Thousands Flock to West Texas for Pheasant Hunting - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/13/03

Thousands Flock to West Texas for Pheasant Hunting

This weekend marks one of the busiest weekends for hunting enthusiasts. On Saturday, pheasant season opened and people from across the country come to one of the world's greatest hunting hot spots right here in West Texas.

For avid hunters, Saturday couldn't come soon enough.

"We wait all year for it. We love it," says avid hunter, Mike Fields.

And hunters from all over the country travel to West Texas every year for one reason.

"Pheasant hunting," says avid hunter, Jason Gallardo.

And hunters say it's some of the best in the world. Among the first in the field, hunters Mike Fields and Jason Gallardo. They've been up since 5:00 Saturday morning excited and waiting for that first kill.

"It started out (Saturday morning) at 17 degrees. This is the big time of the year and do everything you've been practicing all season," says Gallardo.

And all that practice finally pays off with a little patience.

"I've got one so far and we've seen several, but there's so much grass out here we really need a couple more hunters with us," says Fields.

With hunting season underway, game wadens are out in full force making sure everyone is in compliance with state regulations.

Game Warden Quentin Terrel checks licenses and makes sure each hunter pursues his prey with safety in mind.

"When you get so many people with guns, accident are bound to happen," says Quentin Terrel, a Texas Game Warden.

And he says they often do, especially this time of year when thousands of hunters visit the same area.

"I've checked people from Louisiana, Midland, Dallas, people from all over come," says Terrel.

But he says all hunters are required to take a safety course which helps them map out how and where they're going to hunt.

"As we're walking through the fields, we always designate who's got what area so you don't cross over," says Fields.

And keeping each other safe comes before reaching their limit of two birds per person. They say the goal here is comradery between friends.

"It's more of an adventure. It's not about the kill, it's about the hunt," says Gallardo.

Pheasant season is open until January 11th. All hunters must have a license and those over the age of 17 must take a 10 hour hunter's safety course in the state of Texas.

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