Texas Parks ad Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists expect deer hunters statewide to have plenty of opportunities to fill freezers this season thanks to widespread, improved habitat conditions.
“Overall, the 2023-24 deer hunting season is expected to be good in terms of harvest numbers and opportunities, so don’t let the chance to spend time afield with family, friends and fellow hunters pass you by,” said TPWD White-tailed Deer Program Leader Blaise Korzekwa. “Texas has one of the longest deer seasons in the nation, so take some time this fall and winter and enjoy one of the best deer herds in the country, right here in your home state.”
Much of the state received drought-quenching rain in the spring, which allowed for excellent habitat growth during the initial part of the growing season. Spring forb (weeds and flowering plants) production, which is a critical component of a deer’s diet coming out of winter, was abundant and offered essential nutrients to growing bucks, lactating does and new fawns. Additionally, the improved habitat conditions earlier this year helped keep fawns healthy enough to survive their first six months (also known as fawn recruitment).
The few areas of the state that missed the spring rainfall should expect average antler quality, which is still expected to exceed expectations from the 2022 season.
Additionally, reduced harvest numbers last season should payoff this year, those bucks had a chance to reach older age classes and benefit from the spring bounty.
Landowners and hunters play a critical role in managing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Before heading to the field, hunters are reminded that several new CWD zones are in place for the 2023-24 season. New carcass movement restrictions are also in place this license year, so Texas hunters harvesting deer, elk, moose and other susceptible species in CWD-positive states must comply with carcass movement restrictions when bringing harvested animals back home.
The most effective way to help slow the spread of CWD is by reporting sick deer, properly disposing of inedible carcass parts and voluntarily testing harvests. More information about zone boundaries and requirements, and check station dates and hours of operations can be found on TPWD’s website.
Hunters taking advantage of Texas Public Hunting Lands must have an Annual Public Hunting Permit. It’s also important for public land hunters to consult the Public Hunting Lands Map Booklet to review regulations that may apply to specific areas. The My Texas Hunt Harvest app can be used to complete on-site registration electronically at a public hunting area.