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Mills County #8476205 12/15/21 04:00 AM
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Brother Phil Offline OP
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I am on a 900 acre lease, in Northern Mills Co, off FM 2005. The ranch is very dry, and the tanks are low, or dried up. Many of the oak trees have died. We are not seeing the number of deer we usually do. Last season, I often saw over 20 deer in a sit. Now, I see very few. I have not seen any mature bucks. I don't think there was a massive die off, and am guessing the deer are just not moving much with the warm weather. Another idea is that the deer switched their food source, because of the drought. Any thoughts?

Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8476216 12/15/21 04:04 AM
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They may have moved for food and water.

Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8476474 12/15/21 02:45 PM
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The recent windy days have really stifled movement. I usually see 8-10 just feeding our stock and the last few outings I haven't seen a single deer. If you don't have much cover, given the lack of food and water I suspect you won't see too many the rest of the season. Hoping like heck we get SOME sort of moisture this weekend.


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Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8476502 12/15/21 03:18 PM
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I'm in northern Mills County between Zephyr and Priddy, I'm seeing 8-10 deer morning and evening, I have an oat field and they are in it every evening at dark, counted up to 22 set of eyes one evening.

Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8476536 12/15/21 03:41 PM
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From where we are in southern Brown County, there seems to be a band stretching east into Mills County of very little rainfall this year. We had many storms go just north, or just south, but miss us completely. Storms that dropped several inches of rain along the Colorado, or up in Brownwood, missed us completely. That area in northern Mills may be along that band. Our tanks are down to puddles and the grass is marginal. Our deer numbers are holding, but we desperately need moisture. A 10th or quarter every 2 or 3 weeks is not enough - we need run off rains.


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How about that Brandon!
Re: Mills County [Re: Dalroo] #8476597 12/15/21 04:40 PM
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Yes, we need runoff.
One of my ponds is dry in Coleman county and 3 acre pond is almost dry.

Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8478954 12/17/21 10:59 PM
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I’m in northern Mills county…along FM 575 in the new windmill project. Desperately dry…but the deer numbers are still there. The deer come running to the feeders - not just the young ones either. Had 12 does standing around waiting on the feeder. Shot one of them and then the feeder goes off 10 minutes later…7 bucks run in and the does trickle back in to eat amongst the dead doe. Wasn’t enough rain for the oats to come up well and what little oats did come up have been eaten off to the dirt…

Sure hope to get some moisture soon


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Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8478956 12/17/21 10:59 PM
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i hunt mills co.we see several does and small bucks but no mature bucks at all not even on camera at night. they all just disappeared even my neighbors are in the same position. ponds are dried up.

Last edited by SlaminEm; 12/17/21 11:01 PM.
Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8480704 12/19/21 09:51 PM
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Also in northern Mills between Priddy and Zepher, we're fortunate to have a decent size creek bottom on most of our property and our large lake that is normally 12 acres still has water maybe down to 7 acres in size now. Some of our small stock tanks have a little water but we are extremely dry, the oat fields came up but have only had 1 or 2 rains since they came up and they're hurting now. Were on 1,000 acres and have killed 31 so far and still have 27 MLD tags left. We're still seeing deer every sit. Sometimes it varies, I've seen up to 29 come to an oat field in the evening and as few as 4 or 5. The oaks in your area are likely dying from oak wilt not the drought. we have several that have died, some that are over 40" in diameter likely well over 100 years old maybe closer to 200. Sad to see a giant like that go especially to a damn fungus.

Re: Mills County [Re: Txhunter65] #8480751 12/19/21 10:31 PM
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TX Hunter----they gave you 58 tags on 1000 acres??? How long have been on MLD program??

Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8480781 12/19/21 11:10 PM
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We were in for 5 years then got out for 2019 and 2020 and this is our first year back in. Previously we've had between 30 and 40 doe tags each year. This year we got 24 buck and 34 doe. Biologist said he would be good as long as we take 16 bucks and 26 does. We've known our population surveys are a little high each year due to several factors we're aware of and have discussed with the biologist.

I'd say on average we see 8-12 deer each sit with the high being 29 this year. The majority of our neighbors do not kill more than 1 or 2 deer a year and we have a lot of high fence properties in our area we typically feed around 40,000lbs of protein and 16,000 pounds of corn annually.

Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8702303 10/05/22 04:21 PM
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We definitely seem to be in the same situation as the OP this year in Mills county.
I know its still early, but per camera activity, or the lack of, even since February wondering if anyone else is noticing less deer this year. Last year seems to be the year for big bucks and lots of deer, now not seeing much.
Feed protein and corn year round so should see them if they are there.

Big freeze in February? Drought? Just our turn to go thru a lull?

Re: Mills County [Re: QuackShack] #8703028 10/06/22 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by QuackShack
We definitely seem to be in the same situation as the OP this year in Mills county.
I know its still early, but per camera activity, or the lack of, even since February wondering if anyone else is noticing less deer this year. Last year seems to be the year for big bucks and lots of deer, now not seeing much.
Feed protein and corn year round so should see them if they are there.

Big freeze in February? Drought? Just our turn to go thru a lull?


I've still got tons of deer on camera. Given the drought, they should be pounding just about any food source you have out there. But, tell me about the place and surrounding places. Have you got cover and water? Do you have livestock that they're competing with, or is the land open other than deer? Same questions about the neighbors?


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Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8703031 10/06/22 08:18 PM
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Still too many deer around. We have lost some deer over the summer as well. From what I've seen, antlers are way down in quality, worse than 2011 IMO. A lot of animals look stunted and poor. Many missing browtines. Careful culling this year unless you have known history with that animal. Shoot all the does you can.

Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8703112 10/06/22 10:18 PM
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Not seeing many deer this year in east coleman county, no mature bucks on camera, was wondering if there was a die off this year. Our tanks and creek held water but I have never seen them this low. Last year there was too much food and deer did not use the feeders, mostly seen deer grazing and nothing big on camera, every year is different but our numbers are definitely down so far.




Re: Mills County [Re: Brother Phil] #8703163 10/06/22 11:29 PM
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Acorns are dropping!

Re: Mills County [Re: tbgascorer] #8703468 10/07/22 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tbgascorer
Still too many deer around. We have lost some deer over the summer as well. From what I've seen, antlers are way down in quality, worse than 2011 IMO. A lot of animals look stunted and poor. Many missing browtines. Careful culling this year unless you have known history with that animal. Shoot all the does you can.


Can't stress that enough. If I ever lease, you're gonna have to shoot two does before you ever think about a buck. Last year I took 7 does and 1 cull buck (MLD).

I would say antlers are off at least 10% from avg, 20-25 from a good year. Lots of pencil racks. Heat and drought really hit the fawn crop. In one pasture I regularly see 8-10 does at the feeder, never more than 3 fawns. Other pasture is a little better, a group of seven had 5 fawns in tow one evening. But that is with heavy livestock pressure.

Last edited by QuitShootinYoungBucks; 10/07/22 01:13 PM.

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Re: Mills County [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #8703518 10/07/22 01:55 PM
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Its a little over 200 acres, has goats, sheep, and couple sheep dogs. All feeders have pens. One concern was maybe the sheep dog are now starting to run deer off, but the livestock has been here for a very long time.
With the drought this was the first year in a long time they had to bring in feed for the livestock.
We have several watering holes that mostly dried up, but the bigger tanks held water all year.
Good mix of cover and pasture. Connecting properties are about the same, but maybe cows instead of goats.
Most dont have sheep dogs though.

As stated above the bucks are most definitely penciled this year.
Its not so much that, but just the lack of does and deer in general.

They have bulldozed some habit and during the summer workers were cutting the dead oak trees down and out.
That late season rain sure greened everything up quick and still very green.

Also seems very spotty. Some @ us seem to still have good numbers, which has historically been us, and now we dont.

Re: Mills County [Re: QuackShack] #8703779 10/07/22 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by QuackShack
Its a little over 200 acres, has goats, sheep, and couple sheep dogs. All feeders have pens. One concern was maybe the sheep dog are now starting to run deer off, but the livestock has been here for a very long time.
With the drought this was the first year in a long time they had to bring in feed for the livestock.
We have several watering holes that mostly dried up, but the bigger tanks held water all year.
Good mix of cover and pasture. Connecting properties are about the same, but maybe cows instead of goats.
Most dont have sheep dogs though.

As stated above the bucks are most definitely penciled this year.
Its not so much that, but just the lack of does and deer in general.

They have bulldozed some habit and during the summer workers were cutting the dead oak trees down and out.
That late season rain sure greened everything up quick and still very green.

Also seems very spotty. Some @ us seem to still have good numbers, which has historically been us, and now we dont.


The sheep and goats are direct food competitors for your deer. This drought hammered everything-I had to sell 35% of my livestock. IMO, your deer left because there's nothing to eat, or there's at least something better to eat not far away from you. I think you'll still see some deer but without at least average vittles, it will be a tough year.


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Re: Mills County [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #8703826 10/07/22 08:34 PM
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Appreciate your insight.

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