Hunt Texas – December 2021

View as a Webpage
Hunt Texas header

Wild Holiday Table: Stuffed Venison and Tamales

2 happy girls holding a plate of tamales

Including wild game on the holiday table is a timeless tradition. Share your harvest with family and friends using these recipes.

Chef Jesse Griffiths has created a recipe for stuffed venison flank that elevates this little-used cut into a feast centerpiece. 

Tamales have also been a holiday tradition in Texas for generations, and this jolly tamale recipe from the Cortez family uses a 50-50 mix of venison and pork. These tamales are lean, flavorful and a plentiful way to share your venison harvest.

When it comes to tradition, the jerky-making process is actually the oldest food preservation technique known – the word "jerky" is from the ancient Quechua word "charqui." Try this jerky recipe and offer home-made jerky as a holiday gift or take it into the field. 

See Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine's Locavore section for more ways to make wild game an ongoing part of your holiday festivities. Happy New Year!

3 Tips for Successful Walk-In Hunts

hunter in mist, video link

If you need a break from the holiday frenzy, December is a wonderful time of the year to hunt. So much is in season, including deer, quail and waterfowl.

For affordable access to a wide variety of game, get an Annual Public Hunting Permit for $48. It allows you to hunt on more than 1 million acres of Texas land. 

Whatever quarry you pursue, try these tips for walk-in hunts:

  1. Check out the public hunting map to pinpoint good locations
  2. Scout the area early to find your preferred spots. With your permit, you can start scouting at least a week before a season opens.
  3. Avoid crowds by avoiding opening week, getting there early and hunting midweek rather than on weekends.

Find out more about the public hunting program in the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine story, Hunting for a Place to Hunt? 

Wetlands Enhancement Projects Support Waterfowl

hand drawing wetland on whiteboard, video link

Wetlands used to have a bad reputation as swamps that should be drained. But they play important roles in flood control and as wildlife habitat, especially for waterfowl. 

For the past 30 years, the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project has engaged more than 550 landowners in building wetlands to compensate for the loss of rice fields along the Texas coast. Thus far, 88,356 acres of wetland have been restored, increasing biodiversity for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species. Find out more about this project in the magazine story Where the Wild Ducks Abound.

This year, we joined forces with partners on a project to enhance wetlands in Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area. The plan is to construct more than 200 acres of high-quality wetlands. Find out more about this project in our press release Ducks Unlimited and TPWD Partner for Wetlands Enhancement Project at Richland Creek WMA.

How to Judge a Buck by Its Antlers

buck with diagram on antlers, video link

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.

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. Watch our video Hunting Regulations: Antler Restrictions to find out the best way to judge a buck by its antlers while you're in the field.

This regulation allows the bucks to grow older and give us a more natural deer herd, with mature bucks doing most of the breeding.

How to judge a buck by its antlers is just one of the many helpful things you'll learn when you take Hunter Education. To stay up-to-date on hunting news, subscribe to the free Texas hunter education newsletter Target Talk

The Latest Game Warden Field Notes

Game Warden Field Notes, with link

Report Rabbit Mortality Events

Rabbit eating

We ask that you report any rabbit mortality events you witness while hunting this winter, especially in the Panhandle and Trans Pecos regions. Reports should be made to a local biologist for the county in which the rabbits are found.

In 2020, tests confirmed Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease in wild Texas rabbits. It's a highly-contagious viral disease and nearly always fatal to rabbits. No new cases have been discovered in wild Texas rabbits this year, but remain vigilant and report any dead rabbits you see.

For more information, see our press release Biologists Ask the Public to Report Rabbit Mortality Events

Become a Hunt Mentor

boy and man in deer blind, video link

The holidays are a time to think about tradition. 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 was like that 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 New Year's resolutions for 2022, make one to become a hunt mentor.

Messages from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine advertisers

Visit Big Bend, with link

Houston Safari Club Expo, with link

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