One of the most highly anticipated summer events for Texas deer hunting advocates is the Texas Trophy Hunters Extravaganza, which took place in San Antonio during the second weekend in July. My wife Jan and I made a short day of it attending the popular event.
A byproduct of the Texas Trophy Hunters Association, the extravaganza has expanded over the years to as far away as Florida, but presently takes place in San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Houston.
For those unfamiliar with the Texas Trophy Hunters Association, it was established in 1975, and since that time has become the organization to belong to for serious Texas deer hunters.
Its founder, Jerry Johnston, recognized the need for such an organization and watched its growth parallel the popular sport of deer hunting. The Texas Trophy Hunters magazine, another derivative of the organization, has long been considered the deer hunting bible for Texas deer advocates.
Visiting friends is the ultimate reason for attending the Texas Trophy Hunters Extravaganza. Here I visit with close friends Justin Gayle (seated right), owner and designer of Brush Country Camouflage; Jimmy Hasslocher (standing left), president of the Texas Deer Association; and Jerry Johnston (standing right), President and founder of the TTHA.
I have participated in the Texas Trophy Hunters Extravaganzas as a speaker on many occasions, but this past weekend was simply an opportunity to visit the many friends I have made over the years.
Everyone who is anyone in the Texas deer industry attends this kick-off for the new hunting season.
Visiting old acquaintances along with making new friends is unquestionably enjoyable, but a large number of outfitters along with a large number of vendors afford visitors an opportunity to entertain unique hunting opportunities as well as potential gifts for family and friends.
Attendees enjoy the opportunity to see the
best whitetails taken during the previous season.
As I entered the immense showroom floor of the Alamodome, the first individual I saw was my friend and hunting companion Dr. Justin Gayle at the elaborate Brush Country Camouflage booth. Not only is Justin an ob/gyn doctor, he is designer and owner of the effective camouflage pattern. Justin is truly a gentleman who is living his dream. He is also one of the field editors for the Texas Trophy Hunters magazine with many of his articles focused on his children—daughter Shelby and sons Gentry and Brady. We had a great visit about how we fared the previous deer hunting season before I told him about a recent successful fishing trip I had on the coast. One thing led to another, and before I knew it we were planning another trip to the coast in late July—a trip that may have never materialized if it were not for attending the Texas hunting rendezvous.
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As Jan and I negotiated the crowd, there was never a dull moment as around every corner there were opportunities to view quality mounts from around Texas and the U.S. The Texas Trophy Hunters annual big buck contest is also held at the Extravaganza and a number of the largest racked bucks taken in Texas were eloquently displayed, making for an unforgettable sight.
A family-oriented event, there is something for every member of the family. For those who either like or fear rattlesnakes, watching snake handlers addressing the audience about these reptiles is fascinating. Just as unique is the catfish pool where kids enjoy the opportunity to catch some large cats.
Kids enjoy the festive event as they try
their hand at catching some large catfish.
As I parted the coliseum floor, I ran into Don Keller, renowned Texas deer artist. A long-time friend, Don’s paintings adorn the walls of the most discretionary admirers of wildlife art. Don has a unique style of making his artwork appear alive.
Visiting with one of the premier wildlife artists in Texas—Don Keller.
Following our visit with several friends, we dined on what San Antonio is famous for—Mexican food—before returning home.
On Sunday morning I made my weekly visit to the Black Ranch south of Uvalde in Maverick County. There I met up with Mr. Jim Hasslocher and his son Jimmy to discuss my recommendations for their state-of-the-art breeding facility, “Black Ranch Breeders”. One of the most rewarding aspects of the meeting was the review of the two-year-old bucks in the breeding facility.
A couple of above-average two-year-old bucks I
looked over in the Black Ranch Deer Breeding Facility.
It’s a rewarding project which affords all of us an opportunity to see just how important a high quality diet is when it comes to developing large antlers.