Hunting Axis Deer in The Lone Star State of Texas
Axis deer or 'chital' deer as they are called in their native homeland of India, now reside abundantly in the Lonestar state.
Most accounts agree that Axis deer were introduced in the 1930's have successfully reproduced at a whopping rate to more than 3 times their original numbers in their native homeland of India.
Hawaii is also home to several thousand axis deer that live free-range mainly on the 'Big Island'. I believe that is safe to say that the Axis species is favored by more hunters than any other exotic species in Texas.
Axis venison is widely considered some of the most tasty of all wild game venison. Not only is it extremely lean but it lacks much of the 'gamey' taste that is often associated with most venison. The mild meat consists of less than 1% fat on average. So you could easily make the claim that it is all natural and heart healthy due to its low content of saturated fat. All these factors contribute to the incredible demand of Axis deer and places to hunt Axis deer in Texas. Axis deer hunting in Texas has and will continue to be a multi-million dollar industry based on the wide appeal of this particular species.
Axis deer will compete with whitetails for resources and space. These deer are very resistant to disease and the main reason they have flourished post-introduction. Because of these contributing factors many hunting ranches across Texas have prepared for the increased demand of Axis deer hunting. As mentioned before there are several thousand Axis deer that are free ranging in Texas and there are even more that make there home on game management ranches.
Texans are known for many things and hunting in the Lone Star State especially Axis Buck hunting is just one of the many. But unlike whitetail hunting the Axis deer offers a much longer hunting season for those avid Axis Buck
hunters. Unlike whitetail deer, the state of Texas recognizes the Axis deer as an 'exotic'. This simply means that Axis deer are not regulated by the state and have no specified 'hunting season'. Where whitetail hunters are limited to a specified 3-4 month hunting season the Axis deer is open year round. This makes avid hunters very happy. Not only Texas hunters but those from outside the state can purchase valid exotic hunting licenses as well.
An important fact about Axis deer is that 80% of fawns are born from January thru April. They are not limited to this cycle and can reproduce at any time which makes them unique from Whitetail deer. Females come into estrous several times each year which lasts about 3 weeks per cycle. Gestation lasts from 210-238 days and females usually have 1 fawn at a time.
By far, rifle hunting these amazing deer is most popular, mainly because you are allowed to hunt these animals from further distances.
Make no mistake, hunting axis deer in Texas with a rifle is no east feat. These deer are extremely smart and they seem to have an exaggerated sense of caution when entering feeding areas. Even though they behave like a herd animal and mingle with large herds of 30-100 deer at any given time, the big 'bruisers'(bucks) didn't get big by being dumb. When rifle hunting Texas Axis deer
one must consider the caliber of rifle when hunting. I've witnessed many attempted kill shots that did nothing more than knock the deer down only to see it get up and run off. For some reason these deer can take a bullet more easily than other deer of the same size.
A recipe for success when rifle hunting Texas Axis bucks in my opinion is the be positioned in an elevated tower blind, shoot an adequate caliber rifle(.270, 30-06, .300, etc.), do your homework on the feeding patterns of these amazing deer. Remember, Axis deer are equatorial animals so they love to get out and graze during the warmest daylight hours. Don't fall into the routine of hunting for one hour in the morning and one hour before daybreak. Be patient as you may have multiple deer to choose from since they like to congregate in herds large and small. And most importantly have fun. Try to not limit yourself to only an hour or two per day to hunt these beautiful deer. Spend an afternoon with some good binoculars and you might learn some more interesting facts about the species considered to be "The Most Beautiful Deer in the World."