Ray: Heat a Factor in Bow Opener

Rut Reporter Brandon Ray is an expert on the region. Ray was born in Dallas and shot his first deer with a bow in Central Texas at the age of 15. The full-time freelance writer manages his family's Texas Panhandle ranch, is a licensed New Mexico guide, and last year took a 184 gross P&Y non-typical trophy. States covered: TX, OK, NM.

Texas' archery-only deer season opened on October 1. Throughout the region warm temperatures on opening weekend, some as high as 100 degrees, meant daylight deer movement was minimal. Best bets for seeing a buck were the first 30 minutes of light in the morning and the last 30 in the evening.

I sat in a ground blind in the Texas Panhandle the evening of October 2. It was 90 degrees when I sat down. It wasn't until sunset, at 7:28 P.M., that I finally saw a doe. In the next 30 minutes I saw a total of four whitetail does and six bucks. All the bucks were young, 2 ½-year-olds, so I let them walk. The biggest one a short-tined 10-point that might score 115-inches. I know there's a much bigger buck in the area, so I'll be patient.

My friend, Ronnie Parsons, who I mentioned in an earlier post, wasted little time filling his first tag of the season. That's him in the accompanying photo. He shot the Pope & Young-class 10-point on opening day in west-central Texas, near San Angelo. Here's what happened, in his words:

"I sat in one of my 'condos' (homemade wooden box blind) on opening morning near a corn feeder. Two good bucks came in to the corn in the dark. When it was finally light enough to shoot, I could see one was a young, 3 ½-year-old 135-inch 10-point. The other one an old, big-bodied 10-point with slightly smaller antlers. I decided to shoot the old buck if he turned broadside. At 17 yards, my BowTech bow drove a Gold Tip carbon arrow tipped with a Rage 3-blade broadhead behind the near-side shoulder and into the off-side shoulder blade bone. The buck crashed away through cedars and mesquites, but only went 40 yards.

"The 6 ½-year-old buck field-dressed 140 pounds. That's a fat, healthy buck for west-central Texas, especially in the middle of a drought. His rack's green gross score was 129 7/8-inches and 127 2/8 net P&Y."

In case you're counting, that makes 33 P&Y whitetails for Parsons. He has two more buck tags left on his license and I'm betting two more quality bucks ride in his truck before the season is over!