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Old 09-23-2022, 01:45 PM   #51
BigRed323
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51 archery stand by permits this year for those of you wanting to get in on the fun ��
If I didn’t have anywhere to hunt, I would be there.

They’re gonna have to start paying people to go hunt there lol
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Old 09-23-2022, 01:58 PM   #52
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If I didnít have anywhere to hunt, I would be there.

Theyíre gonna have to start paying people to go hunt there lol
No joke. Give it time.
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Old 09-23-2022, 03:37 PM   #53
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51 archery stand by permits this year for those of you wanting to get in on the fun ��
Yeah Buddy!!! Thatís the plan! Gonna be rough hauling a dang crossbow around, but canít hardly draw a bow back.
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Old 09-23-2022, 09:26 PM   #54
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51 archery stand by permits this year for those of you wanting to get in on the fun ��
Wow!!! That is a bunch. Probably wonít find that many stand-byís on any other hunt in Texas. Almost makes me want to go the second weekend.
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Old 09-24-2022, 02:22 PM   #55
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51 archery stand by permits this year for those of you wanting to get in on the fun ��

I may go play. I have redemption to earn at Aransas. Would be happy to put a check mark next to that one.


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Old 09-24-2022, 04:36 PM   #56
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I may go play. I have redemption to earn at Aransas. Would be happy to put a check mark next to that one.


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You would be a step ahead since you got that maiden voyage out of the way.
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Old 10-02-2022, 08:20 PM   #57
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For any of you considering the Aransas hunt. saw this in the classifieds.
https://discussions.texasbowhunter.c...d.php?t=853650
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Old 10-03-2022, 06:49 AM   #58
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Crickets. lol

This weekend fellas. Forecast is looking decent, let’s hope that sticks.
We Haven’t had a whole lot of rain in the area since the several big rains a couple months back. Before that we were in a drought. Doesn’t sound like we are in for a repeat of the 2017/2018 hunts atleast.
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Old 10-10-2022, 08:38 AM   #59
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How did the first weekend go?
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Old 10-10-2022, 09:32 AM   #60
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My buddy and I Had to weekend worrier it and be back at work today. Scouted Friday and found good area. Hunted all day Saturday and half of Sunday before heading out. Mosquitos were pretty much what everyone described but I feel like on a wet year they would be much worse. Neither of us took a deer but we did see them. He passed a young buck. I had more hogs than deer in my area and had a big boar catch me slipping and snuck in front of me and when my bow wasn’t in my hands.

Weather was good. Days were hot but morning was nice.
I know there were deer harvested by other hunters but I did not see a tally.

Warden told us the first morning of scouting someone went in and got a good wiff of the skeeter and high tailed it. Said he wasn’t coming back. Not sure how true it was but was pretty funny.

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Old 10-10-2022, 09:47 AM   #61
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Old 10-10-2022, 11:46 PM   #62
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Seeing that brush makes me want to go back if only for one more hunt there. I saw a guy running out of there one opening morning. I hear this clanging noise.....it grew louder and louder. I could finally see a hunter jogging out with his aluminum ladder stand dressed in a white t-shirt. Had I not seen it I would have a hard time believing it. Guy was just not prepared for the mosquitoes. I would have left the ladder.
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Old 10-11-2022, 08:43 AM   #63
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Seeing that brush makes me want to go back if only for one more hunt there. I saw a guy running out of there one opening morning. I hear this clanging noise.....it grew louder and louder. I could finally see a hunter jogging out with his aluminum ladder stand dressed in a white t-shirt. Had I not seen it I would have a hard time believing it. Guy was just not prepared for the mosquitoes. I would have left the ladder.
If you have never been to Aransas it's an erie feeling when you get settled in the stand way before daylight on that first morning. You are covered in Deep Woods Off, Head netting and Thermacell's (yes 2) and you can only hear what sounds like a swarm of bee's all around you, but it is not bee's . LOL
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Old 10-11-2022, 10:50 AM   #64
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If you have never been to Aransas it's an erie feeling when you get settled in the stand way before daylight on that first morning. You are covered in Deep Woods Off, Head netting and Thermacell's (yes 2) and you can only hear what sounds like a swarm of bee's all around you, but it is not bee's . LOL
Facts!

If youíve ever thought mosquitoes were bad, youíve never been to AWR.
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Old 10-11-2022, 03:54 PM   #65
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The sheer size of the place blows my mind.
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Old 10-11-2022, 11:33 PM   #66
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Facts!

If youíve ever thought mosquitoes were bad, youíve never been to AWR.
I can still hear the swarms 45 years later. I spent eight years in a row hunting that place. The brush is awesome there. Some stuff to thick to even crawl through. I hope some folks have some luck down there this season.
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Old 10-12-2022, 09:53 AM   #67
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The sheer size of the place blows my mind.
Wish I had made it as a standby. The amount of land opened up to the archery hunt is ridiculous compared to the rifle hunt.

Hopefully Iíll make it out to the rifle hunt.
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Old 10-12-2022, 11:26 AM   #68
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I can still hear the swarms 45 years later. I spent eight years in a row hunting that place. The brush is awesome there. Some stuff to thick to even crawl through. I hope some folks have some luck down there this season.
I remember going down there back when I was a kid. I wore a pretty new pair of Red Wing boots. I spent a morning walking around and got into a couple areas like you mentioned, super thick, knarly brush, full of briar. By the time the morning was over my pants were shredded and so were the Red Wings. Deep cuts all though the boots, couldn't believe how crazy some of that brush is.
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Old 10-15-2022, 08:47 AM   #69
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How did the first weekend go?
I was down there from Saturday-Thursday and had a blast. The mosquitoes are terrible but as long as your prepared, itís manageable. Tons of hogs. I stuck a little 100 pounder the first morning. Saw hogs almost every sit. The full moon had the deer moving all night so the morning hunts were a bit slow. I tagged a doe Sunday evening. On Tuesday evening I shot a nice 10 pt. Though I made a clean shot. Tracked good blood for about 300 yards and then the trail went cold. Pretty bummed about it but has me excited for next year. Overall I saw about 8 bucks but the ten was the only one that gave me a shot. Saw numerous moccasins and a few copperheads. This was my first time on the refuge and before going out there I did what everybody did and read through all of these forms. Everything had me thinking this was going to be the hardest hunt of my life but it was honestly not that bad. There were alligators everywhere but they did not seem to be that aggressive you just have to pay attention to what youíre doing. Lots of snakes but whatever just wear snake boots and donít be stupid. Take a thermocell, buy some off spray yourself down and get downwind and youíll be just fine. This place has tons of wildlife so as long as you do your research you should be able to get yourself in a good spot. I saw deer every day on the refuge whether it was at my stand or driving to my stand. Everyone also said you need a tripod which is a very good idea if you have one however I did not. I just found some good brush and sat with my back against it. The doe and the buck that I shot were within 20 yards of me and had no clue I was there.
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Old 10-15-2022, 11:49 AM   #70
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I believe had it been a normal year or a wet year for our area that hunt woulda been a bit more complicated. Being dry this year helped out for hunting that place a lot.
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Old 10-15-2022, 01:48 PM   #71
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If ever there was a year to hunt it, this would be it. After next week it will be a different story with 3”+ forecasted. But weather will be fantastic after that.
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Old 10-15-2022, 10:42 PM   #72
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I was down there from Saturday-Thursday and had a blast. The mosquitoes are terrible but as long as your prepared, itís manageable. Tons of hogs. I stuck a little 100 pounder the first morning. Saw hogs almost every sit. The full moon had the deer moving all night so the morning hunts were a bit slow. I tagged a doe Sunday evening. On Tuesday evening I shot a nice 10 pt. Though I made a clean shot. Tracked good blood for about 300 yards and then the trail went cold. Pretty bummed about it but has me excited for next year. Overall I saw about 8 bucks but the ten was the only one that gave me a shot. Saw numerous moccasins and a few copperheads. This was my first time on the refuge and before going out there I did what everybody did and read through all of these forms. Everything had me thinking this was going to be the hardest hunt of my life but it was honestly not that bad. There were alligators everywhere but they did not seem to be that aggressive you just have to pay attention to what youíre doing. Lots of snakes but whatever just wear snake boots and donít be stupid. Take a thermocell, buy some off spray yourself down and get downwind and youíll be just fine. This place has tons of wildlife so as long as you do your research you should be able to get yourself in a good spot. I saw deer every day on the refuge whether it was at my stand or driving to my stand. Everyone also said you need a tripod which is a very good idea if you have one however I did not. I just found some good brush and sat with my back against it. The doe and the buck that I shot were within 20 yards of me and had no clue I was there.
Glad you had some success there. We used chairs or six foot ladder stands mainly. I never carried a tripod out there myself. Glad you caught the place on a dry season. I have seen that place with mud slick roads. Trucks stuck on the side in ditches. When the place fills up with water it makes navigating it difficult. Every year I hunted it I would pray it would not rain weeks before the hunt. The mosquitoes just plain suck out there. That in itself makes it difficult for some hunters. I have never been anywhere in the state of Texas where mosquitoes are that bad.
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Old 10-15-2022, 11:04 PM   #73
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Glad you had some success there. We used chairs or six foot ladder stands mainly. I never carried a tripod out there myself. Glad you caught the place on a dry season. I have seen that place with mud slick roads. Trucks stuck on the side in ditches. When the place fills up with water it makes navigating it difficult. Every year I hunted it I would pray it would not rain weeks before the hunt. The mosquitoes just plain suck out there. That in itself makes it difficult for some hunters. I have never been anywhere in the state of Texas where mosquitoes are that bad.
I'm glad to see the enthusiasm for Aransas. I hunted Aransas for many years and taken some nice deer.

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Old 10-15-2022, 11:15 PM   #74
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I'm glad to see the enthusiasm for Aransas. I hunted Aransas for many years and taken some nice deer.

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I was used to the crowds out there. Would be quite a change with far less hunters. Everyone should try it at least once if they have the opportunity. I would love to bow hunt the place in December if they would ever allow it. Lot less critters of the biting variety moving around.
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Old 10-16-2022, 12:14 AM   #75
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Itís just not the same since we canít camp on the side of the roads anymore.
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Old 10-16-2022, 09:58 PM   #76
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Itís just not the same since we canít camp on the side of the roads anymore.
You have that right. Kind of some crazy times with all of the masses of bow hunters out there back then. Do they have an area for camping, Hoppers Landing, or do people have to stay further out from the Refuge?
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Old 10-16-2022, 10:22 PM   #77
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Here are some old pics I found from Aransas Wildlife Refuge. My favorite is still my avatar of my Dad and I on one of the caliche laced roads. I believe all of these pics were from 1993. My Dad and I at Hoppers Landing. A buddy of mine went with us that year. If you look closely in one of the pics you can see I was wearing white tennis shoes. That was one of my ďno fearĒ years. Snakes....who cares. LOL.


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Old 10-16-2022, 11:34 PM   #78
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Itís just not the same since we canít camp on the side of the roads anymore.
Had a blast then!
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Old 10-17-2022, 07:51 AM   #79
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You have that right. Kind of some crazy times with all of the masses of bow hunters out there back then. Do they have an area for camping, Hoppers Landing, or do people have to stay further out from the Refuge?

We only went two times after they stopped the road side camping. We stayed at a rv park in Tivoli . Hopper was still open too . Once Thumper, Chris Flynn got sick we havenít been back . That man knew the place like the back of his hand .,
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Old 10-17-2022, 12:23 PM   #80
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We only went two times after they stopped the road side camping. We stayed at a rv park in Tivoli . Hopper was still open too . Once Thumper, Chris Flynn got sick we havenít been back . That man knew the place like the back of his hand .,
We stayed with a little old lady that owned most of the land around Austwell. Her dad acquired the land when he was brought to Texas to experiment on growing tobacco. We always had a hot meal and comfortable bed after fighting the mosquito the whole day. Of course she always thought we were wasting our time when there were chores to be done around her farm/land.
Although we had a place to stay we still went and sat at the gate the day before opening weekend at 10pm waiting in anticipation to be one of the 1st people to drive through the gate once it opened. Even at 10pm we were 25 cars back. As previously mentioned camps sites were set up along the road on both sides for miles.
Groups had staked out their camping spots weeks in advance with surveyor tape.
Story said that a guy brought his wife with him to camp out, put up a tent and tied one side of his tent to his truck because of the bay winds. First morning he got up late and hurried to get in line and jumped in his truck and took off, forgetting that he tied his tent to his truck, dragging the tent and her down the road. They said once he stopped she got out of the tent and started to beat him savagely in front of 500 hunters. He packed up and went home.
Sure miss those days.....

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Old 10-17-2022, 01:15 PM   #81
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We stayed with a little old lady that owned most of the land around Austwell. Her dad acquired the land when he was brought to Texas to experiment on growing tobacco. We always had a hot meal and comfortable bed after fighting the mosquito the whole day. Of course she always thought we were wasting our time when there were chores to be done around her farm/land.
Although we had a place to stay we still went and sat at the gate the day before opening weekend at 10pm waiting in anticipation to be one of the 1st people to drive through the gate once it opened. Even at 10pm we were 25 cars back. As previously mentioned camps sites were set up along the road on both sides for miles.
Groups had staked out their camping spots weeks in advance with surveyor tape.
Story said that a guy brought his wife with him to camp out, put up a tent and tied one side of his tent to his truck because of the bay winds. First morning he got up late and hurried to get in line and jumped in his truck and took off, forgetting that he tied his tent to his truck, dragging the tent and her down the road. They said once he stopped she got out of the tent and started to beat him savagely in front of 500 hunters. He packed up and went home.
Sure miss those days.....

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Lol- good times.
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Old 10-17-2022, 09:06 PM   #82
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We stayed with a little old lady that owned most of the land around Austwell. Her dad acquired the land when he was brought to Texas to experiment on growing tobacco. We always had a hot meal and comfortable bed after fighting the mosquito the whole day. Of course she always thought we were wasting our time when there were chores to be done around her farm/land.
Although we had a place to stay we still went and sat at the gate the day before opening weekend at 10pm waiting in anticipation to be one of the 1st people to drive through the gate once it opened. Even at 10pm we were 25 cars back. As previously mentioned camps sites were set up along the road on both sides for miles.
Groups had staked out their camping spots weeks in advance with surveyor tape.
Story said that a guy brought his wife with him to camp out, put up a tent and tied one side of his tent to his truck because of the bay winds. First morning he got up late and hurried to get in line and jumped in his truck and took off, forgetting that he tied his tent to his truck, dragging the tent and her down the road. They said once he stopped she got out of the tent and started to beat him savagely in front of 500 hunters. He packed up and went home.
Sure miss those days.....

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Books could be written about the Bow Hunts there!!!!
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Old 10-17-2022, 09:20 PM   #83
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My Dad was a Biology Teacher at Victoria High School once upon a time. His two other buddies taught there as well and they took up Archery. He passed on many a story to me that existed before I began tagging along with him and his two Friends. Here is one of those stories.
My Dad’s group was driving back in after the evening hunt. They had the windows down because the vehicle did not have AC. They were never in a rush to get out because they would get smoked by caliche dust from all of the other hunters racing back in. They are driving next to one of the canals and they thought they heard someone screaming for help. They stop the car and can hear a guy yelling. They begin walking down the canal with flashlights and finally find the guy. He did not have a flashlight with him. They tell him to wade across but he is scared there may be alligators. They walk him to a fence that is going across the canal. They told him to throw his bow across and there it goes. He then proceeds to do a tight-rope act on the barbed wire fence and finally makes it over. They give him water.....because he has no canteen on him either. They take him in to the station and speak with the game wardens. Within about two minutes one of the game wardens asks the guy if he has his name on his arrows.......Oh boy. Nada. My Dad said they gave him a ticket. My Dad asks a game warden how deep that canal is. Two feet at the deepest part. Anyways, my Dad said many people have been lost out there without the right equipment/water on them. We never went unprepared.
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Old 10-18-2022, 07:36 AM   #84
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My Dad was a Biology Teacher at Victoria High School once upon a time. His two other buddies taught there as well and they took up Archery. He passed on many a story to me that existed before I began tagging along with him and his two Friends. Here is one of those stories.
My Dadís group was driving back in after the evening hunt. They had the windows down because the vehicle did not have AC. They were never in a rush to get out because they would get smoked by caliche dust from all of the other hunters racing back in. They are driving next to one of the canals and they thought they heard someone screaming for help. They stop the car and can hear a guy yelling. They begin walking down the canal with flashlights and finally find the guy. He did not have a flashlight with him. They tell him to wade across but he is scared there may be alligators. They walk him to a fence that is going across the canal. They told him to throw his bow across and there it goes. He then proceeds to do a tight-rope act on the barbed wire fence and finally makes it over. They give him water.....because he has no canteen on him either. They take him in to the station and speak with the game wardens. Within about two minutes one of the game wardens asks the guy if he has his name on his arrows.......Oh boy. Nada. My Dad said they gave him a ticket. My Dad asks a game warden how deep that canal is. Two feet at the deepest part. Anyways, my Dad said many people have been lost out there without the right equipment/water on them. We never went unprepared.
One year we were drawn for gun deer, this is when the refuge handled the drawing. There was a group of six-eight guys that came to the check station after the morning hunt with a pickup load of deer. They told us that they actually did deer drives though different parts of the refuge. Don't know how many stand hunters they messed up... Never came by me.



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Old 10-18-2022, 04:01 PM   #85
Static1968
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One year we were drawn for gun deer, this is when the refuge handled the drawing. There was a group of six-eight guys that came to the check station after the morning hunt with a pickup load of deer. They told us that they actually did deer drives though different parts of the refuge. Don't know how many stand hunters they messed up... Never came by me.



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First time I ever set foot at Aransas (Mid 90's) It was when the Gun Hunt was 9 Days (Sat-Sun thru the next Sat-Sun) and you only had 2 day"s(We had the last Sat-Sun) We put out our stands the week before. I had found a fence line with a Fire Break off of a road that dead ended at the fence and walked it down about 600 yard's and found about a 10 Acre opening that I put my stand at. Well first morning after dropping my Dad and Brother off I park out on the main road and start walking in towards the dead end. As I get close I see a flashlight and there is a guy sitting on a 6' alum. A-frame ladder at that gate. He said "hey I am hunting here". I said we'll there was no ladder here last week when I put my Tripod out down this Fire Break. Told him where my stand was located and proceeded to head that way. We looked at each other all morning through our binocular's. Did not see him after that morning hunt. Since they have started allowing you to use flaging I have not seen anyone while on the stand. I have been scared ****less by a couple rifle shots that were very close by though!!!!
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Old 10-18-2022, 07:49 PM   #86
ByronB
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Keep the stories coming guys. Great stuff. I have never been on a gun hunt there. Deer drives, close gun shots nearby.....always something interesting out there.
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Old 10-23-2022, 07:53 AM   #87
Ranch_Dog
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ByronB, are you the father-son team from the Sinton area? The last time these two guys were was about 2000 ~ 2002, mid-day, during a rifle hunt, on Walker Mill Rd. I liked their style; they always set up a day camp with a tarp canopy to relax, and anyone was welcome to visit.

It's been a long time since I did the archery hunt, and I haven't been on the rifle hunt since the lottery system started. I didn't apply this year as I thought I probably would need shoulder surgery, and I did.

Did anyone reading this thread attend the opening year of hunting the refuge? I'm confident it was 1968, or at least the log I kept as a young hunter says it was. I was 14, but I was already a hard-core bowhunter, thanks to my dad. I could not hunt the following year, as the age requirement changed to 16, but I resumed the hunt in 1970. I was again on the first rifle hunt from my notes in 1971. The refuge changed considerably in this period. I hunted the refuge while in the Army, taking leave to attend.

During the late '70s, I flew the Conoco pipeline patrol on the refuge. That was yet another strange period of hunters and hunting. A lot of things were different. I flew the patrol again from 2017 through 2020. None of this gave me any advantage I could use or pass on. This is rugged, thick country; it is hard to see the game from the air, and I can relate that deer don't spend any time on the ROWs. A quote from one of the hands that lived his work life on the refuge left me with this, "there isn't a deer worth killing on this place." He lived with the reality of how hard the country is.

That said, there are more gators than a hunter would imagine; you simply don't see them from your eyeball height. There isn't an area that they don't move or migrate through. My observation from the air is that there are a lot of hunters wasting a lot of time sitting in spots because they are easy to get to. During rifle hunts, I've seen some elaborate tower blinds moved in on ponds and other small bodies of water. I can tell you that is a complete waste of time as I never saw a deer on those sites. My guess is that the deer are genetically programmed to know small bodies of water are head traps. No different than sticking their head in a noose. I regularly saw gators swimming around with hogs in their jaws. Not an unusual sight at all.

The air also solidified my theory of "halves," along with on-hunt observations and the "board." This is especially true since the drawing moved to TPWD, where a lot of hunters shotgun applications not knowing what they are getting into. My observation has been that the hunter count is cut in half every additional day after the first hunt day.

Whoever is setting up the sites for the disabled/Veteran hunters knows the refuge very well. Out of respect, their spots are safe with me and avoided altogether.

In the late '90s and early '00s, I would stay at a camp in Austwell where a lady rented "cabins." They were portable buildings set up with beds. That has gone away, but there met a small group of hunters that had hunted the refuge every year since the start. This was the pre-TPWD draw, wonderful years, where you could have a rifle "lease" for around $400 ~$500 a season by buying permits for all the hunts. They would still have permits left for anybody that showed up.

Even though I lived the ranch life on my own place, I still would hunt the refuge at intervals because it was part of me so early, and it reminded me how lucky I was to have somewhere else to hunt that wasn't so harsh.

An interesting paper about the Refuge, "Management of Deer and Cattle on the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge," was written in the '40s. Somewhere I have the actual document but have yet to find it. You must buy it online from all the sources I've found, so I've attached the first page. The deer documentation starts in the 1850s, a "seven-foot wire fence" was put up in 1919, and mule deer were introduced in 1927... ***!

I wish all of you great hunting this season!
Attached Images
File Type: pdf Mgt Deer & Cattle ANWR.pdf (499.7 KB, 44 views)
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Old 10-23-2022, 09:00 PM   #88
ByronB
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Ranch Dog......I am originally from Victoria and then moved on to Beeville. My Dad started hunting Aransas in the 70’s. He worked with Trunkline Gas before he was a Teacher. That was what had him on the Refuge now and then before he hunted it. That had to be great flying over the Refuge. Kind of like flying over the beach front......more sharks around us than we know. We watched for gators when we hunted around ponds and the canals. During the wet hunts, well....they could have been all over the place.
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Old 10-24-2022, 09:44 AM   #89
Ranch_Dog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByronB View Post
Ranch Dog......I am originally from Victoria and then moved on to Beeville. My Dad started hunting Aransas in the 70ís. He worked with Trunkline Gas before he was a Teacher. That was what had him on the Refuge now and then before he hunted it. That had to be great flying over the Refuge. Kind of like flying over the beach front......more sharks around us than we know. We watched for gators when we hunted around ponds and the canals. During the wet hunts, well....they could have been all over the place.
Interesting! I went from flying for Barr Patrol, which held the Conoco contract, to being hired by the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline as a patrol pilot. I worked my way from the patrol plane up through the jets to manage their corporate flight department in Houston. Our Station was at Refugio; the entrance was north of town on the east side of 183.

I made a mistake on the year of the first hunt; it was 1966. My writing is hard to read and the paper weathered.
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