John Jefferson writes a weekly outdoors column for the Victoria Advocate.

Avery Walker

Avery Walker and her father, Phillip, only sat in a deer blind for 15 minutes before Avery had filled the two buck tags on her license. Hunting in Comal County, Amy downed both deer with a crossbow.

I saw an exhibit of historic weaponry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a few years ago. It was — to be honest — frightening. Wars were once fought with crude weapons that created severe maintenance problems. Recovery was usually not an option. Even the horses wore armor.

I don’t recall seeing crossbows, but there might have been a few, though overshadowed by battle axes, bludgeons, and other accessories. Be glad crossbows survived and the others were relegated to museums.

Just a few years ago, Texas legalized crossbows as permissible choices during the special archery-only season for deer, turkeys, and javelinas. Except in Grayson, Collin, Dallas, and Rockwall counties. See the TPW Outdoor Annual for other regulations.

That has opened the door for other hunters to use crossbows who might not have hunted with a rifle or compound bow. I think that’s good. One family I know agrees.

Phillip Walker was an active hunting and fishing guide in Central Texas. When he met and married non-hunting-Cathy, both their lives changed. Avery arrived later and Walker became infatuated with fatherhood. I’d call him to ask where the fish were biting, and he’d talk non-stop for 10 minutes about what little Avery had done that week.

I didn’t mean to sound critical; a friend once asked me if I didn’t also have two sons. He wondered why I didn’t talk about them. Little girls can do that to a daddy.

Flash forward to 2020. Avery is now in high school, beautiful, has learned to hunt and fish, and is still her father’s most animated conversation subject. Just ask him how she’s doing on the High School Bass Team tournaments and sit back and listen. And she also hunts.

With a crossbow. And very efficiently. Phillip accompanied her on a crossbow hunt on the second weekend of 2020 deer season in the Hill Country. They had just gotten comfortable in the blind when a nice buck appeared. Phillip had seen two larger ones in the area when scouting it, but this one was there, and in crossbow range. He gave the go ahead, and she released the bolt.

For you rifle hunters, she wasn’t using a bolt-action rifle. Projectiles for crossbows are called “bolts”. And that one struck its target! Elated over her first buck, after a short interval to make sure it was terminally down, she started to dismount the blind. As she did, Phillip spotted the biggest buck he had scouted, and frantically began whispering Avery back into her seat while re-cocking her crossbow.

Then he realized he had left the cocking device at home. It almost cut his fingers to do so, but he managed to re-cock it without mechanical help. She steadied herself, took aim, and filled her second buck tag. The entire hunt took fifteen minutes.

After Thanksgiving, Cathy took her first buck with the same crossbow.

And then, after observing “ladies first”, Phillip hunted, shooting a buck that scored 213 B&C points and had a 25-inch-antler spread.

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John Jefferson, “Woods, Waters and Wildlife” columnist, may be reached at 512-219-1199 or on his website,

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