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‘Above average’ deer hunting season expected in Texas, TPWD officials say

Antler quality is expected to be better than average in South Texas

White-tailed deer
White-tailed deer (Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

Biologists from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are predicting an above-average season for white-tailed deer hunters.

September rains helped create an abundance of quality food sources for deer, like shrubs and forbs, officials said.

General deer season kicks off in Texas on Nov. 7 and runs through Jan. 3, 2021 in the North Zone and Jan. 17, 2021 in the South Zone. A special youth-only gun deer season is set for Oct. 31- Nov. 1 and Jan. 4-17, 2021.

TPWD White-Tailed Deer Program Leader Alan Cain said hunters in the Edwards Plateau, Cross Timbers and South Texas eco-regions should expect some of the best conditions. “If dry conditions persist, hunters could expect to see increased deer activity around feeders or other key food sources.”

An estimated 2.37 million deer can be found in the Edwards Plateau region of central Texas, TPWD officials said.

A high mortality rate for white-tailed deer in 2019 due to an anthrax outbreak in the Edwards Plateau actually provided long-term benefits, according to TPWD. The population reduction “resulted in healthier deer and more nutrition to help bucks in the area maximize antler production.”

The second-highest deer population in Texas can be found in the Cross Timbers region in north Texas.

South Texas and parts of the Rio Grande Valley show deer population estimates to be around 438,000 and TPWD officials said hunters “looking to pursue mature bucks should consider South Texas as antler quality is expected to be better than average due to good range conditions.”

White-tailed deer and mule deer are Chronic Wasting Disease-susceptible animals and Texas hunters are reminded to comply with carcass movement restrictions when harvesting deer, elk, moose or other susceptible species.

Hunters who are looking to help Texas families can donate all legally harvested and tagged white-tailed or mule deer to participating processors as part of Hunters for the Hungry.

For additional late season deer hunting opportunities, county-specific regulations, and information on how to properly tag and report a harvest, consult the 2020-21 all-digital Outdoor Annual.

Hunters taking advantage of Texas Public Hunting Lands must also have the Annual Public Hunting Permit, TPWD officials said.

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