[Russian-doll quote action on extended discussion of impressions]
This is good first-hand info, you guys. I love this forum!
Hi, native Texas hunter myself, here. I can see why you'd feel like there's not a lot of 'huntable' land in TX if you grew up in Wisconsin and were used to hunting public land, and that the heinous expense of "ranch" hunting (big programs with glossy pamphlets and guides) would be supported by that alone. But those hunts are definitely the premium experience and frankly isn't marketed so much at just Texans but just generally rich people who want an easy harvest on trophy gamebirds/deer/nilgai (though they're happy to take anyone's money.)
My experience of hunting growing up always
took place on private land - ideally you can find a friend's or friend-of-a-friend's but we also had a relatively inexpensive year-round lease on a farmer's pasture, field, and woods split with three other people who all pitched in to maintain a couple of blinds and keep some feeders going and cut trail and make sure the owner's cattle weren't where they shouldn't be. In exchange we got access to a stocked tank with some largemouth bass and perch, tons of rabbit and squirrel year round, whitewing and mourning dove, hogs when they began invading, and plenty of whitetail deer and rio grande turkey. (There were also coyotes, bobcats, skunks, rattlesnakes, and a mountain lion, but we all left each other alone as best we could.) For the cost of one of my rent payments we had a year of entertainment and time in the woods and some of the best lessons on living I could have gotten, not to mention the need for a capacious additional freezer.
Butchering is fun, if you do it indoors with friends/family and AC.
Anyone who tells you feral hog, or any wild meat, isn't any good is usually butchering it wrong after letting it sit around in the heat rather than chilling it right away - it's DELICIOUS - or, less often, they shot some older male hogs in poorer health. Targeting sows is better for population control, eating, and your nose (I won't lie; male hogs do
stink like a cesspit; I don't know how they have a good sense of smell when they smell so much themselves. But they do taste delicious, especially if you like carnitas, tamales and jerk barbeque.)