Semi-guided Deer and Hog Hunts


FCS occasionally goes on semi-guided deer and hog hunts.  We have hunted all over the state and presently hunt near Rocksprings with Ricky Ethridge.  We have had many successful duck hunts with Ricky and know that he’s a stand-up guy.

Here are a few pictures from our most successful hunts:


  • Landowner, outfitter, or guide fee (varies per ranch). Landowner, outfitter, guide fees will be required in full by a due date.  Hunters who do not pay the guide fee by the due date will be removed from the list of people who RSVPed for the trip.  We typically don’t tip for semi-guided hunts where they only show you where the stands and cleaning station are and where to dump the guts.  However, if they provide more services than that (e.g., clean your deer and hogs for you), then a tip would be warranted.
  • Most ranches have bunk houses, trailers, etc.; however, if they don’t we’ll secure lodging and spit the fee.
  • For out-of-the-Austin-area hunts, we’ll carpool and split the vehicle gas.  If we take a toll road, because we’re running late, we’ll split that fee.
  • We’ll stop for drive-through food on the way to the hunt and will stop for drive-through food on the way home.

What to bring:

  • Hunting license if hunting public land.
  • Weapon of choice and ammo (note that some ranches limit what weapon and/or ammo you can use and how many shells you can have in your gun).  For example, some ranches do not allow buckshot, calibers smaller than .243/6mm, or more than three shells in your gun.  Deer rifles and bullets work fine on hogs.  But if you have a .243 and a .30-06, take the latter.  If you have 125 and 180-grain bullets, take the latter.  I do not recommend hunting hogs with a caliber smaller than .243 or 6mm.  A scoped rifle is better than one with iron sights, a red dot scope, or reflex scope.  Aim at the hog’s head or neck if it’s decent sized.  Don’t aim behind the shoulder of a big hog.  A hog’s heart and lungs are between his shoulders.  If you shoot behind his shoulder you’re going to hit his liver or gut and you could be in for a very long track.  Bring a lot of bullets.  Randy Rowley once fired 10 shots during one hog hunt.  For most hunts, you’ll be fortunately to fire one or two, but you just never know when you’ll run into an entire herd!  If we’re able to do a group stalk (we only do them if it is safe) you’re welcome to bring a shotgun with either rifled slugs and/or buckshot.  Fifteen 00 Buck pellets per shot at a running hog means a much better chance of a hit than one slug or rifle bullet per shot.  Most manufacturers recommend using a full choke for buckshot.  The next best choice is a modified choke, then improved cylinder.  However, this may not be true for your gun so the only way that you can find out what it prefers is to pattern it.  Do not shoot buckshot out of a turkey choke!  It will ruin it, and maybe you too (turkey chokes are too constricted to handle anything larger than 4 shot.  The best shotgun choice is a fast shooting (semi-automatic, pump, or double barrel) 12 gauge with 3-inch shells (or 2 ¾-inch if so chambered) filled with 000, 00, or 0 Buckshot.  Some guys alternate rifled slugs and buckshot in their magazines.  The idea is the first shot (slug) will be at a standing still hog.  If you don’t kill it, you’re follow up shots will be at a running hog, which is where buckshot excels.  The best choke to use if you put both buckshot and slugs in your gun (at the same time) is modified.  If you are only going to use slugs the best choke is cylinder, then skeet, then improved cylinder and tighter chokes.  For recommendations on guns and ammo see Hog Hunting Basics.
  • Standard deer hunting gear (knife, binoculars, laser range finder, headlamp or cap light, shooting sticks, etc.).
  • A comfy portable (folding) chair for your blind.
  • A rechargeable spotlight for night hunting with a green (recommended) lens, 1/2 to two million candlepower (two hunters can share a light and take turns being the light man and the shooter) or a constant-on light if there is a feeder.  See Hog Hunting Basics for recommendations.
  • Rubber boots and camo outer hunting clothes (including a face mask or face paint – absolutely essential, unless you’re hunting from an elevated stand).  If rain is predicted bring rain gear.  A hunter (blaze) orange cap and/or vest for ranches that allow group stalks.
  • Thermacell is highly recommended to repel bugs.  Bug sprays are not recommended (deer amd hogs will smell bug spray on you and won’t come anywhere near you).
  • Food (if more than a day hunt).  The Event Coordinator/leader will often buy food for everyone (he also might buy sodas if he can get everyone to agree to which ones to buy).  Participants will divide the costs.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).
  • Sleeping bag, pillow, towels, etc. (depending on the accommodations).
  • Game cleaning tools (knives, sharpeners, saw, loppers, gambrel, and rope) if the ranch doesn’t have them.
  • A large ice chest to take your deer and hog(s) home in.  It’s better to have one that is too big than one that is too small.
  • Hog bait and corn.  Here’s a hog bait recipe.
  • Rods and reels and lures (for ranches that have stocked tanks and allow fishing).

Randy Rowley has extras of many of the items that are listed above and will happily loan things if you let him know that you would like to borrow something before you leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it he will expect reimbursement.

Here is a simplified, and more printer-friendly, Hog Hunting Checklist.

These hunts are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s instructions, the land owner’s rules, and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of gas, food (if applicable), and motel rooms (if applicable).
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost.
  • Help.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s phone calls, emails, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

RSVP’s are required to Randy Rowley at (his preference) or 512-922-2484.  Also, contact Randy if you have any questions.

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