Julio Silva is not just new to Texas, he’s new to hunting and fishing and all the wild things and wild places Texas is so famous for. Though he may be in unfamiliar territory, the Dallas Chapter Stewards of the Wild member is embracing the unknown, one wild Texas tradition at a time.
Born in Mexico, Julio and his family moved to San Francisco’s Bay Area when he was little, and it’s where he has lived most of his life. It’s also where he met his future wife, Andrea (also a SOTW member). Shortly after they met, Andrea moved to San Diego for college, but the two dated long distance throughout their undergraduate studies, and while Andrea attended law school and Julio established his career. Julio later joined Andrea in San Diego for several years, but when it came time to buy a house and set down roots, they found the costs—and the long commutes—to be a deal breaker.
“Typically in California, people are commuting up to two hours each way, every day. We weren’t ready to do that, so we decided to look for another place where our money could go a little farther.” Not fans of the cold, they narrowed their search to Texas, Tennessee, Florida and the Carolinas, all states with big cities and plenty of work opportunities. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we just fly to Texas, check out the biggest cities…if we don’t like it, we can move on to another state. Luckily, we fell in love with Texas right away.”
After moving to Dallas, Julio and his wife wanted to find new friends as well as hobbies, especially local traditions, including hunting. As someone who had never hunted or held a gun before, this was unchartered waters for Julio.
“When we moved here, we didn’t know anybody. We had no family or friends here, so we met people at church, and we would go to networking events. At one of those events, a friend mentioned a happy hour at the Beretta Gallery.” The event just so happened to be hosted by the Dallas Chapter of SOTW. Julio and his wife signed up as members that same night, and Julio wasted no time embracing his wild side.
Since joining the Dallas Chapter, Julio has been a regular at their events, and he is now officially a bonafide hunter with multiple hunts under his belt. Through the SOTW’s mentored hunt program, Julio attended his first hunt in November 2022, a deer hunt at King Ranch, followed quickly by a duck hunt at Bucksnag in January 2023. His only regret? “No longer qualifying as a first-time deer or duck hunter so I can do them again!”
”We went to King Ranch [to hunt deer], so that’s already an experience in itself! Then we learned how to use the rifle, and hunt and harvest our deer, including breakdown. The organizer of the hunt brought a lot of deer recipes, and all the meals were game-based. Once we finished the hunt, I brought my venison back to Dallas, and I still have venison in my freezer.“
Julio and Andrea weren’t the only ones who benefited from Julio’s harvest. He decided to give half of the venison to Andrea’s parents, who recently moved to Athens, Texas. ”After the hunt, I went straight [to Athens] and had the deer processed there. They took their half, we took ours, and they have really enjoyed it.”
When asked what advice he had for someone on the fence about joining SOTW, Julio said, “Definitely do it. Look up your local chapter and try to go to as many events as possible throughout the first year. That way you can experience all of the different kinds of events held throughout each season, from hunts to conservation efforts to social events, and see what activities align with your interests. Then you’ll have a better idea of which experiences and events are just right for you.”
Sage advice from someone who has taken that approach firsthand. And though Julio can no longer qualify for mentored hunts as a first-time deer or duck hunter, we have our own sage advice to share: There’s always fishing!