Lone Star Outdoor News reports the earliest that Texas Parks and WIldlife Department would issue permits for trapping wild mule deer to mate them with breeder stock will be 2014. The delay is necessary, according to TPWD officials, because more research is needed on issues related to mule deer captivity.
TPWD officials have identified these issues as disease, appropriate size of mule deer pens, how long deer can be kept, and how often to rotate deer among pens.
Senate BIll 460, signed into law June 17, extends the deer management permit program for white-tailed deer to mule deer. Deer breeders across the state were hoping to start obtaining mule deer program permits immediately, and wondered how TPWD could conduct research without clear language within the bill. But, a subsection of the bill does give authority to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to establish such conditions.
Right now, groups on both sides must figure out how much the research would cost. TPWD currently has no money budgeted for the research, but could conceivably issue "scientific research permits" for a pilot mule deer program that could conduct the research, while those with vested interests could partner up with TPWD and help fund it.