TURKEYS & EXOTICS
The Hill Country is also renowned for its Rio Grande wild turkeys. Big trees, huge acorn crops, abundant watercourses and its open woodlands make this region a turkey mecca. As long as good habitat is maintained and water is nearby, turkey will prosper and don’t really need a lot of help, though good deer management is typically also good turkey management.
In the last 50 years or so, the Hill Country has become the exotic big game capital of America. An array of exotics prospers there, among which are axis deer, blackbucks, aoudad sheep, fallow deer, mouflon sheep, Symitar oryx, red deer, sika deer and many more. It is amazing the number of critters the Hill Country can support. Most exotics are under high-fence, or at least started out that way. Today, tens of thousands of exotics range free in the Hill Country, most notably axis deer, blackbuck and Aoudad sheep…along with feral hogs, much to the chagrin of deer managers.
While RHR is first and foremost whitetail country, over time a few “free-ranging” exotics, i.e., fallow, red and axis deer, have found their way onto the main part of the ranch. Uniquely, about 350 acres along the southeast side of RHR are fenced off for exotics. This section of the ranch offers both viewing and hunting opportunities for blackbucks and axis deer…and of course whitetails, turkeys and hogs. The remaining nearly six square miles of RHR is all about whitetails.
Like most of Texas, RHR offers good wing shooting for doves when they are concentrated by food sources or water. “Tanks” (Texas speak for stock ponds) can provide fast action for doves, especially during dry spells when water is in short supply. These same tanks offer good jump-shooting for ducks when cold weather pushes them south. Hill Country is not great quail habitat. The low country on the north part of RHR does support a few coveys. This large area of broken country has the right ground cover and mix of openings and woody cover to offer good release quail hunting if someone so desired.