2019-2020 Mule Deer Seasons & Regulations

Archery Only
Statewide Sept. 28 - Nov. 1, 2019
Brewster, Pecos, Terrell Counties Sept. 28 - Nov. 1, 2019
General Season
Panhandle Nov. 23 - Dec. 8, 2019
Southwestern Panhandle Nov. 23 - Dec. 1, 2019
Trans-Pecos Nov. 29 - Dec. 15, 2019
Brewster, Pecos, Terrell Counties Nov. 29 - Dec. 15, 2019

Mule Deer Bag Limits

Bag limits are established by county. No person may exceed the annual bag limit of two mule deer, no more than one of which may be a buck. The annual bag limit does not apply on MLDP properties.

Find your county to view bag limits and restrictions.


Definition of Buck Deer

A deer with a hardened antler protruding through the skin. Deer with antlers completely covered in velvet (protruding through the skin) are also considered buck deer. A buck deer must be tagged with a buck deer tag or applicable tag or permit. For tagging purposes, all other deer are antlerless deer, regardless of sex.


Special Antler Restriction

An experimental antler restriction for mule deer bucks applies in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Hall, Lynn and Motley counties:

  • a legal buck deer is defined as a buck with an outside antler spread of the main beams of 20 inches or greater.
  • any buck for which the outside spread of the main beams is less than 20 inches is NOT legal to harvest.
  • any buck with at least one unbranched antler (e.g., spike) is NOT legal to harvest, unless the outside spread of the main beams is at least 20 inches in width.

The average ear-tip to ear-tip spread of mule deer bucks standing in the alert position is 21 inches, as shown in the buck illustrations. The outside spread is estimated in a similar manner; however, the measurement is taken by using the outside spread of the main beams, as shown by the black arrows/dotted lines below. TPWD requests hunters to voluntarily present the entire head (intact) of any buck mule deer harvested in the experimental antler-restriction counties to a designated check station to help assess the experimental antler-restriction regulation.

outside spread of 20 inches or greater is legal but smaller outside spreads or at least one unbranched antler are illegal to harvest

For more information on the experimental mule deer antler restriction, including a map of the areas covered, harvest check station locations and incentives to hunters who check their harvest, see Experimental Mule Deer Antler Restriction.


Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

CWD is a fatal disease that has been discovered in white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk in localized portions of Texas. To detect and manage this disease, the department has designated CWD Zones.

Hunters who harvest mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, or other exotic CWD-susceptible species within the CWD Zones are required to bring their animals to a TPWD check station within 48 hours of harvest. Hunters must check each animal harvested and receive a CWD receipt before taking any part of that animal from the CWD Zone, including any meat or quartered parts.

Additional regulations may apply and additional zones may be established without prior notice anywhere in the state upon discovery of CWD. The department will make every effort to publicize the designation and location of CWD Zones and check stations, as well as any special regulations that may be adopted following the publication of this notice. For the latest updates, call (800) 792-1112., or visit the CWD information pages. A hunter who harvests a CWD-susceptible species outside a CWD Zone and wishes to have the animal tested for CWD should contact a wildlife biologist in that area

Please report any symptomatic CWD-susceptible species to your local Texas Game Wardens or a Wildlife Biologist

Find check stations, view CWD zones and learn more about CWD.


Tagging a Deer

A tag from the hunting license of the person who killed the deer must be correctly and legibly completed (including name of property and county) and immediately attached to the animal (exception is properties with issued tags such as MLDP tags). See how to properly tag a deer.

The hunter MUST:

  • use the specific type of deer (for example, buck tags must be used only on buck deer, antlerless tags on antlerless deer, etc.)
  • have the month and date of kill clearly cut out on the tag by notching the respective month and day. Do not “ink out.”
  • immediately complete, date and cut out the appropriate hunting license tag after a deer is harvested but before the deer is field dressed, moved or tagged.
  • after a deer is harvested, but before the deer is field-dressed immediately before moving carcass, complete the log, in ink, on the back of the hunting license. Asterisks in the log indicate bucks with an inside main beam spread of at least 13 inches.

Completion of the log is not required for mule deer, or for white-tailed deer or mule deer lawfully taken under a MLDP tag, TPWD Special Drawn Public Hunt permit, or on a Big Time Texas Hunt.

Where to Attach Tag to Deer

The tag may be attached anywhere on a deer so that it is not damaged, defaced, or lost in transporting or handling. For deer, the appropriate tag or permit must remain attached until the deer reaches its final destination and is quartered. If deer’s head is severed from the carcass (body), then the appropriate tag or permit must remain attached to its carcass. If the head does not accompany the carcass, then the head must be accompanied by a Wildlife Resource Document.

TIP: Remember that if the head and the carcass are separated, the tag from the hunting license goes with the meat and the WRD goes with the head.

NOTICE: Read the tag use description on your license carefully before attaching to harvested deer.