Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans-Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Monday, January 19, 1998
By Mac McKinnon
Deer hunting season should be shortened
Deer hunting along with hunting for other types of prey is
big business in Texas. The Trans-Pecos and Big Bend regions
are prime areas for hunting due to the size of deer in this
area, the mule deer along with other types of game.
There are those who say that hunting of deer in this region
needs to be stopped for a few years as the population is
dwindling. This is said to be due not only to hunting but
the growing number of mountain lions, coyotes and other
I don't know the deer count for this region, but a recent
report in U.S. News & World Report notes that the number of
deer in the United States has grown from about one million
at the turn of the century to about 18 million now.
It is said that the reason the white tail deer in the Texas
Hill Country are so small is that there is so many of them,
there is not enough food.
Ranchers have also complained that the number of deer is
encroaching on pasture land needed for livestock. As I've
noted here before, the area where I grew up in Central Texas
(Comanche and Erath Counties) did not have any deer in the
1950s and 1960s. Now they are plentiful in that area and
hunting is a big deal.
The magazine reports that more than 11 million Americans
hunt big game with deer being the most popular atttraction
with the average deer hunter tracking deer about 12 days a
year. The average big-game hunter spends $860 a year on
trips and equipment, according to U.S. News.
It is such a big deal in some states that schools let out
certain days as they know few if any of the boys will be in
The magazine also reports that 500,000 cars a year in the
United States are in accidents involving deer, causing more
than 100 deaths and an average of $2,000 in damage to cars
that hit deer. The number of collisions has increased 62 percent in the past five years.
It is pretty obvious that the number of deer hit by cars is
on the increase as you can see the evidence along roads
throughout the state.
One very interesting part of the magazine report is that in
Illinois, about 60 percent of the 17,000 annual road-kill
deer are eaten by people.
The North American Deer Farmers Association reports that
since 1992, venison consumption has been increasing about 30
percent a year. Venison is said to be a low-fat type of meat
which will probably cause its popularity to grow even more
in the future. High dollar restaurants across the country
feature venison on the menus.
I'm not sure about the need to put a stop to hunting in this
region, but if the population is dwindling, it would seem
that the season could be at least a bit shorter.
Many people from this area go to New Mexico to hunt mule
deer but the license to do so in New Mexico has gotten very
expensive and the hunting time is very limited. That may be
why the deer population in New Mexico is on the increase.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac McKinnon is the Editor and Publisher of
the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears each Friday. He
can be e-mailed at: email@example.com
The West Texas Cannon War
By TUBLEWEED SMITH
Colorado City has its cannon back. Sweetwater has a new
cannon. Everybody's happy.
The story starts more than fifty years ago. At the end of
World War Two, Colorado City acquired a cannon to put on
display so people could see it and feel patriotic about our
country. The cannon became a landmark and a symbol of
liberty. It was first in Colorado City's National Guard
Armory, then moved to the front of the American Legion Hall.
When the American Legion Post disbanded in the seventies,
the building and all surrounding property, including the
cannon, were deeded to the Boys Club. The cannon stayed
there for years and eventually people in Colorado City
didn't really pay much attention to it. The cannon began to
show some age.
Last year members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in
Sweetwater decided they wanted a cannon to display in front
of their building. They looked into what was involved and
determined it would be expensive to get a cannon and have it
delivered to Sweetwater.
Then they learned about the cannon in Colorado City, which
was virtually abandoned. They got the paperwork started to
acquire the cannon, claiming it was neglected and improperly
displayed. They got permission from the Army to remove the
cannon from Colorado City and place it in front of their
When Colorado City residents learned about what was
happening, they suddenly felt a strong attachment to their
old cannon. They protested. They secured the cannon with a
big heavy chain.
But they couldn't stop the Sweetwater folks from coming over
and getting the cannon.
The story began to get nationwide coverage. There were jokes
about the situation on the internet.
After the cannon was taken from Colorado City, the editor of
the local newspaper, Eunice Fisher, let the Army know that
the incident had caused some hard feelings. That's when Ed
Wolverton stepped in. He's a Big Spring native who is now
head of the Army Re-Use Department. He managed to find a
cannon at Fort Hood and had it deeded to the Sweetwater VFW.
It is now on display there.
A group of Colorado City residents went to Sweetwater and
got their cannon back. It is displayed in front of the Heart
of West Texas Museum.
Colorado City Mayor Jim Baum says to get the cannon back,
there were forms to fill out and the city had to agree to
properly display the cannon. A concrete pad had to built, a
flagpole had to be erected and the cannon has to be properly
maintained. Mayor Baum agreed to the conditions and signed
the papers. The city is now the official owner of the cannon.
Birdie Childs, head of the VFW in Colorado City, said at the
dedication ceremony for the cannon: "Our VFW's are still
comrades in arms, have always been and will continue that
way. We just happen to live in a country where you can
disagree on something. But with cooperation, the right thing
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise