Texas is the flagship sporting and hunting state for many reasons, most notable of which would probably be the quantities of stunning whitetail deer that thrive here. But Texas also plays host to growing herds of exotic game animals, introduced almost 100 years ago and now a burgeoning part of the state’s ecology. Featured highly among these animals is the Axis deer, frequently cited as the most beautiful and graceful of all deer. In Texas, an Axis deer hunt is easy to come by and usually quite affordable and can be a wonderful and revealing experience for hunters of any age.
A quality Axis deer hunt, handled by an experienced operation such as Escondido Ranch, is usually quite an eye-opening experience, even for accomplished hunters of native game. Axis originate from India and were introduced to Texas sometime in the 1930s. While the males carry magnificent sets of long, forked antlers that tower over the antlers of mature whitetail deer, the Axis, both male and female, are more recognizable for their tawny fur decorated with brilliant arrays of white spots.
Axis males intermingle and travel with herds of females, a marked difference from their American cousins. Axis do not adhere to a set mating period and various females within their large herds may enter and exit fertility cycles at any time. As a quality, prolonged Axis deer hunt would reveal, males frequently give away the location of the herd by their famous “bellows” issued frequently when pursuing fertile females. Males are also equipped with active orbital and tarsal glands, which they use to mark territory and attract eligible females. They are also known to stand tall on their hindquarters to mark trees with rubs and gland scent.
Because mature whitetail males become solitary during the rut and travel in infrequent and unpredictable patterns, Texas hunters must pursue their game accordingly, usually in stands over bait. An Axis deer hunt, however, is something very different. Axis herds can be comprised of as many as 60 animals, with mature males in the center surrounded by females and fawns. In this way, they must be hunted very similarly to elk and what one could almost call “safari style.” Axis herds are glassed from afar, benefitting those hunting in places like north central Texas, where hills and lines of sight are bountiful. They are extremely wary animals however, and to be successful, an Axis deer hunt must be carefully calculated and silently executed.
Axis have more to offer than a wildly unique hunting experience. Axis meat is known throughout the world as the tastiest and most tender of all venison. It lacks the sharp “gaminess” of other animals, allowing it to be incorporated in a larger spectrum of culinary dishes, and is most noted for how healthy it is. Axis venison is 99% fat-free. Hunters of all ages should take out time to go on a reputable Axis deer hunt. Pursuing an exotic animal is a thrilling experience that can enrich and broaden the minds of youth hunters, providing them with a unique perspective on hunting that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. A professional Axis deer hunt also has the power to rekindle the sportsman’s fire in the most experienced and jaded hunter, lending weight to the old adage that, “Its always good to try new things.”