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Alpine (432) 556-1585 Term: 2010-2013 Ralph Donaho Kent (432) 284-5271 Term: 2011-2014

Sheldon Grothaus Texas Whitetail Breeders Hondo (210) 854-5833 Term: 2012-2015 REGION 2 Bob Price Moss Creek Ranch Big Spring (432) 517-0269 Term: 2011-2013 Rob Beckham Spring Gap Ranch Abilene (325) 665-7889 Term: 2011-2014 Bob Kilmer Matador Ranch Matador (806) 346-2702 Term: 2012-2015

REGION 3 Dick Cain Trophy Ridge Ranch Saint Jo (903) 821-6258 Term: 2010-2013 Brad Sullivan Sullivan Whitetails Ranch Sunset (214) 384-8658 Term: 2011-2014 Ben Mooring 4M Whitetails Fort Worth (817) 822-8085 Term: 2012-2015 REGION 4 Buddy Jordan Indian Creek Ranch Spring Branch (210) 260-6711 Term: 2010-2013 Bob Zaiglin Uvalde (830) 591-7420 Term: 2011-2014 Jimmy Hasslocher Hasslocher Ranch San Antonio (210) 912-2279 Term: 2012-2015

REGION 5 Jeff Jones Brown Trophy Whitetail Ranch

Ennis (214) 534-7056 Term: 2010-2013

Wade Grimes Pine Meadow Ranch Ovilla (972) 979-4496 Term: 2011-2014 Carroll Glaser Emma’s Crossing Rockdale (512) 284-0807 Term: 2012-2015 REGION 6 Jimmy Seaman Southeast Texas Whitetails

Buna (409) 656-7310 Term: 2010-2013 Jim Donnan Venado Creek Ranch Center (936) 590-0701 Term: 2011-2014 Chris McDaniel Triple JJJ Ranch Somerville (979) 406-4008 Term: 2012-2015

REGION 7 Troy Smith Triple S Whitetail Highlands (713) 725-2723 Term: 2010-2013 Kaci John Dragging J Ranch La Vernia (830) 305-5527 Term: 2011-2014 Scott W. Bugai, DVM Flying B Ranch Seguin (830) 556-9157 Term: 2012-2015 REGION 8 Chase Clark Artemis Outdoors Three Rivers (361) 319-6926 Term: 2012-2013 Craig Wilson Wilson Whitetail Ranch Fair Oaks Ranch (210) 602-4531 Term: 2011-2014 Frede Edgerton Contigo Ranch Premont (210) 601-5171 Term: 2012-2015 Director at Large Brian Carter Diamond C Whitetail Driftwood (512) 971-5461

REGIONAL OFFICERS REGION 1 Sheldon Grothaus President (210) 854-5833 Hondo

REGION 4 Bob Zaiglin President (830) 591-7420 Uvalde

REGION 6 David Choate, Jr. President (281) 744-3000 Montgomery

REGION 8 Frede Edgerton President (210) 601-5171 Premont

Chance Parker Vice President (432) 556-1585 Alpine

Jimmy Hasslocher Vice President (210) 912-2279 San Antonio

Brett Scarber Vice President (936) 590-0704 Center

Jason “Catch” LaRue Vice President (903) 243-1182 Pearsall

Katherine Parker Secretary/Treasurer (432) 664-4453 Fort Davis

Randy Hutto Secretary/Treasurer (512) 461-2050 Dripping Springs

Eric Hunt Secretary/Treasurer (409) 673-4849 Buna

Brandon Key Secretary/Treasurer (210) 275-2132 San Antonio

REGION 3 Allan Meyer President (817) 366-1510 Fort Worth

REGION 5 Jeff Jones President (214) 534-7056 Ennis

REGION 7 Zac Kennedy President (361) 293-8867 Gonzales

Joe Francks Vice President (254) 631-9400 Cisco

JR Wynne Vice President (214) 202-7642 Quinlan

Ryan Mills Vice President (830) 857-3443 Gonzales

Carrie Palmer Secretary/Treasurer (432) 556-2970 Mingus

George Taliaferro Secretary/Treasurer (972) 486-4961 Scurry

Roy Douglas Malonson Secretary/Treasurer (713) 244-4067 Hempstead


Directors and officers term shall start and expire officially at the end of the Annual State Wide Membership Meeting held at the Annual Convention and Conference.


tda EXECUTIVE OFFICERS PRESIDENT GILBERT ADAMS, III JAG Ranch Beaumont, TX Cell (409) 781-6146 Work (409) 835-3000 Fax (409) 832-6162 TERM 2011-2013

VICE PRESIDENT W. Chase clark Artemis Outdoors Three Rivers, TX Cell (361) 319-6926 Work (361) 786-1877 Fax (361) 786-1577 TERM 2011-2013

SECRETARY Dick cain Dick Cain Trophy Ridge Ranch Saint Jo, TX Cell (903) 821-6258 Fax (940) 995-9457 TERM 2011-2013

TREASURER Carroll Glaser Emma’s Crossing Rockdale, TX Cell (512) 284-0807 Work (512) 446-5822 Fax (512) 446-6377 TERM 2011-2013

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT David Hayward Hayward Wildlife Consulting Columbus, TX Cell (936) 870-6835

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Jerry Johnston San Antonio (210) 288-1558

Dr. James Kroll Nacogdoches (936) 554-0998

Gene Riser George West 1945-2011


EMERITUS BOARD REGION 3 Ray Murski Meridian 1939-2011 REGION 4 Bill Grace Salado (254) 718-5084 Dr. Dan McBride Burnet (512) 755-1919 Jerry Johnston San Antonio (210) 288-1558 Randy Shipp Lometa (512) 756-3194

Tracks is the official publication of the Texas Deer Association (TDA) and is published six times a year. Subscription is included in membership dues. Articles in Tracks are independent opinions and do not necessarily represent the views of TDA. TDA assumes no responsibility for statements or advertising made or expressed in this publication. TDA reserves the right to refuse any advertisement. Materials should be mailed to TDA as listed

REGION 6 Dr. James Kroll Nacogdoches (936) 554-0998

Warren Bluntzer Lometa (512) 556-7027 REGION 5 Rod Green Mineola (903) 530-6326

J.N. Grimes Jacksonville (903) 721-1375

David Hayward Columbus (936) 870-6835

Robert Scherer Houston (713) 851-3767

Tom Malouf Wills Point (469) 222-2778

REGION 8 Marty Berry Corpus Christi (361) 767-7200

Glenn Sodd Corsicana (903) 396-7096

403 E. Ramsey Ste 204 San Antonio, Texas 78216


Lee Wheeler George West (361) 449-6000

Slim Crapps Hondo (210) 413-9777

Warren Bluntzer Senior Field Editor


Editorial comments and advertising requests can be sent to

materials due

january/february November march/april




January 1






july/august May




July 1





november/december September


Marta Dennis

may/june February



mail date

Direct all other correspondence and address changes to:

TDA 403 East Ramsey, Suite 204 San Antonio, TX 78216 (210) 767-8300

TRACKS • january/february 2013


official magazine of the texas deer association


Whitetail bucks in the heat of battle. by Marko Barrett, Las Raices Ranch Do you have a great photo you want to submit for consideration? If so, please send your photos to Warren Bluntzer at


DEPARTMENTS & COLUMNS Executive Committee................................................................................................1 Board of Directors....................................................................................................1 Regional Officers......................................................................................................1 Founding Fathers.....................................................................................................2 Emeritus Board.........................................................................................................2

PAGE 108

TDA Staff...................................................................................................................6 Mission Statement....................................................................................................6 Merry Christmas from TDA....................................................................................10 PAC Donors.............................................................................................................16 President’s Journal by Gilbert T. Adams III..........................................................................................24 Legislative Input Form...........................................................................................25 A View From the Texas Capitol by Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa......................................................................................26

PAGE 130

Industry News.........................................................................................................28 Snapped in Their Tracks......................................................................................152 Did You Know? by Warren Bluntzer............................................................................................154 Calendar of Events...............................................................................................156 Tracks Classifieds................................................................................................158 Advertiser’s Index................................................................................................160 4

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TRACKS • january/february 2013



FEATURES Happenings in the Organization as recorded by Robert Fears.................................................................. 34

page 76

TDA 2012 Youth Coloring Contest Winners.............................................. 40 Welcome to Texas Legislature.................................................................. 46 Mustang Creek Ranch 7th Annual Whitetail Workshop article and photos by Robert and Janelle Fears................................... 54 Management Notes article and photos by Paul D. Ohlenbusch............................................. 62 Root for the Longhorns article by Mike Crawford........................................................................ 68 Border Bears article and photos by Bob Zaiglin........................................................... 76

PAGE 120

Wildlife Management article and photos by Robert Fears........................................................ 88 The Night Before article by Judy Bishop Jurek................................................................. 98 Javelina article by Jim Heffelfinger.................................................................... 108 Handling Bred Does article by Robert Fears......................................................................... 120 Wet or Dry? article and photos by Paul D. Ohlenbusch........................................... 130 Survival Instinct article and photos by Judy Bishop Jurek............................................ 138


Abuse Will Not Produce article by Robert Fears......................................................................... 146 WWW.TEXASDEERASSOCIATION.COM



Executive Director Karl Kinsel

Director of Operations Marta Dennis

Director of Governmental Affairs Lisa Barton

Accounting Maria Garza

Membership Coordinator Cesar Sweatt cesar

Administrative Assistant Eunice Morante eunice

Special Events Darrell Cox

MISSION STATEMENT TDA is the unified voice of deer enthusiasts who seek to share ideas and methods to improve management and harvest of deer. TDA is a Texas deer organization that cares for the welfare and health of deer herds and methods to improve deer quality and hunting quality in Texas.  We, as the TDA, are working toward better conservation, appropriate regulations and improving the overall quality of deer herds in Texas. PURPOSE & GOALS • To promote wise management of deer, recognizing that hunting and management are lifelong enterprises; • To be a repository and clearinghouse of accurate and high quality information and knowledge; • To promote deer herd health and quality through research, technology, and flexible management practices; • To improve the image and awareness of deer management and harvest through public education; • To promote research and technology regarding improvements to deer herds through the practice of controlled breeding and genetic improvements; • To share research findings, management techniques and harvest strategies with the membership of TDA; and • To increase quality hunting opportunities for Texas hunters. • The deer-breeding industry is relatively new to Texas, but data from a 2007 Texas A&M University Economic Impact Study indicates it has a $652 million annual economic impact in Texas, equivalent to the state’s rice and citrus industries.The industry’s economic contributions, especially to rural areas, tourism, real estate, wildlife, game and land management, are beginning to be noticed, not only in Texas, but in states across the nation.


TRACKS • january/february 2013

The Texas Deer Association Staff would like to thank you for your continued support and to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


TRACKS • january/february 2013


At Lodge Creek Whitetails, we’re well known for producing big bucks. But every once in a while, a buck comes along that surprises even us.

MEET GLADIATOR BACKSTOP. This deer is really something special. He scored 223” as a 2011 yearling and scored 331” as a 2-year-old. He’s the son of Gladiator and a Reno doe with Starbuck lineage. With his long, heavy beams and surprisingly fast growth, we’re all very excited about his future. Limited semen is available, so don’t wait if you’re interested in adding more mass and beam-length genetics to your herd. Visit our website at for more photos, videos and information on Gladiator Backstop or any of our other bucks and available semen. Or contact Madison Michener today at 806-679-9320 or Madison@LodgeCreekWhitetails com.

See what’s new at LCW.

WHAT IS THE TDA-PAC AND WHY SHOULD I GIVE TO IT? A PAC is a non-partisan political action committee which provides support for political candidates who are friends of a collective group or industry. You alone cannot influence the legislature on issues that can devastate your business, but a PAC can do things a single individual is not able to do. There is strength in numbers. By pooling contributions from association members, PACs are able to help elect legislators who understand and support their issues and concerns. A PAC is an ‘insurance policy,’ an investment, to help protect you from complicated and unnecessary government policies that can cost you thousands of dollars annually. Our PAC allows TDA to monitor legislative and regulatory issues and work to protect, improve and promote the deer industry. We MUST have a well-funded PAC in order to convey our message to legislators and state agency personnel who, literally, can make or break our industry’s future.

THANKS FROM YOUR TDA PAC MEMBERS! Chairman Brad Sullivan; Members: Gilbert T. Adams, III, Trent Bass, THANKS from Your TDA PAC Advisory Committee Members! Hugo Berlanga, Dr. Scott W. Bugai, MartyT.Berry, ArtIII, Browning, Chairman Brad Sullivan; Members: Gilbert Adams, Trent Bass, Ben Doskocil, Tommy Dugger, Jimmy Hasslocher, Jerry Johnston, Chris Jimmy Hugo Berlanga, Dr. Scott W. Bugai, Marty Berry, Art Browning, Ben Doskocil, Cynthia Sutton-Stolle and Henry Woodard Hasslocher, JerryMcSpadden, Johnston, Macy Ledbetter, Chris McSpadden and Cynthia Sutton-Stolle


Why should I donate to the TDA Political Action Committee? To succeed, we must have a say in what happens in Austin because Texas has state laws that regulate our ability to do business. The TDA-PAC was formed to protect you! As an individual, you may not be able to

influence legislation but, collectively, we can make sure that our voices are heard in next legislative session (Jan. 8 – May 27, 2013). Thank you, TDA Members, for your support to ensure the success of TDA’s legislative program. In the past three legislative sessions, THANKS TO YOU! we have been able to get legislation passed that you told us was needed. More Than Ever, we need to continue supporting the legislators who have supported us. With your continued donations, our accomplishments will grow even more.

Your donations help protect our industry! We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions regarding our legislative program. For more information, contact Lisa Barton at (817) 5735651 or      TDA PAC Contribution Reply Form Together, we must fight for our industry. TDA NEEDS YOU to further the causes of quality deer management in Texas. Any contribution is appreciated. These amounts are merely suggestions:

□ $25 □ $50 □ $100 □ $250 □ $1000 □ Other $ ______ A personal check should be made payable to TDA PAC. NO CORPORATE CHECK OR CORPORATE CREDIT CARD please. In addition, as required by law, please provide the following information:

Name: ____________________________________________________________________________ Address: __________________________________City: ______________Zip: _________________ Principal Occupation: _______________________________________________________________________ Enclosed is my personal check in the amount of $ __________________ Charge my personal credit card in the amount of $ _________________ Credit Card Information: Type: _______ Account No. ___________________ Exp. Date: ________ Cardholder Name: _______________________________________ Contact # __________________ Signature: ______________________________________________ Note: Contributions to TDA PAC are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Return this form and your donation to TDA PAC, 403 E. Ramsey, Ste. 204, San Antonio, TX 78216, FAX: (210)767-8401


Thank You 2012 PAC Sustaining Members! Gilbert T. Adams, III

Jeff Jones

Dwain Bankston

Dr. James Kroll

Trent Bass

Dr. Jerry McShane

Rob Beckham

Don Montgomery

Hugo Berlanga

Mike Mullen

Marty Berry

Thomas J. Penn

Scott W. Bugai, D.V.M.

Ernest & Pricella Ramon

Brian Carter

Vance Runnels

Traci Carnell

Roy Schuster

Roy & Marta Dennis

Brad Sullivan

Ben Doskocil

Fred Trudeau

Jimmy Hasslocher THANKS from Your TDA PAC Advisory Committee Members! Chairman Brad Sullivan; Members: Gilbert T. Adams, III, Trent Bass, Hugo Berlanga, Dr. Scott W. Bugai, Marty Berry, Art Browning, Ben Doskocil, Jimmy Hasslocher, Jerry Johnston, Macy Ledbetter, Chris McSpadden and Cynthia Sutton-Stolle

To join these fellow TDA members in becoming a TDA-PAC Sustaining Member, please complete a Sustaining Membership Form.

Help TDA to Help YOU! If your name was inadvertently left off this list, we sincerely thank you as well, and we apologize for the oversight. Please let us know as soon as possible so that we can update our records.


TRACKS • january/february 2013

PAC SUSTAINING MEMBERSHIP FORM * * * PAC SUSTAINING MEMBER CAMPAIGN * * * The TDA PAC goal is 1,000 TDA Members who will commit to an automatic monthly donation to the TDA PAC! If you will be willing to become a TDA PAC Sustaining Member, please complete the following and return by FAX or mail to: TDA * 403 E. Ramsey, #204 * San Antonio, TX 78216 * FAX: 210-767-8401 Members, with your help, we are becoming a strong voice for the Texas Deer Industry. This Sustaining Member Initiative will allow us to become even stronger in the future. Please become a member of this tremendous campaign!

Yes, I want to become a TDA PAC Sustaining Member. Please put me down for a monthly donation of:

□ $25 □ $30 □ $50 □ $75 □ $100 □ Other $ ________

Name: ________________________________________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________City ______________ Zip _________ I want the amount deducted from my Personal Checking Account: □ Yes □ No (To best protect your privacy, TDA will contact you directly for Checking Account Information) Note: Contributions to TDA PAC are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Please charge a monthly amount to my Personal Credit Card: □ Yes □ No □ M/C □ AMX □ Discover Personal Credit Card Information: Type: □ VISA Account No. __________________________________ Exp. Date: ________ Security Code: ___________ Name on Personal Credit Card: _____________________________________________________________ Contact Name: ________________________________________________________________________ Best Contact Phone Number: ________________________________________________

Signature: ___________________________________________________________________

Thanks yourPAC TDA PACCommittee Committee! THANKS fromfrom Your TDA Advisory Members! Chairman Brad Sullivan; Members: Gilbert T. Adams, III, Trent Bass,

Chairman Brad Sullivan; Members: Gilbert T. Adams,Ben III, Trent Bass, Hugo Berlanga, Dr. Scott W. Bugai, Marty Berry, Art Browning, Doskocil, Jimmy HugoJerry Berlanga, Dr.Macy Scott W. Bugai, Berry, Art Browning, Hasslocher, Johnston, Ledbetter, ChrisMarty McSpadden and Cynthia Sutton-Stolle Ben Doskocil, Jimmy Hasslocher, Jerry Johnston, Macy Ledbetter, Chris McSpadden and Cynthia Sutton-Stolle

PAC DONors The list below reflects individual PAC donors from Oct. 1, 2011 - Oct. 2, 2012. If your name has been omitted, we apologize for the oversight and ask that you let us know as soon as possible so that we can update our information.

TDA thanks our generous

2012 PAC Donors David Aaron Tom Aasbo Grover Abel, Jr Joe Ables DVM, MA Jason Abraham Robert Adami, Jr Jesse Adams Bob Adams Gilbert T. Adams,III Will Ainsworth Gerardo Alanis Rene Alarcon Mitch & Herlinda Alison Guy Allcorn Mitchell Allison Joe Allison Tommy Allmand Mark Andrews Billy Applewhite Hefner Appling, Jr. Elton Arceneaux James Archer Sam Ares, Jr. Darrell Baca Bradley Bacon Darren Baertich Dylan Baertich Ernest Bailes,IV Breanne Baker Randy Baker Howard Baker David Ballew Dwain Bankston Chad Barington Nathan Barker Rich Barkley Larry Bartell Michael Bartl Melvin Bass Trent Bass Brady Bauer Gary Bauman Rhonda Baumann Randall Beaman Brian Beasley Rob Beckham Ben Beiler Ron Bell Carlos Benavides, III Gary Benbow Lance Berdoll Hugo Berlanga Marty Berry Mike Biggs Al Bisbey Josh Blackard Harry D. Blake Darren Blanton R. Warren Blesh Libby Bluntzer Warren Bluntzer Ralph Boehnke Al Boenker Dan Boldt Brandon Bollinger Dan Bomersbach Jason Bonner


Ray Bori Nancy Bracken Charles Bradley,DDS Layne Brandt D J Brask Robert Brittingham Bob Brock Tabor Brooks Quatro Brooks Marshall Brown Brent Brown Brian Brown Dickie Brown Marvin R Brown, MD Thomas Browning Tommy Browning Debbie Bruns Van Bruns, Sr Kerry Bruton Bryan Brysch Scott W. Bugai, DVM Peggy Bull Gary Bullock Jerry Burch Ray Burdette Wayne Burkehead Bob Burlingame Sarah Burnett James Butler Ray Butler Richard Butler Kyle Butts David Byler George Cagle Dick Cain Troy Calaway Anthony L Calderera Neil Calfas Chris Calvery Joey Cannon Justin Cannon Troy Caperton Jared Capt Traci Carnell Jeff Carr Richard Carroll Patrick Carson Brian Carter Chuck Cashdollar Dr. Tristan Castaneda Brett Chaffin Randy Charbula Dusty Cheney Dale Chupp Dr. Ricky Cigarroa Salvador Cisneros Wes Clark Stephen Clegg Mac Coalson Lois Cochran Mark Collins Don Collis Christopher Collis Clint Colvin Gus Comiskey,Jr Jeff Conner Michael Contugno

Ike Conway Randy Coporron Henry Corbell Lance Cote Rick Cox Gary Craig J T “Jody” Crawford, Jr. Howard Crissey Chad Crocker Mark Crouch Tony Crow Mark Cuppetilli Joe Curtis Bud Curtis Harmon, DDS Dana Jeff Dean J W Dean Dr John Dedwylder Colten Delatin Gary Delz Kenneth Dennis Roy & Marta Dennis Seymon Deutsch Lynn Dewitt James “Tuddy” Dietz Chipper Dippel RE Dodson Ralph Donaho Jim Donnan Bobby Donohue Benjamin Doskocil Dusty Duncan Keith Duncan Marty Durbin Cody Dutton John Dvorak Jesse Easley Bruce Easterly George Eberly William Edmiston, DVM Tim Edwards Chris Elliott Dr. Charles Ernst Juan Escamilla Dr. Lyn Ese Joe Evridge Wyatt Evridge Nancy Evridge Richard Fant Pat Farrell Gerald Farris Royce Faulkner Robert Fears Gayla Fell James Ferguson Mark Fertitta Jack Fields Greg Flees Eugene Flees Matthew Fletcher Jorge L Flores Luis Flores, III Olan Foley Scott Follett Trigg Forester Wayne Forister Joe Francks

Keavin Franklin Billy Franks Charles Frazier Mike Frazier Clarence Friar Holly Van Cleve Fries Larry Friesenhahn Stephen Frisina Harold Fritts Randy Froelich,DVM David Gaither Bill Gallaher Miguel Garcia David Garza Jose Luis Garza Arturo Garza Dr. Adalberto Garza Lindsey Gates Leo Gates, III Case Gatlin Paul Gean Robert Gegenheimer Dan Geistweidt Brent Geistweidt J. Greg Genitempo Billy Gerke Gary Gierisch Michael Gillis Bobby Girling Rodney Gisler Greg Gist Carroll Glaser Glenn Glasson Kevin Glick Jacob Glick, Jr Margaret Golla Mike Gold Eric Gonzales Gene Gonzalez Leonard Gonzalez Fred Gonzalez Kent Gore Noel Gouldin Dennis Gourley Freddie Graff Clint Grant Derek B Grant, DVM Eleanor Green Shane Greenville Paul Grein David Greiner Hunter Griffin Randy Griffin David Griffith Troy Grimes Wade Grimes Don Gromatzky Sheldon Grothaus Andy Grothues Steve Gulini Lauro Gutierrez Robert Haas Dean Halewyn Larry Haley John Hall Chris Hamilton Jody Hargus

Rick Harp Joey Harrington Chris Harris Chris Harris, Jr Casey Harrison Jack Hartung, Jr Will Harvey Kenneth Harvick G. Jim Hasslocher Jimmy Hasslocher Bradley Hawpe Ray M Hawrylak Clint “Doc” Hayes, MD David Hayward Allen Heinrich Michael Heiter Drake Heller Rodney Heller Dave Heltzel Brent Hemphill Greg Henicke David Henry Bradley Herricks Darrell Hester Jeff Heuman Rusty Hicks Kirby Hill Gene Hill David Hilsberg Phil Hinch Matthew Hinton Bill Hobaugh Eddie Hodges J B Hoffman Scott Hohensee Bill Holdman Steve Holifield Terry Hollingshead John Hopkins Kevin Hopson Shane Horrocks Robert Horton Fred Huebner Bobby Hughes Rob Hughes Brian Hughes C M Hunter Randy Hutto Bart Hutton Mike Hydrick Jeff Ilseng Monty Irvin JD Ivey Keith Jackson Donald Jackson Scott Jacoby Matthew Jaques Rick Jauer Heath Jauer Chris Jaynes Jeff Jefferies Chris Jennings Larry Jochetz Greg John Edward Johnson Cody Jones Jeff Jones

TRACKS • january/february 2013

Mike Jones Buddy Jordan Len Jubinville Lance Jue E C “Gene” Jupe Judy Jurek Brent Justice Tommy Keck Joe Mark Kelley, Jr John “Zac” Kennedy Cody Kennemer Ryan Kennen Thomas Kennen Irby Kerlick, Sr Charlie Kersh Dan Kinsel III Richard Kinsel Harry D. Kirk Shawna Kirkland Guy Kitchen Felix Klein Brent Klostermann Walter Knezek, Jr Dustin Knight Dwight Knight Ben Koerth Frank Kolar Bart Koontz John Korbell Bob Koricanek Kenneth Kothe Dennis Kotzur Emil Krejci Dr. James Kroll Leroy Krueger Allen Kruse Lance Kruse Dan Kuhns Kevin Kutac Terry Labonte Bob Ladd Randy Lair John Lambeth John Lander Kent Lanham Lane Laning Herbie Lapetina Elam Lapp Jason LaRue Aden Lasseter Oscar Laurel, Jr David Law Graeme Lawrence Ryan LeBlanc Macy Ledbetter Tinker Lemke Randall Lenz Jim Leopold Ricky Lester Steve Levander Greg Lieck Randall Lingo Don Liska Burt Livengood Jeannine Ljungdahl Greg Locke Dr. Linda Logan David Logston Charleen Long Ricardo Longoria Elsa Lopez Keith Lossen Johnny Lowrance Michael Lowther Randy Luker Lance Lutenbacher Douglas Mabry, DVM Ryan Mackey Carmen Mackey Kurt Mai Tom Malouf Matthew Mann Wayne Mann Kenneth Marks Mark Marshall Harold Marshall, DDS Wilmer Martin

Bill Martindale Frank Martinez Patrick Masters Kenneth Matak Anthony Matone Ann Matthews Nyle Maxwell Joe May Robert May Shirley Mays Ber Mazac Ken McBee Wade McBee Phil McClure Fred McComas Tony McCorvey Elsie McCoy Rebecca McDaniel Michael McGee, Sr Michael McGinnis Ryan McGinnis Rick McKinney Vicki McLean Chris McLean Mark McMillen Dr. Jerry McShane Ricky McShane Chris McSpadden Bob Mehall Clarence Mendel, Jr. Ray Menke Steve Merka Craig Merritt Richard Meyer Ricky Meyer Allan Meyer Tyler Michael Zach Michael Ronny Michael Madison Michener Johnny Millegan Frosty Miller Chris Miller Don Miller Rodney Miller Bryce Miller John Miller Bryan Milliorn Ryan Mills Troy Minyard Jesus Mireles Walter Mischer Nelson Mitchell Stefan Mitchell Bryan Mitchell Gary Mobley John Mobley Dennis Moczygemba Don Montgomery Bill Moody Kenneth Moore Robert Moore Royston Moore, Jr. Scott Mooring Carlos Morales-Ryan Carroll Moran Vernon Mosley, Jr. Steve Moss Ron Mostyn Ben Mueller Mike Mullen Michelle D. Mullen Alvin Mullican Anthony Myers James Nash Chaz Neely Phillip Neesen Jeff Nelson Gary Nelson Maurice Nethery Glenn Neumann Alvin New Josh Newman Harrell Newton Dwight Nieschwitz Donald Nohavitza Sammy Nooner

Francisco Noriega Tommy Novasad William Oehmig John Oncken Mark Ornik Kevin Orrick Gary Orsack R C Ottwell, Jr Terry Owen Dan Page Floyd Page Douglas Pals Johnny Parker Justin Parker Jeremy Parks Dottie Patterson Susan Patterson Dr. William Patterson,IV Carl Pattson Steven Pawelek Earl Peacock Rick Peebles Niles Pena Xavier Pena Thomas Penn Frank Perez Jimmy Perlitz Brad Peterson Ray Petree Lee Pfluger Jack Phillips Steve Pickens Paul Pierson Jerry Pipes Mark Plocek Mark Plumlee Leslie Pogue Robert Porter Alan Powers Will Pressley Bob Price Larry Puckett T M (Mike) Quigley Linda Ragsdale Joe Ramon Ernest & Pricella Ramon Chris Ramsey David Randazzo Bob Rankin Tom Ransdell Melvin Rasmussen Michael Rattan James Ray Kyle Raymond Bill Raymond Paul Redmon Bart Reese Carroll Retzloff Blake Revels Allan Richardson Eric Richey Robert Richter Dr. Don Risinger Phillip Rivera, Sr Mike Roach Gary Roark Irving Roberts Phillip Roberts Dwayne Robinson James Robison Eric Roehl Randall Roessler Kalub Rogers Maurice Rosenstein Nathan Ross Michele Rothlisberger J R Roy David Rude, Jr. Rodney Rudell Bryan Rumbo David Rumley Vance Runnels Rip Rutherford Russ Rutledge Rolando Saenz Billy Sage, Jr Ted Sako

Willie Joe Salik,Jr Jose Salinas Pat Sanchez Gary Sanders Blake Sanders Alberto Santos, Jr Stew Savage Gerald Sawyer Brett Scarber Andrew Schatte Happy Schawe Laurence Scheel Chris Scheel Eddie Ray Scheler Lewis Scherer III Richard Schlenk Charles Schroeder James Schroeder Kurt Schuchman Charles Schulte Randy Schulze Sherry Schulze Roy Schuster William Scott Zach Scurlock Elwyn Seay Matt Seymour George Shannon Blake Shaw Ricky Shelly Randy Shipp Pat Short Clyde Siebman Larry Siller Harry Simon J-Ray Simpson Buddy Smart Burl Smith Mid Smith Craig Smith Greg Smith Floyd Smith Jay Smith Rowan Smith Patrick Smotek Dr. Doug Smrekar James D. Smrekar Glenn Sodd Ron Sorsby Ray Sorsby Shiloh Sosa Jim Sours Sam Stacks Donnie Starks Sam Stavron Randy Stewart Chris Stewart R. Greg Stewart, DVM George Stieren Amos Stoltzfus John Stoltzfus Joe Strack Stephanie Strack Ben Streetman Brian Sullivan Brad Sullivan David Sunderland Case Swaim Joel Swan Joe Swan Elam Swann Ken Swenson George Taliaferro Rick Taylor Anthony Taylor Jeremy Taylor Thomas Teague Rob Thomas David Thomson Rob Tiemann Steven Tipps J. Pat Tom John & Jean Tomerlin Damon Touchet Shannon Tracy Jay Trammell Mike Traugott

Jeff Trilicek Jamie Troxel Fred Trudeau John True Alan Truelove Rick Tucker Wayne Tucker Terry Tunnell Chad Turner Jon Turner Trent Turner Fred Turner Jody Turner Glynn Underwood John Urban Anton Urbanczyk Ronnie Ussery, DVM David Valtierra Dr. Larry Varner James Veitenheimer Robert Vela, MD Eloy Vera John Viesca Gregorio Villarreal Sid Vincent Kurt Von Ploski Kevin Walker Martin Walker Brent Wallgren Keith Walters Richard Wambold Darrell Waneck Jack Wardlaw Keith Warren Hardy Watford Donnie Watkins Steve Watson Donald Watson Jim Watts Randy Watts Jason Wauson C C Welder John Calhoun Wells Stephen Werner Randy West Kittie West Daniel Wheeler Charlie Wheeler Bryan White Raymond Whitman Ronnie Whitt Bobby Wier Keith Wieser Mike Wieser Steve Wieser Hunter Wigginton Brad Wilkerson Doug Willard James Williams Brad Williams Fred Williams Rusty Williams Donovan Williamson Scott Wilson John “Bill” Wilson Craig Wilson Tommy Wimberley Tom Winn Dr. Charles Wiseman Kurt Wiseman J E “Red” Wood Mike Wood Leland Wood Allen Worthington Steve Wright Chris Wright Larry Wright Steve Wright Bill Wright, Jr Peter Wunderlich J R Wynne Becky Zoch


President’S JOURNAL BY Gilbert Adams, III

“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined efforts of each individual.” Vince Lombardi The 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature lasts from January 8, 2013 until 140 days later on May 27. That is a total of just five months for legislators to get the state budget allocated and approved for the next two years along with many other statewide issues that will be priority topics for legislators this session. Last session, 5,796 House and Senate bills were filed and, of those, only 1,379 were passed into law. Issues likely to dominate as the budget is considered will be funding for public schools and Medicaid. Other legislation likely to generate a lot of attention will include setting a four-year fixed tuition rate or “tuition freeze,” to help contain cost and encourage students to graduate on time. The perennial topic of legalizing casino gambling is expected again along with the possible creation of a state gaming commission. Funding for full day pre-Kindergarten classes, a ban on texting while driving and “open carry” legislation to allow licensed holders an option of carrying handguns in the open as recently went into effect in Oklahoma are expected to be proposed as well. In the midst of that sea of legislation and priority issues, TDA will be striving to make sure that your concerns are also voiced and the reasons for legislation supported by TDA are understood. TDA will be pursuing legislation to assure the due process rights of deer breeder permit holders and legislation to allow microchips an alternate form of identification for breeder deer. We will continue to monitor legislation that could pose a threat to, or provide opportunities to improve, the deer hunting and breeding industries. As you have heard said before, in order for TDA’s legislation to pass, or for threats to our industry to be defeated, we must have the involvement of our membership. We need each of you to be prepared to communicate with your own State Representative and State Senator on important issues and votes needed during the upcoming session. Legislative Alerts will be sent to you by email with requests for you to contact – sometimes immediately – the legislators that represent you. When you receive that request, it is more important than ever before that you participate in this process by acting on that communication. Collectively, we can make a difference, so please be ready to act when called upon. Also underway are preparations for the Feb. 8-9 2013 Superior Genetics Deer Auction to be held this year at an exciting new venue, the Retama Park in Selma, Texas located just outside of San Antonio. On March 1-2, we will hold our annual Spring Gala Banquet and Superior Genetics Auction in Grapevine, Texas. If you have not yet sent your consignment forms to TDA Auction Manager, Vance Runnels, please be sure to do that at


The current session could be the most important legislative session of TDA’s history. Decisions will be made during this time that may affect the deer and deer breeding industry throughout its existence. At this writing, we are in serious need of your PAC auction donations for each of the February and March auctions. Members, it is your PAC donations that provide the support needed in order to protect you. Without your support and your participation through your donations at these auctions, we will not be able to do that; there will be no auctions, no buying or selling of deer because those who want to see the deer breeding industry shut down altogether will win. We are most assuredly going to be facing the same type of opposition in the next legislative session as we experienced this past session from those whose personal philosophies are not supportive of the deer breeding industry or your choice of deer and ranch management practices. TDA is strong because of our members’ past PAC support. To continue to be strong, we must have a commitment of your continual support throughout each year through quantity and quality and/or creative donations to our PAC auctions. If you have not yet donated an item, a deer or deer semen, fencing, feed, camping equipment, deer feeding equipment, jewelry, trips for these auctions, etc., please do so as soon as possible. Get together with your fellow members and come up with something unique and creative – TDA NEEDS your ideas to help generate support for our PAC fund and your PAC donations for the February and March auctions. I have an open-door policy and am always interested in your suggestions for improving our association as well as your concerns. My email address is, and my cell phone number is 409-781-6146. Call anytime! May each of you and all those you love have a blessed, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Gilbert T. Adams, III TDA President

TRACKS • january/february 2013

TDA’s Legislative Platform

ATTENTION ALL TDA MEMBERS – YOUR INPUT IS NEEDED Your input is needed, and requested, to identify and shape TDA’s legislative concerns for the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature. To best prepare for legislation you feel is important for the Texas Deer Industry, we must hear from our association members. Listed below are several questions to help your TDA Legislative Team better respond to issues that matter most to you. Topics could include state agency oversight, new programs needed, complex permit programs, forms and reporting concerns, deer industry issues, animal health care, disease and research issues, predator damage (feral hogs, etc.), rural development needs and concerns, water, property rights, taxes, border violence or any others. All comments are valued, and no recommendation is too large or small. Mail or fax completed forms to the TDA office: 403 East Ramsey, Suite 204, San Antonio, TX 78216 | Fax 210.767.8401 Thanks for your input!

Gilbert T. Adams, III TDA President

What are the major challenges or obstacles you believe the deer industry faces?

How do you believe the challenges or obstacles could be changed or eliminated?

Is there any legislation that you would like for TDA to pursue during the 2011 legislative session pertaining to our industry?

How could regulations and/or laws related to our industry be changed in a way that could improve the way you personally do business?




a view from the texas capitol By state Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa – Senate District 20

Our Land is the Past. Our Land is the Future. There is nothing more gratifying than a full, undying commitment to our natural habitat. This is a quality that has always been exhibited by the Texas Deer Association. As a State Senator that represents the ranch lands of South Texas, I have had the privilege of working with the Texas Deer Association as it tirelessly strives for legislation that will promote sound management and conservation practices, improvement of the quality of the deer population in Texas, and ultimately teach the people of Texas to become proper stewards of the land. These goals require interacting with public and elected officials. I can say firsthand that the members of the Texas Deer Association have always conducted themselves in a professional and respectful manner. This is not a big surprise when you think about the values that the Texas Deer Association represents. Having served in the Texas Legislature, I have had many opportunities to interact with members of the Texas Deer Association from all over the State on issues ranging from hunters education to the Deer Management Program. There are few associations that are as organized and mobilized as the Texas Deer Association. This is one of the reasons why I supported SB 498 during the 2011 Legislative Session. SB 498 allows for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to issue a permit authorizing the trapping, transporting and processing of surplus white-tailed deer. This additional management tool was previously only available to political subdivisions or property owners’ associations. It only seemed logical to give the same availability to property owners who Parks and Wildlife had already deemed capable of implementing a wildlife management plan. I have fond memories from my youth of hunting in South Texas. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a whitetail deer finding its way through a field. I recall my first memory of seeing a Texas whitetail and that memory will never be forgotten. Every time I see a Texas whitetail deer it is like seeing one for the first time. Teaching our children the value of land stewardship should be a goal that we all support. The qualities fostered through proper land management reflect the values that connect us to our natural habitat. It creates curators of the land who view it as more than a number of acres, but as a living piece of history passed down from one generation to the next to enjoy and protect.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, a Vietnam veteran, represents Brooks, Jim Wells, Nueces, Hidalgo Counties and has spent over 25 years advocating for issues that are most important to the citizens of Senate District 20. Senator Hinojosa is currently Vice-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and is a member of the Texas Legislative Budget Board as well as the Senate Committees on Criminal Justice, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Transportation and Homeland Security.


TRACKS • january/february 2013

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DNR: 2nd deer at iowa preserve had wasting disease Stamford Advocate, December 13, 2012 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a second deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease at a southern Iowa hunting preserve. The DNR said Thursday the positive test came from a sample of a male deer harvested Dec. 1 at the Pine Ridge Hunting Preserve near Bloomfield. The agency announced in July that Iowa’s first confirmation of the disease in the deer population came from a deer shot at the preserve in December 2011. The disease damages the

animals’ brain tissue, causing illness and eventually death. The preserve has been providing test samples from each deer shot on its grounds under an agreement with the DNR, which is collecting additional samples of wild deer shot in the area. Source: article/DNR-2nd-deer-at-Iowa-preserve-had-wastingdisease-4116289.php

deer population Deer tests positive reeling from disease for cwd outside outbreak (ne) zone (wi) by Art hovey, lincoln journal star, December 10, 2012 The almost 6,000 deer carcasses reported to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in 2012 represent the most severe outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease since the 1970s. “I think throughout the Midwest, there are states dealing with it,” said Scott Taylor, wildlife division manager with Game and Parks. “But I think Nebraska is dealing with it to a greater degree than any other state, because the drought conditions are worse than any other state. “Last year was maybe 10 or less,” Taylor said of reports from the public on an often fatal malady inflicted on deer by biting insects. “Within the last 10 years, the highest we’ve seen is maybe a few hundred.” If the drought persists in 2013, the carcass count could rise rapidly again through the summer months. Source: nebraska/deer-population-reeling-from-disease-outbreak/ article_d8536108-92b6-568a-a9f8-8571e1b4f499.html, December 10, 2012 MADISON, Wis. - A deer from outside the boundary of the chronic wasting disease management zone in Grant County has tested positive for the disease. The 2.5 year old buck was killed and registered Nov. 18, according to a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources news release. “It’s disappointing but not unexpected to have a CWDpositive outside the current zone boundary. This is why we have focused surveillance around the fringes of the CWD management zone, to better understand the distribution of the disease and identify the presence of the disease in periphery areas,” said Don Bates, DNR area wildlife supervisor, in the release. The CWD-positive deer was harvested near the center of the county about 6.5 miles from the border of the CWD management zone and about eight miles from the nearest positive. Source: mqjh95z/-/index.html

Chronic wasting disease not detected in deer known as “Purple 4” [PA] york daily record/sunday news, December 11, 2012 York, PA - Chronic wasting disease was not detected in a deer known as “Purple 4” that had escaped from a farm in Huntingdon County, according to the state Department of Agriculture. The doe escaped from an unlicensed deer farm in Alexandria, Huntingdon County. “Purple 4” was shot by a hunter last month and tested at the Pennsylvania State


Veterinary Laboratory, a news release states. The Huntingdon County deer was linked to the New Oxford, Adams County deer farm where the disease was originally detected, the release states. Source:

TRACKS • january/february 2013



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Happenings in the

Organization as recorded By Robert Fears


eeping the membership of any organization fully informed is always a goal. Several members have questioned how they can keep informed on the vast array of activities going on within the industry and in TDA. We heard you – this column is another way to disseminate information. The 4th Quarter Board of Directors Meeting was held at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa (JWM) on October 11, 2012. An agenda was sent to all TDA members prior to the meeting with a request for comments through the regional directors. Motions from the previous meeting were reviewed and approved by the Board. Since the JWM is already booked for the 2nd weekend in August 2013, a motion was passed to move the 2013 Annual TDA Convention to the 3rd weekend on August 15, 16 and 17. A second motion moved the conventions back to the 2nd weekend in August after 2013. After an executive session to discuss legislative platform, a motion was made and approved to proceed with both the Due Process and Microchip bills with the language to be tweaked or modified as needed. An amendment to the Code of Ethics for Breeders was approved. By an approved motion, it was decided by the Board to hold a meeting of regional officers at the upcoming convention for orientation to TDA procedures, review of the bylaws and explanation of job responsibilities. A clarification of policy was made relating to TDA staff participation at regional meetings. If a contested election is being held, the executive director or his designee should be present to officiate. At least one TDA staff member attends every regional meeting as a normal procedure. The TDA Calendar of Events was reviewed and it was noted that TDA staff continue to promote the organization and solicit new members by exhibiting at various events. In October, they had a booth at Buck Fever in Seguin and at the 2012 Longhorn Extravaganza in Oklahoma City. 34

During November they exhibited at the 50th Annual Hunters Bar-B-Q and Outdoor Exposition in Bandera, the Cotulla Chamber of Commerce Hunter’s Extravaganza in Cotulla and at the 4th Annual San Antonio International Farm & Ranch Show in San Antonio. In January, a booth was manned at the Dallas Safari Club Journeys 2013 Convention & Sporting Exposition in Dallas. Board members were reminded of the 2013 Texas Open Deer Sale conducted by the Deer Breeders Corporation at the Lakeway Resort and Spa on January 25-26. The TDA San Antonio Superior Genetics Deer Auction will be held at Retama Park in Selma, Texas this year on February 8-9. The Spring Gala Banquet and Superior Genetics Deer Auction will be at the Embassy Suites Outdoor World in Grapevine on March 1 and 2. A current TDA committee membership list was distributed to Board members and a copy can be obtained by contacting the TDA office. Warren Bluntzer reviewed the new Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) rules proposed by the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) and stressed that TDA members submit any concerns to TAHC during the comment period. During the comment period, requests for member comments were issued in e-letters by President Gilbert Adams III. During lunch, Dr. Roger Gold, Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University discussed his proposed biting midge research study in deer breeding facilities. (See article in Nov/ Dec issue of TRACKS.) Objectives of the study are: 1. Monitor breeding facilities for midge presence. 2. Correlate midge populations with habitat and sanitation. 3. Develop pest management strategies.

continued on Page 36 TRACKS • january/february 2013

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happenings in the organization

continued from Page 34

Dr. Gold stressed that identity of the facilities where data are collected will be kept confidential. Access to 22 different deer breeding facilities is needed to conduct the study. Funds are also needed to support the proposed annual budget: Salaries • Graduate Assistant • Hourly workers Virus Determination Travel Supplies

$22,200 4,000 7,560 8,500 2,500 _______ $44,760

Donations and grants can be submitted under an unrestricted gift agreement so that the university doesn’t take a percentage for overhead and allows the entire amount to be used for the study. Marta Dennis gave a membership report and stated that TDA had 1769 full active voting members at the end of September compared to 1469 for the same period last year. In addition, TDA has 1141 e-members. Total membership on September 30 was 2904. Figures compiled by Cesar Sweatt show that 181 people joined TDA during the Brush to Bay Tournament with the following regional assignments: No assignment – 24 Region 2 - 2 Region 3 - 3 Region 4 - 75 Region 5 - 2 Region 6 - 6 Region 7 - 25 Region 8 - 44


Collectively, 32 people joined at the Corpus Christi and Beaumont banquets with region distribution as follows: Region 4 – 13 Region 6 – 1 Region 8 – 17 Region 9 - 1 A newly formed marketing relationship between TDA and the Texas Longhorn Marketing Alliance was explained. The two organizations will mutually promote the Texas whitetail, mule deer and Longhorn industries. Cross marketing efforts will include magazine ads, convention booths and eNews. Look for breed promotion messages in upcoming issues of TRACKS and Texas Longhorn Journal magazines, as well as other association catalogs, programs and eNews. The next Board meeting will be held in San Antonio on February 8, 2013 prior to the pre-event social for the Superior Genetics Deer Auction. TDA communications efforts have been expanded to ensure that important news and information are disseminated to the membership as well as to appropriate parties outside the organization. In doing so, TDA has procured the services of Robert and Janelle Fears, John Meng, and Cross Timbers Marketing. The collaborative effort will also focus on improving the association’s marketing efforts and promoting TDA as a leader in the deer industry. The TDA staff and officers welcome your comments on how well we are keeping you informed on your organization’s activities. Please submit your comments, suggestions and/ or any information for possible dissemination to TDA membership to

TRACKS • january/february 2013

2012 Youth Coloring Contest The best we could manage was a “Wow” when we saw the entries for this year’s Youth Coloring Contest - over 200! The kids used crayon, colored pencil, paint, marker, cut paper, one creative child even glued cotton balls to their art to make snow! The judging wasn’t easy and it wasn’t the number of entries that made it difficult, it was the creativity that went into them. We certainly had a lot of fun looking at them. As far as we’re concerned, everyone’s a winner. Great work, kids! We wanted to show everyone’s entry in the magazine but, because of space, we can only show the winners and those in the final round of judging. Judging was blind - our judges knew only the age group of the category and weren’t allowed to turn entries over to see age or name. The judges also couldn’t have family members who entered the contest.

6 & Under Division Winners

1st Place

Scarlett mcclelland, Age 6

2nd Place

addison pilsner, Age 6

3rd Place

skylar butler, Age 6

6 & Under Honorable Mention

left to right: Andrew clipson Brianna & Natalia Sanchez Brock upton chloe tello

left to right: easton pedroza lexi ybarra summer adams trista shaw 40

TRACKS • january/february 2013

7-11 Division Winners

1st Place

elyssa dillard, Age 10

2nd Place

hannah harrison, Age 9

3rd Place

abby hamman, Age 10

7-11 Honorable Mention

left to right: Gisselle sanchez izzy gillette jade lleverino

left to right: jennifer rosales kaylee bankston mariah

left to right: mia colletti nancy hernandez shana neisner


12-16 Division Winner 1st Place

hailey stanush, Age 13 42

TRACKS • january/february 2013


Mule Deer Registry

Preserve Mule Deer Pedigree 18 Mule Deer Markers Trace Lineages Confirm Semen Collections


welcome to the texas legislature

Facts on the Texas Legislature The Legislature meets every odd-numbered year (i.e., 2013) for 140 days, beginning on the second Tuesday in January. The Legislature is bicameral, which means it has two houses or chambers: The Senate is composed of 31 senators; the House of Representatives is composed of 150 representatives. House members are elected for two-year terms while senators serve four-year terms. There are no term limits. A House member must be at least 21 years of age, and a Senator at least 26 years of age. All Legislators earn an annual salary of $7,200. The Governor of Texas is the chief executive of the state and is elected by the citizens every four years. The Governor must be a US citizen, at least 30 years old, and a resident of Texas for the five years immediately before the election. There are no term limits for the TX Governor. The Lieutenant Governor, who is elected statewide, presides over the Senate. The Speaker of the House, who is one of 150 locally elected representatives, is elected by his peers in the House. Summary of the T exas Legislative Process 1. A bill is filed (Introduced) into the Texas State House of Representatives or the Texas State Senate. 46

2. The bill is assigned to a committee in its originating chamber by the House Speaker or the Lt. Governor. The committee holds hearings on the bill in order to collect information about the bill’s subject matter. 3. A Fiscal Note (cost of implementing the legislation), prepared by the State Comptroller’s Office, and Impact Statements on various areas of government, are usually issued when legislation is proposed for committee hearings and are reviewed at every major step of the journey that a bill takes to become law. 4. The committee considers reports, analysis and implementing costs (fiscal note) pertaining to the bill and then votes on it. The committee may amend or substitute the bill with another bill during this process. (Committee report) 5. If the committee recommends the bill, it is sent back to the full House/Senate to be debated and voted on. The bill may be amended on the floor in order to make the bill more appealing to legislators. (Second and Third Readings of the bill) continued on Page 48 TRACKS • january/february 2013


Texas legislature

continued from Page 46

6. If the House/Senate passes the bill after its third reading, the bill is then sent to the other legislative chamber to be considered. The process is similar in the other chamber. (Once passed its originating chamber, the bill is considered the ‘Engrossed’ version.) 7. If there is a companion (duplicate) bill in the opposite chamber, at some point when the bills ‘meet up,’ one is substituted (“laid on the table”) in favor of the companion bill that is further along in the process, and that bill then becomes the only bill in the process. 8. If the other legislative chamber passes the bill (in second and third readings), but makes changes to the text of the bill in the process, members from both chambers convene a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the two versions. The conference committee produces a unified version of the bill and a report explaining the committee’s actions. The unified version of the bill is then sent to the Governor to be signed. (Note: if passed by both chambers in identical form, the bill is considered ‘Enrolled;’ if the bill is not passed in identical form by both chambers, changes made by the opposite chamber must be accepted by the originating chamber or a conference committee report must be adopted by both chambers before the bill may be considered ‘Enrolled.”)


9. If the Governor signs the bill, the bill becomes law. If the governor vetoes the bill, it will be returned to the legislature where it will have to receive 2/3 majority of both houses to override the veto. If the governor refuses to sign the bill it will become law after 10 days unless the legislature is within 10 days of adjournment. In this case the governor would have 20 days to take action on the bill. 10. After the bill becomes law, the language of the law is incorporated into the Texas Codes and Revised Civil Statues. The print version of the Texas Codes and Revised Civil Statutes is commonly referred to as “Vernon’s Texas Codes and Revised Civil Statutes Annotated.” 11. After the bill becomes law, the state agency that oversees the related program may then take steps to create regulations to implement the law. For more comprehensive information about the Texas Legislative process or to track a bill during the legislative session, or to locate the State Representative and State Senator that represents you, go to the Texas Legislature website: http:// You can also view the proceedings of the House or Senate chambers as well as committee hearings in progress or in archived files at that same website.

TRACKS • january/february 2013

Mustang Creek Ranch

7th Annual Whitetail Workshop article and photos By Robert & Janelle Fears


he 7th Annual Mustang Creek Ranch Whitetail Workshop was held on July 21, 2012 and was hosted by ranch owners, Bill and Terre Grace. The ranch is located near historic Salado, an original stagecoach stop and home of the state’s first co-educational college. Salado was founded on October 8, 1859 by Scottish settlers who moved into the area for its plentiful springs and rich farmland. The Grace property has beautiful rolling hills, deep ponds and Mustang Creek. Bill Grace has been dedicated to improving whitetail deer genetics through his breeding facilities since 1992. The same degree of dedication has been applied to pasture habitat improvement with brush sculpting and use of food plots. “In 1994, Dr. James Kroll, known as ‘Dr. Deer,’ agreed to become our head biologist,” says Grace. “He has since that time become one of our strongest supporters and a dear and trusted friend.” The workshop The workshop was conducted about two weeks following the detection of CWD (chronic wasting disease) in two far West Texas mule deer. Naturally the primary topic discussed during the workshop was CWD. Kroll was the featured speaker at the TDA gathering and provided useful up-to-date information on dealing with CWD. As he always has, Kroll strongly recommended that breeders become CWD certified. The Mustang Creek Ranch has been certified CWD free for nine years – that gives Grace a herd status designation of D, the highest level. This allows him to ship live deer across state lines. Most states will not accept deer from out-of-state facilities unless they have been certified CWD free for at least five years (Level C). Grace has closed his breeding facilities to live deer introductions from other locations to help maintain his CWD herd status. Grace buys semen from select breeders when he needs outside genetics and breeds for uniform big frame deer with sturdy wide racks bearing long tines. All of his deer are in great body condition. Other topics covered by Dr. Kroll during the workshop included whitetail management, marketing and the cost of getting into the deer breeding business.

Mustang Creek Ranch After visiting the Mustang Creek Ranch for a few minutes, it is easily seen that the Grace family loves animals. Two or three house cats sun themselves on the back deck overlooking a beautiful lake which is part of Mustang Creek and can be seen from the back of the house. A large dog roams the front yard while two smaller ones control the inside of the house. Bird feeders are noticed through the breakfast area window where cardinals and painted buntings are enjoying a meal. “The nine-year-old twins, Nikki (named Helen after her

great grandmother), Luke and I try to swim in the lake at least once everyday,” says Bill Grace. “Its cool water is invigorating and refreshing. We have two older children – William, age 19 and Allie (Alexandra) age 21. They are both attending college.” “I don’t go swimming with them,” explains Terre Grace. “The lake has snapping turtles and snakes and I prefer to admire them from the bank.” In addition to trophy whitetail deer, the Grace family has cattle and elk. In the past, they have had axis, fallow and continued on Page 56


TRACKS • january/february 2013

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mustang creek ranch

continued from Page 54

blackbuck. The fauna may be different on each visit since injured or lost animals are quickly adopted by the family. Family history Bill Grace’s family history includes chocolates, philanthropy and caring about others. The Grace family moved to Texas in the 1800s and Bill’s grandfather, W.T. was raised in the Cleburne area. His grandmother was born in Hobart, Oklahoma but later moved to the Rio Grande valley of Texas. The family eventually migrated to California. His grandfather worked as a longshoreman near San Pedro, California in the 1940s when the dock area was considered very dangerous. W.T. was a master candy maker having perfected his skills in the 1920s and 30s while working for a few chocolate companies. In 1944, W.T. bought his wife Helen a chocolate shop for her birthday. He made chocolates at night and Helen carried the delicious candies to the port and sold them during the day. Sales grew steadily and within 10 years, the enterprising couple outgrew the San Pedro store and moved to the nearby city of Lakewood. In the 1960s, the family supplied the Boy Scouts of America with Helen Grace fudge Easter eggs to sell as a fundraiser. Helen Grace particularly liked working with children selling candy for philanthropic projects. After many expansions and growth, company headquarters moved to Rancho Dominguez in the late 1980s. Seeking


Bill and Terre Grace

to retire, the Grace family sold the company in 2001 while retaining a percentage. The Grace family has a rich history of helping others and this trait is exhibited through the annual Mustang Creek Ranch Whitetail Workshop. The workshop provides a venue for breeders and wildlife managers to learn the latest deer management techniques from Dr. Kroll and to discuss current issues. This is another great event to put on your calendar for next year.

CWD Free Herd Status Designations (Number of years that CWD is not confirmed in the herd)

Level A – One full year Level B – Two to three years Level C – Four to five years Level D – Six years or more

TRACKS • january/february 2013

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Management Notes By Paul D. Ohlenbusch

It’s winter! As winter continues and we move toward spring, based on what has happened the last several months it will either be warm or cold and dry or raining. Regardless, the weather over the last year has been extremely variable. One month wet, another dry and when there was rain it was often heavy. The drought has given us major damage to the rangeland and woodlands in Texas. In addition, wildlife has suffered and many populations have been adapting. Blame it on lack of water, reduced natural forage and feed, heat, and all the other things that drought and heat bring. Needless to remind most of you, once we get good rains and see recovery starting, it will take a long time for the vegetation to recover to what was there or it may never recover. The drought of the 1950s took a long time to recover and this one has been about as bad in many areas. Be sure to evaluate the current animal use to determine if there will be adequate resources for winter use. Hope you have evaluated your resources and finances for 2012 and adjusted your 2013 plans and management. Above all, update your fiveyear plan. Here are some points to consider in the next few months. • Water should always be your highest priority. Without adequate water, production and even survival is difficult at best. • Closely monitor your water resources for availability and quality. Have options in place if sources appear to be less than optimal. Evaluate water needs for the year with an eye on the need and potential needs. Be prepared to move animals to where water is available if necessary. • If the drought continues, check water sources often. • Review rainfall records for the past 12 months, the forecast for the next three to six months, and determine if the 62

January through April

Grass by Design (

current soil moisture availability is adequate for the rest of the fall and winter seasons. Even if current soil moisture is fair to good, projected plant growth may be below average if drought conditions continue as some have predicted. If drought conditions do continue, prepare for even less growth in 2013. • Evaluate the status of the winter grazing and browse use. The amount of use on highly desirable species is critical. If use has been heavy, plan to reduce the pressure if possible. Plan to reduce 2013 rates to allow the preferred species to recover and improve next year. • Routinely check and repair or replace, where possible, all improvements such as fences, water sources and equipment. • Finalize your financial data for 2012. Continue to evaluate and adjust the 2013 and five-year management and economic plans based on current and projected weather plus current and projected economic conditions. • Evaluate broadleaf and woody plant control sites for 2013 management plans. • Finalize prescribed burn areas for 2013. Have plans for their implementation and management in 2013. When it comes to prescribed burning, planning ahead is better than just “going out and dropping matches!” • Adjust and continue the management for 2012 seeded areas to insure long-term management is accomplished. • Finalize plans for any seeding opportunities for 2012 and begin preparing for seeding. • Update your land resource records through new photos or other means. • If you haven’t started a land resource record, start now. If you use photographs, establish points that you can return to and photograph at least once each year. • □Remember, your management is for today and the future. Base your decisions on documenting what you have done, what is currently happening and combine these with what you have planned or predicted for future. Include how you expect weather, economic conditions and your personal life to interact. Management is not easy! • If you haven’t developed a business management plan, please get started! Planning now can make decisions in the future easier!

TRACKS • january/february 2013

Dec 3 - Remington 243 SPS DM with Nikon scope Sam Anderson, Mesquite, TX Dec 4 - Browning X-Bolt .308 Blain Lehman, Adkins, TX Dec 5 - Remington AR-15 Predator Camo .223 Ernie Ramon, Beevile, TX Dec 6 - Henry Golden Boy 10/22LR Mike Darden, Southlake, TX Dec 7 - Mossberg Silver Reserve 12ga. Ann McCrary, Pleasanton, TX Dec 8 - Weatherby Vanguard .300 Leroy Krueger, Jourdanton, TX Dec 9 - Tikka T3 Hunter .270 Michael Kellodziej, Falls City, TX Dec 10 - Browning Silver Hunter 12 ga. John Paul Lampson, Huntsville, TX Dec 11 - Springfield XDM 40 Package Mark Crouch, Natalia, TX Dec 12 - Colorado Mule Deer/Elk Hunt Mike Wood, Combine, TX

Bray Ranches is a working cattle and sheep ranch that offers excellent hunting opportunities for deer, elk and black bear. The ranch is 20,000 acres of private property nestled in the San Juan mountains in southwest Colorado. This hunt will be for 7 day combo for mule deer and elk lodging, food in October of 2013.

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When out in Mills County, right dab in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, you’re bound to stumble upon something. A worn arrowhead near the Pecan Bayou riverbed. A rattlesnake den. Maybe some horned toads scurrying across a dusty road. On this brushy Central Texas spread, I stumbled onto an idea. First let me give you a little backstory. My home-awayfrom-home is Red Peak Ranch – 1,200 acres of food plots, water sources, open pastures and plenty of the prickly stuff. Along with its rolling hills, I inherited a poorly managed deer population. That’s an all-too-common tale among Texas landowners. And the few deer that inhabited the land were malnourished due to overgrazing. With deer hunting being one of my reasons for purchasing the land, I wanted to establish a good foundation to attract and maintain healthy deer and wildlife. My original goal was to increase the health of the deer through a Managed Land Deer Permit Program (MLDP Program) through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. However, I never expected that the introduction of Texas Longhorns to the ranch would fuel the current deer management practices and help increase antler and body growth in whitetail bucks and does.

Texas Hunter Discovers How Longhorns Help Grow the Big Bucks

I started the MLDP Program back in 1994, and it became a great system for tracking yearly herd growth. To give you some perspective, the does harvested in the first year of ownership averaged 50 pounds dressed weight, and the bucks averaged around 90 pounds at 5 ½ years old – far from the trophy-sized bucks I was looking for. Dan Davis, a local TPWD wildlife technician, worked closely to help provide guidelines during my program’s early stages. “To my knowledge, there had been no previous wildlife management program in place on Red Peak Ranch,” Davis said. “With deer hunting being the prime interest, it made it easy to see our goals and achieve success. To get things started, we recommended the elimination of grazing and replanting native grasses in the area. Additionally, we recommended harvesting spikes and threepointers to eliminate poor genetics from future offspring.” By adding some protein feeders, water sources and food plots over the next few years, I began to see some real improvement in the quality of harvested does and bucks. I developed a great appreciation for the program’s methodical record-keeping because it gave me visual and statistical growth over the years. In 2001, seven years after I was put on the MLDP Program, the 2 ½-year-old does harvested had an 18 percent continued on Page 70 68

TRACKS • january/february 2013

Root for the Longhorns By Mike Crawford


root for the longhorns

continued from Page 69

weight increase. The does were averaging 60 pounds – 10 more than in 1994. The bucks experienced similar growth. The weight increase of bucks taken at 5 ½ years old was 10.5 percent with an average dressed weight of 100 pounds. It was a significant increase from when I first bought the place, but the increased numbers were beginning to plateau. Deer growth slowed, and I believed I’d seen the peak. Boy, was I wrong. My wife is not much of a hunter. She prefers the view from our porch rather than one from a blind. To keep her company, I bought two longhorns as “ranch companions.” I wanted a simple, friendly animal that had high survivability and low maintenance needs. For my University of Texas-graduate

wife, it was the best gift I ever bought. First off, the longhorns practically manage themselves. Their survivability is much higher than the traditional beef cows. Also, the longhorn is an animal my wife and visitors walk up to and feed. Sure, they’re 70-inch horn length can be a little menacing, but put a range cube in your hand, and you have a half-ton lap dog. Finally, a longhorn embodies the true Texas spirit. After starting with two in 1998, I would eventually grow the longhorn herd to 200 through offspring and other longhorn purchases. The herd acted as a landscaper throughout the property, keeping the brushy country trimmed and consuming all types of sticky rugged Texas foliage. Inadvertently, the herd also was clearing the way for sunlight to reach nutritious forbs and browse – a deer delicacy – being hidden by the overgrowth. With the longhorns sharing the land, the deer began their next stage of growth.


I purchased the longhorns as a present for my wife because they were easy to maintain and extremely friendly, but thanks to the MLDP Program, I was able to chart body growth in both does and bucks over a long period. There was a dramatic growth spurt after I introduced the longhorns on the property, which was around 2003. Little did I know that the longhorns grazing patterns complemented the way the deer found their nutrients. My revelation was validated by Bob Kropp, professor of animal science at Oklahoma State University who is in charge of beef cattle management and marketing. To Kropp, it all made perfect sense. “Longhorns have a different diet composition than traditional cattle,” Kropp said. “Longhorns are able to eat a variety of plant species and clear out brush and other foliage not desirable to deer and other cattle. They also have the ability to open up brushy, thick country and expose undergrowth to more sunlight, which results in an increase in nutrient-filled forbs and browse – which deer also prefer. “Longhorns create a better environment for the deer because they open up the habitat so that deer can receive a more nutritious and higher protein diet.” My numbers became mind-boggling. With my 2010 harvest numbers, I noticed a steady, yet unbelievable amount of growth from 2001, even with the drought we had in 2006. The 5 ½-year-old bucks harvested now averaged 147 pounds – an astonishing 47 pound increase from 2001. Since purchasing the land in 1994, the bucks had increased their size by 62.4 percent, with the biggest increase coming with the introduction of the longhorn. The does showed similar weight gain. My fellow MLDP Program technician wasn’t surprised by the increase in size. “From the first day we stepped out there in 1994 to now, the Red Peak Ranch has improved 100 percent,” Davis said. “The longhorn definitely helped. Out of all the ranches I work with in my four counties, the ranches I see harvesting the biggest deer annually are the ranches that graze cattle.” It’s funny. A gift for my non-hunting wife turned into the last ingredient to bringing trophy-sized bucks to Red Peak Ranch permanently. Those long-tipped wonders turned out to be the perfect complement to my deer management program. There was a time when I thought the only 12-point bucks I would see were on the Outdoors Channel. Now, I’m surrounded by them thanks to the two-pointers – the longhorns, that is.


The Red Peak Ranch is a member of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America. For more information, go to


TRACKS • january/february 2013

With its head up, the bear remained under the tarp for over two hours and 45 minutes before making any attempt to get up.


TRACKS • january/february 2013


Bears story and photos by

Bob Zaiglin

Arriving early at my college office the morning of October 31, I intended to get some paperwork completed before students started arriving for their 8:00 class. No sooner did I sit down did my phone ring. On the other side of the line was Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist David Rios, who informed me that he was just notified that a bear was caught in a snare on a ranch near Eagle Pass, and that he would be heading that way shortly to sedate and free the animal. More importantly, he requested my assistance, which I reluctantly informed him I didn’t think I could give, but would see what I could do. Not a moment after hanging up, my mind was made up, and I was making plans to participate in this extremely unique event, particularly since I had passed on a golden opportunity to go with him to dart a yearling male out of a tree within the city limits of Eagle Pass only a few days earlier. I saw my first black bear in Ely, Minnesota back in 2001 while I was on my daily hour-long walk. Ironically, I was walking the paved streets of an upscale community when the bruin simply crossed the street in front of me, apparently checking for free handouts provided by the altruistic residents. Since then, I have been around quite a few bears while hunting the northern tier of the United States and Canada and was privileged to take a beautiful black bear and magnificent mountain grizzly

in the Yukon, but now I was about to get to see one in of all places, South Texas. As a private lands wildlife biologist in Texas for 35 years, I have witnessed many unique wildlife-oriented events involving whitetails in South Texas, but what I was about to see was a first for me. Black bear, ursus americanus, are

As a private lands wildlife biologist in Texas for 35 years, I have witnessed many unique wildlife-oriented events involving whitetails in South Texas, but what I was about to see was a first for me. native to the United States and occur throughout most of North America. In the southern United States, black bear exist in habitat provided by the various parks where they are protected. But expanding populations extending outside the parks face an encroaching human population thus remaining threatened. This is becoming even more evident in portions of Louisiana and Florida. An adult black bear can be four to six feet tall and exhibit a shoulder height of 2.5 to three feet. Females are generally smaller than males with adult males ranging in weight from 175 to some

Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist David Rios precisely placing a drug-filled dart into a rather docile bear caught in a snare.

Before the drug could take effect, the bear attempts to escape, but was completely anesthetized within a few minutes.

continued on Page 78


border bears continued from Page 77

I have had the privilege of witnessing a variety of wildlife events in South Texas over the last 35 years, but this was a first for me.

exceeding 300 pounds. They have a life span of close to 20 years. Agile, the bruins can attain a running speed of 35 mph, are adept at climbing trees and are good swimmers. Being omnivorous, their diets are composed of various plants, meat and insects. Only 12% of their food is composed of animal matter. They are also opportunists, exhibiting an exceptional sense of smell, thus are often attracted to open dumping sites where a plethora of items attractive to their palate can be obtained. Actually, most bear problems occur as a result of their attraction to such areas. In the wild, a bear’s diet varies on a seasonal basis. They have an affinity for honey and consume a variety of mast such as acorns, mesquite beans, agarita and persimmon when available, as well as Spanish dagger and prickly pear, all of which are abundant in South Texas. Bears in the harsh, semiarid region of South Texas are true survivors having to rely on a highly variable food source in order to survive. A nutritionally stressed animal may, upon occasion, predate on fawns and young livestock, which may have contributed to their early demise in Texas. These long, coarse-furred animals vary in color from brown to jet black with some exhibiting a cinnamon-colored coat. Behaviorally, they are considered shy. Females normally reproduce in their third or fourth year and have one to two cubs every other year.

Bears, at one time, were abundant in the Texas Hill Country and roamed most of Texas. According to early records, Texas bears were virtually eliminated by the 1950s. Their last stronghold was in the Davis and Chisos mountain ranges of far west Texas. Restrictions on bear hunting were enacted in 1973, and it was not until 10 years later, 1983, that bear hunting was Bears, at one prohibited. Following reports of time, were infrequent sightings and a fiveabundant in year investigation by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, bears were the Texas Hill placed on the state endangered Country and species list and are currently listed roamed most as threatened. Thus in Texas, it is of Texas. illegal to shoot a bear. In the mid 1980s, sightings of bears in extreme West Texas along with photographic evidence of a sow with cubs near Emory Park in Big Bend National Park provided evidence that this majestic animal still inhabited the state. Today, sightings of bears across the state, but particularly in counties paralleling the Rio Grande have been made up of nomadic young males either searching for productive forage or intimidated by adult bear in Mexico and forced to travel. The present day bear population in Mexico appears to be expanding as the people in that country have provided much

Blindfolded and under the shade of a tarp, Rios injects the animal with some antibiotic to combat infection.

protection for them. Thus, sightings of bears in South Texas are Mexican bears, which I personally believe will increase in the future. The more important question is – how well will these bruins be accepted on this side of the border? Unquestionably, they will interrupt hunting activities by working over corn and supplemental feed stations. They will also become frequent visitors of dumping areas and, upon occasion, when food sources are limited take that continued on Page 80


TRACKS • january/february 2013

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border bears

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occasional fawn, goat or calf. Thus, there will be concerns raised as to their impact on man’s use of land, but more importantly, I hope that landowners understand their role in protecting this migrant and provide it a niche in the South Texas ecosystem. As a biologist and wildlife enthusiast, I see this as a unique part of Texas wildlife history. It’s unquestionably what biologists dream of as they get to play a role in the fate of a unique animal, and that is why it didn’t take long to make a decision to aid David when it came to saving the life of one of Texas’ rarest animals. So within a few minutes, David and I were headed to an area just a few

miles north of the Eagle Pass Airport. A phone call to Diana Crider, a black bear authority who has conducted research on black bear for years in Mexico, provided us with some valuable information about aiding the bear once it was sedated, prompting a stop in Brackettville where we picked up some hydrogen peroxide and two quarts of Gatorade. The Gatorade would be made available to the bear while it came out of anesthesia and the peroxide would be administrated to the damaged part of the animal’s leg. Upon arrival at the ranch, we were met by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden Gregg Johnson. After visiting with the individuals

representing the ranches involved, David fired off a couple of practice shots. Once comfortable with the performance of the capture gun, we approached the bear in order to obtain a weight estimate as the dosage of drug varied by weight. Upon seeing the animal lying calmly on the ground, we estimated its weight to be around 100 pounds. After preparing the dart, we then crossed onto the side of the fence upon which the bear laid. At the estimated range of 20 yards, David placed a dart precisely into the animal’s neck, and within 10 minutes the bear appeared to be asleep. Cautiously approaching the bruin, it appeared heavier than its initially estimated weight, but without a

Normally it’s nomadic males that are forced across the Rio Grande by an expanding bear population in Mexico, but this female caught in a snare north of Eagle Pass indicates that females are now crossing as well.

continued on Page 82 80

TRACKS • january/february 2013

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border bears continued from Page 80 As the bear was about to enter the thorn scrub, I was overwhelmed by a sense of pride in the small part David and I played in saving at least one of the rarest occupants in Texas.

problem, the snare was removed from its leg and the animal was placed under a tarp adhered to a mesquite and the fence to provide it shade while recovering. Once the animal was placed on its belly with its head positioned slightly downhill to facilitate breathing, it was injected with an antibiotic to fight infection. The Gatorade was placed at its mouth and we backed off.


As the hot sun glared down on me over the next two hours, I remained ensconced in a patch of blue salvia not 20 yards from the animal. It was only a matter of minutes before the melon-sized head of the female was erect and swaying from left to right. Approximately two hours 45 minutes after being darted, she was on her front legs, and only a few minutes later she was on all four feet, wobbly walking away. And as she was about to enter the ocean of thorn scrub, I couldn’t help but think of the role David and I played in not only saving the animal’s life but documenting the entire event on film. Who knows for sure, but it’s highly probable that this iconic species may once again find a niche in the brush country of South Texas. It’s even conceivable that sportsmen may in time discover another unique game animal. No question, these are exciting times, and if landowners, sportsmen and the Parks and Wildlife Department work in concert, South Texas will be occupied by another indigenous big-game species –the magnificent black bear – a migrant attempting to relocate into a country made up of immigrants, just how cool is that!!

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Wildlife Management A Big Part of FFA article and photos By Robert Fears


Habitat evaluation site.


y generation remembers that high school vocational agriculture and Future Farmers of America (FFA) only appealed to students who wanted careers in farming or ranching. Today, these entities have a much broader scope. Vocational agriculture courses are now under the umbrella of agricultural science and Future Farmers of America had a name change to The National FFA Organization. Both of these changes were made to reflect the growing diversity of agriculture. “Courses in high school agricultural science include options for industrial arts (carpentry, welding, etc.), job interviews, public relations, radio broadcasting, animal husbandry, crop production, forest management and wildlife management,” says George Pyle, Buna Independent School District teacher. “Our shop courses are very popular and prepare students for high value skilled jobs in industry.

TRACKS • january/february 2013

Contestants came in all sizes.

“Probably the second most popular curriculum is wildlife management course 381. Subjects in this course include wildlife and plant identification, habitat management, gun and hunting safety and Texas game laws. Students learn the subject matter in the classroom and then test their newly acquired skills in wildlife contests.” Wildlife Alliance for Youth “Wildlife contests are conducted for FFA and 4-H members by the Wildlife Alliance for Youth (WAY),” says Clyde Gottschalk with Texas State Soil & Water Conservation Board. “The first tier of contests is at the county level or districts comprised of several counties. Teams of four students compete in these contests and winning teams go to regional contests. Regional winners are eligible to enter the state contest and the state champions go to the national. FFA and 4-H teams compete in the same contests, but not against each other. 4-H

teams are judged as a group and FFA teams are judged as a separate unit.” “Region IV (East Texas) holds their contest in October or November, which is the only one held in the fall,” continues Gottschalk. “Region V (North Central Texas), Region I (Panhandle), Region II (West Texas) and Region III (South Texas) conduct their contests in early spring. The WAY State Contest rotates to a different region every year and is usually held in April or May.” “Awards are contributed by WAY to the winning teams at the regional and state contests,” says Gottschalk. “A $200 award is made to the winning 4-H and FFA winning teams at regional contests. First, second and third place 4-H and FFA teams receive $500, $300 and $200 respectively at the state contest. All award monies have to be spent for educational purposes such as lab materials, books, equipment or field trips.” WAY, a 501(c)(3) non-profit

organization, is a consortium of state, federal and private organizations working together to provide support and technical assistance to agricultural teachers and 4-H leaders who train youth in various aspects of wildlife conservation and habitat management. More than 2000 4-H and FFA members are annually involved in WAY activities across the state. Region IV Wildlife Contest The author had an opportunity to attend the Region IV Wildlife Contest in November. It was held at the East Texas Plant Materials Center located in the piney woods near Nacogdoches. The various teams arrived at the site between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. in school buses, vans and SUVs. A near equal number of girls and boys of all ages and sizes climbed from the vehicles. Ages ranged from eight-year-old 4-H Club members to continued on Page 90 89

wildlife management

continued from Page 89

18-year-old FFA high school seniors. As I mingled through the mass of young people, I was amazed by their politeness and maturity, even the eightand nine-year-olds. My questions were either answered by “No Sir,” “Yes Sir” or in more lengthy and complete intelligent responses. These kids are not couch potatoes and computer game nuts. They have a keen interest in wildlife and its interrelated ecology. While I visited with the contestants, teachers and club leaders were registering their teams’ attendance. The final number of participating teams was 54. With four students on each team, the calculation is This young lady is identifying a plant. 216 participants. General assembly was called about 8:45 a.m. and teams were assigned to a guide that would lead them to the various contest stations scattered throughout a large wooded area. There were five different stations where students were tested in four different subjects. Identical plant identification tests were conducted at two different stations, but students only participated at one. Plant identification required more time to complete than the other tests, so two sites were used to move students through the contest more rapidly. There were 15 different plants to identify in their natural surroundings. The plants were marked with a stake bearing a red flag and a letter that corresponded to one Clyde Gottschalk giving instructions to the group guides. on the contest form. Students prepared for the contest by learning to identify a list of 60 East the habitat was not suited for one of the animals, they selected Texas plants. In addition to identifying the plants, they had appropriate habitat improvement practices from a provided to state whether it was preferred by deer, squirrel or turkey. list. The habitat evaluation site was an area delineated with red Wildlife biological facts and TPWD hunting and fishing flags at the four corners. Students were asked to score the regulations portions of the contest required written answers habitat within the flags for deer, squirrel and turkey in relation to food, cover and water. If the participants determined that continued on Page 92 90

TRACKS • january/february 2013

wildlife management

continued from Page 90

to previously prepared tests. The wildlife biological test contained 20 questions and the hunting and fishing regulations test had 15. The wildlife identification station was quite interesting. It consisted of several tables bearing various specimens. Contestants were asked to identify animals by either feathers, hair, skulls, pelts, eggs or scat. The exhibits included a small steel jaw trap and the students were asked to write the name of the animal, for which it is used. For a bird wing, they were required to designate the correct term that identifies the iridescent part. Their choices were coverts, speculum, primaries or rectricles. A contestant, regardless of their age, needs to possess a depth of wildlife management knowledge to make a decent score in the WAY contests. How can TDA contribute? The Texas Deer Association (TDA) staff has manned a booth at the last two FFA state conventions and has explored ways to help train interested youth in wildlife conservation and habitat management. The avenue for accomplishing this goal may be through WAY. Needs expressed by the WAY organization include: • Scholarships for regional and state contestant winners • Field equipment to support the contests • Awards, prizes and incentives for regional and state winning contestants and their leaders • Funding to provide leadership and practical field training for FFA and 4-H leaders • Funding to host top teams to represent WAY at wildlife trade shows/ events. Individual ranches can contribute by hosting county or district contests and inviting your FFA chapter or 4-H club to tour your facilities. TDA members can volunteer to give wildlife management lectures to your local groups and help with contests. It takes a lot of people to plan, prepare and conduct wildlife contests. FFA, 4-H and WAY are doing a great job in teaching youth about wildlife management. We need to do our part because these youth are the future of our business and they are a great group to work with.

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Bishop Jurek

“OK. LIGHTS OUT!” It was a gruff

command that garnered more than a couple of rude and crude comments yet each were ignored because the old man had spoken. All ears within the camp house knew it was his way or the highway. In only a few hours the lights would be back on and the occupants would arise in a room filled with rushed excitement. Letting loose a deep sigh, Zane tried to relax but a sense of urgency combined with tremendous anticipation and just a hint of ominous reluctance had his young mind racing full speed ahead. The eight-year-old had never been deer hunting before although he’d dreamed of this moment forever! His grandfather Tom, called Old Man or Mr. Tom by everyone in camp, had brought Zane with him for the youngster’s first hunt. Tom’s son had died suddenly last January so his daughter-in-law had relocated from across the country to enable Zane to be closer to the grandparents he had rarely seen. This was a new adventure for them both as it had been many long years since Tom had taken a kid hunting. Tom and his grandson had visited a shooting range several times to practice for tomorrow. Zane made his grandfather proud by drilling the bull’s eye repeatedly with the old .243 rifle that had been in the family for a very long time. The youth had taken a hunter safety course in addition to continued lessons from his Tom Paw.

Zane’s young brain was filled with bucks sporting giant antlers like the ones seen in magazines and on television hunting shows. He tossed and turned in his bedroll, so much that Tom Paw pushed from underneath the top bunk while admonishing the youngster to settle down. Lying as still as possible despite the state of anticipation he was in, Zane thought about his late father, wondering if he’d ever felt this way. His dad, William, had related deer hunting stories to Zane, promising him that one day they would go hunting together. His dad had been a busy man. Although Zane and his family visited the Lone Star state at least twice every year, it was always in the spring, summer or early fall. It seemed work didn’t allow time to travel to Texas during deer season. That someday of hunting together never arrived before a sudden fatal heart attack took William away from his family. Leaving his friends and familiar places, the move had been traumatic for Zane. Upon arriving, Tom Paw had given continued on Page 100


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The night Before!

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the youngster a lively mixed breed puppy promptly named Speedo. The growing dog was a welcomed addition to Zane and quickly became a mainstay of the young boy’s life. He had wanted to bring Speedo with him but Tom Paw said no, at least not on this trip, because too many other things would be going on to watch after an inquisitive, energetic canine. Having made good grades in school, Zane was allowed to miss classes all day Friday. That in itself was a thrill. Leaving before daylight, the miles rolled by quickly as grandfather and grandson got to know each other better. There were a hundred questions along the way, most about deer, hunting, the camp and the other people who would be there. Paved highway gave way to a gravel road that ran for several miles. More questions with answers not always fully understood passed between the pair of travelers. Following Tom Paw’s instructions, Zane eagerly opened each of three gates. On the last one, his grandfather taught him how to properly replace the padlock so as not to lock out another person. Zane didn’t know what to expect, only that this was a grand adventure. Rounding a bend in the road, his eyes widened at the sight of an old rock house surrounded by big trees and an iron fence like he’d seen encircling a cemetery. Three travel trailers were nearby with an assortment of chairs and benches nestled around a smoking fire in a pit with big rocks ringed around it. People were all around. A black Lab bounded toward the approaching pickup as Tom Paw honked the horn a few times to announce their arrival. “This is it, Kid,” declared Tom Paw, “This is deer camp. Welcome to it!” Men, ladies, boys and one girl came up with handshakes, hugs and slaps on the back as introductions were made all around. Everyone knew who Zane was but they were all unfamiliar to the youngster. “Strangers are just friends waiting to know you,” Tom Paw had once told him. It was fun so far. “Zane, I hope you know the Old Man is a stickler for rules around here. You don’t work, you don’t eat,” said Ralph, a large man sporting a thick salt and pepper beard. “And boy, since you’re the youngest around here, you’re gonna have to work and work hard for your beans! Nobody gets a free ride around here. No sir!” Everyone laughed, nodding and agreeing with Ralph. Zane looked around, not sure if the burly man was serious or

joking. With a worried look on his young face, Zane replied rather meekly, “Ya-yes, Sir.” The crowd laughed again as someone else commented that Ralph shouldn’t be scaring the kid in his first few minutes at camp. Tom Paw announced it was time for Zane to help unload the truck and get set up in the camp house. Deer camp was a whole new experience. The sights, sounds, tastes, people, chores…it was a world all its own and nothing like Zane had expected. He helped haul in a trailer full of firewood and stack it for future use. Riding on the back of a 4-wheeler with Ralph as the driver, Zane got to help check stands for critters, as they were called, and make sure feeders were working properly. Advised by Tom Paw to eat whatever was put in front of him, Zane did as he was told. Although he wasn’t quite sure what some of it was, all the food tasted good. He had sure been hungry when they finally sat down to eat. The ladies kept asking Zane if he needed anything. A big piece of chocolate cake filled him to the brim. Sitting around the fire, the youngster listened intently to stories and comments from almost everyone there. He hoped he could remember every detail. It was exciting. He was finally starting to put names with faces. Two of the boys, Jeremy and Chase, were only slightly older than Zane. Both were very friendly and seemed to know a lot about hunting and many deer camp activities. Zane liked them. Suddenly there was a noise close to him, causing Zane to visibly jump. Carl, who was about Tom Paw’s age, jabbed Ralph in the shoulder, telling him to wake up and go to bed. “You’re snoring around the campfire. It must be past your bedtime. We’re not putting up with that kind of noise around our fire.” The kids all snickered and others laughed as Ralph tried to deny dozing off. “I ate too much and it was a long drive up here today. You’re right. I’m goin’ to bed. See y’all in the morning. Sleep tight, little babies. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Zane wanted to ask what bedbugs were but refrained, silently hoping it was some kind of a joke. Tom Paw told Zane it was time for them to get ready for bed, too. “You young men and gals can stay up late as you want as long as you’re not sleeping in the camp house with us. If you are, better get in there now ‘cuz we’re all going to bed.”

Zane didn’t know what to expect, only that this was a grand

adventure. 

continued on Page 102 100

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The night Before! continued from Page 100

The youngster rolled over on his right side but moments later flipped back onto his left. Again, Tom Paw pushed up Zane’s mattress from underneath, once more telling him to be still and get to sleep. “I can’t,” Zane pleaded, “I’m too excited to sleep. And I don’t think I need to. I’m ready to go hunting right now!” “Well, kid, it’s not time to go just yet and you can’t shoot somethin’ if you’re sleepin’ in the stand!” There was a brief pause. Using a much gentler, soothing voice Tom Paw said, “Now calm down, Zane, take some deep breaths and go to sleep. Morning will be here before you know it. You’ll need to be awake and alert.” What the old man didn’t say was that he felt the same way himself! Tom could not remember when he didn’t deer hunt as it had been a part of his life for as long as his memory recalled. Bringing his grandson along

“Well, kid, it’s not time to go just yet and you can’t shoot somethin’ if you’re sleepin’ in the stand!”

Excitement, anticipation, expectations, daydreams, nightmares, wonderment, disappointments, illusions, thrills, chills, enthusiasm, exhaustion…

the dictionary is full of too many words to describe the cornucopia of feelings and emotions that flood the brain and body the night before opening day of the season, your first hunt, a well-planned hunting adventure to a new place, or whatever may be the main event of your hunting season. It is indeed a malady as real as that most dreaded hunting ailment: buck fever. For some hunters, the thrill of the night before never dies. It may truly be the one thing that keeps us going year after year whether or not we intend to kill something. Trying to express the exact feeling is nearly impossible. For us adults, it is close to being a little kid again, one who still believes in Santa, the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny while knowing tomorrow is your birthday, Christmas, or some other major life event so highly anticipated that you can hardly bear to wait for the next morning to arrive. It is an awesome, truly indescribable feeling!

on this trip, the opening of a new deer season, brought back a pickup load of memories of years gone by. Tom wished that instead of him it was his son William lying in this bunk below Zane but it just wasn’t meant to be. Many years before he’d played out this same scenario when William was about Zane’s age. The years and the hunting seasons had raced by much too quickly. William had graduated college, married and moved almost a thousand miles away. The father and son hunting trips had gotten farther apart and now William was gone. A silent prayer was given for his deceased son. The old man asked for patience to guide Zane as best he could. He also prayed for success on tomorrow’s hunt at least in the form of the youngster bonding with nature to create a love for the great outdoors that would last forever. Like the kid in the bunk above him,

As the road of life gets longer and becomes well-traveled, the excitement of the night before may begin to dim or perhaps fade away altogether. Some hunters unload and hang up their weapons. Others continue to participate for the camaraderie, the essence of deer camp, and for many other reasons such as trying catch even the tiniest bit of the night before fever. If you’ve ever experienced it yourself, you know exactly what I’m writing about. It’s the main event well worth any and all time, effort, patience, work, money, and whatever else it takes to witness and feel the night before opening day of deer season; your maiden hunt of the year; or a child, friend or relative’s first hunt ever. There may be some greater feelings but this writer is hard pressed to think of one! With more deer seasons under my belt than I care to claim, it’s still a thrill and one I hope stays with me until my last day on earth. What more can I say but that I hope you, the reader, have in the past or will in the future thoroughly enjoy those wondrous feelings of the night before!

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The night Before! continued from Page 102

Zane laid perfectly still, once more going over the day’s events in his mind. A thunderous roar not unlike a freight train rattled the room followed by a series of snorts.  Tom felt a wave of anticipation and expectation, both known and unknown, that occurred at this very same time year after year. The feeling was a combination of eagerness with a sort of hunger, an unexplained yearning that made even an old man delight in what lay in store as the opening day of deer season was about to begin. No doubt about it, the kid was going through it at this very moment. As bed springs creaked from across the room, Tom knew another hunter was experiencing the same emotions as well. There were no other words to describe it better than simply saying it was the night before. Zane laid perfectly still, once more going over the day’s

events in his mind. A thunderous roar not unlike a freight train rattled the room followed by a series of snorts. Zane tried not to laugh but at the same time thought to himself, “I’m never gonna go to sleep now!” He wasn’t sure who was making the racket across the room but then he heard more coming from the bunk below him. “Oh, no,” he whispered to himself, “Tom Paw snores, too!” Little did Zane realize the mixture of sounds was actually a melody that would quickly lure him into the deep slumber his young body needed for the next morning, the opening day of deer season. It was all a part of the night before!

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TRACKS • january/february 2013






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TRACKS • january/february 2013

by Jim Heffelfinger


The pig that’s not a pig

Javelina have always drawn a certain amount of curiosity because of their unique history and physical features. They are one of the most maligned and underappreciated big game animals in North America. Even the Boone and Crockett Club does not have a records category for these wonderful desert pigs. Perhaps they suffer from a lack of marketing for there is no national conservation organization named Peccaries Unlimited (PU?) fighting for their conservation and auctioning hunting permits for tens of thousands of dollars. Regardless, this species has an important, but short, history in North America. Don’t call me a pig! Contrary to the perpetual myth, javelina are not members of the rodent family, nor are they actually members of the pig family. They have characteristics that are unique enough to be placed in a separate family (Tayassuidae) that is closely related to the pig family (Suidae). The javelina is also known as the collared peccary, named for the white band or collar that runs across the shoulders. It occupies the peccary family with two other species: the white-lipped and the Chacoan peccary. Javelina is not its official name, but is derived from the Spanish word “Jabali,” thought to refer to the sharp tusks like the javalin thrown in the Olympic games. Other local names are common and varied across their range. In Texas, they are usually not referred to as “pigs” because we have feral hogs, but in the mostly pigless Arizona, they are frequently, and affectionately, called pigs. Javelina differ from the real pig family in several important ways. The most obvious is the scent gland that both sexes have about six inches above the tail on the lower back. This

gland is filled with odiferous (some might say nasty) liquid secretions that are used to mark their territory by rubbing the scent on rocks and trees. This scent gland also probably serves to identify individuals to other herd members; there is much we don’t know about scent communication in this and many other species. Besides the scent gland, javelina differ from pigs because they do not have a tail that is easily visible, they have three toes on the hind foot rather than four in the feral hog, only 38 teeth, a more complex stomach, no gallbladder, and a few other minor differences from feral hogs. Most of these differences are not that important to most people who look at a javelina and think: “It looks like a pig, smells like a pig and sounds like a pig.” America’s Pig Javelina (and all peccaries) are 100% America. While the real pig family evolved in Europe and was first imported to the Americas on a ship commanded by none other than Christopher Columbus in 1493. In contrast, the peccaries evolved in Central and South America and spread northward into North America. This northward spread occurred on the Pacific coast and into Arizona and part of New Mexico and also on the Atlantic coast into Texas with these two arms of distribution joining in Central Mexico. Currently, javelina occur in southern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico and the southwestern one-third of Texas. Javelina in Texas and Arizona are considered different subspecies because they have been separated for so long and both are larger than specimens farther south in Mexico. Although the journals of early explorers in the 1800s are sparsely sprinkled with reports of “Mexican hogs” and continued on Page 110


continued from Page 109

“Jabali” along the rivers and lowland valleys of the Southwest, these critters were relative newcomers to the United States. Archeological remains around Native American habitations prior to 1700 show no evidence of javelina. The first European settlers in the Southwest were probably documenting a relative newcomer that just barely beat them there. They have since continued a northward invasion even into the Ponderosa pine country near Flagstaff in northern Arizona. In these northern areas with snow for periods of time in the winter, javelina persist by finding shelter from the cold – sometimes under a heated porch. It is not uncommon for these javelina to have damaged ears from freezing in the winter. Smells like a Pig Javelina do indeed smell like a pig, both as recipients and givers of smells. The scent gland gives off a strong odor that can be detected for a long time after javelina pass through an area. Also, their sense of smell is very good. This is the main sense that hunters have to defeat when stalking a javelina (outside of South Texas, people actually do that). Their eyesight, however, is poor. They have small eyes that are not very adept at seeing objects far away. Since javelina evolved in the thick thorn scrub of Central America, they

Photo by Jim Heffelfinger

javelina: the pig that’s not a pig

Photo by George Andrejko, AZGFD

After periods of rainfall, much of their diet is forbs (weeds) that respond to the moisture and are easily rooted out. These provide important nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

Prickly pear pads are the year-round staple food item for javelina; find areas with a high density of prickly pear and you will surely find javelina.

never needed to see much farther than 75 yards. Their sense of smell is their main defense, supplemented by average or below average hearing. When they do sense danger they do not delay in getting away and are surprising fast for the short-legged little porkers they are. The “attacks” we sometimes hear about in the wild are probably javelina trying to get away, but with their poor eyesight, just don’t know which direction “away” actually is.

The famous self-sharpening canines look like something that might be used to deliver the killing bite to a horse, but they are actually used to process vegetation. When habituated to humans (which they do readily), they are unpredictable and will literally bite the hand that feeds them. When a javelina bites with the over-lapping canine teeth, it creates a single wound channel through whatever extremity they felt like biting at the time. They seem to have no shortage of bacteria in their mouth and so infection is a real concern. I have heard of Emergency Room doctors running a small bottle brush through the wound channel to try to clean out most of the bacteria. Consider that next time you feel the urge to hand feed one of these likeable creatures. Biology and Ecology Our collared peccaries weigh 40-60 pounds on the hoof and live 7-10 years in the wild. One would think such a stench would relegate you to living a life in solitary, but they find safety in numbers and live in large groups, or herds, of 7-15. Some are smaller and some larger, but the reports of 50 javelina in a herd are never substantiated. Herds occupy territories ranging in size from 200-900 acres in South Texas and larger as you move west to the arid habitat. In Arizona, they have territories of 600-1,300 acres because they need more space to roam and find the food, water and shelter

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javelina: the pig that’s not a pig

Photos by Jim Heffelfinger

continued from Page 110

needed to sustain themselves. These territories are defended against intrusion by other javelina and dangerous fights do occur. In good javelina habitat, each territorial boundary abuts the boundary of adjacent herds, but they sometimes call a truce and agree to share a common watering source. They reach their highest densities in areas where prickly pear cactus is dense and more than 50% brush canopy cover remains. As herds increase in size they may get so large they fragment into two smaller herds or simply increase the dispersal of individuals to other nearby herds. When feeding, javelina concentrate heavily on succulents such as prickly pear, hedgehog, pin cushion cactus and lechuguilla. The fruits and fleshy parts provide not only nutritious feed, but water as well. When javelina feed on prickly pear pads they grasp the pad and pull, which Javelina eat pincushion cacti of all kinds by pawing over the cactus shreds the pad and leaves the with their hooves and then eating stringy interior fibers visible. the fleshy parts from the inside out. Small cacti such as Hedgehogs are knocked over with a front hoof and the insides are eaten out so that only the tough outer skin and spines remain. Lechuguilla leaves are pulled apart and left scattered as the javelina eats the fleshy heart out of the plant. Roots and tubers are also dug or “rooted” up by javelina in search of nutrition. Even though they are commonly referred to as Cholla is a nasty plant to deal with, omnivores, insects and animal but javelina make good use of the vitamins and nutrients in the flesh make of a very small part fruits that hang on the end of the of their diet. branches. Javelina spend almost all their time resting and feeding. Resting occurs primarily in traditional bedgrounds, which are located in low areas of thick brush or caves throughout their territory. Bedgrounds offer soft soil to lie on and protection from predators and the weather. If it is rainy or windy the herd will be found in low, protected areas out of the weather. Being of a tropical origin, javelina breed year round, but it has been reported that there is a peak breeding season in South Texas in late November through January with a pulse of young born in May and June. In Arizona, the timing is similar with births peaking during the summer rains of June through August. Most sows give birth to two piglets,

continued on Page 114 112

Javelina lend themselves well to primitive weapons hunting and also for honing the big game hunting skills of kids (and adults!).

Low-pressure javelina hunts are great for teaching young hunters important hunting and game care skills.

There is no need to try to cut out the scent gland on the javelina’s back above the tail; it skins off cleanly with the hide.

TRACKS • january/february 2013

photo courtesy Jerry Day

Photo by Jim Heffelfinger

javelina: the pig that’s not a pig

Javelina are perfectly suited for hunting with primitive weapons such as pistols and archery equipment.

Javelina hunting is an under-appreciated way to get out in the field and pursue and interesting native big game species.

continued from Page 112

which are called “reds” because they have reddish fur for the first few months of life. The reds suffer a fairly high mortality since they feed coyotes, eagles, bobcats and anything else that might be brave enough to attempt to outsmart or outrun the tusks of the sow. Bringing home the bacon Javelina meat is considered by some to be less than palatable. Some have even gone as far as to suggest this is the reason we find no evidence of javelina in pre-1700 archeological sites. Perhaps paleontologists should call this the “Precrockpot Period.” However, if properly cared for in the field, javelina provide good eating. The key is to field dress the animal immediately and skin it at your first opportunity. Don’t worry about the scent gland; it is attached to the skin (not the meat) and will come off cleanly when you skin the animal. The hairs of the javelina are covered with this scent from animals rubbing against each other so it is important that you don’t touch the meat with the hand that has been holding the hide. The worst thing you can do it to try to cut out this gland and, in the process, smear the scent all over your knife and your hands. In their native range, javelina and other peccaries are heavily consumed by inhabitants of Central and South America and in some areas make up a large percentage of the protein brought into these villages. To para114

phrase a bumper sticker: “Eat javelina, 10,000 jaguars can’t be wrong.” Native Americans in the Southwest had no long history of eating javelina and did not seem very interested in starting the tradition. There are several stories of native tribes not eating them even when they had the opportunity. It’s possible that since they were not part of their heritage, javelina were seen as somewhat taboo or off limits. Apache scouts traveling with General Crook along the Mexican border in the 1880s pursued a group of “Jabali” with gusto that crossed their path and killed five of six, but did not eat them. Given the other sources of protein Apaches were

known to subsist on, it seems as though there must have been reluctance due to a lack of cultural history with the animal. Although the range of the javelina continues to expand northward, it did shrink about hundred years ago as European settlers armed with rifles started to occupy the southwestern landscape with no game laws to protect our native edible wildlife species. Through the 1930s, there were no restrictions on the killing of javelina and so many other wildlife species. Settlers soon learned that the hides of javelina were tough and valuable for making high quality leather goods. In his book continued on Page 116

Distributional range of javelina from Lyle Sowls’ The Peccaries.

TRACKS • january/february 2013

javelina: the pig that’s not a pig continued from Page 114

The Peccaries, Lyle Sowls reports that javelina leather was used for making gloves that fetched over $100, shoes more than $300 and belts $150. This high demand and value for an animal with such poor eyesight was a recipe for trouble. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, javelina were pursued with rifles, steel traps, dogs and about any means possible and feasible. Their tough hides were shipped to the East Coast and on to Europe not only for leather articles, but also for bristles that were used for brushes. There are historical reports of thousands and thousands of javelina hides being shipped out of the Southwest and Mexico. The hides were even used locally as barter in many trading posts along the Mexican border. The collared peccary was protected in New Mexico starting in 1937, but not legally hunted until 1967. In 1939, the javelina attained the more respectable role as a game animal in Texas. Now it provides another species that can be pursued by hunters and help provide more diversified income to landowners. Javelina will respond nicely to a predator call if they are nearby because the herd defensive mechanism kicks in

and they all come together to protect what they think is a small “red” in distress. If a herd is broken up and scattered accidentally (or with a missed shot), they can nearly always be brought back with an urgent predator call. Although javelina are “everywhere,” they never seem to be where you are (even when you’ve seemingly been everywhere!). Knowing how javelina feed and what signs they leave behind is the key to finding javelina. Besides shredded prickly pear pads, scoopedout hedgehog cacti, scattered lechuguilla leaves, look for bedgrounds, droppings, tracks and rooting activity. Javelina hunting is an excellent opportunity to get out into the field to sharpen your hunting skills, relax, scout for next year’s deer hunting areas, or hunt for shed antlers. You can even break up a javelina hunt with some predator calling stands (that might coincidentally produce some peccaries). The great thing about hunting javelina is that there’s much less pressure than deer hunting. You can get out in the field and relax and have fun. If you decide to get serious and pursue them intently, you may want to get a crockpot!

Photo by Jim Heffelfinger

Javelina evolved in thick thorn scrub of Central and South America and that is the habitat they prefer in North America where they expanded into during the last few hundred years.

{ 116

Editors note: Jim Heffelfinger completed a Masters Degree at Texas A&M-Kingsville and then worked on the Rio Paisano Ranch (Brooks/Kleberg Co.) as Manager of Wildlife Operations. He is now an adjunct professor at University of Arizona, Professional Member of Boone & Crockett, Chair of the western states Mule Deer Working Group, and a big game biologist for the Arizona Game & Fish Department. See WWW.DEERNUT.COM for Jim’s “Deernut Blog” (where you can find an excellent javelina marinade recipe) and to purchase his book “Deer of the Southwest” published by Texas A&M University Press.


TRACKS • january/february 2013

By Robert Fears


Bred Does During the 2012 TDA Annual Convention, Dr. Doug Pals, Marketing Specialist of BioTracking, presented preliminary data from a research study on handling bred does. The final research report is now complete and a summary and conclusions are presented in this article. Based in Moscow, Idaho, BioTracking, LLC is a global provider of diagnostic tools. BioTracking is the developer of BioPRYN®, a blood pregnancy test for cattle, bison, goats, sheep, deer, elk and other ruminants. Additional products offered by BioTracking include bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) and caprine arthritic encephalitis (CAE) testing. Study procedures The study was conducted on the Sunset View Whitetail Farm near Chetek, Wisconsin where does are normally handled in the following manner: • In late September or early October, fawns are removed and all does to be AI bred are placed in the same pen. At this time, the does are dewormed and vaccinated with 8 way, a/b clostridium. • Does are run through the chute in late spring (March/ April) for E. coli vaccination to provide antibodies in their colostrum at fawning. • Every three years does are tuberculosis tested in March or April. • All deer are fed using a skidsteer and there is no walking in the pens. • The deer are moved and checked during fawning season on an all-terrain-vehicle (ATV).

For the study, 43 does, selected from the Sunset View herd, and 18 does, purchased from a neighbor, were randomly assigned to three groups. Twenty does each were placed in Groups 1 and 2. Group 3 had 21 does. Age of the does in each group is summarized in Table 1. The three groups were handled through a Delclayna dropfloor deer cradle on the dates shown in Table 2. Does were restrained by the cradle in a manner that minimized stress. A CIDR (controlled internal drug releasing device) was inserted in all animals on October 26, 2011. On November 8, 2011, CIDRs were removed and does were given an intramuscular injection of 200 iu of pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG). The does were inseminated 58-60 hours later. Does were placed with the follow-up bucks 24 days after insemination. Bucks were removed on December 21, 2011 allowing the does to be exposed to the bucks for 16 days. Whole blood samples were collected in vacuum tubes for pregnancy tests. Blood sera were analyzed by BioPRYNwild for PSPB (pregnancy-specific protein B) presence. PSPB is produced by the placenta of a growing fetus in deer and other ruminants. Stress was evaluated by a subjective assessment of temperament using the five point scale shown in Table 3. The visual stress evaluation was performed by Dr. Darrel Kesler, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, who has expertise in observing and measuring stress in animals. In addition to the visual stress scores, blood cortisol was measured. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands. The body secretes greater amounts of cortisol as an animal beTable 1. Number of Different Aged Does in three experimental groups. comes more stressed. Blood cortisol is likely the best assessment of acute stress Age in most mammalian species; however, Total 2 3 4 5 8 this technique is only available to reGroup 1 20 14 0 5 1 0 searchers. Group 2 20 1 10 4 4 1 Test results Only does in Group 1 were tested for Group 3 21 5 5 8 3 0 pregnancy and stress at 10 days after Total 61 20 15 17 8 1 artificial insemination (AI) as shown in continued on Page 122


TRACKS • january/february 2013


handling bred does Table 2. Date does handled by group and treatment. Group





Visual Stress

Days AI Animals in Gestation


Oct 26

CIDR’s Inserted





Nov 8

CIDR’s Removed & PMSG Shots



Nov 11

Does AI’d





Nov 21






Dec 5

Bucks Turned in with Does






Dec 21

Bucks Removed






Jan 26






April 30






May 3






May 14





Early Gestation Late Gestation

continued from Page 121

Table 2. PSPB analysis showed all does to be open, which was expected since BioPRYNwild cannot accurately determine pregnancy until 40 days or more after breeding. Group 2 was tested at 24 days post AI. PSPB analysis categorized 18 does open, one pregnant and one recheck. It is possible that the pregnant and recheck does were bred by a buck fawn prior to the AI breeding or this may be an example of early expression of PSPB not seen with other animals. The recheck doe continued to maintain the marginal status across her entire gestation period; so, the low level of PSPB was her normal physiological state. All three groups were tested at 40 days post AI. PSPB analysis indicated that there were 24 does open and 36 does pregnant. Since the follow-up bucks were not with the does until 24 days after AI, there is a strong indication that the pregnant does resulted from insemination procedure. The BioPRYNwild assay does not detect the PSPB protein until at least 20 days post-breeding. At the confirmation check 76 days after AI, there were 36 does indicative of AI breeding, 17 does indicative of follow-up buck breeding and 7 does open. Two does die during early gestation due to causes unrelated to handling in the deer cradle. Late gestation sampling dates by animal group are shown in Table 4. All 59 remaining does were handled through the deer cradle near but before fawning and given vaccinations for Clostridium perfringins type A. Blood was drawn from 28 of the does. Number of does in each group that conceived through AI and those that conceived from buck breeding is also presented

in Table 4. Sample dates were near fawning since the gestation period for white-tailed deer is approximately 196 days. During late gestation, blood samples were collected on eight does in Group 1; 11 does in Group 2; and nine does in Group 3. In Group 1, seven does fawned and one did not and in Group 2, nine does fawned and two did not. Seven does fawned and two did not in Group 3. The doe not fawning in Group 1 died on May 27 13 days after handling. The two does not fawning in Group 2 were both open. The two does in Group 3 not fawning included one that was open and the other aborted on May 2, two days after handling. This particular doe ran into the fence and was injured causing her death. Visual behavioral scores are shown in Table 5. On a scale of one to five where one is calm and five is extreme stress, the does in this study were at low stress. It is also interesting to note that stress was reduced in all three groups from October 26 through December 21. continued on Page 124


TRACKS • january/february 2013

handling bred does continued from Page 122

Table 3. Five-point Scale used in temperament assessment. Stress Measurement






Mild Stress

Minimal struggle and excitement


Moderate Stress

Some struggling and excitement


Markedly Stressed

Struggling, excitement, and vigorous movement


Extreme Stress

Very disturbed, vigorous/violent movement, and attempts to escape

Table 4. Five-point Scale used in temperament assessment. Group


Days AI Animals in Gestation

AI Bred

Buck Bred


May 14





May 3





April 30




Table 5. Visual Behavioral Scores Cortisol values shown in Table 6 indicate that there was no difference among groups across time. Group Dates Elevated cortisol levels would have indicated higher degrees of stress. Oct 26 Nov 21 Dec 21 The data indicate that AI pregnancy rates for does handled at 10, 24, 40 days post AI respectively were 1 2.3 +/- 0.1 2.2 +/- 0.1 1.5 +/- 0.1 not significantly different among the three groups. Based on the results of the BioPRYNwild test the av2 2.4 +/- 0.1 ----------------1.9 +/- 0.2 erage pregnancy rate for the three groups was 59%. 3 2.4 +/- 0.1 ----------------1.9 +/- 0.1 Based on fawning data this figure was 51.7 percent. This compares to the last two years AI pregnancy Activity CIDR Insertion Blood Draw Blood Draw rates of 56% in 2010 and 44% in 2009 for the Sunset View Whitetail herd. BioPRYNwild test data indicate that pregnancy rates at 76 days post AI were not significantly different among seasons; saving approximately $2000 to $2500 feed cost. These the three groups. The average pregnancy rate for the three savings almost paid for blood-testing all the does.” groups was 87% collectively from AI and natural breeding. “A potential buyer is more eager to purchase and pay a preThe fawning rate at the end of the study was 75%. mium for a bred doe at an auction if she BioPYRNwild tests Commercial results positive and the buyer knows the doe is bred to the AI buck “I have used the BioPRYNwild blood-based pregnancy test and not the back-up buck,” Ward continues. “I believe that every year beginning in 2010 with zero abortions and 100 per- knowing a doe is AI bred adds 30 to 50 percent more value cent accuracy,” says John Ward, who owns and operates Ward to the animal. Another advantage of BioPYRN testing is that Whitetail Farm located in Plain City, Ohio. “To reduce risk of it gives the ability to sort does into fawning pens based on AI abortions, our vaccination program was moved forward to 40 and back-up. This reduces the incidence of older buck fawns days after AI so that we can vaccinate and draw blood at the stealing colostrum from back-up does with later pregnancies.” same to avoid working the does twice. In 2011, we culled four Elwyn Seay, owner of the Sierra Mesa Ranch near Fort Worth to five does that did not become pregnant during two breeding has been using BioPRYNwild since 2009 and states, “I AI 200

continued on Page 126 124

TRACKS • january/february 2013

e r o c d Har lame F 261”



Maxbo Hardcore Blue 37

Hardcore Flame

Soaring Eagle Sonia Red 16*

*(Sonia is also mother to Jupiter Longhorn & Maxbo Orlando.)

Thunder —Blazer’s Mom

handling bred does continued from Page 124

Table 6. Cortisol Values Group



to 300 does each year of which some are mine and some belong to customers. My customers use the BioPRYNwild blood-based pregnancy testing system to prove pregnancies for advertising at auctions. As long as they follow the procedure of placing the AI bred does with the follow-up bucks at 16 to 20 days after AI and then draw blood at 40 days post AI, the animals that test positive will be the AI bred does. Those that did not conceive with the AI buck and were bred to the follow-up buck will not have enough PSPB in their system to test positive. When my customers can announce with confidence that the does are bred to AI bucks it can add dollars to the auction price.” “On my ranch, I use the BioPRYNwild test to help price the 70 to 90 does that I AI and sell each winter and spring,” Seay continues. “I can price the AI bred does at a price dependent on the buck to which they are bred and can offer the follow-up buck bred does for less money. I am happy because of better value from my does and because the BioPRYNwild tests have not reduced fawning percentages. The buyers are happy because they are getDec 21 ting good values for their money.”

Oct 36

Nov 21

Dec 5



7.63 +/- 0.62


8.45 +/- 0.85




8.28 +/- 0.72

8.92 +/- 0.64





8.32 +/- 0.68

TRACKS • january/february 2013

by Paul D. Ohlenbusch

Wet or Dry? Where is this Weather Taking Us? In the November-December issue of Tracks, Jim Heffelfinger had an excellent article, “Grazing Management is Deer Management.” The points he made about managing the total vegetation are very good. Using domestic livestock can provide better wildlife habitat management. I am reminded of a definition – habitat is the place where organisms live. Habitat is having space to use for water, food, shelter and reproduction. Managing habitat needs should be to create a diverse habitat that benefits many species. After all, we, the human species, live in the same habitat and require the same things. Heffelfinger’s article started a thought process for me. The recent PBS Ken Burns documentary, “The Dust Bowl,” reminded me that some of my previous articles looked at various parts of drought management. The weather of the last few dry years reminded me that we need to learn from our history to better plan and implement our future management. Texas climate, as you go east to west, has a general precipitation pattern of wet to dry. As you go from the Gulf Coast to the north and west, the growing season gets shorter. As Heffelfinger noted, we need to manage within the limits weather provides to maintain or improve the vegetation available. Remember, drought is always just a dry spell away. Plants, Drought and Planning As I think about planning vegetation management for the future, I need to start by realizing that different plants respond to drought in different ways. All plants use some form of stored energy or food to initiate new growth or new plants. Stored food should be the main consideration in managing plants. The role these reserves play in management is important. Annual plants such as common sunflowers and other annual forbs (broadleaf plants)

Will your operation come through the drought like the buck in the upper photo or areas that are good habitat?

continued on Page 132 130

TRACKS • january/february 2013

wet or dry continued from Page 130 respond to moisture and temperature. Being an annual plant, they start from seed each year. That is, they germinate and emerge when the moisture and temperature are right. Because of this, we may see lot of sunflowers one year but not the next. The seed provides the stored food to start a new plant. Seed can remain viable for one or more years depending on the species if it is not damaged or eaten. Most annual plants are opportunistic in that they wait for the right conditions to germinate and grow. Think weeds! Perennial plants such as Indiangrass and little bluestem plus trees, shrubs, sedges and forbs. They rely on stored food reserves to continue their growth each year. The food reserves are stored in their stems and roots. Figure 1 shows the general pattern perennial warm season grass plants follow in using and storing food reserves. The solid line is in a year with average precipitation and the dashed line is in a dry summer. Most perennial plants follow a similar cycle. The reserves are important since the plant only makes food stuffs in the leaves. To produce new leaves each year, the plant stores food for producing new leaves each year or when too many leaves are removed by grazing or other means. Most perennial plants also use food reserves to initiate reproductive growth. Succeeding years with dry periods or heavy defoliation during the storing period can lead to the death of the plant. Biennial plants, such as bluebonnets, rely on both seeds and stored foods. Biennials start from seed similar to annuals, develop a rosette and then store food. In the spring, the plant may develop additional leaves or reproductive growth or flowers from the reserves. Weather and Climate Texas weather has been on the dry side for about 10 years. Just looking back four years can be interesting. Figure 2 is the U.S. Drought Monitor map for the third week in November for 2009-2012. The time period represents the end of the time most plants will store reserves. We moved from dry to extreme drought in south Texas in 2009, to extreme to exceptional drought in most of Texas in 2011, and finally to lower drought levels in 2012. The extreme to exceptional drought has moved into the Great Plains and Midwest as of late 2012. The Drought Monitor prediction through the end of February 2013 is for drought conditions to persist and maybe intensify over Texas. Predicting the weather in Texas has always been an “iffy” thing. However, there are some information sources that are useful to develop management options. See Table 1, or my website, for links to these and other useful web sites and smart phone resources (http://www. How can this information be used? Let’s look at a short description Fig. 1

The Drought Monitor weekly maps for the third week in November for 2009-2012. 132

Fig. 2

The Drought Monitor weekly maps for the third week in November for 2009-2012.

of what these sites indicate as of late November. In November 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center (NOAA-CPC) indicated that El Niño would probably be neutral with warmer-than-average temperatures in much of Texas, northward through the Central and Northern Plains and westward across the Southwest, the Northern Rockies, and eastern Washington, Oregon and California. NOAA-CPC also suggested wetter-than-average conditions across the Gulf Coast states from the northern half of Florida to eastern Texas. The NOAA-CPC three-month outlook is for Texas to be up to 5 degrees warmer than average and precipitation to be about average. (Monthly and Seasonal Color Outlook Maps have data through 2014.) Based on these predictions, managing for dry weather needs to continue. This means management should be prepared for dry weather with consideration for continued reduced forage and browse production. Livestock and wildlife water availability may be a concern where precipitation is the main water source. Some Things to Think About In thinking about the future, realize that plant communities do not respond quickly. They must have good growing conditions to start recovering, and then have continued good moisture time to rebuild to their potential. When plants are stressed by drought, there is a process that they must go through to recover. It begins when average moisture returns and the plant goes through a complete growth cycle (one year) with 50% or more leaf area available to produce food for growth and storage. In high precipitation areas, such as east Texas, the plants should recover from the past five to 10 years of drought in two to four years with proper management. Going west, the Hill Country will take three to six years, while West Texas will take much longer. If the plants have been highly overused, they may never recover. The Panhandle will be similar to the Hill Country. If you have been reducing your animals to match the vegetation available and keeping plants in good condition, you may want to match herd rebuilding to plant recovery. This is particularly important if the animals remaining are your genetic base and you want to carry it forward. Buying replacements with similar genetics may not be possible. It will probably be expensive, even if you can find the genetics. When I was working in the Permian Basin area in the 1969-71 period, I met a rancher that had survived the 1950s drought with management. As the drought deepened, he culled his cattle and sheep herds each year using genetics as his guide. When the drought broke, he looked at the prices of replacements and decided to expand using his current

continued on Page 134 TRACKS • january/february 2013

MPR Maxbo’s Mirage @ 4

MPR Houdini @ 3

MPR Texas Gladiator @ 2

DON MONTGOMERY 817-996-2959


wet or dry Fig. 3

continued from Page 132 genetics and only buying higher-quality males. After several years, not only did he have the genetics he wanted, but his pastures were in better condition than this neighbor’s. The best indicator of this was the absence of bitterweed in his pastures! Another consideration would be to look at your facilities. Water is always the major concern. Evaluate your water sources by how they performed over the last several years. Include their operating condition (need major repairs, failed early, best source, etc.), cost of repair, upgrading or placement, and how far your available capital will allow you to take improvement. Figure 3 may give you some ideas. Maybe it’s even time to review your long term goals and objectives. Sometimes a drastic change like drought will cause you to look at new alternatives. As the drought changed around you, you may have wondered if there were ways of managing differently. Maybe changing the mix of products (animals, services, audience), or even adding another resource use (recreation options, bed and breakfast) might be things to consider. Change is never easy. Managing for drought is change. Decisions can be traumatic, especially when there is little choice. Once made, change can be a positive influence and can open the door to new opportunities. An anonymous quote I found recently seems to fit here. “Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.” Until next time, keep the water flowing and the place in good repair!

Water is very important in managing habitat and grazing. Not only is availability important, but access and reliability are also important.

Double T Ranch – 607 acRes +/MeDina counTy, Texas The Double T Ranch in Medina County, Texas, is situated in the much sought after transition country just north of D’Hanis. It is a ready to go deer hunting ranch with a high fenced perimeter, improved deer herd, intensive deer infrastructure and management in place, strategic brush work, fantastic improvements and wonderful views. Asking $2,943,950.

noTT-us Ranch – 107 acRes +/GuaDalupe counTy, Texas

Managing habitat for multiple uses or species is always a balancing situation. Each use or species has different requirements. Management needs to create a situation that can meet most of the requirements.


This wooded southern Guadalupe County high fenced ranch is only 45 minutes from San Antonio and 10 minutes from Seguin. This ranch can make the perfect getaway, rural home place, or revenue generating ranch. Deer breeding (or exotics) infrastructure, fixtures and rolling stock included. Includes 50% of minerals on its location just north and west of current Eagle Ford Shale drilling. Asking $450,000.

888-726-2481 TRACKS • january/february 2013

survival instinct article and photos By judy bishop jurek

Survival instinct is instilled at birth, although some bucks are better at it than others. Big bucks with giant antlers in the wild don’t get old by being stupid. This massive muy grande stays tight in thick brush.


he buck stood hidden inside the brush line, listening, looking, sniffing the cool, crisp air. Other deer were in the open sendero feeding quietly. All were calm and peaceful yet alert. Something just didn’t seem right to the old, mature whitetail. He stood his ground, well concealed, protected from whatever might be out there. The dominant monarch was feeling uneasy about taking another step forward even though this was his normal territory. Although the other deer appeared content at the moment, the buck continued to stay veiled in shadows and brush. Many things had changed lately to cause concern for the old buck. One was the weather. The days were now shorter with the daytime and nightly temperatures somewhat cooler than the blistering summer. Insects were finally less of a nuisance with a bountiful crop of acorns for the deer to fill their appetites. Another change was human activity, which had suddenly increased tremendously. For weeks, the buck had been 138

dodging people and vehicles. Strange noises from every direction disturbed all the deer around throughout the daylight hours. Sometimes the noises continued even after dark. Staying out of sight was this buck’s top priority. However, the biggest change was working within the buck himself. His massive antlers had hardened. He had begun marking his territory with rubs and scrapes to let both doe and other bucks know he was in the area…his area! Some sparring with his former bachelor buddy bucks had taken place, but so far only friendly matches of push and shove. These little duels were now turning more serious, a battle that could possibly result in deadly consequences for one or both challengers. With a shake of his heavy racked head, most of the other bucks would back off fast from this old buck knowing he was simply too tough for them. The old monarch had been busy feeding, fattening up for winter but more so preparing his body for the hunger nature continued on Page 140 TRACKS • january/february 2013

survival instinct

Keep your eyes open and senses alert as a majestic whitetail buck like this might be hiding in plain sight.

continued from Page 138

Instinctively, in a split second, the buck had reared back while turning 180 degrees on his hindquarters, away from a fast straight stick that almost hit him. The incident made him more cautious than ever. It had been a close call that put his instincts on an even higher awareness level. For the last few days now, the female deer were starting to cycle. Action and excitement were the name of the game. The old buck’s neck was swollen. His nostrils searched the ground

was about to put upon the males of the whitetail deer species. Once the seasoned buck sniffed the essence of a doe in heat, his world would drastically and immediately change. Eating would be the last thing he would be concerned with as the wind and earth carried scents evoking various passions within his body. For the next few weeks, his life would depend strictly on his wisdom. The buck’s instinct to survive may or may not be overridden by desire for a hot doe. Experiences from past years would be in his mind, hopefully enabling him to be one step ahead of the competition, not only from the other bucks but more importantly, man. The old buck knew he was being pursued, pressured. Hunters surrounding and invading his domain were making it tough for him to chase the does and stay alive. It was the same year after year. The older the buck got, the harder it was to avoid a human encounter. They seemed to be getting smarter. He had recently had a narrow escape. Traveling one of his regular trails, the buck didn’t think much of the heavy skunk odor This buck is still young and not wise or cautious enough to know better than to walk out in in the air. Stopping for a moment to nibble an front of this writer walking toward the tripod in the background. Such actions could get it killed easy snack of corn placed in his path, a very by an excited and/or inexperienced hunter who sees horns and thus pulls the trigger before slight, unidentifiable noise caused him to look studying carefully or aging on hoof. up.

continued on Page 142


TRACKS • january/february 2013

survival instinct

continued from Page 140

and air for the scent he desired. He made new scrapes, then checked and re-checked them for activity. Just a whiff of doe essence was all it took to have the old buck seeking the right female. Other bucks would likely be after the same female, too, perhaps causing a fight. Yesterday, in a quick skirmish, he had easily defeated a younger buck with less fighting experience. His victory entitled him to the doe. A chase had ensued until the doe submitted to him. Both were exhausted from the activity. Right now, standing still in the brush, a doe entering her heat suddenly sensed his presence. Looking at him from only a few yards away, she crouched low to the ground and ran off quickly. It was part of the breeding game. The seasoned buck was greatly tempted to go after her but caution held him back. Wary, not knowing exactly why, the mature whitetail stayed concealed. A fine antlered buck, younger than the old mossback, approached from behind. With his ears laid back, the dominant buck cocked his head slightly while brisling the hair on his body as he bowed up to the stranger. Sidestepping off the trail, the new buck passed by to go after the doe. There would be no confrontation. Boldly emerging into the open, the eager 10-pointer stopped for a moment, looking around for the hot doe. The buck’s legs buckled beneath him as the noise of a rifle shot exploded, disturbing what only a second before had been serene silence. The buck lay flat, not moving, never knowing what hit him. Racing into the thickest brush, the old buck stopped to catch his breath. He knew something had made him fearful back there. The old buck’s instinct, his basic tool to survival, had saved his life once again.

Mature whitetail bucks are often very smart, wise to the ways of hunters sitting in blinds, as this stately monarch is keenly aware there is a someone or something staring back. (Lucky for him, I only had a camera!)

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To find a purchase location, get feeding guidelines, or learn about nutritional advantages, visit


TRACKS • january/february 2013




(SEE PG 28)


Will Not

Produce By Robert and Janelle Fears


egardless of whether you manage cattle, sheep, swine, poultry or deer, animal rights groups are working hard and spending vast sums of money to shut you down. “Stop animal abuse” is their crusade flag and they get the attention of people that don’t get an opportunity to hear another side of the story. As deer enthusiasts we need to understand that the radical core of animal rights groups believe all animals should be allowed to roam free and not be used for fur, hides, meat or milk. Radicals don’t look into the future far enough to understand the mess that would result from accomplishment of their erroneous objectives. The radicals will not change their beliefs regardless of how hard we try to educate them. The public does not have reliable proven information to use in fending off activists who ask for their money and support. To save our businesses and our way of life, we need to get the facts together and communicate them to our neighbors, relatives, friends and people we meet. Hopefully this article will help us collect our thoughts. Value of deer management “Until the late 70s deer were hunted with very little effort toward habitat management or good genetic preservation,” says Roy Dennis of the Broken D Ranch near Corpus Christi. “Hunters shot the biggest deer with the biggest antlers without giving any thought as to how the next big deer would be produced.” During this period, landowners began to realize that hunting offered an additional revenue stream if wildlife were continued on Page 148 146

TRACKS • january/february 2013


abuse will not produce

continued from Page 146

managed for animal quality. Intensified deer management resulted in improved animal health, nutrition and antler quality. To maintain herd quality managers now designate animals that hunters can harvest either by guided hunts or pre-hunt instructions. These practices preserve the best genetics for future herd development. Income generated through programmed hunting has kept many ranchers from going bankrupt in their livestock enterprises because of weak meat and hair prices, drought and high input costs. “Each year, more than 1.1 million hunters take aim at Texas game,” wrote Gerard MacCrossan in the November 2009 Issue of Fiscal Notes, a publication of The Texas Comptroller’s Office. “Ninety percent are state residents, and while hunting is more popular among rural Texans, more than 600,000 hunters trade urban sprawl for the great outdoors. Hunting is worth $2.2 billion annually to the Texas economy, according to 2006 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and WildlifeAssociated Recreation. And deer are the most popular quarry.” The bottom line is that every Texan, whether you hunt or not, is benefited by the hunting industry because of its contribution to the state economy.

Regulations against abuse Deer management across the United States is based on the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Policy implementation under this model seriously began during President Theodore Roosevelt’s administration. Two basic principles of the North American Model are that

Deer abuse ruins profits There are several reasons why deer managers don’t abuse animals. One reason is that animal abuse is a very expensive practice and they can’t afford the financial loss. Managers make large investments in deer improvement and they must make decent returns to stay in business. “On the average, a deer maintained in permitted breeding facilities is valued from $1500 to $500,000 depending upon the genetics,” says Dennis. “I spend about 100 thousand dollars annually on feed and from 10 to 20 thousand on health products. On the average, breeders spend about 60 thousand dollars per year on feed. It all depends on what you feed and how many deer are in the permitted facilities.” If a breeder deer dies or has to be taken out of service because of injury, money spent on that animal for feed, health products and other types of care is lost plus value of the deer. Losing deer is not the way to profits.

fish and wildlife belong to the citizens and they should be managed in such a way that populations are for ever sustained. In Texas, most landowners manage their property for fish and wildlife conservation. To help defray management expenses, wildlife managers are allowed by the state to charge for hunting, sell deer from permitted facilities and provide certain other products and services for a fee. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) serves as the state agency with primary responsibility for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish and wildlife management. Deer management on Texas private lands is facilitated by TPWD permits, inspections and audits. Different management practices require different permits. For a landowner to charge a fee for people to hunt on their property, they must obtain an annual hunting lease license. If landowners hunt on their own property, they are required to have a hunting license. A TTT (Trap, Transport, and continued on Page 150


TRACKS • january/february 2013

abuse will not produce

continued from Page 148

Transplant) permit is necessary to move deer to a different property. In order for a TTT permit to be issued, both the delivering and receiving properties must have a TPWD approved deer management plan. Breeding permits allow permanent retention of deer in pens for breeding purposes. Breeders can add deer to their breeding facilities only by buying from another permitted breeder or through birth in the pen. Deer are often released from breeding facilities to the wild for herd genetic improvement. Once they are released, they cannot be brought back into the facilities. An option for high-fenced properties is deer management permits (DMPs). The holder of a deer management permit must annually submit a wildlife management plan to TPWD for approval. The plan must provide for specific management practices to be applied to the deer population on the acreage under high fence. These practices can include the temporary detention of wild white-tailed deer within an enclosed permitted facility for the purpose of propagation with other wild deer. There must be a specific release time for the retained deer written into the management plan that is agreeable to TPWD. Operations under TPWD deer management permits are subject to audits, inspections and reviews by game wardens. Rules and regulations must be followed to maintain the permits. State regulation is one of the reasons that abuse will not produce. Loving care doesn’t produce abuse Landowners have permitted deer facilities for various reasons and a primary one is because of their love and respect for the animals. Just talk with Rebecca McDaniel, Deer Facility Manager and Wildlife Biologist for Triple JJJ Ranch near Somerville and you will realize her passion for animals


under her care. “I am in the pens daily observing each deer’s actions, habits and health,” says McDaniel. “When an animal shows signs of sickness or injury, it receives immediate care. I want to make sick deer feel better.” McDaniel works with a veterinarian to develop a health protocol for the herd under her care. The protocol is reviewed at least once a year and if necessary, it is amended to reflect any changes in herd condition, their environment or new health products. Every effort is made to sustain healthy deer. “It is very important to spend time with the deer herd so you can notice any issues that arise – good or bad,” states McDaniel. “For instance, I know the does well enough to recognize when their personality changes to signal fawning within the next 24 to 48 hours or sooner. They will chew on the fence or pace and there is usually a change in their stool. If a doe is fawning when I am walking the pens to tag recently born fawns, I immediately leave to avoid disrupting the process. After fawns are born, I wait until they are dry before handling. I want to give the doe a chance to clean the fawn and to allow the newborn time to consume colostrum which is necessary to sustain its life.” “When a newly born fawn is dry I pick it up, record its sex, insert an ear tag, collect DNA for testing, give an oral dose of a vaccine and inject a second vaccine subcutaneously. Usually eighteen to twenty four hours after the birth of a fawn, I will check to see if it has been abandoned. If the fawn is clean, has a full belly, is content and has no poop on its tail, the doe has accepted it. Abandoned fawns are immediately given colostrum, which is very important for supplying the necessary antibodies to build their immune systems. I continually check on each fawn after tagging and handle it so the animal becomes use to me. Eventually the fawns will run only a short distance when they see me. They even follow me around the pen when I am looking for newborns.” Triple JJJ Ranch breeder deer are vaccinated at different times during the year and are given a de-wormer twice. They are given all the leafy alfalfa hay and protein pellets they can consume. Fresh, clean, cool water is available to the animals at all times. The breeding facility is built in a way to protect deer from predators such as coyote and bobcat. Fire ant mounds are treated so that the ants will not cause discomfort and injury to newly born fawns. Breeder deer live in a safe, comfortable and healthy environment because of the care they receive from Triple JJJ Ranch and from other permitted breeders.

TRACKS • january/february 2013

snapped in their tracks

Colorful sunrise

photo by colin davis

Texas sunrise at padre island national seashore


TRACKS • january/february 2013

Did you know? by warren bluntzer, wildlife consultant

There are 375 species of blackberries worldwide. Oregon is the top blackberry area in the world.

The Sparrow Hawk is the smallest Kestrel in North America. The true name is American Kestrel (a small falcon).

The common cotton rat was the first model organism to be used in polio research.

When growing Christmas trees using an eight foot center between trees, 681 trees can be grown per acre. It takes an average of about three to six years to grow the tree to market.

A Little Bit of Africa in Texas


After reseeding a new area, one of the best ways to ensure proper seed to dirt contact is to pack cattle tightly on the area for a couple of weeks and let the hoofs do the work. Oh, by the way, it helps if it rains! See you down the Trail... 154


Warren Bluntzer owns and operates Warren Bluntzer Wildlife Consulting Services, Inc. serves Texas and the nation in wildlife consulting services.


TRACKS • january/february 2013

Calendar of Events


Please pay particular attention to the enclosed calendar so you can review and see each of the items and events which TDA is involved in. Your attendance whenever and wherever you can is appreciated.

2013 JANUARY TDA Exhibits at the Dallas Safari Club Convention & Sporting Expo January 3-6 Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, TX Northern Top 30 Whitetail Extravaganza January 8-11 Gateway Center, Collinsville, IL TPWD Commission Meeting January 23-24 Austin, TX The 2013 Texas Open Deer Sale January 25-26 • 6 PM The Lakeway Resort and Spa, Austin, TX


MARCH TDA Spring Gala Banquet & Superior Genetics Deer Auction March 1-2 Embassy Suites Outdoor World, Grapevine, TX

TDA’s 3rd Annual Brush to Bay Invitational Fishing Tournament June 7-8 Bluff’s Landing Marina & Lodge, Corpus Christi, TX

TDA Exhibits at EWA’s 46th Annual Convention March 8-9 Embassy Suites, San Marcos, TX

TDA Falls City Sportsman’s Night Out July 21 Falls City Community Center, Falls City, TX

TDA Exhibits at NADeFA Annual Conference March 14-16 Cincinnati, OH TDA Exhibits at Texas Longhorn Legacy Sale March 15-16 Hyatt Regency, Richardson, TX

TDA Board of Directors Meeting February 8 • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. JW Marriott SA Hill Country Resort and Spa, San Antonio, TX

TDA Exhibits at TSCRA (Cattle Raisers Convention) 38th Annual Trade Show March 22-23 Convention Center, Fort Worth, TX

2013 TDA San Antonio Superior Genetics Deer Auction February 8-9 Retama Park, Selma, TX

TPWD Commission Meeting March 27-28 Austin, TX

Midwest Whitetail Deer Sales, Midwest Select Sale February 13-16 Wilmington, OH DBC 5th Annual New Year’s Auction February 22-23 Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott, Horseshow Bay, TX


APRIL TDA Pasture Pachanga BBQ Cook-Off April 5-6 House Pasture, Concan, TX

MAY TDA Board of Directors Meeting May 2 • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. JW Marriott SA Hill Country Resort and Spa, San Antonio, TX TDA Corpus Christi Sportsman’s Night Out May 10 Richard Borchard Fairgrounds Conference Center, Robstown, TX TDA San Antonio Sportsman’s Night Out May 17 Rustic Gardens, San Antonio, TX TPWD Commission Meeting May 22-23 Austin, TX

JULY TDA Board of Directors Meeting July 11 • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. JW Marriott SA Hill Country Resort and Spa, San Antonio, TX TWA Annual Convention, WildLife 2013 July 11-14 JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa, San Antonio, TX 6th Annual DBC Convention July 26-27 Westin La Canterra, San Antonio, TX

AUGUST TTHA Hunter’s Extravaganza August 2-4 Houston, TX TDA 15th Annual Convention August 15-17 JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa, San Antonio, TX TTHA Hunter’s Extravaganza August 16-18 Fort Worth, TX TPWD Commission Meeting August 21-22 Austin, TX TTHA Hunter’s Extravaganza August 23-25 San Antonio, TX

OCTOBER TDA Board of Directors Meeting October 24 • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. JW Marriott SA Hill Country Resort and Spa, San Antonio, TX

To add an event to the calendar, please contact


TRACKS • january/february 2013


CLASSIFIEDS Warren Bluntzer YOur BUsiness card here Call TDA Today to find the advertising plan for that’s right for you. 210-767-8300

Wildlife Consulting Ser vices, Inc. Wildlife and Habitat Management

“Education is our primary focus” Land, Water and Wildlife Cell: 512-556-7027 • 512-752-3841 2339 CR 2080 Lometa, TX 76853

YOur BUsiness card here Call TDA Today to find the advertising plan for that’s right for you. 210-767-8300

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TRACKS • january/february 2013

8211 Hwy 281 N. • San Antonio, TX 78216 • (210) 349-7319

Advertiser’s index 4M Whitetails...................................... 59, 91 5F Game Ranch....................................... 113 7C’s Ranch............................................... 129 ADM Alliance.......................................... 142 All Season Feeders..................................... 84 Antler Ranch........................................... 131 Atascosa Wildlife Supply.......................... 52 B5............................................................. 119 Bar P Ranch............................................... 79 Big Rack Ranch....................................... 106 Birch Creek Whitetails........................... 126 Brazos Valley Whitetails......................... 151 Broken D................................................... 22 Brown Trophy Whitetails......................... 50 CC Bar Whitetails................................... 115 Champion Genetics................................ 158 Cotton Mesa Trophy Whitetails.............. 39 Cougar Ridge..........................................IBC Cross Canyon Whitetails............................ 3 DaVine Genetics..................................... 139 Deer Guardian........................................ 153 Derby Sand Ranch.................................... 44 Enable-izer............................................... 107 Fort McKavett Ranch............................... 53 Four Canyons.......................................... 141 G-5 Game Company............................... 158 GameGuard............................................. 158 Gist Kinsman Ranch................................. 83 Heart of Texas Trophy Whitetails........... 81 Hicks Whitetails........................................ 35

High Roller Whitetails......................... BC, 8 Indian Creek Ranch.................................. 60 Indian Mountain Ranch........................... 67 J4 Fence..................................................... 92 KDH Nursery.......................................... 118 Lodge Creek Whitetails............................ 12 LoneHollow Whitetails............................. 14 Lyssy & Eckel Feeds.................................. 61 May Ranch.............................................. 143 Montgomery Properties Ranch.............. 133 Mosley Ranch.......................................... 117 Mossy Rock Whitetails............................. 49 Mustang Creek Ranch.............................. 55 NADeFA.................................................. 145 NADR........................................................ 45 Outback Wildlife Feeders......................... 72 Outdoor Patriot........................................ 56 Paco Deer Co.......................................... 162 Polaris - Hoffpauir............................ 97, 136 Pressley Whitetails.................................... 85 Priefert..................................................... 128 PrimeTime............................................... 155 Purina AntlerMax..................................... 11 QB Trinidad.............................................. 93 Record Rack.............................................. 29 Republic Ranches.................................... 134 Rock Star Whitetails................................. 32 Rock Star/LoneHollow........................... 160 Rocky Ridge............................................... 57 RR Ranch................................................. 135

Paco Deer Co., Inc.

RW Trophy Ranch.................................. 101 San Antonio Food Bank .......................... 48 Scenic Ridge Whitetails.......................... 125 Sendero Whitetails.................................... 86 SiteWatch.................................................. 58 South TX Outfitters................................ 159 Spring Gap Ranch..................................... 37 Star Labs-PrimaLac Microbials................ 74 Statite-SASCO......................................... 157 Sullivan Whitetails...................................... 7 Sunset Ranch........................................... 103 Texas Longhorn Media Alliance.............. 71 The Judge.................................................. 96 The Non-Typical Ranch........................... 66 The Preserve............................................ 149 The Refuge.............................................. 105 Three Nails Ranch..........................137, IFC Triple JJJ Ranch...................................... 144 Trophy Ridge Whitetails.......................... 95 TX Mountain Ranch............................... 111 UV Country............................................... 38 V-Tex Whitetails....................................... 75 Vamos -Top 40 Books.............................. 94 Venado de Mexico.................................... 82 Warren Bluntzer Consulting.................. 158 West End Deer Ranch.............................. 30 White Ghost Ranch.................................. 64 Wide & Typical....................................... 127 Wide Open Outdoor Adventures............ 87 Wildpoint Whitetails................................ 47

PACO The Original TDA Champ 100% South Texas!


TEXAS WILDFIRE 238 B&C @ 2 YEARS 30” OUTSIDE SPREAD Texas Wildlife @ 1: 195 B&C @ 1 YEAR 23"+ OUTSIDE SPREAD




Dr. Gery Moczygemba (830) 560-0234




Dr. John Moczygemba (210) 363-4238 Visit our website @ 162

1999 TDA Best of Show Award TRACKS • january/february 2013

Jan/Feb 2013 Tracks Magazine  

The official magazine of the Texas Deer Association. Jan/Feb 2013 Tracks.

Jan/Feb 2013 Tracks Magazine  

The official magazine of the Texas Deer Association. Jan/Feb 2013 Tracks.