Source: AgriLife TODAY|Aug. 27, 2019
Drought following good spring conditions could impact Texas game animals, but early population reports and estimates suggest a favorable hunting season, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
John Tomecek, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Thrall, said good spring conditions favored most wildlife species, but dry summer conditions may have created some difficulties. However, he said, it appears young animals likely had plenty of cover, food and water sources to support growth.
Both winter and spring provided good conditions for pregnant does throughout their gestation period, Tomecek said. Deer were showing good body conditions during and after breeding season.
Despite extended dry and hot weather over the last few months, Tomecek said he expects does to enter rut relatively healthy and bucks have had good conditions for antler production.
“I’ve not seen many reports of sickly animals or poor antler condition, outside of a few areas,” he said. “Trophy bucks should have been in excellent body condition going into this dry stretch. So, that means their bodies were able to put energy into antlers.”
Tomecek said the anthrax outbreak this summer in parts of South Texas should not deter hunters from taking to the field.
“Anthrax flares up in a small area of the state for a period and then it goes away,” he said. “People should understand this happens naturally, and it is typically long gone by the time deer season starts.”
“Anthrax is a naturally occurring phenomenon, and these outbreaks will mean more resources available for surviving animals,” he said. “Hunters in those areas may see lower numbers of deer, but the outbreak should benefit those animals that survived by providing better nutrition to fewer animals.”
Regardless of local conditions, Tomecek emphasized hunters should not hesitate to go hunting. Harvesting animals is important, but getting youth outdoors, passing on fall hunting traditions, and spending time with friends and family is just as important as the actual harvest.