Our 2015-16 Texas Hunting Season was again a great success with 82 Mule Deer hunters harvesting 76 Mule Deer bucks our Texas hunting leases. This is another extremely substantial harvest rate for our management and trophy hunts (49 management bucks and 33 trophy bucks between all 4 properties). Even during the worst drought in over 50 years during 2011, our managed Leoncita Ranch is on the increase for antler development due to our elevated feeding practices and management buck harvest. During our 2016 aerial survey, we observed a 1.2 buck to 2 doe ratio correlated with a 90% fawn recruitment which was a significant increase from our 2015 survey of a 55% fawn crop. While other areas in the region are experiencing a mule deer die-off, our adult numbers remain stable during the drought and with our escalated feeding program in its 11th season, our deer numbers should remain stable. We harvested 1 buck over 215 BC, 1 over 205" BC, 1 over 190", 6 bucks gross scoring over 180 BC, 10 over 170 BC and countless in the 160+ BC category. Our operation expanded in 2011 adding 2 new additional private ranches which brings our Texas landholdings for mule deer hunting in excess of 290,000 acres. These properties are some of the most prime mule deer habitat in the state without exception. All 3 private ranches have qualified for the MLDP (Managed Lands Deer Program
"We really enjoyed working with Desert Safaris and think your slogan 'come as a client, leave as a friend' is accurate!"
Our two premier antelope ranches in North Eastern New Mexico encompassing 107,000 acres of private land are located in Mora and Colfax counties. This particular area has produced more Boone & Crockett entries into the record book than any other location in the state with our private landholdings in the epicenter of the region. During the 2015 season on these properties, we took a limited 23 hunters between both ranches with a 100% success rate on bucks, ranging from 14 1/2" to 17 1/4". We harvested 6 bucks in excess of 85" BC and 7 more from 80" to 84". The remainder of the trophies were from 77" to 79" BC. 6 of these bucks were in excess of the magical 16" mark and the majority of other bucks taken surpassed 15". The largest buck for the 2015 season scoring a staggering 89 6/8" BC being harvested on our Mora County property. We were also featured with LL Bean Guide to the Outdoor TV show where host Bill Gorman shoots a tremendously heavy 85 4/8" buck during a dramatic stalk on video. This program will air 2nd quarter of 2016 on The Outdoor Channel. These ranches have high numbers of bucks in conjunction with the quality to go along with the densities. Both ranches have guaranteed private landowner tags so there is no application or draw trying to obtain an antelope buck permit which is an advantage on deciding who to book a hunt with this coming season. We left countless dozens of bucks that were borderline harvestable animals which should be on the high end scale for the upcoming 2016 season along with an 80% fawn recruitment this past spring.
Clients experienced another 100% success rate for Axis this past season with 27 hunters, harvesting a mature buck. Our populations are strong on these free-range ranches and everyone took 30"-36" bucks and reported seeing over 20-40 different bucks per day. Mike LeClair harvested a tremendous 37 1/2" buck in March that was off the charts along with 17 other clients taking bucks in excess of 32". This is one of the best free-range Axis Deer hunts to be found anywhere in Texas as our operation is one of the only in the state that facilitates this species under 100% fair chase conditions with no high fences or feeders. All hunting is conducted as spot and stalk- safari-style method of hunting mature trophy bucks. Our Texas Hill Country leases received ample moisture in the late fall and early winter when it’s critical to new antler growth, resulting in great development already being seen. We anticipate another outstanding season for the 2016 spring/summer hunts. Many clients typically add other exotic species that we offer during this hunt and is a great time to get away and cure the off-season blues with friends and family.
We kick off our hunting season annually by beginning with our sheep hunts in September and wrapping them up in April. This has become one the most popular hunts we offer. Our operation facilitated 78 Free -Range Aoudad Sheep hunts this past fall/winter with a phenomenal 90% client success rate with all clients having a 100% opportunity at mature rams. We are hunting 6 different properties (over 305,000 ac) of prime mountain habitat leased exclusively to our operation. 32 rams were harvested over 30", 4 over 34", 7 over 33" with the largest of 2015-16 season being a 37 1/2" monster harvested by Lucian Bukowski. The giant was guided by Tate McMullan and John Hamill in the Davis Mountain Range of Western Texas. Desert Safaris hosted and filmed TV shows in 2011 with Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures, Hunt Masters with Greg Ritz and LL Bean Guide to the Outdoors hosted by Bill Gorman which aired in 2012. In addition we also hosted Craig Boddington (March 2016) where he took an ancient 33" ram on video in a very dramatic sequence which will show on the Sportsman’s Channel this fall. We added additional properties this season expanding our acreage for Aoudad, which produced some bruiser rams this fall/winter. We have been on the fast track to taking the largest Aoudad on a consistent basis in North America by surpassing any other outfitters average in the Trans-Pecos region. A hunt for Free Range Aoudad Sheep is noted as being one of the most underrated sheep hunts in the world and the best value in the hunting industry today. Please view or current photo gallery of Aoudad sheep as we feel our photos tell the stories of our success and reveals the quality of animals we are consistently harvesting. This species additionally qualifies for the Ovis World Slam of Sheep.
Always being fun off-season hunts for our clients, we had another great year and it’s not over yet. We have harvested 37 exotics this season with over 12 species represented. Axis Deer, Blackbuck Antelope, Addax Antelope, Scimitar Horned Oryx , Afgan-Urail Sheep, Ibex, Gemsbuck, Mouflon Sheep, Fallow Deer, Red Deer and Buffalo were just a few of the great trophies harvested this year. We look forward to seeing many repeat clients again this year for some non-stop exotic action during the off-season in 2016-17. This is a great retreat for corporate group outings or a weekend getaway with family.
Please contact to inquire about any additional species hunting reports not listed here and we'll be glad to help. Thanks and looking forward to seeing you all again this season.