Youth hunters around the state spent their weekend hunting deer and wild turkey Oct. 26-27. The special youth-only deer and turkey hunts began statewide in 1996 and have been popular with Texas families ever since.

Fort Hood sponsored youth hunting in all training areas open to recreation, resulting in several successful first harvests.

One purpose of the early youth-only season is to allow a first chance at success in harvesting a deer or turkey before these game become wary of hunters in general, especially on public lands. The general hunting season for all hunters begins on Nov. 2 and runs through Jan. 5, 2020.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is the regulatory agency that establishes hunting seasons in Texas, including those at Fort Hood. TPWD’s private lands and public hunting program director Justin Dreibelbis explained the importance of youth hunting in Texas at an early age.

“We enjoy a strong outdoor heritage here in Texas and our youth are the next generation of Texas hunters,” Dreibelbis said. “It is important that we give them the opportunity to have meaningful outdoor experiences at an early age in order to instill an appreciation for our wild things and wild places.”

There is also a late youth-only deer and turkey season that runs Jan. 6-19, 2020.

If a family is unable to get kids out during the youth-only deer and turkey seasons, they must plan farther ahead because the next available youth-only season is early youth spring turkey season, Mar. 28-29, 2020. Wild pigs are another opportunity for busy families because there is no closed season, and they also provide opportunities for lasting outdoor memories.

Before any youth (9-16) or adult (17 and older) can hunt on Fort Hood, they must first obtain current hunter safety certification, Fort Hood hunting permit, Texas hunting license with proper endorsements, firearms registration and area access registration.

Call the Sportsmen’s Center at 254-532-4552 for more information about these required permits.

“Hunters pay the bills for wildlife conservation in Texas, and throughout the United States, through the purchase of hunting licenses and the excise taxes generated through the sale of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment,” Dreibelbis said. “Recruiting the next generation of hunters is important to the future of wildlife across the country.”