These West Texas Deer Hunts Are Dirt-Cheap


Published: May - 1999

I recently had the opportunity to hunt with two different whitetail outfitters located in a somewhat overlooked part of Texas - namely, the western part of the state. What is remarkable about these outfitters is the prices and the quality of their hunts. Would you believe, one of them charges only $275 a day and that entitles you to a buck deer, two does and a turkey! The other offers a semi-guided whitetail hunt lasting as long as 10 days (if needed) for only $1,250. To be sure, we are not talking about either of these outfitters offering the kind of deer you find in the southern part of the state. But, hey! The hunts they offer are still genuine bargains.

Let's start with Texas Divide Ranch about 30 miles north and west of San Angelo. The ranch owner and hunt outfitter is Judy May, and yes, Judy is female. My hunt with her was my first with a non-male guide, and I must admit to some initial skepticism. However, it turned out that Judy is as knowledgeable and competent as any outfitter I have hunted with. Judy grew up hunting and has been in the hunting business full time for six years. Her ranch and the adjacent leased land available for hunting total over 7,000 acres. Deer are abundant on the property, as are turkeys; and both are free-ranging. There are numerous stands and feeders set up throughout the properties, with many set to accommodate various wind directions, a sure sign the outfitter pays attention to detail. The terrain varies from open prairie, where shots upwards of 200 yards are required, to jungle-thick draws that provide close-quarter action. While the operation is set up with the gun hunter in mind (the Texas rifle season is ten weeks long starting in November), there are plenty of stands conducive to bowhunting.

May manages her land and herds for trophy deer. Among other things, she has maintained a year-round deer-feeding program for the past five years. She has also pushed through a brush clearing project designed to remove strips of cedar and........(continued)

 
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