Covert Ranch History

Covert Ranch History

Latest Artifacts

Over the past weekend, two more prehistoric native Indian objects were found, after our recent heavy rain. Here is the photo. One is a perfect Catan point. Both are dated in the late archaic period from 1000 BC to 500 AD, from over 3200 to 1700 years old!

Covert Ranch History, LaSalle County, South Texas

Before it was settled in the nineteenth century, the future LaSalle County was an area of grasslands punctuated by clumps of mesquite, oak, and ash trees. The abundant wildlife included deer, turkeys, wild horses, and mountain lions. Springs rising from a reservoir of underground water fed streams, lakes, and water holes that harbored beavers, alligators, big fish, crawfish, and mussels. Artifacts dating from the Paleo-Indian period (9200 to 6000 B.C.) demonstrate that human beings have lived in the area for about 11,000 years. The Indian population seems to have increased during the Archaic period (6000 B.C. to A.D. 1000), when many groups of hunter-gatherers spent part or all of their time in the area. During this period the inhabitants subsisted mostly on game, wild fruits, seeds, and roots. They carved tools from wood and stone and wove baskets and rabbit-skin clothing. The hunting and gathering way of life persisted into the Late Prehistoric period (A.D. 1000 to the arrival of the Spanish), though during this time Indians in the areas learned to make pottery and hunted with bows and arrows. During the eighteenth century the Coahuiltecan Indians were squeezed out by Apaches, raiding Comanches and other groups who were migrating into the area, and by the Spanish, who were moving up from the south.

No permanent Spanish settlements seem to have been established in what is now LaSalle County. Beginning in the late 1600’s, however, Spaniards passed through on the Old Presidio Road (Camino Real) through the eastern part of the Covert Ranch to and from other Spanish settlements in Texas including San Antonio, which was founded in 1718. After Mexican independence in 1821 from Spain, the Mexican government used land grants to encourage its citizens to settle in Texas. In 1834, for example, Jesus Cardenas received 31,500 acres of land along the Nueces River, including about 10,000 acres in what is now LaSalle County, and a large part of the county was included in a tract granted to John McMullen, an Irish impresario. Few if any grantees seem to have actually settled on their lands, however. In 1836 the area remained populated almost entirely by Indians.

Between the Texas Revolution or War of Texas Independence from Mexico (1835-1836) and the Republic of Texas (1836-1845), most of what is now LaSalle County lay in the disputed area between the Rio Grande to the south and the Nueces River to the north, known as the Nueces Strip. Since neither the Republic of Texas nor the Mexican government could establish control over this strip of land, it became a haven for desperados. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 between The United States and Mexico established the current international boundary at the Rio Grande river and United States sovereignty forever over the Nueces Strip. However, later, Mexico allied with Germany in World War I in hopes it would regain some of its former territory. In World War II Mexican President Camacho declared war on Germany, finally giving up the former strategy. Outlaws and hostile Indians delayed the development of the Nueces Strip area for years. When LaSalle County was officially divided from the Bexar District on February 1, 1858, the county had only begun to be settled.

In 1880 the county was organized into a district political unit at the Old Guajuco Ranch and was named after Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, a French explorer who followed the Mississippi from its headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico, during the period from 1678 through 1682.

LaSalle organized another expedition to explore the Mississippi in 1684. He missed the Mississippi and landed in the Matagorda Bay area in February, 1685. LaSalle established Fort St. Louis and made several expeditions into Texas during the next two years before he was murdered by his own men.

Although LaSalle failed to establish a permanent French presence in Texas, he did give France claim and stimulated French interest in the Mississippi. That in turn stimulated Spanish efforts in Texas and led to the establishment of missions in East Texas in 1690, greatly accelerating European settlement of the state.

Again, LaSalle County was formally organized in 1880. The last Indian raid in the county occurred in 1878, 8 years after the end of the civil war. In the early 1880s the International Great Northern Railroad extended its tracks into the county. These developments, along with the gradual elimination of outlaws, helped to make ranching a more predictable and profitable enterprise.

Cattle ranches firmly established themselves in the county during the late nineteenth century, especially after the 1880s, when barbed wire fencing was introduced. At the turn of the century ranching completely dominated LaSalle County’s economy, and set the tone for its culture.

The settlement and development and vegetable farming boom of the 1920s died with the onset of the Great Depression. After World War II cattle ranching continued to be the primary economic activity in the county. Meanwhile, oil and gas production had become an important source of revenue.

The rangeland in LaSalle County serves the dual function of livestock production and habitat for various kinds of wildlife. The basic habitat requirements for any wildlife population are food, cover and water, each one abundant on the ranch. Much research has been done on the food habits and nutritional requirements of the white tailed deer. The native rangelands of South Texas provide excellent habitat for meeting the dietary needs of a deer population. Deer require a diet of approximately 16 percent protein plus various minerals and energy to be well nourished. Deer are selective foragers, preferring to feed on a wide variety of plants rather than a few specific ones. The leaves, twigs and fruit of woody brush species, along with weeds and forbs, make up the bulk of their diet. Small amounts of grass may be taken seasonally.

WWII B-17 Crash Landing

Photo of Major Charles Betts Covert, pilot and B-17 Squadron Commander after crash landing in England in 1943 in the lead plane, Cotton Eyed Joe, digitally colored.

Photo of Major Covert's Cotton Eyed Joe II, digitally colored, and his crew also in 1943, on their way to completing 50 combat missions, twice the customary number required. Covert earned Distinguished Flying Crosses and 13 Air Medals with Oak Leaf Clusters for heroism over North Africa, Europe and, especially, bombing the Ploesti Oil Fields in Romania which paralyzed the Nazi war machine and won WWII. Note Major Covert's yellow Texas cowboy boots.

Baroness Di Portanova

A photo of Dr. Covert with the Baroness Di Portanova, in Houston, Texas, c. 1970.


We recently had an 1893 photograph digitally colored of the Grand Champion All-Breed Bull, "Bismarck", a red polled, and 4 cows, purchased by Doctor Covert's great grandfather, Maxmillian Krueger, at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, which succeeded the Paris World's Fair for which the Eiffel Tower was erected.

This was probably the first introduction of upgraded European cattle breeds to Texas, for his 25,000 acre M. Krueger ranch in Blanco County, where he served as the postmaster, judge, preeminent rancher, and political adversary of LBJ's father, Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. He lost the ranch after a 7-year drought and politically, the vote to move the county seat from Blanco, after a building of a $250,000 courthouse, to Johnson City, which had more population and votes.

With 12 children, at 40-years- old, he founded the San Antonio Machine & Supply Company, became successful, and made a critical loan to the Longoria family of Mexico, was acknowledged in a letter from President Teddy Roosevelt, and was befriended in his art collecting by the Vanderbilts in New York City. Most of his art collection including many palace-sized works of art purchased after World War I, and its devastation, was donated to Texas A&M University by his oldest surviving son, Carl C. "Polly" Krueger, CEO of the SAMSCO, served on the Board of Directors of Texas A&M, and Bexar County Distinguished A&M Graduate, for which its annual Distinguished Alumnus award is named. Carl and his son, Carl Jr., created Key Allegro, a luxury housing development near Rockport, Texas. Krueger Hall at Texas A&M is named after Carl Krueger, who was called out of the United States Army, as an Army Cavalry officer at Fort Bliss, 1st Armored Division, which covers 1.12 million acres of land in Texas, to assume his father's position as CEO of SAMSCO in San Antonio. Ramrod straight, Carl was president of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and later in life lived in his suite at the historic Menger Hotel and entertained guests at the St. Anthony Club as the gentleman he was. Carl C. "Polly" Krueger ('12) received his civil engineering degree in 1912. He was President of SAMSCO from 1923 to 1961. His company's annual sales reached $18 million. He was 4th president of the San Antonio A&M Club. Krueger was the founding President of the San Antonio A&M Club. He was a leader of the Ross Volunteers and won the gold medal as the best drilled freshman and sophomore.

Historical Artifacts

We asked the foremost Texas archeological expert to comment on artifacts we have found over the past 30 years, including some perfect points, one of which we have duplicated in sterling silver and 14K gold, using the lost wax technique.

We wanted to share our lithic's expert's, a distinguished member of the Houston Archeological Society, report with you as well as the photos of what we have found. Some of the lithics are as much as 3000 years old.

None have been removed from the ranch.

Click images to enlarge

An Old Oak Tree

Mexico City was founded as Tenochtitlan by Ross Quillin in 1325 and became the dominant city-state of the Aztec Triple-Alliance, formed in 1430. It was refounded by Spain in 1520. From Cortez' conquest until 1821, Mexico was a colony of Spain.

The El Camino Real stretched from Mexico City north 2,500 miles across the Rio Grande River through San Antonio (Texas) and ended in Natchitoches, Lousiana, the only primary overland route across the Rio Grande to the Red River Valley. The El Camino Real passed by the east side of our ranch as did the former Pony Express route from Laredo to San Antonio.

San Antonio, Texas was founded in 1718, 300 years ago.

On a recent return to our ranch in LaSalle County, just outside our high fence gate, for 30 years, we have been passing a large live oak tree, obscured by brush and tall grass.

With a curious impulse, we decided to clear the brush and weeds that had obscured our view of the majestic oak tree for so long. What we discovered was astounding-- a 39-1/2" diameter, 124" circumference live oak tree which by our calculation is at least 232 years old, having been planted in about 1787, when the Constitutional Convention was being convened in Philadelphia, over which George Washington presided. King George III was the King of England. Charles III was the King of Spain, the son of Philipe V.

This is the photograph we took afterwards:

Covert Ranch Fall Roundup

Covert Ranch Spring Roundup

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.

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 Feeders

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.

Cattle Working Day

Saturday 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.

Tough to Break

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.


Deer Lease Strategy

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.

Snake-Bit Buck

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

Snake Alert

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 ascendancy. 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 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.

Helicopter Survey
Johnny Burris with buck

The Texas Big Game Awards

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.

Click image to view PDF.

First Place Buck

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

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.


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.


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.

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!

Los Cazadores Winner

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.

Had this buck not broken off his brow tines earlier in the season, his estimated gross Boone & Crockett score would have been 184 6/8.

This 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!

When this buck is repaired, he'll bring her average to above 180 gross Boone & Crockett points for 4 deer.

Congratulations, Pattie!!

Boone & Crockett 9 Point Buck

On December 29, 2012, one of our repeat hunters took a 160 class Boone & Crockett 9 point buck.

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 2013!

Fair Chase South Texas Whitetail Deer Hunt

Diana 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.

New 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!

California Hunter Repatriation Program

California companies 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.

Well, 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 immersion 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".

So 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!

March Rio Grande Turkey Madness!!!

The 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 weights.

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, 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.

The ranch drought plan includes:

  1. Year-round deer 20% protein feed supplementation
  2. Free-choice whole cottonseed availability
  3. Continuously providing deer minerals
  4. Abundant clean, fresh water sources, well distributed all over the ranch to diminish the effects of heat stress
  5. 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.
  6. Aggressive predator control
  7. Careful perimeter fence maintenance
  8. Rotational grazing and nutritional supplementation of livestock to prevent inter-species competition

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 success.

Ranch Video Released

Spring Turkey Season

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 yourself 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.

Deer Season Posts a 100% Hunter Success

The 2010 deer season at the Covert Ranch was another great 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.

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