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#6876534 - 09/02/17 03:27 PM Good problems
yakinthebox Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/11
Posts: 636
Loc: Deer Park
I got selected for Archery at

Laguna Atascosa and at Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR's

What to do? Any one have any info on either or which one is a better chance? I'll be using a crossbow.
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#6876669 - 09/02/17 06:44 PM Re: Good problems [Re: yakinthebox]
Erny Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 2070
Loc: Smith County
I have hunted Laguna atascosa but not LRV. The Laguna hunt is excellent and there are some really large ones taken every year. There is also a decent population of nilgai at Laguna. Hope this helps. Congrats on the draw.

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#6877351 - 09/03/17 02:43 PM Re: Good problems [Re: yakinthebox]
Ranch Dog Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1521
Loc: Cuero
Hunt them both.
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#6877367 - 09/03/17 03:11 PM Re: Good problems [Re: Ranch Dog]
yakinthebox Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/11
Posts: 636
Loc: Deer Park
They're the same dates. Lol
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#6878200 - 09/04/17 03:19 PM Re: Good problems [Re: Erny]
yakinthebox Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/11
Posts: 636
Loc: Deer Park
I think we're going for Laguna! Any tips? Should we bring tree stands or are there even trees to climb? Lol.

Pop-up blinds? Or just make a natural blind. Spot and stalk? We're first timers down there...
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If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready!
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#6878849 - 09/05/17 09:10 AM Re: Good problems [Re: yakinthebox]
Ranch Dog Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1521
Loc: Cuero
I'm a firearms hunter with the main interest being nilgai and my choice would have been the LRV Teniente over LA because:
  • No briefing
  • Access
  • No gators
I like all three properties, tossing the East Lake into this as well, and hunted them with a Game Warden friend but haven't been drawn since they were put into TPWD. About six years ago, that friend was at a meeting in the Valley with both Refuge managers and asked them which of the three was the best nilgai property, hands down they replied Teniente.

Teniente and East Lake are loosely managed for the hunt, you might see a USFS LEO, but everyone I have met has been friendly, and I cannot say that for the LA. The LRV LEOs have even given us their cell phone numbers and said they would drive back and retrieve anything we shot. At LA on a deer hunt, I came out to my truck for lunch and an LEO pulled up and asked me why my cell phone was turned off. I guess the Feds have the dollars for the tracking equipment and during the mandatory briefing, we had to list our cell phone number, vehicle info & plate number. I told him if I left it on, the battery would not be available if I needed it. He told me to turn it on.

My general observation; comparing a TPWD property to the refuges mentioned plus Aransas is that the deer quality has gone downhill in my lifetime; I attended the first bowhunts on both Aransas and LA. The properties are not managed for whitetails like a TPWD property and a lot of young bucks are killed which has affected both the quality and numbers.

I would suggest a popup for hunting as it is easier to pack in and hide. Still, a lot of bowhunters will carry a tripod in but most of these guys have hunted the properties prior and know exactly where they are headed. You don't need to wait to scout, you can walk into these refuges any time of the year except during the scheduled hunts.
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#6879003 - 09/05/17 11:42 AM Re: Good problems [Re: yakinthebox]
yakinthebox Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/11
Posts: 636
Loc: Deer Park
I'd love to scout but I live in the Houston area and it's like a 6.5 hour drive. Lol.

I guess we could come down and scout on the day before the hunt. I am leaning towards the LA mostly due to the fact that we can camp right there on the Refuge at the County park. That seems like it will save us some money... Plus, LA has a 5 WT limit(3 Bucks) and LRGV only has 2(1 Buck).

I've got til the tenth to make up my mind but it's also 2 other guys on the apps and I think between the 3 of us we've already kind of decided.

I most graciously appreciate your input. And I will gladly take any other advice you care to divulge!

Thank you sir Ranch Dog!
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If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready!
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#6879194 - 09/05/17 02:44 PM Re: Good problems [Re: yakinthebox]
Ranch Dog Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1521
Loc: Cuero
Originally Posted By: yakinthebox
I'd love to scout but I live in the Houston area and it's like a 6.5 hour drive. Lol.

I guess we could come down and scout on the day before the hunt. I am leaning towards the LA mostly due to the fact that we can camp right there on the Refuge at the County park. That seems like it will save us some money... Plus, LA has a 5 WT limit(3 Bucks) and LRGV only has 2(1 Buck).

I've got til the tenth to make up my mind but it's also 2 other guys on the apps and I think between the 3 of us we've already kind of decided.

I most graciously appreciate your input. And I will gladly take any other advice you care to divulge!

Thank you sir Ranch Dog!

You're welcome and the best of luck!

The lack of camping facitilies is an issue with the NWR system. The wake up at Adolph Thomae Jr. County Park comes a bit early as it is a drive to get into the hunt unit. I wouldn't worry too much about the "bag limits" as there has not been much science in establishing them.

One thing that I've determined is that there is a rule of "halves" on the South Texas NWR sytem; Aransas, LA, and LRV. Half the hunters from the previous day, are not there the next. The ones that do the best are those that can stick it out.
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#6879339 - 09/05/17 04:30 PM Re: Good problems [Re: yakinthebox]
yakinthebox Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/11
Posts: 636
Loc: Deer Park
We intend to stick it out!!! I will come prepared for the ticks and chiggers. I will layer appropriately to not allow them suckers on my legs! I'm sure I'll still have to contend with them a bit. I'm more concerned with Rattler's than Gator's!

I know me and my crew are pretty freaking excited to say the least!!!
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If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready!
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#6879718 - 09/05/17 09:52 PM Re: Good problems [Re: yakinthebox]
Ranch Dog Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1521
Loc: Cuero
On the LA while on an out of season scout, I was almost snatched off the spillway by a very large gator where Center Line Rd meets Aldoph Thomea Rd. A grassy two-track crosses the spillway, waist high grass, and I was inching my way across with a walking stick expecting a thick cottonmouth but at a couple of feet was the fully extended jaws of a 12' gator. As luck would have it, a school of ribbon fish held short of the spillway and he was in the water after him. It happened so quick, I knew had he lunged for me there would have been little I could do. I would have just gone missing on the refuge.

Just a little bit later, I was sitting on the bank of the road in the shade of some low brush eating a sandwich and a 6', coon-tailed, diamondback with a string of rattles crossed just a few feet from me. I was minding my own business and he was minding his. With the gator encounter fresh, the rattler didn't even phase me. You got to love coastal South Texas!
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