Good times: Pigeon season is still the perfect introduction to hunting at Texas Columnists

Wwhen it comes to hunting, this has always been my favorite time of year. The pigeon season opens on September 1st and, as I have been almost every year of my life, I will be on a hunting ground somewhere.

Pigeon season is the beginning of nine months of hunting that concludes with next spring’s turkey season. But the pigeon season is where my hunting memories began, first going with my dad as a follower until I finally got enough experience and lead to my witches to lift and shoot a gun.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 40 years since I last hunted with my dad. That doesn’t mean the memories are gone. I still remember some of the first hunts and am still amazed at some of the shots he made on his last hunt before he died.

Long before my time, my father was a good athlete, as he had been offered the chance to play college or professional baseball. World War II thwarted those dreams, but if it had not been for his service to Egypt, he would not be here today. There he met my mother, who was there as an army nurse. Even though she overcame him, they got engaged. Luckily, my dad never let the little things get in his way.

My first memories of him are like a good shooter. A terrible but deadly fisherman with his Remington model 31, long barrel, full throttle, caliber 12.

One of my uncles was a farmer south of Fort Worth, and that gave us access to a lot of land to hunt pigeons. Only at that time were they hunted in the afternoon, and I can honestly say that when I started it was those hot days, lost shots and bruised shoulders that started a lifelong passion.

Looking back, I realize that missed shots at first were as important as successes. For starters, there were many more as I learned my way by handling a shotgun, when to get up, and how to keep swinging at the target.

If it had been too easy, I would have lost interest and moved on to other things. But I ended up wishing for the start of next season as soon as I finished one.

Here we are, then, at the gates of another season. A few days after the pigeon season, the teal season opens (September 11-26). Shortly afterwards is the archery season (October 2 to November 5) and the start of hunting with managed land deer permits. The quail season opens on October 30 and then the normal deer season opens on November 6, followed by plenty of others such as duck, goose, mule deer and pheasant. . And for Texas hunters, that’s not all on the table.

The pigeon season for me, in fact, starts in August when I start scouring the house for insect spray, camouflage, shotgun shocks and ammunition.

Then comes the annual purchase of my hunting and fishing license. While it can be done online (https://tpwd.texas.gov/business/licenses/online_sales/), there is still something about going to the store to get it. Maybe it’s just nostalgia for the old days when you always ran into other hunters you knew and listened to the stories of the previous year and the opportunities that presented themselves to you. Apparently, others feel the same way that about 80 percent of all license sales in Texas are still made in-store.

Hunting is still robust in Texas. It’s a billion-dollar industry that employs tens of thousands and still drives the local economy in many small towns, helping homeowners pay tax bills and more.

But there are concerns. Youth license sales rose 6% last year, to just over 127,000. While this is a positive trend, not so many years ago Texas sold more than 150,000 youth licenses annually.

The declining pair with the loss of older hunters at the other end and long-term prospects don’t look good.

It will be interesting to see if last year’s overall drop in hunting licenses during the pandemic shutdown continues this fall.

By its very nature, pigeon hunting is a good place to start hunting, as it costs less than other types of hunting, provides a good opportunity for parents to interact with their children, and the young hunter can shoot a lot at unlike one. i-made deer hunting.

It was a good start for me, for my kids and I hope someday my grandchildren will, as I have done decade after decade, I will be back in a burned Texas sunflower field on the opening day . I just hope my faults are less than so many years ago.

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