General white-tailed deer, extended mule deer season to begin

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 10:21 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - General white-tailed deer season begins November 5 for hunters on the South Plains. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department biologists expect the ongoing drought to impact deer activity and quality.

“A number of hunters and landowners report seeing lots of deer, especially younger deer,” Alan Cain, White-Tailed Deer Program Leader for TPWD, said in a news release. “Part of that is a result of good fawn crops the last couple of years so there’s more bucks in those younger age classes relative to bucks in that four- to six-year-old range. As we move into November and closer to the rut, those older bucks should increase movement activities in search of does, hopefully presenting an opportunity for a lucky hunter.”

Cain also said drought impacts on deer habitats have impacted antler quality.

An extended mule deer season will begin on November 19 and last 16 days with a 20-inch minimum antler restriction in 21 more South Plains counties.

“It’s fun to see the enthusiasm from the individuals,” TPWD Game Warden Aaron Sims said. “We’re definitely going to be out there checking, making sure everybody’s in compliance and making sure they’re doing things the right way.”

Sims said hunters should first check to make sure their license is up to date and hasn’t expired. He also said anyone born on or after September 2, 1971, needs to have their Hunter Education Certification.

“That’s the number one citation we write every year,” Sims said. “It’s really easy to do. If you’re 17 years or older, you can do it all online.”

There are other resources for hunters online or on mobile apps, including the Outdoor Annual and the ability to tag deer. The My Texas Hunt Harvest app will be new for hunters this year.

“If you do harvest a deer, you can go right on that app, punch in what species that you harvested, and it’ll actually upload in the system,” Sims said.

Hunters will receive a confirmation number, which he advises hunters to secure to the harvested animal.

“That will allow us upon inspection to kind of tie those two together, especially if you don’t have service at that time,” Sims said. “If you are interested in it, watch the videos, go on there and try it out. It’s kind of interesting and it’s a fun, new thing for us.”

A Chronic Wasting Disease Zone will continue to be in effect for both white-tailed and mule deer harvests in parts of Lubbock, Crosby, Lynn, and Garza counties.

“If you harvest a mule deer or a white tail in that zone, you’re going to want to contact a biologist and get that checked within 48 hours,” Sims said. “That’s mandatory by law.”

Sims encourages hunters to be safe while handling any wild animal.

“You want to take safety precautions,” Sims said. “I highly encourage folks, if you’re going to harvest a deer and you go to clean the deer, anytime you could be touching the nervous tissue, especially the head, the eyes, the spinal cord, glove up. That’s just something I would do anyway, but definitely in that containment zone.”

Sims asks hunters to ensure they have permission to hunt on private land and that they aren’t hunting on public roadways.

More TPWD Game Wardens will be on the South Plains for a saturation patrol during mule deer season. Sims said the rules and regulations are to ensure the opportunity to hunt continues for years to come.

“It’s preservation for future generations,” Sims said. “These laws are put in place to make sure that the resource can be harvested now and in the future. An overwhelming majority of hunters, and anglers for that matter, follow the law. They do right by the law, but we’re looking for that one to 2 percent that disregard the law, disregard the resource, and have no respect for the resource in general.”