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For those of you who have already gotten to get out there, mark me jealous. Texas’w rifle season doesn’t open until tomorrow, so I’m hopping up and down in my ergonomically designed office chair chewing on my lip and trolling Hank Shaw’s website for recipes. Hunting season starts in less than twenty-four hours and I’m like a kid on Christmas eve . . .

This year’s opener was not without some roadblocks. Normally, I take Friday off, head out to the ranch, and get all of my gear sorted out, walk around a bit, and usually sit in the blind that evening to see what comes in. We’ve had a lot more pigs this year and a decent amount of axis and black buck, so getting a non-whitetail animal the day before is never totally out of line. Unfortunately, I’m sitting in the office instead of the woods.

I’m sitting in the office because one of my friends had the audacity to get married on opening day, and my wife and I have to attend a welcome dinner halfway between San Antonio and Austin tonight. Try as I might, I was unable to wiggle my way out. Luckily, the wedding is a short ninety minute drive from the family land, and he at least had the forethought to get married in the afternoon. This will allow a good college buddy, similarly outraged about this scheduling travesty, and me to spend the morning getting our hunt on.

Further complicating the matter is the weather. I’m certain our Pacific Northwest readers will scoff at this, but the weather tomorrow is going to suck. It looks like we’ll have rain around sunrise and winds blowing steady ten to fifteen mph. The hopeful upside is that this weather will start this evening and go through the night which might keep the deer bedded down. In my experience, deer that spend the night bedded down are restless in the morning. Hopefully, the rain clears up around sunrise and the cool(ish) temperatures push them to get up and start foraging. Yes y’all, it is going to be 55 and wet. This is what passes for poor weather down here.

Meanwhile, I’m keeping my spirits up by reading up on corned venison and chipotle jerky. Hank Shaw is a big proponent of using every part of the animal, and this year, I’ve made a promise to do more with my kills. If we’re lucky enough to get a deer tomorrow, I’m planning on processing most of it myself, thanks to my one year old grinder, and my brand new sausage stuffer. I may or may not have ordered a large chest freezer as well to store the game that I kill. I’ve decided to get serious about eating more meat from the woods instead of the farm, and tomorrow marks the start of that commitment coming to fruition.

I’ve also found a company in Minnesota that will make me a set of gloves from my deer…. And a jacket if things go really well.

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    • It’s not that bad. I’ve never gone hunting and probably won’t in the near future. Not to mention that hunting in Texas is a bit more expensive.

  1. Small game season, my favorite started here in CA in July. Deer season was a wash because of the fires this year. Spotted some big yotes a few weeks back but having trouble getting a hunting party together. I don’t like going by myself. I’m not a young man anymore and having at least one other responsible adult along is a good thing.

  2. The rut is full on up here. I missed deer season due to the shoulder surgery on the day before opening day.
    There are some really good jerky recipes for the smaller cuts of meat. I’m seriously missing home made jerky. Elk season is around the bend. Maybe. Just maybe.

  3. Starts? Starts?
    Man… I need to visit the lesser 48 one of these days…
    Primary season for moose ended on sept 20. Caribou primary ended on oct 01.
    It’s all drawing and registration hunts from here on out… And the foot of snow on the ground means of you aren’t on a SnowMachine, it’s a long walk in snowshoes.

  4. I remember back in the day when I used to get all twitchy waiting for opening day of trout season. I’d be at Junction Pool, the confluence of the Beaverkill River and the Willowemoc Creek and pretty much the birthplace of modern fly fishing in America, way before daybreak just to get a good spot. Actually, just to get any spot, since the banks were shoulder to shoulder with fools just like me.

    The weather always sucked. The ice wasn’t completely out and the trout were still somewhat inactive. The water was as clear as gin, which is not great for fishing. The trout wouldn’t rise to a dry fly since it was too early in the year and too cold for a hatch. So it came down to drifting nymphs and praying to the fish gods for a tap on the line. Just a tap by itself was enough to justify a four hour pre-dawn drive in the dark with nothing more than a cup of hot Dunkin’ and a cinnamon stick for breakfast.

    I imagine that opening day of the hunting season is like that. Enjoy it. Days like that stop coming around all too soon. Believe me. I know.

    • They do. When the weak, slow and substandard are weeded out by hunters. A quick gunshot death for these is a helleva lot more mercifull than what nature has in store for them.

      • I’m reminded of a hunting program I watched several years back, where three, male, wild pigs attempted to forcefully mate with a young, female, wild pig. The long ordeal was too much for the young female causing her to pass out from exhaustion.

        At the time, the three males decided that mating was no longer viable, so the three males began eating her alive while she lay there helpless gasping for life…

        But, let us not forget, hunting is cruel and unusual.

    • Because over populating, and subsequently, depleting the nature resources causing a slow and painful dead by starvation is better than a quick dead by a bullet…

  5. Already have two in my freezer…. wrote an article on my daughter’s deer, haven’t heard from Dan or RF on it (unless they posted on Facebook) I love fresh venison, it is my primary protein source through the year, and yes I process myself.

  6. Cant go this weekend, similiar issue with some pre-wedding thing. And next weekend is the wedding /smfh

    Cant wait to make some jerky and chili, hope to take at least a couple does if nothing else this year for some freezer meat.

  7. I wish our modern deer season was later here in Washington. Used to be early November, my dad would hunt in the NE near Canada in deep snow, and huge muley bucks came down into the lowlands to escape the mountain snows.

    Now the season is mid October and it’s short sleeve weather most of the time.

    Will be doing more hunting out of central Montana at MILs property. Season is almost into December and tons of higher elevation land to get into some drifts bordering popular watering and feeding areas.

    I love hunting in the cold and the thick snow.

    None of that in Texas though!

  8. I got a black tail here in WA in Sept. with my bow. Heading to MI for the rifle opener on the 15th to hunt with family and friends. I am taking my new redhawk with me for that.

  9. MN rifle season also begins. Been in the woods since Thursday hauling supplies/getting prepped. We’re about 30 degrees with a mix of snow/rain. It’s wet and Miserable. Thursday was a pretty good thunderstorm (quite rare for November). Our trails are an absolute mess of mud.

    Our area unfortunately is bucks only those year; no does are allowed to be taken. (The Timberwolves are keeping the deer population in check.)

    Good luck to everyone! Stay safe!

  10. Just be glad you have a place to hunt. All the Fudds and rednecks in East Texas keep hunting clubs secret and protect access to them like its their sister’s cherry.

  11. Just last month, we sold our home with the hunting property on the back acreage, which means no deer meat for us this year. 🙁

    So, I reckon I’ll be looking for a lease next year.

  12. Good luck! We are one week in on muzzleloader season and I am certain that the full on rut started early here. Things warmed this week and the deer slowed down but this coming week is going to be good. I’m waiting on a certain 8 point basket buck to get worked up enough to make an appearance during shooting hours.

  13. Good luck, Tyler!
    Been following Hank Shaw, thanks to you…I love to duck hunt, but I hate to duck eat, so he is giving me hope!
    Headed over to Oklahoma later this month for deer season, now I also know what to do with the hides!


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