The white-tailed deer hunting season has arrived and bowhunters will get first crack at the deer again this year. It looks like there are more deer in Texas than there were last year because estimates of high fawn production have been reported. More than a 100 percent fawn survival was observed on some intensively managed ranches, causing deer overpopulation on some native deer habitats.
Add that with quality native food supplies and that should give hunters a lot to look forward to this season. It also means that like last year that deer hunting over feeders may not be as productive because of the abundant natural forage available. According to Alan Cain, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department whitetail deer program director:
“Acorn crops have been pretty good and there is plenty of vegetation in South Texas, so the deer have plenty to eat. That’s going to make it difficult for bowhunters to attract deer to supplemental feeding locations.”
When archery season kicks off, most deer are still in a summer pattern, especially in South Texas where the rut is still a couple of months away. Bowhunters should consider focusing their efforts along heavily traveled game trails or near acorn-producing trees. Deer hunters know all too well that corn feeders cannot compete with acorns—deer just love them!
As always, state biologist are pushing for increased whitetail deer management through the harvest of antlerless deer. Cain recommends that hunters take advantage of opportunities to harvest does this season in an effort to offset the high fawn production estimated across the state.
“Folks need to keep deer numbers at a level the habitat can sustain during lean years.”