Texas Whitetail Hunt: Big Buck Down

My bowhunting success definitely seems to come in bunches, and 2011 has been a very good year. As you can see from the photo above, I took a dandy 11-point buck this week during a hunt with Vatoville Outdoors outside Eldorado, Texas. This was my first time hunting whitetails in the Lone Star State, and I must say it was quite an experience.

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that certainly applies to Vatoville Outdoors. The sprawling, low-fence ranch covers more than 9,000 acres, and the number of deer I saw on the property was unbelievable. Outfitter Steve Anderson and his crew do a great job managing the property for trophy bucks, and despite really tough habitat conditions as a result of record drought, I saw a number of tremendous bucks throughout the week. In fact, I told Anderson that in only three days of hunting at Vatoville, I probably had more quality  buck encounters than I could expect in several years worth of hunting near my home in Pennsylvania.

Adding to the exciting this week was the fact that the rut is in full swing right now in West Texas, and that meant the bucks at Vatoville are extremely responsive to rattling. In between our stand and blind sits, we put on a number of rattling sessions and called in well over a dozen bucks in relatively short order. Man, that rattling action is fast and furious, with bucks literally running in on a dead sprint and usually leaving as fast as they came. It definitely makes for tough bowhunting, but I am glad I had a chance to experience it. I have never seen bucks so responsive to rattling anywhere else, and I am already making plans to add a decoy to the mix and refine our setups on my next visit.

More on this week's hunt in the days to come...

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