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New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting #8068858 11/29/20 10:05 PM
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Steve from GA Offline OP
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Hey guys. First post, and I’m looking forward to participating in this community. After a lifetime of fishing, but no real hunting experience, I’m finally ready to work up to my first real hunt. This means a lot of research, shooting instruction and trigger time before getting out in the field. Having said that, I would like to hunt free-range, fair chase, spot and stalk Axis for my first time this summer. Maybe a bit ambitious, but I’m okay with that. I am specifically looking for a guided hunt with a well respected, experienced outfitter.

I have a few questions, so please excuse the greenhorn-ness as I get my bearings in what is a whole new world for me.

1. I see that many highly regarded outfitters price their hunts based on trophy bucks. While I completely respect the trophy aspect of hunting, my main priorities are the spot and stalk challenge and a bunch of quality meat for the freezer. If I don’t plan to mount a trophy or take home antlers, is paying the “trophy” pricing of any benefit in terms of my overall hunting enjoyment?

2. Am I correct in guessing that some outfitters only offer the trophy pricing structure, given that it translates to more revenue? In other words, if a guy like me isn’t prioritizing trophy bucks (though I would gladly shoot one if that's the way to go), am I a less ideal client for an outfitter?

3. If I were to end up on a non-trophy hunt, I’m guessing I would see quite a few shootable deer. If I’m not hunting a trophy buck, would it be perhaps too easy to tag out quickly – or will a first-time hunter stalking non-trophy Axis still have plenty of challenging hunting to fill up a couple of days?

Appreciate the guidance, guys. Being that this will be my first hunt, I just want to make sure that I’m getting the most out of the experience – and the pursuit of a unique trophy buck may or may translate to a more enjoyable hunt relative to my interests. Looking forward to the feedback.

Last edited by Steve from GA; 11/29/20 11:12 PM.
Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8068921 11/29/20 10:44 PM
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Lots of guides will have culls they want to get rid of for cheaper. The guide will stay with you so you’ll know exactly what to shoot

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8068951 11/29/20 11:02 PM
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Once in a while someone will have Axis they want to just get rid of. Some may charge you by how long they measure. Some like me may have some that they just want to get rid of and will tell you how much they are. Like me for instance. I had 2 that I wanted out. One a spike and the other a 2 year old. I told my hunters the spike was $300 and the other $400. One saw the spike and took him. There are not many outfitters are going to let go out spot and stalking by yourself. If they go along the price of the hunt is going to be considerably more. Good luck.

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: don k] #8068966 11/29/20 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by don k
Once in a while someone will have Axis they want to just get rid of. Some may charge you by how long they measure. Some like me may have some that they just want to get rid of and will tell you how much they are. Like me for instance. I had 2 that I wanted out. One a spike and the other a 2 year old. I told my hunters the spike was $300 and the other $400. One saw the spike and took him. There are not many outfitters are going to let go out spot and stalking by yourself. If they go along the price of the hunt is going to be considerably more. Good luck.


I probably should have specified - I am absolutely looking for a guided hunt, and with a very well-respected, reputable outfit. I'll be driving from GA, so I want to get the best hunting experience possible over at least 2 days worth of hunting. As a first time hunter, I want to become educated on the whole experience, rather than just checking the box. Appreciate the feedback

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8068991 11/29/20 11:25 PM
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You are fortunate in that you have lots of time and there are lots of opportunities in Texas. Your priority you say is spot and stalk, a most rewarding method of hunting. Please be aware that type of hunting requires a much higher set of hunting skills that you must learn through experience. The other part of the hunt that always seems to be neglected is tracking. This too is a skill learned only through experience.

If I may suggest, perhaps you may want to consider a low cost hog hunt or two to help you prepare for the hunts that you really want. In addition to gaining valuable low cost hunting experience and excellent meat for the freezer, it’s also a helluva lot of fun year round. Good luck.

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Walkabout] #8069036 11/29/20 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Walkabout
You are fortunate in that you have lots of time and there are lots of opportunities in Texas. Your priority you say is spot and stalk, a most rewarding method of hunting. Please be aware that type of hunting requires a much higher set of hunting skills that you must learn through experience. The other part of the hunt that always seems to be neglected is tracking. This too is a skill learned only through experience.


Very valid points. I have no doubt that these skills take many, many hunts to hone. So here’s the question - even with an experienced guide leading the way, solid shooting skills, a strong willingness to learn, and a fitness level to get through any physical challenges, do you still think it would be a potential bust to try a spot and stalk style of hunting? Appreciate the candid response.

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8069072 11/30/20 12:14 AM
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First, welcome. welcome

Second, I admire your confidence in both shooting skills and physical ability. However, if you've never taken the life of an animal, I wouldn't underestimate the effect that has prior to the shot. There is lots of game between here and GA. I'm curious as to why you chose an axis to be your first hunt?

As to the cost, bottom line - many try to charge 1500.00 plus for a trophy axis, when, in reality, they're almost becoming a pest in Texas. I have trophy axis cross across a corner of my back yard in suburbia. I had one looking at me, for a looong time, at 150+ yards a couple of hours ago, as I drove into the ranch. I had neither binoculars or a rifle in the truck. bang (And I'm not that good of a pistol shot.) I knew it would happen.

Never mind how a guide feels about you. You are the CUSTOMER. If you don't get a good feeling on the phone with the outfitter or guide, move on to the next one. There's tons of them.


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Creekrunner] #8069114 11/30/20 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Creekrunner
First, welcome. welcome

Second, I admire your confidence in both shooting skills and physical ability. However, if you've never taken the life of an animal, I wouldn't underestimate the effect that has prior to the shot. There is lots of game between here and GA. I'm curious as to why you chose an axis to be your first hunt?

As to the cost, bottom line - many try to charge 1500.00 plus for a trophy axis, when, in reality, they're almost becoming a pest in Texas. I have trophy axis cross across a corner of my back yard in suburbia. I had one looking at me, for a looong time, at 150+ yards a couple of hours ago, as I drove into the ranch. I had neither binoculars or a rifle in the truck. bang (And I'm not that good of a pistol shot.) I knew it would happen.

Never mind how a guide feels about you. You are the CUSTOMER. If you don't get a good feeling on the phone with the outfitter or guide, move on to the next one. There's tons of them.


Good point about the psychological aspect of pulling the trigger. I have been on a few bird hunts before (but there wasn’t much to it) - not nearly as personal as taking the life of a deer. I chose axis based on the quality of meat. I don’t want to shoot anything that I wouldn’t be happy to eat for a year. Hunting aside, axis has been on my list of must try meats for a very long time. I’m big into cooking.

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8069124 11/30/20 12:40 AM
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Just something to think about Axis is not the only great tasting exotic. Most exotic deer or antelope are excellent table fare. Imo best bang for buck hunt for meat is a broken horn scimitar oryx which with some calling or posting on here you can find for $1000-$1200. I typically see where an oryx will net a solid 30% more meat off the bone


“Two things that define an individual what you do when you have everything, and what you do when you have nothing."


Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Mike Honcho] #8069194 11/30/20 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jorge
Just something to think about Axis is not the only great tasting exotic. Most exotic deer or antelope are excellent table fare. Imo best bang for buck hunt for meat is a broken horn scimitar oryx which with some calling or posting on here you can find for $1000-$1200. I typically see where an oryx will net a solid 30% more meat off the bone


Very good venison

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8069270 11/30/20 02:06 AM
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I agree with the notion of a hog hunt or two as a tuner. It's fun, comparatively inexpensive, and great experience. I'd also like to point out that the high fence / low fence thing is not always at it appears, so have an open mind.


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Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: syncerus] #8069334 11/30/20 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by syncerus
I agree with the notion of a hog hunt or two as a tuner. It's fun, comparatively inexpensive, and great experience. I'd also like to point out that the high fence / low fence thing is not always at it appears, so have an open mind.


Makes a lot of sense. We have plenty of wild hogs here in GA. Maybe I’ll focus first on becoming a solid shooter with my rifle from various positions, then do a couple of hog hunts to get some “on the job” trigger experience, then book a guided trip for axis. Appreciate the input.

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: syncerus] #8070497 11/30/20 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by syncerus
I agree with the notion of a hog hunt or two as a tuner. It's fun, comparatively inexpensive, and great experience. I'd also like to point out that the high fence / low fence thing is not always at it appears, so have an open mind.


I will add to that. Having hunted in GA and TX, most GA hunters thumb their noses at high fence operations. However, there are a lot of TX ranches that have 2000+ acres inside the fence. That is more area than most WMAs in GA. A spot and stalk hunt inside one of those bigger ranches is a legitimate hunt. Heck, even a sit over a feeder in a lot of places doesn't guarantee a shootable Axis will come in.

As for recommendations, Mulie Mike can put you on some good free-range or high fenced Axis. For high fence, I would recommend Agua Vida Ranch. They have a good summer special that includes a buck, doe and accommodations.


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Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: HandgunHTR] #8070612 11/30/20 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by HandgunHTR
Originally Posted by syncerus
I agree with the notion of a hog hunt or two as a tuner. It's fun, comparatively inexpensive, and great experience. I'd also like to point out that the high fence / low fence thing is not always at it appears, so have an open mind.


I will add to that. Having hunted in GA and TX, most GA hunters thumb their noses at high fence operations. However, there are a lot of TX ranches that have 2000+ acres inside the fence. That is more area than most WMAs in GA. A spot and stalk hunt inside one of those bigger ranches is a legitimate hunt. Heck, even a sit over a feeder in a lot of places doesn't guarantee a shootable Axis will come in.

As for recommendations, Mulie Mike can put you on some good free-range or high fenced Axis. For high fence, I would recommend Agua Vida Ranch. They have a good summer special that includes a buck, doe and accommodations.


Yup. That makes sense. I suppose 2,000 acres inside a high fence is pretty darn fair chase. I’m going to get some trigger time in over next couple of months, and then if I think I’m up to it, I’ll book an axis trip. Thanks for your input.

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8073331 12/02/20 09:33 PM
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Get some clothing that is quiet. I recommend a HECS suit for spot and stalk (buy two and ask the guide to wear one). Work on ranging distances prior to the hunt. It is difficult to range-find and prep and shoot a bow once an animal is located. Range a spot where the animal will be if possible. You will likely pay for any hit animal that is not recovered, so practice, practice, practice. Shoot some upon arrival to check things and for confidence. Ask a lot of questions.....

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8073512 12/02/20 11:26 PM
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If you can stalk a big Axis buck that is wild and you can get close enough for a bow you are good.

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: don k] #8073836 12/03/20 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by don k
If you can stalk a big Axis buck that is wild and you can get close enough for a bow you are good.


Dang near impossible

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: don k] #8073851 12/03/20 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by don k
If you can stalk a big Axis buck that is wild and you can get close enough for a bow you are good.


Agreed! That would be some chore. That skill ain’t in my toolbox!

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8076987 12/05/20 12:50 PM
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I got to thinking about the spot and stalk on this thread. It reminded me of a post I did a few years ago wanting to sell a big Axis buck. There were some on here saying that because it was in a HF that it would be like shooting fish in a barrel or a deer in a pen. So I made the offer. I will let you in the gate at day light. I will let you hunt all day. You cannot have a vehicle only hunt on foot. You give me $1000 when I let you in the gate. If you kill the Axis I will give you the money back. If not I keep the money. You have one day. I had no takers on my offer.

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8077180 12/05/20 03:55 PM
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Nice Don K.👊👍

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8077985 12/06/20 04:14 AM
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Spot and stalk on axis is one of my favorite Texas hunts. Prime time would be June-August during peak rut and it is HOT. I would suggest getting a good set of shooting sticks, some comfortable boots and a nice pair or shorts for the task. Most axis doe hunts are done from a blind but I’m sure you could find an outfitter willing to do a spot and stalk for one. You would have to pay a premium over a typical doe hunt but I wouldn’t imagine it would be the price of a buck hunt. Axis an be very weary and often travel in large groups, giving them plenty of eyes to be on guard. I would get comfortable with shots out to 300 yards to increase your chance of success on a short hunt.
Keep us posted.

Re: New kid with a lot of questions about Axis hunting [Re: Steve from GA] #8079156 12/07/20 10:18 AM
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If you are hunting with a guide you dont need a lot of experience. The guide is doing the work, you are doing the shooting. All you need to do is be able to shoot good, walk quietly, and do what your guide tells you. Your guide can make it fun and challenging for you. If there are a decent amount of animals you are going to get one if you can shoot. No special skills needed. If your hunting by yourself you need to know what you are doing. If you are bow hunting by your self spot and stalk you need to be real good. The research you need to do is in finding a good outfit that will give you the hunt you want and practice shooting.

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