A True Free Range Hunt for Axis Deer in Texas


Published: December - 2010

Correspondent Mel Toponce tells us he's found an interesting hunt for free-range axis deer in Texas. Seems Mike and Hunter Bodenchuk, a father-and-son team based in Hondo, Texas, recently leased the rights to offer axis deer hunts on the 10,000-acre Nancy and Bob Brockman Ranch, 22 miles southeast of Sonora, Texas. Toponce reminded us that Mike Bodenchuk may be a familiar name to some readers. He guided elk hunters in Arizona and New Mexico for 12 years and also worked briefly at the 777 Ranch, the Hondo, Texas, landmark owned by African Professional Hunter Jeff Rann. Here's the story:

"The Brockmans raise cattle, sheep and goats for market and run a whitetail deer operation. Their property is fenced around the perimeter and cross-fenced to form numerous pastures, but these fences are low, cattle-proof designs not the 12-foot-high game-proof variety. Deer jump over these fences and roam freely, which is what attracted the Bodenchuks to the property.

"When I first heard of this opportunity, I immediately contacted Hunter Bodenchuk, Mike's 22-year-old son, about the possibility of hunting with my longbow and wood arrows. He referred me to his dad, who was very forthright and told me their operation was primarily for rifle hunters, due to the extreme wariness of the animals. But, he said, he was willing to give it a try. I usually do not shoot more than 10 or 15 yards and requested that he build a blind in advance to possibly ambush a stag on its way to feed.

"My wife and I drove to Texas from California and made arrangements to rendezvous with Mike at the Comfort Inn in Sonora. My wife then drove on to Austin, where I would join her after the hunt. Mike and I proceeded to the Brockman Ranch. I was pleasantly surprised by the hunt accommodations, an older, basic Texas-style bunkhouse with kitchen, living/dining area, sleeping rooms, showers and even a big-screen TV. It was comfortable and exactly what I had envisioned.

"I was also extremely impressed with the layout........(continued)

 
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