The annual bag limit on mule deer is two per season.

Can you feel the change in the weather? The cold is drifting in to Texas, announcing that hunting season is in full effect.

If you’re not a hunter yourself, you probably know someone who is… this is Texas after all. So if you want to join in all of the cowboy fun, and possibly look like an extra on Duck Dynasty, then look no further than the many great deals on hunting leases here in the Lone Star State, where plenty of Texas ranches are leased for hunting purposes.

WARNING: Hunting is not for the weak. You must be prepared for all that comes with a weekend in the sticks. Along with the long patience needed to stare down a deer feeder for eight hours, here are a handful things you need to do before setting out on your journey:

  1. Safety course: Point your browser to the easy-to-use HunterCourse.com.
  2. Hunting License: Head to Academy Sports + Outdoors or many other outdoors stores to purchase your license.
  3. Weapons and clothing: Carter’s Country and Academy Sports and Outdoors and many other major retailers will have items you need, like rifles and camouflage clothing.
  4. Mental preparation: Here’s a link to field dressing your kill. You should at least have a taxidermist/processor in mind if you want to mount the antlers. You should also practice shooting in advance (a wounded animal is considered a kill). Have an idea of what type of animal you're looking to shoot, that way you have a realistic idea of where to look and what to expect in preparation.
  5. Lease: Here's a good website for exploring all the different leases, prices, seasons, and animals. This website is great because you can make an account and contact people directly through the site. There is also a useful “Find A Lease” page that allows you to narrow your search according to county, lease type, weapon, game type, number of hunters, and price. We have a couple of good options for the more inexperienced hunters to get their start.

Hunting does not come cheap. After you’ve paid for all of the above, you may have to fork out even more to walk away with your kill; up to an additional $1,500. Basically, you may not want to invest in hunting unless you are prepared to make it a hobby. The process and the money involved isn’t worth one-time hunts.

The team at Cross Outfitters in Hill Country will help any beginner learn the ways of the hunting trade in Texas.

You don't have to get thrown into the fire immediately, and beginner hunters might enjoy a guided hunt. A premier option for this is Cross Outfitters in the Texas Hill Country. They offer trophy hunts, knowledgable guides, nice accommodations, and high quality hunts. They also provide an extensive info packet online that lets you know what they recommend of you before coming. For example, they recommend any Whitetail Caliber Rifle (.270, .30-06, .300), and a rifle sighting in at 100 yards. For these hands-on tips and a guided hunt, Cross Outfitters offers all-inclusive weekend packages or day hunts. 

Your next option is South Texas Hunting Outfitters, though this is where things get a little more intense—and expensive. They specialize in dove and whitetail deer hunts, but they offer a variety and depth to their hunting packages. Their low-fence whitetails deer package costs $2,200 per person and includes a mature buck, unlimited hogs, a turkey, a bobcat, unlimited predators, a javelina, three nights lodging and meals. 

Finally, try Casa Monte Ranch, which spans over 30,000 acres in Dimmit, La Salle, and Webb counties. Their starting cost is $3,800, and the price goes up depending on the size of your kill. But, they describe their hunts as legendary because the trophy deer of south Texas are big bodied, multi-pointed, and wide-antlered.

Be aware that many ranches are booked up this fast, so unless you have a friend who has a ranch or lease already, you may need to find your hunting calling soon to get in on this year's action.

Happy hunting!

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