Hunt Texas - December 2016

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In This Issue:

A Bird Dog is a Hunter’s Best Friend

black sporting dog

With many game birds reaching record high numbers this year, you may be considering investing in a bird dog. There are two general types: 1) retrievers, for waterfowl  2) pointers, setters and spaniels, for upland game birds. This video can help you decide which breed suits you best.

Many hunters form a deep understanding with their dog, as described in this Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine article about choosing and training sporting dogs. “The perfect dog fits well in both worlds. It can sit quietly beside your favorite chair ... but the sight of camouflage or the scent of gun oil flips a switch in an instant,” says Jim Remley, hunter and longtime dog trainer. 

Retrieving all shot game is the goal of every hunt, and what a good bird dog enjoys most. Perhaps one of these hunting companions is in your future.

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Gift Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine this holiday

magazine $10 subscription gift

Wild Game at Your Holiday Feast

plate of Duck Yakatori

Step up your game cooking this holiday season!  Nothing tastes better than wild game harvested by you – unless you don’t know how to cook it. So to ensure your harvest a place at the holiday table, check out our collections of wild game recipes.

We have a variety of cooking videos for dishes, including Duck Yakatori. There's also an online collection of wild game recipes, like the festive Roast Goose in Mushroom Sauce. We’ve even got some insider information on how to keep game from tasting gamey

Include wild game in your holiday feast and create a new tradition - a meal that includes game harvested by you and celebrated with friends and family. 

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# 1 Cause of Accidents

safe zone of fire diagram

The 2015 Hunting Accident Report is in and Texas had an all-time low number of accidents last year. Congratulations on staying safe! 

Last year’s #1 cause of accidents was swinging on game. Avoid this by designating a safe zone-of-fire for everyone in your hunting group: imagine a clock and stand facing 12 o’clock; your basic safe zone-of-fire would be 10 o'clock to 2 o’clock. 

  • Stop the swing of your gun within your safe zone-of-fire
  • Be aware of the movements of everyone, including dogs
  • Wear blaze orange or blaze pink 

Hunter Education teaches these and other safety practices. Anyone born after Sept. 2, 1971 is required to carry proof of Hunter Ed. If you know a hunter that hasn’t taken the course, encourage that person to take it. Let’s all shoot for a safe season.

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A message from our sponsor:

Toyota and TPW Foundation

Holiday Resolution: Become a Hunt Mentor

boy and man in blind

The holidays are a time when we think about traditions. If you’re an experienced hunter, consider keeping the tradition of hunting alive by becoming a hunt mentor through the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP). 

For many children, the night before their first hunt can be like the night before Christmas. It’s a special time for Hunter Education Coordinator Steve Hall: “Do you remember what it was like the night before your first hunt? Not being able to sleep is what I remember. To my son, it was about not missing. For my daughter, it was about getting to do what her older brother got to do.

“Those of us involved in the TYHP find it rewarding when we get to relive our own memories through the actions and emotions of a young hunter on his or her first hunt.” The rewards of mentoring are numerous. So when you’re making your resolutions for 2017, make one to become a hunt mentor.

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What Have the Game Wardens Been Up To?

Game Warden Field Notes link

How to Judge a Buck by Its Antlers

measuring antlers

Did you know that in some counties, you can take a buck only if its antlers have an inside spread of 13” or more, or if it has an unbranched antler? This regulation allows the bucks to grow older and give us a more natural deer herd, with mature bucks doing most of the breeding.

One way to tell if there’s 13” between the main beams is by a buck’s ears. If an alert buck’s antler beams don’t extend beyond its ear tips, it’s probably not legal. This video will show you the best way to judge a buck by its antlers while you are in the field.

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Deer License Plate

Mule Deer Research on Twitter

antler growth compared

Speaking of antlers, our biologists in the Rolling Plains region have been conducting mule deer research. These pictures from Twitter show the development of a young buck over one year. Look at the growth that good habitat and wildlife management can create! It’s your purchase of a hunting license that makes that management possible. Thank you.

Keep up with hunting news on Twitter with @TPWDHunt and @TPWDNews.

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Outdoor Annual link

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by the generous support of Toyota.