Finding the Perfect Hunting Dog


Bird hunting in Texas has been outstanding this year. Texans  generally set out in search of either waterfowl and and upland game birds during this season. For these two tasks, having a bird dog can be a tremendous help. Two of the most popular hunting companions are retrievers, for waterfowl and pointers, setters and spaniels, for upland game birds.

If you have considered investing in a  bird dog for your next hunt, the Texas Parks & Wildlife  team produced an excellent read on the subject of picking and training sporting dogs. Read the magazine article here:  choosing and training sporting dogs.

Check out this video below for some great Hunting Dog Tips:



Source: TPWD

Win a Free Dillon Deer Blind! Enter to Win by Dec 30th 2016


How You Can Win a Free Dillon Deer Blind

  1.  Go to Dillon Manufacturing’s Facebook page and “Like” it before December 30th.
  2. Head back to the Dillon Manufacturing Website and fill out the Contact Form. Be sure to include your first, last name and email address.
  3. Check back with us on December 31, 2016 to see the winner announcement.

Video Guide on How to Judge a Buck by It’s Antlers

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-3-11-30-pmQuarterly each year the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department releases a newsletter specifically covering topics on the sport of hunting in Texas.

Recently in the December 2016 newsletter, an article appeared that covered ‘How to Judge a Buck by its Antlers‘. Because this is a very important skill to have for anyone hunting in Texas, we thought we would share this brief video guide on the topic.

TPWD: How to Judge a Buck by It’s Antlers

Did you know that in some counties, you can take a buck only if its antlers have an inside spread of 13” or more, or if it has an unbranched antler? This regulation allows the bucks to grow older and give us a more natural deer herd, with mature bucks doing most of the breeding.

One way to tell if there’s 13” between the main beams is by a buck’s ears. If an alert buck’s antler beams don’t extend beyond its ear tips, it’s probably not legal.

The below will show you the best way to judge a buck by its antlers while you are in the field.


Source: TPWD

Happy Thanksgiving from your Friends at Dillon Manufacturing


Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Dillon Manufacturing!!

We hope you have a blessed day with your loved ones. 

Enter to Win a Free Dillon Deer Blind


Texas Waterfowl: Goose Hunting Open Statewide Saturday, Nov 12

bgforhuntingcropWaterfowlers will be looking to the north for help as duck and goose hunting seasons kick off this week under less than ideal conditions. A lack of cold weather has delayed the winter migration once again this year, according to field observations by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists.
“Weather patterns, especially significant cold fronts, can have great impact on migration timing,” said Kevin Kraai, TPWD waterfowl program coordinator. “Unfortunately, this is the one factor we can’t predict, but we keep our fingers crossed for lots of frozen water north of the Red River throughout most of the winter.”

The general duck hunting season gets under way today in the Texas Panhandle (High Plains Mallard Management Unit) and on Saturday in the South Zone. Duck hunting in the North Zone opens Saturday, Nov. 12. Goose hunting also kicks off Saturday statewide.

The good news again this year is that much of the remaining waterfowl habitat across the state appears to be in prime condition thanks to an abundance of rainfall over the last two years.
“As waterfowl hunters and biologists, we are always looking to the sky to send us water for birds to forage in and for us to hunt,” Kraai noted. “Rarely do we ever say that there is too much water, but we came close last year and wet conditions seemed to have persisted into the summer months in many parts of Texas. “Overall duck and goose populations are at or near records and we expect an excellent migration assuming we get timely cold fronts throughout the fall and winter.”

One significant example of how an excess of water is benefiting the birds and the hunting prospects this year, restrictions for irrigation water along the coastal prairies were lifted, resulting in an additional 40,000 to 50,000 acres of rice production on the Texas coastal prairies.

“This will greatly increase carrying capacity of our Gulf Coast region and the birds are expected to respond favorably,” predicted Kraai. “We have already seen early migrants taking advantage of these new resources in surprising numbers.

While habitat conditions across the coastal region are much-improved, biologists are still hoping for more rain to replenish freshwater ponds and wetlands.

“Habitat conditions were as good as we have seen in years going into early teal seasons this September, but prolonged periods of little to no rainfall since September have really dried out our coastal habitats,” said Kraai. “Our marshes and estuaries received significant freshwater inflows this summer, which has resulted in excellent growth of important waterfowl foods up and down the Gulf Coast. We hope the rain will return soon to flood up the foods that were produced this summer.”

A similar scenario is occurring in the northern region of the state where playa lakes in the Texas Panhandle have rapidly evaporated over the last few months, leaving waterfowl and hunters high and dry heading into the season.

“Decent rainfall filled a few playa basins in August, but many have already greatly receded or dried up completely now leaving very few playa basins holding water,” Kraai said. “We are keeping our fingers crossed for a wet fall so ducks and geese have a place to swim while enjoying the region’s ample supply of agricultural foods.”

Likewise, East Texas also received extensive rainfall last year and the lakes, reservoir and river bottoms experienced prolonged high water that biologists say will have impacted production of moist-soil plants this summer, but submerged aquatic plant production should be excellent and will attract all types of dabbling and diving ducks in this part of the state. Warm and dry conditions this fall have set in and the region is in need of a change in weather pattern soon for the Pineywoods to hold migrating birds.

Hunters are encouraged to review hunting rules and requirements in the 2016-17 Waterfowl Hunting Digest before heading afield. Printed copies of the digest are available wherever hunting licenses are sold and online here.



Image by: F Eugene Hester, via Wikimedia Commons

White-Tail Deer Season Opens Nov. 5 – Find Out What’s New for 2016

8 Point Buck by Ray DumasWhite-tailed Deer season is in full swing! Season opened on Saturday, Nov. 5 in both the North and South Zones. Special late seasons will begin Jan. 2 in the North Zone and Jan. 16 in the South Zone.

The 2016-2017 hunting season is forecast to be a record year for white-tailed deer. All of the state had a wet spring, creating a white-tailed deer population estimated at 4 million in Texas. The wet, mild weather these past couple of years has allowed the deer to eat well, and there are big bucks to be found. Grab your friends, guns and don’t forget your Dillon Manufacturing Deer Blind on your way out. Find your perfect blind here.

New for 2016 Deer Season
New counties added – an additional 14 Panhandle counties were added to the general season.

More “Doe Days”
There are also additional “doe days” in 26 East Texas counties

New Special Late Season
The “Special Late Antlerless Season” and the “Spike-Buck Season” has been replaced with a “Special Late Season” . This new “special late season” is for antlerless deer and unbranched antlered bucks. To learn more on the exact specifics, visit

New CWD Zones, Deer Movement Rules
There are new Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) regulations you should be aware of, including sampling requirements and movement restrictions in certain counties. Hunters in some CWD zones are now required to bring all deer to a check station.  Download this new booklet for all you need to know about CWD.

Find your perfect hunting spot

Search for a great place to hunt in Texas on more than 1 million acres of Public Hunting Land. The cost? Nothing, as long as you have purchased your annual public hunting permit. The cost of an annual public hunting permit will run you $48. Learn more about the 2016 – 2017  White-tailed Deer Seasons & Regulations. 



Image: 8 Point Buck by Ray Dumas

Quail Season Opens Saturday, Oct. 29th Statewide

Northern-bob-white-quail-tn1Quail season opens for Texas statewide on October 29, 2016 and runs through February 26, 2017. The daily bag limit for bobwhite, scaled (blue) and Gambel’s quail is 15, and the possession limit is 45.

Legal shooting hours for all quail are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

The Forecast? A Perfect Storm of Quail

This year, excellent range conditions, insect crop and nesting cover have come together to create a perfect storm of quail in some areas of the state. Forecasts by region:

Rolling Plains: Exceptional, highest survey numbers ever recorded
Trans Pecos:  Exceptional, highest survey numbers ever recorded
South Texas Plains:  Very Good, mixed reports
Gulf Prairies:  Below Average, populations affected by rainfall

Not sure where to hunt? Find Public Hunting Lands

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-5-46-17-pmIf you want to take advantage of this quail boom, but aren’t sure exactly where to go, check out the Public Hunting Lands. One million acres is available for your use with a $48 permit.

Search by area and game animal, use the interactive map for hunt area information, then head out on your quail hunting adventure in a new locale.

Begin your search here with the Interactive Map for all Public Hunting Areas for the 2016-2017 hunting seasons.



Get Prepped for Quail Season

Texas Hunters should carry 3 things when hunting quail in Texas:

Every hunter, including those from out-of-state, born after Sept. 2, 1971, must carry proof of Hunter Education on their person while hunting.

If you’ve misplaced your certification card, go online and print a replacement for free. You can also purchase your license and endorsement online.


Sources: TWPD

Video: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 

Image:By Brian Stansberry (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Hunters in Northeast Texas Advised to Be Bear Aware

black-bear-937037_600Wildlife biologists are advising hunters, ranchers and rural residents in Northeast Texas of a handful of confirmed black bear sightings recently.

At least four sightings have been documented on game trail cameras between June and late August in Bowie, Red River and Smith counties. Wildlife biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) confirmed the sightings and speculate the bears, which appear to be young males, are looking to establish their own new home ranges and likely dispersed from Oklahoma or Arkansas where bear numbers have increased in recent years.

This is the first confirmed presence of black bears in East Texas since September 2011. Breeding black bear populations have been absent from this region for almost 100 years, but bears from Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana occasionally wander into East Texas.

“Once these bears figure out there’s no opportunity for companionship over here they will likely retreat,” says Dave Holdermann, a non-game wildlife biologist with TPWD in Tyler.

Holdermann said as hunters in this area head to the field in preparation for deer season, some might see signs of bears attempting to enter camps where food is kept or wildlife feeders overturned. Bears eat mostly plant material and that’s probably their greatest source of protein; for example, seeds, acorns, nuts and even herbage has protein.

According to Holdermann, bears are normally shy and not aggressive to humans. But if a bear regularly visits a ranch or deer stand, people should try to scare it with rocks, a slingshot or air horn.

“If people encounter a bear at close range, they should talk calmly while backing away slowly. Don’t make direct eye contact, and don’t run away,” he advised. “If a bear approaches you, stand your ground and raise your arms, backpack or jacket to appear larger and yell at the bear to scare it off.”

Hunters are encouraged to study their game carefully to avoid mistaking a bear for a feral hog or other legal game animal. It is against the law to kill a black bear in Texas, with penalties of up to $10,000, added civil restitution fines, jail time and loss of all hunting privileges. The black bear, Ursus americanus, is listed as threatened by the State of Texas.

To minimize encounters with bears, hunters should keep camps clean to prevent odors that will attract bears and discard gut piles far from campsites. Placing deer corn in piles or in open feeders will attract more bears, while using an automated feeder hung out of reach of bears will decrease bear visits. Also, switching bait from corn to soybeans will reduce bear activity. And, planting food plots is the best way to attract deer and avoid bear visits.

More information about black bears in Texas, including safety tips, is available online. Anyone observing black bears in East Texas is urged to contact Holdermann at 903-566-1626 ext. 209 so wildlife experts can track trends in black bear populations and distributions.

New Dream Day Contest for Texas Hunters

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-8-44-12-pmFree Drawing for Texas License Buyers! This fishing and hunting season one license buyer the chance to win a year of amazing outdoor adventures, top-of-the-line gear, unique outdoor experiences and more. There is no fee to enter, but you must apply online by November 30, 2016. Winner gets $2,000 in gear, 5 fishing trips, a hunting trip, a shotgun, and more!

The grand prize winner will win all 12 prizes including a guided hunting trip for the winner and a friend!  Lodging is included and taxes paid. Pretty sweet opportunity, right? Share the opportunity with your friends and tell your hunting buddies – because if they win, they just may thank you by taking you along for the fun. It’s only fair, right?

All entries are free for license buyers, but you can only enter online here

To purchase a hunting license, get it here.

PRIZE #1: You and a friend will go dove hunting with a premiere outfitter in the Texas Hill Country.

Set your sights on this top-quality dove hunt for two with a premier hunting outfitter in Texas. You and your guest will arrive at the Elderado Ranch in Uvalde around noon to meet your guide and prepare for the afternoon dove hunt. After the hunt you’ll both enjoy dinner and a relaxing night at the lodge.

Early the next morning you’ll do another guided hunt, eat a hearty brunch, pack up your harvested birds and call it a fine two days of dove hunting. This hunt is graciously donated by the Texas Dove Hunters Association and includes meals, professional guide and two nights overnight lodging. Trip Value: $1,200

PRIZE #2The winner gets a Franchi Instinct L 12 Gauge Shotgun!

The Franchi Instinct L over and under 12-gauge shotgun tracks on fast-moving birds as if it’s an extension of your thoughts. It is smooth swinging with striking looks and an innovative design. Crafted in A-Grade Satin Walnut with an overall length of 44.25”. Weighing in at just over 6 pounds, it features: automatic ejectors that expel spent hulls when the barrels are broken open; a barrel selector incorporated into the upper tang safety; automatic safety that is engaged each time the lever is activated to open the action, and a custom-fitted hard case to protect in transport. This quality shotgun is graciously donated by McBride’s Guns, Inc., a retail provider of modern and antique firearms in Texas since 1960. Retail Value: $1,300

PRIZES # 3, 4, 5:  $2,000 in Cabela’s Gear, including a $1,000 gift certificate, plus $500 in hunting gear and $500 in fishing gear.

PRIZE #6:  You and a friend will fish for MONSTER TROPHY CATFISH on a guided trip at the catfish capital — Lake Tawakoni!

PRIZE #7You and a friend will go on a TELEVISED BASS TRIP with two Cabela’s Pro Staff TV hosts!

PRIZE #8:  You and 3 friends will kayak and FISH THE DEVIL’S RIVER for 2-3 days with TPWD fisheries biologists!

To learn more about each of the prizes above, find out about the other 4 valuable prizes, and to enter this FREE Drawing, visit Dream Year All entries are free for license buyers, but you must enter online by November 30.

See the official rules here:  Win Your Dream Year Outdoors Official Rules


Sponsors of the Win Your Dream Year Outdoors drawing are Cabela’s, the world’s foremost outfitters, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the nonprofit funding partner of TPWD.

Prize donors include La Quinta Inns & Suites, McBride’s Guns, Inc., Texas Dove Hunters Association, Coastal Conservation Association Texas, and Lake Tawakoni Guide Service.


Image: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

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