Hunting Season Kicks Off in East Texas

HHS hunters share reasons behind their love of sport


Jason Wallace

Wallace brings down huge hog

Just in case you haven’t heard already, hunting season has begun. In Harleton,  it is unlikely to find a person who has never hunted before.

Before people can hunt, they must be familiar with the Texas rules and regulations. It is illegal to hunt or trap any wild animal with the aid of bait, but liquid scents may be used. For deer hunting, doe and buck urine is helpful.

Hunters must follow rules regarding shooting from any roads, vehicles, or boats. It is unlawful for any person to hunt if such person is in the possession of a firearm that is unloaded on any street, public road, public highway, levee, or any railroad.  It is also illegal to hunt or kill any game animal, fur-bearing animal or game bird from any motorized vehicle or boat; however, squirrels and game birds may be hunted from a boat if the motor is off.

Legal shooting hours for local game are half an hour before sunrise and after sunset. Legal shooting hours for migratory birds are also half an hour before sunrise to sunset. Raccoon, fox, opossum, beaver, and bobcats may be legally hunted at night, with the exception of turkey season.

The most important rule is having a hunting license. While in high school, most hunters should have a youth hunting license. All hunting licenses are valid from the date of purchase until August 31. If you’re interested in getting your own, the cost of a Youth-Hunting License Type 169 is seven dollars.

There are many hunting seasons in Texas. The most popular in East Texas are duck, dove, deer, squirrel, and hog. When these seasons roll around, the woods become a temporary home for many Harleton residents including Coach Todd Hammack.

“My folks would take me in the deer stand before I could walk,””

— Todd Hammack

Hammack recalls.

He has enjoyed hunting in several areas.  ”It’s always a good time to hunt but early morning is my favorite.” Hammack suggested going between Carthage and Marshall, Texas, but Arkansas is good too.

Since hunting can require many hours of sitting and watching, having a nice set-up is key.  “My number one spot is a 6×8 box stand with a recliner and wifi so I can watch football in the deer stand.”

Hammack has too many memories to list, but will always remember a muzzleloader hunt in Arkansas with a college friend on public land, “Getting lost, shooting a deer, and not knowing where we were or how to get out at midnight.”

Junior Brady King is also an avid hunter.

Elizabeth Ward
King is very serious about duck hunting.

King is most excited for deer and duck hunting this season. While hunting, he uses a gun for hitting his targets. As far back as he can remember, King has been hunting. One particular memory that stands is killing a 10 point when he was 9 years old.

For some people, they enjoy hunting with friends, and King named senior Jaden Blalock, junior Hunter Wallace, and sophomore Beau Simmons as a few of his favorites.

In some places, hunting is considered a sport. King agreed and said, “Not everyone can go out and kill a deer or kill some ducks. You have to know what you’re looking for.”

Taylor Claggett
McPherson twins blend in with their camo

Freshman twins Hunter and Caleb McPherson also shared some of their most memorable hunting stories.

“I have been hunting ever since I could see,” Hunter said.

Both boys have a favorite animal to shoot, “Ducks. We love ducks. Just all of the excitement of killing them. It sounds like World War II going on when we are hunting.”

Their biggest kill so far in one day was 48 ducks. They agreed with King that hunting is a sport, “Yes, of course, it’s considered a sport. You got to practice everything you do. You can’t just go out with a gun and expect something to happen if you don’t even know what you’re doing,” Caleb said.

The McPherson’s said their stand has to be at least 30 feet up in the air. Hunter added, “It’s just sitting there in a tree. We pass the time up there by either drinking a bunch of coffee or falling asleep.”


Blair Cornelius
Hunter Wallace, hunting extraordinaire

One of the biggest hunting enthusiasts in Harleton High School is definitely junior Hunter Wallace. Ever since he was five years old, he’s been soaking up every second of hunting season he can. Wallace was first introduced to the sport by his grandfather.

As he recalled his earliest hunting experiences, Wallace said, “My pawpaw used to trap everything. He hates beavers with a passion, so he took me with him and I fell in love with it.”

Even though Wallace hunts and traps just about anything legal, he favors deer. He says whitetail deer are the biggest trophy animal in this area, so naturally Wallace, with his hunting expertise, would go for these sought-after animals. Among his many kills, Wallace said his biggest kill was a 7-point with 17 ½ inches in width across the antlers.

With his years of experience, Wallace has figured out the peak time to go hunting. He says the rut is the best time to go. “The rut is when the bucks are chasing the females,” Wallace states. 

This method offers more opportunities to see bucks while they’re busy trying to find a mate. As long as Wallace has been hunting, he’s bound to have some interesting stories to tell. He recalled one day he was sitting in his deer stand and two does ran out of the woods with a pack of 7 dogs chasing them from behind. Then a large spike appeared with the same dogs trailing the deer. Finally, a 9-point deer darted out with the dogs in pursuit once again. At that moment, Wallace aimed his gun for the large buck, and it dropped to the ground while running.

Hunting is a popular pastime in the United States, but for these boys, it’s a lifestyle.