This fall on The Bucks of Tecomate, we are airing the most incredible big buck season ever for a TV series – hunts that see an amazing 10 bucks over 170 being taken. As we go into this season, many are asking if we can duplicate such a season again. The answer is, “I doubt it!” It is unlikely that the giant buck success of last hunting season will be repeated, especially this year. Why? In a word, “rain” … or more specially, the lack thereof. You see, 2007, when the shows now airing were shot, was a great rain year in drought-prone South Texas, where Tecomate partner Gary Schwarz’s El Tecomate Ranch and my El Cazador Ranch, both proving grounds for the Tecomate Management Strategy, are located. Because of the excellent antler year, The Bucks of Tecomate cameras were able to capture on video the harvest of seven record-class bucks on our ranches, including Gary Schwarz’s 232-point B&C non-typical, the largest free-ranging non-typical taken in Texas last year. But alas, drought returned this year.
From August 2007 through June 2008, less than three inches of rain fell on our ranches and food plots. As a result, the necessary nutrition for peak early antler growth was just not there. In fact, in the 11 years I’ve owned my ranch, this year is only the second time I have experienced a near-failure of lablab plots in the critical spring/early summer antler-growing time. We can grow plots on little rain but not on NO rain! Happily, since July 1, we’ve had an incredible amount of rain, over 20 inches! But, you can’t make up the antler growth lost by the absence of good nutrition in the early antler growing period. As a result, we will not be able to duplicate last year’s seven record-class kills this fall on our two South Texas ranches.
Knowing our part of South Texas will be down this year, we have tried to compensate by scheduling hunts in other great big buck regions this fall, such as Montana, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska and Kansas. Of course, we’ll be back in Texas again, too. And through our ranches maybe off their game a bit, I won’t bet against some giants showing up there even in a down drought year.
One thing worth pointing out about last year’s unprecedented big buck season on The Bucks of Tecomate – it’s no accident that 9 of the 10 record-class bucks taken came from properties managed under Tecomate’s Intense Food Plot Management Strategy. And this year, most of our hunts will once again be on such properties, including hunts in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland and, of course, Texas. Because we will be hunting on Tecomate-managed properties, I cannot say for absolute certain that we WILL NOT duplicate last year’s big buck success; only that I doubt it. Even for us at Tecomate, what the program can produce shocks even us! Only God Above knows what the year will hold! One thing for sure, we’ll have fun finding out and we’ll share it all with you!