Dove Hunter

Dove hunters, decked out in camo, pursue mourning and white-winged doves in a Fort Hood training area.

As summer winds down, back-to-school planning is in full swing, and the much-anticipated football seasons begin. However, there is another season about to begin – hunting season.

Each fall, public lands across the U.S. provide hunting opportunities for many people. In terms of land area and human population centers, the largest and most popular public hunting area nearby is Fort Hood. Fort Hood’s hunting program is managed by the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation’s Sportsmen’s Center.

“Deer hunting is so popular. We accommodate every type. We designate training areas for both guided and unguided, archery and firearm hunters” said Danny Riddlespriger, DFMWR Sportsmen’s Center customer service representative and hunt manager. “We also incorporate the youth-only hunting seasons set by Texas.”

Army training takes precedence over all recreation, and thus can close areas, making hunting and outdoor recreation off-limits.

When training areas are open, hunters may take advantage of the opportunity. If successful, they will collectively abide by the prescribed deer harvest limit set that season by the Directorate of Public Works’ Natural and Cultural Resources Management Branch.

The DPW NCRMB manages deer through thoughtful, science-based, deer census techniques and harvest prescriptions for the Installation. NCRMB sets mandatory limits each year regarding how many deer and what gender (buck or doe) can be harvested at Fort Hood based on results of their census. DFMWR Sportsmen’s Center Hunt Control staff then takes the NCRMB deer harvest prescription limit and uses it to accommodate all public hunters and ensure weapons safety across the Installation.

“In collaboration with hunt control, range operations and game wardens,” Dr. Amber Dankert, supervisor of the Wildlife Management Team at NCRMB said. “NCRMB manages deer holistically, meaning we value every native animal and plant as much as the next.”

“All-inclusive wildlife management means maintaining a healthy deer herd and habitat that helps all species of wildlife. Public hunters are a part of that process, which also maintains training realism and preserves a healthy landscape for military training,” Dankert added.

Hunting license sales begin at the Sportsmen’s Center Aug. 15. Dove hunting season begins Sept. 1 for mourning and white-winged doves. The more popular white-tailed deer season begins with archery hunting Sept. 28. The early youth-only big game season is Oct. 26-27. The fall general deer hunting season that includes firearms begins Nov. 2. Authorized small game and waterfowl hunting opportunities also exist.

For all information regarding hunting and to acquire hunting-related permits, please contact the DFMWR Sportsmen’s Center at 254-532-4552.

For more details about Fort Hood wildlife management, contact NCRMB at 254-287-1088 or 254-423-4779.