TYLER (KYTX) - In just a matter of hours hunters will fan out across East Texas to take part in the annual pilgrimage known as deer hunting. Bow season started earlier this fall, and now rifle hunters will join the mix. CBS 19's Amanda Roberson met with hunters about the big weekend and explains this isn't just a man's sport.
Meet Marlo Bitter: a wife, mother, and reigning women's champion in the Tyler Paper's Big Buck Contest.
"We've spent every Thanksgiving at our ranch for the last at least 10 years, probably 15 years," Bitter said. "I would rather be in the deer stand the morning after Thanksgiving than beating down the doors of Target trying to get that sale."
And that includes the whole family Bitter explained, even her two daughters eight and four years old. "We're teaching our children the same safety that we were taught as kids: to always treat a gun like it's loaded, you never point it in a direction you don't want to shoot, hurt something."
"It's probably our busiest day of the year." No matter the age, Smith County Game Warden Chris Swift said every hunter needs to be up to date on their license and keep safety the top priority.CS "If you don't know what you're shooting at don't shoot it."
And while the camouflage is expected to get plenty of use this season, one challenge facing deer hunters is feeding those deer. The price for corn has gone up nation wide, and that includes deer corn. It's gone up about fifty cents and stores aren't running specials this year to stock up, and that's adding up for hunters.
"It makes us not buy as much at one time because it hurts a little more in the checkbook," Bitter added.
But Swift said come Saturday morning, deer won't be looking for much corn anyway. "There's so many acorns that they're really not coming to the feeders well right now. So the animals are healthy they're just going to be a little trickier this year."
But the season is young, and Bitter's family is ready.
Women licensed to hunt this season is up five-percent nation wide compared to last year. Women of spouses who hunt often become "hunter's widows" this time of year, planning their own girls getaways and shopping sprees while the men spend the weekends on hunting leases.
Hunters can be out hunting 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Game wardens also want to remind adults alcohol and guns don't mix. If you've been drinking, don't pick up that rifle.