Whitetail Hunting photo

The 11,200-acre Temple Ranch in south Texas’ Duval County has produced some huge bucks this season, including the buck above, taken by Jenny Roberts. The huge 8-point gross-scored 161 4/8. Tooth wear indicates the buck was 7 1/2 or 8 ½ years old. What a fine trophy!

I asked wildlife biologist Robert Sanders, who has managed the ranch for 15 years (and who is Jenny’s husband), what he’s seen this year as far as rut activity in the Brush Country.

“The rut seemed to kick in down here about the 7th-8th of December, despite warm temperatures. Even now, I’m still seeing bucks chasing does. Bucks are still responding to rattling and some of the bigger bucks have come back to visit the feeders, whereas earlier in the rut they seemed to leave the feed all together in search of does. The biggest problem now is most of the older age class bucks have broken antlers.

“I would say year to year the rut on this ranch is about the same time period. Seems like December 12-13 is typically the peak.”

All of South Texas, including the Temple Ranch, is still in the grip of a 2-year drought like the rest of the state. Despite the lack of rainfall, the Temple Ranch grows some huge bucks every year. That does not happen by accident. It’s a result of careful habitat and wildlife management, which includes a conservative buck harvest.

If you’re considering a trip to the famed Brush Country of South Texas next season, a hunt anywhere from December 5 to December 20 should put you in the middle of good buck activity.