Deer Archery Season Already Under Way
October 6, 2017
Editorial Staff (190 articles)
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Deer Archery Season Already Under Way

General Gun Season Opens Nov. 4

Texas bowhunters have already taken to the field since last Saturday, when the state’s deer hunting archery season officially kicked off. Wildlife biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) expect good hunting prospects across the state. Whitetail archery season runs through Nov. 3.

The general gun season opener is a little less than a month away on Nov. 4. A special youth-only weekend season runs Oct. 28-29. The general season runs through Jan. 7, 2018 in North Texas and Jan. 21, 2018 in South Texas.

A late youth-only season runs Jan. 8-21, 2018. For additional late season deer hunting opportunities and county specific regulations, consult the 2017-18 Outdoor Annual.

Generally speaking, white-tailed deer in Texas have fared well in recent years with a stable population of about 4.3 million, according to Alan Cain, TPWD whitetail deer program leader.

“The vast majority of the state had a good habitat conditions going into last winter and early spring, which helped bucks recover from the rigors of the rut, and gave them a good foundation to start the antler growth cycle this year,” he said.

However, unlike the previous two years where widespread consistent rain and good habitat conditions persisted through the summer for much the state, 2017 saw dry weather patterns take hold in May and continue into late August.

Drier conditions in late season might impact antler development

These drier conditions late in the season will likely have some impact on final stages of antler development, body weights, and possibly fawn production, Cain explained, but hunters should still expect a good hunting season.
“Dry conditions were not uniform across the state and spotty rains from May through July left patches of green across the landscape in the western two-thirds of the state,” said Cain.

“Landowners and hunters with properties lucky enough to receive some of early summer rains and that have remained green may expect better than average deer quality this fall.”

Although rainfall was more consistent in the eastern portion of the state, keeping the habitat in good shape, it was still drier than last year with the exception of southeast Texas where a deluge of rain from Hurricane Harvey left many river and creek bottom habitats flooded for a short term in late August.

“Some adult deer and fawn mortalities were possible due to flooding, but with water receding relatively quickly, the vegetation in these bottom-land habitats will be able to recover quickly,” Cain reported.

“Hunters should be cognizant that deer displaced by the flooding were forced into upland habitats, increasing deer densities beyond what is normally seen in these areas. As such, hunters might be cautious about over-harvesting deer displaced by flooding.”

Overall, Cain predicts Hurricane Harvey will not have a significant impact on the deer populations in southeast Texas, but hunting conditions may be a little tougher this season with the flush of vegetation growth that will likely occur in the next month or two.—courtesy TPWD

Brandon Ray photo

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