What goes on or maybe doesnt go on in a whitetail bucks mind during the rutting season is something we will never know for sure but we all know deers desire to breed sometimes can be so strong that their normally extremely keen senses of caution are thrown to the wind and result in their demise.
Such apparently was the case for a huge and very old Burnet County buck a day before the 2012-2013 hunting season opened this year when the rut already was in full swing.
This 10-point buck was the victim of hit and run roadkill incident a day before opening day of this years gun season. Photo: TPWD
Burnet County game wardens Ronnie Langford and Braxton Harris said a huge 10-point buck that apparently was chasing a doe was hit and killed by a vehicle in the highly-residential area of U.S. Highway 281 between the Wal-Mart and Lowes stores in Marble Falls that neared Boone and Crocket Club records book minimum standards.
Harris said the condition of the buck indicated it likely was killed on Oct. 31.
"We took the buck to a taxidermist in Burnet where it was measured at 167-7/8 points gross and 162-1/8 net," Langford said. "It also was aged to be 7-1/2 years old."
Langford and Harris said they did not know where the mounted head will eventually be displayed but the Burnet County courthouse and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offices in the Hill Country town have been mentioned.
Numerous deer are struck by vehicles every year in Texas, especially during the rutting season in Burnet, Lampasas, San Saba and surrounding counties. "You always know when the rutting season is in full swing by the number of deer that begin showing up dead along the highways and roads," Langford said.
Not many vehicle-struck bucks are found dead along the roadways, however, with strong physical evidence nearby pointing to the rutting season as having played a part. The Marble Falls buck was an exception.
"We found a big doe that also had been struck and killed by a vehicle lying on the ground about 15 feet from the buck," Langford said. "We dont know for sure, but it appears both the buck and the doe were struck at the same time, possibly by the same vehicle."
Texas Black Bear Activity Increases
Black bear activity in the Hill Country and South Texas along the Rio Grande from Del Rio to below Laredo is increasing, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists.
Though historically it has been very rare for bears to be sighted south or east of Val Verde County, so far in 2012 there have been a dozen such sightings.
"This is likely a result of a growing number of bears in Mexico dispersing and searching for food after severe droughts and wildfires," said TPWD biologist Jonah Evans of Alpine, the departments bear coordinator. "Whether these sightings signify a permanent recolonization of Central and South Texas remains to be seen."
While black bears are native to all of Texas, in the early 1900s, heavy hunting and trapping completely eliminated them from the state. Currently, the only established breeding populations are in the Big Bend area of West Texas.
"Black bears are generally not a risk to humans," Evans said. "But they can become a nuisance if they gain a taste for human food, pet food, or trash. Weve recently received several reports of bears tipping over and damaging deer feeders and a few raiding trash cans along the border."
Evans said the departments goal is for people and bears to coexist peacefully.
"By eliminating food rewards, we eliminate most of the problems," he said. "Many communities in bear country have effectively adapted to live with bears, but it takes everyone working together and doing their part."
The most effective strategy is for residents along the border to secure their trash, bird feeders, and pet food, so bears dont become habituated to easy meals, Evans said.
"This cannot be overstated," he said. "The saying a fed bear is a dead bear is absolutely true. If a bear becomes habituated and food-conditioned, there is little we can do to save it. It will likely have to be destroyed."
TPWD is asking for people to report all bear sightings. If a bear is causing a nuisance, TPWD will work with residents to secure attractants and may attempt to haze the bear. In extreme situations, the bear may be relocated. Biologists are also available to give talks and educational programs on living with bears. Since black bears are a threatened species in Texas, they cannot be legally hunted or harmed.
If you see a bear, please report it to Jonah Evans at 432-837-2051 x228.