Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cool weather rolls in...time to hit the hill country

Occasionally this time of year in South Texas we get a couple days of cool weather...early morning temperatures in the 50's and a slight breeze out of the West.  It's heaven while it lasts but usually just Mother Nature teasing us as humid summer temps will return for one last run.  My wife and I were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary at a bed and breakfast set back on an 85 acre ranch.  I was lucky enough to get out and do some bushwhacking and exploring in the hill country while she enjoyed some of the amenities back at the main house.

Sun setting over the valley this ranch is nestled in.  Typical Texas hill country scrub cedars and a variety of oaks.

Like a lot of current day ranch property remnants of the past in the form of old live stock fencing litter the valley.

We have more deer in Texas then people...or so it seems.  Take a couple hour drive just about anywhere and you'll see the small brown white-tails alongside the road, grazing in pastures by the dozen, even moving through the manicured lawns of sub-divisions eating Mrs. Jones' prized roses.  But something changes in a man when you get back in the hills, off the main roads and you start seeing signs of deer.  It must be the primal hunter/gatherer instinct in us.  I started seeing old droppings and old prints.  Then stumbled upon some fresh prints...very fresh.  The hunt was on.  Although on this day I was not hunting with rifle or bow but with my Nikon.  I was determined to stalk this deer through the valley or up the hillsides and capture him/her in my viewfinder.

Heading to the lowest part in the valley I find a dry creek bed opening up to a nice watering hole.  Seemed like a fine place to sit, wait and watch.

I wasn't the only one hanging out around the standing water.  These little scrub jays constantly scream at you as they zip from tree to tree in a nervous fret.

Exploring further up the hill I stumble upon a den with an elaborate network of holes.  This particular passage had considerable fresh dirt strewn about the entry.  I considered setting some snares for the weekend to see what might be using this hillside, but I was already on a mission and needed to stay focused on my deer.

Tough to tell how this buck met his demise.  Majority of the bones were still in the immediate area.   Vultures probably had a nice feast.  Larger predators, like a big cat or coyote, would have drug off most of the carcase.

A short while later my patience and slow stalking through the cedars paid off....GOTCHA!

In a flash she was gone.  She was bed down in a thicket of cedars and suddenly bolted out in front of me.  Her dull brown coat blending in perfectly.  They move with amazing speed through dense brush and barely make a sound.

Thanks for coming along...


  1. Thanks for linking my blog through yours! If anyone hasn't checked out "American Grouch" it's a must read...always great stuff!