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Ray Sasser: New business focuses on matching hunters with affordable hunting options

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Ray Sasser, Outdoor Writer

When Logan Crable moved to Austin three years ago, he had the same frustration many incoming outdoorsmen endure -- where do I go hunting?

Texas is 97 percent private property, and wild game is viewed as sustainable income via hunting leases.

Crable grew up hunting in Virginia, where public property is abundant. In Texas, he found himself literally and figuratively locked out of hunting. He didn't know many people and found online resources scarce.

"Finding an expensive trophy hunt was easy but locating affordable single-day access was nearly impossible," Crable said. "I found lots of people with the same problem, so I decided to build an online platform that marries the sharing landowners with hunters."

He calls the business Outrider (outrider.us). There's no membership fee, but Crable charges 8 percent of the hunting price when he books a hunt.

Outrider's highest priced hunt is for a trophy whitetail. It goes for $9,000. The least expensive hunt is a $40 dove hunt. Crable said he has hunts for just about everything except quail and mule deer, and he's working on those.

So far, Outrider offers access to 140 properties. One of the most popular hunts is a three-day hog hunt with two nights of lodging near Brownwood. It costs $300, as does another popular outing, a one-day whitetail doe hunt near Calvert. The price includes one night of lodging and meals.

"Meat hunts are our most popular hunts and our favorites to list," said Crable. "A lot of our hunters are looking to spend time in the outdoors, teach their kids how to hunt or just fill the freezer."

Crable said he uses a variety of techniques to locate participating landowners. Outrider hunters often establish relationships with landowners and return repeatedly to the same hunting spots. Most of the deer hunting ranches have blinds and feeders in place, he said.

Outrider does not require hunters or landowners to record the number of animals taken off a property, but Crable said that's something he hopes to do in the future. In fact, he wants a harvest program that he can share with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

He asks his landowners to reduce their prices late in the season when hunting pressure has diminished the available game and made existing game skittish and harder to hunt. According to the informal reports Crable now receives, deer hunting success is high.

"My hope is that Outrider is my way of leaving the outdoor industry better than I found it," Crable said.

TPWD also makes inexpensive hunts available through its $48 annual public hunting permit. The permit allows access to more than one million acres of land owned by TPWD, leased from other state or federal agencies, or leased from the forest products industry and cooperating landowners.

Look for details at tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public. Some state-owned wildlife management areas are also opened for waterfowl and specified small game as daily permit hunts that cost $20 a day. There's no charge for youth hunters.

TPWD even sponsors nine mentored workshops for new hunters who have no mentors among their friends or families. The workshops cost $25.

Calendar

TODAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 22: AKC Master National Hunt Test at The Big Woods, Tennessee Colony, Texas. About 850 qualified retrievers are expected to compete. This event is open to the public. Details at bigwoods.net.

TODAY AND 24: Fly tying class by Dallas Fly Fishers 6-9 p.m. at Cabela's in Allen. The classes are for all skill levels. For a $5 donation, DFF provides all materials and tools. For details, call Richard Johnson at 469-877-0695

FRIDAY, OCT. 20: Texas Shootout sporting clays tournament benefiting the Rob Harper Memorial Fund, Friends of Rob and FC Dallas Foundation. Details at friendsofrob.org. Register at fcdallasfoundation.org.

SATURDAY, OCT. 21: Antique Tackle Show and Auction, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Burleson Events Center, 1150 South Burleson Blvd. Admission is $5 and experts will appraise antique fishing tackle of all forms. Visitors can put their tackle in the auction. If the tackle doesn't sell for what they think it's worth, they don't have to sell it. For details, contact Chip Rice, 817-295-7750 or e-mail macmatrix@yahoo.com.

THURSDAY, OCT. 26: Dallas Ducks Unlimited banquet and fundraiser at Sixty Five Hundred, 6500 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas. Tickets at DallasDucks.org or call Art Brickey at 214-673-9636.

SATURDAY, OCT. 28: Quail season begins.

SATURDAY, OCT. 28-SUNDAY OCT. 29: Youth-only white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkey season and youth-only duck season in south zone.

SATURDAY, NOV. 4: White-tailed deer season begins.

SATURDAY, NOV. 4-SUNDAY, NOV. 5: Youth-only north zone duck season.

SATURDAY, Nov. 11: First split of duck season begins in North Zone.