This Week in the Outdoors
The past week has been largely a ‘rain out’, I’ve spent a good bit of time catching up on articles and recording my radio shows. While I’d rather been in a tree stand with my bow, I did put my time to good use doing a bit of research on topics as varied as leasing hunting land to new fish and game recipes.
During my career as an outdoor writer which spans the past 3 decades, I have responded to many questions from readers. We ‘hook and bullet’ writers certainly don’t have all the answers but because of the sheer number of ‘sure nuff’ experts I’ve dealt with through the years, I have learned, through osmosis if for no other reason, a thing or two!
What is the most often asked question? Hands down, it is, “Luke, do you know of a tract of land that I can lease for hunting?” Back a couple decades ago, I could often point my reader to a landowner or two that leased hunting land. Season or long term leases have become very difficult to find here in Texas. Many land owners are simply hesitant to lease their land because of liabilities. For many good reasons, landowners must be cautious about leasing their lands. After all, a person with the deed to several hundred acres obviously has a vested interest to protect.
Short two or three day guided hunts have become popular, especially in the past ten years or so. Many hunters today simply don’t have the time necessary to drive to leases, fill feeders, set up hunting camps, etc. But many of us still enjoy having our own little piece of the outdoors to hunt whenever we wish.
There are still plenty of hunters that lease lands on a handshake these days but those days are fading fast. For almost twenty years, Base Camp Leasing (BCL) has been connecting landowners with hunters and their business model has been a huge success. BCL has properties in many states and interested hunters need only go to the website www.basecampleasing.com, click on the state and check out aerial and ground level photos of the property as well as pertinent information such as native food sources, potential hunting hotspots, etc. The agreement between leaser/landowner is covered by an all inclusive liability policy that comes at no extra charge. This takes the risk factor away for the landowner and also protects the hunter. Each property has been scouted and the description includes enough information about the land to get the potential leaser started. Once a particular tract of land is chosen, the interested hunter/hunters have time to go and check the land out before committing to a lease agreement. During the scouting process, BCL decides how many hunters the property can support based on many factors including acreage, terrain, game density, etc. There was a time when many hunting leases were acquired by ‘asking around’ at feed stores, cafes and other places but today, scouting for a new lease might just be as easy as the click of a computer mouse!
WHITETAIL HUNTING TIP
During a brief break in the rains last week, I spent an afternoon in the woods doing a bit of scouting for upcoming hunts. Acorns are falling and deer in my area are hitting them hard but so are the wild hogs. I didn’t see an abundance of acorns because it appeared they are being eaten as soon as they drop. There are a couple of mature honey locust trees on the property I hunt and the sweet locust beans are beginning to drop. Deer absolutely love the sweet flavor of these beans and there was plenty of deer sign around each of the trees. Honey locust is an often overlooked food source for deer and for good reason, the pulp inside the bean smells much like livestock sweet feed. It might be a good idea to scout for locust trees on your property. It’s a good bet if you find a tree dropping this ‘deer candy’, you will be well on your way to antlers on the wall and meat in the freezer!
NEW MEXICO MULE DEER
Mule deer tags are tough to obtain in many states; they are available over the counter in some units in northeastern New Mexico. For the past couple years, I have hunted with my friends David and Regina Williams, owners of Hunters Supply Bullets, on their ranch situated in some beautiful high desert country adjacent the Continental Divide. Elk tags are limited in this particular area but nearby is the sprawling Jicarilla Apache Reservation where elk and mule deer hunts hunts are allowed on a limited basis. Cow elk hunts are also available on a limited basis. In the past couple years, I’ve learned a good bit about hunting opportunities in this area. Contact me via my website if you are interested in hunting this area, I’ll be glad to share what I’ve learned.
Luke’s book, “Kill to Grill, the ultimate guide to hunting and cooking wild pork is available via www.catfishradio.org. Make sure and listen to the archive of this week’s outdoor radio show.