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#6923156 - 10/17/17 02:46 AM Black Gap WMA
Romad12 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 07/02/17
Posts: 3
Just got selected for Black Gap WMA Mule Deer hunt this year! Super excited!
Who else got selected for this hunt and who has done it in the past? Any stories of past success or advice? Will be my first mule deer hunt and first time doing a draw hunt / WMA hunt.

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#6923204 - 10/17/17 06:26 AM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
txtrophy85 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 22876
What are the dates?
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I think the deer hunting shows and "Bro' Country" are going to be the downfall of this once-great nation.

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#6923206 - 10/17/17 06:28 AM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
Stub Online   happy
THF Celebrity

Registered: 04/27/05
Posts: 16714
Loc: The Outer Limits
Congrats and good luck up
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#6923334 - 10/17/17 08:16 AM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
Capt.JVH Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/17/11
Posts: 363
Loc: Round Rock/ Lometa
Good luck! I drew it 9 years ago. It was a really fun hunt. I ended up shooting a nice 3x3. A guy in the compartment next to me shot a solid 165 incher. They have some big deer out there. It was my first mule deer hunt as well and I really went in blind. Had I known what I know now I think I could have gotten a better deer. I hunted the compartment directly across the main road from the check station with the big flat top in the middle of it. I did a lot of glassing and tons of walking. It is a tough place to drive. I would highly recommend a good pair of boots and be in shape! I would hunt it again in a heartbeat. Post a report after you go if you don't mind. PM me if you want to chat more about it. Its been 9 years but I can help you as much as I can.
John

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#6923463 - 10/17/17 09:37 AM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
TxAg Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 3538
Loc: Live in Katy, Hunt in Llano Co...
Man, that is a great draw. I have never hunted it, but some very cool country out that way. I put in every year.

Good luck! And PLEASE post a report on here once your hunt is done.
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#6923509 - 10/17/17 10:05 AM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
jmh004 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/01/14
Posts: 455
I hunted 12 years ago when I was a freshman in high school. Pretty rough country.

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#6923868 - 10/17/17 03:04 PM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
Bigfoot Offline
Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 931
Loc: Galveston Bay
Im jealous!!!!
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#6925149 - 10/18/17 05:14 PM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
ScooterG Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/13/06
Posts: 193
Loc: Brazos County
I got selected for the bow hunt out there the week of Nov 13. This will be my first mule deer hunt as well. I will be hunting with my Idaho elk hunting buddy. This is going to be interesting. I'm trying to get the whole thing planned out now. I'm working on the gear and camping stuff now along with just getting there. The hunting part we're just gonna have to figure out. Wish I could get some help on the hunting part for sure.

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#6925474 - 10/19/17 02:52 AM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
Romad12 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 07/02/17
Posts: 3
Hey guys sorry it took me so long to get back on here, bad connectivity. I was drawn for Jan 2-5 Rifle hunt. I have good packs / boots / and in good shape. My dad and I got drawn together so we will be enjoying the experience together. Obviously I want to harvest the best deer possible but don't want to wait too long and miss some an opportunity at a solid respectable animal. What type of size range is a good representable animal out there? Or is it hit or miss enough that its hard to say? I know they have been building the population out there over the last 2 years by bringing in deer from Elephant Mountain. For the people who have been or know someone who has been how many deer were you seeing a day? Should I hunt the new water guzzlers they are putting out or just get as high as possible, glass, and then stalk to effective range?

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#6925476 - 10/19/17 02:53 AM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
Romad12 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 07/02/17
Posts: 3
ScooterG let us know how it goes and good luck!

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#6925900 - 10/19/17 11:35 AM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
Cherokee Mingan Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 08/24/17
Posts: 175
Loc: Callahan County
I have seen photos of black bear out there. Should be a great hunt. Good luck and report back.

I have camped in Big Bend which is fairly close. The one thing I can say about it is the weather has extreme changes. It is hot as hell in the day and gets really cold at night. Also, the wind can pick up fairly quick and make a mess of your tent in a hurry. The area where I was camping, you couldn't drive a stake more than 4 inchs into the ground so bring good stakes. I would recommend 1/2-inch rebar with a tip on it. I would even put extra stakes out for every leg of your tent and tie them down too.

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#6927532 - 10/20/17 08:49 PM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
ScooterG Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/13/06
Posts: 193
Loc: Brazos County
We're taking my 4wd Nomad Suburban. If the weather is rough I will be in the back of it! I've got a lot of questions about how much water to bring and if I should take firewood.

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#6927833 - 10/21/17 10:24 AM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
charrisonLSON Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 84
Loc: Dallas, TX
Congrats! I just got back from the early archery hunt this past week. What an AWESOME, rugged place.

I hunted the first unit when you drive into the WMA. 3k acres. Had lots of natural tanks and 2 guzzlers, so water was plentiful. My plan was to get up high before daylight, look over a bunch of country and glass, glass, glass. Some guys might like to walk 10 miles a day in this country, but it is brutal. Loose rock, everything sticks or bites and not a patch of level ground in my unit. I'd rather let my eyes do the walking. Good optics and boots are of the highest priority on this hunt.

I think my strategy worked. I saw 19 deer in effectively 2.5 days of hunting- 3 of which were mature bucks. The biggest was still in velvet and a solid 150-inch deer. The other two were in the low 140s. I stalked all 3, got within 30 yds of 2 of them before they eventually saw me trying to get a shot and flushed. It is REALLY hard to get a clear bow shot from the ground in this country. Maybe I should have sat there all afternoon until they stood up.... Neither of the bucks that spooked smelled me, and not real sure they got a good look at me. They both ran to 150 yards, stopped and looked around for 10 minutes before heading over a ridge. With a rife, both would have been dead. On the third buck, I spotted him at 7:30, watched him lie down at 9:30 and at 3:30, I was within 20 yds of his bed ... only he wasn't in it. He lost his shade at some point and moved on. Tough ending to a very hard stalk. Take your time and really study the land before making a stalk out here. Nothing looks the same when you get close!

I was hunting solo, and brought in 8 gallons of water from Sunday evening until Thursday morning. I drank 7 gallons (and cooked with a little of that) during the hunt. Firewood was a little bit of an issue. I did not bring any, and there was a lot of dead wood around, just none of it bigger around than my wrist. If you want a good fire that lasts, I suggest bringing in some good logs. I drove a Tahoe and never put it in 4WD. The road throughout the unit was well maintained. I filled up in Marathon, brought an extra 5 gallons of gas and left Thursday with 3/4 of a tank of fuel. Did not need extra gas.

There were 2 other groups on the hunt- one guy shot a small 7 point on Wed evening at a guzzler with his crossbow. He sat the guzzler all week and had good activity the one afternoon it was pretty hot. He also shot a javi at the same guzzler the night before, so success can be had in multiple ways out here. I preferred to glass big country rather than sit tight, but that was more personal preference for how I like to hunt. To each his own! The Jan. hunt will be in the rut, so better chance to see deer moving throughout the day- the hunt this past week, at least for me, was much more productive in the mornings than afternoons. Only saw 3 does and a fawn in the p.m. The little driving I did, I only saw one doe. These deer are really tough to spot and IMO, you will do better getting on ridges and glassing than driving around.

Travis and Will, the 2 biologists out there, were very helpful. The HQ has wifi, so if you need to get in touch with the world, you can.

Good luck on your hunt! Even though I did not connect, it was one of the more enjoyable trips I've been on- it was very pure hunting. No feeders, no fences and no other people for miles. Me vs. the deer and they won, which they do 99% of the time in this country. PM me if you need anything else- glad to share info.

One more thing- I bought the book, Hunting Open Country Mule Deer by Dwight Schuh, for $10 on Amazon and it was an incredible resource- highly recommend if you haven't done much western mule deer hunting.

Conor


Edited by charrisonLSON (10/21/17 10:40 AM)

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#6928200 - 10/21/17 06:15 PM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
safdm44 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/03/10
Posts: 1332
Loc: Texas
I hunted there about 10 yrs ago... the first pasture you come to I believe is the "spring" pasture?? if i remeber correctly.. you turn right off road and go past a windmill at some point... a lot of country to look at and take in... I hunted archer and my dad and I were both successful... archery hunt water..... its long and at times more boring but something will come by the end of the hunt as they did us. that being said I was able to shoot my mulie with my bow and stalked up on him only because we spotted him while driving to my blind... other than that i would pick one spot and sit.. saddle on a hill side by trail.. or water hole... we jumped some huge mature bucks at black gap... at the time I wished i had drawn rifle because i would have had a 150+ buck on the ground.. ran up a bachelor group with the smallest hovering at 150...... rifle hunt you could move around and stay elevated to look at the canyon bottoms... dont forget the saddles on the hills... the bucks will use them and also the dates you gave will probably be near or in the rut. I also videoed a buck at dusk near the border of my pasture that was easily 170+.. so the big ones are out there definitely. Good luck!!
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#6928573 - 10/22/17 06:53 AM Re: Black Gap WMA [Re: Romad12]
Ranch Dog Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1519
Loc: Cuero
In 2015, I was drawn for the Elephant Mountain rifle hunt so I thought I could add a bit of thought to the logistics of the hunt as charrison did. I spent the last decade hunting a very large ranch that is immediately east of EM and extends down about a 1/3 of the way to BG. That was hunting from a camp house, but it gave me a good idea of what to expect went tent hunting the country.

I took 24 gallons of water, gave a little to other hunters and didn't have much left. I have an ice machine here at the ranch, my home, and I took two large boat coolers full of it. I did have enough to ice down my deer at the end of four days.

As charrison noted, if you want a fire, take some oak or mesquite with you. What you will be able to pick up is nothing more than kindling. This country is mounds and saddles really, and at night the wind will blow through those saddles typically east to west. Might keep that in mind with any fire vs. your camp.

My hunt was mid-December, and there was about a 45° swing in temperature each day from the mid-20s to above 70. Funny, but after spending all night below freezing, that 70s is sweltering. When I set up, I moved the picnic table out from under the fixed awning and placed my tent under it. I found an awning that was oriented east/west and completely surrounded by brush (for a windbreak) as I figured the wind would flow through the saddle the campground was in, it did. I wish I had taken a second tarp, the first being used as a ground tarp to protect the floor of the tent because the ground is small sharp stones. I would have liked a second tarp to secure to the poles of the awing on the backside of my tent. That would have really helped break the wind at night.



When the sun starts to set, if there is a ridge to the west, the lights will go out as if on a switch. I thought I had given my arrival time enough to be fully setup at dark, but I missed it by about 30 minutes. It was tough getting everything sorted out in that black hole of a camp. I actually could not find my tent heater and about 2 in the morning thought I was going to freeze, it was 25°, with the wind blowing a good lick. I didn't want to sit in my truck as you must think about fuel as well. I ended up taking the survival blanket out of my pack and wrapping my bedding with it. I sure was glad to see the sunrise. All my water was frozen. The following nights were with the tent heater running and water can sitting in the tent. The heater kept the temperature well above freezing and made the sleeping very comfortable.

The first night also found me in a sounder of javelina all night. The kept trying to push through the walls of my tent, and I kicked several in the snout. The next day, I peed in a jug all day and put a ring of urine around my camp each day, didn't have any more intruders and that included the raccoons that had tried to raid the stores in my lockers while handling my pots and pans.

I took 15 gallons of gas in three cans. My hunt unit was 11 miles long, that is a bit over 1 gallon of gas in my Dodge 2500. I filled my truck up before heading down to the WMA, about 40 miles, and then kept one 5 gallon can in reserve for my return to town. I probably moved across my unit three times a day changing my glassing positions and ended up sharing some gas, but it never became a worry. If drawn again, I would still take the three cans.

Finally, I shot a lot in prep for the hunt. I have a 300-yard range behind my house and shot several times the week before the hunt and 60 to 65 rounds the day before I left. Just something I believe in doing when given an opportunity like this. It paid off with the only opportunity I had for a mature mule deer, a 197-yard offhand shot. I had seconds to evaluate the deer, and the bullet was downrange before the shot could be lost. My deer was on a "hit list" that the staff had not shared with us so they were very happy to see the 7 1/2-year-old on the ground.



Good luck with your hunt, I kind of figure these are a once in a lifetime event given the odds of the draw.

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