When local archers climb into their stands a half-hour before sunrise tomorrow morning for the start of the Sept. 28-Nov. 1 early archery season in Texas, there will be plenty of big antlered dreams.
And there should be.
Because if the truth is known, thanks to Grayson County’s top-end genetics, limited but high quality habitat, and superb deer herd age structure (put into place by the limited nature of the archery-only and crossbow-only hunting regulations), there are few better places to hunt in Texas with a stick and a string.
That much seems apparent after the historic conclusion to last year’s local deer hunting campaign.
If you’ll remember, in the waning days of the 2012-13 local deer hunting season — Dec. 29, 2012 to be exact — Aubrey bowhunter Robert Taylor shocked the Lone Star State bowhunting world when he arrowed a massive Grayson County buck with more than 40 scorable points.
When the smoke had cleared, Taylor’s dream deer was given a 60-day official entry score of 260 4/8 inches gross and 254 4/8 inches net.
Those massive numbers make the Taylor buck the new Grayson County non-typical record.
And pending any changes brought about by future panel scoring efforts, the buck’s net number would also appear to make it the new Pope & Young Club state record non-typical; the fourth largest non-typical ever killed in Texas (with any weapon); a potential “Top 10” all-time Pope & Young Club non-typical; and a potential “Top 60” all-time Boone & Crockett Club non-typical.
Not bad for Taylor’s first ever bow-buck, a massive deer that came from a small Grayson County property of less than 10-acres.
Which helps to explain why so many Grayson County hunters have such high hopes for tagging their own wallhanger buck when the 2013 bowhunting campaign begins in the morning.
After a good spring and early summer of precipitation across the Red River Valley, those hunters have every reason to have high hopes.
“As far as antler quality goes, rainfall plays a key role by influencing the native habitat and forage, ultimately affecting the quality of nutrition a buck receives in order to grow antlers,” said Alan Cain, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department whitetail deer program leader.
“In dry years we typically see a decline in overall antler quality and increases in wet years much related to nutrition.”
Thanks to this year’s improved rainfall across many areas of the state — North Texas included — Cain is getting numerous good reports from the field.
In fact, a TPWD news release this past week indicates that landowner and biologist reports from around the state are indicating that “…bucks look to be in good body condition, antlers are in great shape and they are expecting a much better season than the last two years.”
Which is why Cain is predicting the state’s antler quality to be above average for those areas that received good spring rains.
That includes Grayson County, a place where archers have tagged nearly 100 record book bucks (bucks officially entered into the Pope & Young Club, the Boone & Crockett Club, or the Texas Big Game Awards program) since 1999.
Mind you, that doesn’t include the two dozen plus deer — or more — that have not been officially entered into any of the above programs.
Which goes to prove that when it comes to bowhunting prospects, Grayson County is a place that just so happens to be the state’s epicenter for low-fenced, big antlered archery bucks.
And unless my guess is wrong, there should be several more record book bucks to fall to a local hunter’s well placed arrow this autumn and winter.
Which is exactly why bowhunting hopes are high this opening weekend.
And why they should stay that way all the way to this season’s end.