND. BE SURE TO: Clear out any leaves or vegetation that might make noise. If possible, get the floor down to bare dirt. The last thing you need is dry vegetation crunching beneath your feet as you prepare for a shot. Brush the blind in as much as possible, especially if you plan to hunt out of it sooner than a few weeks from when you put it out. Deer need time to adjust to the new “structure” that wasn’t there the last time they walked by. Ideally, you would have blinds set out a month or more before hunting out of them. Securely stake down your blind. For popup blinds I like to use heavy duty landscaping spikes to make sure my blind is there the next time I go to climb into it. Wear dark camouflage or black if possible — a black mask or black face paint, black gloves, or I even go as far as painting the back of my bow hand black with face paint. Close up the blind as tight as possible without closing the windows too much for a shot. It can be hard to handle not seeing 360 degrees, but you will be more successful with just a couple windows open in the direction you anticipate a shot. This may be the most important tip for being successful hunting out of a ground blind.
Robert Stubblefield, Texas Tech University
Spot-and-stalk is a very common technique for hunting open-country animals like antelope and mule deer. To most people, whitetails are to be hunted out of a tree. That doesn’t have to be the case. On a particular November 2016 hunt that comes to mind, I had been on my way to a ground blind which I had witnessed my target buck walking within bow range of multiple evenings in a row. I knew I had to try to slip into that blind for the evening hunt. To my surprise, I saw a large set of antlers sticking out of the cattails only 100 yards from the blind. I hunkered down, bummed out I hadn’t gotten out there earlier. I watched him tend a doe for almost two hours before she led him away into a large tract of CRP. I thought to myself, I can either sit here and watch them until dark or I can play the wind, use the cover of the grass, and try to cut them off. Thirty minutes later, I found myself at full draw, 35 yards from the 150-inch eight-pointer. Going back to my friend’s advice on moving in on a deer when he is killable, I always use my best judgement in each situation and decide if the reward outweighs the consequences. In this case, the reward was capitalizing on the daytime sighting and harvesting my target buck versus the consequence that I fail, ruin the hunt for the day and potentially run the deer out of the area never to be seen again. If the situation is right, and I think I need to make a move on an animal, I will. In this case, everything was falling into place, and I knew it might be my last chance to hunt that deer for a few weeks due to a busy work schedule. I’m glad I decided to get aggressive. Don’t overlook utilizing spot-and-stalk strategies on whitetails in any landscape, especially in the heat of the rut when their sense of danger is at an all-time low for the year.
PRO: Entry and Exit: A key benefit of hunting from the ground is getting into your setup virtually undetected. You don’t have to risk being seen climbing up a tree. I have successfully sneaked into ground blinds with deer just 20 to 30 yards away. That would not have happened had I been trying to shimmy up a tree! PRO: Stay Dry: Being soaked to the core after a fall rain is not much fun as the temperature begins to drop. When hunting out of a ground blind, you can stay comfortably out of the elements and be out in the field longer, increasing your odds of filling a tag. PRO: Afraid of Heights: Although most won’t admit it to their hunting buddies, many of you have likely felt the anxiety of your toes hanging over the edge of a treestand platform looking down wondering how you will be able to shift your feet into position for a shot. I know I personally nap a little bit better on the ground than in the air! PRO: Movement: I wouldn’t suggest doing jumping jacks but ground blind hunting is a great way to get by with a little extra movement without alerting animals of your presence. CON: Limited View: Being tucked away in a ground blind or sitting on a stool can be boring for the individual who is used to scanning hundreds of yards from their stand. When I set up on the ground, it is in a place I typically know where the deer are coming from and know they will be close. I make sure I have enough viewing/ shooting lanes to give me just enough time to grab my bow and get ready for the shot. This up close and personal type of hunting isn’t for everyone. Hunting on the ground is not always the answer but can be dynamite in the right situation. Consider all of your options the next time you are out scouting. One thing is for sure, your next hunt from the ground will be an exciting one! Good luck this fall! This article is reprinted courtesy of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), the leading non-profit whitetail organization dedicated to conserving North America’s favorite game animal. QDMA works to ensure the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage. To learn why QDMA is where deer hunters belong, visit QDMA.com.
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eer hunters hunt for many different reasons, which is understandable and hard to argue with. What about trying to produce the bucks with the largest racks possible for hunting purposes? Deer antlers are captivating and upright humans have had a desire for them since cave paintings were created. Antlers are the fastest growing bone known. Antlers are obviously different than horns, so what does it take to grow antlers and what can you do to encourage more growth on your deer lease or hunting ranch? Unlike horns, antlers are grown and shed annually. The antler growing cycle for whitetail bucks lasts only 128 days, or just over four months. Yes, a spike and a Boone and Crockett qualifier grow their racks in the exact same timeframe! How can this happen, and why are some years better than others when it comes to antler development? Mother Nature is incredible. She mandates that the whitetail buck’s antlers are
secondary to the health of the body. The body takes precedence, or priority, over antlers in regards to bone health, internal organ health, protein and mineral consumption and overall total physical health. This means that if the buck’s body is lacking in nutrition or minerals or is otherwise stressed, the antlers will suffer. A buck usually comes out of the rut in physically stressed condition. Some bucks can lose 30% of their total body weight during the rigors of the rut, and they are tired, sore, perhaps injured and in need of immediate repair. After the breeding season is complete, the antlers are cast, or shed, and testosterone production is reduced severely. This is Mother Nature’s way of helping the buck to regain his health and eventually store fat in preparation for next winter’s rutting season all over again. Antlers are used as tools to determine mating privileges, rights, and to establish dominance. After the breeding season, the antlers are no longer needed, and they are shed, and the cycle continues.
When the bucks shed their antlers, the 128-day antler-growing cycle begins approximately one week later. Upon shedding, the raw pedicles heal over to protect the open wound and soon thereafter the new set of antlers begins to grow. If the buck’s body is still recuperating and healing, the antler growth will be slowed as protein, minerals, vitamins and blood flow are redirected to the body recovery effort. Once the body recovery effort is complete, those valuable antler-growing nutrients are redirected into antler growth. The 128-day antler-growing clock has been running, so the longer it takes the buck to return to good health, the less time he has to produce the current year’s set of antlers. So, the condition of the buck’s body as he comes out of the rut is directly proportion to the quality of the rack he will be wearing the following hunting season! Clear as mud? The clock begins upon shedding, and the sooner he begins to grow his antlers, the more time and growth he can Continued on page 43
Photo courtesy of Macy Ledbetter, www.springcreekoutdoors.com
Continued from page 41
produce in that period of time, resulting in longer tines, extra points, more mass etc. Now, all of this antler-growing process is also controlled by age and genetics, but this article is about the nutrition portion of the pyramid requirements for large antlers---genetics, age, and nutrition. With age and good genetics, a buck can still grow a poor set of antlers if he is nutritionally stressed. Or a buck with poor genetics, good age and nutrition will just grow a big set of poor antlers as he lives up to his full genetic potential. The three requirements must all be met to produce a large set of antlers. Antlers are genetically based and environmentally influenced. What can we do on the ranch or lease to help the bucks come out of the rut in the best possible physical condition? First is balancing the total herd with the available habitat. Fewer deer with more food to eat will be healthier; that is an easy one. Keeping the adult sex ratio tight is also recommended so that the females are bred during their first estrus cycle, so that the fawns are born during the optimum time of year. The balancing of
the herd with the habitat is not quite as easy because this depends on rain and weather patterns. The amount of available forage the habitat produces is a moving target. In good rainfall years, the habitat can produce an excess of usable forage plants, and that is why larger antlers are produced in wet years. In poor rainfall years, the habitat can not produce enough usable forage plants for the animals, and that is why smaller antlers are produced in drier years. The manager must be aware of the habitat condition coming into and out of each deer season and make adjustments accordingly. So, don’t get stuck in the habit of shooting X amount of bucks and X amount of does each and every year because the habitat is changing and so must the animal population that relies on it. Obviously, cattle numbers must follow this same strategy as the deer harvest. Cattle are much easier to manage than deer, so moving cattle into different pastures, rotating them more often or simply reducing the herd is a very quick and easy fix. Habitat management techniques that result in forage plant regrowth is also a valuable tool to help produce “extra” forage for deer. Shredding,
aerating, fallow disking and prescribed burning are good examples of this technique. When most deer forage plants are top-removed, they resprout from the bottom and create more of a “bush effect”. The extra limbs and stems produce extra leaves and the entire plant is now lower to the ground and allows for increased forage accessibility and availability. The tall, thick stands of eight-foot-tall brush is little value to deer, but if you top-removed that same brush, it would provide tons of usable, palatable, nutritious forage for deer without killing the parent plant. The plants may be re-stimulated every three or four years for continuous and on-going forage production with very efficient per acre costs to the manager. Keeping your deer woods in a mosaic pattern of regrowth is ideal for many other important reasons, but none are as important as improved foraging for your bucks in order for them to recover as quickly as possible so they may begin their new antler growth again. The clock is running, how are your bucks doing right now? Macy Ledbetter, wildlife biologist
Photo courtesy of Macy Ledbetter, www.springcreekoutdoors.com
you are a practitioner of deer management and have been reading this publication very long, then you are well aware of the importance of deer surveys. Deer surveys are surveys, not inventories, meaning we likely will never know exactly how many deer are on your property nor do we need to know that exact number. Deer typically don’t want to be counted and game fences do NOT contain all of them, despite common perceptions. So a survey is done each year at approximately the same time and by the same method so that any changes in the data must come from the deer themselves. A survey is meant to provide estimates, ratios, and percentages and is then used to apply harvest pressure to alter those numbers into the desired direction and levels. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers specialized permits to assist qualifying landowners and those permits are based on survey data. So know that survey data is mission critical for results-oriented management as well as specialized state issued management permits. TPWD has a list of approved survey methods and the three most used methods for whitetail deer include spotlight, trail camera, and helicopter. Each method has specific guidelines to be used in order for the data to be of value, but each technique also has advantages and disadvantages. For this article’s purposes, let’s look only at the spotlight and the helicopter survey method.
Spotlight surveying is popular because it was one of the original techniques developed back before the time most people reading this were even born. It involves driving a preselected route on your property while shining two spotlights into the brush and identifying and counting observed deer. It involves three people-one to drive and record the data and two to shine the lights and count. The predetermined routes are oftentimes the primary ranch roads and the distance observable under each spotlight is measured and calculated to determine the exact number of acres actually observed under the spotlights’ beam. The number of deer observed within this “acres of visibility” is then extrapolated to the total number of acres of the whole property. And herein lies the “cons” of spotlight survey method—TPWD requires the survey route to be performed no less than three separate occasions, so that means nine “man days” (females are obviously welcome and the work is late into the night, but that is what they call it!) so the labor portion is indeed expensive. Next, the majority of ranch roads, especially in the hill country, are located in the bottomlands--the better soil areas that do not typically include the roughest of slopes and cedar-choked canyons. The deer themselves live on the slopes and in the canyons but oftentimes travel down
into the better soil areas at night to forage on forbs, feeders, and food plots that are also located near the primary ranch roads. A typical spotlight route will cover 10-12% of the total acreage of a property. So you and your buddies start the spotlight survey route just at dark (remember, deer are crepuscular, meaning they prefer to travel at daylight and again at the onset of darkness, thus why we typically hunt them twice per day) so as the spotlight effort begins, the deer also begin to travel down from the rough country and into the more open areas with prime soils. As you drive the survey route you begin to collect deer sightings and record them. Under a spotlight, deer are not easily identified unless they are close or in the clear. “Is that a middle-aged doe or a spike buck? Is that really a big fawn or a small yearling? When that group of bucks ran away from the spotlight, were there two does in with them or two different spike bucks? What approximate ages were all of the bucks? How many points did those two big ones have? Is the fawn traveling with the doe or was it lagging behind her twenty yards and still in the cedar thicket, or did she not produce one this year? In that tall bluestem grass, is that one or two sets of deer eyes or is one a rabbit? Since we didn’t see any coyotes, does that mean we don’t have any because I hear them every night just west of camp. I see feral hog sign at all my ponds but we haven’t seen a pig during the spotlight survey yet,
“A survey is meant to provide estimates, ratios, and percentages and then used to apply harvest pressure to alter those numbers into the desired direction and levels.” I wonder if I really have a pig problem or not?” After three separate nights of getting to bed at 1:00 am, you finally finish the survey project and compile the data to learn that the actual acreage observed was 120 acres and the ranch is 1,000 total acres, so you did survey 12% of the property as designed and with only three flat tires and one burned out spotlight as collateral damage. On each spotlight night, you averaged seeing eight bucks, fifteen does, ten fawns, and at least six unidentified deer (they ran off, you couldn’t identify them, just saw eyes, etc.) and now the math extrapolations begin. According to the 12% survey effort over three different nights, the computer estimates you have 79 bucks, 148 does, and 98 fawns, or a herd of 325 animals on your prop-
erty. That comes out to 3.08 acres per deer, 1.88 does per buck, and a 67% fawn survival rate. Now you KNOW this is not correct because you know this ranch and hunt it five months out of the year and work on it twelve months out of the year. If you indeed had over three hundred deer you would know it. Last year, the deer you harvested were fat and healthy and the bucks were above average and each time you sat in the blind, you averaged seeing only eight to ten deer per sitting so how can there be over three hundred deer???? If I have that many bucks, why can’t I find more shed antlers? And here is the largest con of the spotlight method: remember when you surveyed only 12% of the property that contained the deeper soils, the best habitat and did not include the steep rocky slopes or the cedar thickets where you couldn’t see anything? The computer didn’t care about that or even consider it, it thinks your ranch road bottomlands are the same as your rocky steep sided slopes and we both know they are not the same. So now the harvest recommendations for this fall will be based on the extrapolated spotlight survey data that you know in your heart is not correct, but in order to secure the permits you want, this survey data has to be used. And the projected harvest recommendations for this dataset in order to lower the density to only 6.0 acres per deer will be to harvest a whopping 158 total deer! Your recreational hunting property just turned into a killing field and not many folks, much less deer herds, are able to take on that type of harvest pressure. Using misleading data based on
extrapolation is very risky and potentially dangerous from a management perspective.
The helicopter survey is performed only one time during daylight hours and involves flying just over the tallest structures on your property (power lines, windmills, pecan trees) using GPS guidance in a tight grid pattern. Every acre of your property is seen from the bottomlands to the tallest hill and into the thickest of brush but not every deer is observed. Some deer refuse to flush and remain hidden, some deer run far in front of the helicopter and some deer may run back and forth in areas you have or have not yet counted so we do not see every single deer on the property even though we do see every acre of the property. The low flying helicopter flushes most animals and the four observers (three observers plus one pilot) easily see any movement below. Deer are positively identified from above and in the daylight so guessing is avoided. The helicopter can stop, hover, back up, turn around as needed to ensure accurate identification and video or still cameras can be used to record the effort or to photograph specific animals (see photos found in this Guide). Because we can observe every acre on the property, we can check all fences, water sources and livestock as well as ensure nothing is stuck in the mud, check deer blind doors and windows, check feeder lids, and count coyotes and feral hogs to determine not only how many but also where on the ranch they live. After the count, we can return with firearms to dispatch predators (this requires a permit ahead of time) and can lift up and take aerial photos of the headquarters, terrain, proposed habitat projects, and see the “lay of the land” to really understand how and why deer live where they do. It is great for placing new blinds, feeders and Continued on page 47
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food plot locations because you can see the soil changes, the habitat flow, observe travel corridors, and generally improve your understanding of the entire property. And on the same 1,000 acres that took you three late nights and three flat tires to see only 12% of the acreage with the spotlight survey method, we can do IN ONE HOUR with a helicopter! From a biologistâ€™s perspective, observers can easily identify the fawns from the yearlings, can separate the yearling bucks into spikes versus not spikes to see the percentage of spikes in the yearling cohort, can identify the middle aged bucks from the mature bucks, and can even count the mainframe points of each mature buck! I can quantify the age structure of the buck herd, the mature buck quality and most importantly, I can see the body condition of every buck observed among the age classes. I can photograph bucks to target for harvest and
photograph the trophy bucks. The GPS map (see photo) also shows you WHERE on the property the photographed bucks are located so you can better understand deer distribution and learn why they prefer that part of the ranch over others. We can easily count the does and fawns to accurately assess the fawn production rate and age distribution of the female cohort. If you have ear-tagged deer or exotics, we can count them separately, as well. So the helicopter survey method is much more than just a deer survey, it is a complete and total ranch survey that sees every acre you own and so much more. If you do have a predator problem, we can fix it within minutes of knowing about it or can plan to return at a later date for that specific purpose. We can count quail and turkey and notice where water prefers to flow so a future pond can be built. We can see whitebrush thickets that can be cleared or how the deeper soils that run in bands at the bottom of the rocky hills can be used for improved grasses or even new food plots. Oh, and that same 1,000 acre ranch that the spotlight survey said you had over 300 deer on? The helicopter survey counted 77 total deer for density estimate of 12.9 acres per deer with an adult sex ratio of 1.1 does per buck and a 53% fawn survival rate. Since you know the ranch so well and have been monitoring the deer herd for years, you know that the helicopter method reflects much more accurately what you observe than the extrapolated method using only 12% of the whole ranch.
The spotlight method does have value on small and mid-sized properties where the habitat is consistent throughout. If the line is set up well and passes through the majority of any changing landscape, it can be used with success. However, if the ranch is large and habitat diverse, the spotlight method is not recommended and even can be dangerous if taken out of context. The spotlight survey tends to over-estimate the deer herd and does not use precise known data (misidentified deer, unknown deer, etc) while the helicopter survey tends to under-estimate the deer herd but uses positively identified deer. The spotlight survey is expensive in terms of labor and time while the helicopter method is cheap in terms of time and labor but financially more expensive. The spotlight survey â€œseesâ€? only a small percentage of the property while the helicopter covers every single acre of the ranch. When considering a survey method, heavy consideration should be given to the desired outcome. Do you simply need generalized data only for permit issuance sake or do you desire more specific data and want to see your entire ranch investment in just an hour or two in order to gain more detailed knowledge about your deer herd, habitat, and total ranch overview? Each survey method has pros and cons that deserve serious consideration because not every ranch, or ranch goal, is the same. Macy Ledbetter, wildlife biologist www.SpringCreekOutdoors.com
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2019 Texas Tech University Axis Deer Project Update by: Matthew Buchholz, Warren Conway, and Blake Grisham Wildlife and aquatic researchers from the Department of Natural Resources Management (NRM) and Llano River Field Station at Texas Tech University are continuing to work on a multi-year research project to better understand the ecology of free-ranging axis deer along the South Llano River and the Texas hill country. The goals of this project are widespread due to the relative lack of research on axis deer in Texas over the last 30-40 years. The major goals of the project include assessing the effects that axis deer have on native riparian habitats and vegetation, what vegetation they eat, assess population density, assess the population genetics and potential genetic susceptibility to disease, and assess habitat selection. There are two graduate students working on the project, Matthew Buchholz, who is working on his Ph.D. and Madelyn Hill, who recently started working on her M.S. Both students are advised by Dr. Blake Grisham and Dr. Warren Conway in the NRM department in Lubbock and Dr. Thomas Arsuffi at the Llano River Field Station here in Junction.
Robert Stubblefield, Texas Tech University
Photo courtesy of Robert Stubblefield
ffects of Axis Deer on Riparian Habitats and Vegetation The historic flooding of the North and South Llano Rivers last October caused some substantial changes in our work. All but five of our 33 deer exclosures were damaged during the flooding, including four on the Texas Tech campus in Junction. We were able to repair or rebuild 23 of the damaged exclosures to continue our research. We will be continuing to collect data to estimate biomass and percent ground cover of grasses, forbs (flowering plants), and woody plants from the exclosures every three months through April 2020. These data will be used to assess the change in vegetation structure and composition that axis and white-tailed deer have on riparian habitats. The breakdown between the effects of each species on the different vegetation types is difficult to determine but differences in grass biomass and composition can be attributed to axis deer given that the diet of axis deer consists of substantially more grass than white-tailed deer diets. We are now also incorporating a seed bank analysis to assess what plant species are present in the seed bank after the floods. We collected samples in October, immediately following the receding of the flood water, and again in April this last spring. We plan to collect more samples this fall and next spring to assess the seed bank for two years post-flood. We will germinate these samples during both the cool season and the warm season to assess what species are present during
The difference between inside (left) and outside (right) of a deer exclosure along the South Llano River in January 2019. Most of the difference is in the biomass of winter grass, which is a preferred food source by axis deer.
both seasons. In the months following the floods, up until the completion of the green up this last spring, it was visibly clear that axis (and white-tailed) deer were having an effect on vegetation composition and biomass. Several of the previously identified preferred species by axis deer were substantially lower outside of exclosures, particularly Texas winter grass and buffalo grass. In some cases in January 2019, winter grass had been grazed down to ground level outside of exclosures, but was >18 inches tall inside exclosures. However, after the green up concluded in spring 2019, it was tough to notice any difference between outside and inside of exclosures. We also have observed both axis deer and white-tailed deer browsing young seedlings of many of the large hardwood tree species. Population Surveys We have been conducting spotlight surveys on established routes within Kimble County since June 2018. Surveys are conducted during March, June, July, and November. We chose these months to conduct surveys as they coincide with significant periods of the annual cycle of axis deer in Texas. The two major fawning periods occur right before or during the March and July surveys, allowing us to assess fawn recruitment. Axis deer are in rut during the June and July survey periods, and they tend to be more active during our surveys. Lastly, November is important as it falls during deer season, allowing us to estimate density during hunting season. During the surveys, we count both axis and white-tailed deer to compare densities Continued on page 51
A lone axis buck observed during spotlighting on the Texas Tech campus in Junction.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Buchholz
Photo courtesy of Matthew Buchholz
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of the two species. During the six surveys we have conducted so far, we have counted 3,165 total deer within an average of 48 yards of the survey road, with the farthest deer being 244 yards from the survey road. Of the total deer counted during the surveys, 52.5% have been axis deer. When we put this data into the program that estimates deer densities, our estimates suggest that axis deer are currently present at a density either at or slightly above the density of white-tailed deer within the survey area. Genetics and Disease We are also conducting analyses to assess the genetic diversity of the axis deer population in the Texas hill country. With the help of Texas Parks and Wildlife and private landowners, we have been collecting tissue samples from the counties where self-sustaining axis deer populations occur. We hypothesize that the free and unregulated movement of axis deer has resulted in a single genetic population, rather than several genetic populations. We are also assessing the susceptibility of axis deer to disease based on their genetic makeup. Specifically, we are interested in Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Axis deer have never tested positive for CWD, and are not thought to be susceptible, but do occur within the CWD quarantine in central Texas and are closely related to elk, which were the original susceptible species. This makes axis deer an interesting case to study for CWD. We are attempting to sequence the gene that is known to code for the misfolded protein that causes CWD. Within the DNA sequence, we are attempting to see if any polymorphisms (small differences in the DNA sequence) that are known to convey resistance to CWD are present within axis deer. We are also testing blood samples collected from axis deer for the presence of antibodies to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), Bluetongue Disease (BTD),
and Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF). EHD and BTD are both diseases that will occasionally be found in white-tailed deer populations in Texas and can cause localized die-offs. MCF is most commonly associated with sheep and goats, but has previously been found in axis deer in Texas. Given the large sheep and goat operations
grating away from sites where deer were found dead, suggesting they were trying to escape infected areas. Tooth Replacement and Wear Technique We are getting close to publishing a tooth replacement and wear technique specifically for axis deer that will be similar to the widely used technique for whitetailed deer. We submitted teeth from 88 axis deer, collected Examining axis from hunts on the South Llano deer jawbones for River State Park, roadkill, from patterns in tooth processors, or harvested by replacement and wear. private landowners, to a lab in Photo courtesy of Montana for cementum annuli Blake Grisham analysis, which gets an accurate age estimate by counting the rings within the root of a tooth that get laid down each year. We then grouped jawbones by each year class and examined them for patterns in the replacement of deciduous premolars, eruption of molars, and tooth wear. We were able to identify patterns up to ten plus years old in the range that axis deer occupy in Texas and are working to validate the technique we consider MCF to be of importance, by having experts use it to estimate the especially if axis deer are carriers and can age of axis deer jawbones that are correctly transmit the virus to sheep and goats. We aged by lab analysis. During this process, we identified a 15 are also conducting white blood cell counts which will give us a general idea about the year old axis deer doe (as well as five other does >ten years old) and a ten year old overall health of the animal. Since the onset of the anthrax outbreak buck. The 15 year old doe was not checked that occurred this summer in south central for pregnancy but each of the four >ten Texas, a common question that we have year old does that were checked were preggotten is whether axis deer are affected by nant at the time of harvest, including two anthrax. It is difficult to test for anthrax 13 year olds. The ten year old buck was when there is not an active outbreak as cases a mature trophy axis deer measuring 32 are rare, the diagnostic tests require a short inches on both sides and showed no signs time period between infection and sam- of decline in physical condition nor antler pling and anthrax is typically considered measurements. We estimate that most axis a fatal disease. While there has not been a deer reach the accepted 30-inch trophy case of anthrax in axis deer confirmed by status at approximately five years old. For testing during the outbreak, several reports the next several years, they continue to put suggest that axis deer were affected by the on antler mass until they decline, which we outbreak. Reports of 10-12 axis deer dead estimate to be about 11 or 12 years old. in a single spot or axis deer not behaving If you have any questions or are internormally and then being found dead a few hours later within the outbreak zone sug- ested in more information please feel free to contact Matthew Buchholz at 715-204-8680 gest they died from anthrax. There are also or firstname.lastname@example.org. reports that axis deer herds have been emi-
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A few things you ought to know
ne popular question I receive regularly is about feed pens--particularly size and design. In my nearly thirty years of working with a wide range of ranches throughout Texas, I have seen just about every type of enclosure imaginable and have some solid conclusions based on their performances and results. The idea behind a feed pen is to allow access to those animals you wish to attract and feed while excluding those that you do not. Animals to be excluded typically include feral hogs, javelina and domestic livestock such as horses and cattle. REGARDING MATERIAL TO USE, the 36” tall hog panels are hard to beat. There are some great manufactured panels available that work great too but the standard hog panel works very effectively. Hog panels will keep the vast majority of feral hogs and javelina out, yet provide the smallest of deer easy access. T-posts, provided they are driven down low enough and spaced close enough, provide exceptional support in most cases.
REGARDING SHAPE, based on my experience, round proves better for the deer. I see far more deer hung or killed in square or rectangle pens than round ones. Circular pens offer no hard corners or places for deer to get hemmed in. Based on my observations, I always recommend round shaped pens. The perfect pen will also use hailscreen or hardware cloth folded over the top to prevent legs/ hooves getting caught in the upper third of the hog panel. REGARDING BRUSH WITHIN THE PEN, I do not recommend it for deer feeder pens. Deer use their eyes, ears and nose to detect danger and feeders attract predators. Brush within a feed pen restricts a deer’s ability to detect danger so they will feed less, be more nervous, increasing stress levels. A clean feed pen allows them to relax, eat more slowly and eat longer since they are more at ease. REGARDING SIZE, bigger is better. Many folks complain of the initial cost of the panels and t-posts (not to mention the labor required) so they make the pens small. It is my experience that if you use
For example: this is how it is correctly done. Note the large clean round pen with feeders spaced apart and hardware cloth in place to prevent legs being captured.
only one feeder inside the pen, you can get away with a pen sixty foot in diameter, or across. But if you use multiple feeders such as a protein feeder and a corn feeder or even cottonseed baskets, you need to make the pen one hundred foot across to be most effective. I realize this is a large pen, but look at this photo taken from above the pen. Look how the legs of each feeder extend out and how little room is available between each feeder. When considering a deer’s ability to quickly escape, they must have the space and time to set their feet, plan their jump and effectively clear the panel to make a safe exit. A crowded feed pen with obstructed views from multiple feeders and feeder legs adds confusion and reduced space from the feeder to the panel offers them little opportunity to prepare for and execute the proper jump. The majority of deer I see caught or found dead in a feed pen is because they misjudged the distance of the panel and were not adequately prepared for the jump. Macy Ledbetter, wildlife biologist www.SpringCreekOutdoors.com
Here is an example of how NOT to do it: Note how crowded the small pen is, there is little room for deer, only the most aggressive ones can enter this pen.
Another example of a high dollar wrong pen design. Note the small area, hard corners and too many feeders in such a small pen. JUNCTIONTEXAS.COM
Photos courtesy of Macy Ledbetter, www.springcreekoutdoors.com
ttention all farmers, ranchers, and deer hunters. The fall armyworms are here once again and causing problems for everyone. Damaging populations of the pests have been reported in north, central, and south Texas again this rity and hatch year, especially on newly established small grain pastures (food within two to four days plots) and established bermuda grass fields. The fall armyworms, Spodoptera frugiperda, are likely to be and all the eggs hatch about the same present from August until the first frost. Populations can reach time. The tiny black-headed larvae (caterpillars) damaging proportions following fall rains while temperatures are spin down to the ground on silken webs and begin to feed. As relatively warm. Fall armyworm moth flights are carried here by they grow, their bodies darken and noticeable stripes appear. air currents from Central and South America when conditions The destructive caterpillar stage lasts two to three weeks. At this are favorable. As temperatures decrease, the life cycle of the point, the larvae burrow into the soil and form pupae. The moths emerge in about ten to fourteen days, beginning the cycle again. armyworm slows. The fall armyworm is identified as a small (1.5” at matu- Under prime growing conditions, there may be as many as five rity) striped, light green, black or even brown caterpillar with an generations produced. The decision to treat for fall armyworms depends inverted “Y” on the head and four black dots on the stage of the armyworms and the intended on the back of the tip of the abdomen. They Fall armyworm caterpillars use of the forage. A population of three or more feed continuously on lush, new growth grass will feed on almost all forworms per square foot is a reasonable treatment and grass-like foliage and are most active early age grasses, as well as corn, threshold. Small armyworms are much easier to and late in the day. Like their cousin, the cutkill than larger ones, so timing of treatment is very worm, fall armyworm caterpillars damage grass cotton, alfalfa, sorghum and important. If infestations are detected too late, by chewing plant tissue. However, cutworms approximately 100 additional the damage may already have been done. are night feeders while fall armyworms feed plant species. Controlling armyworms may be as simple as throughout the day. The first clue of an infestamowing the field in question or insecticides may tion may be the appearance of brown circular be used. Formulations of Sevin, Lannate, Lorsban SG and patterns within an otherwise healthy area. From a distance, these methyl parathion may be effective but pay close attention to grazpatches can look like drought stress. Such areas may first appear ing restrictions and re-entry periods. Apply insecticides early around the field edges near fence lines with overgrown vegetation or late in the day because larvae (caterpillars) are most active or wooded borders. Fall armyworm caterpillars will feed on almost all forage grass- at these times. Control of caterpillars longer than 3/4” may be es, as well as corn, cotton, alfalfa, sorghum and approximately 100 poor, and control in tall or thick stands of grass may also be poor. additional plant species. The adult fall armyworm is an ash-gray Significant numbers of armyworms may reappear within five to moth with a wing span of approximately 1.5”. The front wings are seven days after treatment so fields should continue to be monimottled and have white or light gray spots near the tips. The back tored until the area experiences cooler temperatures and plants wings are white with a narrow, smokey-brown edge. They have are more advanced in their growth. an average life span of two to three weeks. The female moths lay Macy Ledbetter, wildlife biologist eggs at night in masses of up to several hundred on light colored www.SpringCreekOutdoors.com vegetation and the underside of tree branches. The eggs are light gray covered with grayish fuzz. The eggs darken with matu-
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