Deer hunters impressed with size of 2015 bucks

Phil Brannan harvested this solid 8-pointer last week while hunting in the Hill

We’re well into the deer season at this point and, as predicted by wildlife biologists, there are some very nice bucks being tagged. Some of the best are from South Texas, but I’ve seen a couple of big bucks from the Hill Country that have better-than-average antlers. And as of last week, some of those Hill Country bucks were in the rut.

Lumberton hunter Phil Brannan made a hunt just before Thanksgiving and was not disappointed. He was hunting on a friend’s ranch near Dripping Springs and shot his best buck ever.

“I was hunting in a blind near a feeder at about 5 that evening when a big 8-point buck busted out of the brush, and he was definitely not interested in the corn on the ground,” says Brannan. “The low for that day was 26 degrees, and when this buck showed up, it was clear that he was after a doe. I was hunting with my Remington .270 loaded with 130-grain bullets. It was a good day to be deer hunting.”

I saw a funny Associated Press story a few days ago about a Wisconsin hunter that harvested two does with one shot.

Ten-year-old Kyler Verbeten went hunting for the first time with his dad and after a while, they saw two deer in the woods.

Kyler’s dad, Matt Verbeten, said he told his son to shoot the big doe, and then sat back to see how his son would do. His first shot missed. But his dad told him to shoot again. And that shot went through both of the deer.

Kyler said he was so excited he almost jumped out of the deer stand.

Trout on Sabine Lake 

Sabine Lake guide Dickie Colburn reports that fishing is good with some decent reds and trout being caught under the birds. Some of the heavier trout are being caught on Corkys and tails.

“Corkys have produced the best trout and some nice reds,” says Colburn. “Five-inch tails drifted in 3 to 5 feet of water have yielded more slot reds. Maniac Mullet lures have fooled some pretty nice trout for folks drifting in six feet of water.”

The lower end of Sabine Lake has been holding good numbers of trout under birds between cold fronts. Soft plastics tipped with small pieces of shrimp are best for flounder along bulkheads and around pilings in the pass.

Rainbow trout coming to Beaumont

It’s time once again for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s annual winter rainbow trout stocking, and Beaumont is on the schedule to get two releases totaling 3,846. Nederland and Jasper will also be getting rainbows.

Beaumont’s LNVA Pond will be stocked Dec. 15 and Jan. 13. Doornbos Park in Nederland will be stocked with 500 trout Feb. 21. And the Jasper city park pond will be stocked with 1,800 rainbows Jan. 24.

“It is important for anglers to understand that the posted schedule is tentative and is subject to change due to weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances,” said Todd Engeling, TPWD hatchery program director.

For last-minute updates, contact the East Texas State Fish Hatchery at (409) 698-2052.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will stock nearly 300,000 hatchery-reared rainbow trout at more than 140 sites across the state. Many of the fish stockings will be conducted at small community fishing lakes, state park lakes and popular river tailraces offering easy angling access.

TPWD has been stocking rainbows each winter since the 1970s, providing Texans a simple and economical opportunity to go fishing.

The program occurs in the winter due to the cooler water temperatures in Texas water bodies the fish require to survive.

Catching these hungry fish can be easy, making the experience ideal for both novice anglers and kids. The fish will bite almost immediately after stocking and typically will take a variety of baits, from whole kernel canned corn or commercial soft bait to artificial flies and even small spinnerbaits.

Fishing gear can be as basic as an inexpensive spincast rod and reel combo, a small plastic bobber, a fishing weight and a hook. It’s also a good idea to carry along a pair of needle-nosed pliers to help remove hooks, and a 5-gallon bucket, small ice chest or stringer to keep your catch. Be sure to keep fresh trout cold on ice or refrigerated.

All anglers 17 years of age and older must have a valid freshwater fishing license as well as a freshwater stamp. The daily bag limit is five fish.