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Dove Hunters ChecklistIts National Boating and Fishing week! That gives us all permission to buy that new down image/side image/sonar/big screen tv for the boat! It’ll make our boating experience safer honey…really! And it really does! All of the great technology that is available to any boat with a battery now is truly incredible and makes our time on the water absolutely safer. You can plot a safe chart to a great point or brush pile without dropping the lower unit of the boat on that hidden hump of rock or just beneath the surface bois d’arc tree. If in trouble, you have exact gps coordinates to relay to rescuers. There is even software available on fish finders that displays an aerial photo of the lake and marinas, channels and boat ramps ahead of you. New water becomes more familiar before you even motor on to it. There is software that helps avoid collisions with other vessels. Kinda like a radar for area boat traffic.

Even with all of the latest and greatest, the lakes are still dangerous for the unprepared and inebriated. The 3 basic rules of safe boating still apply.

1) Take a boater safety course, no matter how long you have been captain of your ship. A brush up on the lap top might make you say “oh yeah” a time or two. Only 12% of the people that died in recreational boating accidents last year did so on vessel’s where the operator had earned a nationally approved boating safety education certificate.

2) Wear it. Life preservers have become smaller, sleeker, less cumbersome and a whole lot more comfortable over the past few years. Invest in something that you can live with wearing all day, and after the unthinkable happens, you’ll more than likely live to tell about it. 78% of boating fatalities are drownings. 84% of those drownings were not wearing a life vest.

3) Don’t drink before or during your outing. You need you reflexes, judgement, alertness and coordination while on the water. The fines from a boating while intoxicated could have bought a nice upgrade in your on the water transportation too. Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. It is the leading factor in nearly one fourth of recreational boating deaths.

Data used is from the U.S. Coast Guard, released May 13, 2015.

So use safe boating and fishing week as your excuse to upgrade the fish finder and go fishing…with your iced tea…and vest…and certificate! See ya on the water!

Billy Kinder

June 6, 2015

Tube Fishing Ray RobertsTake me to the woods without a trigger to pull, and I’m just fine, as long as someone else is in charge of the trigger. Same story with a fishing pole...Preferably that someone else is a youngster just beginning their outdoor journey, or maybe a fella that loved hunting and fishing as a kid but career and commitment kept him on concrete for several decades. I love the hunt. Doesn’t matter if I’m hunting deer, turkeys, quail, doves, walleye, get the picture. It’s the chase, the hunt, the research, the piecing together of the puzzle, and the smiles and stories that come from fresh eyes and ears.

What a glorious time spring is! It's just February, but it's all about to unfold for antoher trip around the outdoors' calendar. I’ll be in Florida chasing big green bass in a couple of weeks, then on our fertile Texas crappie waters. Turkey hunting with the world in springtime bloom is near and dear to my heart and so is a cool spring night of predator calling. It’ll be time for a South Dakota walley trip before long and then a fall full of axis, elk and whitetails. It's all on the way, and I look forward to every experience, but the 2016 trip that I’m most excited about won't put me behind the gun or flipping a jig into heavy shallow spring cover.

You’ll hopefully hear the show in early April after I venture into the woods with my pastor, his dad and 3 little boys. We plan to shoot a couple of pigs, but we're hunting for something bigger. Real big smiles and lifelong memories for the young’uns is the goal of this hunt. Thanks to my friends, Keith and Barbara at Northern Sky Outfitters for making this trip a possibility complete with cabin, cooking and care while we're on their ranch. They can do this for you too, I recommend it! I’ll take the 22, and the boys can take turns tearing up a target or two, dad and grandpa will do the pig shooting with the boys as witnesses. If the stories start to stretch, maybe the shot gets longer or the pigs grow after death, the boys can straighten that right up.

This is a turn key, comfortable way to persue our now legendary wild pigs in Texas. If you’ve been thinking about it. Spring is a perfect time weather wise to hunt 'em under the stars with hog lights, or spot and stalk em during the daylight...Or both. The ranch will hunt you both ways if you prefer. Take the kids, put the sausage in the freezer, make a lasting memory with a newbie, or maybe with a long time absentee from the hunting environment.

Billy Kinder

February 5, 2016

Homes for Our TroopsI'm asked from time to time to speak to different groups. It's always humbling to be invited and to actually stand before these groups. Even though I've been in the radio business and spoken publicly for decades, it also scares the bejeebers out of me. I'm much more comfortable alone on the bow of the boat searching out slab crappie or big bass.

When I do stand before these groups, I can tell of the 8 ponder that I caught last week. Where I found her, what bait I was throwing, water temp, water color, weather conditions and other details that MIGHT help these folks out. I can tell them about the brushpile deep in a body of water that holds mega numbers of crappie this time of year and that MIGHT help them some. I can give some stats, numbers and accounts of how remaining in your stand on guard for big bucks has paid off many times at 1 in the afternoon rather than at daylight or dusk.

But...What I have to say, or anybody else for that matter, is only yesterday's news, or a guess about tomorrow...unless...we are speaking God’s word. THAT is my only confidence. That is the only pure truth, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I'm not a preacher, God didn’t call me to that. I am saved by His incredible grace, and I love to tell the story of Jesus and His love, and that I can speak of with an overwhelming confidence.

There's lots of public speakers out there right now that are talking about walls, gun control, international terrorism, our suffering economy, how the US can be great again and so on and so forth. Yesterday's news and tomorrow's speculation. There is but one way to make America great again. I sure hope you'll call the family in, click on the LINK and listen to "Who is God’s Candidate?" You can have confidence when you base your vote and your daily choices on what God has to say.

Billy Kinder

June 10, 2016

I’m about to share one of the most fun recipes that you’ll ever come across! Proof? Okay, it requires that you go’s that? It’s a cooler than normal August in Texas, but it's still August in Texas...Brutal heat that doesn’t really go away even at night. When I arise dark and early, I count is a blessing if the temp is below 80 and the humidity below 90. The heat and what to do about it is a standard part of every conversation. Well, here’s one of my favorite ways to battle the heat of a Texas summer. Ceviche!!!

Ceviche is a cold salad or salsa of sorts that includes any number of different ingredients, according to your personal taste, but one common denominator is FRESH fish or shellfish. Oh sure, you could visit the fish market and pick up some shrimp for your ceviche, but for less money, and in my opinion, equally great in taste when used in ceviche, sand bass or white bass or maybe they’re called silver bass where you come from, are delicious! Plus, you're way more likely to have a boat or a friend with a boat capable of catching up with some "sandies" than you are a shrimp boat so...let's go shopping...I mean, fishing!

Sand bass are plentiful in these United States, found in waters from Canada to the gulf coast, and catching them in the summer is an absolute blast! When we are in the mood for ceviche, as I am headed out to crappie fish or bass fish, I keep two rods ready and available for the sand bass. One is a small jigging spoon, the other a top water bait. During the hot summer months, sand bass will push huge schools of shad to the surface and gorge on them. This feeding frenzy will make the water appear to be boiling. When this happens, I drop the crappie stick and reach for the top water bait. Over the past few days that’s been a Whopper Plopper, but I’ve caught them on Zara Spooks, Buzz Baits etc. It is so much fun to watch the retrieve of a splashy top water bait as the sandies swipe at it. Sometimes they will hit the bait body, but not the hook and the lure will go airborne. Sometimes two fish will grab it at the same time. Sometimes it will go straight under on impact with the water. It's crazy!

These top water frenzies sometimes will last only a few seconds, sometimes 20 minutes. When the water stops boiling the fish are still there. Use your big motor to stay up with the moving pod of sandies and bait. When your screen is covered with bait, drop that spoon or slab directly down to the proper depth and vertically jig it up and down. My good friend, Omar Cotter with Luck O’ the Irish Guide Service in north Texas specializes in these fun to catch fish. He tells me that even when the top is boiling, he employs the jigging method, because the bigger fish are down deeper. Whatever floats your personal boat. In Texas, to keep a sand bass, the fish must be at least 10 inches

Five 10 inch sandies are required for this recipe. Once you have your fish, head for the grocery store. You’ll need:

  • One bunch of cilantro
  • One jalapeño pepper
  • One purple onion
  • 2 or 3 tomatos
  • Salt
  • Sliced almonds
  • Bag of your favorite dipping chips
  • lime juice (enough to cover all of your ingredients when mixed in a bowl)

Finely chop the vegetables and dump them in a mixing bowl. After filleting your fish, cut into small chunks, and add to vegetable mix. Add salt, more than you think you’ll need, but don’t go nuts. You can add more salt tomorrow when the ceviche is finished. For a little crunch, add sliced almonds. Cover contents with lime juice and stick it in the fridge, you’re done!

When you come back tomorrow, the first thing you’ll notice is that the fish has turned brilliantly white. Key indicator that your ceviche is ready. You’ve just cooked fish with chemistry! The acid in the lime served as your cooking element! Break out the chips and dip away the summer time blues. This is fun from catch to crunch for the entire family...Enjoy!!

Billy Kinder

August 10, 2017

As we move from school days to pool days, and cool mornings to hot days, it’s not too early to start thinking about fall. For bow hunters, you could be in the stand and packing meat out of the field in just 19 weeks. Dove hunters will be trying to down those fast darting doves in less time than that. Field trailers will start campaigning again in September too. It’s easy to hit the AC and not depart from it ‘til summers in the rear view, but if you use your time wisely and take advantage of the cooler parts of the morning and evening, you can keep your edge.

My friend and pro dog trainer Ronnie Smith and his training partner/wife Susanna Love, will start their day about 3am during the dog days of summer, and finish roading (exercising) dogs by 9am or so. By 9am in Big Cabin, Oklahoma in July, it’s HOT! Tom Dokken’s Kennel is in Minnesota, and he does the same thing. That kind of effort is what sets trainers like Tom and Ronnie apart from many others without that kind of drive.

A round of sporting clays once a week is a great way to keep your dove shooting on par. Keep plenty of water handy and walk the course for your legs, heart and lungs. The same goes for outdoor 3-D archery courses. My friend Joe Mussachio at Cinnamon Creek Archery in Ft Worth, Texas has several outdoor courses to keep you on your toes and ensuring the best shot that you can be in September. Swimming is great hot weather aerobics too. Take your dog along. He can’t sweat and any outdoor activity in the summertime requires that you at least keep his head wet and cool as possible.

Here’s to a great summer, and like the old song says…See You in September!

Billy Kinder

May 18, 2017

Tejas Ranch and Game Fence Website DeerI may lose a few friends over this one. It’s a hot topic with many folks. Fences. High fences, low fences no fences. Hunting within the confines of a fenced area. Is it ethical? Depends on who you visit with. Many hard core public land d.i.y. hunters will tell you, "Absolutely not! True free range is the ONLY pursuit that’s fair and ethical." The deer farmer will tell you that there is no disgrace in hunting an animal behind an 8-foot fence. The low fence guy, well he’s proud of the fact that his herd can slip over to the neighbor and back again as they please. I have hunted on occasion all three areas, but not before some careful thought and reasoning.

Back in 2010 I suffered an injury that would keep me on crutches and a walker for a year and a half. 7 surgeries and 42 skin graphs. Locked up in the house, with the exception of hospital and doctor visits for well over a year. I didn’t care who thought what of me when I finally had an opportunity to climb back in a stand, even though it was on a high fence place. I had a ton of medical apparatus in tow, but made it up the ladder and into the blind on that cold December morning. The fine, tall 8 point that I put down that day hangs on my wall, and I am as proud of him as any spot and stalk, low fence/no fence big country critter that I’ve ever hunted. Even though I had a clear medical reason for hunting behind a fence, I still needed more before feeling totally comfortable with it.

God gave me the answer, as He always does, in the book of Genesis. He was speaking to Noah, and laying out how things would be after the great flood. God told Noah in Chapter 9, Vs 2-3,

2 “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; and into your hand are they delivered.”

3 “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”

Notice the Lord never said “except those behind a fence” or “no fish from a small farm pond” or under any other conditions. That is good enough for me. If its okay with God, then its good with me.

Ethics do come in to play. He also gave us a conscience, and when He placed us above the animals, fowl and fish, as he showed Noah when he cared for the critters 2 X 2 on the ark, we are to care for them. America has been the worldwide leader in that conservation effort for the past 100 years. It is that God given ability to think, that allows us to make our own decisions. Problem is, after we have sorted it out and decided what is ethical hunting for ourselves, we often want to frown upon other methods and the folks that take part in them. Example: We've all heard the age-old arguments between bow hunters and rifle hunters.

Figure it out for yourself. Is it legal? Will it bother me to harvest an animal on fenced property, be it 300 acres or 300,000? Do I believe that God exists? Do I believe what He said in his word?

Once you work it out, get out. Go and be in the woods. If you have to stop and unlock the gate on the way in, more power to you! If you pack your way into the National Forest for a day and a half, excellent! Ya’ll grill your backstraps up side by side. They're gonna taste the same cause God Himself made them each and said put them on the dinner table.

By Billy Kinder
DSC Life Member
Owner - Kinder Productions, Inc.
Host - Kinder Outdoors-SiriusXM
Radio Stations & Podcasts Across the U.S.

July 28, 2022

"Fat Girl"

JCR Fat GirlHey, if you're a dedicated bird hunter, you've been behind good bird dogs all of your life. You will NOT be disappointed with the dogs at Joshua Creek Ranch. It's so special to see a well-trained setter on point, head and tail high, setter feathers waving in the breeze.

AND THEN...They turn the "Fat Girl" loose!

Her real name is Stella. She stands maybe 14 inches tall, and she enjoys her meals. She carries a few extra pounds therefore she's earned the name "Fat Girl". She loves to hunt as much as she loves to eat. And when you turn this little English Cocker loose, there's no down time. She takes no breaks. And even though the cover is three times taller than her, she somehow, with the miracle of God's creation that HE put into a Cocker and bird dogs in general, tunnels through this thick cover unable to see the game being played. It's all nose and instinct that leads her to that bird that she promptly puts in the air and then retrieves to hand. The smile on her face that you can visibly see will put joy in your heart and a smile on your face.

There are lots of "Stellas" at Joshua Creek Ranch. They employ the little English Cockers to do the flushing and much of the retrieving. Most of the little Cockers are much more dainty then Stella; all work equally as hard. You're gonna want to take one home. I promise! (That's not a maybe) AND...from time to time, they do have litters available. Check with the folks at the ranch about that.

Billy Kinder

June 30, 2022

No One Has Ever Caught a Five Pound BassThe whale that swallowed ol’ Jonah weighed 847 and a half pounds. Pay attention at the next club meeting. Zero in on the guys that like to fish. Just listen to the wonderful tales of fish tricking and how they convinced that finicky eight and a half pounder to take the lure. Never mind that a reliable scale was never a part of this calculation. The eight pounds therefore is iffy…the half pound added on is the cherry atop this hot fudging sundae. Bassers do it. So do perch jerkers and sophisticated fly casters. Before they even launch the boat or pull up the waders, they’ve got a tackle bag full of “ana half’s” ready to use as needed. “Biggest bluegill I’ve ever come across! It weighed a pound ana half.” Guys that feel somewhat guilty about fish stretching might say…“I BET it weighed a pound ana half”.

I’ve witnessed walleye fishermen up north lay an extra half on 'em, and Florida guys that catch a sure enough lunker of a bass with no need to enhance, still, will throw in “ana half”. Maybe they think that this will somehow improve that double-digit beast just a bit. I have overheard fellow fishermen midstream in western waters utter "ana halfs". Crappie anglers are really good at it too. Not only do the crappie folks add an extra half pound, but they are quick to throw in another half inch as well. Just ask any game warden. I’ve noticed that the catfish people are indeed a rare breed. They are completely satisfied with a nice round number. You’ll never hear the trotliner say “…yep! She weighed 38 and a half pounds.” They just stick with 38. Before we crown and robe the whisker chasers, there is still a problem. It starts with that maybe 30 pounder growing to 38. I don’t know that we can call this half pounding “lying”. I think it is possibly a sub-conscience effort to grow ourselves six inches taller than the next guy by simply adding a half pound to our catch.

I enjoy fishing with a preacher friend from time to time. His name is Tom. I enjoy it because he doesn’t talk much, is dependably on time and doesn’t drink up my diet Dr Peppers. He is one of the most honest men that I’ve ever been around. Ask him a question, and he will actually listen, pause, and double check his words for truthfulness, but dangit! He did it! We were throwing 6-inch watermelon and chartreuse worms up to a rocky point and slowly dragging them back to the boat. Tom felt the tap, set the hook, played and landed the bass wonderfully! He did everything right, right up to the moment that he shouted, “WOW! THREE ANA HALF POUNDS!” I slumped over in disappointment and might have even whispered a prayer on the preacher’s behalf at that moment.

At this moment, smug antler chasers are giving a hateful squint to the anglers. Thinking to themselves.. “I’ve always known that they are *%$@ liars.” This is braggin' board jealousy made manifest. The deer hunter knows it’s not fair. His quarry suffers “ground shrinkage” while the trout man’s catch gets bigger. He made the perfect glorious cast, won the trout tussle and netted the big brown just like Lefty would’ve. Then, in a move that would bring a tear to the eye of the most grizzled conservationist...our hero released the fish! In a moments time and thru manipulative imagination, the fish that this thumb on the scales angler held for one minute, swam away not only healthy but a half pound larger than he was this morning.

When a young man visits your home in hopes of winning the hand of your beloved daughter, invite him to have a seat and tell you a fishing story. If he begins with, “well, I caught a 7 pounder once.” Stop him right there and call the preacher. You have found your guy. This is an honest young superhero that will no doubt make the perfect father to your grandchildren. When they are born, he will proudly exclaim “8 pounds even! 7 pounds on the money! Whew…9 pounds on the spot!” He is rare-the rest of us??? We stand at the club meeting with outstretched arms, palms facing each other as we re-live the tale about the 9 "ana half" pounder. We will celebrate the "ana halfs" of our friends, readily hand them out to guys on the next client trip, refuse them to our fishing partner in a moment of green jealousy and use them as skillfully as Tom Brady would a football. "Ana halfs" exist for a reason.

In my occupation, I have many opportunities to spend time with professional anglers-Top notch pros, some even of hall of fame notoriety. I pay attention at the dinners, angler meetings, events and fishing trips. The pros are as proud of "ana halfs" as we weekenders. Think about this, a pro bass angler catches 5 fish for his legal weigh in. His old friend "ana half" has added a cumulative 2 "ana half" pounds to his limit. Hmmm. No one ever catches a 5 pounder. Never. Including me. They are always "ana half". It comes out of our mouths before good sense, humility and honesty ever have a fighting chance to salvage our reputation. Hey, it actually feels great to "ana half"! It COULD actually be true, which is a salve for our troubled conscience. The fish and the proof swim away. The "ana half" stands-never to be challenged. It starts young. The 7-year-old will tell you that he’s 7 "ana half". The teenager will answer…5 feet 10 "ana half". There is no limit to "ana halfs". Endless supply. That’s why you hear grandpa still using them even as grandma raises an eyebrow. Folks will doubt and snicker, maybe even call you out on it from time to time. Stand your ground. That "ana half" is yours; enjoy it. Tell the taxidermist as he forms that perfect walleye replica that she was full of eggs, so... (fill in the blank) "ana half"!

By Billy Kinder
DSC Life Member
Owner - Kinder Productions, Inc.
Host - Kinder Outdoors-SiriusXM
Radio Stations & Podcasts Across the U.S.

February 18, 2022

The Cycle Buds Last Day HuntingNext season starts now. As I exited the deer woods for the very last time a few days ago, it had a melancholy feel. Each trip is full of wonder just like that first trip when dad toted me along. This day had been wonderful as well. Cloudy, breezy, warm for mid-January with a great lack of critter movement. Still, it was a great day. As I locked down the old hunting blind and walked away with two days left in the extended Texas doe and spike hunt, I knew that this whitetail season was in the books for me. There would be no time over the next couple of days to come back, watch, walk, wait and soak up the scene. My time in the field this deer season was more limited than past years. Personal duties had demanded my attention and time, and I was paying the price-no venison. This marks the first whitetail season with no protein in the bed of the truck since…I don’t know. We’ve run short or out of a few things like taco meat, but we’re still better stocked than a lot of grocery store shelves. Whitetail season a year ago ended with a couple of mature does in the freezer. A week or so later, a wonderful axis buck found his way next to them. We eat a lot of venison. It is our primary protein in the Kinder home, thank You Lord! Fortunately, we still have plenty to carry us, especially when accented with the crappie fillets and turkey breasts that I plan to accumulate in the next few months. Pork is never hard to find. We like those feral tamales, tenderloins, peppered, German and smoked sausages. Heck, not much can beat a tow-sack half full of bullfrogs. Concerning bullfrogs and those athletic legs, you might not admit it down at the country club, or maybe you don’t even know it, but you like ‘em too! We won’t starve.

On my way down the trail a quarter mile or so to the truck, the low hanging oak branch was an uplifting sight and thought. Still two months from Spring’s first day, the tiny buds that will eventually blossom into strong healthy leaves caused me to pause, look and take a couple of pictures. Here we go again I thought. Next season starts right now. Robert Earl Keen wrote a great tune entitled, “The Road Goes on Forever (and the party never ends)…” The title fits how we live, think and breathe as whitetail hunters. November to a whitetailer seems like a distant birthday celebration for a six year old. “How many months is it?” The long arduous wait begins. We’ll watch the off season antler growth thru remote eyes fixed on our hunting grounds. Make an occasional trip to shore up the corn and protein supplies. Filling our vacant and hurting hearts with big green bass, maybe a good trout trip this summer, redfish on the half shell, and a dove shoot or two. All good medicine for whitetail flu. Nothing drops a whitetail hunters off season fever quite as quickly as a five pound bass (That’s another Robert Earl Keen song) on a topwater plug. Like a good dose of nighttime chug-a-lug from the neighborhood pharmacy, the 5 lb’ber makes you forget you ever had a cervid sniffle. An occasional follow up glance at your phone temporarily settles whitetail jitters. Your giant smile and outstretched arm, making five pounds look like twelve. Yep, we all do that.

Each opening day of the Texas Whitetail season, somewhere between 5am and sunrise, either Larry or I will lay a match to the kindling of a new whitetail fire. Tucked away in the dark, several hundred miles apart, so excited for legal light to arrive we share our joy and delight with each other thru text. “Are you hunting the family property? Are the grandkids with you? I hear pigs scuffling and rooting nearby. I saw a goodun pass thru the moonlight. Gonna fry crappie tonight.” Larry has been at this a while and so have I. Between the two of us we have seen well over a hundred opening days, and we still get breathlessly excited to sit propped on a tree, in the dark, awaiting God’s glorious sunrise and what it might bring-overjoyed at the start and sad to see it fade away. Hondo Crouch, the fella that turned Luckenbach Texas into an international tourist stop, once said, “Havin’ fun is hard work sometimes.” That describes perfectly the whitetailers spring and summer months. Scouting, documenting, feeding, hauling, moving, cleaning, building, feeding again, trimming, spraying, etc. All done with a smile on his or her face in anticipation of what? Pulling the trigger? Absolutely not.

When I visit the deer woods, it’s soul medicine. I breathe in fresh health. The brisk north wind ushers in the perfect finale to a Texas summer. Sparkling frost on sunlit mesquites is a light show designed by God Himself. In the pre-dawn, I listen for the wonderful sounds that are unique to the current place and time-the owl, or if I’m lucky, owls, abruptly breaking the morning still. In certain woods, the old whippoorwill eases his song through the trees. Soon a crow caws, the sun rises shortly thereafter and a new day begins. In the end, it is this scene, smell and sound that causes my end of season melancholy. Don’t get me wrong. Big antlers make my heart race and I will joyfully execute God’s words to Noah and his boys in Genesis Chapter 9 Verse 3 when He said, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And, as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” God said that and He hasn’t changed His mind since. So, here we go. All together now let’s watch the big football game, fish the shallow spawners, call a gobbler, share pictures of our 12 pounder at the family reunion, vacation in a speckled fish hotspot, laugh it up at the dove hunt and bide our time ‘til we can lean back on that November morning and text our whitetail pals. It’s closer than it feels. Next season has already begun.

By Billy Kinder
DSC Life Member
Owner-Kinder Productions, Inc.
Host- Kinder Outdoors-SiriusXM
Radio Stations & Podcasts Across the U.S.

January 26, 2022

Bill Blind Last Week Deer SeasonThe most recent deer season just wasn’t what we dream of. The previous year was. Last year, on opening morning it was perfect! Robin and I had made the drive on a bright cool and sunny November day and enjoyed precious and rare relax time for an afternoon, a good meal and a solid night’s sleep at the hotel. I rose early in search of venison! It was opening day and that same excitement that I felt as a young teen is still exactly the same now, decades later! I had a couple of sausages and biscuits, coffee and more coffee and made my way 6 miles north of town on the blacktop and then 8 more down the caliche road to the ranch gate. Thru the gate, up the hill, slow rolling past the thick oak and mesquite to the area that I park, then a quarter of a mile walk to my spot. It’s still about an hour and a half until legal shooting time. I like to settle in with plenty of time for the area to be at ease with the surroundings. You can legally harvest deer at 30 minutes prior to official sunrise. Sunrise would be about 7:50 am, meaning that I could legally shoot at 7:20am.

I killed a nice buck at appx 7:30. Tag gone, easy as pie and the sun hasn’t crested the horizon yet on opening day. This most recent season? Total opposite. Deer season (1st Saturday in November thru the first Sunday in January) came and went without much activity at all. They just weren’t active and in my area during daylight. I saw and passed on a few young bucks. The does were not using my little area of the world nearly as much this year either. Deer season expired without me pulling the trigger. That means a shortage in the Kinder freezer. Fortunately the Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists keep a close eye on our deer numbers in Texas county by county. Those numbers say that good management means taking some does and spikes out of circulation. To do that, much of Texas enjoys an extended doe and spike season, two extra weeks after the official close of the whitetail season.

I had hunted hard at every opportunity for two months and seen no dependable pattern in the deer movement that would build excitement. But, taco meat and German sausage and backstraps on open fires are wonderful, so...I loaded up on patience and carried on into the extended doe/spike season. My final day to hunt would be Saturday the 16th. I had church duties on the final day to hunt, Sunday the 17th. The sun set on my deer season without a cervid in my freezer for the first time in I don’t know when. It was eating on me when I woke up at 2am Sunday morning. I figured in the drive time etc and discovered that I could hunt for 2 hours and still make it to church on time! So, up at 2am, 80 plus mile drive, blacktop, caliche, oaks, mesquite, quarter mile walk and in place plenty of time prior to first light. With 30 minutes left until the absolute end of my deer season, three does popped out. I know that doesn’t sound like much but this year it was huge! I loaded two in in the bed of the truck. Glorious joy! Weeks and months of slow burning patience, 10 minutes of deer hunting thrill, one year’s supply of very good and healthy things to eat in out freezer. Patience!

Billy Kinder

July 15, 2021