Axis Deer: A Hunt On The Exotic Side

Beautiful Axis in velvet!
Beautiful Axis in velvet! Young Hunter w/ Axis Buck Check Out The Horns On That Axis Buck! Two Dominant Axis Buck

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One of the more unique exotic species is the Axis Deer, also known in its native country of India as the chital. This smaller sized ungulate has a fairly long history in the central part of Texas with the first Axis deer introduced in 1932. Since then they have adapted very well to the warm, seasonal climate of the central part of the state. While they are still found in the wild in some counties, the best Axis deer herds are found on private game ranches such as Escondido Ranch.

One of the most striking features of the Axis deer is the beautifully spotted coat pattern. The background of the coat is a yellow brown to reddish fawn coloration with a darker dorsal stripe that really sets off the smaller white spots. The spots themselves seem to form lines along the body from the neck through to the rump. The underside of the belly, lower legs, underside of the tail, insides of the ears and the throat area is white to a dark cream. Once you see the striking appearance of the Axis deer and taste their venison you won't want to go back to whitetails!

The antlers of the Axis buck are really something to see. They are three pronged and curved in a gentle lyre shape slightly over the back of the neck, with trophies having at least a total measurement of up to 75cm or almost 30 inches. Axis bucks on Escondido Ranch commonly have 32 to 36 inch main beam length! The two smaller front prongs form a right angle with the rest of the antler, providing an excellent presentation for a trophy mount. The males are larger than females with a typical weight for a buck 30 to 75kgs or almost 200 pounds, and does weigh in at 25-45kgs. Height at the shoulder can range from 70-90cm or up to 35 inches in full grown males.

The Axis Deer live in small to large herds that include both bucks and does throughout the year. There will be several bucks running with the herd at any given time with the leader of the herd as the most senior breeding doe. Fawns are typically born in the months of January and April; however some does will be receptive to mating all year round. This means that bucks also cycle through their reproductive peak all through the year. For hunters this provides an ideal year round opportunity as there are always plenty of trophy bucks, both hard horned and in velvet available for the taking.

These moderate sized deer tend to graze on shorter grass in the open but can also be found browsing on the edge of wooded areas. Their variety in feeding habits make them ideal for several types of hunting including blinds, stands or stalking, whatever the hunter is most interested in.

Besides being a great trophy deer, the Axis deer is well recognized as one of the leanest and delicious of the wild game meats, with less that 1% total fat. The meat is very mild tasting venison that is perfect for steaks, roasts and even for jerky and sausage.

Hunting is more than a sport or a hobby; it is a true passion for avid outdoorsmen and women. Texas offers a variety of hunting options from game birds to whitetail deer, elk, turkey even feral hogs. However every once in a while it is nice to step out of those traditional hunting routines and try someplace new and hunt something completely out of the ordinary.

For your next hunting adventure, family vacation or a corporate retreat, bring your entire family, friends and business associates to Escondido Ranch.