Sunday, July 12, 2009

First Sign that Hunting Season is Drawing Near

One day last week after coming home from work I walked into the house, said hello to the wife and kids, and strolled into the kitchen. I glanced down at the kitchen counter and noticed a plain-looking booklet sitting with the rest of the mail. Although drab and lackluster in appearance, this is no ordinary booklet. This is the Texas Parks & Wildlife's yearly Applications for Drawings on Public Hunting Lands booklet.

This is the first sign that hunting season is quickly approaching. (My wife sarcastically saying "Yea, hunting season is almost here" and rolling her eyes is the second sign.) It is a sign that cooler weather is on the horizon (I know, I know - anything is cooler than today's high of 104.) The arrival of this book in my mailbox triggers a change in my demeanor from "I can't wait until hunting season gets here." to "Hunting season is almost here!" The glass is no longer half-empty.

This book is full of lottery-style drawn hunt applications from every region of the state. Most of the hunts are carried out on wildlife management areas, but there are a few you can apply for on private lands as well. The hunt application fees range from $3 to $10 per person, and if selected, some of the hunts require an additional permit fee ranging from $80 to $130. Several of the hunts have a better than 50/50 chance of being drawn for a permit, while others are highly sought after.

One of the most coveted hunts is the Guided Bighorn Sheep Hunt Package, which will only be given to one successful applicant this year. Last year, almost 2100 people applied for a chance to receive one of two permits available. If drawn, the lucky hunter will receive a permit for a fully-guided 5-day hunt for a desert bighorn sheep ram on a wildlife management area in west Texas. The package includes the permit, guide, food, lodging, and on-site transportation.

I applied for several hunts last year, and was actually drawn for a gun whitetail hunt in east Texas. I was very impressed with how well the hunt was conducted and the safe methods in which it was carried out. I saw several deer, but none meeting the antler criteria. I plan on applying for several hunts again this year.

Now the decision process starts - so many hunts to choose from, and you can only apply for one in each category. For more information check out Texas Parks & Wildlife's website.


Red Writing said...

I am guilty of the same attitude toward hunting that you mention (the rolling eyes, talking under the breath, etc.) but I have come to appreciate the deep love and need for hunting you boys have. Hope you have a great season and get lucky in the drawings.

Bio Bo said...

Thanks for the comment on my site, Edge Habitat, last month. I finally saw it today and posted it along with a comment.
So you're from Denton? Have you ever hunted the LBJ National Grasslands? I got a Rio there this year in mid-April. It can be crowded sometimes, but there is a lot of beautiful countryside to explore.
We obviously have things in common and don't live too far from each other. Stay in touch...