Before heading out to hunt white-tailed deer somewhere in the great state of Texas, it’s important to know the hunting regulations and how they pertain to processing deer in the field because a little knowledge can save you a lot of grief, as well as some money. These regulations basically say what can and can not be done with harvested deer before reaching their final destination, i.e. typically your home.
Hunters are allowed to quarter a white-tailed or mule deer or antelope in camp, but tagging and proof-of-sex requirements continue to apply until the wildlife resource (animal) reaches a final destination. Final destination is defined by the state of Texas as the permanent residence of the person who takes the deer or the permanent residence of the person who receives the deer, or the deer, or a cold storage or processing facility. By the way, a quartered deer consists of forequarters, hindquarters, back straps that have been completely severed from the carcass, and any rib or neck trimmings.
White-tailed or mule deer or antelope may not be processed beyond quarters in the field or in camp unless the camp qualifies as a final destination. In short, if the packaged deer is going to remain at camp to be consumed at camp then you are fine processing it there. However, you can not transport all the packages of processed deer back to your permanent residence.
While in camp you may remove and prepare a part of a wildlife resource if the removal and preparation occur immediately before the part is cooked or consumed. However, all tagging and proof of sex regulations apply to remaining parts and those parts may be transported to a final destination. Basically, you can eat some of the harvested animal while in camp, but leave the rest intact until you get home or to the locker plant.
In summary, the regulations regarding the handling of harvested white-tailed deer are straight forward. A deer can be processed in the field or at camp IF that is where it is to be consumed, but it can not be transported back to a permanent residence from there. If you plan on taking the animal home, do not process the animal beyond quartering. Hope you have a great deer hunting season!
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