and on the spot pictures -- by Robert Hoague
Annual Bowhunting.net Bowhunt - 2006
Billy Don at Wild Horse Prairie Ranch in Burnet, Texas
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to find a hunting spot where Billy Don could pick me up without driving
by anyone if someone called in and wanted help tracking, that's help as
in Tater. Shucks, I wanted to go too. It was very cool watching the young
has been a drought year in the Texas hill country and this year Billy Don's
ranch is as dry as the proverbial bone. From previous visits I knew a place
that was away from any other hunters, where a well was and I decided to
check it out. The view below is from the well house looking at the big
open field and the fence line that sections off the equally large, but
wooded pasture the well is in.
There are two concrete drinking
tanks at the edge of the field near the gate for the well area.
This is what the drinking
tanks look like. They have a float (you can see it on top of the water
on the left side of the tank). Water from the pump house keeps this and
the other two water tanks full of fresh drinking water.
That is the well house at
the edge of the woods.
Normally I walk straight
to my stand using the least likely path for a deer to travel. My plan today
was to walk all around the area and look for trails and possible funnels.
Since I didn't want to spread my scent all over the area I brought along
what I hoped would be just the ticket for eliminating ground scent, Elimitrax.
I was wearing them when I
got dropped off. I walked all over the entire area and found lots of trails
in the area of the 3rd water tank. There were also plenty of
trails that went to the other two water tanks and there were crossings
and trails along the fence. I put up a portable ground blind near the well
house, 18 yards from the 3rd water tank. The blind is on the right in the
From inside the blind it
looked like this.
After 5 minutes in the blind
a flock of wild turkeys came to the two tanks in the big field. But they
didn't drink from the tanks, they drank from the spillage water. That's
what they're doing right here.
Lets go back to the Elimitrax
issue. Elimitrax has two components A legging that goes over your boots
and pants leg and fastens to your belt like chaps do. They have adjustment
straps so they will fit small and large adults. The purpose of the leggings
is to keep our pants and legs from spreading our scent on undergrowth,
etc. as we walk.
We all know deer can pick
up the scent our boots leave as we walk to the stand. The boot part of
the unit, or "soles" as Elimitrax calls them, slip over your boots and
cinch up with handy release buckles. Elimitrax states that the material
the sole is made out of does not leave any ground scent as you walk.
Well, I just walked all over
the area on a hot, scent holding afternoon and we should find out how well
the Elimitrax work if any deer or hogs come in the area this afternoon.
Below is a picture I took
of the Elimitrax leggings and sole while waiting in the ground blind.
Ten minutes after the turkeys
made their exit I saw a black and white hog in the field. It stopped and
drank run off water off the ground.
Then it continued on its
way parallel to the fence.
Then deer appeared on the
edge of the far woods.
Before long two does meandered
across the field and approached and crossed the fence and walked in my
direction. A buck was behind them and I got its pic just after it jumped
For whatever reason the
buck jumped back into the field and approached some other does. The two
does walked nonchalantly along in front of my blind and went into the woods
10 yards from me.
Five minutes later a young
buck walked out of the brush on the far edge of the clearing in front of
The buck came closer and
I got its picture 15 yards away.
A big spotted boar walked
out from behind the tree next to me. I thought it was going for the water
tank and grabbed my camera. That was a mistake because the hog went right
by the water tank. My picture was blurry. I would have had time for a quartering
away shot if I had grabbed my bow instead. But that's one of the perils
of taking pictures when you hunt.
More deer came into the big
field. At one point I counted 15 does and 5 bucks. Two bucks were bombers
and one chased a doe into the brush and the other marked clumps of brush
scattered around this end of the field. As daylight faded several deer
came to the tanks in the field and drank off the ground. They crossed over
to my side of the fence and walked into the nearby woods.
I learned two important
things this afternoon.
I decided to spend another day
at the well.
One was that the Elimitrax
really did eliminate my ground scent. The deer in the pictures above, the
wild boar went through several of the places I had walked earlier and they
did not pick up any scent or notice anything. I'm real pleased about that.
The second was that the water
tanks in the field got all the drinking action. However nothing drank directly
from the tanks, they drank the water that spilled over and accumulated
on the ground.
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