Assistant editor Emily McCullar hasn’t always been a hunter, but she sure is one now. As a teenager, she asked her dad to take her deer hunting for the first time, and the experience was good enough that, fifteen years and countless trips to the deer blind later, she readily identifies as an enthusiast. It probably came as no surprise to the rest of her family, many of whom were and are hunters—especially her grandmother, who in grammar school was once asked if she could identify the four seasons and told her teacher she sure could: deer season, duck season, dove season, and prairie chicken season. (Grandma better have gotten at least partial credit for that answer!)
For the October issue, on the eve of deer hunting season, McCullar writes about her experiences learning to hunt in the Texas Hill Country. Her essay forms part of a package of stories about modern hunting in Texas, a pastime in some danger of decline. Long ago hunting was a necessity; gradually it has become something more like a sport, and these days, in Texas, it is increasingly a sport for those who own or can buy access to the vast tracts of land that are overwhelmingly in private hands.
In our discussion for this month’s Behind the Lines, Emily shares some stories not in the essay, like how the first buck she ever took to the taxidermist ended up being inadvertently swapped for someone else’s (the process of fact-checking the article led her to discover the mistake). Emily also talks us through a helpful glossary of hunting terms, like “boogering,” “tines,” and whatever in the world “horn porn” is.
Listen to our conversation, exclusively for Texas Monthly subscribers, below.