The Texas general whitetail deer season starts Saturday November 7, and Rack & Range has learned that this season’s outlook is one the best in several years according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
The positive outlook is based on the amount of rain and mild weather the state received at various times this year. Heavy spring rains meant that the nutritious weeds and browse were in high abundance, a change from recent drought years that made it harder for deer to find the high-protein native forage that they prefer. While the summer was fairly dry in most parts of the state, recent fall storms in October will promote a winter weed crop that deer will be able to rely on.
TPWD’s whitetail deer program leader Alan Cain predicts that antler growth will be well above average this year. “The habitat conditions statewide are much better than we’ve seen in years, and the abundance of native forage will help bucks maximize antler growth,” said Cain.
Statewide Deer Populations
Statewide population trends for whitetail deer have shown slow but steady growth over the last 10 years. In 2014 the estimated statewide deer population was 3.95 million deer, they highest estimate since 2005. For 2015, Cain estimated the population could break 4 million deer based on above average fawn production.
Hunters are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to harvest antlerless deer to offset the increased fawn numbers. This is so that the landscape can continue to support healthy deer populations during the leaner years when the environment is less productive.
The general whitetail deer season runs through January 3, 2016 in the North Zone, and January 17, 2016 in the South Zone. This year hunters can use the “My Texas Hunt Harvest” app that has hunting season information and provides a way to voluntarily report and track harvested game on their smartphone or tablet device. Note that electronic reporting is for information gathering purposes, and does not replace tagging requirements for any game that requires a tag.