Experimental Season for Buck Pronghorn
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is continuing an experimental pronghorn buck season in some areas of the Panhandle, which allow landowners to control the harvest of buck pronghorn on their properties. The experimental season will continue to be tested and wildlife officials will closely monitor pronghorn herds during the pilot project to ensure populations remain healthy. However, if a definite negative biological impact is detected during the trial, the experimental season will be removed.
Under the current statewide regulations, TPWD determines the harvest quota and issues permits directly to landowners for surplus pronghorn. With the experimental season, landowners or their agents within the selected special experimental buck season areas (see inset map) in the northwest and northeast Panhandle would determine the harvest quota and control buck pronghorn harvest on their property during the pilot project. To comply with tagging requirements hunters will be required to obtain a free experimental buck permit at numerous locations across the state starting August 15. Hunters will also be required to present their harvest at a mandatory check station within 24 hours of harvest.
The goal of the project is to simplify pronghorn hunting regulations and increase hunting opportunity in areas with stable populations. After completion of the experiment, the Department will assess all data to determine whether a permanent regulation change to a landowner controlled harvest for bucks is suitable as well as expanding the concept into other areas of the northern Panhandle.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I obtain a free permit for the experimental buck season?
Free experimental buck permits will be available starting August 15. Hunters can pick up permits at any of these locations:
- Gebo's in Dalhart (615 Pine Street, Dalhart, TX 79022; Phone: 806-249-8515)
- Gebo's in Pampa (1051 North Price Road, Pampa, TX 79065; Phone: 806-669-1097)
- Gebo's in South Amarillo (4550 Canyon Drive, Amarillo South, TX 79109; Phone: 806-356-8011) Gebo's store hours are Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Big R Farm and Ranch Supply in Dumas (1400 Guylane Plaza, Dumas, TX 79029; Phone: 806- 935-7700) Big R's store hours are Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- TPWD LE office in Amarillo (203 W. Eighth, Suite 200, Amarillo, TX 79101; Phone: 806-379-8900)
- TPWD Wildlife office in Canyon (301 23rd Street, Canyon, TX 79015; Phone: 806-651-3014)
- TPWD LE and Wildlife office in Lubbock (1702 Landmark Lane, Suite 1, Lubbock, TX 79415; Phone: 806-761-4930)
- TPWD LE office in San Antonio (2391 NE Loop 410, Suite 409, San Antonio, TX 78217; Phone: 210-348-7375)
- TPWD LE office in North Houston (350 North Sam Houston Parkway East, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77060; Phone: 281-931-6471)
- TPWD HQ in Austin (4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744; Phone: 512-389-4800)
- TPWD LE office Ft. Worth Area (5400 Airport Freeway, Suite E, Haltom City, TX 76117; Phone: 817-831-3128)
- TPWD LE office in El Paso (401 East Franklin, Suite 520, El Paso, TX 79901; Phone: 915-834-7050) TPWD Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where are the required check stations?
- In Dalhart, at the park off of Lake Drive. Check station is located in Rita Blanca Lake RV Park. Coordinates of Dalhart check station (36.0386489, -102.5053147). Please call (806) 420-0439 to contact the Dalhart check station for any questions about sampling your harvested pronghorn.
- In Pampa, at Chisum Ranch office (on Price Road, south of HWY 152). Coordinates of Pampa check station (35.531080, -100.989493). Please call (806) 663-6148 to contact the Pampa check station for any questions about sampling your harvested pronghorn.
Check stations will be open through the 9-day season (September 28 to October 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) and the following Monday (October 7) 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Check stations can be viewed in the map above.
A check station receipt will be given to each hunter to provide documentation that they have complied with the mandatory check station regulation.
What are the limitations and requirements of the free experimental permit?
No person may use more than one permit per license year because of bag limit restrictions. A person may pick up multiple permits; however, only one permit per licensed hunter shall be issued for the current hunting season. If someone has received permission to obtain a permit for another individual, they must provide the absent person's hunting or driver's license number and contact information to the permit distributor. The experimental permit is only valid in special experimental buck season areas (see ). Hunters must attach the permit to the pronghorn immediately upon harvest. Permit must be signed by landowner or authorized agent of the property prior to hunting. Hunters who have permission to hunt on various properties can have multiple landowner or agent signatures on the permit. TPWD strongly recommends that landowner designations of authorized agents be in writing.
How will TPWD monitor the experimental buck season?
To effectively evaluate the potential impacts of the experimental buck season, TPWD will closely monitor the following population characteristics for the experimental areas as well as other herd units:
- Pronghorn numbers
- Sex ratios
- Age structure of the buck segment of the herd
Biologists will monitor pronghorn numbers and sex ratios through annual aerial population surveys conducted each summer. The number of bucks harvested and age structure of the buck segment of the herd will be estimated within the experimental areas through mandatory check stations. That is all hunters who harvest a pronghorn buck within the experimental buck season areas (see ) will be required by law to bring at least the intact unfrozen head of the harvested buck within 24 hours of harvest to a check station so wildlife staff can collect essential biological information from the harvested animal. These data will be analyzed annually to make sure populations remain healthy.
A process called cementum annuli forensic aging will be used to estimate ages of harvested pronghorn. The procedure requires the two front teeth (incisors) from the harvested animal's lower jaw. Incisor removal from the lower jaw will not affect your trophy if you plan to have it mounted. Age estimates will be provided to hunters who participate in the check stations free of charge. Age results will be posted on our website by check station receipt number once data is received from the lab in January (following the fall hunting season).
Biologists also encourage all hunters who harvest pronghorn in the Panhandle to bring their harvested animal to a check station. Information from your animal will be used in comparative analysis with the experimental areas and your animal will be aged for free.
How many bucks should I harvest on my property?
Want to know how many bucks to harvest from your property within the experimental areas? See the How many bucks should I harvest? PDF. This is a document created by TPWD biologist to help guide management of pronghorn on your property through sustainable harvest.
Who do I contact for more information?
- For more information regarding pronghorn permits, contact your local TPWD biologist. Don't know your biologist? Find a Biologist in your area.