by Kyle Gubernator, Broadway Bank Wealth Management Division
Several years ago, with our boys starting elementary school, my friend, Mike, proudly shared his son’s response to a recent test question. The question asked students to name the four seasons. Chad’s response was dove season, quail season, turkey season and deer season. To this day, I don’t understand how a teacher could mark the answer wrong, and my only criticism is that Chad didn’t include a reference to antelope, javelina, pheasant, geese and duck seasons in the margins.
In Texas, dove season is a month old and most of the other seasons are so close at hand that minds are wandering and work productivity is already declining. While Texas boasts three of the top ten largest cities in the United States, we still have one foot firmly rooted in hunting and outdoor recreation. We do things in a big way in Texas and the statistics prove this out. We have the highest number of white-tailed deer in the nation, between 3.3 and 4 million. We also have the highest deer harvest, around 550,000 annually. In 2012, outdoor enthusiasts purchased 2.58 million hunting, fishing or combined licenses, generating $86.2 million in revenues. The impact on the Texas economy is even greater, estimated between $2 and $4 billion.
The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University reported more than 5,000 rural land transactions in 2012 with landmark prices occurring in 2012 and into 2013. Not surprising, most of these properties were purchased for recreational use, which in Texas is synonymous with hunting. Equally impressive is that hunting lease rates continue to increase with rent eclipsing the $15-per-acre mark becoming increasingly common. So what is it that drives hundreds of thousands of hunters to the woods, brush, fields, plains and marshes each fall? Part of the answer lies in both the abundance and the quality of the quarry that we hunt. However, from my perspective, the real answer is more subtle and deeper rooted.
Hunting bonds us to nature, our family and our friends. It renews us after a long week of work, provides an outlet for our stresses and distractions, and stirs the memories of shared moments. I started hunting with my dad when I was 6 years old. The mornings always started at 4:30 a.m. and I remember the sound of his voice urging me to get up, the smell of the Texas Hill Country at dawn, seeing my breath pasted against a rising sun in the cold fall air, my dad’s steady hand when I was overcome by buck fever, and sleeping with my head on his lap as we drove home in our 1960 GMC truck on Sunday night.
My kids are grown now, but some of our greatest memories are those we made at the deer lease. We have logged hundreds of hours staring trance-like into the mesquite embers of our fires, all the more memorable with the aroma of peach cobbler baked in a Dutch oven. Both of my kids learned to drive by age 10 and barely big enough to reach the clutch in my 39-year-old GMC pickup, “Old Blue.” They too, have the memories of the smell of early morning in the brush country, the sight of their breath hanging in the winter air, the unexpected heart rate when a rutting whitetail buck steps from the brush, and falling asleep exhausted and content at the end of the day.
The great outdoors and hunting have been a consistent gift and teacher during my lifetime. Almost by definition, the conveniences are fewer and the hardships are greater. This is where practical life lessons like changing a flat tire, starting a fire and hard work come in greater quantities for kids. This is a place where you learn respect for life and one another, where friendships grow deeper and memories are made. My dad told me when I was young, “remember, always go for the trip, and anything you bring home is just extra.” His message is just as accurate today as it was then. We are blessed to have some of the nation’s best hunting opportunities, but it is the bond to nature, our heritage, family and friends that stirs us this time of year. The wonderful thing about my own experiences is that they are duplicated countless times by others each season—those with whom I share a common bond and heritage, hunters. As I wonder what this season will have in store for me, I also wonder, “what is your favorite season?”
Lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman
Senior Vice President and Department Head of the Real Estate/Farm & Ranch Group
Broadway Bank Wealth Management Division
Contact Kyle if you would like to share your own outdoor experience or visit with him about how Broadway Bank might help manage your family’s or your farm or ranch property.
About Broadway Bank
Headquartered in San Antonio, Broadway Bank was founded in 1941. It has evolved from a small neighborhood bank into one of the largest independently owned banks in Texas. Today, Broadway Bank continues to function as a family-owned and operated financial institution. Broadway Bank offers a full range of sophisticated financial services, including personal banking, private banking, military banking, business banking and wealth management. With $3 billion in total assets, the highly rated Bank operates 40 locations in San Antonio, Austin and the surrounding areas. Visit the Broadway Bank website at broadwaybank.com for more information.