Please take time to either attend a public hearing or go to the website (links below) to provide comments on two proposals
that will affect the mule deer and white-tailed deer hunting regulations in the Panhandle.
Public Hearings set for Proposed Panhandle Mule Deer Regulation Changes
AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has set three public hearings in the Panhandle to seek public comment on two proposed mule deer hunting regulation changes. The proposals are to open a mule deer season in Lynn County and initiate an experimental antler restriction in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Motley, and Hall counties.
Proposed for Lynn County is a 9-day buck-only season with no special archery season. The department’s survey data indicate the existence of mule deer populations within the Lynn County area that can sustain buck-only hunting pressure.
Proposed for six counties in the southeast Panhandle is a harvest strategy that would prohibit the harvest of any buck mule deer with less than a 20-inch outside spread of the main beams. This proposal, which would apply to Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Motley, and Hall counties, is intended to allow younger bucks to mature and improve the age structure of the herd. This is an area where an undesirably excessive harvest of mule deer bucks over the years has created a skewed sex ratio and an age structure inordinately weighted towards young bucks.
The proposed antler-restriction rule would not apply to properties enrolled in the Managed Lands Deer Program because a wildlife management plan designed to optimally manage deer populations is implemented on those properties. Staff propose to test the experimental antler-restriction harvest strategy for at least 4 hunting seasons and monitor the experiment using annual aerial mule deer surveys, incentive-based voluntary hunter check stations, and opinion surveys.
Meetings will be held at 7 p.m. in:
Childress – Monday, March 5
Childress County Courthouse – 2nd Floor (County Judge Hearing Room), 100 Ave E NW
Turkey – Tuesday, March 6
Bob Wills Center, 602 Lyles Street
Tahoka – March 7
Community Room, 1807 N Main Street (enter on the west side of the building)
Public comments regarding these proposals can also be provided online at https://tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/proposals/201803_mule_deer.phtml
Standardize General White-tailed Deer Season Dates Statewide
Staff propose to standardize the general deer season statewide to open the first Saturday in November and end on the third Sunday in January. Additionally, staff propose to open the special late season, muzzleloader season, and the late youth season on the first Monday following the third Sunday in January for 14 consecutive days. This proposal would also adjust concurrent turkey hunting seasons with the general deer season in the North Zone.
Currently, General Season opens on the first Saturday in November but end dates differ in North and South zone counties. Where North Zone general season ends on the first Sunday in January and the South Zone general season ends on the third Sunday in January. In 2001 TPWD standardize the opening of general season statewide but did not standardize the close of general season in the two zones. Because of the different closing dates the South Zone has an additional two weeks of hunting during general season that the North Zone does not. Staff do not believe the proposed change to the ending date of general season will have any significant biological impact on the white-tailed deer or turkey population in the North Zone counties as a result of an additional two weeks of hunting. Big game harvest survey results indicate that only 13% of the statewide harvest occurs after December 31 even though general season is still open across the state as well as a several other seasons such as MLDP season, muzzleloader, and special late season. Additionally, the deer population in North Zone counties is stable to increasing in most of the Deer Management Units (DMUs). These proposed change would further simplify harvest regulations and provide additional hunting opportunity.