Cardiologist Robert McFarlane, M.D., bought the place five years ago, mostly because he likes the mystique of the river bottoms and he loves to hunt ducks. With over 900 acres of flooded areas alongside a major flyway, The Big Woods is excellent for ducks, but McFarlane is also managing for deer. He's been culling antlerless deer since he bought the place, but he's only allowed hunters to take a handful of bucks, none of which have been top-end trophies.
McFarlane thinks he has some real whopper whitetails now -- bucks in the 170 B & C class. Texas Parks and Wildlife Biologist Jeff Gunnels tends to support that. He has spent a lot of time in The Big Woods and knows how to judge whitetails. Gunnels says he's seen at least two bucks that will score in the 160 class. Just be aware that these deer are difficult to hunt because the habitat is so good that the deer never go hungry, and they don't have to move around much during daylight hours. Also, the woods are thick and visibility is limited. The best time to hunt the deer in this area, according to Gunnels, is during the rut, which occurs between mid-October and Thanksgiving. "That's when you're most likely to see mature bucks," he says.
McFarlane has done such a good job with his management efforts that Texas Parks and Wildlife has given him a number of special permits called "Managed Land Deer Permits" (MLDPs). These permits allow landowners who carefully manage their properties to hunt an extended hunting season. The Big Woods deer hunts next fall will run from early October to late January.
As for the actual hunting, McFarlane has comfortable tower stands scattered throughout the property, and he........(continued)