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Live Mule Deer Camera Located on Leoncita Ranch

Mule Deer Management In Texas

Outfitters and Landowners in Texas are strong advocates of implementing very aggressive management practices of mule deer with dramatic results over the past decade.

These practices are positively affecting our deer herds by aiding in increased numbers along with elevated antler growth annually. The managing of our deer along with feed programs, predator control and harvesting management bucks correlated with large private ranches is producing some “sleeper” bucks in the Lone Star State.

Desert Safaris works closely with Lyssy & Eckel (, and with Outback Wildlife Supply ( owned by Rick Merritt. At Lyssy & Eckel, they have learned that the nutritional needs of mule deer are quite different than whitetail. Just to mention a few of the differences, negative effects of the rut and harsher weather conditions are more traumatic and post-rut recovery is slower. Digestion rates are slower, nutrient absorption is reduced, and requirements for browse are much greater

Lyssy & Eckel feeds are formulated to compensate for these problems. They have been working on desert mule deer formulations for years and the results have been outstanding. Rick Merritt's company ( has designed and built all 62 protein feeders on our properties which hold a capacity of 2000 lbs. of protein at each feeder location on the ranches.

"Desert Safaris and Hunter Ross provide all of the elements for a grand adventure: 1st class lodging and amenities and excellent guides with the knowledge and desire to put you on your trophy."
~Gerry "Moon" Mullins~

"I've returned 3 times in consecutive years and trust me it won't be my last time."
~Chris Boddington~

Lyssy & Eckel mule deer feeds are formulated to create maximum antler growth through accelerated blood flow. This feed features high levels of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, which are essential for antler development. Additionally, elevated levels of copper, zinc and manganese along with vitamins A, D and B complex are provided to nourish the cells which build antlers.

Desert Safaris implemented an aggressive feed program in 2006 and is seeing dramatic results already on the property. All feed locations are “free-choice” for our herd providing as much protein as possible and readily available 365/24-7. We have personnel that check and refill the feeders on a weekly basis. With our mule deer consuming over 50,000 lbs per month, this is a full time task in itself.

We currently do four deer helicopter surveys annually on our leases and according to our 2014 census we have a 1.3 buck to doe ratio with a 80% + fawn recruitment. During our surveys we also conduct extensive predator harvest from the air reducing coyote, feral hog and bobcat numbers to aid in fawn reproduction for future years to come.

Desert Safaris is currently approved for the MLDP (Managed Land Deer Permit) program which extends our season from 17 days to 90 days due to our management practices. This allows us to harvest additional management bucks aside from trophies to keep our herd in “balance”. Please inquire about our availability for harvesting a top-end management deer at a fraction of the cost of a trophy. We appreciate your interest in our mule deer management and contact us today for your booking of a quality trophy mule deer or management hunt this season.


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