Hunting Down a Thanksgiving Turkey in West Texas


Lubbock area Game Wardens said it’s no secret that hunting is very popular in West Texas on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving this year falls in the middle of Texas mule deer season as well. One Lubbock family set out to hunt for their own Thanksgiving turkey this year and they invited along for the hunt.

Nathan Dahlstrom and his family members drove Thursday before sunrise to a plot of land their family owns outside of Post. For Dahlstrom’s family, hunting on Thanksgiving is a tradition, as is bringing wild game to the Thanksgiving dinner table. Dahlstrom learned to hunt from his father, who learned from his grandfather. Now he is teaching his children the same skills.

“I remember about four years ago we had quail, we had deer, we had turkey, those were all things we’ve harvested,” Dahlstrom said.  “People have the idea that food is made in some machine in the back of Walmart, but just because you don’t hunt doesn’t mean an animal wasn’t killed for what’s happening for Thanksgiving. So if we can do [the hunting] ourselves we’ve always loved doing it.”

Dahlstrom and his family waited through the chilly morning in an area where they’d seen Turkeys on other days this week. But after three hours, not a single turkey could be found.

“You have to have a lot of patience and you have to have a lot of  clothes because it’s cold,” explained 13-year-old Zack Rogers, Dahlstrom’s nephew.

Though the family didn’t get to bring home a turkey for dinner, they considered the beautiful morning together a perfect way to start off a day of thanks.

“I’m still gonna eat a Walmart turkey today, but it’s exciting when you can put yourself against nature and maybe harvest something on your own,” Dahlstrom said.

But there will be some wild game on their Thanksgiving menu, Dahlstrom said he was going to cook up a rabbit he caught this week to add to the meal. Rogers shot a buck on Wednesday and his family is waiting for that meat to be turned into sausage and steaks.

Rogers said he’s proud to be part of his family’s legacy of learning about the land and the creatures who live on it.

“It’s good to learn from my dad and when I get older I want to do the same with my kids,” he said.

“There’s a tradition in Texas  of people that love the land, we don’t say we own the land, we are stewards of the land for a short time. Before we were here there was a pioneer family, and before that it was the Comanche [Indians], before the Comanches, the Woodland people were here, before that it was just the buffalo,” explained Dahlstrom.

He said one of the things he is most thankful for is that he has the opportunity to pass on an appreciation for the land to other generations.

“It’s our job to take care of it, to only shoot so many deer, so many turkeys, to take care of the trees and grass so the next person I hand it off to hopefully gets an even better piece of land,” Dahlstrom said. 

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