By: Ted Nugent
VENISON! The primal scream battlecry for deerhunters everywhere that just won’t quit. Of course the term venison is not limited to just the sacred flesh of deer, but historically the nomenclature describing all wild game meat that has always fed mankind and we so cherish.
With turkey season, bear season and fishing season coming alive across the springtime hunter hinterland, there are plenty of various hunting opportunities to keep us die hard, venison addicted, reasoning predators engaged and motivated, that’s for sure.
But fret thee not my fellow gungho deerhunters, for the always thrilling herbivore/cervid season never ends in the last best place of Texas.
Not only on millions of private ranches all across the Lone Star state but also found on open range public ground as well, it is not out of the ordinary to bump into any one of the many various species of deer that have called Texas home for many, many years.
It is widely known and celebrated that there are more axis deer from India in Texas than there are indigenous whitetails running wild in the Hill Country and beyond, and with no closed season and no bag limit, you can imagine the possibilities for this supreme variation of venison on the hoof.
In typical deer habitat, which just so happens to be pretty much any and all wildlife habitat, a Texas hunter may run into axis deer, fallow deer, sika deer, Pere David deer, Barasinga deer, and Lord knows what.
I first experienced the thrill of hunting these exotic deer species in Texas way back in the 1970s, and I am here to tell you that deerhunting is deerhunting wherever you may pursue it, and I love it all.
I was told by a few inexperienced individuals that bowhunting for these other deer was not the real deal and nothing like hunting our beloved whitetails.
They were wrong.
As all experienced hunters know all too well, hunting is always a roll of the dice, and no matter the species pursued, the mysticism of right place right time is always going to be the ultimate determining factor, and it has proven to be oh so true everytime no matter the species or hunting location.
My American Dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness includes as much bowhunting as I can cram into every year, and even though my venison cup runneth over by the end of my annual glorious whitetail season, I will hit the exotic deerwoods every chance I can muster to celebrate the incredible challenge of getting close to these phenomenal animals with my trusty bow and arrow.
It is true that most of Texas is privately owned, and like all hunting everywhere in the world there are costs to be dealt with. There are so many hunting properties all across Texas that hunters from all over the globe come here to experience some of the best deerhunting to be had on earth.
The fun, sport, challenge, trophy quality and of course delicious venison is here for the taking. Whitetail deer venison is superb, as is that from fallow, sika and all the others.
I would rank Pere David as the best of the best, with axis right up there, sika, then whitetail then fallow. To keep the quality of the various venison in context, they are all wonderful, all delicious, and as is always the case with the quality of game meat, it will always have far more to do with the handling and cooking than with the specific species.
Axis deer can be found in every stage of antler growth as they breed all year long. On our home SpiritWild Ranch right now we have bucks that have just dropped, some just starting to grow, a few are well into antler development, some fully 90% plus velvet and many in full term hard antler condition.
The rut can go on for some of the axis at any time of the year, but mostly peaking in June and July.
The fallow and sika deer pretty much follow the same breeding, antler growth and calendar as whitetails.
If you’re hankerin’ for some off-season deerhunting excitement, think Texas!
Sunrize Safaris (517.750.9060) books some of the best exotic deerhunting to be had. Don’t run out of backstraps! Don’t run out of Spirit!