Axis deer hunting in Texas

Roland Baker

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Joined
Oct 10, 2015
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23
Hey guys I don't post here much but I thought some of you might enjoy a hunting report with photos!

As promised folks here's my feeble attempt at a written hunting report. This Axis hunt with team Pope started last summer with a 3 day hunt where we found many nice bucks but none that I could get on. I went back for a couple days late last fall but didn't shoot then either.
We started the hunt on a place on the Nueces river in Edwards county. Lots of wildflowers still growing along the river made for some photo ops.




We sat in a blind until dark and didn't see the buck the landowner had been seeing! We did spot a very nice younger buck with a beautiful frame and dark horns but we passed! Beautiful country along the river and it was a pleasure to get to hunt there.

Day two started very early on a ranch between Junction and Kerrville. While hunting there last summer we located a huge old deer with a big barrel shaped rack but I didn't get an ethical shot and we passed. I hoped to see him again this year and see what his headgear looked like this summer but it wasn't meant to be. The morning was very windy with little to no movement! Later in the morning we made a move to a beautiful ranch near Moutain Home.

The Priour Ranch is a beautiful place with many different species of Exotic game. I'm sure the Whitetail hunting is incredible every fall as I viewed many bucks just starting to grow this years rack. I got to see some animals I'd never seen before like the Elds deer, Hog deer, Muntjak deer and the Persian Gazelle. I took a few photos but I was focused on getting a shot at a mature Axis. Heres a few shots of some Sambar deer





as well as a beautiful Barasingha that was so Orange colored he almost glowed!





The folks at the Priour sent Josh a cell phone photo they had taken thru some bino's of a great Axis buck that they were seeing that looked to be a heck of an animal. Here is the photo of him from several weeks earlier and they felt he was should be finished growing and possibly hard horned by now.



This was important to me as I'm not really a velvet guy. I've killed them in the past but I'm a hard horn guy! We started hunting in a slow mist and heavy wind and we thought we could stalk him close to a spot he had been feeding recently with some does but we didn't locate him or the does. The huge pasture he was calling home has a large area in the middle that's (appx 400 acres) of 6-10ft tall Shinnery Oak that is a perfect place for any wild animal to call home. The Axis/WT/Muflon that I noticed using it were always just a few feet away from complete safety and concealment.

The guys at the Priour (John and Caleb) said our best chance to see this buck was to stay out of the area until just before dark and hopefully the does will feed out into the heavily oaked meadows that surround the Shinnery maze. We had lunch and spent the afternoon looking for Axis in other pastures on the ranch. We found several other bucks but my heart was set on the buck I'd seen the photo of. About 7:00 that evening John and I decided to get the wind in our face and see if we could see him before he saw us! After about 45 minutes we located the does he had been seen with but he wasn't with them so we moved to the other side of the Shinnery fortress and slowly started moving from north to south with the strong south wind. About 8PM John said very softly "thats him"..... I was dying because I couldn't make him out in the thick brush. Finally I realized he was at the very edge of the shin oaks much farther up the pasture than I was looking. John said "if we move he will bust us... can you make the shot?" I settled the crosshairs, took a deep breath and slowly applied pressure to my very light trigger. I lost the deer in the recoil but from the smile on Johns face I knew he was DRT. I'm proud of the shot (265yyards) because I forgot to crank the magnifacation off of 3.5 power. That's pretty good for my old eyes as I always leave my scope cranked down unless I'm hunting in open country!

The buck was a tank of an animal and is bigger bodied than any Axis I've ever killed. If you get a chance to hunt with Pope Brothers don't pass it up. The guides.... Josh and J.D. are very knowledgeable and a pleasure to hunt with. Thank you guys for a great time! Take Care folks, Baker

 

flatwater bill

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Joined
Jun 1, 2014
Messages
51
I enjoyed your report, and loved the pic of Axis you took. Have always wanted to hunt both Axis, and especially Addax someday........nice report of an excellent hunt...........Flatwater Bill
 

thehulk

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Jan 17, 2012
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132
Location
Southern Oklahoma
Sounds like you had an awesome time.

Correct me if I'm wrong, I've spent some years in South Texas and any Axis deer was inside a high fence, and in just about every case the ranches had deer feeders galore which turned the axis deer's habits like that of a farm goat. Those types of hunts just dont appeal to me. However your nice write-up seems to be a bit different story then what I've seen.
 

olyeller

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Oct 6, 2014
Messages
27
Sounds like you had an awesome time.

Correct me if I'm wrong, I've spent some years in South Texas and any Axis deer was inside a high fence, and in just about every case the ranches had deer feeders galore which turned the axis deer's habits like that of a farm goat. Those types of hunts just dont appeal to me. However your nice write-up seems to be a bit different story then what I've seen.

They have been roaming free for at least 25years or more in many areas. Here inside my little Central Texas town is a herd of 20-30 animals; saw one road-kill about 3 months ago in middle of town, and have them roaming across the lake from my home on an old low-fenced ranch.

Just about as elusive as any whitetail.
 

Roland Baker

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Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
23
They have been roaming free for at least 25years or more in many areas. Here inside my little Central Texas town is a herd of 20-30 animals; saw one road-kill about 3 months ago in middle of town, and have them roaming across the lake from my home on an old low-fenced ranch.

Just about as elusive as any whitetail.

There are an estimated 70,000+ head of free ranging Axis deer in the Texas hill country. They were brought to several ranches in the hill country in the 1950's and like any animal will find a way out of just about any enclosure. Axis are similar to hogs in that they travel up and down watersheds thrughout many counties in the state.

Axis are for the most part much more wary than WT deer IMHO and if they know they are being hunted will bury themselves in the thickest cover available and become mostly nocturnal. If you disturb them they will leave an area for months at a time.

Hunting Axis in a decent sized high fence ranch can be incredibly difficult and frustrating. Axis bucks get stupid during the summer months as most of the females are bred then but a buck can be hard horned any time of the year and fawns can be born year around. Trust me folks, hunting Axis can be easy at times if you catch a buck with a hot doe but they are very challenging most of the time. OBTW I will hunt a field or meadow early and late but I won't set over a feeder.

The Axis numbers in Texas are growing yearly because in the same range they seem to out compete WT deer because their diets are so diverse compared to the WT.
I've hunted Axis for 25 years and I've never killed a buck or doe that wasn't fat and healthy no matter what the condition of the browse they have available.
 

olyeller

Active Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
27
Thank you Roland for the factoid. First time my wife tasted an axis steak she wanted me to give up whitetail and elk and just hunt axis. :D
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
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Congratulations on your awesome moment. I also want to have good time of hunting...gun)

The debate of whether or not a standard white flash will spook a mature buck is almost as complex as which broadhead is the best. There are simply too many factors involved in each scenario to establish a definite winner. What I do know is that until I see definitive proof that a white flash will not spook a mature buck I will opt for the infrared version or “no-flash” at all.

Honestly, I have no problem believing a big buck could be spooked by a white light flashing in its face ( Spartan HD https://hunthacks.com/best-cellular-wireless-trail-camera/ ). They are so cagey and eccentric by nature; why take the chance. Also, infrared or no-flash models are harder to locate by fellow hunters who happen to be in the area after nightfall; for whatever reason.
 
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