Page 2 › 2020 Hunters’ Guide You couldn’t have picked a better place to come bag that big buck, take down that turkey or root out that feral hog. Burnet, Llano, Lampasas and Mason counties can boast some of the best hunting in the state. There are an estimated 4 million deer in the state of Texas, up from prior years due to the signi cant rainfall, with an average of about 40 deer per 1,000 acres. Certainly most of the deer population is in the Hill Country, which boasts an estimated 2.2 million deer, or about 118 deer per 1,000 acres, or 76 per square mile. According to a survey by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, an estimated 79.35 percent of hunters were successful in harvesting white-tail deer in the Edwards Plateau region, which includes the four above-mentioned counties, in 2017-2018 — one of the best success rates of anywhere in Texas. An estimated 214,247 hunters spent an estimated 2,249,581 days hunting in the Edwards Plateau and harvested an estimated 301,498 of the 959,389 deer harvested last year, more than anywhere else in Texas. We are glad to have you here. You may be aware that Texans spend an average of about $1.5 billion annually on deer hunting with a total impact of about $2.2 billion when throwing in deer breeding and tourism, according to a study by Texas A&M University. Hunting certainly provides a boost to the local economy, whether it is in the form of leases which generate income; shops and restaurants which equip and feed hungry hunters who pass through our community; or even our hotels for those who choose more modern accommodations than those found on the lease. Then there are our local gun shops, meat processors, taxidermists and hunting guides who bene t directly from the hunters who come here and shop local when it comes to everything they need from preparation to harvest. Hunting is a way of life for a lot of folks here in this part of Texas we like to call God’s country. It is a tradition passed down from generation to generation and many a person around here can tell you about that rst hunting trip they ever took and what it was like to be accepted as an equal among their elders. And what better camaraderie can be found than among friends sitting around a camp re, eating and drinking and telling tales of the prey that got away before turning in for an early morning start. Hunting is not only about family; it is also about conservation. It is about respecting the environment, especially wildlife habitats, and it is about respecting the less fortunate, through programs like Hunters for the Hungry, which feeds area families in need with harvested meat. It is also about getting away from computers and video games and work emails and Facebook and getting back in touch with the naturalist that is there inside of us. On behalf of the sta here at Highland Lakes Newspapers, which include The Highlander and the Burnet Bulletin, I want to thank each and every one of you for choosing our community and wish each one of you a safe, successful and happy hunting season. And remember, come see us with the photos of your trophy animals, and we’ll be happy to print them in our newspapers! Lew K. Cohn Managing Editor Welcome to the Hill Country, hunters On the Cover: Photo contributed by Texas Parks & Wildlife