Let’s face it, folks that live in Texas can not get enough deer hunting! Combining the Archery and General Deer Hunting Seasons equates to over three months of deer hunting, and landowners involved with the Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP) Program enjoy a whopping five months of whitetail hunting. Now, the state is looking at expanding into several for Texas counties. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is considering opening deer hunting in three North Texas counties and another on the upper coast this fall as part of recommended changes to the 2012-13 Statewide Hunting Proclamation.
TPWD biologist recommended an open season for deer in Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and Galveston counties during a presentation last Wednesday to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission’s Regulations Committee. They cited the rules for Grayson County, the only county in Texas with an archery-only deer season, as a starting point for the Dallas metro area counties being considered for an open deer hunting season.
Under the proposed amendment, the current whitetail season structure in Grayson County would be altered to allow full-season, either-sex whitetail harvest. The amended Grayson County archery-only deer season structure would be implemented in Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall counties. In addition, the department is proposing to implement the Harris County season structure in Galveston County.
The deer hunting season in Collin and Rockwall counties has been closed since 1976 after land use changes virtually eliminated deer habitat. Since that time, agriculture has been gradually displaced by the extensive urban, suburban, and exurban growth of the Metroplex, which has resulted in highly fragmented deer habitat and minimal populations of white-tailed deer, mostly in the brushy/forested areas surrounding lakes and streams.
TPWD believes that there is no biological reason to prohibit deer hunting and adding these additional Texas counties will only increase hunting opportunity. Opening a season would also provide an additional method for addressing nuisance deer issues. Deer population control continues to be a on-going problem in Central Texas, so maybe a proactive approach may shortcut any deer overpopulation issues in North Texas.
Comments on the proposed hunting regulations may be submitted by phone at 512-389-4775 or through the TPWD’s web site. There will also be upcoming public meetings to be scheduled in the counties affected by the proposed deer hunting regulations.
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