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Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

If you’ve ever heard Will Florence talk about his lifelong love of fishing and hunting, you’d probably imagine his childhood being much like that of the adventurous Swiss Family Robinson. But according to Will, “I don’t come from a family of outdoors people, at least in my immediate family, but my grandfather, uncle, cousins, and friends all hunt and fish. Luckily, they took me under their wings, so I grew up hunting and fishing, too.”

Born and raised in Houston, Will grew up in Texas’ largest city and popular gateway to the sport fishing paradise of the Texas Gulf Coast. After briefly leaving Texas to attend the University of Alabama and earn his bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship, Will returned home to work in the oil and gas industry as a landman before moving into real estate, where he has spent the past 11 years. “I have been working as a land broker, buying and selling land for investors and developers. I run a team with three other brokers, and we mainly cover the Houston and Austin markets, but we are moving into Louisiana as well.”

Will first connected with Stewards of the Wild while attending a Texas Wildlife Association event in San Antonio in 2019. “I started talking to some volunteers who were part of Stewards’ San Antonio and Houston chapters. Though I had heard of the program before, this was the first time I had met anybody who was a part of it, and I was really intrigued. The mission of introducing first-timers to the outdoors and giving them the tips and tools to hunt and fish is something I really connect with. I learned to hunt and fish by having my friends teach me, and I want to continue passing that knowledge along.”

After joining Stewards or the Wild’s Houston Chapter several years ago, he spared no time getting involved by joining their Advisory Council (AC), and he recently became Co-Chair this past January. “We just held our 2024 Houston Chapter kickoff party at the Turtlebox headquarters earlier this month, and it was so encouraging to see everyone come out to support us. We had amazing sponsors and partners that came out ‘no holds barred’ and brought their ‘A’ game. It was really encouraging for the AC to experience because everyone on our AC is so passionate and energetic about Stewards of the Wild. They pour their heart and soul into Stewards, and we’re seeing the results of our efforts.”

Given that the Houston Chapter is uniquely situated along the coast, its location has afforded the chapter the opportunity to curate some extremely popular annual events. “Houston’s a Gulf city, and we’re water-based, so we host a lot of saltwater fishing events. Each chapter has its own flagship event, and for us, it’s our Matagorda Fishing Tournament. And since we’re such a coastal city, we do a lot of duck hunting here, too. I think our types of events are really what distinguishes us from other Stewards chapters. Whereas other chapters may be better positioned to offer upland hunting events, we’re fortunate that we get to expose our members to a lot of opportunities to fish and duck hunt.”

As for Will’s hopes for the Houston Chapter, “I would love to be able to host bigger events and subsidize more hunts so that more of our members can experience them. I also want to get the message out about who we are and what we’re doing, not to just groups in Texas, but to groups beyond Texas who also believe in and support our mission.”