"The good news for hunters in this economy is that there are Texas deer hunts still available for this fall, including on some ranches that previously had waiting lists. If there's an outfitter you've hunted with in the past or been unable to book a hunt with because their business was too good, now's the time to reconnect. Nobody is saying anything about discounted prices yet, but it doesn't hurt to ask, particularly as hunting seasons draw near. The best time to hunt Texas whitetails in most of the state is mid-November to mid-December, with the later time frame preferable for south Texas. Here are some opportunities I've been able to uncover:
"Greg Simons of Wildlife Systems says the rest of his business (exotics, antelope, mule deer) is solid, but he's booked very few whitetail hunts since March, and he still has some good opportunities available on nine different ranches in west and south Texas.
"`I haven't seen anything quite like this market,' says Simons. `One problem is that the market is flooded with whitetail hunts.' According to Simons, Texas went through a growth trend when it was easy to sell hunts. Plus, a lot of people who bought hobby ranches when times were good are trying to sell hunts to offset their overhead now that times aren't so good. `Texas is known for great deer hunting,' he says, `but whitetails are spread all over the US, and I think some of the hunters who were traveling to Texas are doing their deer hunting closer to home this fall.'
"Prices for Simons' trophy hunts range from $3,750 to $9,950, with most management buck hunts going for about half as much. Some of the ranches are high-fenced and others........(continued)