The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted a suite of changes to this year’s deer hunting regulations that includes expanding white-tailed deer hunting into 14 counties across the western Panhandle, and creating additional deer hunting opportunities in East Texas.
The commission adopted the following changes to the 2016-17 Statewide Hunting Proclamation, the details of which will be incorporated into this year’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Outdoor Annual:
- Elimination of the Antlerless and Spike-buck Control Permit due to lack of demand;
- Define “unbranched antlered deer” to clarify what constitutes a legal buck across seasons and to alleviate confusion among hunters, and replace the “Special Late Antlerless and Spike-buck Season” with a “Special Late Season” to accommodate the inclusion of “unbranched antlered deer” in the bag limit;
- Allow the take of antlerless deer without a permit on certain U.S. Forest Service Lands during youth-only seasons;
- Clarify that white-tailed antlerless deer harvest during the archery-only season does not require a permit and harvest of antlerless deer during youth seasons is restricted to persons 16 years of age and younger including on properties issued Level 1 Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Permits;
- Implement both a general and special archery-only season for white-tailed deer in Andrews, Bailey, Castro, Cochran, Gaines, Hale, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Parmer, Terry and Yoakum counties, with a bag limit of three deer (no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless), which is identical to adjoining/nearby counties that currently have a season.
- Implement both a general and special archery-only season for white-tailed deer in Winkler County, with a bag limit of three deer (no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless, with the take of antlerless deer restricted to the archery-only season or properties issued MLDP antlerless tags). The new season is identical to adjoining/nearby counties that currently have a season.
- Establish four “doe days” (time periods in when antlerless deer may be taken without a permit in parts of the state where antlerless harvest regulations are conservative) in Bell (east of IH35), Burleson, Ellis, Falls, Freestone, Kaufman, Limestone, Milam, Navarro and Williamson (east of IH35) counties;
- Increase the number of doe days to 16 in Anderson, Brazos, Camp, Gregg, Grimes, Henderson, Lamar, Leon, Madison, Morris, Red River, Robertson and Upshur counties; and
- Implement a muzzleloader-only late season in Anderson, Bell (East of IH 35), Brazos, Burleson, Comal (East of IH 35), Delta, Ellis, Fannin, Falls, Franklin, Freestone, Grimes, Hays (East of IH 35), Henderson, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Lamar, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Navarro, Rains, Red River, Robertson, Smith, Titus, Travis (East of IH 35), Van Zandt, Williamson (East of IH 35), and Wood counties.