Hunting Outlook for 2013 | Stowers Ranch Blog

Hunting Outlook for 2013

Although we are in a drought, our wildlife populations are in fine shape. We anticipate having good hunting this year and in early 2014. If you are interested in hunting with us, please call right away so we can arrange a hunt for what you want to shoot and when you want to be here.

Stowers Ranch, like much of the Texas Hill Country, is experiencing a third year of severe drought. We began adapting to this in May 2011 when we moved our calves and cows to leased pasture. In 2012, they returned to the Ranch for a few months and then were sold because we believed that the long term welfare of the pastures, especially the preservation of high quality grasses, required cessation of grazing until more normal rainfall returns. Our cattle operation presently consists of one spotted cow (Whitey, a family pet) and her big, healthy, white heifer.

We can't adjust the number of wild animals on the ranch in as decisive a manner. However, by removing the cattle we have encouraged the growth of vegetation that will not only sustain the wildlife but provide protection of the top soil from high winds and an occasional pelting rainstorm. So far this year the Ranch has received seven inches of rain, almost all of which was absorbed. This has been sufficient to grow a good stand of cool season grasses and wildflowers. While we don't believe in pumping up deer with high protein feed, we have started scattering small piles of high quality alfalfa around the ranch in order to maintain healthy animals with high conception, birth, and weaning rates.

So, what about the whitetail deer, exotics, and turkeys this year?

The population of whitetails is about the same as the last few years, but the composition of the herd is different and much better. By limiting the harvest of superior young bucks for several years we have permitted many of them to mature and develop very good, and in some instances outstanding, antlers.

The exotics are recovering from a slump, and we have increasing populations of Aoudad, Blackbuck Antelope, and Axis. Our hunters will have a broader selection of animals to view and hunt than in the past few years.

Turkeys are all over the Ranch. In the Spring of 2012 there was a very good hatch which produced lots of jakes this past season that will have long beards during the Fall and Spring seasons.

May 19, 2013