Dry Weather Tempers Expectations for General White-Tailed Deer Season

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AUSTIN— With dry weather persisting throughout much of the state, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists expect hunters to see deer consistently frequenting feeders during the start of the general white-tailed deer season.

“A number of hunters and landowners report seeing lots of deer, especially younger deer,” said Alan Cain, White-Tailed Deer Program Leader for TPWD. “Part of that is a result of good fawn crops the last couple of years so there’s more bucks in those younger age classes relative to bucks in that four- to six-year-old range.  As we move into November and closer to the rut, those older bucks should increase movement activities in search of does, hopefully presenting an opportunity for a lucky hunter.”

Harvest has been light to this point, Cain noted, but that’s not unexpected with the warm weather we’ve had in the first two weeks of October.

Additionally, drought impacts on deer habitats have impacted antler quality heading into October’s archery season.

“Overall antler quality is down a bit, but there’s still some great bucks being harvested during archery and Managed Lands Deer Program season,” said Cain.

For the four counties that remain dedicated to archery-only hunting (Dallas, Grayson, Rockwall and Collin), hunters are now required to report all white-tailed deer harvests within 24 hours through the My Harvest Hunt App.  Accurate reporting allows agency wildlife biologists to properly study hunting impacts on local herds and develop more hunting opportunities.

The general white-tailed deer season runs Nov. 5 through Jan. 1, 2023 in the North Zone and Jan. 15, 2023 in the South Zone. A special youth-only gun deer season is set in both zones for Oct. 29-30 and Jan. 2-15, 2023. For additional late season deer hunting opportunities, county specific regulations and information on how to properly tag and report a harvest, consult the 2022-23 Outdoor Annual.

Archery hunters are required to purchase an Archery Endorsement in addition to their hunting license. Hunters taking advantage of Texas public hunting lands must have the Annual Public Hunting Permit. Public land hunters should also consult the Public Hunting Lands Map Booklet to review regulations that may apply to specific areas. The My Texas Hunt Harvest app can be used to complete on-site registration electronically at a public hunting area

Beginning with the 2022-23 license year, Texas residents can purchase a digital Super Combo license (Items 111, 117 and 990) that will authorize digital tagging of harvested deer, turkey and oversized red drum. The digital license option is available through online purchase only. More information about the digital tag can be found on the TPWD website.

CWD Testing

TPWD reminds hunters that agency wildlife biologists and animal health officials are collecting and testing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) samples from hunter-harvested deer to get a clearer picture of the prevalence and distribution of the disease across Texas. Proactive monitoring improves the state’s response time to CWD detection and can greatly reduce the risk of the disease further spreading to neighboring captive and free-ranging populations.

Hunters in surveillance and containment zones must meet submission requirements of harvested CWD susceptible species. Additionally, hunters outside of established surveillance and containment zones are encouraged to voluntarily submit their harvest for testing at a check station, for free, before heading home from the field. Hunters can find a map of TPWD check stations  for all CWD zones on the TPWD website. Hunters can also contact their local biologist to submit a sample.

For more information about CWD, visit the TPWD web site or the TAHC web site.