USA: Texas Desert Mule Deer

5 Hunting Days
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  • 2019 Texas Desert Mule Deer
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Bordering a National Park, hunt very remote and strategic ranches made exclusive for each party and personally guided by the outfitter. Target trophy-class Desert Mule Deer free-range in rugged west Texas during the peak rut.

TRIP DURATION  5 professionally 1×1 guided hunting days
PHYSICAL LEVEL Medium
PRIME TIME Rut hunts span from mid-December to late January
WILDLIFE STATUS Wild, Free-ranging & Indigenous

Package Highlights

Some of the least explored regions of Texas, Big Bend country is a beautiful and ecologically diverse region, notable amongst sportsmen for producing big free-range Desert Mule Deer, in addition to huge Aoudad and Desert Bighorn rams. This hunt occurs during the winter rut in a rugged and remote corner of the state with vast swaths of wilderness landscape at the outfitter’s fingertips.

Extensive mesquite choked washes snake through the ranches valley floors and provide excellent cover and travel corridors for rutting Mule Deer as they roam during the rut. Bordered by rugged desert mountains, these areas are difficult to access without a guide, but otherwise see no other hunting pressure. These strategically located ranches have produced consistent results on 170+ type Mulies. The wild factor here for a really big buck is extremely good while hunting vast swaths prime habitat adjoining the National park. Another advantage is that in fact two outfitters have partnered together pooling their resources to offer these premium trophy Mule Deer and sheep hunts.

The package comes standard at 5 full days, 1×1 guided personally by the outfitters to offer the best possible experience and success rates. A very limited quota on these ranches of only 5-6 hunts annually promotes targeting only the biggest, oldest bucks in the hunting area. In addition to the Mule deer, these hunts can be combined with trophy Aoudad and Javalina on a flat rate trophy fee due upon success. As a bonus to our hunters, Quail hunting can also be had at no additional cost once tagged out. Specifically, Scaled Quail, are handsome birds that are both plentiful, beautiful and delicious. Trophy Desert Bighorn can also be added to this hunt with special preparation and permit availability. Price upon request.

Enjoy this unique experience in unchartered West Texas from a classic mountainside hacienda-style lodge overlooking a series of remote canyons bordering Big Bend National Park. Deep in private property, these ranches are made exclusive to each hunting party. Complimentary custom rifles, mesquite coal Tex-Mex cuisine, and non-hunters welcome to share in this winter adventure getaway!

Typical Day & Tactics

Greet the outfitter at a vintage general store or tavern in your personal or rental vehicle on a main crossroads about 30 miles from the hunting area. This simplifies the final directions to the remote hacienda ranch house. Upon arrival, unpack and prepare your gear, have a light dinner then settle in the for the night.

Wake up early, hammer down a quick breakfast, pack a lunch and then hit the trailhead in the pre-dawn. Some of the ridgetops and much of the lower elevation’s areas are made accessible by 4×4 side by sides. The rest of the terrain requires some light hiking to reach various key overlooks. This is a classic spot & stalk style hunt, which is generally relaxed as you let your eyes do the bulk of the walking. Glass from the vehicle or short climbs to strategic vantage points with the outfitter. Dissect the various mesquite filled washes that meander through the valley floors across this rugged landscape with binoculars and spotting scopes. Locate and then judge Mule Deer until a shooter buck is located.  At the same time, stay sharp to any trophy Aoudad rams or Javelina, both of which can be added to any Mule Deer hunt for a trophy fee as a target of opportunity.

Unless hunting the primary mesquite washes near camp, packed lunches keep hunters out in the field glassing and hunting all day. During the rut anything can happen as the deer are moving and more conspicuous. The outfitters are very experienced Mule Deer hunters and guides, able to make good judgment calls on trophy quality and closing the distance when a big shooter buck is located.

At this point, the energy changes and a tactical stalk is devised on how best to get inside of shooting range. Careful maneuvering through the Yuccas & rimrock is exciting as you creep into position with the buck unaware. This is big country, and so long-range shooting confidence is an ally in boosting odds. Not to mention meticulous rifle coaching with the outfitters custom and dialed Gunwerks rifles.  Upon success, shift the focus to a super unique Quail hunt at no additional costs, or choose to more seriously pursue Aoudad or Javelina.

After celebrations and caping, the hides, antlers or horns are prepared and even hand-delivered to a capable local taxidermist if desired, who can then perform an array of taxidermy options. Once the hunt is concluded be escorted back to the main road either en route to the airport, or directly back home.

Landscape & Climate

The Chihuahuan desert of Southwest Texas is a harsh and rugged landscape. An obscure corner of the continental US that many don’t get the privilege to explore enough. A series of jagged, lower elevation mountain ranges with subsequent ephemeral river valley washes provide ideal habitat for Desert Mule Deer and sheep. In addition, other indigenous wildlife includes Pumas, Mexican Black Bears, Grey Foxes, Javelina, Golden Eagles, Kangaroo Rats, Montezuma Quail, and Road Runners. Mountain terrain can be a sloped combination of rimrock, ridge tops, and undulating spires. Generally, vegetation is sparse with the dominant plants being various species of Yuccas. Prickly Pear, Ocotillo and some Cholla cactus also fill in the gaps. The low country gives rise to the dense Mesquite washes where many of the deer concentrate. Once off the mountains and out of the washes, the flats are otherwise bleak and dominated by Creosote.

A dry desert environment, temperatures here can range throughout the year, but winters are often mild and rarely dip below freezing. Mornings are crisp but the sun warms the landscape quickly as temperatures rise throughout the day. Hunters tend to start the day in a sweater and end it in a T-shirt.

Meals & Accommodations

To complete this experience, stay in an old traditional hacienda stone house, set picturesquely amidst a canyon peak overlooking the main wash that carves its way through the floor of the ranch. Rugged mountain slopes on either side let you start and end each day glassing from camp, nestled right in the hunting area. The lodge has running water, flushing toilets, a shower, and generator-powered electricity allowing for light, cooking, and wifi. Enjoy all the local artifacts collected by the owner over a lifetime of living on the ranch. The main bedroom has 4 beds comfortably housing hunters.

Breakfasts are quick and simple to get you in the field bright and early. Toast, eggs, fruit, cereal, and coffee most days. Plan on packing a lunch in your day pack to stay out and hunt all day. Water, Gatorade, fruit, sandwiches, jerky, cookies, and candy are provided. Once back for the night the lodge has a large outdoor wrap around deck complete with an open cooking fire fueled by aromatic mesquite logs. Cook over coals like a cowboy under the stars. Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, grilled chicken, pork chops or Texas steaks often find their way onto the grill, with potatoes, rice or veggies on the side.

Key Equipment Suggestions

Plan for big, open and rugged terrain. Much equipment is not needed, but specific items could prove very useful. Comfortable, broken-in ankle-high hiking boots and optics are the two most essential items. Consider 10-15x binoculars and rangefinder. A quality spotting scope and tripod are not necessary but allows hunters to participate in locating and judging, enhancing the experience. A day pack (perhaps with a camelback bladder), trekking poles if desired, camp slippers, polarized sunglasses, Chapstick, a digital camera, durable pants and a lightweight sweater for those cool mornings rounds off recommended items. Hunter orange is not required.

Pricing

Trophy Rifle Rut Hunt: 5 full days – 1×1 guided – x1 Trophy Desert Mule Deer – Dec–Jan = $6500

Included

  • All meals and accommodations during the hunt
  • 1×1 professional guiding personally by the outfitter
  • All trophy fees for x1 trophy Desert Mule Deer with no size restrictions
  • Custom Gunworks rifle rental and ammunition for the duration of the hunt
  • Bonus Quail hunting once tagged out
  • Opportunities for trophy Aoudad or Javelina
  • All ground transportation while hunting
  • Basic trophy antlers & hide preparations & drop off at the taxidermist

Not Included

  • Travel to the ranch or hunting area
  • Any pre and post-hunt meals and accommodations
  • Trophy fees for any additional game animals harvested
  • Gratuities to guides and staff
  • Taxidermy and trophy export
  • purchases of a personal nature, alcohol, souvenirs etc.
  • Personal side ventures or tourism

Additions

  • Extra hunting days: 650/day
  • Non-hunting observer days: $650 flat rate
  • Texas Non-resident hunting license & Mule Deer tag: Approx. $350
  • Texas Non-resident Exotic Hunting Licenses: Approx. $50 purchased online
  • Trophy fees for additional game species;
  • Texas Desert Bighorn Sheep = (POR if available)
  • Trophy Aoudad Ram = $3000
  • Javelina (Peccary) = $550
  • Scaled Quail Hunting = No Cost – Free!

Destination City

Hunters are asked to arrive at either the Midland or El Paso Airports in SW Texas. Unless driving from home, it is encouraged to rent a vehicle at the airport and drive the approximate 3.5 hours south to the hunting area the day before the hunt commences.

Travel Suggestions

Unless choosing to drive from home, Midland or El Paso are both easily reached by various North American airlines. Either direct flights, or with connections typically in either Denver or Dallas.

Airport Shuttles

Airport pick-up & drop-off services are not included in the package. Hunters are asked to drive to the lodge or rent a vehicle enabling the outfitters to continue pre-scouting and making preparations prior to hunter arrival.

Special Info

Passport required for all international travel.