An Eye-Opening Hunt For Axis Deer In Texas

by Josh Dahlke

Content Director MORE FROM Josh

Hunting “exotics” had never appealed to me. The idea of hunting non-native species (anywhere) just didn’t trip my trigger. I’ve heard folks rave about hunting red deer in New Zealand, aoudads in New Mexico, mouflon sheep in Hawaii … the list goes on. Texas dominates this strange hunting scene in America, with transplanted species ranging from nilgai to oryx and several others in between. The tables quickly turned on my exotic desires when I was invited to hunt axis deer in the southern reaches of the Lone Star State. These gorgeous, cunning deer present thrilling hunting opportunities during their rut.

Unlike most of our native deer, the breeding cycle for axis deer is intermittent throughout the year. Bucks and does are unpredictably programmed to do their business at different times, but the peak of axis deer rutting action in Texas is always around June. It’s a spectacle to behold, as bucks are aggressively roaming and roaring for love. That’s when I joined an eager crew of hunters to test new Carbon Express crossbows and Rage broadheads on spotted deer.


This hunt was just that—a hunt. I fully expected a buffet of shot opportunities on axis bucks, but a couple of days into the hunt I fully realized there were no martyrs among these cagey herds. Afternoon temperatures stretched above 100 degrees, so morning and evening sits near water presented the best odds of connecting with an axis. It wasn’t until my third and final evening of the hunt that I got my chance.

Want to book an axis deer hunt? Look no farther than the crew at Southern Outdoor Experience (SOE Hunts). They offer a variety of axis deer hunts for different goals, timelines and budgets. I’ll be heading there again when it’s time to renew my supply of axis venison.

axis-hero1-900photo credit: Todd Obiedo / @tmobie12

As the video up top reveals, I was concealed in a Primos Double Bull SurroundView 360 ground blind overlooking a large, swampy pasture. As a herd of axis deer teetered on the brink of my effective range, I wasted no time in making good on a split-second opportunity with a tremendous buck. The buck’s handsome hide and majestic antlers will adorn my home, but his venison is what I’ll cherish most. When my freezer runs dry of axis meat, you’ll find another trip to Texas marked on my calendar.

It was a trip of hunting firsts: First time hunting big game in June. First time hunting axis deer. First time hunting with a crossbow. None of these ice-breakers were regrettable, and after my experience with the Carbon Express Piledriver, my urge to go horizontal in my forthcoming bowhunting pursuits has come to fruition. I hunt for many reasons, but meat is always near the top of the list. I’ve taken numerous animals with a compound bow, but the majority of my time is allocated burning gunpowder … simply because my cutting board craveth fresh meat. Hunting with a vertical bow is a noble undertaking, yet I’ve encountered a fair share of hunts where bullets didn’t save my bad luck—so a crossbow hits a happy medium if you’re equally hungry for challenge and high odds of bringing home protein.


As its name suggests, the Carbon Express X-Force Piledriver 390 pushes bolts downrange at speeds up to 390 feet per second. I didn’t chronograph mine, but bolt drop was shockingly minimal at my target practice distance of 50 yards. Penetration on both target and beast also proved to be more than sufficient when shooting a Rage Hypodermic crossbow broadhead. At 62 yards quartering away, I didn’t get a complete passthrough on my axis buck, but it was damned close. The broadhead fully deployed and created a violent wound channel to ensure rapid expiration.

The Piledriver is lightweight, quiet shooting, and it comes as a value-priced package complete with bolts and a 4×32 scope with a ballistic reticle. Just screw in broadheads, get it dialed on target, and start hunting. As a crossbow for beginners or avid horizontal bowhunters, this rig is dressed to kill.


You Might Also Enjoy...

Turkey hunting in Oregon

Turkey POSSE: Turkey Hunting in Oregon (Part 1)

Reading a turkey's body language can help make a game plan. Think like a turkey.

Turkey HuntClass | March 2023

maine turkey hunting

Turkey Hunting in Maine [Turkey POSSE]

NANA | A Woman’s Return to Whitetail Hunting

West Texas Sherpa

WEST TEXAS SHERPA | Aoudad Hunting in the High Desert

5 Effective Coyote Hunting Strategies

Coyote Hunting Tips: How to Bag More Coyotes With These 5 Effective Strategies



HuntStand is the #1 hunting and land management app in the country. It combines advanced mapping tools with powerful map layers to allow users to create and share the best hunting maps possible.