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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Be very, very quiet

Camouflage may hide the body, but the spirit of a hunter is visible to all. And as autumn settles in across Texas, optimistic and conscientious outdoorsmen and women once again return to their nature. In all its fabled romance and tranquility, however, hunting requires explicit attention to detail and unexhausted safety.
“Anything you point a gun at, you should have in mind that by pointing that gun at it, you can do away with it,” said Game Warden Capt. Bill Magee.
In Magee’s 24 years with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, he has seen his share of accidents and mishaps, enough to know that taking game is only a part of having a successful hunt.
“In my career, I’ve carried out of the woods probably 40 or 50 dead bodies,” he said. “And every one of those was just a result of a stupid mistake on somebody’s part.”
State law requires hunters born after Sept. 2, 1972 to pass a Hunter Education Training Course to ensure that hunters know the demands of safe practice while in the field. The mandatory course, commonly known as hunter’s safety, costs $10 and takes 10 hours to complete.
“Hunter’s safety is an excellent way to get informed, short of being raised around somebody that taught you gun safety,” Magee said.
In addition to completing the hunter’s safety course, all hunters in Texas are required to possess a valid hunting license. Several licenses are available, like a $1,000 lifetime hunting and fishing combination license or a three-day, temporary license.
Expensive as it may be, Magee said the lifetime license is the best value, because costs and prices are only going to increase.
Hunting specific game may require additional permits or licenses. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual details all of the current hunting and fishing regulations and is available wherever licenses are sold.
After taking the hunter’s safety course, Magee suggests that students get involved with the Texas A&M chapter of Ducks Unlimited.
Ducks Unlimited is an international non-profit organization that promotes the conservation of waterfowl, wetlands, and wildlife. A&M boasts the largest collegiate chapter in the U.S.
In Texas, more than one million acres of public land are available for hunting. Locally, licensed hunters that have the Annual Public Hunt Permit can hunt dove at two different sites in Brazos County, and the Davy Crockett and Sam Houston National Forests near Huntsville.
Whether on public or private lands, hunting is an undeniable part of Texas culture. Still thriving as a means of providing food, sport hunting has evolved into a valuable tool in controlling populations and maintaining the bonds of American family values.
“A lot of people don’t have good time with their family where they can love each other and learn how to love others, and I think hunting is one of those things where you can learn to do that,” said David Lawhorn, a junior biomedical sciences major.
Though not an authority on family relationships, Lawhorn understands that spending time and interacting with one’s parents and siblings is a healthy part of life. His first hunting memories reach back to when as a 5-year-old, he would play bird dog – retrieving dove that his father shot.
As he learned how to be a safe and effective hunter, the younger Lawhorn was allowed to carry a gun and hunt just like his dad.
“It was a good activity where he and I could spend some time together,” he said. “I got to know him better that way.”
Nowadays, when Lawhorn is not hunting with his family, he is hunting with his close friends.
“Another cool thing about dove hunting is you can do it with a lot of people,” he said.
But safety remains an issue in having a fun hunt, no matter how large the group. When hunting, Lawhorn lives by two rules: The people he hunts with must know how to use their firearm, and they must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“That’s just ridiculous to have a gun after you’ve been drinking or something,” he said. “It’s hard enough to deal with a gun if you’re sober.”
And choosing a firearm is an imposing dilemma in itself. Depending on what is hunted, several types of weapons are available. Generally, shotguns are used to shoot flying species like ducks and dove, rifles are used for shooting something that remains still or is far away, and a bow and arrow is used larger targets at close range.
“With equipment, it’s pretty much just personal preference,” Lawhorn said. “When I hunt, I use a good gun, but it’s not super expensive. I know it’s going to get beat up a little bit so I don’t use the top of the line.”

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