OUTFITTER REVIEW ON:
Part 1:THE HUNT
NAMED THE 2021 HUNTTHENORTH.COM OUTFITTER OF THE YEAR!
TEXAS WILD HOGS AND WATERFOWL WITH NORTH TEXAS OUTFITTERS
By Dan Wennerlind
|The sharp sting of my 30-06 triggered a wheee from yet another wild sow, as outfitter Dakota Stowers of North Texas Outfitters, swung his thermal green light from one pig to another. I emptied my five round clip and dropped four out of the five monster, wild hogs. Standing 60 yards from the wild beasts while the bright moonlight shown down on the evenings activities, my adrenaline was pumping like wildfire!|
|Being my first wild boar hunt, this experience was all new to me. I had just finished up a late afternoon set overlooking an active feeder station. We were now on the move with the moon high in the sky, in search of the big wild hogs on this 2,000 acre Oklahoma pecan ranch. Although more than plentiful in the region, and on this ranch specifically, wild hogs are more than destructive to the area ranches along the Oklahoma & Texas border. The area we hunted, located two hours from Dallas, is home to outfitter Dakota Stowers and his lovely wife, Summer. |
After picking me up from my enclosed permanent stand, as mentioned, it didnt take long for Dakota to locate a small herd of wild pigs with his thermal night vision optics. We then quickly hopped off his side x side and started our stalk. When we were within 60 yards, Dakota asked me if I was ready. I nodded yes and thats when he hit the green light beam. Gripping my trusty elk rifle, it took me a moment to locate the first pig by the glow of the green light. I quickly took aim and dropped the large animal in a single shot. He then moved the light to the next hog, who experienced the same fate.
After my fifth and final round was dispatched, Dakota said he counted four of the five gigantic night creatures down. He said I just missed the fifth one a bit to the left. Even with missing one, I was more than happy with my nocturnal freehand shooting skills. What a thrill!
I couldnt thank Dakota enough for the experience. We loaded up the pigs in the back of his pick-up and headed back to the lodge. There we met up with the rest of the guys who were now arriving, in preparation for our first mornings duck hunt. After a quick photo shoot with Dakota and the hogs, I headed into the lodge for a late dinner with the guys. Dakota and his head guide Wyatt went back to process the animals for travel back home.
Our group consisted of twelve hunters from the Wisconsin and Minnesota areas. Including HuntTheNorths own Joe Mahler and Alex Braun, and good friend, Cole Fabro.
|The next morning arrived quickly after a short nights sleep. We were all more than excited for the first day of duck hunting. Today, we would be breaking up into two groups as typically Dakota does not care to run large groups of hunters on his daily duck hunts. The group I was included in would be heading off to one of Dakotas top Wigeon holes, while the other group was heading to a productive Pintail spot. |
Our group of five hunters quickly helped the guide set up the two A-Frame blinds along the shore of a three acre pond, while our guide Wyatt set the spread of five dozen Wigeon and various other puddle duck decoys.
Being from Minnesota, my initial reaction was that this didnt look quite like the prototypical duck pond we were used to hunting back home. Boy was I mistaken
within 10 minutes, we had a pair of big drake Wigeons splashing down, in the early morning light. Then another flock of six Wigeons settled into the middle of the spread. This was exactly the start we were hoping for. Its time! Wyatt yelled down the blind and we quickly loaded up our firearms.
with a gorgeous drake
Wigeon for the wall!
|It didnt take long, maybe five minutes, before the first flock of five Wigeons banked right in. Three beautiful drakes and one hen lay belly up in the spread. Before we could even get them picked up, another pair swung in. Two shots fired and two more birds fell! |
Next, a four pack of Pintails banked in, followed by a lone drake Gadwall. This was AMAZING!!! Within the first hour, we had 15 ducks in hand. The perfect start to my first Texas duck hunt. With a six bird limit per hunter, we were halfway there before we knew it. Then out of nowhere, a gorgeous lone drake Pintail set in from high above. His iridescent colors
|gleamed in the morning rays of sun. A couple whistles from Wyatts call sealed the deal and he finished to perfection. A single shot from Alexs 12 gauge completed our six man limit of Pintails for the day. |
My trusty chessy, Brandy, delivered the bird to hand like a champ and we all took turns admiring the gorgeous specimen. Two of the beautiful drake Pintails and three of the magnificent drake Wigeons were quickly set aside for a final trip to the taxidermist.
By 9:30am, we only had a handful of ducks left to complete our six man limit. This was an incredible morning. Just then a dozen big Texas Honkers broke over the horizon. It was clear this wasnt their first trip to this pond. They had their wings cupped for what seemed like a mile away. A couple clucks from the calls brought them right into gunning range and with the Takeem! call from our trusty guide Wyatt, the chaos ensued. Birds were crashing down and flopping everywhere.
|When the smoke finally cleared, we had three geese belly up in the decoys and two cripples trying to make their way to the far shore. |
Brandy was quickly in hot pursuit. The bird she brought back was a monster. I couldn't resist taking out my digital scale and weighing the big gander. It came in at 13 1/2lbs!!!
|We maxed out our daily limit as the last one of 20 Wigeons hit the water. The sun was now perfect for a photo shoot along the far bank and the day quickly heated up to 70 over degrees. It was definitely welcomed warmth from the single digit temperatures back home in Minnesota!|
|Back at the lodge we met up with the rest of our crew and found they had experienced similar successful results. Truly a morning to remember!|
That evening, Dakotas lovely wife Summer, brought over a delicious 4 course homemade meal of pulled pork with all the country fixins! We were also introduced to the newest addition Mr. Levi Stowers, only 8 months old.
The Stowers Family
& Little Levi
|After dinner, Dakota shared with us what we had in store for the next day. He said they had a field packed full of geese! There were about 500 greater Canadas and around 4,500 little Cackler geese, with a few Specklebelly geese mixed in. Boy did our eyes light up with that news! He asked how many guys wanted to go after geese and how many wanted to hunt ducks. All hands raised for the goose hunt! We were all in and excited for the Big Shoot the following morning. |
We all enjoyed one of Summers delicious homemade breakfast burritos
|the next morning, before heading out to the big goose shoot! Upon arriving at the field, we were met by a couple of the Texas locals. No
these were not hunters or ranchers, but a couple homegrown Texas longhorns. They seemed to enjoy the early morning activities and joined right in, as we set the spread. |
|With all fourteen layout blinds brushed in along the fence row and a spread of around 250 full body Canada goose decoys set, we settled into our respective blinds well before shooting time. This was truly an exceptional set up. It was clear that Dakota and his guides not only had done their homework scouting before the hunt, but were also all experienced guides and used top of the line equipment to provide a top caliber hunt!|
|Around sunrise we had our first visitors of the day. A pair of little Cackler geese sailed into the spread from right to left, feet down and wings set. As they dropped over the kill hole, two shots rang out and both birds fell. |
The action began to heat up quickly. More Cackler geese were on the move. A rather large flock of about 250 birds swung around the outside of the spread and we all hit the calls. Five of the little birds broke off and set in and four of them fell to the ground. The dogs made quick work of them and we were back in action within minutes.
From there, it was organized chaos for the next two hours. We had birds working from every direction. We couldnt keep our guns loaded fast enough. Finally, Dakota made the call for all hunters to get a proper bird count. We had 35 Canada geese in hand. An incredible action-packed start to the day!
|Before we were even settled back into our blinds, we heard a high pitch squeal from high above and someone yelled,- Specks! Everyone frantically ran to their blinds. We had a four pack of Specklebelly geese sail right in and I assure you not one of them left. We were all ecstatic at this point.|
|As the morning went on, it slowed down a bit until the greater Canadas started to take flight. Then we started to pull more singles and doubles into the spread and Dakota did a great job of calling out whose shot it was. By doing so, it made it more rewarding for each hunter, being we were in such a large group. Another added bonus to our surprise, we had a second pair of Specks come in for a visit.|
|Then it happened, - from across the horizon we had a flock of a dozen greater Canada geese wing tip to wing tip, headed our way. It was a phenomenal sight to see. From 300 yards out, it was evident that they were on a mission to our spread. Everyone had an itchy trigger finger, as we impatiently awaited their arrival!|
It seemed like it took an hour for the flock to finally come into gunning range. Then Dakota yelled out the old,- Oooooh Yeaah! call and we all sat up with guns a blazin! Every single bird fell from the sky. It was miraculous to see!
Guys were high fiving, dogs were in hot pursuit, there were smiles from ear to ear all the way down the line!
And wouldnt you know it, one of the birds even had a band! You couldnt have written the script any better.
|The morning progressed and we dwindled the number of birds left in our 14 man limit to one. We had 69 geese in hand! As luck would have it, since I had been busy shooting the camera as much as the gun, I was the last man standing. |
When a six pack came in, I had to be very careful to only drop one bird. With wings set at 30 yards out, the landing gear dropped. I sat up to shoot and the birds bunched up. I had to wait an extra second for a clean shot. With thirteen sets of eyes on me from my peers, I knew I couldnt muddle this one up.
I took aim at the last bird in the flock and squeezed the trigger on my old 870. The bird folded and the peanut gallery erupted! It was the perfect end to the perfect day!
With 64 Canada geese and six Specklebelly geese in hand, even Dakota had to admit by his standards, that this was an epic hunt. He typically does not run group sizes this large. We all made sure to get a photo or two, to remember this remarkable day.
|Later that evening back at the lodge, Summer stopped by with another delicious home cooked dinner! After dinner, while some of the crew elected to head down to the local tavern for a cocktail or two, HuntTheNorth representative Joe Mahler and I elected to give the thermal hog hunt one more shot, while two of the other guys broke off and went predator hunting with another one of Dakotas guides. |
Armed with one of Dakotas 7.62x39 AR Rifles, fully equipped with Pulsar thermal scopes, we made our way over to a nearby Oklahoma ranch. Within minutes, our trusty guide Luke spotted a lone Boar about 200 yards out in the field. When we got within 100 yards, Luke set me up with the shooting sticks. Joe backed me up as I squeezed the trigger. The infamous wheee! assured I had hit home. The big boar took a few steps and fell over stone dead. He was a beautiful pig, weighing in at around 200 lbs. We quickly loaded him up into the side by side and kept moving deeper into the night.
|Not soon after, Joe spotted three pigs out about 300 yards. We stopped to make sure they were pigs and not cattle when all of a sudden a pig came running by us at 20 yards!!! Joe was up, he quickly maneuvered into position, and dropped the large critter in his tracks. That must have startled another nearby pig, as up popped another boar. Joe and I tag teamed that one and we now had three pigs down. What a thrill! I could not have asked for more out of my first wild boar hunting experience!|
With a light rain starting, we decided to call it a night. Luke dropped us back off in town to meet up with the other guys, while he went back to process our animals. Meeting up with the rest of our posse at the local watering hole, allowed us to share some war stories of not only that evening, but the entire day, over a cold one. Camaraderie mixed with the excitement from our success put the perfect end on a perfect day!
|The next morning came early. We were up and ready to go for our last mornings duck hunt well before morning light. I was sure glad I hadnt stayed out too late at the tavern the night before! We broke up into two groups again for the final hunt. The set up was very similar to the first mornings hunt. I mean, why reinvent the wheel with so much success the first go around? We were hunting a small 10 acre ranch pond again, with a fencerow running right down the middle of it, offering perfect cover for our two A-Frame blinds.|
As with the first day, we had ducks landing in the decoys well before shooting time. Always a great sign!
It didnt take long after shooting time came that the guns were a blazin. We had all different species of ducks; Mallards, Wigeons, Pintails, Gadwalls, Ringnecks and even a flock of Teal snuck through the gauntlet.
|The action was so fast and furious it was hard to even keep track of all the downed birds. Since my girl Brandy was the only dog working this day, she and I spent most of our time picking up the birds and chasing cripples. I just watched as ole Brandy was having the time of her life doing what she loved!|
By 9:15am we had to wrap it up, as several of the guys needed to catch a flight out of Dallas. Just as we were about to call the hunt for the day, a flock of big Honkers announced their appearance. It didnt take much coaxing
|from our calls to get them to commit. Luke called the shot and four of the six big birds hit the water with a huge splash! Unbelievable!|
Brandy and I collected the downed birds while the rest of the crew packed up the set. It was just magical, not only this mornings hunt, but the entire trip. From start to finish, there wasnt a thing I'd change.
|Back at the lodge after the hunt, I met up with Dakota and Summer to say goodbye as I packed up my gear for the long trek back to Minnesota. I couldnt express my thankfulness to them enough for such a wonderful experience.|
It was my honor and privilege to name Dakota and Summer Stowers of North Texas Outfitters our 2021 HuntTheNorth.com Outfitter Of The Year!
Part 2: THE REVIEW
|OUTFITTER KNOWLEDGE / PERSONALITY: ||Score||5 / 5 |
|Outfitter Dakota Stowers and his wife Summer run a top notch operation. Dakota makes sure that every aspect of his hunt is the best it can be. He has the experience to not only run a well put together hunt, but also an entire outfitting operation. Dakota hires only the best guides. Both Luke and Wyatt did an incredible job during our hunt. Dakota and Summer are very personable and go above and beyond to make sure each client is a happy and satisfied customer. Definitely score a 5 / 5!|
|QUALITY OF |
|Score||5 / 5|
|During our 3 day hunt all of the equipment used was the best it could be. From the enclosed hog hunting blind overlooking an active feeder station, to the night vision optics used to locate the hogs and the firearms used to shoot them, that Dakota has on site for his clients to use. The overall hog hunting operation was exceptional. The waterfowl hunting aspect of the hunt was just as well done. Dakota has the top of the line full body goose decoys for his field hunts and the best duck decoys and blinds on the market for his water hunts. Perfect score again 5 / 5|
|Score||5 / 5|
|The opportunity to harvest game was absolutely unbelievable. On both evening hog hunts, there were wild hogs running all over the ranches we hunted. It didnt take hardly any time at all to find hogs to shoot both evenings. Every waterfowl hunt we had offered numerous opportunities to harvest a limit of full plumaged drake ducks and the goose hunt was out of this world- 5 / 5!|
|QUALITY OF MEALS |
|Score||5 / 5|
|Dakota is currently putting the finishing touches on a brand new 4,000 sq ft lodge that can sleep over 12 hunters comfortably for the upcoming hunting season. The new lodge offers everything the modern hunter could ask for. And Dakotas wife Summer makes all of the home cooked meals from scratch and let me tell you, the food was FANTASTIC!!! 5 / 5!|
HUNT PACKAGES AND
|Score||5 / 5|
|The hunt packages Dakota offers are very reasonably priced, especially considering the quality of the hunting and other areas of the hunt. His waterfowl hunts are priced at $350 per day and his hog hunts vary from $250 - $350 a day depending on the package. In our opinion this is the best deal going if your looking for a high quality hunting experience. 5 / 5!|
|OVERALL QUALITY |
OF THE TRIP:
|Score||5 / 5 |
|As stated in the article above, there was not one aspect of the hunt we would have changed. Every area of the hunt package that Dakota and Summer Stowers offer is first class all the way! The is an amazing hunting experience from start to finish! 5 / 5!|
|Overall North Texas Outfitters Scored A 30 Out Of 30 Giving Them A Perfect Score and An "A" Rating. We Would Not Hesitate At All To Refer Dakota and Summer Stowers For Any Of Their World Class Hunting Opportunities and Thus Have Named North Texas Outfitters The 2021 HuntTheNorth.com Outfitter Of The Year!|
|30 / 30|
Part 3: Booking Information
|Contact Information For: North Texas Outfitters|
Outfitter: Dakota and Summer Stowers
North Texas Outfitters Hunt Packages Offered:
- Texas Guided Duck Hunts
- Texas Guided Wild Hog Hunts
- Texas Guided Turkey Hunts
- Oklahoma Guided Duck Hunts
- Oklahoma Guided Wild Hog Hunts
- Oklahoma Guided Turkey Hunts
More photos from the hunt...
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