Previous Post
Next Post


This is easily the most excited I’ve been for an opening weekend in a long time. With the last few years showing us Texans the real meaning of drought, the whitetail population has been pathetic at best. Last year was a great year for killing off some cull bucks and hey, Dan got his first deer, but it was HOT all last summer, rain was nonexistent and my ranch was basically burned to a crisp . . .

But this year has been absolutely spectacular. We had a mild summer and this fall has been drenched. I was out at the ranch a few weeks ago and saw acorns everywhere and my pond is finally full again. A mild summer, lots of water, and a bumper crop of acorns means opening weekend is going to be the best one we’ve seen in years. The icing on the cake is a moon phase that’s bound to force daytime movement and predicted overnight lows in the low 40’s.


All this will hopefully translate into meat in the pot come opening morning. Nick will be joining me as he has for the last two seasons and I assume he’ll be bringing his 300 BLK wonder gun along. However, he might bring his comp gun, too, to score some bragging rights with his FNH teammates. I’m sure none of them have taken their guns to the woods.

I’ll be bringing a variety of firearms for the weekend including my newly camo-coated Ruger M77 in .243. Expect pictures of the stellar job that the guys at KG Coatings completed a few weeks ago. I’ll also be bringing a family heirloom Marlin 336 in the venerable .30-30. Last on the list will be my AR-15 in 5.56. All of my guns are now hunting with Barnes bullets and over the next few months, you can expect some real world reports on terminal ballistics for the following rounds.

  • .243 WIN 80 gr. TTSX
  • .30-30 WIN 150 gr. TSX-FM
  • .223 REM 55 gr. TSX FB

I’ve only utilized the .243 load before and saw a devastating amount of tissue damage. I’m very excited about the .223 REM load as I’ve read great things on various forums and heard good chatter at the LGS. As always, you can count on TTAG to provide the truth about our experience.


Nick and I will also be recording a follow-up to last year’s popular field dressing video. This time, we’re going to focus on the quartering & deboning process. And, thanks to Chris Dumm, I have a Havalon Piranta-Edge in my grubby little hands which should make quick work of cutting our freshly killed animal(s) into jerky sized pieces.

Dear readers, the excitement here is palpable. The conditions have been great for the last few months. The weather is right. The deer are huskier than in years past and we have a lot of cool gear just waiting to be tested. Check back regularly for updates.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. It just opened here in NH as well. I’m not a hunter, but I am officially a bright orange mountain biker for the rest of the month.

  2. The last few seasons have been awful, I was doing good to fill half my tags.

    This year they’re everywhere and things are looking good, I’m hope to be spending a lot time processing meat here soon.

  3. have fun in Texas. it was a shyte mule deer season here in Washington. saw several spikes and two-pointers, several fat doe, no legal 3-pt mules. would have had several dead deer were it not for the game laws here. I really need it since accidentally unplugging my meat freezer earlier this summer and leaving it for three days in 90+ deg heat — YUCK

  4. Good luck to you gents. Up here in NY, bow season has been a bust. I’m headed to HI next week, so hopefully things pick up as we approach the rifle opener on 11/16.

  5. Wow. I’m here at my desk, drooling over those pictures.
    FWIW, the havalon is a pretty nifty ‘knife’.

    Coastal elk and bear coming up quick here.

    Good luck, shoot straight, enjoy the harvest.

    • Agreed, I just had to clean up a little moisture from my desk. and YES, someone else who uses a havalon. My piranta is the Skinnin Grizz master blade, but man you have to be careful to not poke anything extra with that surgical sharpness.

  6. Bow hunting here this weekend. We had early muzzy last month and will have a solid month of gun/bow season in December. Then the last chance in January but they are pretty well hunted by then.

  7. Buck season for rifles won’t start in PA for another month (it’s the Monday after Thanksgiving). Bow season I believe started a couple weeks ago, and muzzleloaders are out there too, I think.

    Should be a bumper crop this year. Pesky things are EVERYWHERE. Most hunters should be able to bag one.

    An AR is no good for whitetail in this state. Maximum 5 round magazine permitted and I think .223 is legally too small for buck in this state. (Not sure about that). I think a .243 is the smallest you’re allowed to go. (This may all be incorrect; I am not a hunter)

  8. Pity .223 isn’t legal for hunting deer in CA. I’d love to take my go-to rifle deer hunting, but that’s not happening here.

  9. Sadly I will not be getting any spirit of the deer today. Hunted with a .243 and .270 all of my life during deer season and this year I plan on using my AR with a 69 grain HPBT. Id love to get a .300 blackout after reading a few of Nick’s rants on here about it, that bigger bullet just looks so nice.

    Furthermore, I am disappointed to not see any pictures of Deer Chili in this thread, but am sure as hell happy to see a thread like this on TTAG.

  10. I would think that only places like New York, Kalifornia, and the People’s Republik of Massachusetts would hunt rifles for sport. 😉

  11. My first deer were taken with 62gr Federal Fusion out of a 16″ AR. I was pleased with the terminal performance (dead deer that didn’t make it more than 30yds).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here