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Old 09-25-2012, 09:32 AM   #1
viper3853
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Thumbs up Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Anyone get drawn to hunt Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge?

I got picked to hunt unit 2 this year Dec 7-9. Anyone got info on this Unit?

I hunted unit 8 last year.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:57 AM   #2
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Good luck. For a place you'd think would be covered with deer, I never saw very many out there. I was really surprised. The trails I did see followed the drains and crossed the saddles, so keep that in mind. Try to find a place where several drains come together. They will be low in the a.m. and high in the p.m. and if the day is hot, they will bed just below the ridgelines on the NE side, in the shade. Watch the drains in the a.m. to find them coming up to bed. In the p.m., find a junction of drains and trails midway between the bedding areas below the ridges, and the valleys, esp. if you can find a pasture they want to go to.

John
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:10 PM   #3
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I got drawn for unit 11 for Dec 7-9. Did you do any good last year? This is my first year hunting this land. I called and they said I could use my bow, but that I would be "out gunned" so to speak.

Do you know how the orientation works? They said it was on the hunting weekends, but I am not sure when those are.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:35 PM   #4
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Call the refuge and ask for Rob or David.

Yes, they do lump rifle and bowhunters together, but don't let that discourage you. They spread the hunters out well enough that gun hunters aren't going to affect you much, if at all.

John
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anchorman View Post
I got drawn for unit 11 for Dec 7-9. Did you do any good last year? This is my first year hunting this land. I called and they said I could use my bow, but that I would be "out gunned" so to speak.

Do you know how the orientation works? They said it was on the hunting weekends, but I am not sure when those are.
lol i asked the same question last year and the guy was like "uhhhhhh you have better chances with a rifle."

the orientation is on dec 7 at 2pm i think and another at 5pm.
heres the flyer that will tell you.
http://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/BC%20NWRhunt2012.pdf
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:24 PM   #6
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I got drawn to hunt unit 7 on the 30th. Last year we had a youth hunt and hunted unit 4. My son took his bow and his rifle. I'd recommend taking a rifle.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:07 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info. I may see you there. I am a tall guy 6' 4" with a beard, name is Keith. I would enjoy meeting some guys some TBH so just holler at me if you see me. I was thinking I might strap my 30-30 to my back and keep my bow out in case I see a monster at 100 yards or something I don't have to pass on it. This is my first year bow hunting and I am super excited to kill something with it, so I will definitely be trying to get in close enough to get one with my bow.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:22 PM   #8
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The only bad thing about this hunt is the use of ATV's. Many times people use the access to ride the ATV's all over during the hunt period. Many times people who travel just allow the kids to take the ATV's out without supervision. GW was notified but it continued throughout the week. Good Luck
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:11 PM   #9
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I will be hunting Unit 3 Nov. 16, 17 and 18. This will be my 2nd trip to Unit 3.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:57 PM   #10
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I'm gonna try to go during the scouting days and see what's going on in my unit.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:42 AM   #11
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Would love to know if anyone here has actually taken a deer with their bow at Balcones...
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:51 PM   #12
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ttt anyone else?
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:52 PM   #13
Bear Polar Bow
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My BIL was drawn for 11/16-16 Unit 11.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:54 AM   #14
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I gun hunted Balcones for the last two seasons but never connected on a deer. Didnt apply for the drawing this year. Good luck to all those that go.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear Polar Bow View Post
My BIL was drawn for 11/16-16 Unit 11.
I am out in 11 for December, you will have to let me know if you find any good spots. I would appreciate it. I have been looking at google satellite images and have an idea where I will scout and probably setup, but I'd love to hear how things go for you. Good luck!

Oh, by the way, that 14 pointer out there as my name on it, so just save him for my trip if you see him and send me the GPS coordinates ;-)
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:09 AM   #16
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ttt
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:24 PM   #17
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anyone go out scouting this weekend??
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:17 PM   #18
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I am going to try and get some scouting in this week. I have to scout unit 3 and 7
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:21 PM   #19
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Here are some google earth links for the units:
http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges...s/hunting.html
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:24 PM   #20
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i hope to do some scouting soon.

Anyone doing the youth hunt this weekend?
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:56 PM   #21
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anyone do the youth hunt??
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:03 PM   #22
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Where is this place at and are there mulies there? Are you hunting canyons? Sorry I just dont know anything about this place but it sounds pretty good.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:18 PM   #23
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I think it's somewhere around Austin. No mulies.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:18 PM   #24
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It's off of Lake Travis close to Austin, TX. It's the hill country, I am not sure of any real canyons but maybe there are. It looks like nice land in a prime spot in central Texas, yet from everything I have read about others hunts there most people don't do real well. I am setup for a hunt in December, so hopefully that isn't the case when I get there :-).
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:19 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panhandlehunter View Post
I think it's somewhere around Austin. No mulies.
Yeah no mulies, just whitetail and feral hogs
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:49 AM   #26
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there are some deep valleys and stuff there. its a fun hunt. did it last year and had to let a nice buck walk since i hadnt killed my doe or pig first. the guy next to me killed a good sized pig there.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:22 PM   #27
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Had a group of 4 guys hunt Balcones this past weekend. We hunted Unit 3. We ended up with 3 does and 1 cull buck. All the deer were taken in the front part of the unit. No one saw any big deer. There was alot of scrapes and rubs everwhere. In the thick areas there were some rubs on 4" to 6" dia trees that were very impressive for the hill country.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:20 AM   #28
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Nice thanks for the update.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:48 PM   #29
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If you have an ATV and drive to a spot where most folks cannot reach, you will have a good chance to see big ones. I hunted at Unit 7 few years ago and drove all the way to the inside (unit I or J). I saw some real big tracks, like cow size. I am sure they were deer's footprint, there were no cow at where I hunt. Saw/spooked lots of deer while scouting or walking to my stand at dark. During legal time, 2 Does gave me couple seconds to shot from 140 yards away, but I missed by shooting without support. Saw a big 10 point too. You can not feed deer or set up ahead, so any things can be happened at any time, it was fun to hunt there.

Last edited by cy100; 11-20-2012 at 12:50 PM..
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:50 PM   #30
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That is really good news, I wasn't feeling too good about this place based on what I had read from other hunters I could find had posted their results on a Google search. Thanks for the info, I am excited now!
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:49 PM   #31
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There are many deer for sure. The major challenge for me is how to access to a good spot. The rocky road to access your unit is very tough, especially in wet weather. It may be one of the main reasons that most hunters choose to hunt close to the entrance. Certainly, you cannot expect a high rate of harvest by doing so. Last time I hunted there, it was a cold rainy day. I drove my AWD SUV to my unit where most other 4x4 truck drivers would hesitate. I saw many deer then. Another hunter drove an ATV to the unit close to mine. He shot a doe in the first evening. My buddy hunted unit 7 last year, he drove ATV to one of the deep units, he also saw big bucks. Of cause, my brave behave had to be paid off. Spent $1,400 to fix my car after that hunt. But luckily, my extension warranty covered the big bill.

Last edited by cy100; 11-20-2012 at 03:52 PM..
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:39 AM   #32
viper3853
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getting ready for Dec, 7th!!
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:10 AM   #33
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I just got a permit transfer from a guy that had to back out of his hunt this weekend. I'll be in section2. I'll be are to post afterwards and give you any info I can gather.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:57 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adpotts View Post
I just got a permit transfer from a guy that had to back out of his hunt this weekend. I'll be in section2. I'll be are to post afterwards and give you any info I can gather.
just reread it...

what blind/point you hunting?
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:17 PM   #35
anchorman
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I am in unit 11 and drive a 2WD avalanche. I see there are some roads that go pretty far off the highway. Do you know if it's something I can take my truck back into or is it a 4WD only kind of road?
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:06 PM   #36
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i was in unit 8 last year and borrowed my frineds 2wd chevy single cab, it made it fine, there was a hill at entrance that i had to get a running start to get up, but i made it ok. the road is rough but, good driving skills and you should be fine.

now if its muddy or raining, that might be something else.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:56 PM   #37
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Dry - no problem. All you need is clearance.

Wet - another story ENTIRELY. Even the best 4wd will get stuck way in the back.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:56 PM   #38
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Yeah I figured if it was wet it would be a bad idea, let's hope that weekend doesn't rain!
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:33 PM   #39
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I'm not sure how it works out there, just know I'll be section 2 with 1 other hunter. I seem to think for some reason I may be assigned to stand #1, but I don't know if they do actual assigned stands since there are 3 stands and 2 hunters. If I do happen to end up in stand 1, I think that's going to be the best one side the win is supposed to be out of the south all weekend.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:09 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adpotts View Post
I'm not sure how it works out there, just know I'll be section 2 with 1 other hunter. I seem to think for some reason I may be assigned to stand #1, but I don't know if they do actual assigned stands since there are 3 stands and 2 hunters. If I do happen to end up in stand 1, I think that's going to be the best one side the win is supposed to be out of the south all weekend.
I'll be hunting stand #1 as well. Let us know how it goes. And good luck!!
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:32 AM   #41
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any updates on this past weekends hunt?
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:17 PM   #42
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Well, no luck.

First, I didn't like the way the stand was set up. It was on a tree line with a big open field and it just felt like there would be no reason for deer to be anywhere around the stand. I did see 3 doe Friday evening, right at dark. I made a stupid shot because I was in the mindset of kill the first doe I see so I can have a chance at a buck. Well, I shot over her, and then didn't see another deer the rest of the weekend.

The other hunter that was in Unit 2 with me saw a group of 3 doe Saturday evening right at dark, but couldn't get a shot. I'm guessing it was the same group.

I think our troubles out there mainly had to do with:
1. really strong south wind
2. it was 85 degrees
3. full moon

So, hopefully you'll have better luck than I did.
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Old 12-04-2012, 04:23 PM   #43
viper3853
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thanks for the info, ive been lookng at google maps and ill be hunting the same stand as you, im not to happy about the stand setup either.

hopefully i can at least shoot a doe and get some meat.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:47 AM   #44
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Getting stuff ready, then gonna head out to Eagle Peak shooting range to make sure my baby is dead on!
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:12 PM   #45
anchorman
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Well viper got out here and the place I had scouted on google satellite maps that was supposed to be a creek is actually a road. I just set up on some good trails I saw hiking back in here. Definitely fresh hog and deer sign. We'll see :-/
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:41 PM   #46
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Saw some rooting and tracks while driving to the blind. Well see of they come out and play.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:03 PM   #47
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I heard a hog but never saw him. On my way in I saw a spot that I thought was better and moved my blind back there before I left, lots of fresh tracks, but I bet we don't see much till it gets cold Sunday
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:01 PM   #48
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Saw a fawn, spike, and small 6 point buck. Heard a doe blow when I was watching the buck but never saw her. Gonna wait for a doe, if not that spike is getting shot.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:57 PM   #49
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Nice, glad to hear you saw some deer. I saw tons of fresh tracks so I know they are there in my unit too.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:02 PM   #50
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Heading to the gun range. Saw the same single horned spike from last night. Gonna wait for a doe tonight.
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