The Last Hurrah

By Dr. Johnnie Rosenauer

Well the end of general hunting season is now officially over. It lasts for about 90 days in La Brasada; starting the first weekend of November and running this time through the first weekend of February. To the “hunting widows and widowers”, that period has been an eternity. For those of us who love being out there, it seems to fly by.

In my younger, more intense days, this was a time of annual depression and regret. Now with some additional wisdom, or maybe it is old age and fatigue, I see things differently. It is a time for reflection and review.

I can go out and walk the game trails without worrying about “bumping up” a deer. It is still a bit too cool for much snake activity and so that caution is not eliminated, but reduced. The thermometer is still a friend, so the walks are not filled with a sweaty brow and soaked shirt. A shed might be discovered before long. I call looking for them: “Adult Easter Egg Hunting”.

Much good can come from this period. It is also a time for thinking about and discussing certain deer to monitor for November 2018.

On one ranch we have a very wide 8-point that is four years old. Another four-year-old 10-point, that we call White Patch because of some color on his hips, shows great promise. It will be fun to see how/if they “grow out” next fall.

Several of the deer we harvested this year were post mature and past their prime. Thank goodness old Aggie doctors are not “managed” in the same manner or this writer might be in trouble!

A couple of other younger deer did not meet the criteria of what we want our breeder bucks to pass along to our future deer herd populations, and now will be enjoyed at our supper table and with those we enjoy sharing the harvest with.

The last Saturday of the season, I watched several up and comers that promise good possibilities and a couple of others that will have to show some significant improvement or they will join the early season “hit list”. Feeding those type of deer is not my idea of good management, but our practice is to let them get to three years of age before making the final decision of whether to remove before maturity.

Looking over and culling out trail camera footage is another pleasant task this time of the year. There are a couple we “shot” on camera that never showed up in my presence. I sure would have liked to get my eyeballs on them, but those wise old trophy bucks are a lot smarter than me. I am pretty much resigned to seeing them once, if lucky, and not even that some years.

It is also time to get those protein feeders up and running. The deer I have been seeing since mid- January, especially the males 2.5 years or older, all look like greyhounds after the rut. And the bred does are “feeding two” so they could use some help as well. Of course, the Good Lord is the best food maker by giving our fertile soils some much needed moisture. We sure could use some soon on our little pieces of heaven.

All in all there is no reason to be sad that hunting season is over. We just shift into post-season mode and continue to try and be good stewards of the blessings bestowed upon us as land owners and managers.

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A New Experience in the Brush

By Dr. Johnnie Rosenauer

As best I can recall, my deer hunting adventures began in the fall of 1957 as a six-year-old. I had been pestering my dad and grandfather to let me go with them since I was about four. The first trip was a Saturday afternoon, sitting with my dad in a brush pile overlooking the edge of thick brush and a newly-cleared piece of land destined to become farmland. It was cold and I could not keep still. Net result… banished as my dad’s hunting “partner” for two years!

In fairness, Johnnie Sr. was working 60-hour weeks with an invalid wife confined to a wheelchair due to polio and two little kids. It was easier for me to comprehend later that “the woods” represented his mental hygiene sessions and he did not need a squirming kid messing up that rare and precious time.

I hunted mostly with my grandfather during those years, and he sure did teach me a whole lot. After age 12 or so I was on my own and recall my first buck vividly. Especially the part where dad and granddad said, “You killed it, you clean it”!

If my math is right, 2017 totals the 60th year out in La Brasada for me. Every year that has passed represents significant time working and hunting the land. Here lately something happened on a trip that was a new experience for me and worth telling about.

In our little neck of the woods once all my fingers have counted off the first ten days of December, it is time to start hunting for rutting bucks. On December 16th I was able to rattle and grunt up two mature bucks and then three smaller ones in the span of about an hour from two different locations. The younger bucks came out within about five minutes of each other and were standing around trying to figure out where “the fight” was.

All of a sudden three sets of eyes and ears became focused on one spot. Then they high tailed it out of the country like something big and mean was headed towards them! I got all ready, thinking either some hogs or another big old buck was coming to my horns and grunts.

When our cattle tenant moved his animals off this particular ranch in the late summer, he discovered one small calf was accidentally left. He asked and of course I agreed for him to take the cow back to save the baby. That day and a half or so abandonment made this little guy very attached to his momma and we hardly ever saw them apart.

Well the monster that was coming to my horn rattling and buck grunting happened to be that calf, now weighing upwards of 400 pounds. He came out of the thicket bawling and raising a big ruckus, thinking my calling was for him and from his mother.

I did not see one more game animal after that, even after things settled down for a couple of hours. In retrospect there may be some more new and wonderful sights and experiences yet to come for this old Aggie out in La Brasada. But I do not think any of them will surprise me more than “rattling up a bawling calf”!

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Tales from La Brasada

cropped-cropped-tales-from-la-brasada-logo-larger-canvas-size.jpgWhen my Scotch-Irish mom would listen to my childhood stories, her comment was often that I surely kissed the Blarney Stone while still in her womb.  With a last name like Rosenauer, sauerkraut dripping heavily from my paternal heritage, this seemed an odd situation to a young boy.  But truth be told, I have always been a story teller.  From an “outdoor classroom” perspective, my many tours and showings of Texas ranches and farms since the mid 1970’s also served as a platform to tell a story to make a point.   It was a real blessing to grow up in a family that allowed me access to the country often.  I can recall waking up, running and playing with the hunting hounds outside in the red dirt well before anyone else stirred in the old farm house where my grandparents lived.  Trips to the stock tank with a cane pole and old .22 rifle, hunting for critters made for some awesome memory making experiences in those simpler times.

I started going hunting with my father and grandfather in 1957 at age six.  My father thought I made too much noise and did not much want me in the blind with him.  Granddad, who was more tolerant or maybe more deaf, welcomed me.  I keep that in mind now with my two little granddaughters who want to be with Poppi, but not necessarily keep quiet while hunting.  At age 12 I was a full blown “lease partner”; which meant I had to work much of the summer to pay for my share of the lease payment due each September for our little piece of hunting land in western Frio County along FM 140.  Some of these tales come from that wonderful place and the 21 years we spent there.

My stories are mostly based upon what I have seen and done out in the Brush Country south of San Antonio.  I never joined any big acreage lease nor paid for a high dollar hunt on one of the many ranches that offer such packages.  Not that there is one thing wrong with that.  I have just preferred to be, for the most part, captain of my own ship, even if the vessel was a rowboat!  My hunting companions have mostly been close friends and family and as the years go by, I prefer that even more.  Most of my hunting has been on owned or long time leased property, often only a few hundred acres in size, and mostly low fenced.  We do have one long time lease that is bigger and high fenced. I think the deer on that ranch are among the wildest I have ever hunted.

The buck that makes up our logo came from our family farm.  My wife Danell harvested him with our son Corban in the blind with her.   He is the only drop tine buck we have ever seen on that place since my grandparents moved there in the late 1930’s.  I have managed that property since 1976 and had no idea such a deer existed there.  That is what makes hunting in La Brasada so much fun.  You just never know what might step out in front of you!

Also included are a few of what I hope will be motivational/inspirational writings for your consideration.  They have been well received by others over the years.

I truly hope you enjoy these stories as much as I enjoyed remembering them and writing them down. Head outdoors, take a friend with you, and have some fun.

If you have story to tell, send it to us at and if we use it you will be given credit for it.

Johnnie Rosenauer