One Reason to Go Spring Turkey Hunting

Spring turkey hunting season can be fast and furious! The proper use of turkey decoy can take drastically increase success. I’ve used the standard hen, hen/jake and strutting tom decoys in the past, but the new MOJO Scoot-n-Shoot decoy looks like it could amp up my turkey hunting experience!

We’ve all been there. We set up our decoys and start yelping, only to have a big thunder chicken respond with a mighty gobble. Exciting! But after an hour of talking back and forth the reality is that the distance between you and the boss gobbler has not closed. He’s hung up or standing put. You have to go to him. Time to scoot over his way in position for a shot.

MOJO Outdoors just announced that their decoys made for the scoot-n-shoot style of turkey hunting are now available for purchase. I’ve seen this technique used before, but after watching the MOJO promo video I can’t help but go out and find one of these setups right now.

Video: Close-Range Turkey Hunting Action!

Scoot-N-Shoot Turkey Decoy

MOJO has absolutely REVOLUTIONIZED how we turkey hunt with the Scoot-N-Shoot style of hunting using the Scoot-N-Shoot and Tail Chaser Series of Decoys. Certainly the most exciting and arguably the most successful method of hunting long beard gobblers. They will come to run you off to protect their hens and their territory. It is their nature.

The new Scoot-N-Shoot is lighter and more compact for better mobility while you scoot in order to shoot. The new Tail Chaser is styled the Tail Chaser Max and has a bigger fan with realistic gobbler head on it, and a new mounting system to provide more site picture and to allow for optical sights. Also, comes with hub to accommodate a real fan.

MOJO has long been recognized as the company that revolutionized waterfowl, turkey, predator, and dove hunting with their constant innovation and from that has continued to lead the way bringing new and exciting products to the market place that change how we hunt. MOJO’s goal is to truly raise the bar, and their shop does some great work.

Turkey Hunting Decoy Tips

Spring Season

I love heading into the field in spring time. New-growth green makes trees, shrubs and grass vibrant again after a period of  winter grays and browns. The spring season for turkeys also gives me yet another reason to get outside.

There is nothing more fun than getting a big gobbler within bow or shotgun range, whether it be bringing him in to you, or you going to get him. Spring turkey hunting season in just around the corner in Texas and I plan to give scoot-n-shoot a try this year. Can’t wait to get out there and make it happen!

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War on Warfarin, Hogs to Take Place in Court

Before the war on Texas’ ever-growing feral hog population rages on the battle will be fought by fought in a court. A Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) rule change that would have permitted the use of a warfarin-containing bait to poison feral hogs is now delayed after a state district judge in Austin issued a temporary restraining order last week.

A commercial hog processing business, Wild Boar Meats, requested that District Judge Jan Soifer to suspend the emergency rules that would allow Kaput Feral Hog Bait to be sold to and used by licensed pesticide applicators. This effectively puts the breaks on the toxic bait until the guys in suits sort it out.

Feral Hog Control in Texas

Feral Hogs in Texas

Feral hogs, which number in the millions across Texas, costs rural and suburban residents millions of dollars annually. The consumption or destruction of agricultural products, turfgrass and the like take a toll on landowners in terms of both time and money. State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller had said the poison would expand the ways available to kill the animals.

Warfarin is currently used as a blood thinner in humans, but it’s also found in rat poison. Swine are very sensitive to the compound, but they are not the only wildlife species that may be impacted once warfarin-carrying hogs, whether dead or alive, are on the landscape.

Wild Boar Meats buys live and dead hogs and processes them for sale to the pet food industry. Owner Will Herring said the year-old company processed as many as 5,000 hogs in February alone. “The problem is we haven’t discovered any way through freezing or heating to kill the warfarin in the meat of the animal,” he said. “This could potentially kill the industry. My customers want to make sure there’s no rat poison in the meat that we’re turning into pet food.”

Kaput - A Warfarin Based Hog Poison

A War on Warfarin?

A representative with Colorado-based Genesis Laboratories, which developed Kaput, told the American-Statesman that the hog bait contains only one-fifth of the concentration of warfarin found in conventional rodenticides.

TDA spokesman Mark Loeffler said the emergency rules were meant as a regulatory safeguard on the product, which already has federal approval, as it hits the Texas market. Legal briefs supporting Wild Boar Meats were filed by the Texas Hog Hunters Association and the Environmental Defense Fund.

“Spreading rat poison across Texas lands would hurt Texas hunters, Texas hunting-supply businesses, Texas feral hog meat processing businesses, Texas ranchers and the Texas environment,” said Eydin Hansen, vice president of the hog hunters association.

Warfarin Approved for Hog Control in Texas

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller will be announcing approval of a major new weapon in the ongoing war against feral hogs in Texas. Commissioner Miller has approved a rule change in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) that classifies a new warfarin-based product as a state-limited-use pesticide for control of feral hogs.

State-limited-use pesticides may only be bought and used by a licensed applicator or someone under the direct supervision of a licensed applicator. The pesticide, “Kaput Feral Hog Lure,” is the first toxicant to be listed specifically for use in controlling the feral hog population.

Kaput Hog Bait Texas

“Wild hogs have caused extensive damage to Texas lands and loss of income for many, many years,” Commissioner Miller said. “I am pleased to announce that the ‘feral hog apocalypse’ may be within Texans’ reach with the introduction of Kaput’s hog lure.”

Introducing warfarin as the first pesticide available to control the feral hog population is significant because it gives agriculture producers and landowners in Texas a new weapon in the fight against feral hogs with minimal risk to other animals.

Using Warfarin for Feral Hogs

The bait would be limited to private use, and according to the Texas Department of Agriculture department the pesticide, which was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in January, would be classified as “State Limited Use.” This classification would require distributors to hold a pesticide dealer’s license, according to the agriculture department. Buying it would also require a person to be licensed as a pesticide applicator “or under the direct supervision of a licensed applicator.”

According to the release, the TDA chose to regulate the pesticide in this way to “address the risk of inadvertent human consumption of warfarin-exposed hogs and the risk of potential secondary exposure of non-target animals.”

The risks have drawn concerns from hunters and natural resource professionals. Concern for the ecosystem also prompted the Texas Hog Hunters Association to create a petition against the use of the pesticide. Eydin Hansen, the vice president of the association, said, “If a hog dies, what eats it? Coyotes, buzzards … we’re going to affect possibly the whole ecosystem.”

Controlling Feral Hogs

There is no doubt feral hogs are a real problem in Texas. Hogs numbers have continued to increase in the face of year-round hunting, relentless trapping, and aerial-helicopter hunting. “They’re so prolific, you can’t hardly keep them in check,” says Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. “This is going to be the hog apocalypse, if you like: If you want them gone, this will get them gone.”

Warfarin Bait Turns Hog Fat Blue

He also says that “Kaput Feral Hog Lure,” does not pose much danger to other animals because hogs are especially vulnerable to warfarin, and it would take higher doses than the bait contains to harm most other creatures. A Texas Hog Hunters Association spokesman, however, says they oppose the move and would rather stick to hunting and trapping. He’s stated that he’s worried about the risk of feeding poisoned pork to his family, though Miller says that in a “dead giveaway,” the poison will turn hog fat bright blue.

Why can’t we just feed those hungry hogs bacon? It turns out a popular meat preservative works quite well at killing hogs, too.

TYHP Adventure Hunts

The Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) is committed to helping youth hunters experience hunting and the outdoors. The TYHP is excited to introduce a new element for young hunters, Adventure Hunts. Adventure Hunts will be advanced hunting opportunities designed for older hunters (age 13-17) with previous hunting experience in TYHP.

Adventure Hunts will feature chances to learn and apply advanced hunting skills such as stalking and calling, and many will employ more primitive sporting arms such as bows and muzzleloaders. Hunters on Adventure hunts will not be perched in permanent blinds waiting for game to come to them – the focus will be on hunting actively rather than passively, making things happen rather than waiting for opportunity.

TYHP Adventure Hunts

More challenge will yield greater skills, rewards, and lifelong memories. There will be much to learn, and of course these hunts will offer great fun!

TYHP Hunts: All About Adventure

TYHP Adventure Hunts will focus on wilderness-style camping. And in some cases, that wilderness may very well be in another state. Adventure Hunts will include expeditions to locales such as Colorado, in pursuit of wildlife we normally don’t get to hunt in Texas. Most of the Adventure Hunts, however, will be in Texas, but you’ll be learning to hunt our Texas game in new ways that will be both exciting and educational.

TYHP is designed to be an educational experience, and Adventure Hunts will take outdoor educational activities to a higher level. Success as an “active” hunter will require more knowledge of animal behavior and habitat requirements, not only to locate animals, but to get close enough for an ethical shot if using limited-range arms such as muzzleloaders or bows. Wilderness-style camping will present opportunities to learn about traveling light, leaving no trace and doing more with less. And consistent with the TYHP model, Mentors will be provided on Adventure Hunts to help you learn.

Due to the nature of Adventure Hunts and the physical challenges involved, participation will be limited to older youth aged 13 – 17. The privilege of Adventure Hunts will have to be earned – youth must earn points by providing support to or promotion of TYHP, or by supporting Hunter Education efforts. In other words, we will reward youth who give back to TYHP and the hunting community with spots on Adventure Hunts. So join TYHP for next-level hunting experiences on Adventure Hunts!

First Adventure Hunt Announced

The first Adventure Hunt will be an archery hunt for Pronghorn in Colorado, on the beautiful Comanche National Grasslands in southeast Colorado. Dates are August 14-18, 2017. Learn to camp wilderness-style and go pronghorn hunting with your bow – adventure awaits!

Begin earning points now, and watch this space for the schedule of Adventure Hunts to be added later in 2017. The TYHP staff will be happy to help you coordinate your Adventure Hunt point activities and earn points; for assistance or if you have any questions about the Adventure Hunts program please contact the TYHP.

TYHP Adventure Hunt Details

  • Ages 13 – 17
  • Previous participation in TYHP hunt(s)
  • Additional fees may apply (e.g. non-resident licenses in other states)
  • First hunts will be offered in Fall 2017
  • Youth must earn at least 180 of a possible 500 points to earn a spot
  • Points will be submitted & verified via online Activity Reporting Form
  • TYHP Adventure Hunts Activity Reporting

The table above spells out the TYHP Adventure Hunt Point System and requirements for eligible tasks and events (click on it to display a larger image). If you have been involved with the TYHP in the past or are looking to get started, make sure to contact them as soon as possible about scheduled hunts. The TYHP is a great organization and they can get you and your child out and hunting and on the path to success!

Powderhorn WMA Offers Unique Hunting, Habitat

Powderhorn Ranch is a soon-to-be wildlife management area (WMA) and state park administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), but the hunting has already begun. A group of 14 lucky youth hunters had the opportunity to take part in the first-ever public hunting opportunity at Powderhorn Ranch, which is located just north of the Port O’Connor City Limits.

The youth group got to experience remote deer hunting and the ups and downs that go with it, as well as learn more about the wildlife that call the Texas coast home.

Hunting Powderhorn Ranch

The hunt was a result of a partnership with the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. The TYHP strives to get kids outdoors so that they can experience what hunting is all about, such as being safe, ethical and making sound use of our natural resources. Many parents and their kids are interested in hunting, but having a place to go ends up being the limiting factor.

Powderhorn WMA Park Hunting

The TYHP tries to fill the gap by combining outdoor teaching and experience with interested youth hunters and their mentors on properties where hunting is beneficial to the resource. The newly-acquired property fit the bill, since not completely staffed and ready for TPWD’s drawn hunt system.

The opportunity not only presented a learning experience for young hunters also was the public’s first introduction to Powderhorn Ranch.

Powderhorn WMA

The Powderhorn is as cool as its name, sprawling an incredible 17,351 acres. The Powderhorn is located along the coastal prairies of Texas, comprised of woodlands, grasslands and, of course, wetlands. A variety of native wildlife species call this property home.

The Powderhorn Ranch is to serve both as a state-managed WMA and Texas state park. This means the Powderhorn Ranch WMA should offer hunting opportunities for deer, doves, ducks, geese and non-native feral hogs, too. The park will provide day-use and overnight facilities for families interesting in exploring Texas’ coastal plains.

Powderhorn Patchwork

Source: “Everything has purpose and value, but it also has timing and balance,” said Gene McCarty, the property’s caretaker and retired deputy executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “I like to call it a mosaic. It’s a patchwork of habitats that all work together.”

Powderhorn Ranch was acquired in 2014 and with the infrastructure and environmental renovation, the property is being opened to the public in a limited fashion. The plan is to open as a state park sometime after it changes into the care of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 2018.

McCarty scanned the golden grasslands boarded by the Powderhorn lake and live oak mots.

“If they only know this world from looking at their iPhones, all this is in jeopardy,” McCarty said as he shook his head side to side. “These places are so beautiful, so unique, so important to the bigger picture. It’s important we do what we can to protect the pieces that are left and to be able to use those pieces for the education and enjoyment of its citizens.”

Late Season Deer Hunting in Texas: Time to Go!

It’s almost over, but late season deer hunting is a great time to hunt in Texas for a number of reasons. The weather is typically colder and deer have depleted many of the natural foods that were available during fall. This means deer are hitting stable energy sources, such as spin feeders and winter food plots, on a regular basis.

It’s good timing, too. Getting outside is a great idea because kids are out of school and both parents and youth are looking for a reason to break the cabin fever funk. Fortunately, these late season hunting shots exists in Texas, allowing quality time with family and friends, the chance to complete harvest quotas, and put up some protein for the remainder of the year.

Deer Hunting the Late Season

Late Season Hunting Opportunities

The general white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkey season closed in most parts of the state on New Year’s Day, but that doesn’t mean hunters with unused tags are out of luck. Special youth-only and late season opportunities start Jan. 2 and run through Jan. 15.

The two-week youth-only late season is open in all counties where there is a general open season for white-tailed deer or a fall hunting season for Rio Grande turkey. All legal hunting means and methods are allowed, except in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties, where hunting is only allowed with archery equipment and crossbows. Only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt deer during a youth-only season and hunter education requirements still apply. Be sure to check the county-specific harvest restrictions in the Outdoor Annual.

Youth-only open season provides young hunters with opportunities to learn about wildlife conservation through an enjoyable and memorable outdoor experience allowing parents and mentors to introduce them to safe and responsible hunting.

During the special late white-tailed deer season in 106 counties in the North Zone and 30 in the South Zone, harvest is restricted to antlerless and unbranched antlered deer only. The late season provides additional opportunity for landowners and managers to attain deer harvest goals on their property.

Late Season Muzzleloader

The special muzzleloader-only season provides an opportunity for hunters, adults and youth alike, in 90 Texas counties to pursue white-tailed deer with primitive firearms. A muzzleloader is any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle. A cap and ball firearm in which the powder and ball are loaded into a cylinder is not a muzzleloader. Muzzleloader deer seasons are restricted to muzzleloading firearms only.

Late season deer hunting can be quite productive for the reasons noted earlier, but it’s also a good opportunity to pull out the muzzleloader and knock blow out the dust. And bring the kids, too!

Venison Recipes

No better time than now to check out some great venison recipes! The regular deer hunting season will be wrapping up over the next week and temperatures will soon start to drop now that winter has officially arrived.

It’s cold outside, so bring those deer in and warm them up!

Best Venison Recipes

Backstrap Recipes



Chili Recipes

Slow Cooker Recipes



Sausage Recipes

TYHP Hunts: Schedule of Hunting Opportunities

Texas Youth Hunting Program

The Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) offers hunts for a variety of game species, but the most popular hunts are those for white-tailed deer. The TYHP is a cooperative program between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) and but also incorporates the membership of hunting enthusiast and other conservation-minded groups.

Each year, the TYHP works with a number of private ranches and public lands across Texas to organize and schedule hunts for youth new to hunting. It is only through cooperation from private citizens, TPWD and conservation organizations that TYHP can provide youth with high quality hunting experiences year after year.

Texas Youth Hunting Program Scheduled Hunts

TYHP Goals

  • Preserve the hunting heritage in Texas for future generations.
  • Promote the highest ethical standards in hunting.
  • Teach the basic skills, values, techniques and responsibilities involved with hunting.
  • Instill a basic understanding of practical conservation measures in youth.
  • Promote wildlife habitat access, enhancement and management.
  • Provide our youth with an initial, educational, safe, positive, mentored hunting experience.

TYHP Structured Hunts

  • Usually on weekends.
  • Group format: at least 4 hunters.
  • A parent or guardian is required to accompany the youth.
  • Hunts are run by trained volunteer Huntmasters, assisted by volunteer Guides.
  • Meals are provided.
  • Lodging varies from bunkhouses to tent camping.
  • A Guide accompanies the youth hunter & their adult, acts as mentor and helps with all aspects of being in the field and with harvested game.
  • Costs is typically $150 per youth but grants are available.

Participate in TYHP Hunts

If you have not participated in the past then the first thing is to create a youth hunter account. In order to participate in the scheduled hunts all youth must be 9 to 17 years of age. In order to create a youth hunter account youth will need a valid Texas hunting license and appropriate tags or stamps when required, they will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and they will need to complete Hunter Education for Texas or another state.

Call TPWD at 800-792-1112 or visit the the agency’s webpage to view a schedule of upcoming Texas Hunter Education Courses in your area.

CWD in Texas Elk

CWD Found in Elk

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been found in Texas elk. Officials from the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) confirmed CWD in a free-ranging elk, harvested in Dallam County, on December 6, 2016. This is the first known Texas elk to test positive for CWD.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and TAHC identified the CWD positive elk during surveillance of cervids at TPWD Panhandle Containment Zone check stations. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa confirmed the presence of CWD prions in the tissue samples taken from the elk. Dallam County is located in the Texas Panhandle and borders Oklahoma and New Mexico.

CWD Check Stations in Texas

“We commend all hunters and landowners who are submitting samples in the surveillance zone for CWD in the Texas Panhandle,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, TAHC Executive Director. “Surveillance of this disease found in cervids is critical in detecting and preventing the inadvertent spread of CWD.”

Hunters who deer within the Trans-Pecos and Panhandle CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones are required to bring their animals to a TPWD check station within 24 hours of harvest. Hunters and landowners can located a CWD check station near them.

CWD has been found in free-ranging elk across the US, including the adjacent states of New Mexico and Colorado, the state where CWD was first documented (1967) within the US.

CWD in Texas

The first case of CWD in Texas was discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in an isolated area of far West Texas. The disease has since been detected in a total of 8 mule deer in that West Texas population located in the Hueco Mountains and one mule deer in Hartley County. CWD has also been confirmed in white-tailed deer breeding operations located in Medina and Lavaca counties.

Symptoms of CWD

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease of cervids that commonly results in altered behavior as a result of microscopic changes made to the brain of affected animals. A cervid may carry the disease for years without any outward indication, but in the latter stages, signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, a lack of responsiveness, and the general, chronic wasting away of the animal.

CWD in Texas elk and deer is limited and to date there is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to humans or non-cervids. Regardless, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend not to consume meat from infected animals.

Do I Need Hunters Education in Texas?

Who needs hunters education to hunt in Texas? Chances are if you are asking about hunters education you will need it to hunt in Texas. Texas hunting regulations state that every hunter, including out-of-state hunters, born on or after September 2, 1971, must successfully complete hunter education prior to hunting.

The minimum age for hunters ed certification in Texas is 9 years and the cost of the course is $15. It is important to note that proof of hunters ed certification is not required to purchase a hunting license.

Hunters Education 

If plan to hunt in Texas, you will need the course if you were born on or after September 2, 1971 and you are:

  • under 9 years of age, you must be accompanied*.
  • age 9 through 16, you must successfully complete hunter education, OR you must be accompanied.
  • age 17 and over, you must successfully complete hunter education; OR purchase a “Hunter Education Deferral,” and you must be accompanied.

*Accompanied means: By a person who is at least 17 years of age, who is also licensed to hunt in Texas, who has passed hunter education or is exempt and you must be within normal voice control. Proof of hunters education in Texas or elsewhere or a deferral is required to be on your person while hunting.

Hunters Ed Deferral Option in Texas

Any hunter 17 years of age or older who has not completed hunter education may defer completion for up to one year. A deferral may only be obtained once and is only valid until the end of the current license year. You must be accompanied while hunting in Texas if you have a deferral.

The one-time Hunter Education Deferral is available at license vendors and costs $10. So… do I need hunters education in Texas? We hope this article helped you answer that question.