Hunt Texas – December 2020

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Make Wild Game Your Holiday Table Tradition

stuffed venison

Bring more joy to your holiday table by including wild game. Professional chef Jess Pryles shares her recipe for an impressive stuffed venison (and tips for cutting and trussing) that will make a stunning dinner centerpiece. If you want to keep it simple, chef Tim Love's Oh-So-Spicy Venison Ribs are another delicious choice.

If you've harvested ducks this season, or plan to, check out this video of Texas chef Jesse Griffiths making Duck Yakitori. If you've had success hunting feral hogs, Jesse's Feral Hog Tacos will make a tasty addition to your New Year's Day lunch. 

There was a time when wild game was at the center of any holiday menu. This season, join in this lasting tradition by including your harvest in the festivities. You'll find more recipes in Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine's special Locavore section. Happy Holidays!

Winter Wingshooting

quail hunter with dog

The arrival of cold weather reminds us it's time to plan a winter hunt for dove, quail, pheasant, duck or sandhill crane. All of these birds have seasons in winter months. 

With over a million acres available, public hunting lands offer excellent wingshooting destinations. With a $48 permit you can access wildlife management areas (WMAs), state parks and areas leased from private landowners. Check out the variety of ducks at the Gus Engeling WMA in our video, Winter Wonderland for Waterfowl.

What you'll need in the field:

  • Valid hunting license
  • Any necessary endorsements particular to your quarry
  • Proof of Hunter Ed if you were born after Sept. 1, 1971. NEW: Carry your certification in the Outdoor Annual app – watch our video for more info.
  • Regulation information for migratory or upland game birds from the Outdoor Annual. 

Find out more about winter wingshooting in our news release, Winter Season Offers Multiple Opportunities for Texas Bird Hunters.

How to I.D. Duck Species & Whooping Cranes

flock of birds flying, video link

It can be hard to identify birds in flight. But if you hunt waterfowl or other migratory game birds, you need the skills to be able to quickly identify them, since some duck and crane species are protected.

To hone your skills as a wingshooter, learn to I.D. different species with a duck identifier. Taking the wrong duck can cut into your bag limit. If you ever do take a non-targeted duck, don't dump the carcass – it's not just unethical, it's illegal. 

Whooping cranes are highly protected birds that winter in Texas. They can be easily confused with sandhill cranes or even geese, so learn to tell the difference by watching our video, Be Sure Before You Shoot, and by reviewing ways to I.D. whooping cranes. Should you accidently shoot one, call a game warden immediately and explain your error.

bighorn sheep license plate with link

Keeping Your Firearms Secure at Home

Child reaching for gun, video link

A hidden firearm is NOT a safely stored firearm. Practicing safe gun storage protects our kids, prevents accidents and keeps guns out of the hands of criminals. Learn the 3 steps to safe gun storage, download the checklist and take the safety quiz at Safe Gun Storage Texas

Hunter Education teaches the safe handling of firearms at home, in transport and in the field. A recent study shows Hunter Ed works – hunting-related accidents have gone down significantly in Texas since 1988, when Hunter Education became mandatory.

For more on home gun safety watch the short video, Home Firearm Safety Tips.

2 issues for 15 bucks, magazine offer with link

3 Ways to Stay Safe Hunting During the Pandemic

2 guys in deer camp cooking at grill

The nature of hunting makes it easy to socially distance yourself. But don't let your guard down in camp. Consider the health and age of other hunters and landowners – you don't want to endanger them. Here are 3 ways you can stay safe while on a hunting trip:

1. Take your temperature before departing on your hunt. If it's above normal, or if you don't feel good, stay home.

2. Maintain social distancing at the hunting camp – and be vigilant about it. 

3. Practice “responsible recreation” before, during and after your hunt (see below).

For more suggested safety practices while hunting, see the magazine story, Stay Safe in Deer Camp.

Responsible recreation practices graphic, with link

Game Warden Field Notes: Oh Deer

deer heads on truck tailgate

If there's one thing criminals should know by now, it's that creating convoluted stories about your ill-gotten harvest doesn't work. Find out more about the many illegal antics involving deer in the latest Game Warden Field Notes

Follow your Texas Game Wardens on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the good work they do for all Texans. 

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The Hunt Texas newsletter is made possible in part
by the generous support of Toyota.