Ray: Think Water This Season

In drought years like this one, you can bet wild critters will congregate around any available wet spots. Whether it's a pond, creek, cattle trough, or even a windmill run off mud hole, that's a good place to scout for game. Check for tracks in the mud or hang a scouting camera.

In the past month, I've shot an antelope buck over a windmill run-off pond in New Mexico, shot a limit of mourning dove over a windmill tank in Texas, and sat over a mud hole waiting on a big hog. Looking ahead, those same tactics can pay off for deer hunters in a drought.

Texax Parks &Wildlife biologist Todd Montandon tells me that deer do not have to have free water every day.

"Deer will certainly drink often when it is available, but they can get enough moisture from the vegetation they eat that they do not require it every day. Certainly, in this drought, properties with good water will hold more deer."

Make sure the windmills where you hunt are working properly. If dirt ponds are dry, this is a good year to dig them out with a bulldozer, so when it rains they will catch more water.

When temperatures are steamy hot, a lot of the activity around water happens after dark. In my experience, the two best times for daylight activity near water are midday, 10-2, and the last hour of daylight in the evening.