I recently organized and attended a ladies only axis deer hunt in Texas with International Adventures Unlimited and had the time of my life. The scenery, hunting, and camaraderie were unmatched and no one left disappointed.
Axis deer were imported from India to a Texas game ranch in 1932. They quickly adapted, multiplied and ultimately jumped the fences. There are currently 40,000+ Axis deer in Texas with over 6,000 residing on public lands. Axis bucks are absolutely beautiful. Their coloration is a beautiful chestnut, reddish-brown color with spots throughout the hide. Additionally, their faces have unique and beautiful markings making for beautiful trophies. Additionally, their back hides are beautiful and are worth tanning for decoration. All in all, they are a very unique exotic that is found on public land and low fence ranches.
I admit, I have hunted in a number of states, a number of countries and hunted a variety of different species. I truly enjoy new experiences and look forward to each and everyone that comes my way. My axis hunt was no different! I thought I had a fairly solid grasp on what my hunt would be like and made some assumptions about the animals. Once again, I learned so much during this amazing experience.
Axis Are Spooky
Holy cow are they spooky. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of how the animals would react to humans or even the essence of humans, but I definitely underestimated these critters. My guide told me specifically that if a mature buck came in range that I should be prepared to make a judgment and level off a shot as the bucks won’t give you much, if any time. That was a fact! The first couple of encounters I had, I barely had time to get my rifle set before they vanished. I learned to be constantly aware and prepared to shoot as the opportunity would soon disappear into the dense Texas brush.
Axis Are Tough
Extremely tough. I was surprised by their fight. Again, I fully realize every animal has fight in them, I had sorely underestimated them. Make sure to take the time necessary to make a solid shot as they will make a run for it before they know they are dead.
Axis Are Tricky
Axis will choose to die in the thickest, densest brush around. We had the great fortune of utilizing very well trained dogs to locate any wounded or down deer we couldn’t find. Without dogs, it would have been extremely difficult to locate these bucks in the dense Texas Hill Country.
Axis Are Camouflaged
Axis blend in incredibly well with their environment. Try to secure a spot where you can best visualize your surrounding area so you can take advantage of visual movement as well as color.
Axis Aren’t Nocturnal
Axis deer feed during the day as opposed to many of the nocturnal counterparts. This is a nice feature as you have a good opportunity of seeing them come into feeders or feeding out in the open spaces during the day. This also allows a hunter to either spot and stalk or hunt from the blind.
They are herd animals and are seldom found alone. If you spot a couple of does, hold tight and watch. There may be a buck around. Likewise, if you glass some small bucks, there is a good chance there will be a larger buck not immediately seen.
Axis Tastes Good
The meat is exceptional. Seriously. It has very little gaminess to it and it is unusually tender. Thus far, my favorite wild game I have ever had.
Axis Are Exotic
Since Axis are exotics, they can be technically hunted any time of year with a non-resident 5-day hunting license. This also means that the bucks may be found in velvet or hard horns depending on the time of year you go.
So with that, an Axis hunt can be planned easily around your schedule. It is a fun and exciting hunt and even simply glassing the animals is enjoyable as they are so beautiful. I highly recommend this hunt to any hunter looking for fantastic meat, a good hunting experience, and beautiful trophies. While there are many ranches and outfitters that guide for Axis deer, I highly recommend International Adventures Unlimited for this free-range Axis hunt.