How to Tag a Deer in Texas

When a Texas hunter successfully harvests a deer, one of the first dilemmas he/she faces is how to properly tag the deer. Depending on the circumstances, every deer harvested must be tagged with either a license tag, OR appropriate permit (LAMPS, MLDP, USFS antlerless permit, etc), but never both. If the deer is harvested under the authority of a permit, no license tag is required. However, all other deer must be tagged with the appropriate tag from your Texas hunting license. These two scenarios will be described in greater detail below.

1). A hunter kills a deer in which no permit is applicable. This deer (buck or antlerless) must be tagged with the appropriate (white-tailed deer) tag from the hunter’s license. Hunters should read the tag descriptions carefully as some of the tags can legally be used on a buck or antlerless deer. However, using one of these tags on an antlerless deer potentially limits the number of bucks a hunter could harvest. In order to be properly tagged, the month and day must be CUT OUT, and the property name and county must be written, in ink, on the back of the tag. In addition, the hunter must properly complete the log on the back of the hunting license. Every time a deer tag is used, the license log must also be completed. Failure to complete all of these steps results in a deer that is not properly tagged/logged.

Tagging Deer in Texas

2). A hunter kills a deer under the authority of a permit. The appropriate permit (buck or antlerless) must be placed on the deer, but no license tag is required. In this case, the hunter is not required to complete the license log on the back of the hunting license. The month and day must be CUT OUT and all other information on the permit must be completed. Failure to complete all of these steps results in a deer that is not properly tagged (permitted).

Other important points to remember:

  • A “buck deer” is a deer with a hardened antler protruding through the skin. All other deer are considered antlerless deer.
  • The tag/permit should remain attached to the deer until the deer reaches its final destination and is quartered
  • If the head is removed from the carcass, then the appropriate tag or permit must remain attached to the carcass
  • It is unlawful to possess a deer with proof of sex removed unless the deer is at a final destination and has been quartered
  • Proof of sex is: the head of a buck deer with antlers attached, the head of an antlerless deer, or a completed Man-aged Lands Deer Permit, Landowner Assisted Management Permit, TPWD Drawn Hunt Legal Deer Tag, or Antlerless and Spike-buck Control Permit
  • A deer can only be tagged with a tag from the hunter’s license who killed the deer
  • A deer tag can only be used once

It is important to remember to place the tag on the deer immediately upon kill and to complete the harvest log. Failure to complete the harvest log is one of the most frequent violations that law enforcement officers encounter in Texas. Without a complete harvest log, there is no way to verify that the statewide and/or county bag limits are being adhered to.

Although the tagging/permitting process may seem confusing, if the hunter reviews and understands the requirements prior to hunting and harvesting a deer, many of the common mistakes can be avoided. For additional information please refer to the current Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual that is available anywhere hunting licenses are sold or online. Tablet or Smart Phone users can also download the Outdoor Annual for free using the new Texas Parks and Wildlife Department app.

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