Hunters celebrate start of Deer Season
By SEAN SHAPIRO
Friday is Halloween, but for Glenn Jackson it will feel like Christmas Eve.
White tail deer general hunting season starts Saturday and Jackson, like many hunters around Texas, will be heading outside for the first day of the season.
“Once (hunting) is in your blood, it’s like Christmas,” Jackson, a Liberty Hill resident, said. “It’s like it becomes part of your biological clock and you’re looking forward to it, no matter what the season.”
And based on projections, it’s going to be a fruitful season for hunters.
While Central Texas is still in a drought, the rain has been favorable this year to the deer population, according to Derrick Wolter, a Wildlife Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife based in Williamson County.
Wolter said that Parks and Wildlife does not survey total deer by county, but the deer population in general has continued an upward trend in growth with some minor fluctuation the past couple years. This year is more of an uptick with deer food sources having a strong year, particularly with recent rains.
Hunters can shoot five deer during the season, which runs through Jan. 4, 2015. Hunters can shoot two bucks within that number, but Wolter said it is important hunters do not forget about the does.
“Hunters want to shoot bucks, but the doe harvest can be more important,” Wolter said. “For one, we want to balance out the harvest a little bit. Also for areas where there is deer overcrowding, it’s important to remove some of the reproduction end of the heard.”
It is also important that hunters read up on rules and regulations before heading out to hunt, which is a two-fold issue.
First, hunters must be certified through successful completion of a hunter’s education course. Also, hunters must follow the rules about how many deer and what type of deer they can shoot.
Wolter said hunters should read up on the regulations, they should also use the technology available to them to make the decision on a deer.
“There are a couple of rules of thumb about antler size and those are good,” Wolter said. “But with the technology available and what we have, I really encourage hunters to use that.”
The likelihood of a fruitful harvest is welcome news to Jackson and other hunters in the area.
Many hunters will spend every weekend during the season hunting, while others will tend to hunt every other weekend or “two to three times” a month.
For Jackson, the joy of hunting comes from a variety of factors.
“It’s exciting to be able to get out there,” Jackson said. “Then, when you see a good deer, your adrenaline gets going. Whether you’ve shot one deer or 20 deer, each time you get ready to take that shot your adrenaline is pumping.”
Jackson said hunting also helps build family camaraderie. He said he grew up hunting and fishing with his father, and he has developed the same bond with his son and daughter through hunting.
“It’s really becoming a family even where we all get out together,” Jackson said. “You give each other a hard time if someone misses, while we celebrate when someone makes a shot. It’s great family camaraderie and that’s probably one of life’s most important things.”
It also has its advantages after the hunt. Jackson said his family uses every part of a deer.
“We’ll make jerky and sausage,” Jackson said. “Venison really is delicious.”