Texas is famous for its weather. We can go from hot to cold; from wet to dry; and from sun to storm faster than a dog can trot. It gives us a lot to look forward to, and think about after it’s over. Last summer was one of the hottest, driest in a long time. Tanks dried up, creeks turned to potholes, and crops failed. Wildlife suffered along with everything else, and deer and quail hunters saw the results in poor quality antlers and covey sizes across the state. There’s an old saying that, “Nothing can take the place of a good rain when a drought hits Texas.”
I saw evidence of this on my own place in Castroville. Even though the deer feeders were never empty, the deer suffered from the dry summer and fall, and no amount of sack feed could prevent a sudden increase of spike bucks in my deer herd—more than I’ve seen in several years.
Hunters across the state saw evidence of the drought as well. Quality deer were down by about 40 percent, and participation in the deer contests was down. Hot, dry weather is hard on deer, especially bucks trying to grow antlers. Some deer experts think it can decrease antler growth by as much as 15 to 20 percent.
Now for the good part: the recent heavy rains brought on by El Niño will probably bring out the best in antler growth and quail production this year. Many bucks were passed up last season, and a high percentage of them will be around again this fall. I believe that we’ll have a very good season coming for all types of hunting. Nothing turns things around faster than rainfall in Texas, and we surely have had the rain lately.
Most of you are aware by now that Texas Trophy Hunters has two TV shows airing this year. “Trophy Hunters TV” is on the Outdoor Channel (Direct TV Channel 606, Dish Network 153) and a new show, “Trophy Hunters Classics” on Pursuit Channel (Direct TV Channel 608). Indications are that the Classic shows, which aired from l997 to last year, are being well received, right along with our current productions on the Outdoor Channel.
The Journal debuts a new column beginning with this issue. Senator Glenn Hegar of Katy (District 18) will be writing a regular column, “Sportsman’s Legislative Corner,” on legislative matters pertaining to hunting, water, and landowner rights. Senator Hegar is a hunter, farmer, and fourth generation Texan who is well versed in legislative matters dealing with rural life in a major portion of the state.