Note: All photos come from ranches hunted by Adobe Lodge Also: Click on an image to enlarge it.
11-5-17 Max Sanders has a few cameras placed on ranches that won't be hunted for a while, so perhaps another round or two of trail camera photos will be posted until Max brings in all his cameras for the winter hibernation.
The photos below were taken just before this particular area was to be hunted on our first date of the season. Max apologies for the poor lighting. But, of course, until you see the images you have collected, you have no way to know for sure what the lighting in a particular spot might be.
Anyway, we get a sense of the bucks in that area. Some good ones, and a small one or two. But that is exactly what our hunters on this first date report - some good ones and some not-so-good ones that are easily passed. Wait for the one that "melts your butter" is what we tell them. You'll know him when you see him.
That last open slot during the regular season at the Home Camp booked, but we have several open slots at the McManus Camp. Check the page on this website which shows the remaining open dates. Don't let another year go by without an Adobe Lodge hunt.
10-29-17 Our first group of 2017 hunters arrive next Friday. Every time I scratch something off my to-do list, I have added three additional items. It's always this way.
Max Sander's latest round of photos came from a pasture where, supposedly, the cattle had all been removed. But those faithful cameras found cattle I didn't even know I had. Or, better said, the cattle found the cameras and tumped them over, thereby spoiling their usefulness. And upsetting Max in the process. I have now removed the cattle, and Max will be ministering to his upset cameras. He reports getting many, many shots before the fiasco - 2000+. So he will be resetting the time to less frequent shots.
Anyway, before the disaster, the cameras found some good bucks to record. In studying this week's batch of photos, there are some things to notice.
First of all, there are a couple of tines broken-off right at the tip. It seems way too early for much fighting to be taking place among the bucks. So did those tine-tips get broken as the buck was rubbing his horns on a limb? One of our landowners reported seeing a buck actually breed a doe. Such activity is at least 30 days too early. But Mother Nature always wants her fawns to come when it will be most advantageous for the little ones. So who am I to argue with Her? Breeding will start when it starts, and never mind what day the calendar says it is.
Secondly, tine length and body condition of the bucks seems to be o.k. The overall mass of the horns, however, could be a little heavier. Come late-December when all the fighting is pretty well over, there might be numerous broken racks. We'll see.
Thirdly, in studying the photos, I think I see a kicker point coming off a left antler. Haven't seen too many of those so far.
We still have some slots open. Please visit the page on this website where the dates are listed. Isn't it about time you came to see all these deer in person? And this will be a year to bring extra coolers. You can take home a lot of venison.
10-22-17 Our first group of hunters will arrive in less than two weeks. Time is getting short.
Last week, we had photos of a red fox. But there was a question of whether there might be two of them. So Max Sanders left his camera in place to study this further. Sure enough, in the one nighttime photo, you can see a pair of them. Are they mother and offspring? Male and female? Inquiring minds want to know.
But after re-setting him camera, Max traveled to the nearby dog kennels to get dog food to replenish the pile in front of his unit. Mistakenly, Max brought instead the pellets used to feed our sainted donkey, Nevada, now 34 years old. So the pellets attracted some deer. And the camera did not discriminate - they got their photos made, too.
We don't get many helicopter photos, but we did from one of the ranches we hunt. The owner, Matt Hudson, was kind enough to share with us, and his efforts are posted below.
Speaking of helicopter census work - it is now all done on the several ranches that are counted. Of course, not every ranch in the dozen or so we hunt are flown, but way over half the total acreage is worked. So we get a good sense of the state of the deer herd in our area, and we are able to adjust harvest rates to reach the goals suggested by the biologists with whom we work. Here's the deal:
There are many, many does to be taken in 2017 to keep the herd numbers where they need to be. To this end, I have added a couple of extra hunt dates in January. The hunters who were on hand for a similar event last season begged to return. But I told them I could not say for sure until the census work was done. When it was, and when it showed the need for the additional harvest, that group signed up on the spot for that final hunt.
Four other hunters are booked on the first extra hunt. So at this time, there are five additional open slots on Hunt 13 to be held January 18-21, noon Thursday until noon, Sunday. The discounted price is $2500 per hunter. The hunt is only three days (instead of four), but we will be trying to reach the harvest goal on antlerless deer. Hopefully, each hunter will take two or three or more each, in addition to a buck. That's lots of venison. I caution everyone that the buck herd "has been picked-over" and won't have the quality found early in the season. However, I remind one and all that some years, the best bucks are taken toward the end. It certainly happened last year when the # 2 buck was taken on the final date.
Faithful readers of this part of the website are the first to learn of this offer. If you want to get in on the deal, contact me anytime. I will be creating an email soon to alert everyone of this bargain offer if the five slots don't find customers soon.
10-15-17 Regarding last weeks photos of a couple of unknown animals, most guesses had them to be a tail-less raccoon and a bobcat. But it wasn't unanimous. If only we knew for sure.
This week's collection begins with three photos of a red fox. Here's the story: my son, Blake, who lives on our ranch and travels the caliche road both early and late as he commutes to his business in town, began seeing a red fox at the same location along the road. The fox did not appear to be frightened of Blake or his vehicle. They would stare at each other for quite some time, and did it often. Blake finally decided to put out some dog food for his new buddy, a pile of which can be seen in one of the photos. Donna, Blake's wife who commutes to the business on a different schedule, also sees the fox, but in comparing notes, they thought there might be a pair of them.
So our trail camera buddy, Max Sanders, was called in to solve the riddle. After only a couple of days, Max's camera had a forty or so photos, all of which were of the fox. But only one fox. So the mystery is solved. As a matter of interest, red foxes are quite rare in these parts. These days, there are oodles of gray foxes, and a disturbing number of coyotes, too. But red foxes are few and far between. Now my son has one for a virtual pet. No doubt, he'll be feeding his new buddy Alpo before it's all over.
One of our faithful readers who checks out these trail camera photos on a weekly basis and who studies them carefully noted that one buck might be shown multiple times. I had to admit to him that his observation is quite true. In going through each week's collection, especially this time of year, I look mainly for the largest and best bucks of that week because that is what our hunters would want to see, I suppose. Who wants to see a bunch of immature four-pointers? Moreover, it is sometimes helpful to look at a given buck from a different angle. You might see something not found in an earlier photo.
Our final two census counts of the season take place, weather permitting, on Monday and Tuesday of the coming week. Remembering the admonition to never count chickens before they hatch, I am hesitant to predict what the results might be. Nevertheless, next week's update will have the results of these two counts. And those results might foretell big news about the rest of the season. Stay tuned.
10-8-17 Max Sanders found some more photos from his travels recently. These bucks were photoed at one feeder. They are looking mighty good. See what you think.
10-8-17 Convalescing at home following his big surgery is not an easy task for Mr. Trail Camera, aka=Max Sanders. He is supposed to take it easy for a while, but his cabin fever overcame his better sense and he just had to go retrieve the cards from some cameras he had placed before his trip to the doctor. You can see the results below.
In the first two photos, Max noted that the critters remain unidentified by him. The photos were forwarded to several of our guides and our biologist for their expert opinions. See what you think they are and let me know your guess.
Another deer count was concluded this week, and the numbers continue to look good. Everyone agrees that not every single deer is counted in a census. But if the process follows the same trail and format year after year, you get a sense of the trends of the deer herd. Are overall numbers increasing or decreasing? What is the fawn crop? What is the buck:doe ratio?
This particular count on a 4800 acre ranch showed a buck:doe ratio of 1:2. The fawn crop, at 49% was below last year's 88%. Both the buck and doe numbers were the highest they've been. The biologist recommends taking a lot more does this season, plus a couple of extra bucks over last year's harvest. The targeted doe harvest will be, I predict, the largest in years, and we will have to work mightily to reach the goal. There are a couple more ranches to count, but until all the numbers are in, we won't know for sure. At this juncture, it is increasingly likely we will have a couple of extra hunts in mid-to-late January as we did following the regular 2016 season. Details will be coming in late October. Stay tuned.
10-1-17 Our trail camera specialist, Max Sanders, underwent major surgery recently and has been unable to check his cameras for images. Of course, our prayers are offered for his complete and speedy recovery. Meanwhile, we'll show some images of other scenes around the old Home Camp.
Recently, it was time to wean our calves. Rather than hire a crew of cowboys with their horses, I decided to try using a helicopter. For some reason, my cows don't like horses. When they see them, they immediately suspect something unpleasant is about to happen to them, and they would be correct. It was time for the annual pregnancy check, a procedure they really don't like. Nor the two injections, either. But they will, finally, be glad for that trip through the chute because they were treated with a fly repellant.
We weaned their calves, too, and they all stood around crying their hearts out for each other. The process takes about five days, seems like, but now all that is behind us and we can think about the upcoming hunting season. The calves are now fully weaned and turned-out. The cows are glad that their babies are not banging on their udders for more milk. The next generation of calves won't be here until late February, so the cows can relax, play bridge, and watch old movies for a while.
We have been working steadily through the summer on various projects. Several blinds were brought in to the shop for repairs. We moved ten blinds off a ranch we no longer hunt, and we'll be placing those blinds in likely places on a new ranch we found, plus promising locations on a couple of the older ranches. Such work is an annual project. Blinds get moved - always have; always will.
Another helicopter census was completed and it confirmed the good news from the earlier one. What is even better news is that the predicted rains did, in fact, come. Most every ranch we hunt got upwards of 2 inches or more. The rain fell slowly over several days and not a drop ran off. The ground is soaked. Thank You Jesus - our prayers have been answered.
If you don't yet have a slot booked with us for this fall, please continue to check our list of open dates frequently. Hunters book; others cancel. The list changes frequently. I try to keep the open dates as current as possible, so keep checking back to see if we have a date that will work for you.
9-24-17 As this is being posted on Sunday morning, the weather forecasts for our area for the next several days promise rains. Big rains, even. Which will be welcomed if they come. Although September is counted as one of our wettest months, so far things have been mighty dry. We just hope the generous forecasts don't jinx the deal. It's kind of like the football announcer noting that the receiver hasn't dropped a pass all day. Guess what will happen the next time the quarterback throws him the ball?
In the latest collection of photos submitted by Max Sanders, most of the bucks now seem to carrying hard antlers. There are only a couple/three that are still in the velvet.
We now have a helicopter report from one of the ranches we will be hunting. Other flights and counts will be conducted in October. But this first set of numbers has some encouraging news. The buck:doe ratio on that property is one buck to 1.84 does. Some of us think that number is just about right. If it gets tighter, say 1 buck:1 doe, the bucks tend to leave the area to search for hot does. If there are three or four times as many does as bucks, that needs to be changed to maintain the quality of the bucks. We have worked to keep the doe numbers in check on this ranch. Just collecting the prescribed numbers of does is a huge challenge.
Here is why keeping the deer numbers in check is important: the rangeland here is capable of supporting "X-Number" of deer. If you have 3-X or 4-X number of deer, the food supply is diminished for all. It's akin to two families living next to each other. With all things being equal, if one family has ten kids and the other family has only two kids, which set of kids will be the best fed?
The fawn crop was 46%, a surprise because from incidental sightings of fawns since mid-summer, I would have guessed the fawn crop to be much higher. Maybe it will be on some of the other ranches. A helicopter pilot friend said most of the counts he has done showed the fawn number to be somewhere in the 40s, so this ranch is consistent with the others he has worked.
The troubling news from the helicopter census found four sows and 22-24 piglets and a boar in one group with five sows in another. As always, we will be encouraging our hunters to shoot as many pigs as they can. But it is a mighty challenge to collect more than one. With that first shot, the swine scatter like the proverbial covey of quail.
One of our booked hunters called to cancel his hunt with us this fall. Tragically, he fell off a ladder and broke his hip. So now we have one slot to come open on Hunt # 3 at the Home Camp on November 13-17 (noon Monday until noon Friday). There are also some great open slots at the McManus Camp. Check the open dates on that other page on this website. We saw Beaver McManus yesterday and learned that his ranch had some great rains back in August, so the bucks there ought to be outstanding this fall.
9-17-17 Here in mid-September, we continue to see bucks still in velvet while others have already rubbed their headgear slick. Indeed, it's not hard to find a torn-up tree nowadays as the bucks attack them with vigor. One image below shows a buck to still be in the process with stringy-things hanging off his horns.
Also, this week's photos submitted by Master Trail Camera guru, Max Sanders, revealed the presence of fawns which still have distinct spots. As we have noted before, last fall's rut was strung out longer than normal, hence the fawns with birthdays which are weeks apart.
There is no longer any doubt about the turkey situation. The 2017 hatch, at least around here, was non-existent. Maybe some jakes will migrate-in from somewhere else. Forty-mile treks have been documented. But in any case, there are plenty of two-year-olds which should make for a great season next spring.
The very modest amount of moisture which came to West Texas as a spin-off from Hurricane Harvey greened things up for a couple of weeks, but now that is quickly being lost. Dry conditions have returned. Moisture is needed for fall planting of wheat and other winter crops. And our plethora of nutritious weeds germinate in September - if they have moisture, that is. So we are all watching the sky and all the weather channels for hopeful signs. Old-timers fortell rain by watching the signs - sage bushes blooming, rattlesnakes crawling - but the signs just aren't working too good. All these things were in force last week, but the road is still dusty, and the skies are still clear. If such dry weather continues on to November, the deer will be coming to our corn feeders from two zip codes away.
9-10-17 Max Sanders, our trail camera amigo, has moved some cameras to brand new locations so we can monitor what is going on in remote parts of the vast amount of land we hunt. His work is invaluable. We learn much from his efforts.
For one thing, the two sexes are still in their summertime haunts. Yes, they mix and mingle some, but not much. Max will find locations where 90% of his photos are of does and fawns. Similarly, he will find other places where 90% will be bucks of all sizes. That won't last for long now. Bucks will begin prowling.
Additionally, from his latest batch of photos, we learn that bucks in some areas are still very much "in the velvet." Other locations show nothing buck hard-horned males.
Max once again captured an image of an Axis deer. And sadly, he reports finding zero baby turkeys. So our area had no hatch last June. But a friend who has a place about 30 miles away told me this week he has seen plenty of baby turkeys. Maybe they will come our way this winter? Hope so, anyway.
9-3-17 After his troubles last week, Max Sanders ran the table with this week's photos. Not only did he submit photos of bucks both in and out of velvet, he found a covey of raccoons doing synchronized swimming, a couple more Axis deer, a bobcat, a bearded turkey and a Mexican standoff between a buck and a coon.
That velvet issue is curious. One would think that all bucks are more-or-less on the same time frame. But Max's trail cameras have shown this to not be the case since way back in May when the antlers began their development. Some bucks are ahead; some are behind. As you will see in this week's photos below, several of the bucks already sport hard-horned, velvet-free antlers. Others, both young and old, are clearly "in the velvet" still here in early September. But, of course, there is plenty of time for that fluffy stuff to disappear before hunting gets underway.
All pre-hunt packets were mailed to our booked hunters on August 29. Some have already received theirs. If you are booked to hunt with us, and if your packet does not arrive in the next few days, please let me know. For some reason, even First-Class mail is traveling extra slow these days. But if you live in the area affected by Hurrican Harvey, your packet was held back to be mailed once we hear that delivery service has been restored. I'll probably get it in the mail Tuesday, after the Labor Day weekend.
Rangeland conditions are mostly o.k., but exceptionally spotty. The deer we see on tours of ranches we hunt look extra-good. Fawns are everywhere, and as last season's rut was exceptionally drawn out, so it follows that the 2017 crop of fawns run the gamut from small with bright spots to large with barely visable spots (anymore). Mother Nature has Her reasons for such things.
We are still seeing almost zero young turkeys. If there was a hatch, it wasn't around here. When deer season gets here and our hunters report their sightings arond the corn feeders to us, we'll know if there will be yearlings next spring. There will be an abundance of two-year-olds, however - good news for next spring's turkey hunters. But as has been proven again and again, young turkeys migrate incredible distances. I have seen documented studies which show yearlings to move 25-50 miles their first year of life.
8-27-17 Gremlins continue to plague our trail camera amigo, Max Sanders. Here is the note he attached to one of his batch of photos:
The camera shots that I collected this past week must surely rate as the poorest results to date this year. The protein feeder had little more than cow shots with a few doe and this one buck and the spike--even at night. The camera at Max's blind for some odd and non explainable reason had no shots. The front of the camera was open and just hanging. The camera was off and no shots. Lately I have been extra careful at each camera to make sure that each is properly oriented and on. I am snake bitten this year. I must move some cameras around and get some other shots. There were turkeys at the blind when I drove up, but I had no shots of anything. Poot. These results are embarrassing and not getting any better regardless of how careful I am with each camera. I can't explain how the camera was open with no pictures. It is as though I am being hijacked at all locations. ms
Indeed, even on another ranch where Max moved some of his cameras, the presence of cattle prohibited his set-ups most places. He vows to return next week for another go.
In the photos below, two fawns can be seen drinking together. Many twins are seen regularly on tours of the various ranches we hunt. As yet, we have no data on the fawn crop, but it ought to be the best in years. Tine length on some of the racks is most impressive. This week's photos show some small, ordinary bucks. They are not all huge. But there seems to be more tine-length than kicker-points. Will such extra growth come at the tail end of the process?
Some rain has come our way lately, but it is certainly spotty. Lucky areas are in great shape, but just a mile or two away, you might find no green at all. Those of us in the San Angelo area were hoping/praying that the hurricane would come our way to fill our rivers, lakes and aquifers. But as everyone knows the track of the storm kept it well away from dry West Texas. Poor Houston, which needs no more rain, it getting buckets full. How to move it all to where it's needed? That is the eternal question.
8-20-17 Our camera specialist is plenty upset. Why? In a particular pasture where he has four of his cameras, my cattle have played hell with his efforts to collect images of deer. He will have ten photos of bovines to one photo of a deer. I'm just glad he carries no rifle when he goes to check his cameras. The life expectancy of those cattle would be mighty short. Max notes that deer and cattle rarely mix around feeders or water points. Kind of like Comanches and Apaches, I guess.
But the images of the deer are instructive. Horn growth, here in mid-August, is almost done, seems like. There are still some mighty small antlers, as you will see below, but will they remain small, or will they grow some more?
Max sent an image of javelinas he collected down on the river. He noted that this was the first photos of that species from the river area in a long time. The protein feeder is up in the hills, a couple miles from the river, and that is where a hunter is most likely to find the little desert pigs. But so far anyway, Max has found no javelinas there. Plenty of raccoons, but no swine. Interesting.
Max has moved some of his cameras to an entirely new ranch. So the next batch of photos will show a different community of deer. It will be interesting to see how their growth rate compares to what we have been following for the past few weeks.
Our area has had some rain lately, for which we are always mighty grateful. To be sure, the moisture has been spotty with some areas getting much while others get very little or none. But the temperatures have cooled a bit, staying mostly in the mid to upper 90s. One fawn I saw this morning had spots which have faded almost away entirely. He (she?) might have been one of the earlier ones. Fawns continue to be seemingly everywhere. Deer census activity will get underway in September and we'll know for sure when that data is reported by other ranchers and wildlife managers.
8-13-17 Here we are in mid-August and the buck's antlers seem to be getting mighty close to their final shape. Interestingly, all photos that were collected this week by Max Sanders show bucks that seem to be at the same, identical stage of horn growth. Earlier, the horn development seemed to be a bit more spread out with some bucks much farther along. Not so this week. Maybe the slower-growing bucks are just too shy for photo-sessions? In the images below, you can see some of the tardy ones.
Anyway, there seems to be, as always, a goodly number of eight points. There are a few ten's to be sure, but not a lot of them. That is what makes them so special. But never turn down a really good eight. Some of these dudes already have an impressive number of inches on their heads.
Max Sanders has plenty of photos of deer jumping the fence surrounding the feeders. But now he has one of a buck crawling under the rail of the thing. Too lazy to jump - now isn't that something? Maybe it is a sign of the times?
And for the first time ever, Max got a couple of photos of a young axis deer. At first glance, you think you are looking at a giant fawn of some kind since they have similar spots. The farmer who plants wheat in our fields saw a couple of large, mature Axis bucks a week ago as he was working late at night in the fields.
Finally, there is a close-up shot of a doe. Look closely and you will see prickly-pear thorns in her face. Our cattle have them, too. Reason: the fruit of that plant, the pear-apple, is ripe and ready for eating just now. Those things must taste mighty good to suffer all the thorns.
8-6-17 The owner/operator of the trail cameras which supply images for this website is not a happy camper. Max Sanders has a pickup-bed full of the devices. He reports that for three weeks in a row, three different cameras failed to work. Max is certain he had each set correctly. So we have been short of photos to show lately.
But even with the diminished number, there are always interesting things to see. For one thing, antler tine length is really reaching out there on some of the bucks. It is tine length, not mass or width, which causes bucks to score better. And the length of some of the ones we are seeing lately is mighty encouraging.
Among the ten photos posted below, there is a small young buck recognizable because there is a blunt point on his left side. The little fellow seems to be in poor flesh condition. Why - who knows? For whatever reason, the deer now seem to be finding food in the pastures that is preferable to the protein pellets we are feeding. Evidence? Back earlier in the summer, the feeder was being emptied every 15 days. Now, it takes them 25 days to eat everything in the feeder. Why their consumption has gone down is a mystery. The only explanation is that Mother Nature is providing better, more palatable groceries than we are.
One of Max's photos, if you look closely, will be in the running for the smallest buck of the year. He's getting a decent number of turkey shots, but no baby turkeys so far, as disturbing development.
7-30-17 We feed protein to deer only at one location, not everywhere we hunt. Reason: it is expensive to do so. If we fed protein everywhere, we'd have to increase our hunt prices by a bunch. We like to see Mother Nature feed her deer, not us.
But the reason we keep one feeder active is to collect photos and to monitor the buck's progress as the antler-growing process continues. As you scroll down from this latest batch of photos, the change from week to week is impressive.
But for some reason, the deer's consumption of feed from the protein feeder has been way, way off the past couple of weeks. Why? Who knows for sure? But a good theory is this: apparently, the deer prefer what Mother Nature is now supplying vs. what the protein feeder is offering. Deer (and livestock as well) will eat the best they can find that is available to them. So all this tells us that the deer everywhere are similarly on a high plain of nutrition and ought to be doing about as well as can be expected.
The turkey situation continues to be very uncertain. Max reported zero turkeys at his favorite feeder for them. Area ranchers report seeing almost zero baby turkeys. Same with baby quail. The quail would still try to nest if moisture conditions improve. Not so for turkeys. They are done for 2017, and we'll have to wait for next spring.
7-23-17 For those of you who follow our trail camera photos on a regular basis, here's the deal:
Max Sanders picks probably less than 2% of the countless photos he collects each week. These few he sends for the website. But if he has had good luck with all of his cameras, your friendly webmaster has to further pare-down the long list to 20 or fewer photos. More than this, and problems occur with the website.
So therefore, since we all like to see the biggest and best bucks at any given time, those better end of the bucks are posted so we can all see how they are coming along. We like to know where their horn growth is at any given time. Indeed, one can scroll to the bottom of this page and follow the antler growing process week-by-week.
But the selection is heavy on the better bucks. It is not representative of what's there. In this week's batch, a couple/three lesser bucks are included. Maybe they are slow to develop? Maybe their horns never will amoung to much? It's too bad we cannot follow an indivudual buck along the process.
Our part of West Texas has not been all that hot. We've had a few days over 100, but not all that many. Growing conditions are quite spotty. Some areas have had good rains, and they show it. Other areas, hardly any rain at all has come, and it is not hard to tell the good spots from the bad ones. Livestock seem to be doing extra good, and it follows that the deer are, too. Sadly, we have seen zero baby quail, although there are pairs everywhere. Only 1-2 baby turkeys have been seen - bad news. If rain comes in August, quail could easily produce a hatch of birds. Not so with the turkeys. They only do their deal in the spring. But when it comes to deer, it seems as if every doe had twin fawns. Our deer numbers should be excellent come fall.
7-15-17 There are several interesting things to see in this week's collection of photos submitted by Master Trail Camera Specialist, Max Sanders.
Please look closely at the first two pictures. Surely this is the same buck in both photos. Max notes that he has a drop-tine on his right antler. Since both photos show him with his left knee bent, is this just a coincidence, or is his left front leg somehow disabled?
Because that drop-tine should be easy to spot in future photos, I have encouraged Max to keep all photos of this particular buck separate so we can go back and study his antler's development over the rest of the summer.
Another thing to notice about this week's collection of photos: some of the bucks seem to have antlers that are almost fully developed whereas others seem to be just starting on their job of growing antlers. Will those behind catch-up? Are they the younger bucks? So many questions. You'd think that a trail camera could provide definitive answers. But it seems that each week's batch generates ever more questions about a buck and how he grows his antlers.
7-9-17 Max Sanders notes, in his most recent submission of photos taken by his various cameras, that he is seeing a wide variety in the development of the buck's antlers. Indeed, when the collection of bucks below is studied, some of the antlers appear to be almost done growing while others still seem to be early, early in their growth.
One antler appears to have a couple of bumps on the top, so does this indicate that particular tine is about to split?
Max reports that his cameras are finally getting decent numbers of fawns with their mothers as they come to water. Fawns are now seen regularly during tours of the pastures. The fawn crop, at this point anyway, should be extra good.
Finally, the bobcat Max photoed seems to have oddly colored ears. Max cannot recall seeing a similar coloration on other cats which have been captured by his busy cameras.
We've had some showers in the area recently, good news here in the middle of the summer. Range conditions are decent and livestock seem to be doing quite well, thank you. So it follows that the deer should be doing the same. Hope so, anyway. The ones in Max's photos don't seem to be suffering any kind of stress.
7-2-17 In addition to collecting hundreds (thousands?) of images of deer, Max Sanders gets plenty of birds, as well. This week's offering finds not only the ubiquitous buzzards, but also a roadrunner and a pair of doves. Max will also include many photos of critters he finds among his pictures.
The best photo this week shows a mama skunk and her precious baby. Thank goodness that smells cannot be transmitted by the internet. Raccoons are photographed about as regularly as are the buzzards.
Max collects his photos from his several cameras on the same day each week. So from week to week, we get to see the progress of the antler growth on the bucks. It is amazing how much they seem to change in only seven days.
July Fourth is upon us. We are blessed to live in this great country and may we never forget the sacrifices of all the patriots who have struggled to keep our country free. We try to remember them in the prayer which kicks-off each hunt at the Home Camp. God Bless America.
6-24-17 Here we are just beyond the longest day of the year. Max Sanders collected some great photos this week from several locations. As you will see from his offerings below, the bucks continue to add inches to their antlers. It is amazing how much progress we are seeing from week-to-week.
Once again, Max collected a photo of a feral cat. When time permits, a live trap needs to be placed there and baited with tuna fish. This will probably be a change of diet since that rascal is no doubt eating some of our quail - a no-no if there ever was one.
And Max included one photo of a buzzard. Max reports collecting scores of photos of them hanging out at our water troughs. As we have noted earlier, their addition to water is to cleanse their mouth of the taste of their daily food.
San Angelo had a big storm last night. Some areas of town suffered plenty of damage from bursts of winds clocked at 100 mph and more. But the mighty gales weren't general across the area - just here and there. Around the old Home Camp, there are plenty of limbs to be picked up, but that's about it. Rain was from a half-inch to an inch or more - welcomed for sure, but we would really like to get more.
6-19-17 Sorry to be a day late in getting these photos posted. Had to attended a reunion of Texas Tech Rodeo hands. Mercy - those guys are getting old - some more-so than others.
Hot weather has settled in now. It has been well over a hundred degrees for the past few days. Range conditions are not bad, but as always in West Texas, a good rain would certainly help and be appreciated.
Antlers continue to grow and sprout new tines here and there. It is impossible at this point to determine what the finished product might look like. But it is interesting to monitor their progress each week.
In the collection of photos below submitted by our trail camera expert, Max Sanders, the females appear to be in extra-good shape and, one might surmise from seeing a large belly, still be pregnant. But it is too late for that. Fawns are here in abundance. Now that we are beyond the mid-point in June, numerous 2017 babies are being seen everywhere. The fawn crop is looking mighty good. For us deer managers, a high fawn crop tells us that the health of the deer herd, as a whole, is excellent. We will hope it stays that way. No doubt, trail camera photos from water points, with the temperature now in triple digits, will be quite productive.
6-11-17 Horn growth continues, as you will see in the photos below. Most bucks now seem to already have their G-1 or eye-guard point. A few here and there are showing a G-2.
As you will see in these photos collected by our trail camera amigo, Max Sanders, some of the budding antlers are much thicker than are others. Will the thicker, heavier developing antlers be the largest once the growth process is completed? If only we could follow several individual bucks through the entire summer just to keep track of their progress. But there are simply too many bucks to tabulate. They come and go.
Max got a nifty photo of a feral cat. And the raccoon drinking if a classic if there ever was one. Our thanks go to Max and his important work.
5-28-17 Happy Memorial Day to one and all. May we never forget the reason for the holiday. And let us all pray for our military people, both living a dead.
Max Sanders, our faithful trail camera specialist, is one of them. He retired from the Marines after three tours in Viet Nam. When he left the service, he had just made colonel. So you might say that Colonel Sanders runs our trail camera operation. Which is more valuable to Adobe Lodge than a bucket of chicken.
Horn growth here in late May is proceeding as you will see from Max's collection of last week's photos posted below. Our West Texas rangeland continues to be in good shape. But we could use a good rain to keep things going.
Max reports that the number of photos he is collecting from the new water trough is slim. But, as you will see, the raccoons love their new swimming hole.
So far, neither baby turkeys nor baby deer have been found in any of Max's trail camera photos. It is time for both to arrive on the scene, but no doubt, their Mama's are keeping them close to the nursery.
5-16-17 Because your friendly web master is leaving his computer for a few days to travel to North Dakota for the high school graduation of a grandson, this week's photos supplied by Max Sanders are being posted early.
The two turkey photos come from a camera Max forgot he had. The unit was faithfully doing its thing collecting, according to Max, 3000+ images for the past six weeks or so.
As you will note in the collection below, horn growth is now underway. Seeing how those antlers begin their life is super-interesting. How can anyone predict what they will eventually become?
Max Sanders' camera at the new water trough is furnishing valuable information. For sure, it did not take wildlife (read: raccoons) long to take advantage of this new source of water. One has to wonder: where did they take their baths before?
Max notes that deer are slowly beginning to be seen near the water. No doubt, it won't be long until we get to see the first fawns of the year.
Having a camera trained on this new water point will provide much, much information about our wildlife and their habits. Our thanks go to Max Sanders and his incredible work.
May 13, 2017 Happy Mother's Day to all mothers everywhere.
Our trail camera efforts for the summer are now underway. Max Sanders is eager to get his units back to work.
Recently, on the Duncan Ranch, we installed three new water points. One of them can be seen below. The trough is made from an old tractor tire. We have used such old tires before, and they work great.
Since one of the new units was placed in a remote area of a pasture where no water has ever existed, we asked Max to monitor the area with one of his cameras. Because no livestock are present, Max said that would be easy to do. As you can imagine, both cattle and horses will play all kinds of tricks on trail cameras. Deer and all kinds of wildlife seem to ignore the devices, or at least they are not destructive. Every now and then, Max will send a photo of a deer with his/her nose stuck right into the camera lens. Yep, they just have to check-out this new device in their neighborhood.
Below you can see the first few photos collected by Max. He noticed one of the bucks which seems to already be growing a split main beam. Wouldn't that be something? Zoom in (if you can) on the 049 photo and see what you think. Those brand new antlers sprouting up from their bases are really something to behold.