White-tailed deer hunting may be the most sought after big game animal in Texas, but whitetail are not the only deer living in the state. Mule deer cover much of the Trans-Pecos as well as the Texas Panhandle, where mule deer hunting seasons currently exists. However, conservative regulations have allowed mule deer to reclaim some of their historical range and that may allow additional recreational opportunities. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is now looking at increasing mule deer hunting in a couple of Texas counties.
“TPWD is recommending an open general season for mule deer in Dawson and Wheeler counties, and adding a day to the season across the Trans Pecos region. Department staff presented the proposals to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Regulations Committee. The proposals address a priority goal in TPWD’s Land and Water Resource Conservation and Recreation Plan to increase access to and participation in the outdoors.
Currently there is no open season for mule deer in Dawson or Wheeler counties. Implementing a nine-day, buck-only season in Dawson County and a 16-day, buck-only season in Wheeler County would offer increased hunter opportunity without adversely impacting mule deer reproduction or distribution.
According to TPWD wildlife biologists, mule deer populations in these counties are limited, but are present in some areas having suitable habitat and implementation of a buck-only season will not have any measurable impact on herd productivity or expansion.
Traditionally, big game hunting seasons in Texas open on Saturday to give hunters a full weekend of opportunity. Because the mule deer season in the Trans Pecos starts on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the TPW Commission asked the Wildlife Division to explore an option to open a day earlier to take advantage of the long holiday weekend. This proposal would add a day to the current 16-day season and create an opening day on the Friday following Thanksgiving each year. Wildlife biologists suggest adding a day to the season in the Trans Pecos will not negatively impact the mule deer resource.
Official proposals will be available for review and comment during a series of public meetings in February, as well as online. The TPW Commission will make final determination on proposed changes at its April 1, 2010, public hearing.”
Schedule of Public Meetings – 2010-11 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Meetings start at 7:00 PM.
- Feb. 15
San Antonio, National Shooting Sports Complex Clubhouse, 5931 Roft Rd.
Houston, Lone Star College, Library Room LB 103, 2700 W.W. Thorne Dr.
- Feb. 16
Dickinson, TPWD Dickinson Marine Lab, 1502 Pine St. (FM 517).
Lamesa, Women’s Building, South Houston St.
- Feb. 17
Amarillo, Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo Blvd West.
- Feb. 18
Port Isabel, Port Isabel Community Center, 213 Yturria.
- Feb. 22
Garland, Bass Pro Shop, 5001 Bass Pro Dr.
- Feb. 23
Tyler, Smith County Courthouse, 100 N. Broadway.
Corpus Christi, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Natural Resources Center, 6300 Ocean Drive, Room 1003.
- Feb. 24
Wheeler, Wheeler County Courthouse, Commissioners Courtroom, 401 Main St.
- Mar. 2
Fort Stockton, Pecos County Civic Center, North Hwy 285 next to Airport.
- Mar. 3
Alpine, Turner Range Animal Science Bldg, Room 130, East Hwy 90.
- Mar. 4
Van Horn, Van Horn Convention Center & Visitors Bureau, 1801 W. Broadway.