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Freestone County #7967485 09/09/20 10:57 PM
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ctonsmitty Offline OP
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Any of you guys hunt in and/or around Freestone County? What is the general consensus as it pertains to deer hunting? Anybody plant food plots, have seed recommendations?

Re: Freestone County [Re: ctonsmitty] #7967563 09/09/20 11:33 PM
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fishdfly Offline
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Own land and hunt Leon County.

Deer hunting can really be tough when there are acorns. We are growing a lot of 12 1/2" deer. Hunting is dependent on your neighbors and if they lease. We judge how many folks are leasing by the number of beer cans on the dirt roads, seeing lots of cans latterly.

Land tracts are small compared to the west. A 600 acre tract is large, in fact 400 is kinda large.

Food plots, how much work do you want to put forth? You looking to broad cast and rake or disk, broad cast and roll?
Can plant ryegrass and rake. If you go to disk, plant Elbon Rye and wheat. If there are lots of acorns food plots in kinds wasting money. Food plots are dependent on rain and if there are or are not army worms. Army worms, good bye food plot.

Seed, contact East Texas Seed in Tyler or check their web site.

I normally kill my better deer after Christmas Day.

Re: Freestone County [Re: fishdfly] #7967716 09/10/20 12:40 AM
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ctonsmitty Offline OP
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Thanks fishdfly
12.5" deer are generally 2.5 year olds, so this isn't great news
as it pertains to food plots, I am lucky to be well equipped. Ive got a 50HP 4x4 tractor with all appropriate implements. I plan to plant plots in the 2 acre range.
I'll be on the lookout on neighboring activity----I also have a guy who comes in a few times per week to check on the gas pads. I'll ask him about the neighbors and neighboring hunting activity.

Re: Freestone County [Re: ctonsmitty] #7967788 09/10/20 01:08 AM
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fishdfly Offline
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"12.5" deer are generally 2.5 year olds, so this isn't great news"

No, the problem is "if" a deer makes it to 13", that sucker is going on the ground. So your less then 13" are your breeding bucks. I have a lot of less than 13" high racked bucks. They have eye appeal, just not quite legal.

Unlike other parts of Texas with high fences, most of East Texas is low fenced and the bucks wander a bunch. You might try to manage the deer you see and have on cameras, but they do not stay home.

With AR, when a lessor sees a 13" his next home is an Igloo cooler.

Make friends of your well man, he can really be your ally. He can be on the look out for trespassers.

Food plots, spread rye grass on you interior roads. This gives the deer something to eat and it will cut down on your erosion.
The deer like it on the narrow roads, they feel comfortable there.

Last edited by fishdfly; 09/10/20 01:10 AM.
Re: Freestone County [Re: fishdfly] #7967826 09/10/20 01:36 AM
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ctonsmitty Offline OP
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that's for the additional recommendations re the roads---roads are pretty washed out from the recent 7" rains (and today's rain isn't helping)

As far as the 13" spread rule, perhaps I should start a campaign of 13" spread OR 19" main beam OR 4.25" base---there are really 3 criteria that makes a buck mature and spread is generally only 1 of the 3---if a buck has a 19" main beam, 90% of the time he will be 4.5 years old ditto the 4.25" base---this is for another thread, but its' the truth

I suppose I really need to get to know my neighbors and crank up the FEED!!

I have no interests in shooting a 13" buck, I want to grow 140" bucks (and shoot old mature culls)---sounds like its' going to be a real challenge

Re: Freestone County [Re: ctonsmitty] #7967883 09/10/20 02:10 AM
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fishdfly Offline
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"I suppose I really need to get to know my neighbors"

Be wary of your neighbors, you will always be a "move in". They will smile and appear to be friendly, but never leave your back unprotected.

People think country folk are such nice folks. some of the worst I know are Deacons in the Baptist Church.

Been hunting Leon County since 1966 and we have never killed a 140 deer. In fact I never had one on my cameras.

Lessors generally quit hunting after Thanksgiving, deer start moving about mid December.

Re: Freestone County [Re: ctonsmitty] #7968314 09/10/20 02:05 PM
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Leon county has potential to grow some very decent deer if they could get enough age on them. Where we hunt though, opening day sounds like a shooting range sometimes. As others have said if there are a lot of acorns feeders aren’t much help. Our deer numbers have seemed to drop off here the past few years but it’s still fun to go East. Like Fishdlfy Said, the deer travel a lot in that area so you never know what might come out of the woods, especially during the rut.

Re: Freestone County [Re: Gw123] #7968323 09/10/20 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Gw123
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Leon county has potential to grow some very decent deer if they could get enough age on them. Where we hunt though, opening day sounds like a shooting range sometimes. As others have said if there are a lot of acorns feeders aren’t much help. Our deer numbers have seemed to drop off here the past few years but it’s still fun to go East. Like Fishdlfy Said, the deer travel a lot in that area so you never know what might come out of the woods, especially during the rut.


I’m not saying these were mature deer at all. 3 and 1/2 most likely, but with another year or two on them they had potential to be great deer I believe. But in that neck of the woods a 13” deer doesn’t make it very long is what I’m getting at.

Re: Freestone County [Re: ctonsmitty] #7968366 09/10/20 02:41 PM
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Limestone deer
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Sometimes it's hard being me! But somebody has to do it.
Re: Freestone County [Re: ctonsmitty] #7968396 09/10/20 02:55 PM
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Nice deer for Leon County.

The better deer come from the Trinity River and Navasota River area.

I had a really nice atypical that was coming to one feeder. I went to fill the feeder and he caught me there. He disappeared after that. I hung another camera a mile from that feeder to monitor a gate area for trespassers. Went to check it a week later. There he was. He went back to where he started from.

I have one 100 acre track that has county road on one side and railroad on the other. The other side backs up to a high fence. The deer on my side will walk the high fence side to visit with the deer there. They have a trail that looks like a cattle trail.

Re: Freestone County [Re: fishdfly] #7968426 09/10/20 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by fishdfly
Nice deer for Leon County.

The better deer come from the Trinity River and Navasota River area.

I had a really nice atypical that was coming to one feeder. I went to fill the feeder and he caught me there. He disappeared after that. I hung another camera a mile from that feeder to monitor a gate area for trespassers. Went to check it a week later. There he was. He went back to where he started from.

I have one 100 acre track that has county road on one side and railroad on the other. The other side backs up to a high fence. The deer on my side will walk the high fence side to visit with the deer there. They have a trail that looks like a cattle trail.



Thank you, we’re probably 10 miles or so from the river bottom and the and we always see way more deer and better deer when the bottom land is flooded. The best year we hunted was 2015 or 2016, they were letting water out of lake limestone and the whole bottom was flooded and pushed a lot of deer to us. We were seeing 12-20 deer a hunt. Most of the time though it’s 3-5.

Re: Freestone County [Re: Gw123] #7968442 09/10/20 03:25 PM
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The deer from the river bottoms tend to have darker horns than deer miles from the rivers.

I heard that is a result of better access to water and there are more nutrients in their food source from fertilizer being carried down stream from fields.

River flooding brings a down side, it congregate the hogs also.

Re: Freestone County [Re: fishdfly] #7968460 09/10/20 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by fishdfly
The deer from the river bottoms tend to have darker horns than deer miles from the rivers.

I heard that is a result of better access to water and there are more nutrients in their food source from fertilizer being carried down stream from fields.

River flooding brings a down side, it congregate the hogs also.


That is true. Luckily for us we haven’t had much fresh hog sign all year. I know they’ll be back as soon as we turn on the feeders though. The place we hunt has a probably a 20 acre tank and two smaller ones that are mainly just slews. We tend to never be without hogs for long.

Re: Freestone County [Re: ctonsmitty] #7968937 09/10/20 09:40 PM
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what size of property and general area of Freestone county makes a difference.

one of my leases is NE from Lake Fairfield bordered on the east by the Trinity River (a couple miles river frontage) in Freestone county. We are mostly surrounded by large properties that have pretty strict game management, MLD3. We have planted fall food plots with oats and wheat with pretty good success. We planted peas this spring that the does seemed to go nuts. We were out shredding about a month ago and noticed that the tops were all gone from the peas, but I suspect grasshoppers came thru.

We start seeing some pretty good bucks coming up to and past the old power plant on out to our place. 140+ is definitely possible with age.


"everyone that lives dies but not everyone who dies lived..."

~PMK~
Re: Freestone County [Re: ctonsmitty] #7969052 09/10/20 11:37 PM
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My deer are spending time in the lake now eating aquatic weeds. They get belly deep, keeps them full and cool.

Since I lease out a small portion I do not do any planting there. Big part I plant a little rye and run a feeder to keep me entertained. I spend more time watching them. Mainly shoot hogs with my muzzleloader.

Planting peas and clover keeps them home.

Cameras go up this weekend in the woods.

Re: Freestone County [Re: ctonsmitty] #7969284 09/11/20 02:17 AM
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I planted a beautiful 2 acre pea/milo/sunflower field and the deer hammered it daily in June/early July until my neighbors cows found their way onto my property and demolished it

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