2012 Trophy 8`s of Zapata County South Texas

Tyler Carson, Shaun Harris, and Stan Rogers arrived in Zapata County South Texas mid-December of 2012 at Dr. Gary Schwarz `s Tecomate La Perla Ranch precisely as expected – on time, enthusiastic, and ready to dive into their first South Texas Brush Country whitetail hunting adventure. Gary`s 4600 acre Tecomate La Perla Ranch was a superb venue for this event. The South Texas rut was in full swing and abundant trophy bucks were moving. There was no doubt that many big buck encounters were forthcoming. The trio of seasoned whitetail hunters, Tyler and Shaun from South Georgia and Stan from Oregon, were after La Perla trophy 8`s – mature South Texas basic 8-pointers carrying B & C gross score racks of at least 130 inches and up to 140 inches maximum. Large pivot irrigated food plots had more than sustained the La Perla whitetail herd through yet another brutally dry and hot South Texas spring and summer antler growing season. Late summer and early fall Reconyx trail cam pictures revealed that regardless of the ongoing drought in the region Tecomate La Perla bucks were thriving and growing racks of enormous proportion. Now it was time for two Georgians and one Oregonian to experience South Texas trophy 8 hunting at its finest. There was plenty of action ahead for Tyler, Shaun, and Stan.


Trophy 8-point La Perla bucks are relatively common thanks to the Dr. Gary Schwarz`s relentless efforts and his intense implementation of the year round Tecomate food plot management system. Numerous strategically located large circular pivot irrigated food plots at La Perla have generously raised and leveled the nutritional plane on the home range of the whitetails that reside there. And of course the results are the occurrence of more, bigger, and better bucks than ever anticipated. It`s just that simple. It’s the Tecomate way. However finding a top end 140 inch 8-point for harvest at La Perla would still be a challenge - but perhaps not for reasons that may be presumed. The most difficult task at La Perla Ranch during the 2012 – 2013 season may have been finding a suitable trophy 8-point that did not score more than the maximum 140 B & C gross limit. Many of La Perla’s mature basic 8's certainly exceed the maximum predetermined trophy 8 score of 140 inches by a sizeable margin. There are 150 and 160 class 8's walking around La Perla these days.


In predawn darkness of the first hunting day Shaun Harris and I made our way quietly through the thorny terrain and positioned ourselves in side by side tripods overlooking a sizeable and fairly open prickly pear flat. Videographer Matt McCulluh joined us, hoping to capture Shaun`s hunt for Tecomate TV. Matt and I had scouted this same area a day prior to Shaun`s arrival and we had spotted several bucks going about their normal December business of making scrapes and chasing does. There were many good bucks in the area and odds were good that Shaun may take his first South Texas trophy in short order.

Sunbeams began to gradually illuminate the eastern sky on the horizon and we began to make out vague deer forms moving about in the pear flat. Our visibility would eventually be good but it was still too dark to adequately assess antler details as we stared through our Luepold 10 x 42 Mojave binocs. We were straining to make out rack details in the twilight setting. Some bucks looked impressive. There were definitely several mature suspects present as evidenced by their large bodies and notable head gear.

The daybreak curtain rose steadily and we began to discern points and make out details of some of the bucks that hung close by. One particularly heavy beamed large bodied buck grabbed our attention instantly, a mature 200 lb. plus war horse 8-point. Our observation of this buck`s rack was mostly a straight on view. This old buck was a stud, a shooter trophy 8-point. Shaun could have easily taken this buck but he promptly turned down the early opportunity. I don't blame him, we were only thirty minutes into the hunt and bucks were all around us. Besides, mornings like this in the brush country are best savored. Shaun was enjoying himself and he was certainly pleased by the volume and quality of deer activity we were encountering. The big mature 8 trotted off out of site into a mesquite thicket following a doe.

A short while later the heavy racked trophy 8-pointer reappeared following the doe he had previously corralled into the brush. Again Shaun was invited to take the buck. This time Shaun picked up his rifle and aimed. His accurately placed bullet hit the mark and in short order we were celebrating and admiring Shaun`s first morning brush country hunting achievement. Lying before us was a heavy beamed mature brute of an 8-point with 12 inch G2's, 7 inch G3's, and main beams that would measure close to 24 inches. This bullish buck was my favorite trophy 8 taken during the entire hunt. If not for one broken brow tine Shaun`s buck would score more than the 140 gross B&C limit. We taped the 7-year-old 215 lb. trophy at 138 B & C gross, a spectacular La Perla Ranch trophy 8-point. Congratulations Shaun!

Shaun Harris

Tyler Carson of Valdosta Georgia may argue with me for my statement that Shaun's buck was the best trophy 8-pointer of this hunt. The next day Tyler scored on a trophy 8-point buck of his dreams. A rare and perfectly symmetrical mature 140 B & C plus trophy 8-point strolled into one of La Perla`s huge Tecomate food plots as David Morris and Tyler watched from a distance. Once Tyler got into shooting position he executed a pinpoint 250 yard shot and dropped his first brush country bruiser right where he stood. All the action was captured on Tecomate TV. Later that evening David Morris scored Tyler`s buck back at camp - no deducts on this trophy's heavy 8-point rack, 141 B & C gross and net.

Tyler Carson of Valdosta Georgia

In the meantime Stan Rogers, from Salem Oregon, and veteran Tecomate La Perla Ranch guide Mark Thomas were busy creating some whitetail action of their own. Stan took a remarkable 140 B & C plus buck that carried Canadian-like mass throughout his entire rack. Now all hunters in camp were celebrating their successes and sharing stories of their accomplishments.

Stan Rogers from Salem Oregon

Tyler, Shaun, and Stan spent the rest of their time at La Perla hunting “cull bucks”. Culls at La Perla could be considered trophies at many ranches and to most hunters. In fact these bucks are trophies. Gary requires that many mature bucks under 130 B & C gross be removed from the herd at La Perla annually as part of his overall management strategy. This is an added bonus for lucky guest hunters at La Perla, and a prime opportunity to collect more prized venison. Stan and Mark brought in two additional great bucks and Tyler took a big 7-pointer. Shaun came close with his bow but never released an arrow. It`s all part of making Tecomate La Perla Ranch the best it can be. That`s Gary`s goal. And there is no doubt in my mind; Dr. Gary Schwarz will accept nothing less than the best. We`re all looking forward to next season!

Posted by David Shashy

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