2017-2018 White-tailed Deer Seasons & Regulations

Archery Only
All counties with an open season
Sept. 30 - Nov. 3, 2017
General Season
North Zone
Nov. 4, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018
South Zone
Nov. 4, 2017 - Jan. 21, 2018
Youth-Only
North Zone
Oct. 28 - 29, 2017
Jan. 8 - 21, 2018
South Zone
Oct. 28 - 29, 2017
Jan. 8 - 21, 2018
Muzzleloader
Jan. 8 - 21, 2018
Special Late
North Zone
Jan. 8 - 21, 2018
South Zone
Jan. 22 - Feb. 4, 2018

Definitions

  • A "buck deer" is a deer with a hardened antler protruding through the skin. An "unbranched antlered deer" is a buck with an antler having no more than one antler point. All other deer are antlerless deer. A buck must be tagged with a buck deer tag from the hunter's hunting license tag or applicable permit.
  • White-tailed Deer - Except for deer taken under MLDP tag, no person may take more than five white-tailed deer or more than three bucks (all seasons combined) in one license year. Bag limits in individual counties may be less (see County Listings).

Statewide Bag Limits

Except for deer taken under MLDP tag, no person may take more than five white-tailed deer or more than three bucks (all seasons combined) in one license year. Bag limits in individual counties may be less.

Special Antler Restrictions

Antler restrictions apply in certain counties. In these counties, the bag limit is two legal bucks, but only ONE may have an inside spread of 13 inches or greater.  Find your county to determine if there are antler restrictions.

Definition of Legal Buck

In antler restricted counties, a legal buck deer is defined as a buck deer with:

  • a hardened antler protruding through the skin AND;
  • at least one unbranched antler; OR
  • an inside spread measurement between main beams of 13 inches or greater (does not apply to a buck that has an unbranched antler).

To determine if a buck has an inside spread measurement of at least 13 inches, look at the distance from ear-tip to ear-tip on a buck with ears in the "alert" position.

It is unlawful to take more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater in a county where antler restrictions are in effect.

Does not apply on properties enrolled in the MLDP and for which MLDP buck tags have been issued.

During the Special Late Season, take is restricted to antlerless and "unbranched antlered" deer. An unbranched antlered deer is a buck deer with at least one antler that has no more than one point.

Definition of a Point

A point is a projection that extends at least one inch from the edge of a main beam or another tine. The tip of the main beam is also a point.

Youth-only Regulations

  • Hunter education requirements apply to all youth hunters.
  • Age Restriction: Only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger are eligible to participate in youth-only deer seasons. Youth Hunting License required. Hunter education requirements apply (Type 169).
  • Early Youth-Only Season: Oct. 28 - Oct.29, 2017. All legal hunting means and methods are allowed, except in Collin, Dallas, Grayson and Rockwall counties, where lawful means are restricted to archery only (no crossbows except for youth with upper limb disability).
  • Late Youth-Only Season: Jan. 8-21, 2018. The season is open in all counties where there is a general open season for white-tailed deer. All legal hunting means and methods are allowed, except in Collin, Dallas, Grayson and Rockwall counties, where lawful means are restricted to lawful archery equipment and crossbows.
  • Bag limits, take of antlerless deer, and special requirements:
    • In Bell (E. of I-35), Delta, Ellis, Falls, Fannin, Franklin, Freestone, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Limestone, Milam, Navarro, Rains, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt, Williamson (E. of I-35) and Wood counties, the bag and permit requirements are the same as the period Nov. 23-26, 2017 for each respective county (see County Listings); and
    • For the remainder of the state, the bag, tag, and permit requirements are the same as for the first two days of the general season in the county (see County Listings).
    • In a county where antlerless deer may be taken only by tag or permit, a tag or permit is required to take antlerless deer during the youth seasons.
  • Antlerless deer may be taken without a tag or permit on all USFS lands during youth-only deer seasons.
  • Does not apply to properties in the MLDP program enrolled under the Conservation Option, or in counties where there is no open general season for white-tailed deer.

CWD Check Stations

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal deer disease that has been discovered in white-tailed deer and mule deer in localized portions of Texas. In order to detect and manage this disease, the department has designated CWD zones within which the intact, unfrozen head of any white-tailed or mule deer harvested by a hunter must be presented at a TPWD-designated check station within 48 hours of harvest.

Current CWD zones exist in all or portions of the following counties:

  • Bandera
  • Culberson
  • Dallam
  • Deaf Smith
  • El Paso
  • Hartley
  • Hudspeth
  • Medina
  • Moore
  • Oldham
  • Parmer
  • Potter
  • Randall
  • Sherman
  • Uvalde

See the map of check stations and CWD zones.

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 additional or updated information visit the CWD informational page, call any TPWD office or call 1-800-792-1112.

After Killing a Deer

(Also applies to pronghorn, except for License Log)

After a deer or pronghorn antelope is killed and before the deer is field dressed or moved, the appropriate hunting license tag must be immediately filled out and dates cut out.

Additionally, if a hunting license tag is used, then the Hunting License Harvest Log (White-tailed deer only) must be legibly completed.

A hunter may transport a deer or pronghorn antelope to a final destination, provided it is tagged and proof of sex accompanies the deer or pronghorn antelope.

Processing

After a deer is killed and before the deer is field dressed or moved, the appropriate hunting license tag must be immediately filled out and date cut out.

 If a deer is taken under MLDP tag, the tag must be attached to the deer.

A hunter may transport a deer to a final destination (see Definitions), provided the deer is tagged and proof of sex accompanies the deer.

A hunter may skin and quarter a deer or pronghorn antelope (two forequarters, two hindquarters, and two backstraps) and possess for transport, provided the quartered deer is tagged and proof of sex accompanies the deer. See Cold Storage or Processing Facility for exceptions.

A deer or pronghorn antelope may not be processed any further than four quarters and two backstraps (example, steaks, hamburger, chili meat, etc.) until the deer or pronghorn antelope reaches a final destination, except for immediate consumption in camp.

The four quarters and two backstraps are the only parts of a deer or pronghorn antelope required by law to be kept in edible condition. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department encourages all hunters to continue to keep other portions of the deer or pronghorn antelope (trimmings from the neck and rib cage) in edible condition. Edible condition does not include any portion of a game animal, game bird, or fish that is: bruised by bullet, shot, or arrow, or otherwise destroyed as a result of harvest; decayed or rotting at the time of harvest; or obviously infected or diseased at the time of harvest.

The tag must remain with the portion of a deer or pronghorn antelope the hunter possesses. If any portion is transferred to another person before it reaches a final destination, then the transferred portion must be accompanied by a Wildlife Resource Document (PDF). See also Transfer of Wildlife Resources.

White-tailed Deer Harvest Restrictions

(as used in County Listing)

MANAGED LANDS DEER (MLDP) TAGS issued to landowners participating in the Managed Lands Deer Program. All deer taken on a property for which MLDP tags have been issued must be tagged with the appropriate type of MLDP tag. NOTE: No license log entry or tag from a hunting license is required for deer killed under a MLDP tag (see license log requirement above). For more information about the MLDP program, landowners should call TPWD at (512) 389-4505.

For information about antlerless deer permits on National Forest lands, please call the U.S. Forest Service in Lufkin at (936) 639-8501.

NOTICE: The Landowner Assisted Managment Program (LAMPS) has been discontinued.

Processing in Camp

You are allowed to quarter a deer or antelope in camp, but tagging and proof-of-sex requirements continue to apply until the wildlife resource reaches a final destination (see Definitions).

Deer or antelope may not be processed beyond quarters in camp unless the camp qualifies as a final destination.

While in camp you may remove and prepare a part of a wildlife resource if the removal and preparation occur immediately before the part is cooked or consumed; however, all tagging and proof of sex regulations apply to remaining parts and those parts may be transported to a final destination.