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Deer Hunting Season in Texas: Here’s What You Need to Know

16 Dec 2021
by SEM Geeks

Temperatures are dropping in Texas, and for hunters, it's a sign that the white-tailed deer season is here. Biologists at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) have said that hunters should expect a very good 2021-22 deer season. At 5.4 million deer population, the numbers are down from previous years, but with predictions of higher fawn survival rates, hunters can expect a robust population. The highest hunter densities are expected in areas like Cross Timbers, Pineywoods ecoregions, and Edward's Plateau. The Edward's Plateau incidentally has the highest population of deer in Texas at more than 2 million, and there is a 79% hunter success rate in this area.

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Mandatory Antlerless Harvest Reporting Counties
Image Source: https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/game_management/deer/

Hunters Have to Procure Leases

The state of Texas is known for its geographical diversity and the variety of game that reside there. There are many hunting opportunities year-round, but more than 95% of the land is privately owned and managed. This means hunters need permission for hunting on these grounds and pay the landowners for access. The good news is that getting hunting leases online has now become easier.

It is important to know that landowners have the right to deny permissions, and also ask hunters to sign liability waivers. Even with existing game laws, they can impose stricter harvest limits. Sportsmen need to have insurance to get permits issued.

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Image Source: https://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2013/09/24/no-you-cant-keep-a-pet-deer-in-texas/0/

When Does the Season Start?

The general season started from November 06, 2021, and will end on January 02 for the north zone and January 16, 2022, for the south zone. A special youth-only gun deer season will be held between January 03 and January 16, 2022, for both zones. There are special late seasons as well, starting from January 17, 2022 onwards.

If someone is hunting on public land, they need to have an annual public hunting permit. There are specific regulations that apply to different regions, which hunters need to be aware of. There are state-wide bag limits and mandatory reporting norms for antlerless White-Tailed Deer harvesting.

What Kind of Species Can Hunters Expect?

The White-Tailed Deer gets its name from its famous tail color. The long tails are used to signal other deer. The Mule deer in the region do not have this feature, and their tails are smaller in various colors. February's arctic freeze had raised concerns that the deer population would be scarce in 2021. But, as per Alan Cain, white-tailed deer program leader with Texas Parks and Wildlife, the deer population has been able to survive the short-term cold weather events. On the other hand, other species like the axis deer population declined.

Report a Sick Deer

Hunters need to report signs of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a progressive and fatal neurological disease found in species like deer, elk, moose, and certain cervids. These symptoms need to be notified to a TPWD biologist in the area, so that appropriate testing of inedible carcass parts can be done, and the disease can be stopped from spreading.

For the new breed of Texas hunters, deer hunting is not just about the antlers, but also to procure sustainable organic meat. It's important to adhere to all guidelines to sustain a healthy ecosystem, and conservation of species for years to come.

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