In the endless news of COVID-19 cancellations that American outdoors enthusiasts have endured in 2020, add another one to the list as summer starts to turn the corner towards fall and its various hunting seasons.
That’s because the Texas Trophy Hunters Association announced in recent days the cancellation of its late summer shows for the first time ever.
Drawing more than 55,000 at each venue, the shows typically take place in Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth. As anyone who has been to the unofficial Lone Star State hunting season kickoff party will likely attest to, the mood is festive and energetic as thousands anticipate the chase for doves, ducks, quail, deer, and more.
Unfortunately, that won’t happen this year.
"For 44 consecutive years we have taken pride in helping Texas hunters prepare for the upcoming hunting season by providing access to the newest and best hunting and outdoors products on the market," said TTHA president and CEO Dave Keith in a news release that was posted to the group's website (www.ttha.org).
"However, ongoing communication with the host venues revealed that the scheduled 2020 shows would not be feasible under the current conditions."
With the current year’s shows now canceled next month, Keith said that he and the folks at TTHA are already looking ahead to the 2021 Hunters Extravaganza shows across Texas.
Those 2021 shows are the Aug. 6-8 event in Houston at the NRG Center, the Aug. 13-15 event in Fort Worth at the Fort Worth Convention Center, and the Aug. 20-22 event in San Antonio at the Freeman Coliseum Expo Hall.
In the meantime, Keith asked those Texans who are not members of TTHA to consider joining his organization in the wake of the show cancellations. And he appealed to hunters across the Lone Star State to do what they can to support the numerous small businesses in Texas that support the hunting industry.
And when Sept. 1 arrives along with all of the hunting action that will follow, Keith had one more course of action to suggest.
What’s that? Simple — buy a license and go hunting.
Whitesboro Ducks Unlimited Dinner
It’s under two months and counting until the first planned Ducks Unlimited fall fundraising dinner for the local Texoma area.
That DU dinner — assuming that COVID-19 restrictions allow for it to take place — is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19 in Whitesboro. According to chairman Doug Rodgers, the dinner will take place at a new venue, Ranch 82.
For information on the fall season’s first DU fundraiser, contact Rodgers at 903-814-5826. And certainly, stay tuned as the coronavirus pandemic continues to scramble things and create almost weekly news updates.
Texas State Park updates
According to the TPWD website (www.tpwd.texas.gov), you can now make state park reservations for overnight visits up to 3 months in advance.
TPWD notes that making reservations online is the quickest and easiest way to reserve your spot in a state park. Reservations can also be made by calling 512-389-8900 but do expect longer-than-normal wait times according to the agency.
For day visits to Texas state parks, day pass reservations are still highly recommended for everyone, including State Parks Pass holders. Such reservations are available to purchase up to 30 days in advance of your visit according to TPWD.
Per the recent executive order from Governor Greg Abbott about face masks, the agency reminds that facial coverings are required while inside any Texas State Park building open to the public or outside where 6 feet of social distance cannot be maintained.
Other temporary COVID-19 guidelines in place include maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from anyone not in your group and limitations on groups larger than 10 people, except for families or people living in the same household.
Hagerman NWR Application Period Now Open – As noted the last couple of weeks, it’s time for interested bowhunters to apply for one of the 2020 archery deer hunt permits that will be awarded for hunts this fall at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.
New this year is a shift in the application period deadline to Sept. 1st. Also new is the fact that the drawing process is now being administered through the Drawn Hunts program operated each year by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
To apply for this fall’s Hagerman NWR deer hunts, visit the TPWD Drawn Hunts web page at https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public/public_hunt_drawing. For additional information, call 1-800-792-1112.