Teaching, tradition of hunting pay dividends

Lessons learned, land managed, business benefiteed: hunting important in many ways

By Ken Esten Cooke— Old-timers will remember when sacks were placed over parking meters in downtown Fredericksburg to welcome hunters during opening weekend. These were the days before visitors packed the streets every weekend to shop or attend the festival-of-the-week.

Today, hunters descend on Gillespie County for action on leased land or perhaps a family ranch. Yet in their days here, they do as much as any visitor to a winery to help our local economy.

Here at the paper, we usually receive a few scoffs for running deer photos, though that comes with the territory. But let there be no doubt, we think celebrating the milestone of a first buck on a family outing is worth noting.

Hunting is a clean activity dating back thousands of years. It has fed and connected Central Texas families and friends for generations. And any outdoor, family activity that gets kids away from their iPods, while managing the local landscape, gets a nod from most people.

Hunting teaches the responsible use of firearms. Kids who grow up hunting know and respect the potential danger of a gun, and they learn to use it properly. They generally carry that learned responsibility into other parts of their lives and become good citizens.

Local hunters also donate to Hunters for the Hungry, and local processors do their work at reduced prices to help feed fresh meat to the needy throughout Central Texas.

Hunting spurs our economy, too. Though there is no way to quantify it in total locally, it is not hard to notice that supplies in grocery stores get strained on opening weekend. Hunters also stop for gas, eat in restaurants and patronize local stores. 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation states that Texas leads all states in total hunters (and anglers), in money spent ($6.6 billion), jobs supported (106,000) and tax revenue generated ($1.3 billion).

For the rest of this story, read this week’s print and online editions of the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. If you are a print subscriber, your full online subscription is free. All you need to do is call 830-997-2155 to get a password. If you are not a subscriber, call 997-2155 or click on the ‘Subscribe’ button on the left side of the home page and sign up today!


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