Wednesday, December 09, 2015
South Dakota Deer Hunting is “Majestic”
There is a common theme when we travel north to the always-stunning Majestic Ranch—Lifetime memories will be made with great friends and spectacular deer hunting. Located in Gregory County South Dakota, the Majestic Ranch is a working cattle ranch home to some of the largest free range whitetail and mule deer bucks in the entire state. The Majestic Ranch Hunting Service is led by Randy Odenbach and family and has been managing the hunting side of the ranch for over 19 years. Their management practices include good nutrition, low pressure, and only harvesting mature bucks, which are key in long-term success when managing any type of property when your goal is to hunt big deer.
We arrived a day early so we could help gather game camera cards, scout, and check our rifles. After a 1,200 mile trip from Alabama, we wanted to be sure we were dialed in for that crucial moment when we would face a big, South Dakota bruiser.
Normal temps range from 25-50 degrees during the month of December in Gregory County; however, we noticed a potential warming trend as we made our way to the Majestic. The forecast was favorable on Saturday with a high of around 47, low wind (relatively speaking for SD), and we were expecting a dramatic increase to upper 60s over the next several days. We all agreed Saturday morning, which was also the opening day of rifle season, might be the best opportunity for tagging out.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Tecomate Strut Report - Kentucky - April 22, 2015
Despite lots of gobbling the eastern gobblers of Central Kentucky proved to be invincible for me on opening weekend this spring. I enjoyed 3 days of chasing these big birds in the hills, hardwoods, and river bottoms of the Blue Grass State about 45 minutes out of Lexington. I was treated to some terrific southern hospitality by my friends and hosts Dr. Ed Nighbert and his brother Bill at their family farm.
The Kentucky season opener, Saturday morning 4/17, was the only day of good weather that we encountered during our three days at the Nighbert camp. We all heard numerous gobblers at daylight, only to have gobblers shut down quickly after flying down. None of us came close the first day. We each heard multiple gobblers at daylight. They all failed to work with us. The most responsive gobbler I heard was a mature gobbler across the river from the Nighbert farm who refused to fly across the the 60 ft wide waterway. He was present, and vocally accounted for, sounding lonely morning, noon, and late afternoon that first day. Each time I passed within earshot he felt obliged to remind me of his presence. He may as well have been miles out of hearing as my efforts to coax him across the swift flowing waters of the Chaplin River amounted only to wasted time and frustration.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Tecomate Strut Report - Texas Hill Country Rio Grande Gobblers – April 16, 2015
It was revenge of the Rio`s for me this past weekend at Bill Carter’s extraordinary Apache Springs Ranch. Scores of Bill`s old devious gobblers did their level best to frustrate me during my 48 hour visit to this gobbler hunter`s utopia. After last year’s hunt, when it seemed I could do no wrong, the tables turned 180 degrees for most of my weekend. Rio`s aren’t easy. I blew one opportunity after the other, running off multiple mature Rio’s that are likely still laughing. I think most of my problems stemmed from over estimating the distance to gobbling birds, moving in too close, and inadvertently bumping them. To me, gobblers in fairly open cover, like the hill country, often sound farther away than they really are. It’s a different sound than gobblers in the timbered area where I am most used to hunting them, in the southeast and Florida. Yeah, I know, it’s a personal problem.
I heard gobblers every time out, each morning and afternoon, lots of them. But bringing them in, within 30 yards for sure shot, proved to be problematic. Friday afternoon began in a familiar pasture that holds lots of gobblers. I called and was immediately answered. Then, after 45 minutes of silence I got caught shifting positions by a huge gobbler that was sneaking in silent. Next, just minutes later, I proceeded to bump a whole group of responding gobblers by trying to move in and get set up at what I thought was a safe distance - wrong, too close. They saw me and scattered.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Tecomate Strut Report – South FL – April 13, 2015
Oak Hammocks, Orange Groves, and Osceola Gobblers!!
For several years the elusive Osceola sub-species of wild turkey has been the only bird holding me back from completing my Slam. The Grand Slam of wild turkeys consists of harvesting the four sub-species of turkeys that are located in the United States. They are the Eastern, Rio Grande, Merriam’s, and Osceola. The coveted Osceola is typically the hardest one to take due to its small range where it calls home, which is found only on Florida’s peninsula.
We were hunting just southwest of iconic Lake Okeechobee and less than a mile from the Everglades. The view during the drive in the afternoon before the hunt made up of primarily sugar cane fields as for as the eye could see. That soon changed when we got closer to our hunting destination, which consisted of small patches of old oak tree hammocks with Spanish moss hanging down and large cypress heads with big palmettos underneath. It was a beautiful sight to say the least.
Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Strut Report - Central Florida - April 7, 2014
You don’t know how happy I am to present this report. Gobbling action was strong Saturday morning in a Central Florida near the tree where I sat. I heard 3 different gobblers all of which were very vocal and all seemed to be headed my way shortly after daylight. One great old Osceola gobbled roosting nearby gobbled almost continually, both before and after he pitched down in easy shotgun range. The only problem, of course I was set up with shotgun pointed the wrong direction. I was well hidden and fortunately the gobbler was patient enough to let me contort for the 20 yard shot. Finally I had my 2015 spring gobbler. He has great hooks, around 1.5”, and a 10.5” beard. While only weighing in at 16 pounds I am still convinced, by his long sharp spurs, that he is a 4+ year old bird.
All last week I observed gobblers along the highways and back country roads around my home while I traveled for work. Prior to Saturday gobbling action has been thin. Nearly all gobblers that I encountered last week were in the company of hens. Quite few hunters I have spoken with are only hearing gobblers early on the roost locally, with gobbling subsiding soon after fly down.
But it’s far from over here. Plenty of time left here! Hoping for some cooler and less humid weather soon.
Good luck hunting!
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Tecomate Rut Report - Eastern MT - November 11, 2014
Dr. Ed Nighbert took a great old 10 point that was in hot pursuit of a doe late on Saturday afternoon in Eastern Montana. During the week that Ed and I spent hunting the river bottoms rut activity appeared to be progressing daily. We enjoyed moderate temps for the area during our stay with no significant weather changes during our hunt. There is a strong winter storm just hitting the Eastern Montana area today.
Significant snow and frigid temperatures are predicted. Hopefully the weather change will help get the rut cranked up into the frenzy level as Tecomate’s David Morris will head for Eastern Montana later this week Montana with Eric Lundgren of Remington Arms for what may be a perfectly timed rut hunt for big whitetails or mulies, hunters choice.
Tecomate Rut Report - KY - November 11, 2014
I shot my big buck following a doe yesterday morning at 8:30 am in KY. This huge 8-point was 6 yr old buck weighed over 260 lbs and had a 23” spread. The rut is in full swing here in Northern KY ( Scott County). Bucks are chasing does EVERYWHERE. I saw a big non-typical chasing does the first morning but too far to shoot on film. I passed on a 150” 10-point the second day. We got some awesome footage of all of this rutting activity.
Monday, November 10, 2014
South Dakota Produces Another ‘Majestic’ Buck
The Fall of 2009 began what became an annual and much anticipated whitetail hunting trip to the Majestic Ranch, located in the great state of South Dakota. The 13,000 acre working cattle ranch is on the western side of the Missouri River in Gregory County and is home to some of the largest whitetails and mule deer in the entire state. Randy Odenbach and his crew have been hosting hunters and managing the Majestic Ranch for nearly 20 years and the hard proof is in the results from good nutrition and even better wildlife management practices. Hunting at the Majestic is limited to 12-15 hunters a year with strict guidelines on taking upper-age-class bucks
Travel plans call for flying into Sioux Falls and a quick 3-hour drive to the ranch. Heading west out of Sioux Falls you enter the sprawling wide open agriculture and farm land which reminds you of the other Midwestern states known for producing big bucks. As you cross the Missouri River, the transition to more rolling hills and small timber draws are home to the bucks we were after. I arrived at the lodge on Friday evening to stories of the day as the archery hunters had arrived earlier in the day and were able to get on stand immediately that afternoon. The first afternoon all of the bow hunters saw several bucks and two hunters were able to get shots off on bucks that would push 150”. Unfortunately both shots missed their mark, but the optimism for the next few days was extremely high.