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Old 09-16-2020, 09:41 AM   #1
ATXRaider83
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Default Balcones Canyonlands NWR

I just got selected for the general in the Balcones Canyonlands NWR. Any new insight someone could give me about what to expect. I know what kind of deer are there and that they are super skittish. I actually live right around the corner from the bird sanctuary. Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:39 AM   #2
.270
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Tagged. Drawn for 12/11 block. Holding out for today's draw for a little closer to home.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:59 AM   #3
piercebronkite
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I got selected too, trying to figure out if I should attend this one as I have Laguna and Big Bottom lake all around the same time period. Good to have options!
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:19 AM   #4
ATXRaider83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piercebronkite View Post
I got selected too, trying to figure out if I should attend this one as I have Laguna and Big Bottom lake all around the same time period. Good to have options!
Wow you hit the trifecta. If you decide to go let me know. Like I said I pretty much live there and have a base of operations
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Old 09-16-2020, 12:14 PM   #5
.270
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piercebronkite View Post
I got selected too, trying to figure out if I should attend this one as I have Laguna and Big Bottom lake all around the same time period. Good to have options!
I have been trying to get drawn for Laguna to chase Nilgai. If I had to chose between the two I would head south.
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Old 09-16-2020, 12:27 PM   #6
viper3853
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Pending 2nd draw, hopefully I get a chance to head back out there.


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Old 09-16-2020, 03:34 PM   #7
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Here is a thread from last year.

https://discussions.texasbowhunter.c...d.php?t=744543

My son and I hunted in Unit 12 last year. No deer for him that hunt but we did see a 130 class buck chasing a doe but he never slowed down for a shot. My son shot a bit pig and the other hunter in our unit shot two does and a turkey.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:53 PM   #8
.270
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Originally Posted by Rounder View Post
Here is a thread from last year.

https://discussions.texasbowhunter.c...d.php?t=744543

My son and I hunted in Unit 12 last year. No deer for him that hunt but we did see a 130 class buck chasing a doe but he never slowed down for a shot. My son shot a bit pig and the other hunter in our unit shot two does and a turkey.
Are units assigned at check in? Or are they predrawn to allow for scouting?
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:02 PM   #9
viper3853
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .270 View Post
Are units assigned at check in? Or are they predrawn to allow for scouting?

Once you pay for your permit they should send you the unit, I believe. You have time to scout.


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Old 09-16-2020, 07:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by viper3853 View Post
Once you pay for your permit they should send you the unit, I believe. You have time to scout.


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We were sent our unit a few weeks ahead of time last year and there were scouting days available. We never scouted but our unit (12) had two hunters and two blinds set up over food plots so there would not have been a ton of scouting to do.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:04 PM   #11
NDN98
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I got drawn for this hunt too on the Dec 4-6 dates. Looking forward to it.
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piercebronkite View Post
I got selected too, trying to figure out if I should attend this one as I have Laguna and Big Bottom lake all around the same time period. Good to have options!
Honestly, I'd rank this one below BLB. I've never been to laguna but if I had to drop one it would be balcones. But I just don't know how to hunt that cover. It was primarily juniper and live oak. We saw bucks from the hill the first night and should have taken a shot (we were in Travis county which didn't have antler restrictions). My suggestion is to practice long shots as our opportunity was at 380 yards.

Beautiful country.
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Old 09-17-2020, 11:49 AM   #13
.270
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Where is a good place to stay? From my house it's about 1.5 hr drive. Not totally out of driving up everyday but just checking?

Last edited by .270; 09-17-2020 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 09-17-2020, 03:15 PM   #14
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Where is a good place to stay? From my house it's about 1.5 hr drive. Not totally out of driving up everyday but just checking?
Last year after we got out unit number I booked an Airbnb that was only about 10 minutes from our unit. Nothing fancy but served its purpose and was inexpensive.

The NWR is pretty spread out so I would think you might want to wait until you get your assignment before booking a place.
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rounder View Post
Last year after we got out unit number I booked an Airbnb that was only about 10 minutes from our unit. Nothing fancy but served its purpose and was inexpensive.

The NWR is pretty spread out so I would think you might want to wait until you get your assignment before booking a place.
This. We drew the unit right next to the headquarters. We were going to stay at a campground but they were closed due to flooding. We ended up staying at a motel in Bertram. Cedar Creek inn. It was about 20 minutes from our unit. Decent place but not many restaurants nearby open early or late.
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Old 09-17-2020, 10:33 PM   #16
Yakinthebox
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I also drew for the 12/11-13 Dates.

Fee is paid, hopefully we get the emails soon with our units so we can do at least some Google Earth scouting.

I have heard that it is very hit or miss depending on the unit you draw. Some report seeing nothing but birds where others have harvested decent animals. I am not picky. I will shoot a hog if it presents itself. Or a mature doe. Can't wait for sure!

My daughter also drew an Antlerless/Spike permit for The Chaparral! We'll be able to make both! Pretty stoked for her! This will be her first hunt!!!
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Old 09-18-2020, 12:55 AM   #17
Yakinthebox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piercebronkite View Post
I got selected too, trying to figure out if I should attend this one as I have Laguna and Big Bottom lake all around the same time period. Good to have options!
I've hunted Laguna twice on Archery only. Never have hunted Balcones.

If your Laguna draw is for Rifle, I'd say go there for sure. There are plenty of shot opportunities and I'd love to get a chance down there with a rifle.

But if it's archery, I'd say maybe do the Balcones. Hard to say for sure since I've never hunted it. The reason I'm saying this is because LANWR is very big and very open in a lot of areas. there are animals but getting in range is tricky, especially with the Nilgai! They are very skittish and very fast to run away.
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Old 09-22-2020, 10:24 AM   #18
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Tagged and following. I was drawn for Balcones and will be my first time hunting it. Hunt dates 11/13-15/20.
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Old 09-27-2020, 12:37 PM   #19
Yakinthebox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCR² View Post
Tagged and following. I was drawn for Balcones and will be my first time hunting it. Hunt dates 11/13-15/20.

I got drawn for the last of the Rifle hunts. 12/11-13/20.
I'm sure the deer will be nice and skittish by then. Lol. I'll make the most of it and I'll be happy even with a hog.
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Old 09-27-2020, 08:34 PM   #20
Budman68
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12/4-12/6 here.
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Old 09-27-2020, 10:24 PM   #21
m10
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I hunted there last year. Unit 9. If anyone would like some insight on that unit let me know.
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Old 09-28-2020, 08:14 AM   #22
Budman68
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Originally Posted by m10 View Post
I hunted there last year. Unit 9. If anyone would like some insight on that unit let me know.
Thanks, will let you know.
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Old 09-28-2020, 09:41 AM   #23
.270
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Fee paid, waiting on the unit assignments!
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:30 AM   #24
.270
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m10 View Post
I hunted there last year. Unit 9. If anyone would like some insight on that unit let me know.
Thank you sir!
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Old 09-30-2020, 05:57 PM   #25
Jibby
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Got lucky, waiting on unit assignment. Hunted Unit 1 I believe a few years back.
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Old 10-01-2020, 04:31 PM   #26
Yakinthebox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jibby View Post
Got lucky, waiting on unit assignment. Hunted Unit 1 I believe a few years back.
What was your experience then? Any luck, did you see much activity at all? After reading up on this hunt a bunch, I've tried to curb my expectations...
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Old 10-02-2020, 08:48 AM   #27
Budman68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakinthebox View Post
What was your experience then? Any luck, did you see much activity at all? After reading up on this hunt a bunch, I've tried to curb my expectations...
It's the hill country, you'll see deer. Probably not 150 class, but I would assume 100" 8pters are out there. I googled it and lots of great looking deer were harvested there in the past.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:08 AM   #28
cy100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakinthebox View Post
What was your experience then? Any luck, did you see much activity at all? After reading up on this hunt a bunch, I've tried to curb my expectations...
Be aware of that you cannot bait at Balcones. So, if you have already used of Texas deer hunt, we use bait in most places, this hunt would be abnormal. You may have to think of changing your hunting strategy.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:42 AM   #29
piercebronkite
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I passed on this hunt after doing some research with a buddy and making a few phone calls. The short answer is there isn't much of healthy deer population there and not many hogs. We could be completely wrong but who knows. I decided Im going to Laguna and Big Bottom Lake instead.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:08 AM   #30
TCR²
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piercebronkite View Post
I passed on this hunt after doing some research with a buddy and making a few phone calls. The short answer is there isn't much of healthy deer population there and not many hogs. We could be completely wrong but who knows. I decided Im going to Laguna and Big Bottom Lake instead.
I've read the same thing. Almost passed on the hunt too but I've got vacation time to burn and haven't hunted that area of the state before so I figured why not lol
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:36 AM   #31
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Mr Raider...see if you can get the handicap blind. Apparently that area is a brothel for deer.

I had a buddy get stuck in the blind closest to the gut pile...be aware.

Lago Vista deer are comparable to medium sized dogs at best.
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Old 10-02-2020, 12:35 PM   #32
Jibby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakinthebox View Post
What was your experience then? Any luck, did you see much activity at all? After reading up on this hunt a bunch, I've tried to curb my expectations...
Try to scout and place your stand or hunt where these trails or activity are located. You have to be ready to assess shot and shoot pretty quick. No baiting allowed So deer are usually on the move when you see them. Unit 1 had some high grass areas, but typical hill country...
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Old 10-02-2020, 05:11 PM   #33
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Spoke to someone at the WMA and she said hunting by the neighborhoods should be good since they feed. This hunt should be looked at as a meat hunt and not horns. The goal is to reduce the herd and grow larger deer.
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Old 10-02-2020, 05:54 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Budman68 View Post
Spoke to someone at the WMA and she said hunting by the neighborhoods should be good since they feed. This hunt should be looked at as a meat hunt and not horns. The goal is to reduce the herd and grow larger deer.
Not trying to burst your bubble, but just from the stories I’ve seen here, this hunt is more of a “you’re lucky” to see something kind of hunt.
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:05 PM   #35
Budman68
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Originally Posted by panhandlehunter View Post
Not trying to burst your bubble, but just from the stories I’ve seen here, this hunt is more of a “you’re lucky” to see something kind of hunt.
Thanks, it's close to home and for $80 I get to hunt something different. I have Chap later on in the week, so it will be a good warm up.
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Old 10-05-2020, 06:28 AM   #36
jaredmartin
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I hunted this last year. Was in Unit 7. Parked at 7D. Got some high ground where I could see over a mile easily. Sat and glassed for 2 straight days. Saw 1 sounder cross the main road the first afternoon, nothing the rest of the trip. I have some picture from the area I was at if someone needs them.

The unit I was in had 1 doe, and two turkeys killed. That was between 10 hunters if I remember correctly.
While working my way through thick stuff to get high ground, I found areas that a person could easily harvest pigs if the wanted, I just had no desire to. If someone gets 7D feel free to reach out. I will provide what I have from last year.

It is a beautiful place, and it was nice to get out in the wilderness a few days, but I did not apply for that hunt this year, and I highly doubt that I ever will again.
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Old 10-05-2020, 03:22 PM   #37
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Mainly posting to follow this thread. Long time lurker and finally decided to make an account.

I drew this hunt for Nov. 13-15th this year and will likely be my first chance to sit for the season. Most of these posts aren't giving high hopes, but I'll plan to be out there regardless. Close to family so it's a multi purpose trip and gets me away from an office and computer.
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Old 10-06-2020, 10:16 AM   #38
Yakinthebox
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Has anyone received their hunt compartment assignment yet?
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Old 10-07-2020, 07:10 AM   #39
NDN98
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Has anyone received their hunt compartment assignment yet?
I have not. Hoping it is sometime soon so I can start researching.
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Old 10-07-2020, 12:32 PM   #40
Yakinthebox
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I have not. Hoping it is sometime soon so I can start researching.

Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing it.
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Old 10-07-2020, 06:54 PM   #41
Jibby
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This was my experience in 2016 on Unit 1 from an earlier post

I enjoyed my time in Unit #1. There were some issues, but they didn't involve me. One of the hunters had set up a pop-up blind on the scouting day Nov.17 and they found it missing/stolen when they came back on Friday afternoon. I am wondering if people wait for these public hunts and the gates are unlocked.

I didn't see that many deer while hunting and when I did, they were moving. You need to be ready to shoot standing up. I ended up harvesting a doe right after I packed up my pop-up. Then right after I field dressed her a small 6 point came about 30 yards away. I chose to hunt in an open area where I had several lanes of view. It worked out pretty well, but you need to be prepared for deer to pop up pretty quick due to the trees and tall grass. An elevated stand would be ideal for this area. There's plenty of hogs moving through the area, but I imagine it's all during the night time.
by cellphone
My stand was:30°38' 46.6" N 98° 05' 30.7" W

I never went down in the canyon area, too rough for this old guy and I can't imagine getting a deer out without major exhaustion. There's plenty of areas to look down in the canyon, it's a nice view and may be able to see something below in some of the meadows.

Here are two spots for views into the canyon:

30°38' 44.8" N 98° 05' 36.8" W
30°38' 43.5" N 98° 05' 35.4" W

I walked the fence line on the south side near the canyon. it looks like a good spot, but really too close to the fence line to be confident.

I thought it was a good hunt for the amount of time allowed to find the deer. I always enjoyed walking through the trails, finding out where the animals are headed.

I think most if not all the standby positions got filled. Not sure how the other Units fared. Hoping to hear any news.
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Old 10-07-2020, 07:51 PM   #42
.270
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What is the protocol to follow if you are lucky enough to bag a deer?
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Old 10-11-2020, 08:44 AM   #43
Jibby
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Standard game laws, use your tags but you do have to fill out a card at the entrance of the unit.
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Old 10-11-2020, 09:06 AM   #44
.270
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Originally Posted by Jibby View Post
Standard game laws, use your tags but you do have to fill out a card at the entrance of the unit.
We use our own tags? That is good information. Different from all the other draw hunts I have been on.
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:28 AM   #45
Jibby
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We use our own tags? That is good information. Different from all the other draw hunts I have been on.
They should of emailed you some guidelines. Also it's a NWR hunt not TPWD WMA hunt.

Also, They posted a youtube video for hunt orientation recently by Jen Brown.
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Old 10-14-2020, 11:12 PM   #46
Yakinthebox
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I tell yall what! I'm about dang ready for the compartment assignment! I am jonesing to do a little Google scouting but it's futile if I don't know the unit.
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Old 10-17-2020, 10:22 AM   #47
erikbeagle
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I don’t mean to crush anyone’s dreams, however, I hunted here last year all 3 days morning and evening. 1 day I never left, and the only thing I saw was a bumblebee and a bird. Now, it is a beautiful place and I believe there were 2 deer harvested and a turkey, but that was it, out of 3 days of hunting. It all depends on your unit. Enjoy the wilderness, but make sure you bring a 4x4, it is very rough terrain. Enjoy and good luck!
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Old 10-17-2020, 09:14 PM   #48
Yakinthebox
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Originally Posted by erikbeagle View Post
I don’t mean to crush anyone’s dreams, however, I hunted here last year all 3 days morning and evening. 1 day I never left, and the only thing I saw was a bumblebee and a bird. Now, it is a beautiful place and I believe there were 2 deer harvested and a turkey, but that was it, out of 3 days of hunting. It all depends on your unit. Enjoy the wilderness, but make sure you bring a 4x4, it is very rough terrain. Enjoy and good luck!

I sure wish I would've read up on this place before hand a lot more.

I've been putting in for it for 4 years now. Reading comments on here has me wishing I would've just stuck to the LANWR and LRGVNWR hunts.

Oh well, live and learn. I'm still going to hunt it and make the most of my time out in the woods.
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Old 10-20-2020, 12:46 AM   #49
Yakinthebox
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Today I was told that compartment emails should go out sometime in the next 2 weeks.
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Old 10-20-2020, 11:20 AM   #50
bdubb
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Got it today.

I'll be in 1-13, so I guess that's just the normal Unit 13 and am required to hunt from a provided blind. Roughly 140 Acres total for the unit, but maybe a view of two pastures from the stand with a max shot distance of 410y.

More than likely view limited to a 100y across pasture unfortunately.

Last edited by bdubb; 10-20-2020 at 12:19 PM.
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