You’ll replay the shot over and over in your head for years to come. It was perfect—a direct hit, right through the vitals. But there’s no time to pat yourself on the back; now, you must go find him. Your whitetail deer. Lowering your weapon, you exit the blind and begin the search, out into the harsh South Texas terrain.
You go over the same stretch of land several times. Your eyes track left to right, straining to notice any small clue in the pine straw and dead leaves carpeting the ground. An hour passes, and you still haven’t found your buck. That’s not a total surprise. Deer hunting in South Texas is no walk in the park. It’s more like a walk through the fence surrounding the park. Barbs and cacti tear at your gear. But you came prepared and make it through unscathed. Discouraged and a little nervous, though, you know what you must do. It is time to call in reinforcements. It’s time to get help from the dogs.
Tracking collars affixed to their necks, the dogs get to work. Their noses trace the ground, arcing left to right, seeking out the faintest trace of a whitetail deer’s scent. They don’t need much. A tuft of fur. A few drops of blood. The dogs’ drive is without question, and they wag their tails while they work. But as the minutes turn to hours, their body language begins to tell a different tale. They can’t find him.
With a heavy heart, you make eye contact with their handler, who understands your message without a word. He nods his head and turns to call his dogs. They will find no deer today. The hunt is lost. Dejected, the dogs hop back into the truck and rest. It’s a long ride back to camp.
Pulling back through the gate, you see that the guys have had some luck. That’s what hunting deer in South Texas or anywhere is all about. You win some, you lose some. You’re there to celebrate with one another no matter who brought home the buck.
Matt and Rich are looking at a buck in the back of a pickup, while Dave is snapping photos of the trio. It hurts to return empty handed, but it isn’t hard to be happy for the guys. They sympathize with your loss, and you all celebrate their success. They went out into the South Texas wilds and brought home the spoils of a successful deer hunt. And that’s always something to celebrate.
Texas whitetail deer hunting is not a pursuit for the plush. If you aren’t climbing over cacti, you’re squeezing between prickly ash shrubs. Most of the trees have thorns, and all the bugs bite. You may even encounter the odd rattlesnake, trying to soak up the mid-day sun. You won’t see snakes in most other winter hunting grounds, but this is South Texas, a place with a thousand ways to hurt you.
While you’re picking your way carefully through the brush, your deer is still out there, jaunting through the harsh terrain like it’s nothing.
And yet despite these difficult conditions, south Texas remains a melting pot for wildlife. Whitetails, bobcats and other familiar critters dwell in this land, as do javelinas, caracaras and others of southern ancestry. And even though you came here to hunt whitetail, you may put your crosshairs on one of these more exotic creatures instead, as some of these species are fair game. But whether you score a nice buck, take down a javelina or return with nothing at all, you’ll surely enjoy your time hunting in South Texas—equipped with the right gear to help you get the advantage over your prey.
Camo clothing is a staple of whitetail deer hunting gear. These deer know the land better than you, they have a stronger nose than you, and they probably hear better than you. Your only chance for success hinges upon your ability to disappear into the backdrop. To become a part of the forest.
Camo hunting clothes aside, Texas poses unique challenges for whitetail hunters. You must be prepared to cope with the bone-chilling winds howling each morning, while being ready for the surprisingly strong sunshine Texas enjoys through the winter. As always, layers are the rule. Opt for high performance hunting apparel here. It’s the only way for a furless hunter to stay comfortable and focused on his prey.
Cloaked in camo gear and layered against the climate, you’ll confront the deer in his home, but it will be on your terms.
As the week winds down and your thoughts turn to the long drive home, you take a moment to reflect on your time in South Texas deer camp. Looking out at your last maroon-hued sunset of the trip, you try to etch the scene into your memory. From your initial arrival to the moment you say your goodbyes, you’ve cherished every second.
You’ve spent time with dear friends and observed wildlife from your blind. You’ve enjoyed the quiet peace of the woods and made one of the best shots of your life. Circumstances and chance kept you from bringing him home a whitetail deer this time, but you don’t consider that a loss, and you certainly won’t dwell on the minor misfortune.
South Texas deer hunting isn’t just about collecting a trophy. It’s about the comradery. It’s about the natural world. It’s about living in the moment, like a Nomad should. On to the next one.
Find the gear you need to outperform the deer in their natural habitat. Browse this collection of Nomad high-performance hunting gear that will allow you to track, find, and land your buck—no matter how harsh the terrain or weather.