Background: My lease is NE of Post about 8 miles. Lease approx 10,000 acres low fence, my section approx 1500 acres. Lease not really managed, but I have taken only 1 doe in 3 years and only took a nice old 8 last year, my son took a 3.5 year wide 8. There are some huge deer on the place, with an apparent 1:1 or close to it buck:doe ratio. The land is arid pasture, mesquite thickets with nice draws and canyons and good elevation. Doesn't hold as many deer per acre as central/south Texas due to conditions.
Problem: I have spent 14 days (morning & evenings) in the field, with approximately 80 hours in the blind and have seen 0 deer in daylight hours. I watched some does and a nice 8 about 45 minutes after dark while waiting on the pigs to arrive, but that is it. I have deer on camera in daylight hours so I know they are there, they just seem to be erratic in their pattern - sometimes morning, sometimes evening, sometimes only at night. I have done everything I know to do. I play the winds, park as far away as possible, be silent, etc, but have been striking out.
Two things of note:
1. Cows - we were cow free from June-October before the bastards showed back up right before the season. They have been hammering the cover pretty hard and are everywhere! Deer still on camera, but there is no way their presence is helping. Thoughts? Should I pay the same as other hunters on the 10,000 acres if I am the only one dealing with cows?
2. I cannot tell if the rut has occurred or hasn't occurred. I have many bucks broken off from fighting, but have them on camera recently in the feeder pen together. I do have some new deer on camera that appear to be ranging but just cant pinpoint if the rut has already passed or not. Anyone else in the vicinity have input?
Any other ideas/feedback welcome. I have ups and downs on this lease and don't want to move, but am getting to the point where frustration gets overwhelming.