Monday, January 30, 2012

Whitetail, axis, fallow, and blackbuck, oh my!

So enough about hogs and ducks.  Let's get to the real meat of the ranch (pun intended); the deer.  Steve currently has 4 species of deer: whitetail, axis, fallow (white, spotted, and chocolate), and one last blackbuck who is spoken for and will be leaving us in about a month.  Don't cry, I'll tell you a story and you will see that he is getting what he deserves.

Obviously, there is white tail season, which is the only time people can hunt them.  The exotics don't have seasons, so they can be hunted year round, as can the hogs. 

Here are some pictures from the game cameras we set up by a couple feeders:

This guy will grow up to be a nice buck.  He will have this year to grow and hopefully next year too.

This is a fatty axis.  He is not the biggest one on the ranch but is still a nice size.  Axis have a beautiful hide and are delicious!

These are 2 fallow deer; I think both chocolate but can't really tell due to the dark lighting.  I love the fallow deer.  Their antlers are so pretty with the big palmations on the ends, and they are really pretty and sweet looking.  Maybe one day Steve will let me shoot a chocolate one.

The top picture is the blackbuck from behind and then in the bottom picture he is the one to the far right.  Blackbucks are really pretty and turn black like this guy in the winter and turn light tan in the summer....I think they are prettier like this though.
Here is why we shouldn't feel sorry for this guy...

About 3 years ago, Steve bought 5 HUGE breeder whitetail bucks to help out the genetics on the ranch.  They were all healthy and doing fine and then one by one they started disappearing.  We would then later find their remains near the ponds and had no idea what happened.  We started treating for worms in case that was it, but they kept turning up dead.  Then we figured it out....this guy and his buddy who later died of natural causes, were goring the whitetail.  You see, blackbucks have horns and all of the other deer on the ranch have antlers.  The main difference between a horn and an antler is that antlers are shed and grow back every year, horns just continue to grow year after year.  These aggressive blackbucks were taking advantage of the times when they had their horns and everyone else was unarmed.  Because of this incident, Steve decided, with my encouragement, not to add to the blackbuck population and to let them die out. 

Here is a whole crowd around the corn feeder.  Look, even a raccoon decided to stop by.

Lessons for this post:

1.  Texas' death penalty applies to animals on the ranch as well.
2.  See, I can write about other things than babies.

Here is the link to the ranch's website: 

Enough about the ranch, back to babies we go!

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