Long Range and Precision Shooting w/ Horizon Firearms, Safari Style Hunting The Hill Country, Fish Care Tips & The State of Mule Deer in Texas
We open things up this week by talking African style safari hunting right here in Texas. Star S Ranch Operations Manager Eric White drops in to talk about Texas’ Authentic Safari Company. Located on 14,000 acres in the Texas Hill Country, Star S Ranch has naturally reproducing herds of record class exotics and super exotics. From Axis deer and Nubian Ibed to Sable, Kudu and other African plains game species – the Star S takes pride in offering a true safari experience without the cost, travel and time commitment of traveling to Africa.
Of course, the Star S Ranch also has phenomenal white tail hunting and has brought in only the best genetics. Eric discusses how the Scott family’s dedication to the breeding and wildlife management side of things really has allowed all the species that inhabitant the ranch to thrive. We harvested our first ever Rio Grande gobbler on the banks of the Star S’ James River nearly a decade ago and can’t wait to join Eric on a fallow buck hunt this fall. (One of the many trophy quality sable bulls the ranch has grown inside it’s borders)
Charles Whited of Barefoot Fishing tours joins us next for our bass fishing report. How has the recent flooding affected the bite in the Colorado River lake system? With a swifter current than normal, Charles and his clients have been enjoying 70-80 fish mornings – so I’d say it’s been pretty good! He tells us where to find them and what he’s catching them on.
We also go into detail on fish care tips. A seasoned tournament angler with a long list of accolades (Charles won the Texas Tournament Zone Angler of the Year tile again this year), Charles gives us his tips on where and when he fills up his live well to what if any chemicals he adds to the water. The less stress you place on your keepers the more likely they are to be alive at weigh in. Could be the difference in cashing a check or going home empty handed.
Our old friend and Texas Parks and Wildlife Mule Deer Program Leader Shawn Gray. We discuss the vitality of our mule deer herds in the Trans Pecos and Panhandle. How affect does Shawn think the wet spring and summer will have on recruitment? We also will talk relocation as 40 mule deer were recently relocated to the struggling Black Gap WMA herd. What about TPWD increasing hunter harvest opportunity? Lastly, Shawn talks about the big picture effect hunting has on our Texas mule deer (if any).
Horizon Firearms Owner/CEO Derrick Ratliff then drops in to talk custom rifle builds and long range precision shooting. Based out of College Station, Texas – Horizon has quickly built a reputation for building some of the best performing custom rifles in Texas. We discuss what it means to ‘customize’ a rifle to one’s own specifications. We then transition into the long range side of things where Derrick gives us his favorite long range big game caliber as well as a brand new caliber that hit the industry in 2015. To say we’ve been pleased with our Horizon Firearms custom 7 mag would be a gross understatement! (Me with two beautiful Hill Country axis bucks taken with my Horizon 7 mag).
Duck Numbers Looking Good, Bowhunting With Elite Archery, Summer Crappie and Catfish Tips & Whitetail Management w/ Dr. Deer
Dr. James Kroll (Dr. Deer) makes his return to the broadcast this week as we talk mid summer whitetail management tips/practices that can be implemented during the dog days of summer. From what you should be planting and on what percentage of your ranch/lease, to land improvement projects and much more. We also discuss this incredibly wet spring and it’s affect on antler growth. Is there any truth to the thought that folks who feed protein will actually see worse head gear this season compared to those whose deer are only afforded natural browse? Dr. Deer gives us his thoughts.
Next up we talk some summertime crappie and catfish with our friend and longtime guide Greg Pavur of Pavur Outdoors. Greg shares years of knowledge amassed from chasing both species year round. He knows where the slabs are staging as water temperatures continue to rise. He tells where to find them and what color jig skirts are putting the most fish in the boat. Then we change directions and talk about Texas 2nd most sought after game fish. Catfish has long been Greg’s favorite quarry and he is putting anglers on big shallow water blue cats this time of year. We discuss his set ups, from hooks and line to what baits he prefers mid summer. (Couple of happy anglers on a recent trip with Pavur Outdoors).
Then we are joined by Elite Archery’s Marketing Director Tim Kent. Elite Archery is known as the most ‘shootable’ bow in the industry and that is something Elite takes pride in. Tim explains what ‘Shootability’ really means and while Elite isn’t chasing the speed game like other manufactures, they continue to offer both hunters and competitive shooters a bow that consistently puts the arrow in where they want it.
We also discuss the recent boom in the archery industry as a whole as well as discuss a few of Tim’s favorite bow hunts from over 30 years of bowhunting. Of course we also have to discuss our July Photo of the Month Contest sponsored by Elite Archery. This month’s winner gets to customize their own bow from Elite! (Tim with a Midwestern bruiser of a buck)
Ducks Unlimited’s Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt rounds out the broadcast as we discuss the USFWS annual survey results. What species saw significant upticks in their numbers this year? What about species that really didn’t fare as well? Overall how do duck numbers look and how did the drought in the Prairie Pothole Region affect the migratory nature of the many puddle ducks that routinely nest there? Look for Canada’s Boreal Forest to play a much great role in this year’s recruitment. (Canvasbacks are one of the species which saw a significant increase in their numbers this spring).
South Texas Gators & Teal, CWD Shuts Down An Entire Statewide Industry, What’s With The Snook, & Brush To Bay Oufitters ‘BOWNANZA’
We get things going when waterfowl and alligator outfitter Brian Davenport of Fin and Fowl Outfitters drops by to talk Texas alligator hunting with us. With over 20 years experience guiding gator hunts, Brian knows where to find big alligators and how to catch them. We talk about what goes into a typical hunt from running lines to dispatching the gator. Does it really play out like we’ve all seen on the hit show ‘Swamp People’?
Brian also talks about early teal season on the Texas coast as hundreds of thousands of blue wing teal make their early fall migration during the September season. Needless to say, we are thrilled to be joining Fin and Fowl Outfitters on one of their alligator/early teal combo hunts this September! Can’t wait to check alligator hunting off the ‘ol bucket list! (Brian with a big lizard)
As many of you are aware, last week it came out that the first ever positive test for Chronic Wasting Disorder was found in a Texas whitetail deer. Coming up on this weekend’s broadcast we will visit with Dr. Joe Ables regarding CWD and what impact that test is having on the whitetail industry in Texas. We also get his take on TPWD’s plans to eradicate the entire herd at that breeding facility in Medina County.
Does he think Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Texas Animal Health Commission have handled the situation appropriately?
We also get his medical opinion on how contagious CWD really is verses the perception that exists. (Dr. Ables is one of the most respected whitetail veterinarians in the country and has done extensive work creating a cure for another cervid specific disease in EHD).
We then are joined by Texas Parks and Wildlife Coastal Fisheries Biologist Jason Ferguson of the Brownsville Office to discuss the plight of snook in Texas waters. As more and more guides began to target snook, they gained a reputation (much like in Florida) as a prized sport fish. Originally, snook began showing up along the Texas coast about 20 years ago, but recently snook populations have taken a nose dive to almost undetectable levels. What happened and will they come back? Does our coastal fisheries division have a management plan in place for snook? Jason breaks it all down for us.
We then round out the show by talking Baffin Bay trout and Brush to Bay Outfitters with our longtime friend and Foreverlast founder/owner Billy Gerke. Billy recaps a recent family trip to Baffin that resulted in some monster trout before we change things up and talk Brush To Bay Outfitters- which is a brand new destination for the Texas outdoorsman or woman. Located in Halletsville, Brush to Bay is a one of a kind archery/fishing outfitter. Billy talks about the big Bownanza bash grand opening that is taking place on the 25th of July! The day long celebration will be attended by Bone Collector Nick Mundt and will end with a concert from Adam Hood that evening!