Free-range Axis deer are rutting right now in central Texas. Here’s a little info on the interesting animals. Native to India, Axis deer were introduced into Texas in the early 1930s, and now occur in some 30 central and southern counties. Free-ranging herds of Axis are most populated in the Hill Country, where the terrain and semi-open habitat are similar to that of India. In India, Axis are known as “chital,” which means spotted deer. Bucks and does have chestnut coats dotted with vibrant white spots. These are gregarious animals. Herds are comprised of males and females of various age groups throughout the year. Mature chital bucks have tall racks with 3 points per antler. Interestingly, you can see bucks [...]
For decades Pennsylvania hunters had to mail pre-stamped envelopes to county treasurers to apply for their antlerless deer licenses, but that arcane system is finally over. Thanks to a new 2023 law, resident and out-of-state hunters can now purchase “doe tags” from all locations and stores that sell hunting licenses as well as online. The first batch of antlerless licenses for the 2023-24 season went on sale this morning, June 26, and hunters are encouraged to get theirs early. Resident antlerless licenses cost $6.97 and nonresidents pay $26.97.
The 4th of July is right around the corner, and many families will head to campgrounds. Some things to keep in mind: Get the Kids Involved When you take kids camping, keep them busy and off their phones and portable gaming devices. Start out with a little required work—setting up the tent, collecting firewood, etc. Then move on to a whole lot of fun. Go hiking with your son or daughter, show him or her animal tracks, fish for trout or bream, etc. The more active your kids are the more fun they’ll have, and they more they’ll enjoy the outdoors and camping and want to go with you again. Fire Up Make sure open-air fires are legal and safe [...]
By now you’ve probably seen the video of a whitetail doe eating and inhaling lengthwise a 2-foot-long snake. The video, taken by Trey Reinhart with his phone while driving along a road in Texas, has gone viral on Twitter with more than 18 million views. Wait, aren’t deer herbivore? Plant-eaters? Yes, and while it’s rare, a deer will sometimes eat animals or animal matter that it runs across. Most documented cases of carnivorous meals have been deer eating the eggs from a bird’s ground nest. Deer have also been know to eat tiny songbird chicks. A few years back, a photo of a deer standing in a creek with a fish in its mouth went viral. I read where some [...]
While the first whitetails that will perish this summer from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) won’t show up in numbers until August or September, I am starting to study the drought maps and make some predictions. First the good news. Many areas in the West and Deep South have received plenty of moisture, so I think any outbreaks of EHD will be spotty and insignificant. But I see potential trouble spots in the Midwest, particularly in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri, where conditions range from abnormally dry to exceptional drought in many areas. Moderate drought conditions also exist eastward across the upper Midwest to Pennsylvania and south into the Virginia Piedmont where I have a deer camp, so I’m on the [...]