Irrigated Farmland + Sandhills + CRP = Big Deer!
It is a regular occurrence for many of us that live in Lamb and Bailey Counties of Texas to be asked questions such as, "Do you guys really have that many deer in your area?" or "How can deer live in that open, dry country?" or my favorite, "Where did you shoot that one!". Point being, it surprises most people that we have a healthy mule deer population capable of producing bucks that would hold their own anywhere in regards to overall body size and antler score.
To have a better understanding of why the mule deer do so well, one should probably understand the preferences of the Desert Mule Deer. Mule Deer prefer open spaces with good ground cover, but not a lot of brush and trees. They are suited to a more arid climate with our unique Tex-Mex diet of desert forbs and woodies along with the higher energy farm crops such as wheat, rye (largely a cover crop for cotton) and oats that are grown in some degree in the winter here. Also, they are instinctively more suited to openly graze these pastures than white tail deer. It has been said they can smell water that is two feet below the ground. Sprinkled throughout our row crop farming areas is a great deal of cow/calf and stocker feeding that helps ensure adequate and available water even during months where irrigation may cease in the non growing season.
Muley's also are quite suited to the natural colors of our fall and winter months in relation to our foliage. The mousy color of a mule deer is perfect camo in a dried down patch of winter CRP grass or in the native range of the sandhills region that dissects the northern and southern farming areas of the counties. Below is a video I shot of a Mule Deer Buck from a few years back that was meandering in the sandhills in central Lamb County just off the highway. You can see how this behemoth blends into his surroundings and is quiet comfortable.
Not a 1/2 mile from this terrain this buck could be standing in a circle of wheat or alfalfa depending on which one he chooses. Through out the summer there are tons of choices in neighboring farms from milo, black-eyed peas, occasional corn and the highly palatable flowering cotton plants as they begin the reproductive phase of the crop cycle. Needless to say most of the farmers are not all that happy about the green bowls and blooms that the deer eat, but undeterred, the deer collect their part of the local wildlife "tax" and it all seems to work itself out. Abundant in this area is also a fair amount of Conservation Reserve Acreage as well that provides additional bedding and feeding areas for wildlife with a diverse array of grasses, forbes and other fauna. Point being these deer have options for nutrition, ideal cover, and plenty of open space, which they love and it shows.
Contact us today if you might be interested in purchasing possible recreational hunting land in this area. It is quite possible that the CRP or agricultural income derived from land in this area can get you way down the road to paying for your next investment. You could drive a lot further and pay a lot more to hunt deer of this caliber in other parts of the country. If you own land in this area and are interested in discussing more about the potential value of your property give us a call. M. Edwards, REALTORS®, knows the area and can help you whatever real estate need you may have. Plus, I would like to talk about West Texas Muley's too.