Hunters come in as many shapes and sizes as the game they pursue. Some identify as “duck hunters” and can be easily identified by the 200-pound bags of decoys slung over their shoulders and the matte camo finished Benelli tucked under their arms. Some hunters identify as “upland gamers” and harbor obsessions with over-under shotguns and expensive bird dogs, while others may devote themselves various niches such as varmint sharpshooting, bow hunting grizzlies, or just plain old hog hunting. But there does seem to be an area of overlap within these hunting subgenres, a sporting pursuit that transcends cliques and appeals to the frontier spirit in all of us. This venue of commonality is none other than Texas deer hunting, a unique sporting endeavor that presents equal shares of challenges and rewards.
Texas deer hunting is unlike whitetail hunting anywhere else in the country. The Lone Star state is one of the largest in the union and is the recreational sanctuary to one of the highest concentrations of hunting enthusiasts around. Our massive state spans large swathes of fundamentally different terrain, vegetation and topography, resulting in large numbers of whitetails that vary in body size, antler size and overall behavior. Texas deer hunting is about availability and choice, allowing hunters from different backgrounds to pursue the sport in their own way and within their own price range. Bottom line: if you are at all interested in whitetail hunting, we’ve got options for you.
Texas deer hunting thrives because of its advantages in variety and availability, advantages resulting from nothing more than simple geography. There are many, many states in the union that support a very small whitetail population. The fact that most all of the land in Texas is privately owned and hunting is a multibillion dollar industry, assures that land owners treat their deer herds as a valuable asset. Additionally, due to various environmental factors, our state’s region just happens to be the culmination of a “perfect storm” of whitetail habitat, and our whitetail numbers prove it. Texas also fosters a rich hunting culture, passed down through generations since the state was formed. This is in stark contrast to other states where whitetail hunting is either so restricted or so markedly unavailable that serious hunters must leave the state to suitably pursue the sport.
For those living in the state, whitetail hunting is an enormously popular recreational pursuit and represents a ample portion of the local economy. For an example of this, one needs look no further than our burgeoning whitetail breeding industry. Once the stuff of fairytales and wishful thinking, the deer breeding business has elevated Texas deer hunting to even higher levels, increasing the profitability, accessibility and popularity of the sport statewide.
Stalking whitetails through the snow banks of Michigan or the wooded hills of Virginia is an enthralling experience, to be sure. But there is something fundamentally satisfying about having that experience in the tough, unflinching Texas landscape. Here, “hunting” means hunting. It’s you versus a calculating, ghostly adversary through some of the toughest terrain around, dotted with cactus and mesquite thickets. Texas deer hunting sometimes feels almost anachronistic, conjuring images of frontier conquest and a basic “man vs. nature” vibe that speaks to the primal hunter in all of us.