Saturday marked the first day of the White Tail Deer Hunting season in Texas.
John Hall of Waco will start his 20th hunting season over the weekend.
Just ahead of the start, he waits in anticipation. Hall went hunting for the first time when he moved to Central Texas from London.
“The percussion from the rifle, that first time you [shoot] it’s a bit of a shock to the system,” Hall said.
Hall is a long ways from that first hunt. Joe Bob Whitt, of Waco, and Hall have been hunting buddies for over fifteen years. The two have what can be described as a hunting hideaway in Valley Mills.
The two men have worked, renovating a home and space where they can spend hunting season. Before the season kicks off the two men prepare. Around October they start checking the movements of deer. Attached to a feeder that distributes corn is a camera that snaps a picture when an animal comes by.
While the feeder pictures offer a bit of help with technology the two still walk the area looking for tracks and droppings to determine where deer may come from. While this may seem like extensive preparation for the season, Whitt maintains, it’s all about getting away to “God’s Country, where you can have a gun in your window.”
Whitt and Hall say there hunting comes with a disclaimer. Both say they are animal lovers, and prefer the term harvesters to hunters.
“Some would say we are just waiting for dinner to stroll by but an actual point of fact is it’s a necessary part of wildlife,” Hall said.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Hill Country is the perfect area for deer unless there are too many. If that happens, the animals must compete for food and risk starvation. Hunting and restrictions help maintain an ecological balance.
Most hunters are looking for a trophy for the season and Whitt is no different.
“My goal for this hunting season is to have three of four naps and eat real good if a deer comes along and I happen to want to kill it I will,” Whitt said. With years under his belt hunting, he maintains it’s about the experience of being out in nature and away from it all.
The two agree, no matter what the season brings, they are appreciative for what the season will give them. A sense of camaraderie, tales around the campfire, friendship and an escape.
“It is absolutely gorgeous out here you know turn off the TV and go outside, “ Hall encouraged.