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TEXAS HUNTERS & SPORTSMAN’S ON THE HUNT

IN FIRST CLASS INSIDE: HOG WILD * THE FIRST HUNT * DUCK STRATEGY


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INSIDE 16 Four grown men pushed the limits of the new HuntVe Switchback on rugged terrain at the beautiful Pair O Dice Ranch. With all the giddiness and excitement trying out the new toy it was like Christmas morning.

MEN AND THEIR TOYS

WHAT’S INSIDE

Four guys take the newest HuntVe for a major test, and by the excitement you would think it was four kids in a candy store.

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TITO’S FIRST HUNT

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By Dr. Alberto Santos

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hen is the right time to introduce a child to hunting? I’ve always struggled with this. If you do it too early you might scare him/her and they may never want to hunt again. Do it too late and he/she may not be interested. .... BEFORE THE HUNT My grandson, Tito, heard hunting messages without realizing it. This boy has always been a good eater. He likes everything you put in front of him. He ate deer meat, venison chorizo and link sausage all the time. His “Mami” cooked a lot of dishes for Tito and his younger brother Nico and told them they were eating deer that their grandpa killed. When she wanted them to eat more she would remind them that it's deer meat and they would chow down. I belive the concept of “food from hunting,” is one very important part of the foundation for understanding and accepting hunting. It's a link to our primitive past and a key to the future legacy of hunting. I have always been very particular about keeping the venison clean and getting the venison prepared properly. Also, I only shoot young deer for my table to make sure it tastes good and is nice and tender. Tito, I assure you, has never had a bad piece of venison. Throughout his early years Tito learned that Grandpa hunted (a lot.) He saw me in camo. He saw my trophies on the wall. He saw pictures of the deer I shot. He knew I had guns and that they are always locked up. We talked about hunting many times. One time we were looking at a book of animals of Texas and I pointed out that the Texas Tortoise is one animal that I have on the ranch. “Where Grandpa?” asked Tito, “On the wall?” “No,” I said. “This is one animal that we do not hunt. “ Tito gradually asked more questions about hunting. Over time he came to realize that “The hunt is special.” I believe hunting is very special. Since Tito was young, I have been telling him that when he grew up I would take him hunting. I told him that not all kids get to hunt. I told him that he is special. When Tito first came to the ranch, I made him a special hat. He was only a few months old. That’s when he started getting exposed to hunting and that’s when I started thinking seriously when and how to do it.

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FIRST TIMER Remembering a grandchild’s first hunt.

Top Photo: Hannah, Fred and Hannah’s first buck. Middle Photo: Hannah and the shooting range the night before the hunt. Bottom photo: Hannah after pulling the trigger on her first buck. Opposite Page: Fred (in 1996) with his oldest daughter Randall).

THANKS DAD! Those two words summarize Texas Sportsman Fred Rodriguez’s first whitetail hunt with his daughter

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Did you know that skin cancer is the most common of all types of cancers? Nearly two million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year.

WHAT ARE LUNAR TRANSIT TIMES?

From Dr. Oscar Sotelo’s Lunar Transit Times, 20th edition

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Visit us online: www.osoteloskincancer.com

Hunters, fishermen and farmers since ancient times have known of a certain relationship between the moon and nature. They knew that at certain times of the day the world of the animal kingdom came alive with activity. This knowledge had been passed on from generation to generation and used for their basic needs: planting, hunting and fishing. Today we have come to understand the scientific basis for the moon’s biological effect on all wildlife and marine life. Very simply, it is peak gravitation of the moon that stimulates animal activity. That’s why deer, cattle and marine life feed at the same time of the day or night. This gravitational stimulus is at its greatest when the moon is directly overhead or on the opposite side of the Earth. A law of physics states that for every pull there is an equal and opposite push. In other words, as the Earth rotates on its axis, any location on Earth will each day pass under two peak gravitational forces occurring 12 ½ hours apart. These peak forces coincide with lunar transit times. The following lunar transit times coincide with high tide and increased game and fish activity. Just like at high tide, animal activity increases, peaks, then decreases around transit times. This “window” of activity usually lasts 2-4 hours. What this all means is that the best hunting and fishing occurs when gravitation is greatest at transit times of the moon.

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When Tito was about 5 1/2 years old and I thought it was time and took him on that first hunt. We were all at the ranch on a cool sunny day in late November. It was deer season and I needed venison. Tito was about to have his own first hunting experience. We loaded up in my truck in search of a big doe. We saw some bucks but I told Tito they are too young and need to grow up. We are looking for a big doe. When we reached the creek we both saw a big doe. I looked her over and saw she had a fawn but the fawn was eating corn. The fawn had lost his spots and looked like he had been weened for two months. I decided this is the doe to take. I told Tito to watch carefully as I exited the truck and shot off the front hood. I prayed for help to make a good clean shot. Boom! The doe went down. I looked up and Tito smiled at me. As we closed in on the doe, Tito was still looking where I shot the doe and he sees the fawn. “Grandpa, was that deer the mama of that little deer?” he asked. “Yes she was the mama,” I said. (I did not want to lie, but I felt I did needed to explain things.) “But that deer there is old enough to eat on his own and will be all right.” I was really hoping the questions would

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As soon as Tito could sit up on his own, I would take him in the truck to tour the ranch. I would make it a point to take him where I knew there would be deer feeding. He became accustomed to seeing deer. He learned to look for them. He knew does from bucks. He liked going out to see deer. It helped also that there are deer around his house. A good hunter enjoys seeing game even when not hunting. At about the age of 3, we got a little closer to hunting by showing him a game on my phone called Deer Hunt. In the game, does and bucks come out. You can shoot them with a bow, rifle or shotgun. If you shoot right the deer drops dead. The dead dear shows where it was hit with a red spot. Bad shots result in wounded deer that run, or live deer that run. Tito has seen me “kill” many deer in the game. Later he learned how and where to shoot to kill. Tito and I have actually talked about needing to make a good shot and hitting the deer in the heart.

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GAME WARDEN NOTES Check out what the Texas Game Wardens have come with lately.

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Dr. Sotelo has more than 30 years of experience and has treated more than 50,000 skin cancers.. If you have questions or concerns about your skin, call Dr. Sotelo now - don’t wait!

More than 35 years of duck hunting the coastal flats of the Laguna Madre’ and Baffin Bay have been a blessing for me. Texas coastal duck hunting is as good as it gets here in my backyard.

Photos from the grand opening of the Baretta Shop, exclusively at Jones & Jones in McAllen

6900 N. 10th St. Ste 3, Mcallen, TX 78504

By Capt. Joey Farah

OSCAR SOTELO, M.D. (956) 682-1591 Board Certified Dermatologist

osoteloskincaner.com

oastal duck hunting is much different than freshwater hunts and demand different strategies. The advantage and joy of hunting the salt flats is that here we have a melting pot of varied species all sharing the prime wintering grounds for the entire season. Most freshwater hunts are catching waterfowl that are in migration passing south, or moving to and from food, water and roost. Most inland duck hunts are on small ponds and marshes. Limited mobility and privet land are all obstacles in finding the birds and staying with them. Deep water sets make retrieving downed birds difficult and many freshwater ponds are only good for a few hours at first and last light. Our strategies revolve around the same three important daily actions of the ducks, but hunters can see the movements of birds for miles across the open water. Having the knowledge of what the birds are doing is the key to consistent successful hunts and full limits. Our area stretches for more than 60 miles and encompasses miles of ultra-shallow expanses of sea grass. This is the wintering grounds for hundreds of thousands of ducks from the entire Central Flyway. The diverse sea grasses combine with small shellfish, mud worms

and even small fish to attract waterfowl from the entire continent. Ducks don’t necessarily eat the tops of the grass, they mostly pull up the grass and eat the roots. Some types of sea grasses are eaten and are the “sweet” grasses that grow in the real honey holes. Late-season flocks will stay after much of the shallow grass is eaten and turn their diet toward the small clams and mollusks in the mud out in deeper water. I often see hunters putting out decoys over sandy bottom areas with little success; ducks are going to be where there is something to eat. Locate daytime areas of mass gatherings, these are your primary feeding areas. Many times they are open areas far away from any duck blinds and hard to hunt. Look for flights of ducks to lift off and head toward water sources mid-day. Follow and track them with the use of aerial maps looking for fresh water sources. Watch for the last flights of birds especially on windy ugly afternoons to settle in roosting areas at last light. When you have found all three of their needs in life, hunters can position themselves in their flight path and second guess their movements. Puddle ducks are designed to feed in shallow water by tipping over and dipping

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LUNAR TIMES Get ahead of the game with our Lunar Transit Times by Dr. Sotelo.

EXCLUSIVE! Paul Trevino explains how to tie your own fly.

QUACK QUACK Try these coastal duck-hunting strategies.

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Sportsman. I hope one day Hannah will want to follow my footsteps and become a host of her own show. Paul walked over to us and said it was time. Even my cameraman Andy Gauna was excited for Hannah. The buck we were looking for was going to be a management buck. The morning was cool and clear - conditions just right for a South Texas whitetail hunt. We snuggled in a big ole family blind and began to wait. As the sun started to rise, clearing away the darkness and bringing to life the sound of nature in the deep oak motts, the deer began to appear. A large buck showed up and Hannah looked at me and Paul and said “that is a big buck.” There were about half a dozen bucks and half a dozen doe. We patiently waited for the right management buck to walk out – and 45minutes later, he appeared. “You see that buck there,” Paul asked Hannah. “Yes,” she replied. “Get ready,” he said. It was time for Hannah, but it was my heart that was starting to pump faster and faster. Paul gives her the go ahead and without any hesitation Hannah gets the deer in her sight and pulls the trigger. The shot went off, the deer sprinted off and the excitement peaked. “I know I hit it,” Hannah said, the sparkle in her eye bright as can be. We waited in the blind for about 15 minutes and began to track the buck. Just a few minutes later the high fives were flying. We had found Hannah’s first buck. As we sat there with her first buck, she looked over at me with her beautiful brown eyes. “Thanks Dad!” What a great and memorable time at Los Encinos Ranch. A time we’ll never forget. Until next time remember Safety First and hunt or fish in a ethical manner. Enjoy the great outdoors.

People often ask what I prefer - fishing or hunting? It depends on the time of the year. I get very excited when deer hunting season is upon us, from doing our annual helicopter survey to filling the corn feeders. So far the most the exciting hunting trip was last year with my daughter Hannah. We loaded the truck with our gear and headed to Los Encinos Ranch to hunt with my good friend Paul Johnson.My wife, Cindy was just as excited as we were. I had always told them about the 5-Star Ranch, which I just love. The smell of burning oakwood filled the air as we arrived. I just Gotta Have a camp fire going at the camp - that’s just the rules. I’ve been on many great trips – but this one was special for me. This trip wasn’t about me – it was about Hannah and her love for the outdoors. For years, both Hannah and her mom have seen me come home with my deer. I show them the photos and they see the adventure on The Texas Sportsman TV Show. But this trip was different. After greeting Paul we quickly prepared to head to the range for Hannah to practice her shooting and get comfortable and confident. Brett, the hunting guide at the ranch, was their to assist us and make sure Hannah was going to be ready for her first Whitetail hunt. After shooting for about an hour she said she was ready. We went back to the campfire and I began to barbeque some South Texas fajitas and special sausage made by Vera’s Meat Market of Edinburg. The oak logs continued to burn as we added more logs. Hunting tales were exchanged around the fire. It was now time to rest for the hunt in the morning. Morning came and excitement was thick in the air. This was not just another deer hunt but it was also going to be taped for the Texas

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25 TIDE CHARTS Be on top of the game with our Tide Charts for October and November.

50 LEARN THE LINGO Capt. Stewart provides definitions of several terms for us.

7 MYTHS ABOUT THE

HOG WILD!

GATOR TROUT

There’s no shortage of the destructive nuisance species in Texas

Yes. The above picture is not real It is, however, the image most fishermen conjure when you mention “Gator Trout.” Most seasoned fishermen would agree that a gator trout is a Seatrout measuring 28 inches or longer. For the avid fisherman, catching a gator trout is a dream come true, a trophy in fact. However, the average recreational fisherman rarely has the opportunity to catch one. There are many preconceived notions surrounding this trophy fish. So, let’s explore some common myths and fallacies, which I offer from a fly-fishing perspective. PAUL

TREVINO

Myth #1: There aren’t any Gator Trout in the Lower Laguna Madre. False. Most fishermen read stories of big trout in Florida or other parts of the Texas coast like Port Mansfield and Baffin Bay. The current All-Tackle World Record spotted Seatrout was caught near Fort Pierce in May 1995 by Craig Carson and weighed an amazing 17 pounds, 7 ounces. Most don’t realize that the second largest spotted Seatrout ever taken was on a fly rod on South Padre Island by local legend Bud Rowland in 2002. In addition, there six other International Game Fish Association (IGFA) World Fly Fishing

BY MIKE COX

Present this coupon Monday - Friday. Purchase 1 entree and receive a free entree of equal or lesser value w/ the purchase of 2 beverages. Expires 12-5-14

D

ean Smith, a retired cowboy stuntman who appeared in 10 John Wayne movies and hundreds other times on both the small and big screen, is a nice guy who personifies the Code of the West. He’s polite to women and children, a gracious host and a fine family man. But he will kill a wild hog as quick and consciencelessly as he would a rattlesnake. When Smith makes the rounds on his ranch north of Brecken-

ridge to feed his longhorns, he carries a well-worn .30-30 in the cab of his orange and white pickup truck. (He was a track star at the University of Texas and won a gold medal in the 1952 winter Olympics, hence his ride’s color scheme.) Though he spent a long career shooting blanks in TV and movie Westerns, when it comes to feral pigs on his property, he shoots real bullets. And he seldom misses. “When I was a boy, the only hogs I ever saw were corn-fed pigs in a pen,” he says, “but now they’re all over my ranch. They tear things up and dang sure aren’t welcome on my place.”

(and no, that’s not really one of them)

Some are true, some are false. Find out which are which

Wild hogs aren’t new to Texas. In fact, the great-great-greatsomething grandfathers of today’s brush porkers are descended from domestic hogs brought to the New World by Spanish explorers. The problem is, they have had 300 years to propagate, and they are among the more fecund critters in the world. On top of that, during the Depression, European boars were introduced to Texas as an exotic game animal. In time, enough of those newbie pigs had escaped to crossbreed with the wild domestic swine. The result has been a pig that tends to grow larger, tuskier and meaner than their domestic cousins. Today, feral hogs have been documented in 220 of Texas’s 254 counties. Most of the counties lacking wild hogs are in far West Texas or the western Panhandle. And some of those counties have some hoggy pockets. The main problem with wild hogs is that in the course of feeding themselves, their rooting around tears up habitat and

Records for Seatrout in the Lower Laguna Madre. So, there’s definitely big trout in South Texas. Myth #2: The only way to catch Gator Trout is to use live croaker. False. While most fishermen love to use croaker, big trout can be caught on many lures and tackle. Conventional wisdom is big plugs for big trout, but as with most fish, they’ll eat anything. Fish are opportunistic and given any chance, they’ll eat anything. In fly-fishing terms, big trout love flies too. A mud-minnow fly with a 3/0 Mustad hook measuring less than 2-3 inches long is as deadly as any bait or lure on the market. So, don’t stick to one type of lure. Give them what they want. Myth #3: While sight casting, the best time to catch trophy Sea Trout is from 10 am to 1 pm. True. Depending on the feeding cycle, incoming tide and water flow, some big trout push for the shallows and the grassy beds of the Lower Laguna Madre. They search quick meals to support their day’s energy levels. For sight fishing, and especially with

fly fisherman, the 10 a.m. mark signals a point in the sky where the angle of the sun is behind the angler and blinds the fish. This sunshadow allows fly fishermen to approach big trout with less spook-potential. Many anglers, however, still feel that night fishing or early morning wading yields more opportunity for catching large trout. Myth #4: Gator trout can be caught by kayaking, drift fishing, or wade fishing. True. Wise trout fishermen love to wade fish for trout, but any method has shown to be productive in search of the gator. Many favor a low tide with good water movement as gator trout are very smart and conniving. Gators prefer to conserve energy and ambush incoming bait circling productive potholes. These potholes are very difficult to delineate in high tide situations, unless the angler is aware of them. In my experience, this technique outnumbers high-tide locations by about a factor of 9 to 1. Myth #5: After eating a ¾ to a 1¼ pound mullet a spotted Seatrout will not eat again for a couple of hours. False. As mentioned earlier, Seatrout are opportunistic and will feed any chance they get, even within 30 minutes of their previous feeding. There have been many situations that while fishing in the flats, Seatrout will fervently chase balls of bait

agricultural crops. In addition, they harm springs and tanks by their wallowing. Wild pigs further ingratiate themselves with landowners by feasting on quail and turkey eggs when they get a chance. Oh, and they can carry diseases. Destructive as they are, wild hogs do have a couple of socially redeeming qualities: They are fun, if challenging, to hunt and, being pork, they eat well. Despite the havoc they cause, many ranchers have decided to make at least a partial silk purse out of a sow’s ear by charging hunters for access to hogs on their property. From a landowner’s standpoint, this is like having your ham and eating it too. Anyone hunting hogs must have a hunting license (and certification that you have taken a hunter’s education course if you were born after 1971), but since hogs are considered a nuisance exotic species and are not classified as game animals, there is no season, limit or limitation on how they can be taken. Of course, they can’t be hunted on the side of the road or on

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PHOTO COURTESY GRADY ALLEN

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THANKS DAD!

PLENTY FOR ALL

GATOR TROUT MYTHS

A first-time whitetail deer hunt, a father, a daughter and two words that will be cherished forever.

The feral hog population is running out of control all over South Texas.

Find out the real deal and see what’s true or false about the Gator Trout.

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What’s Your Story? I want to know Everyone has a story. You know that guy who never moves off the couch and doesn’t like to socialize? He has a story. The person who seems like the most boring person you’ve ever met? That person has a story. In my journalism career - which included probably 200 NASCAR races, 1,000 football games - from the pros to pee wees, the Olympics, bowling... the list goes on - the favorite part of my job is telling stories. If you don’t have one for me, I’ve hot hundreds for you. I can tell you about the time my writer and I were on the scene and were the first told that the body of Michael Jordan’s dad had been Henry Miller is Publisher of Texas cremated (he was killed by kids and dumped Sportsman Tracking Outdoors. He in South Carolina, where I was working at the has more than 25 years of publishing experience, has written sports for time). Journalists were wondering where his more than 150 newspapers, covered body was, but nobody knew. the Olympics, NASCAR, Major League I can tell you about my dad almost backing up Baseball and other sports. He has over Dale Earnhardt in the Richmond Internabeen syndicated on radio in more than tional Raceway parking area (glad it was just 70 markets. His 10-year-old daughter “almost.”) Camilla enjoys volleyball, fashion and Or, I can tell you about growing up with two tennis (and is an A student). parents who couldn’t read yet taught me how to read and how to study and why I needed a straight-A report card. But, all of you have stories like that. That’s why I want your stories. Email me at henry.texassportsman@gmail.com or Facebook me at Texas Sportsman Magazine or on my personal Facebook page. I want to know about your funniest hunting or fishing story - or maybe your most memorable one. I want you to inspire me, anger me, make me laugh or cry or think - after all, that’s what stories are supposed to do... make you do something, bring out some type of emotion (other than boredom of course). You see, I got into journalism so I could tell other people’s stories. From what I’ve learned so far in what is now our fifth edition of Texas Sportsman Tracking Outdoors Magazine is that all of you have stories - fascinating stories. I’ve heard generational stories and “the one that got away” stories. I’ve heard about trucks on fire en route to a fishing tournament and battles with alligator gars bigger than the person fighting with it. I’ve watched as anglers and hunters have gotten behind a cause to bring more attention to it and, in many cases, to raise funds for it. But I want more - I want your story. Better yet, I want to write your story for some of our upcoming editions of Texas Sportsman Tracking Outdoors Magazine. Sent me just a snippet of your story. Send to: henry.texassportsman@gmail.com or via Facebook to: Texas Sportsman Magazine Thanks in advance - I’m looking forward to sharing your story with others - I’m sure they’re looking forward to it as well. Volume 1, Isssue 5. October 2014. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior written consent of the publisher. Views and opinions expressed in this publication are strictly those of the writers, photographers and contributors, and are not necessarily those of Texas Sportsman Tracking Outdoors or its publisher. Every effort has been taken to ensure the correctness and accuracy in the material published in this magazine. Texas Sportsman Tracking Outdoors reserves the right to edit, rewrite and refuse editorial materials and assumes no responsibility for accuracy, errors, omissions or consequence arising from it. Texas

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Sportsman Tracking Outdoors shall be held harmless and indemnified against any third-party claims. Advertisements appearing in Texas Sportsman Tracking Outdoors present only the viewpoint of the advertisers. Texas Sportsman Tracking Outdoors is printed in the U.S.A. All correspondence to the publication become the property of Texas Sportsman Tracking Outdoors. Texas Sportsman Tracking Outdoors is published by H&J Publications. Copyright 2014. To advertise in Texas Sportsman Tracking Outdoors call (956) 607-0853 or email joey.texassportsman@gmail.com

FREE! TAKE ONE

FREE! TAKE ONE

24TH ANNUAL EXPO FOR:

TEXAS HUNTERS & SPORTSMAN’S ON THE HUNT

IN FIRST CLASS INSIDE: HOG WILD * THE FIRST HUNT * DUCK STRATEGY

ON THE COVER Read about these four guys pushing the new HuntVe Switchback to its limits. (tikitillmanphotos.com)

STAFF Henry Miller Publisher henry.texassportsman @gmail.com (956) 607-9210

Fred Rodriguez The Texas Sportsman fredrsportsman@yahoo.com (956) 776-4623

Joey Dowden Advertising Director joey.texassportsman @gmail.com (956) 607-0853

Tiki Tillman Photographer tikitillmanphotos.com (956)572-6132 David DeLeon Henry Miller Designers


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R U R A L

L E N D E R


Top Photo: Hannah, Fred, and Hannah’s first buck. Middle Photo: Hannah and the shooting range the night before the hunt. Bottom photo: Hannah after pulling the trigger on her first buck. Opposite Page: Fred (in 1996) with his oldest daughter Randall).

THANKS DAD! Those two words summarize Texas Sportsman Fred Rodriguez’s first whitetail hunt with his daughter

People often ask what I prefer - fishing or hunting? It depends on the time of the year. I get very excited when deer hunting season is upon us, from doing our annual helicopter survey to filling the corn feeders. So far the most the exciting hunting trip was last year with my daughter Hannah. We loaded the truck with our gear and headed to Los Encinos Ranch to hunt with my good friend Paul Johnson. My wife, Cindy was just as excited as we were. I had always told them about the 5-Star Ranch, which I just love. The smell of burning oakwood filled the air as we arrived. I just “Gotta Have” a camp fire going at the camp - that’s just the rules. I’ve been on many great trips – but this one was special for me. This trip wasn’t about me – it was about Hannah and her love for the outdoors. For years, both Hannah and her mom have seen me come home with my deer. I show them the photos and they see the adventure on The Texas Sportsman TV Show. But this trip was different. After greeting Paul we quickly prepared to head to the range for Hannah to practice her shooting and get comfortable and confident. Brett, the hunting guide at the ranch, was their to assist us and make sure Hannah was going to be ready for her first Whitetail hunt. After shooting for about an hour she said she was ready. We went back to the campfire and I began to barbeque some South Texas fajitas and special sausage made by Vera’s Meat Market of Edinburg. The oak logs continued to burn as we added more logs. Hunting tales were exchanged around the fire. It was now time to rest for the hunt in the morning. Morning came and excitement was thick in the air. This was not just another deer hunt but it was also going to be taped for the Texas

10


Sportsman. I hope one day Hannah will want to follow my footsteps and become a host of her own show. Paul walked over to us and said it was time. Even my cameraman Andy Gauna was excited for Hannah. The buck we were looking for was going to be a management buck. The morning was cool and clear - conditions just right for a South Texas whitetail hunt. We snuggled in a big ole family blind and began to wait. As the sun started to rise, clearing away the darkness and bringing to life the sound of nature in the deep oak motts, the deer began to appear. A large buck showed up and Hannah looked at me and Paul and said “that is a big buck.” There were about half a dozen bucks and half a dozen doe. We patiently waited for the right management buck to walk out – and 45 minutes later, he appeared. “You see that buck there,” Paul asked Hannah. “Yes,” she replied. “Get ready,” he said. It was time for Hannah, but it was my heart that was starting to pump faster and faster. Paul gave her the go ahead and without any hesitation Hannah gets the deer in her sight and pulls the trigger. The shot went off, the deer sprinted off and the excitement peaked. “I know I hit it,” Hannah said, the sparkle in her eyes bright as can be. We waited in the blind for about 15 minutes and began to track the buck. Just a few minutes later the high fives were flying. We had found Hannah’s first buck. As we sat there with her first buck, she looked over at me with her beautiful brown eyes. “Thanks Dad!” What a great and memorable time at Los Encinos Ranch. A time we’ll never forget. Until next time remember Safety First and hunt or fish in an ethical manner. Enjoy the great outdoors.


Game Warden Notes

Starr County boater rescued, arrested The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports. ARRESTED MOTION Shortly after sunset as Starr and Zapata County game wardens patrolled Falcon Lake for water safety compliance, the wardens noticed a boater in distress motioning for help. Clinging to the side of the boat, which was taking on water and drifting dangerously close to the U.S./ Mexico border, were two additional fatigued individuals. The wardens rescued all three individuals, though they discovered that one had an active arrest warrant in Starr County. The subject, who learned not to boat in high winds and try to avoid arrest, was transported to the Starr County Jail. MUNHIES LEAD TO CITATION After a long morning of checking dove hunters, two Brown County game wardens took a break at an ice cream place. While waiting to receive their orders, they noticed a strong smell of marijuana. When the wardens pinpointed a person who came into the establishment smelling like marijuana, they waited until he had placed his order and sat down before asking him to step outside. They asked how much marijuana he had on him and the suspect produced a partially smoked rolled marijuana cigarette from his pocket. BURIED TREASURE Buried deep in a Polk County thicket lay an elaborate marijuana grow site with an irrigation system and food and shelter for the people tending the plants. After the site was spotted from the air, the Polk County narcotics team moved in on foot to secure the scene. Polk and Trinity County game wardens assisted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in collecting nearly 9,000 marijuana plants from the site. No one has been charged at this time. GAME WARDEN’S IN TOWN When a large group of dove hunters spread out along the bank of a large pond in Montgomery County saw a game warden approaching, one hunter yelled at the others to get another hunter inside a nearby house. As the game warden checked the hunters for the appropriate licenses and hunting techniques, he saw milo grain spread along the bank of the pond and

12

Not only is it hunting season, but it’s birding time once again, especially in South Texas. (photo by John Liston)

found that one hunter’s shotgun was not plugged. The warden issued citations for hunting mourning dove over bait with an unplugged shotgun and without completing a hunter education course. The cases are pending. HIGH STAKES ON THE HIGH SEA When a commercial shrimp boat drew too close to his own boat near the Port O’Connor jetties, a fishing guide opened fire with his .45 caliber weapon after the shrimp boat failed to heed his flare pistol warnings. When Matagorda and Wharton County game wardens contacted the shrimp boat crew, the wardens observed what appeared to be seven to nine bullet strikes on the steel-hulled vessel. The wardens turned the investigation over to the Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office. The fishing guide faces three counts of felony deadly conduct. CAMERON COUNTY CLOSE CALL As he cruised down South Padre Island’s central boulevard, a Cameron County game warden noticed two males fighting in a convenience store parking lot. Though the warden broke up the fight, one of the subjects made multiple attempts to get into the driver door of his vehicle, so the warden forcibly detained him. After searching the vehicle, the warden found a .40 caliber handgun in plain view of the driver’s door and multiple baggies of marijuana in the trunk. THE WARDEN WILL FIND YOU Late one night as he watched for spotlights, a Starr County game warden observed a single cab pickup truck traveling slowly on a county road. The warden waited for spotlights from the truck, but none appeared as it continued down the road. The warden, not wanting to give away

his position, waited a few minutes before leaving the scene, but the truck turned around and stopped in front of the warden’s location for about five minutes before someone got out to look for something. Once the individual got back in the truck and continued down the road, the warden stopped the vehicle when it turned off into private property. When the warden asked the two occupants what they were doing, they said they were hunting rattlesnakes. Both said they had no hunting licenses. The warden issued citations for hunting without licenses from a public road. RUN AGROUND For two long hours, a pair of lonely fishermen were stranded on the Rio Grande after their boat ran aground on a gravel bar about 20 miles north of Eagle Pass. Maverick County game wardens responded to the distress call, and with the aid of the U.S. Border Patrol marine unit’s airboat, helped free the stuck boat. Both fishermen were okay and were taken safely back to the boat ramp by the wardens. NO PUFFING ON PRIVATE PROPERTY While patrolling the back side of Lake Casa Blanca, two Webb County game wardens saw a black car jump the curb and turn off its lights as it drove onto private property. As the wardens watched the car for a few minutes, they saw an occasional orange glow from inside. The wardens walked over to the car and asked its occupants, a male and female, to step out. As soon as they did, the wardens noticed a strong odor of marijuana. The occupants admitted to having a small clear glass pipe with marijuana residue inside the car. The wardens confiscated the pipe, told both subjects they were trespassing on private property and issued a citation to the male for possession of drug paraphernalia.


August 27, Doors open at 7p.m.


TITO’S FIRST HUNT (my grandson)

W

By Dr. Alberto Santos

hen is the right time to introduce a child to hunting? I’ve always struggled with this. If you do it too early you might scare him/her and they may never want to hunt again. Do it too late and he/she may not be interested. .... BEFORE THE HUNT My grandson, Tito, heard hunting messages without realizing it. This boy has always been a good eater. He likes everything you put in front of him. He ate deer meat, venison chorizo and link sausage all the time. His “Mami” cooked a lot of dishes for Tito and his younger brother Nico and told them they were eating deer that their grandpa killed. When she wanted them to eat more she would remind them that it's deer meat and they would chow down. I belive the concept of “food from hunting,” is one very important part of the foundation for understanding and accepting hunting. It's a link to our primitive past and a key to the future legacy of hunting. I have always been very particular about keeping the venison clean and getting the venison prepared properly. Also, I only shoot young deer for my table to make sure it tastes good and is nice and tender. Tito, I assure you, has never had a bad piece of venison. Throughout his early years Tito learned that Grandpa hunted (a lot.) He saw me in camo. He saw my trophies on the wall. He saw pictures of the deer I shot. He knew I had guns and that they are always locked up. We talked about hunting many times. One time we were looking at a book of animals of Texas and I pointed out that the Texas Tortoise is one animal that I have on the ranch. “Where Grandpa?” asked Tito, “On the wall?” “No,” I said. “This is one animal that we do not hunt. “ Tito gradually asked more questions about hunting. Over time he came to realize that “The hunt is special.” I believe hunting is very special. Since Tito was young, I have been telling him that when he grew up I would take him hunting. I told him that not all kids get to hunt. I told him that he is special. When Tito first came to the ranch, I made him a special hat. He was only a few months old. That’s when he started getting exposed to hunting and that’s when I started thinking seriously when and how to do it.

14

As soon as Tito could sit up on his own, I would take him in the truck to tour the ranch. I would make it a point to take him where I knew there would be deer feeding. He became accustomed to seeing deer. He learned to look for them. He knew does from bucks. He liked going out to see deer. It helped also that there are deer around his house. A good hunter enjoys seeing game even when not hunting. At about the age of 3, we got a little closer to hunting by showing him a game on my phone called Deer Hunt. In the game, does and bucks come out. You can shoot them with a bow, rifle or shotgun. If you shoot right the deer drops dead. The dead dear shows where it was hit with a red spot. Bad shots result in wounded deer that run, or live deer that run. Tito has seen me “kill” many deer in the game. Later he learned how and where to shoot to kill. Tito and I have actually talked about needing to make a good shot and hitting the deer in the heart.

THE HUNT When Tito was about 5 1/2 years old and I thought it was time and took him on that first hunt. We were all at the ranch on a cool sunny day in late November. It was deer season and I needed venison. Tito was about to have his own first hunting experience. We loaded up in my truck in search of a big doe. We saw some bucks but I told Tito they are too young and need to grow up. We are looking for a big doe. When we reached the creek we both saw a big doe. I looked her over and saw she had a fawn but the fawn was eating corn. The fawn had lost his spots and looked like he had been weened for two months. I decided this is the doe to take. I told Tito to watch carefully as I exited the truck and shot off the front hood. I prayed for help to make a good clean shot. Boom! The doe went down. I looked up and Tito smiled at me. As we closed in on the doe, Tito was still looking where I shot the doe and he sees the fawn. “Grandpa, was that deer the mama of that little deer?” he asked. “Yes she was the mama,” I said. (I did not want to lie, but I felt I did needed to explain things.) “But that deer there is old enough to eat on his own and will be all right.” I was really hoping the questions would


stop here but next came the big question... “Grandpa, do you think that little deer will miss his mama?” ( A whole litany of thoughts go rapidly through my brain:) ...This kid may already be brainwashed by the Bambi movie. ...Did I push him to the other side? ...Will he turn out to be an anti-hunter ? ...Oh crap! ...What have I done to the boy? ...Who is going to hunt with me when I am an old man? My thought are interrupted as Tito answered his own question, “Well, too bad because we need deer sausage. Right Grandpa?” “Thank you God, for setting my Grandson straight.” I thought to myself. “Yes Tito, this doe will make very good sausage.” I said with a big smile. “Grandpa, are we going to take pictures?” he asked. “Yes we are,” I said. We took lots of pictures to celebrate the importance of the hunt. Every time I see the pictures from this hunt I just smile. Later that same day, Tito watched me skin the doe and debone the meat. We took the meat up to the house where my son (Tito’s dad) and I prepared the spices. The next day Tito saw how we made the deer meat into sausage. He watched us for a long time. When I looked at him, he just smiled back. We did not have to say any words. Now I know for sure that my grandson, Tito, is going to be a hunter. I love that boy and I hope he has many wonderful hunting experiences. We will both remember that first deer hunt. Some day he may take me hunting. Some day he will teach his children and grandchildren to be hunters too. That is our hunting legacy.

Opposite page, left photo, Tito Santos at 6 months old in the arms of his dad, Dr. Alberto Santos. Right pic, Tito with the doe his granpa shot on Tito’s first hunt. Above, making the deer sausage that Tito thoroughly enjoys. (Photos submitted by Alberto Santos)

Alberto Santos is the owner of Santos Ranch LLC and Las Lomas Ranch. Visit the website www.santosranch.com for more information.


16


MEN AND THEIR TOYS

Four guys take the new HuntVe Switchback for a major test. By the excitement you would think it was four kids in a candy store. 17


Above, HuntVe owner Ben King rests his rifle on the back of the vehicle and takes aim. Opposite page top to bottom: 1) Fred Rodriguez points down a muddy path the HuntVe just conquered; 2) RGV Carts co-owner John Bradley and his new toy; 3-4) Close ups of the new HuntVe.

The high expectations for the HuntVe were met and surpassed Story by Henry Miller n Photos by Tiki Tillman (tikitillmanphotos.com) Four men. Four men and their HuntVe Switchback. Oh yeah, and a 200-yard mud patch – mud rare to South Texas, mud enhanced after two weeks of heavy, soaking rains. Texas Sportsman Fred Rodriguez drove and HuntVe owner Ben King rode as they pushed the new vehicle's capabilities. They were not disappointed. “I looked back to signal which way to go when we came up to two paths,” Rodriguez said. “They pointed toward the path with all the mud in it. I was like ‘no way.’ “It was absolutely awesome driving it through all that. It just took it head on.” John Bradley, co-owner with Mike Zinda at RGV Carts in Harlingen, where these big boy machines will be on display, said the HuntVe exceeded the expectations. “I knew it was very good but was amazed after putting it in the mud and stuff that we thought would be impossible for any

18

vehicle,” Bradley said. “We were all excited about this. When you watch the show (the Texas Sportsman show with the HuntVe will air at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 on FOX), you're going to see the elation of getting through 200 yards of very difficult mud.” “The Pair O Dice ranch is just beautiful – with buffalo and turkey and deer and all sorts of game and amenities, Bradley said. “We want to thank Lance Swanberg and his family for letting us test this top-ofthe-line vehicle at their beautiful top-ofthe-line ranch. It was just an awesome experience.” Not only is the HuntVe a tough-driv-

Texas Sportsman on FOX

ing vehicle, Bradley describes it as a game-changer for hunters. “Going from gas into silent mode was absolutely phenomenal,” he said. “It really is a game changer from the standpoint where you are no longer limited by range and the ability to not drain your battery. The electric silent capabilities get you closer to your blind or to see game you silently want to approach.” In face, that's two of the five model names – the Game Changer 4x4 and the Game ChangerTX 4x4. “We had not seen it perform first-hand in the level of mud and clay and everything

Don’t miss this show where Fred and the guys take the HuntVe Switchback for a grueling test at Pair O Dice Ranch! The show airs at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 on FOX!


“When you watch the show (the Texas Sportsman show with the HuntVe will air at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 on FOX), you're going to see the elation of getting through 200 yards of very difficult mud.” -- John Bradley Co-owner, RGV Carts

we were going through – we were thoroughly impressed.” The HuntVe is a silent predator, with a marathoner's body, bringing with it a 100-mile range, using both gas and electric. “A normal cart, by comparison, would have a 30-mile range,” Bradley said. “This is full-time four-wheel drive with a generator in the vehicle that can be used to charge the vehicle when you get back to camp. You can also power accessories by simply plugging into the generators.” The HuntVe's technology has changed the face of hunting and has put pressure on its competitors. According to its website (huntve.com): “The HuntVe 4x4 line of electric and hybrid electric off road UTVs offers the highest quality and proven performance year after year. Using only the best of the best in structure and components, the HuntVe is built to last. Many manufacturers have cut corners and cost by using a single motor and noisy shaft drive system to drive their vehicles. The HuntVe uses dual direct drive motors utilizing an input shaft that consistently delivers smooth quite power while never over powering a single motor with the need for an “over heat” dash light to warn the user to stop use immediately. HuntVe is the only manufacturer to offer an aluminum non-corrosive light weight frame. It has the best in class electronic amp controller power, sound suppression, battery amp hour capacity and standard features. While others misrepresent their origin, the HuntVe is proudly hand crafted in Fort Worth, Texas from the ground up. Because HuntVe only focuses on the all electric and hybrid electric UTV segment, there is no distraction of manufacturing in the high volume gas and diesel power market. There is no quarterly earnings report of a large public company to direct company objectives. There is no comparison to the product quality and safe reliability of a HuntVe. And there is nothing like experiencing the great outdoors the way you can when you drive a HuntVe.” Bradley has three different models in his showroom and encourages those interested to come take a look – and think about customizing it. “People have different needs and likes and we customize and accessorize to meet those needs,” Bradley said. “It's incrediblty exciting to be bringing new technology and new capabilities to people who want that. We will sit and talk with the customer to see what they want – from cargo racks to LED lighting to storage – and accessorize it personally.” For more information on the beautiful Pair O Dice Ranch, call Lance Swansberg at (956) 605-8097.

WANNA SEE THE HUNTVE?

You can see the HuntVe at the Hunting and Fishing Extravaganza, held Oct. 24-26 at the Pharr Convention Center. You can also see it on display at RGV Carts, 1119 West. Harrison Ave., Harlingen. Call (956) 365-4122 for more informations.


HOG WILD!

There’s no shortage of the destructive nuisance species in Texas

BY MIKE COX

D

ean Smith, a retired cowboy stuntman who appeared in 10 John Wayne movies and hundreds of other times on both the small and big screen, is a nice guy who personifies the Code of the West. He’s polite to women and children, a gracious host and a fine family man. But he will kill a wild hog as quick and consciencelessly as he would a rattlesnake. When Smith makes the rounds on his ranch north of Brecken-

20

ridge to feed his longhorns, he carries a well-worn .30-30 in the cab of his orange and white pickup truck. (He was a track star at the University of Texas and won a gold medal in the 1952 winter Olympics, hence his ride’s color scheme.) Though he spent a long career shooting blanks in TV and movie Westerns, when it comes to feral pigs on his property, he shoots real bullets. And he seldom misses. “When I was a boy, the only hogs I ever saw were corn-fed pigs in a pen,” he says, “but now they’re all over my ranch. They tear things up and dang sure aren’t welcome on my place.”


Wild hogs aren’t new to Texas. In fact, the great-great-greatsomething grandfathers of today’s brush porkers are descended from domestic hogs brought to the New World by Spanish explorers. The problem is, they have had 300 years to propagate, and they are among the more fecund critters in the world. On top of that, during the Depression, European boars were introduced to Texas as an exotic game animal. In time, enough of those newbie pigs had escaped to crossbreed with the wild domestic swine. The result has been a pig that tends to grow larger, tuskier and meaner than their domestic cousins. Today, feral hogs have been documented in 220 of Texas’s 254 counties. Most of the counties lacking wild hogs are in far West Texas or the western Panhandle. And some of those counties have some hoggy pockets. The main problem with wild hogs is that in the course of feeding themselves, their rooting around tears up habitat and

agricultural crops. In addition, they harm springs and tanks by their wallowing. Wild pigs further ingratiate themselves with landowners by feasting on quail and turkey eggs when they get a chance. Oh, and they can carry diseases. Destructive as they are, wild hogs do have a couple of socially redeeming qualities: They are fun, if challenging, to hunt and, being pork, they eat well. Despite the havoc they cause, many ranchers have decided to make at least a partial silk purse out of a sow’s ear by charging hunters for access to hogs on their property. From a landowner’s standpoint, this is like having your ham and eating it too. Anyone hunting hogs must have a hunting license (and certification that you have taken a hunter’s education course if you were born after 1971), but since hogs are considered a nuisance exotic species and are not classified as game animals, there is no season, limit or limitation on how they can be taken. Of course, they can’t be hunted on the side of the road or on

PHOTO COURTESY GRADY ALLEN

21


private property without a landowner’s permission. And that’s where landowners willing to put up with hunters can at least make some money off these porcine invaders. Not all landowners charge for the privilege to take hogs on their property. Some owners welcome anyone who wants to lessen their pig population. But most ranchers who lease their acreage for deer, turkey or quail also supplement their income by catering to hog hunters. One of those ranches is the Gravick Ranch in South Texas. Ranch owner Jim Kniestedt offers a 100-percent success rate on hogs, the average harvest being four to six pigs a day per hunter. Hunters can hunt from stands, day or night, or take a guided post-sundown hunt with night vision equipment. Unfortunately for landowners, with an estimated 1.5 million wild hogs roaming Texas, no amount of traditional hunting is going to adversely affect their population. Fortunately for landowners – and everyone who cares about the environment – biologists with the Texas Parks and Wild Department have been working for several years to develop a toxic bait that can be used to significantly reduce the popular. “The golden goose egg here is to develop a product that can be a cost-effective way to reduce pig numbers without having negative impacts on the resources that all native Texans cherish,” says Justin Foster, a TPWD biologist at the agency’s Kerr Wildlife Management Area. Considered a promising candidate is sodium nitrite, which Foster hastens to add is not sodium nitrate. If a hog eats a sufficient amount of NaNO2, as Foster puts it, “Its effect is rapid, lethal, and clinically humane in pigs.” Foster believes Environmental Protection Agency approval of a killer hog bait with up to a 90 percent mortality rate will come within only a few years. Until then, South Texas and most of the rest of the state will have no shortage of huntable hogs.

Eddie Ruiz 956-648-8467 Owner / Taxidermist

Exotic Game N. American Game

5115 S. US 281 Suite H Edinburg Tx. 78539

Salt and Fresh Water Fish Fiberglass and Skin Mounts

“Fast Turnaround Time”

22


28 COURTESY CHE IBARRA PHOTO


Texas, Padre Island

October 2014

N 26° 04.1' / W 97° 09.4' Date

Day

1

We

High Tide

High Tide

Sunrise

Sunset

Moonrise

Moonset

Phase

237pm

2

Th

1226am

2.1

3

Fr

107am

2.0

4

Sa

135am

2.0

1023am

1.7

5

Su

154am

1.8

1230pm

6

Mo

206am

1.7

7

Tu

214am

8

We

9

Low Tide 0.4

Low Tide

721am

715pm

159pm

1212am

1st

349pm

0.4

721am

714pm

251pm

111am

505pm

0.5

722am

713pm

341pm

212am

724am

1.6

619pm

0.7

722am

712pm

429pm

315am

1.7

724am

1.4

730pm

0.8

723am

711pm

515pm

419am

203pm

1.9

748am

1.1

836pm

1.0

723am

710pm

600pm

524am

1.6

322pm

2.0

822am

0.8

940pm

1.2

724am

709pm

644pm

628am

219am

1.5

436pm

2.0

901am

0.6

1042pm

1.4

724am

708pm

729pm

732am

Th

221am

1.5

547pm

2.1

944am

0.3

1149pm

1.5

725am

707pm

815pm

834am

10

Fr

218am

1.6

659pm

2.1

1029am

0.2

725am

706pm

902pm

936am

11

Sa

813pm

2.1

1115am

0.2

726am

705pm

951pm

1035am

12

Su

928pm

2.1

1204pm

0.2

726am

704pm

1041pm

1131am

13

Mo

1039pm

2.1

1256pm

0.3

727am

703pm

1132pm

1224pm

14

Tu

1137pm

2.0

151pm

0.5

727am

702pm

15

We

252pm

0.7

728am

701pm

1224am

157pm

16

Th

1220am

2.0

359pm

0.9

728am

700pm

115am

238pm

17

Fr

1250am

2.0

508pm

1.1

729am

659pm

206am

317pm

18

Sa

109am

1.9

1130am

1.7

726am

1.6

615pm

1.2

729am

658pm

256am

353pm

19

Su

120am

1.9

104pm

1.7

730am

1.4

715pm

1.3

730am

657pm

347am

429pm

20

Mo

126am

1.8

212pm

1.8

744am

1.3

809pm

1.4

730am

656pm

437am

504pm

21

Tu

127am

1.7

309pm

1.9

804am

1.1

900pm

1.5

731am

655pm

529am

540pm

22

We

126am

1.7

401pm

1.9

828am

0.9

952pm

1.5

731am

654pm

621am

617pm

23

Th

122am

1.6

453pm

2.0

854am

0.7

1052pm

1.5

732am

654pm

715am

656pm

24

Fr

111am

1.6

547pm

2.0

924am

0.5

733am

653pm

810am

738pm

25

Sa

645pm

2.1

958am

0.3

733am

652pm

906am

824pm

26

Su

747pm

2.1

1037am

0.2

734am

651pm

1003am

914pm

27

Mo

850pm

2.2

1120am

0.2

734am

650pm

1100am

1008pm 1105pm

112pm

28

Tu

950pm

2.2

1209pm

0.2

735am

650pm

1155am

29

We

1040pm

2.2

104pm

0.3

736am

649pm

1248pm

30

Th

1119pm

2.1

206pm

0.5

736am

648pm

138pm

1205am

31

Fr

1146pm

2.0

317pm

0.7

737am

647pm

225pm

106am

©2014 FreeTideTables.com - For comparison only - Times are local - Tides in feet from MLLW

Full

3rd

New

1st


Photo Courtesy Che Ibarrs

26


Texas, Padre Island

November 2014

N 26° 04.1' / W 97° 09.4' Date

Day

1

Sa

917am

High Tide 1.5

High Tide

Sunrise

Sunset

Moonrise

Moonset

632am

2

Su

1203am

1.8

1055am

3

Mo

1240pm

1.8

1119pm

4

Tu

202pm

1.9

5

We

314pm

2.0

6

Th

419pm

7

Fr

8 9 10

Low Tide 1.4

436pm

Low Tide 0.9

737am

647pm

310pm

208am

1.6

526am

1.2

459pm

1.1

638am

546pm

253pm

210am

1.6

550am

0.9

621pm

1.3

639am

545pm

336pm

312am

1119pm

1.6

624am

0.6

742pm

1.5

639am

545pm

420pm

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©2014 FreeTideTables.com - For comparison only - Times are local - Tides in feet from MLLW

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OCT. 2014 LUNAR TRANSIT TIMES DAY

MOON

COMMENTS

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NOV. 2014 LUNAR TRANSIT TIMES BEST

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FIRST QUARTER

BEST MORNINGS OR AFTERNOONS Visit us online: www.osoteloskincancer.com

WHAT ARE LUNAR TRANSIT TIMES? Hunters, fishermen and farmers since ancient times have known of a certain relationship between the moon and nature. They knew that at certain times of the day the world of the animal kingdom came alive with activity. This knowledge had been passed on from generation to generation and used for their basic needs: planting, hunting and fishing. Today we have come to understand the scientific basis for the moon’s biological effect on all wildlife and marine life. Very simply, it is peak gravitation of the moon that stimulates animal activity. That’s why deer, cattle and marine life feed at the same time of the day or night. This gravitational stimulus is at its greatest when the moon is directly overhead or on the opposite side of the Earth. A law of physics states that for every pull there is an equal and opposite push. In other words, as the Earth rotates on its axis, any location on Earth will each day pass under two peak gravitational forces occurring 12 ½ hours apart. These peak forces coincide with lunar transit times. The following lunar transit times coincide with high tide and increased game and fish activity. Just like at high tide, animal activity increases, peaks, then decreases around transit times. This “window” of activity usually lasts 2-4 hours. What this all means is that the best hunting and fishing occurs when gravitation is greatest at transit times of the moon. From Dr. Oscar Sotelo’s Lunar Transit Times, 20th edition

NEW MOON

PERIGEE/THANKSGIVING FIRST QUARTER

BEST

9:13

7:08

1

14

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DAY

4:46

5:16

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6:07

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BEST MORNINGS OR AFTERNOONS Visit us online: www.osoteloskincancer.com

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common of all types of cancers? Nearly two million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. Dr. Sotelo has more than 30 years of experience and has treated more than 50,000 skin cancers.. If you have questions or concerns about your skin, call Dr. Sotelo now - don’t wait! 6900 N. 10th St. Ste 3, Mcallen, TX 78504 OSCAR SOTELO, M.D. (956) 682-1591 Board Certified Dermatologist osoteloskincaner.com


Photos from the grand opening of the Baretta Shop, exclusively at Jones & Jones in McAllen

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DO YOU HAVE A STORY? Email us your favorite hunting story - do you have a great Christmas hunting story? How about one with the family? Or your first memories of hunting? Email us your story and we may choose to feature it in the next edition of Texas Sportsman Magazine. Email to: henry.texassportsman@gmail.com.

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KEEP SENDING THOSE PHOTOS The fishing season may have wound down as people turn in their rods and reels for guns and ammo. We know, however, you’ve got some photos of your biggest, best or funniest catches this year! Send them to us - henry.texassportsman@gmail.com. We may end highlighting your photo and telling your story.

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COASTAL DUCK-HUNTING STRATEGIES More than 35 years of duck hunting the coastal flats of the Laguna Madre’ and Baffin Bay have been a blessing for me. Texas coastal duck hunting is as good as it gets here in my backyard. By Capt. Joey Farah

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C

oastal duck hunting is much different than freshwater hunts and demand different strategies. The advantage and joy of hunting the salt flats is that here we have a melting pot of varied species all sharing the prime wintering grounds for the entire season. Most freshwater hunts are catching waterfowl that are in migration passing south, or moving to and from food, water and roost. Most inland duck hunts are on small ponds and marshes. Limited mobility and privet land are all obstacles in finding the birds and staying with them. Deep water sets make retrieving downed birds difficult and many freshwater ponds are only good for a few hours at first and last light. Our strategies revolve around the same three important daily actions of the ducks, but hunters can see the movements of birds for miles across the open water. Having the knowledge of what the birds are doing is the key to consistent successful hunts and full limits. Our area stretches for more than 60 miles and encompasses miles of ultra-shallow expanses of sea grass. This is the wintering grounds for hundreds of thousands of ducks from the entire Central Flyway. The diverse sea grasses combine with small shellfish, mud worms

and even small fish to attract waterfowl from the entire continent. Ducks don’t necessarily eat the tops of the grass, they mostly pull up the grass and eat the roots. Some types of sea grasses are eaten and are the “sweet” grasses that grow in the real honey holes. Late-season flocks will stay after much of the shallow grass is eaten and turn their diet toward the small clams and mollusks in the mud out in deeper water. I often see hunters putting out decoys over sandy bottom areas with little success; ducks are going to be where there is something to eat. Locate daytime areas of mass gatherings, these are your primary feeding areas. Many times they are open areas far away from any duck blinds and hard to hunt. Look for flights of ducks to lift off and head toward water sources mid-day. Follow and track them with the use of aerial maps looking for fresh water sources. Watch for the last flights of birds especially on windy ugly afternoons to settle in roosting areas at last light. When you have found all three of their needs in life, hunters can position themselves in their flight path and second guess their movements. Puddle ducks are designed to feed in shallow water by tipping over and dipping


their heads under water, feeding on or near the bottom. They will eat in less than two feet of water, and feed exclusively on plants. Their wings are longer and so are their bodies, and most have long necks. Our most common puddle ducks are pintails, widgeon, gadwalls, shovlers, black ducks, molted mallards, ruddy ducks and a few teal. Divers are designed to dive deep and hold their breath for minutes at a time while they pull up deep grasses and dig for small clams and mollusks. Some divers can and will dive up to 20-feet deep. Their bodies are more round and they have shorter necks. Divers group in large rafts and can move in flocks that number in the thousands. Our most common diving ducks are the redheads, blue bills, scaup, beautiful buffleheads, golden eyes, canvas backs, common mergansers, hooded mergansers, red breasted mergansers and some lost species from the eastern flyway at times. The enormous variety of duck species here is a big draw for both experienced and novice duck hunters alike. Many hunters may come here to get that elusive trophy duck that they don’t get to see very often. Beginners love to see and hold the many different ducks, admiring the bright and brilliant plumage. Ducks make great wall and office mounts in that they are small and appeal to many. Mom will let you hang ducks up where the big game shoulder mounts are out of the question. Most quality duck mounts are between $200 and $300. Some of the best mounts I have seen are big logs with different species in lifelike positions along the top, or wings cupped coming in for the landing.

HUNTING TIP: ...pay close attention to the way ducks sit naturally on their own. Mimic their patterns and habits.

The absolute best way to teach kids about hunting is in a duck blind.

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The lure of waterfowling is strong due to the variety in opportunity and the challenge to bring in birds of different types to the spread. Making it all happen can be easy. Duck decoys are fairly inexpensive and to get started you can use as few as six decoys and go hide out somewhere. On the flip side I use a very diverse decoy spread with 10 different species of decoys, and at times up to 400 decoys. Within large flights of birds there may be only a few specific birds of one kind, if they see some of their buddies down in your spread they will light up and come on down. We also set out the spread with species of ducks grouped together with their own kind. The puddle ducks in the shallows, and the divers out deep. Many small details make a big difference, pay close attention to the way ducks sit naturally on their own. Mimic their patterns and habits. Always remember that ducks will land into the wind. Calling ducks is a lot of fun and something that young hunters love. The chance to talk in the blind and teach kids the art of duck hunting is different than most big game hunts, when motionless silence is crucial.

Duck calls are cheap and easy to learn how to become good at. In coastal duck hunting loud “high ball mallard calls” are not what attracts ducks. Soft quacks and feeding calls are natural sounds of the ducks we have here. Most all female ducks quack, while many of the males have whistles, purrs, and tweets that are parts of their vocalization. Again, pay attention to the wild ducks around you. Many times we lay out and let them land learning their ways without shooting. The chance to introduce young hunters to hunting is easiest in a duck blind. Not all shots need to be fly bye wing shots. Many a veteran waterfowler slid a shotgun over the edge of a duck blind and drew a bead down on his or her first trophy. There is a lack of blood and guts, ducks are a much better first hunt to kids than big game.

Have some fun with your kids and come on down this year and soak up some Coastal Waterfowl Action. Duck season runs from Nov. 2 to Dec. 1, then opens again Dec. 15 and runs until Jan. 26. The entire season rides side by side with some of the best fishing of the year. We like to fish in the morning then break for lunch and switch boats before the evening hunt till sunset. Our all day casts-n-blasts are the same price as a summertime fishing trip, but gives you an ironman day. Great blinds, awesome fishing and thousands of ducks make a coastal duck hunt a must on your list this winter. We even have gift cards – a great Christmas gift. Hook Them Hard and Keep Calling! Like us on Facebook @JoeyFarah’sFishing.

Capt. Joey Farah guides guaranteed fishing and duck hunting adventures in the Laguna Madre’ and Baffin Bay. He has been a full time guide for more than 19 years, and has been an outdoor writer for many Texas publications. Call him (361) 442-8145 for a custom bay fishing adventure or follow us on Facebook at joey Farah’s Fishing.


ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

SEAGRASS RULE SIGNALS HOPE FOR RESOURCE AUSTIN — September marked the one-year anniversary of a law passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature prohibiting the uprooting of seagrass with the propeller of a boat within the coastal waters of Texas. Seagrasses are important as they stabilize sediments, decrease erosion, improve water quality and clarity, increase dissolved oxygen, and provide integral habitat for recreationally and commercially important species, such as red drum, black drum, and spotted seatrout. Motorboat “prop scars” occur when a boat propeller digs into the bay bottom where seagrass occurs. This typically occurs when a boat accelerates to get on plane in water that is too shallow, although it can occur at any operating speed when the water is shallow enough for the propeller to come in contact with the sediment and roots of the seagrass plants. These prop scars cause erosion and loss of seagrass habitat, which can take a long time to recover and may even worsen over time. A similar regulation which prevents the uprooting of seagrass has been in place since 2006 in the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area (RBSSA) near Rockport. Since the Redfish Bay regulation passed, TPWD has observed a 45 percent decrease in the number of propeller scars in the RBSSA. TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division biologists who have led seagrass monitoring and public education are hopeful the RBSSA success will be mirrored coastwide as the new regulation protects seagrass in all coastal Texas waters. Seagrasses have great economic and environmental importance. The extensive root systems found in seagrass beds stabilize sediments and reduce erosion, improve water quality and clarity, and provide habitat for invertebrates such as shrimp and crabs. Seagrasses are also photosynthetic (they convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugars), which makes them a main primary producer and increases dissolved oxygen in the water. Finally, seagrass beds provide a structurally diverse habitat for recreationally and commercially important species, such as Red drum, Black drum, and Spotted se-

For more information, please visit the TPWD seagrass page (http://tpwd.texas.gov/seagrass). Anyone with questions can send email to: seagrass@tpwd.texas. gov. atrout. These juvenile fish can find refuge from predators in seagrass beds, as well as a copious supply of prey living within the grasses. For years, the department and like-minded partners have worked to educate boaters and provide information about how to protect seagrass while still enjoying the outdoors. This effort started at RBSSA and is now expanding along the coast. Coastal fisheries staff have led a long list of outreach efforts involving billboards, booths at festivals, educational videos and more. Game wardens make thousands of boater contacts per year, sometimes is-

suing citations but also educating boaters about the rules and reasons for them. To avoid uprooting seagrass, LIFT your motor, DRIFT with the current, POLE with a push-pole, or TROLL using a trolling motor when in shallow waters. Watch your prop wash; it should be white, not brown. Please remember that no areas are closed to boating due to this regulation. Violation of this law is a Class C misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $500.


7 MYTHS ABOUT THE

GATOR TROUT

(and no, that’s not really one of them)

Some are true, some are false. Find out which are which Yes. The above picture is not real It is, however, the image most fishermen conjure when you mention “Gator Trout.” Most seasoned fishermen would agree that a gator trout is a Seatrout measuring 28 inches or longer. For the avid fisherman, catching a gator trout is a dream come true, a trophy in fact. However, the average recreational fisherman rarely has the opportunity to catch one. There are many preconceived notions surrounding this trophy fish. So, let’s explore some common myths and fallacies, which I offer from a fly-fishing perspective. PAUL

TREVINO

Myth #1: There aren’t any Gator Trout in the Lower Laguna Madre. False. Most fishermen read stories of big trout in Florida or other parts of the Texas coast like Port Mansfield and Baffin Bay. The current All-Tackle World Record spotted Seatrout was caught near Fort Pierce in May 1995 by Craig Carson and weighed an amazing 17 pounds, 7 ounces. Most don’t realize that the second largest spotted Seatrout ever taken was on a fly rod on South Padre Island by local legend Bud Rowland in 2002. In addition, there six other International Game Fish Association (IGFA) World Fly Fishing

42

Records for Seatrout in the Lower Laguna Madre. So, there’s definitely big trout in South Texas. Myth #2: The only way to catch Gator Trout is to use live croaker. False. While most fishermen love to use croaker, big trout can be caught on many lures and tackle. Conventional wisdom is big plugs for big trout, but as with most fish, they’ll eat anything. Fish are opportunistic and given any chance, they’ll eat anything. In fly-fishing terms, big trout love flies too. A mud-minnow fly with a 3/0 Mustad hook measuring less than 2-3 inches long is as deadly as any bait or lure on the market. So, don’t stick to one type of lure. Give them what they want. Myth #3: While sight casting, the best time to catch trophy Sea Trout is from 10 am to 1 pm. True. Depending on the feeding cycle, incoming tide and water flow, some big trout push for the shallows and the grassy beds of the Lower Laguna Madre. They search quick meals to support their day’s energy levels. For sight fishing, and especially with

fly fisherman, the 10 a.m. mark signals a point in the sky where the angle of the sun is behind the angler and blinds the fish. This sunshadow allows fly fishermen to approach big trout with less spook-potential. Many anglers, however, still feel that night fishing or early morning wading yields more opportunity for catching large trout. Myth #4: Gator trout can be caught by kayaking, drift fishing, or wade fishing. True. Wise trout fishermen love to wade fish for trout, but any method has shown to be productive in search of the gator. Many favor a low tide with good water movement as gator trout are very smart and conniving. Gators prefer to conserve energy and ambush incoming bait circling productive potholes. These potholes are very difficult to delineate in high tide situations, unless the angler is aware of them. In my experience, this technique outnumbers high-tide locations by about a factor of 9 to 1. Myth #5: After eating a ¾ to a 1¼ pound mullet a spotted Seatrout will not eat again for a couple of hours. False. As mentioned earlier, Seatrout are opportunistic and will feed any chance they get, even within 30 minutes of their previous feeding. There have been many situations that while fishing in the flats, Seatrout will fervently chase balls of bait


and simply engorge themselves. So, it’s key to maintaining pressure and perseverance even though Seatrout have eaten, no matter what time of day. Myth #6: While drift fishing, a large Seatrout will spook when they get within 100 feet away. False. While bait casters and spin casters can usually outcast the average fly fisherman, the art of fly-casting has an advantage here. Using bait and spincasting equipment relies on plugs or bait that usually spook fish when they splash into the water. To the contrary, fly fishermen casting a light fly allows for a stealthy presentation to fish that can be as close as 20 to 30 feet away from the boat. Many times while fly-fishing, a trout will jet upward from a grassy bed at this range to slam the fly. Another point to consider is reel-time. In the time a bait or spin caster takes to reel in their lure, a fly fisherman merely flicks the line to make another presentation. In my experience when fishing with fellow bait or spin casters, I find I can retrieve my fly eight times while they’re hauling in the lure or bait only once.

Debunking Myth Number.2: Live croaker is not the only way to catch Gator Trout. They’ll eat anything - go ahead, try a mud-minnow. Myth #7: When sight fishing, once a large Seatrout is spooked and makes a run, these fish are no longer catchable. False. Most fishermen believe that once a large Seatrout is spooked, the chances of catching the same fish are very low. Most Seatrout, especially big trout, need time to recover. As stated above, fish are opportunistic and even though they’ve eaten, these fish are catchable.

However, spooking the fish by dropping heavy lures or bait will usually lead to additional rejection rates. In these situations, fly fishermen will allow gator trout to run and settle down. Most of the time, spooked fish will spook about 20 to 30 yards then calm down. Then, making a soft, stealthy cast about 12 to 16 inches in front of the fish utilizing small strips will usually trigger the fish into another fight. Again, the fly prevails in this scenario. So, I hope I’ve been able to debunk most of the myths I find many local fishermen constantly discussing. In the end, it’s best to break away from our habits and patterns and just fish. Reflecting on the myths, fly-fishing is a worthy, effective competitive trophy fishing tool. So, don't just read about fishing tales, go catch one of your own. For those interested in learning how to fly fish or if you have any other questions, please feel free to email me at paul.texassportsman@gmail.com. In future installments will be focusing on other fly-fishing tactics and tips….


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Extravaganza set to benefit PAL Texas Sportsman, BDS Outfitters, Cook-Off, Live Music and more This is the start of something big. The first Big Dog Status Outfitters and Texas Sportsman Hunting & Fishing Extravaganza will be held Friday through Sunday, October 24-26 at the Pharr Events Center, presented by PAL - the Police Athletic League. The event started out as a simple request - J.R. Rodriguez of Big Dog Outfitters, approached the Texas Sportsman, Fred Rodriguez, and asked his thoughts about creating a hunting and fishing event. “I immediately went to Roy Garcia at the Pharr Events Center and this Extravaganza was born,” Rodriguez said. “I had always wanted to do an Expo and here we go. Rodriguez has much more planned than just all the booths inside and outside of the Pharr Events Center. There will be a Barbeque Cookoff and live country music. The event begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24. “I would like to thank the whole committee and the City of Pharr, all the vendors and sponsors,” Rodriguez said. “Without the effort of each and every one of them, this event wouldn’t be as big as it’s going to be. It wouldn’t have even taken off without everyone working as a team.” Cooks will fire up their pits beginning 5 a.m. Saturday. Doors open at 10 a.m. Saturday. The country music concerts begin at 5 p.m. and play on until 11 p.m. Saturday night. Doors open again Sunday at 10 am and close at 7 p.m. “Its going to be a great time to go to a event like this with whitetail deer season a week away,” Rodriguez said. “So get ready to come on out and enjoy yourselves, bring a friend and make sure you come by my booth and J.R. Rodriguez’s Big Dog Status Booth and buy a raffle ticket to be a guest on the Texas Sportsman TV Show for a Bay fishing trip for two. "Gotta Have It."

Fred Rodriguez, host of the Texas Sportsman Tracking Outdoors TV Show on FOX, will be on hand all weekend for the Hunting & Fishing Extravaganza at the Pharr Events Center.

What: BDS Outfitters & Texas Sportsman Hunting & Fishing Extravaganza When: Friday through Sunday, Oct. 24-26 Where: Pharr Events Center, 3000 U.S. 281, Phar, Texas Cost: Total Access Wrist Band - $15. Covers all three days Friday Pass: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. - $12 Saturday Pass: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. $12

Sunday Pass: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. - $12 Children 12 and under get in for free! Saturday’s Concert Schedule: 5 p.m. - Buck N Crazy 6 p.m. - Wreckless Texas 7 p.m. - Roy Solis 8 p.m. - Madelyn Victoria 9 p.m. - Costello 10 p.m. - Bart Crow


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MORE TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW BY CAPT. ALAN STEWART Off the starboard bow. Hoist that jib. Come about. What does that all mean? In the maritime world, there is a different lingo - different than any other. Here are some terms you might hear on a trip with a Coast Guard Captain. A captain might say go check the bilge. This is the lowest point in a boat. This is the perfect place to place a pump to remove water that may have accumulated. A person on a large sailboat might use a bosun’s chair. This is a chair to lift you all the way up to the top of the mast to do repairs or the like. This is done by a not-so-big person. Here is one you might be familiar with. What is the bow? It is the forward-most part of the boat. While we are at it, the stern is the back most part of the boat. The middle of the ship is the mid-ship. A sea anchor is a device like an anchor but it never touches the bottom. It slows the boat down by conveying a conical shape which inhibits free movement. These are used primarily by fishermen when the boat is drifting too fast to fish.

KNOW THE

RULES

Here are two everyone should know. Starboard and Port. The Port is on the left side of the boat and the Starboard is on the right side. Why those words? To make it short, when the Venitians sailed many moons ago, they used a board on the right side of the boat instead of a rudder which wasn’t invented yet and they would steer by

using the stars hence the word star-board. So when they went home, they wouldn’t want to ruin their precious starboard, so they used the left side or port side of the boat to dock. Another term everyone uses but most of you haven’t a clue where it came from is using the HEAD. This term derived from the large sailing vessels where they had a net up in front that would sag down into the water. This was the area where they would go and do their laundry and clean themselves. Water would splash onto them and they would get clean. Another function they would use out there on the nets was using the bathroom. This was a perfect place to clean-up and do you daily constitution. Since it was in the front of the boat, it derived the name the head. See you next time and Know the Rules.

Captain Alan Stewart owns and operates Stewart Training Center and holds a Master license with the U.S.C.G. Stewart Training Center is located at 39572 Loop Rd. Bayview, Tx. 78566.

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