TPWD Proposing Changes to Deer Hunting Regulations for 2016-17

Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701,

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AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is considering expanding white-tailed deer hunting into 14 counties across the western Panhandle, and creating additional deer hunting opportunities in East Texas. The recommendations are among a slate of proposed deer hunting regulation changes for 2016-17.

TPWD will be taking public comment on the following proposed changes to the 2016-17 Statewide Hunting Proclamation, with input to be considered prior to any action by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its March 24 public hearing:

  • Due to a lack of demand, the department is seeking to eliminate the Antlerless and Spike-buck Control Permit;
  • TPWD staff are also proposing to create a definition of “unbranched antlered deer” for the purpose of identifying a legal buck across seasons and to alleviate confusion among hunters;
  • Staff also seek to replace the “Special Late Antlerless and Spike-buck Season” with a “Special Late Season” to accommodate the inclusion of “unbranched antlered deer” in the bag limit;
  • The department proposes to allow the take of antlerless deer without a permit on U.S. Forest Service Lands during youth-only seasons;
  • Staff also are proposing to implement a full white-tailed deer season (and archery-only open season) in 14 Panhandle counties;
  • In addition, the department is looking to implement additional “doe days” in 23 counties; and
  • Implement a muzzleloader-only open season in 32 additional counties.

Additional details on these proposals will be published in the Texas Register and available for review later this month in narrated presentations to be archived on TPWD’s website.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Robert Macdonald (512) 389-4775; e-mail: , Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744.

Comments may also be submitted through the department’s Internet web site once the proposals have been published in the Texas Register, and at the following public meetings.

Public hearings on these proposed changes are scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, in Ennis at the Ellis County Sub Courthouse, 207 Sonoma Trail; Monday, March 7 in Tahoka at the City Hall Meeting Room, 1807 Main St.; Tuesday, March 8 in Groesbeck at the Groesbeck Convention Center, 106 E. Navasota Street; and Wednesday, March 9 in Cameron at Bea’s Kitchen, 101 E. Main St. All meetings are set for 7 p.m.

A live online public hearing via webinar will also be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 3. Details and instructions for participation in the online public hearing webinar will be made available on the TPWD website.