GATESVILLE — Deer hunting season is about to start in Texas, and Game Warden Colt Gaulden is right where he wants to be.
“I put in for (assignment to) Gatesville because I wanted to be where hunting is a big deal,” Gaulden said.
Gaulden has spent five years as a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden — three years in Webb County and two years in Grayson County — and was eager to get back to Central Texas to be near family.
Gaulden and his wife graduated from high school in West, where they still have relatives.
Although none of their family members were injured in the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion there, he said several had property damage and all were shaken by the devastation to the small, tight-knit community.
With his hometown on the mend, Gaulden has turned his thoughts to his work.
Bow season closes Friday, and rifle season for white-tail deer starts Saturday and runs through Jan. 5. Gaulden expects a lot of hunter traffic this year.
“It’s about to get really busy,” he said. “I am expecting a really good season.”
Although this is his first season in Coryell County, he is getting encouraging reports from area hunters.
“From what I gather, the fawn crop looks really good,” he said. “People have seen a lot of deer, a lot of good deer.”
When there is a lot of deer, there is bound to be a lot of deer hunters.
“I am expecting a lot of hunters, both locals and out-of-towners,” he said. “Everybody is used to the hunter traffic. It has already started.”
Although game wardens are assigned to specific counties, as Texas peace officers, they can go wherever they are needed to help enforce the law.
Gaulden’s advice to hunters is simple: Know the law and follow it.
“Be sure you have your license. Tag your deer. Fill out the harvest log. Make sure you have permission to be on the land,” he said.
Gaulden said he hopes anyone with a question or a problem related to hunting will contact him to help resolve it.
“I stress open communications,” he said. “If there is a question, call me.”
Gaulden can be reached at 254-216-3568 or firstname.lastname@example.org.