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Texas' 2005 Deer Outlook Part 2: Our Top Trophy Areas
Massive aid from Mother Nature statewide had a lot do with more big deer, he added. "It was a really green year for the entire state, habitat-wise, which is really good. Usually, in a year (with good range conditions), we usually will show a decline in the number of entries because deer did not have to move as much."
Based on the TBGA results, there were literally thousands of great 140-, 150- and 160-class bucks taken from every region of the state. As we'd expect, the best and most hunted regions, especially South Texas, had more than their fair share. But you can't find a spot in Texas that didn't produce at least some whopper bucks.
For my own totally arbitrary analysis, I did a quick tally of the higher scoring bucks in each region. Some, like South Texas and the Edwards Plateau, had hundreds of entries above the TBGA minimums.
So I set a personal arbitrary measure, for what I'd always consider darn big bucks, regardless of any contest or score sheet. My tally was for non-typical bucks grossing at least 170 B&C;, and typical bucks grossing at least 160. In either case, a buck with that much antler mass is going to be a personal best for most of us.
Here's how they tallied up.
There were 319 bucks, by my fast math, that exceeded those scores in 2004-05. That's a world of big bucks. Now here's the interesting part: There were at least half a dozen bucks that big from every region of the state.
The Trans Pecos, Coastal Plains and Post Oak Savannah each produced six bucks exceeding that pretty substantial mark. The Pineywoods produced eight, including a huge 204 3/8 gross non-typical buck in Trinity County for Jimmy Cochran.
The Rolling Plains, with far fewer hunters, produce 20 bucks of that class, topped by Hunt Allred's 235 1/8 gross non-typical that ended up the biggest buck of 2004. Hunt killed it on his family's Mill Iron Ranch in Collingsworth County.
The Edwards Plateau produced 27 bucks above my mark, topping several hundred bucks above the region's 130 minimum for typicals.
In case you're doing the fast math, that leaves a bunch of big deer, and yes, they were killed in South Texas. The Brush Country revived its image as a producer of lots of huge bucks, at least 226 bucks that scored 170 non-typical or 160 typical last season!
From among those 33 Texas whitetails exceeded the Boone and Crockett Club minimum scores, some were ineligible for entry because they were taken from high-fenced property, while others were taken by hunters who will never submit the deer for listing. Most of these record book bucks came from South Texas.
Today's South Texas Brush Country remains the biggest concentration of huge whitetail bucks in the Universe. But where once it was a vast spread of brush across a few huge ranches, today it's being cut into smaller chunks, many surrounded by high fence. There's no doubt big deer drive the economy in this region, from land prices to purchases of corn and high-protein feed by the ton.
This has changed the hunting environment too, so that while the region still offers the promise of the muy grande, it is also still semi-arid desert, dependent on rainfall to make the difference between feast and famine. Smart land stewards manage their wildlife resources for the droughts rather than the wet years.
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