|Covert Ranch News
Covert Ranch Fall Roundup, September 15, 2017
We worked cattle today, with the expert help of 2 horseback cowboys, father and son, aboard their 4-year-old palomino quarterhorse stud and their red roan filly. All went smoothly and everyone enjoyed their lunch cowboy tacos.
Johnny sorts cattle on horseback of the palomino cowhorse.
James, son of world famous ferrier, Carly Wells, also pitched in as he has for over 20 years.
Johnnie and Mike sort out sale calves.
Large Mouth Bass Program
Vance Schultz, of Tank Hollow Fisheries, puts out 12-inch Triploid Grass Carp fish to clean the many water ponds on the ranch, in preparation of putting out bait fish, followed by large mouth Texas-Florida hybrid bass.
Filling the corn feeders by auger truck signals the beginning of another exciting whitetail deer hunting season at the Covert Ranch. All signs point toward a great season. Don't miss out on your trophy hunt of a lifetime, call now to book, 713-975-1975.
Saturday, October 11, 2014, was cattle working day at the Covert Ranch. This 750-pound, 6-month-old Braford bull calf was weaned today and will be retained as a herdsire on the Covert Cattle Company.
We reviewed Conor Harrison’s article, Tough to Break in the 1/24/14 Lone Star Outdoor News. Conor opines that good game management and good range conditions produces stronger antlers in whitetail bucks, resulting in less broken main beams, mainframe tines and non-typical points. This increases resultant Boone & Crockett gross scores, the only relevant measure of quality, improves hunter satisfaction and reduces taxidermy repair costs.
Conor says, "We think there is a definite link" suggesting that higher live weights, better nutrition and balanced one-to-one buck-doe ratios result in more intact horns and less horn damage from less mortal buck/buck combat.
Did I tell you about the buck fight I and my hunter watched one year? Two mature bucks squared off, fought near the blind for over an hour and tore up one acre of country. In the end, one buck locked up with the other and lifted him over its head and threw him over its own body in one fluid movement. The unfortunate victim hit the ground, rolled and ran for the hills. He’s probably still running!
Covert Ranch offers guided South Texas whitetail deer hunts in deer Nirvana.
We recommend that all whitetail hunters review Bob Zaiglin’s recent article, Deer Lease Strategy in the February, 2014 issue of Texas Outdoors Journal. Bob describes some of the monumental changes in deer habitat going on as a result of "excessive oilfield activity, poor range management, elimination of habitat and economic exploitation of the buck herd" in South Texas. The Covert Ranch, a blue ribbon South Texas Ranch, is an oasis of superlative wildlife management where the guided hunter can “come closer to taking that super buck.” Good reporting, Bob.
Corporate whitetail deer hunters Mike and Josh pose with their bucks taken at the Covert Ranch in January, 2014. Late season hunts on the ranch can be particularly productive as older bucks drop their guards and begin a feeding frenzy to replenish their depleted post-rut body conditions. Post first and secondary rut hunts may be the only time some bucks will ever be taken.
On the evening of 12/13/13, Dr. Covert was guiding a hunter on a whitetail deer hunt. The two hunters surveyed multiple does and fawns and four huge bucks, a 2-1/2 year old 6 x 6, with extra points, a mature 5 x 5, a 4-1/2 year old 4 x 4 and a mature, large, 4 x 5 main frame, 175-class heavy horned buck which left the field at 6:00pm.
Not more than 16 hours later, Dr. Covert found the 4 x 5 dead in the middle of a nearby pond.
Mario & Jose, the ranch security patrol, roped the buck’s horns on the 2nd try and pulled the buck out of the pond.
There was a large swelling on the right side of the buck’s jaw, which probably had interfered with breathing. Our conclusion was that the buck had been bitten by a diamondback rattlesnake. To our knowledge, no one has ever reported a case like this. On our ranch, cattle and quarterhorse horses have been bitten in the past.
The buck was rough scored 175-180.
Wintering Ducks on the Crooked Oak Pond
The Covert Ranch advises all its Spring Rio Grande turkey hunters and its Fall dove, turkey and whitetail deer hunters to wear snake boots and to use high lumen flashlights to and from their hunting areas; also, to take care where they step and where they reach.
We have never had a hunter snake bit. The only venomous snake in the Wild Horse Desert is the Western diamondback rattlesnake. We rarely see a drag these days, and snakes are rarer than blue quail.
However, we advise everyone to wear snake boots and to be aware that rattlesnake activity increases in the Spring, with mating, and transitions into “estivation”, a semi-hibernation mode in the summer. In the Fall, snakes reactivate to feed heavily in order to accumulate fat and enhance body condition for the cold season before location to their hibernation spot.
1,000 Texans are bitten each year by venomous snakes, most in areas other than South Texas by copperheads, coral snakes and cottonmouth moccasins. Fatality is rare, on average, one per year.
The bottom line is: Safety first, get in and out of the field with constant awareness, follow your guide’s directions and respect Nature and all its creatures with which you share it.
And the executive summary is:
- Maintain heightened awareness anytime that daytime temperatures rise over 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You live and hunt in a hunters paradise. Take care so that you can continue to enjoy it.
Covert Ranch scouting report for whitetail bucks this year reflects a wide distribution of good bucks with exceptional horn mass and a lot of extra points. The ranch has has had over 30 inches of well-timed rain so far and even the Bobwhite quail are on the ascendency. Our individual and corporate whitetail deer hunters this year should have good experience.
CPR Re-certification Training
The owner, Dr. Charles Covert and his hunting guides underwent re-training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using the Heimlich maneuver for tracheal obstruction and using portable automatic electric defibrillators (AED’s). The course was provided under the auspices of the Houston Chapter of the American Heart Association by Ahmad Abodeeb. The objectives of the course were accomplished and Dr. Covert and his guides each will be re-certified in the most current techniques.
PLANTING OATS IN THE RAIN AT THE COVERT RANCH
Whitetail deer management practices at the Covert Cattle Company ranch in South Texas continue with filling the feeders with the auger truck and fall preparation of the supplemental food plots. The fields are plowed with a disc to clean the weeds and regrowth and to open the soil to absorb any rainfall. The food plots provide a source of added nutrition and are strategically placed around the ranch to support a native whitetail population in each pasture. The food plots on the Covert Ranch are dry land farmed or dependent on rainfall to thrive.
Owner, Charles Covert, does a lot of weather watching to balance the timing of the discing in order to have the ground ready to plant. Oats are traditionally planted the first of October and were selected as the 2013 crop. The discing was completed and the oat seeds were ordered, delivered and stacked in the barn in 50 lb. bags.
Two weather systems combined to make a pretty reliable forecast for a week of good rain prospects and Covert and his operator, Chuy, decided it was time to go. Chuy started at 6:30am and hooked up the John Deere grain drill to the Kubota tractor, greased and lubricated the moving parts and when everything checked out to his satisfaction, backed it up to the barn. Chuy said, “I’m going to get this done for you!” Covert helped him load the first 400 pounds of oats. The sky was heavily overcast so Covert went ahead of Chuy to open gates and get him started. Then he ferried sacks of oats and opened gates to keep the grain drill filled and the tractor moving. Brief scattered showers didn’t deter this determined team. Lunch was a sandwich at the wheel followed by a grin, a thumbs up sign and then on to the next food plot.
The food plots got planted in the rain and more rain followed that night. Good work!
Covert Ranch 2013 Game Survey Results
Signs of the impending whitetail deer season at the Covert Ranch include the arrival of Mesquite Helicopter owner/pilot Johnny Burris in his R-22 2-seater for the annual fall game survey. Johnny has been a valued member of this tradition for over 25 years. He and Covert Ranch owner Charles Covert meet at the ranch after the native whitetail deer are in hard horn to do the survey from the air including counting animals and recording the numbers by sex, age and antler characteristics as well as geographic location. This year was especially encouraging due to the large numbers of turkeys seen and multiple coveys of Bob White quail we saw.
After the survey, we all have a cup of coffee and talk about what we saw. Johnny also relates what our survey yielded in comparison to what he has seen on other ranches. He has flown as many as 1.5 million acres a year and says he flies only 800,000 acres per year due to the prolonged Texas drought and the fact that many ranches have sold all their cattle.
We asked Johnny what he had observed in his 25 years of flying the Covert Ranch annual game survey. He said "overall consistency" has had small ups and downs, "but we always see outstanding bucks here and sometimes more good bucks on this 2221 acres than I might see all year flying much bigger ranches like the 837,000 acre King Ranch." Good management practices have contributed to herd health and the native genetics in this herd has produced many trophies. The fawn survival is over 100% on the Covert Ranch this year and indicates good herd health and great buck quality. "This is the best deer hunting ranch in Texas. I'm the man in the air and I see it from the helicopter." "The biggest buck we saw from the air here last year was the best I've ever seen in over 30 years of flying helicopter surveys in South Texas," Johnny said. It was later taken by hunter Diana Swanson. We immediately took a photo of the buck with Diana's phone and sent it to Johnny. He confirmed that it was the same buck. The buck officially scored 240 3/8 gross Boone & Crockett and had 30 scoreable points, winning the Los Cazadores Deer Contest and Texas Big Game Awards. Johnny got to see the mounted trophy and again marveled at the buck.
Originally, Johnny got a job flying helicopters right out of Texas A&M University and learned to fly in the old Bell "bubble" with the original "Helicopter Cowboy", Jimmy Tiller in Alice, Texas. In the early 1970s, Tiller was the first to use the helicopter for herding cattle, a task that was usually accomplished by cowboys on horseback. The helicopter was especially useful on large south Texas ranches and reduced the amount of time required to round up herds. Back then, most pilots were ex-military veterans of Viet Nam; now it is rare to find any veterans flying with the helicopter services. That's just one of many changes he has seen. Johnny flew for Tiller for 12 years before starting his own company.
Johnny said while at Tiller Helicopters, he flew some of the first game surveys for ranchers. "When we started, you found one deer per 25 acres and a buck/doe ratio of 1:4. If you found a 160 gross B&C, it was a real monster." Johnny grinned and said jokingly, "I had a customer one day who said, 'Don't you shoot my does, they are my breeding stock' and another who said,'We have been under management for 25 years and hunters took all our 10-point bucks, now all we have are 7 and 8-pointers, what happened?" Management practices have really changed the deer industry including the advent of penned deer breeders who are being criticized for some of their practices, including the use of hormones which render the meat inedible. The hunt has also changed; "We used to go to the deer lease with a bunch of buddies and we looked forward to the camaraderie. Now, hunts are packaged with a guide, lodging and meals." Johnny said he didn't mind our recording that he had flown our annual surveys for 25 years, and this meant we were all 25 years older. He said, "I don't mind you all getting older, but I don't appreciate your dragging me down with you!" Johnny's the best. And, the Covert Ranch should have another great year for whitetail deer.
For scheduling whitetail deer, dove or Rio Grande turkey hunts, contact Pattie at 713-208-1494.
Covert Ranch has received the below certificates from The Texas Big Game Awards. Two certificates are recognition for the Covert Ranch and the other two are for the hunters and ourselves.
Please click on the image for the full pdf version.
A Covert Ranch (LaSalle County, Texas) buck wins First Place in the Non-Typical category in the Texas Big Game Awards for South Texas' Region 8 for 2012-2013. The buck had 30 points and had a 240 3/8 gross Boone & Crockett official score. The buck is shown with hunter Diana Swanson at the Texas Wildlife Association's Wild Life 2013 awards presentation in San Antonio on July 12, 2013 which is sponsored by the TWA and Texas Parks & Wildlife.
This buck also topped the Los Cazadores Big Deer Contest for having the most points and the highest gross Boone & Crockett score.
The Covert Ranch has been recognized for its AQHA champion quarterhorses, its registered Braford cattle and its outstanding game management program since 1989. For information on guided whitetail deer or group dove or spring turkey hunts, contact Pattie at 713-208-1494.
Covert Ranch buck tops Region 8 of Texas Big Game Awards and Los Cazadores
Covert Ranch buck placed number one in the Region 8 of Texas Big Game Awards for 2012-13 with minimum for non-typical whitetail bucks of 155 net. The awards are presented jointly by the Texas Wildlife Association and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Region 8 is known for the biggest native whitetail bucks in Texas. The Covert Ranch is owned by Dr. Charles Covert and is in the middle of the Golden Triangle of South Texas, between Laredo, Cotulla and Eagle Pass.
Hunter Diana Swanson's tremendous buck, taken on the Covert Ranch on December 2, 2012, was, according to Texas Big Game Awards Rules, rescored by a senior official Boone & Crockett scorer, Perry Herman Finger, on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at the San Antonio Country Club.
Mr. Finger's family, originally from Alsace Lorraine, settled the 4th and last of Henri Castro's colonies in South Texas in 1847 at D'Hanis, Texas. The first three he settled are Castroville, Quihi and Vandenburg. Henri Castro, a Frenchman with a Portugese surname, became one of the most important empresarios of the Republic of Texas and in 1842 was given two land grants on which to establish 600 families.
Perry himself is a distinguished whitetail hunter, having hunted the finest ranches in South Texas, including the King Ranch and the Chittim Ranch. He has taken two grand slams of North American Wild Sheep and was the winner of the 1983 Herbert W. Klein Award presented by the Dallas Safari Club to a member who completes his first grand slam. He also has a desert sheep and a pronghorn in the North American Big Game Record Book of the Boone & Crockett Club.
Perry spent many hours studying photographs of Diana's buck from all angles and scoring the head itself.
Mr. Finger's gross Boone & Crockett score was 240 3/8 and his net Boone & Crockett score was 233 6/8.
Mr. Finger said, "THIS IS THE BEST SOUTH TEXAS WHITETAIL BUCK I HAVE EVER SEEN, MUCH LESS HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF SCORING."
Ironically, Mr. Finger's family undoubtedly knew and did business with the Krueger family, starting with Dr. Covert's great grandfather, Max Amadeus Paulus Krueger, who rode a horse through Texas from Indianola in 1868 and fought Indians and tracked down horse and cattle thieves and later, owned a 23,000 acre ranch in Blanco County and founded the San Antonio Machine & Supply Company, supplying Texas ranchers with fencing, windmills and pumps. Max Krueger was the first rancher to bring improved cattle breeds to Texas and purchased the Grand Champion bull and pen of heifers at the 1894 Chicago World's Fair.
Diana's buck confirms the Covert Ranch theory that great native Texas whitetail bucks, without genetic manipulation and pen breeding, can be produced in South Texas. Her buck also won the Best Overall and The Most Points divisions of the Los Cazadores Big Buck Contest. This buck was seen last year and was an impressive typical 5 x 5, with no extra points. This year he had at total of 30 scoreable points!
Diana is an accomplished hunter who took a 201 7/8 gross B&C buck in 2005-06 which won 1st Place in all five South Texas deer contests, a 185 1/8 gross B&C buck in 2001-02 which also won five 1st Places; a 184 6/8 gross B&C buck in 1997-98 which won three 1st Places.
Hunters interested in guided hunts for a big South Texas buck should contact Pattie Westbrook, the ranch booking agent, at 713 208-1494.
The Covert Ranch security consultant is retired Texas Ranger, Joaquin Jackson.
Pre-Season Rio Grande Turkey Guide's Report
Throughout our deer season this year (October 1, 2012 - February 28, 2013), we have seen large numbers of Rio Grande turkey, at times in flocks of up to 30 birds.
After our drought of 2011, when there was little breeding, in the spring of 2012, an extended extremely ferocious breeding season began, and went on for several months. The Rios were seen daily in full frenzy, and showed no fear of trucks or ATVs or of people on foot.
This year, for the past 3 weeks, we have seen flocks of hens and groups of gobblers and they began to mix this past weekend. Gobblers have been furiously gobbling at daybreak for the past three weeks!
The Covert Ranch has multiple openings for groups of up to 6 or 8 hunters, with comfortable lodging and ample South Texas hospitality. 2013 prices are $900 for 2 days, 1 bird, $450 for the 2nd bird. Call Pattie at 713-208-1494 to book.
COVERT RANCH NEWS
January 19, 2013
In the final hour of the regular season, Pattie
Westbrook, a repeat hunter, guided by Charles Covert, harvested a 7-1/2-year-old, wide, 12-point typical buck who scored 171 6/8 at the Los
Cazadores Big Buck Contest.
this buck not broken off his brow tines earlier in the season, his estimated
gross Boone & Crockett score would have been 184 6/8.
will be the 4th Los Cazadores winner's jacket Pattie has won.
In the past, she has entered bucks scoring 178, 184 6/8, and 180!
this buck is repaired, he'll bring her average to above 180 gross Boone &
Crockett points for 4 deer.
29, 2012, one of our repeat hunters took a 160 class Boone & Crockett 9
Mike said, "I love this ranch. The hospitality
and meals are first rate, and after hunting all over North America and
Texas, this is as good as it gets."
Mike has been welcomed back to hunt with us again in
Swanson, on a fair chase traditional native South Texas whitetail deer hunt,
took a 30-point, 240 3/8 B&C point, mature whitetail buck.
Diana, a repeat hunter at the Covert Ranch, passed this deer last
year, with restraint and true sportsmanship.
The buck was taken at 150 yards with a .280 caliber, 165 grain Barnes
Triple Shock bullet. Live weight
on the buck was 212 lbs.
The buck is the Best Buck Overall
in the Los Cazadores World's Largest Deer Contest in the High Fence
Category. This buck has the most
points (30), the highest B&C score (240 3/8), has 42 inches of mass and 53
4/8 abnormal points.
The Covert Ranch has guided, guide's
choice hunts available this year.
Contact Pattie at 713-975-1975.
April 4, 2012
Whitetail Buck Aging Method
The formerly accepted method of
examining buck deer jaws and comparing wear to a standard was notoriously
inaccurate, often failing to correctly estimate age by 2 years.
It was the Severinghaus technique, based on New York deer.
A recently proposed
method has the prospect of being more reliable: examination of the width of
dentine (the hard tooth tissue below the enamel) of the first bicuspid
molar, which is the right third tooth from the front of the lower jawbone.
A set of calipers is required.
The new method is supposed to be accurate to within one year, at
least double the accuracy of the old method.
The Covert Ranch South
Texas guided whitetail deer hunts include the services of veteran guides who
are able to help you visually field judge your trophy whitetail buck on the
hoof for age and gross Boone & Crockett score before you elect to take it.
But they plan to get a caliper to double check their judgment.
Let's go hunting!
COVERT RANCH NEWS
March 26, 2012
Hunter Repatriation Program
are flocking to Texas for a number of reasons.
These refugees have wisely left due to California's multiple poor
ratings: the worst taxes, lifestyle, crime rates, political systems,
demographics, demagogues and most malignant business climate in the nation
and getting worse! Their move,
however, has provoked many of these transplanted families into a terrible
identity crisis. The former Real
Housewives of L.A. and the Silicon Valley can still drive their Range Rovers
and shop til they drop at high end retailers where their conspicuous
consumption will be welcomed.
But the husbands, what in the Sam Hell can they do in their new
locale, where their flip-flops, Hawaiian shirts; spiked hairdos and
adolescent Porsche convertible infatuations are so out of place.
the Covert Ranch has a solution for some.
To speed their enculturation to the Wild West, where pick-up trucks and cowboy
boots fit in better, they might consider a South Texas Covert Ranch hunting
expedition, where they can take part in a Texican emersion and begin their
transition from surfer-boys to ethical and rugged sportsmen and to the
hunting tradition as a way to jump start their adaptive process and improve
their conversational repertoires.
Why not? Texans are
open-minded, inclusive folks.
They actually have secret admiration for anyone who recognizes, even later
in life, the all-around superiority of the "Texas-way".
here's an open invitation for a corporate dove, turkey or deer hunt at the
Covert Ranch in South Texas and some time around the campfire, getting to
know their adopted state and what makes their new neighbors tick.
And, of course, enlightened
transplants from other states are welcome too!
Covert Ranch News
March 22, 2012
March Rio Grande
2011 South Texas Spring Turkey season fell at the start of the driest,
hottest year in 116 years of recorded state weather history.
Following a dry cold winter, South Texas turkeys were forced into a
survival mode and didn't have the requisite nutritional body condition to
nest nor breed, creating dismal hunting conditions.
The 2012 Texas season should make up for last year big time!
A damp late winter and wet spring have filled water ponds and created
an explosion of pent-up vegetation that has provided necessary vitamins as
well as snails and insects, the source of necessary calcium, and have
created ample nesting cover.
We are witnessing a huge, natural compensational rebound in flock health and
frenetic breeding activity which started 3 weeks before the South Zone
season opened on March 17 and should continue to peak until season closing
on April 29. Also, birds held
over from last year, especially these over-sexed 2-year-old gobblers, will
provide ample competition and hunter opportunities as well as high body
In fact, the generalized extended and high level of strutting if anything
will reduce the usual hunting challenge of calling in usually wary gobblers.
These birds are fanning with apparent total disregard for trucks,
hunters or other "distractions".
It might be too easy for once to harvest a big bird with long spurs and the
coveted ground-dragging beard!
As usual, the Covert Ranch (known for its superlative Texas whitetail deer
hunting) holds a large number of spread-out Rio Grande turkey this year.
Interested hunter groups of 4 or 8 can still book single party
semiguided hunts and enjoy superlative lodging and hospitality.
Call 713-208-1494 and come try your luck!
And look at our recently posted video of strutting Rio Grande turkeys
by clicking on "Hunting Videos" on our website, covertranch.com.
Then, let's go hunting!
South Texas Drought
Texas is experiencing a moisture deficiency not seen in the past 116 years.
The situation already rivals the historic 7- year drought from
1950-1956 because of the intensity of the prolonged heat.
The Covert Ranch has worked hard to prevent this climatically adverse
cycle, thought to be due to a La Nina weather pattern, from being detrimental to wildlife, especially its South
Texas whitetail deer herd.
ranch drought plan includes:
Year-round deer 20%
protein feed supplementation
Abundant clean, fresh
water sources, well distributed all over the ranch to diminish the effects
of heat stress
Adding nutritional grade
copper sulfate (CuSo4) to all water sources to provide a "secret element" to
insure that whitetail dietary calcium and phosphorus imbalances are
neutralized. This insures big
horns, but requires constant maintenance and supervision.
Careful perimeter fence
Rotational grazing and
nutritional supplementation of livestock to prevent inter-species
As in the
past, these measures will allow the Covert Ranch to deliver an outstanding
deer hunting experience to its friends and clients this year and every year.
Our South Texas deer hunters' satisfaction is paramount.
Our fawn survival was in excess of 90% last year and we are working
hard to maintain it as high as possible this year.
Our September helicopter deer survey will indicate our degree of
Covert Ranch News - April 14, 2011
Ranch Video Released
Covert Ranch News - March 16, 2011
Most of us are patriotic, but we
don't know how to help our military troops in the field.
Operation-Helmet.org is the place to find out how to send donations
to purchase helmet pad upgrades for combat helmets.
Head injury and brain damage are the leading causes (>80%) of death
and disability in our combat units, many due to inferior helmet inner liners
and padding. $34.00 buys one
"THE LIFE YOU SAVE MAY SAVE ANOTHER."
hunting is more fun after making a worthwhile donation. Covert Ranch
will make one helmet upgrade donation in your name for each individual
hunter or hunting group after you book for whitetail deer hunting, south
Texas dove hunting, south Texas quail hunting and Rio Grande turkey hunting
Spring Turkey Season 2011
Turkey hunters bonanza!
This is one season you don't want to miss out on at the Covert Ranch.
We are seeing Rio Grande turkeys in numbers we have not seen in over
25 years. The Ranch has flocks
of birds roaming the pastures.
Make your reservation now to assure youself a gobbler.
Group hunts are available including lodging furnished on the Ranch,
fee for 2-day hunt $800 for first tom, $400 for second, limit 2.
Spring turkey season dates are March 19, 2011 to May 2, 2011.
Covert Ranch 2010 Deer Season
posts a 100% Hunter Success
2010 deer season at the Covert Ranch was
one. Each hunter was
successful and enjoyed the Ranch hospitality.
There's nothing like relaxing and sharing stories with friends after
the excitement of a successful hunt.
You can see photos of these and more on the "Last Season's Bucks
Photos" page. The photos
will have to hold us over til the taxidermist returns the trophy for the
wall, just in time for next year's season.
The Ranch is MLD permitted with hunting season dates from the
first of October through the end of February each year.