Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

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Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#1 Post by crs » Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:44 pm

This is the completion of my previous post "Gone Hunting".

What began as a replacement for a spring black bear hunt in Wyoming evolved into a planned four ranch exotic hunt in south Texas.
Then, participant attrition due to family plans and health issues ended up as a two exotic ranch hunt for three hunters. The first was the Jubalee Ranch located just west of Corpus Christie and the second was the AOA ranch at Hondo, Texas.
My friend JR arranged the hunts and another friend, JS, drove down with me from the Dallas area. JS is an experienced hunter of birds, deer, elk, pronghorn, and African plains game and wanted to see what exotic animals might be available right here near home. He thought maybe a bull Axis deer might be nice.

Jubalee Ranch
We arrived Friday afternoon and were met at the ranch gate by JR and the game manager, Adam Barnes. Adam was running a special to reduce the overpopulation of Axis doe and red deer hind(doe). JR and I wanted a hind and JS was window shopping and taking pictures. The ranch “lodge” was a luxury home decorated with native and African trophies; excellent accommodations. All the ranch roads are paved and the fields of coastal Bermuda grass are neatly mowed as in this photo of my hind taken Saturday morning with my .405 double rifle:

JR also took a hind with his new flint lock rifle and JS took many pictures of big game and wild turkey. He decided that this Axis would look good on his wall, but the taking of the picture spooked it away:

Look at the picture and think about how easily the animal could slip into the shade and become invisible.

Action Outdoors Adventures Ranch (AOL) - ... texas.html

After a mid day lunch and a two hour drive Saturday afternoon, JS and I arrived at the entrance to AOA just three miles south of Hondo where we were met by JR and an unlocked gate. I have hunted AOA with JR for 15 years and AOA is usually dry and a bit dusty this time of year, but now the grass, weeds, and mesquite forest was still very green and lush from frequent rains. It appeared that the usual 25 to 50 yard shot would be reduced to just a few yards. After quickly tossing gear into our rooms, JS and I grabbed rifles and hopped into the 4 door, 4WD ranch pickup to get in a quick hunt before dark.
Rather than the usual tour to view the many varieties of exotics, JR headed for the far southeast corner of the 1,200 acre property where “my” cow elk had been recently seen. And see it we did- or rather JR saw it standing by a dead tree about 10 yards from us. Jim and I looked all around, but never saw the elk, even when it slipped away into the green mass of mesquite. How? Look at this mess of brush just below a stock tank; JR and I creeping into the brush where we did flush out the cow elk where it became a running blur shielded by the thick brush; no chance for a shot.

Richard, the land owner, took us to supper and regaled us with hunting tales. Back at the lodge, I prepped the coffee pot for an early morning and then hit the sack. Sunday morning we had micro-waved frozen breakfast and coffee before resuming our hunt for the elk cow. Richard took JS out to locate an Axis buck and to get the tour of his exotic animal zoo. During this slowly driving of the many two track trails, we saw many exotics, including bison, Asian water buff, Watusi cattle (one had an 8 foot horn spread), red deer, white tailed deer, red sheep, kudu, black buck, feral hogs, and wild goats and sheep of many breeds and colors. They did locate an Axis to shoot, but as JS was preparing to fire, it stepped into the shady gloom and disappeared, not to be seen again.

Then Richard called JR and told him that he had t spotted the elk cow and would talk us in and back out as we came near. After a few minutes driving, we saw Richard’s white pickup and slowed to a creep as Richard backed away. Soon JR spotted the elk and pointed to about a city block of greenery. After a bit, I thought I saw the butt of the cow and slipped out of the truck and the pickup eased slowly away. You guessed it – no elk to be seen and no sound as it disappeared further into the shady brush. Back in the truck, we slowly made many more passes around the area but the elk was gone and it was noon and time to head back to Dallas.

After a good BBQ lunch in Hondo, we put more ice on my red deer and drove back home. The red deer is said to taste like elk and I will find out next week.
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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#2 Post by Marlin32 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:58 pm

That Richard can talk and tell stories can't he?
Red deer is very similar to elk, not sure if blindfolded would know the difference.

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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#3 Post by bikerbeans » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:27 pm

I just finished two red deer burgers, you can't go wrong with that choice. Sadly, the inner and outer loins are gone.


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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#4 Post by Pete44ru » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:56 pm


What a nice Safari - Thanks for posting about it. ………. :)


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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#5 Post by BrianSH » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:35 pm

Glad to hear of your success.
Sorry we could not meet up last March down Hondo way, I always enjoy talking with you. I had a good hunt too.

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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#6 Post by piller » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:38 pm

Sounds fun. The last time I was at AOA it had just rained and broke a drought. What a muddy mess of fun.
Glad you all had fun.
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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#7 Post by RIHMFIRE » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:59 pm

Congrats on a fine hunt....
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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#8 Post by Bill in Oregon » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:11 am

Nice hunts, Charles. Glad you were able to take some venison home.
Would love see one of those Watusis with the 8-foot horns!

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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#9 Post by Blaine » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:26 pm

Thanks for the write up and always it was enjoyable. 8)
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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#10 Post by gamekeeper » Tue Jun 04, 2019 4:57 pm

BlaineG wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:26 pm
Thanks for the write up and always it was enjoyable. 8)
+ one.... 8)
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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#11 Post by t.r. » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:45 pm

A few years back, I hunted red stag within a high fence ranch in southern Ohio. I had a great time and came home with much tasty meat! My 30-30 carbine performed quite well for me and my next exotic deer will be a hunt for a fallow buck in Florida. The buck does not have to be trophy class to make me happy.

In my opinion, hunting exotic deer can be great fun!

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Re: Hunting 2 different Texas exotic ranches

#12 Post by Tanqueray » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:30 am

Nice write up, must be neat to see so many different species. That second photo looks to be a red stag rather than axis to me, unless I missed something?
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