Texas Waterfowl Symposium

The Texas Waterfowl Symposium will be held in El Campo for 2016-17. The event is hosted by the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute (CKWRI).

The event will discuss duck and goose populations as well as the various aspects that impact waterfowl management in Texas. All hunters, land owners, property managers and anyone else interested in learning more about waterfowl in Texas are encouraged to attend.

Texas Waterfowl Management

Symposium Details

  • When: April 20-21, 2017
  • Where: El Campo Civic Center, 2350 N Mechanic, El Campo, TX
  • Fees: Includes meals and handout materials
    – Pre Registration (before 4/10) – $45
    – Late Registration (4/10 or after) – $60
    – No refunds after 4/10

Waterfowl Symposium – Day 1

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. Topics to be covered the first day include:

  • Changes in Waterfowl Populations and Distribution in the Central Flyway
  • Annual Cycle of Waterfowl: Requirements and Managemet
  • Factors Impacting Waterfowl Populations and Migration
  • Management of Wetlands, Moist Soil Units and Farmland for Waterfowl
  • Migratory Game Bird Regulations Process
  • Harvest Data and HIP
  • Economic Impacts of Changes in Waterfowl Numbers in the Gulf Coast Region
  • Funding Opportunities for Private Landowners
  • Water Sources and Management
  • Managing Leases and Hunting Pressure
  • Wounding Loss and Shotgun Proficiency
  • A Guide and Outfitter Perspective – Panel Discussion

Waterfowl Symposium – Day 2

Field Tour on local property managed for waterfowl.

Lodging in El Campo

  • Days In – 979-543-1666
  • Best Western – 979-543-7033
  • Lonestar Inn – 979-543-7833

Persons interesting in attending the Texas Waterfowl Symposium in El Campo can register online. For more information, contact Clinton Faas at cfaas@texas-wildlife.org or 800-839-9453.

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Texas Dove Hunters Associations Offers Scholarships

Texas Dove Hunters Association (TDHA) is offering scholarships to high school seniors in Texas. Pass this on if you have any friends or family that enjoy dove hunting and will be seeking higher education this fall, including tech school, junior college or 4 year university.

Texas Dove Hunters Scholarship

TDHA will be awarding nine $500 scholarships in May! The deadline to submit applications for the 2017 Texas Dove Hunters Association scholarships is Monday, April 3! All electronic essays and mailed applications must be either received or at least postmarked by April 3rd. Time is running out, but there is still time.
Applications are available online at: texasdovehunters.com.

If you have a senior or if you know a senior that enjoys dove hunting and may be interested in some additional money for school then please encourage them to apply for this TDHA scholarship. Questions? Then call the TDHA at 210-764-1189! The TDHA is “Growing the Next Generation of Hunters and Wildlife Ambassadors.”

Is White-nose Syndrome in Texas?

The disease known as White-nose syndrome (WNS) may soon plague bats in Texas, according to the latest research. The fungus that causes deadly white-nose syndrome in hibernating bats has been detected in Texas for the first time. The syndrome has killed millions of bats in the eastern parts of North America, raising national concern.

A coalition of groups in Texas is continuing work to monitor the spread of the problem and is seeking willing landowners who could help scientists locate and access bat caves.

White-nose Syndrome in Texas

The fungus was detected on species of hibernating bats in 6 North Texas Counties: Childress, Collingsworth, Cottle, Hardeman, King, and Scurry. The three species are tri-colored bat, cave myotis, and Townsend’s big-eared bat. This is the first detection of the fungus on both cave myotis and Townsend’s big-eared bats. The Townsend’s big-eared bat has an isolated subspecies in the East, the Virginia Big Eared Bat that has already tested positive for the fungus.

Sampling for WNS in Bats

Samples were collected between Jan. 11 and Feb. 22 by biologists from Bat Conservation International (BCI) and Texas A&M University’s (TAMU) Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, and analyzed as part of a National Science Foundation-funded project led by University of California at Santa Cruz. Surveys of sites in seven other counties in 2017 did not detect the fungus — those counties are Coryell, Freestone, Leon, Panola, San Saba, Shelby, and Wheeler.

White-nose syndrome is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) and is responsible for the deaths of millions bats in the United States and Canada. It has been expanding in all directions since its discovery in New York in 2007. In some states, there have been declines in winter bat numbers of greater than 90 percent.

“There is still hope for bats in Texas,” said Jonah Evans, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department state mammologist. “The fungus thrives in colder climates and it remains to be seen if WNS will have the same serious impacts in Texas as it has in northern states. Additionally, 20 of the 32 species of bats in Texas do not regularly hibernate and we are hopeful they will not suffer significant population declines. We will continue working with cooperating landowners and researchers to implement the best management tools available to conserve these species.”

Bats play an important role in the ecosystem by consuming large numbers of insects. Recent studies have shown that the agricultural value of insect control by bats is $1.4 billion annually in Texas alone. This value includes reduced crop loss to insect pests, reduced spread of crop diseases, and reduced need for pesticide application.

White-nose Syndrome

White-nose syndrome does not infect humans and is only known to affect hibernating bats. The fungus thrives in cold, humid environments and invades the skin of bats, disrupting their hibernation and depleting their fat stores. Migratory Mexican free-tailed bats, which roost in the millions at popular sites such as Bracken Bat Cave, the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, and Old Tunnel State Park, do not hibernate for long periods during the winter, and are not expected to be at high risk for the disease. Although there is no known cure for white-nose syndrome, wildlife disease experts are actively working on several treatments to help improve survival.

Today’s announcement of Pd in Texas brings the total number of states with the fungus to 33. Of those states, 30 have been confirmed with white-nose syndrome.

“This discovery is significant because it occurs where the ranges of eastern, southern, and western bat species intersect, and two of these bats have extensive distributions in Central America and the West – beyond the current range of the disease,” said Jeremy Coleman, national white-nose syndrome coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who leads a coalition of more than 100 state, federal, and international governments agencies, academics, and non-governmental organization working to defeat white-nose syndrome. “While we don’t know how new species of western hibernating bats will respond to the fungus, we are concerned about this move into the West.”

WNS in Texas Bats

While scientists are disappointed by the detection of Pd in Texas, its arrival is not unexpected. The fungus was detected in Oklahoma in 2015 and Arkansas in 2014. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has closely coordinated with state and federal agencies as the fungus has spread toward the state. TPWD has worked with BCI to monitor Panhandle caves for the disease since 2011 and in 2015 TPWD funded a statewide project through TAMU aimed at early detection of the disease and describing bat populations before white-nose syndrome arrives.

Nationally, Coleman said the partners in the international response are working to develop tools to manage WNS and improve bat survival. Management solutions are in development to slow the spread of Pd to unaffected areas, improve the survival of bats in newly affected areas, and promote recovery of populations decimated by WNS. Treatment options that could be deployed in some affected areas in the future are also a research focus of the international response team.

TPWD is working with researchers at TAMU to survey caves with hibernating bats. They are asking for willing landowners for help locating and accessing bat winter roosts and caves for tracking the spread of the fungus. Those with knowledge of such sites are asked to contact TPWD at 512-389-4505.

Wildlife experts say cavers and landowners with caves can help prevent human assisted spread of the fungus by requiring cave visitors to abide by the decontamination protocols described here. More information concerning white-nose syndrome can be found online.

Pronghorn Population in Texas on Rise

The pronghorn population in Texas in on the rise according to officials with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Restoration Project progressed with another successful relocation recently of 109 pronghorn, helping to boost once-declining numbers in that area.

This marks the fifth year that pronghorn have been transplanted from healthy populations around Pampa in the Texas Panhandle to an area northeast of Marfa to supplement severely depleted pronghorn populations in the Trans Pecos region.

The relocation process was coordinated among the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University (BRI), Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Working Group, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) and USDA-Wildlife Services. Quicksilver Air, Inc. conducted the capture.

Pronghorn Populations Increase in Texas

Texas’ Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Population

The Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Restoration Project is a five-year, $1.4 million public-private partnership with the TPWF. To date, more than $900,000 has been secured. The objective of the Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Restoration Project is to bolster declining pronghorn populations through wildlife management practices, including: translocations, habitat improvements, and predator management.

At least 17,000 pronghorn historically roamed the West Texas region, but by 2012 there were estimated to be less than 3,000. As of last summer, pronghorn numbers had doubled, based on a TPWD aerial census survey.

Pronghorn on Rise, With Help

“With the help of Mother Nature, translocations, and other management actions populations are bouncing back in this region of Texas,” said Shawn Gray, TPWD Pronghorn Program Leader. “We hope populations in our restoration areas will continue to grow and become another source for pronghorn in the next few years to help supplement other herds in the Trans-Pecos.”

Gray noted that survival and production rates among transplanted pronghorn have been encouraging over the last few years, thanks to improved range conditions and intensive management activities.

“Historic drought severely impacted survival in 2011 at just 20 percent, while good range conditions and more intensive management actions have led to much higher survival rates of between 70-85 percent during the other translocations,” he noted. “Over the last four years, herds that received transplanted pronghorn have done well and have had above average fawn production.”

The relocation process is not your ordinary roundup.

Moving Pronghorn Between Populations

At the capture site, workers take each animal’s temperature to monitor stress, along with blood and fecal samples for disease surveillance. The pronghorn also receive a mild sedative to minimize stress during capture and transport. Ear tags are attached for identification. Forty of the latest group of captured pronghorn were fitted with satellite radio collars, programmed to collect GPS locations every 15 minutes. At about 1 ½ years post-release, the satellite collars will automatically drop from the animals and be retrieved by researchers to refurbish and redeploy in future translocations. After processing, the pronghorn were transported by trailer to the release site northeast of Marfa.

“The capture could not have gone any smoother,” said Dr. Bob Dittmar, Wildlife Veterinarian for TPWD. “The pronghorn were in excellent shape and traveled really well.“

Population Monitoring

During the next year, the BRI and TPWD will closely monitor the translocated pronghorn to determine survival, reproductive productivity, fawn survival, habitat utilization, and movements. This research has and will continue to define the best management practices essential in growing Texas pronghorn populations in the Trans-Pecos region.

“We sincerely appreciate all the cooperation and support from our partners and the Pampa and Trans-Pecos communities,” stated Gray. “Their continued support will ensure pronghorn herds in the Trans-Pecos will prosper in our desert grasslands.” It will take continued effort in the forms of herd and harvest management to ensure pronghorn hunting into the future.

One Reason to Go Spring Turkey Hunting

Spring turkey hunting season can be fast and furious! The proper use of turkey decoy can take drastically increase success. I’ve used the standard hen, hen/jake and strutting tom decoys in the past, but the new MOJO Scoot-n-Shoot decoy looks like it could amp up my turkey hunting experience!

We’ve all been there. We set up our decoys and start yelping, only to have a big thunder chicken respond with a mighty gobble. Exciting! But after an hour of talking back and forth the reality is that the distance between you and the boss gobbler has not closed. He’s hung up or standing put. You have to go to him. Time to scoot over his way in position for a shot.

MOJO Outdoors just announced that their decoys made for the scoot-n-shoot style of turkey hunting are now available for purchase. I’ve seen this technique used before, but after watching the MOJO promo video I can’t help but go out and find one of these setups right now.

Video: Close-Range Turkey Hunting Action!

Scoot-N-Shoot Turkey Decoy

MOJO has absolutely REVOLUTIONIZED how we turkey hunt with the Scoot-N-Shoot style of hunting using the Scoot-N-Shoot and Tail Chaser Series of Decoys. Certainly the most exciting and arguably the most successful method of hunting long beard gobblers. They will come to run you off to protect their hens and their territory. It is their nature.

The new Scoot-N-Shoot is lighter and more compact for better mobility while you scoot in order to shoot. The new Tail Chaser is styled the Tail Chaser Max and has a bigger fan with realistic gobbler head on it, and a new mounting system to provide more site picture and to allow for optical sights. Also, comes with hub to accommodate a real fan.

MOJO has long been recognized as the company that revolutionized waterfowl, turkey, predator, and dove hunting with their constant innovation and from that has continued to lead the way bringing new and exciting products to the market place that change how we hunt. MOJO’s goal is to truly raise the bar, and their shop does some great work.

Turkey Hunting Decoy Tips

Spring Season

I love heading into the field in spring time. New-growth green makes trees, shrubs and grass vibrant again after a period of  winter grays and browns. The spring season for turkeys also gives me yet another reason to get outside.

There is nothing more fun than getting a big gobbler within bow or shotgun range, whether it be bringing him in to you, or you going to get him. Spring turkey hunting season in just around the corner in Texas and I plan to give scoot-n-shoot a try this year. Can’t wait to get out there and make it happen!

War on Warfarin, Hogs to Take Place in Court

Before the war on Texas’ ever-growing feral hog population rages on the battle will be fought by fought in a court. A Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) rule change that would have permitted the use of a warfarin-containing bait to poison feral hogs is now delayed after a state district judge in Austin issued a temporary restraining order last week.

A commercial hog processing business, Wild Boar Meats, requested that District Judge Jan Soifer to suspend the emergency rules that would allow Kaput Feral Hog Bait to be sold to and used by licensed pesticide applicators. This effectively puts the breaks on the toxic bait until the guys in suits sort it out.

Feral Hog Control in Texas

Feral Hogs in Texas

Feral hogs, which number in the millions across Texas, costs rural and suburban residents millions of dollars annually. The consumption or destruction of agricultural products, turfgrass and the like take a toll on landowners in terms of both time and money. State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller had said the poison would expand the ways available to kill the animals.

Warfarin is currently used as a blood thinner in humans, but it’s also found in rat poison. Swine are very sensitive to the compound, but they are not the only wildlife species that may be impacted once warfarin-carrying hogs, whether dead or alive, are on the landscape.

Wild Boar Meats buys live and dead hogs and processes them for sale to the pet food industry. Owner Will Herring said the year-old company processed as many as 5,000 hogs in February alone. “The problem is we haven’t discovered any way through freezing or heating to kill the warfarin in the meat of the animal,” he said. “This could potentially kill the industry. My customers want to make sure there’s no rat poison in the meat that we’re turning into pet food.”

Kaput - A Warfarin Based Hog Poison

A War on Warfarin?

A representative with Colorado-based Genesis Laboratories, which developed Kaput, told the American-Statesman that the hog bait contains only one-fifth of the concentration of warfarin found in conventional rodenticides.

TDA spokesman Mark Loeffler said the emergency rules were meant as a regulatory safeguard on the product, which already has federal approval, as it hits the Texas market. Legal briefs supporting Wild Boar Meats were filed by the Texas Hog Hunters Association and the Environmental Defense Fund.

“Spreading rat poison across Texas lands would hurt Texas hunters, Texas hunting-supply businesses, Texas feral hog meat processing businesses, Texas ranchers and the Texas environment,” said Eydin Hansen, vice president of the hog hunters association.

Warfarin Approved for Hog Control in Texas

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller will be announcing approval of a major new weapon in the ongoing war against feral hogs in Texas. Commissioner Miller has approved a rule change in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) that classifies a new warfarin-based product as a state-limited-use pesticide for control of feral hogs.

State-limited-use pesticides may only be bought and used by a licensed applicator or someone under the direct supervision of a licensed applicator. The pesticide, “Kaput Feral Hog Lure,” is the first toxicant to be listed specifically for use in controlling the feral hog population.

Kaput Hog Bait Texas

“Wild hogs have caused extensive damage to Texas lands and loss of income for many, many years,” Commissioner Miller said. “I am pleased to announce that the ‘feral hog apocalypse’ may be within Texans’ reach with the introduction of Kaput’s hog lure.”

Introducing warfarin as the first pesticide available to control the feral hog population is significant because it gives agriculture producers and landowners in Texas a new weapon in the fight against feral hogs with minimal risk to other animals.

Using Warfarin for Feral Hogs

The bait would be limited to private use, and according to the Texas Department of Agriculture department the pesticide, which was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in January, would be classified as “State Limited Use.” This classification would require distributors to hold a pesticide dealer’s license, according to the agriculture department. Buying it would also require a person to be licensed as a pesticide applicator “or under the direct supervision of a licensed applicator.”

According to the release, the TDA chose to regulate the pesticide in this way to “address the risk of inadvertent human consumption of warfarin-exposed hogs and the risk of potential secondary exposure of non-target animals.”

The risks have drawn concerns from hunters and natural resource professionals. Concern for the ecosystem also prompted the Texas Hog Hunters Association to create a petition against the use of the pesticide. Eydin Hansen, the vice president of the association, said, “If a hog dies, what eats it? Coyotes, buzzards … we’re going to affect possibly the whole ecosystem.”

Controlling Feral Hogs

There is no doubt feral hogs are a real problem in Texas. Hogs numbers have continued to increase in the face of year-round hunting, relentless trapping, and aerial-helicopter hunting. “They’re so prolific, you can’t hardly keep them in check,” says Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. “This is going to be the hog apocalypse, if you like: If you want them gone, this will get them gone.”

Warfarin Bait Turns Hog Fat Blue

He also says that “Kaput Feral Hog Lure,” does not pose much danger to other animals because hogs are especially vulnerable to warfarin, and it would take higher doses than the bait contains to harm most other creatures. A Texas Hog Hunters Association spokesman, however, says they oppose the move and would rather stick to hunting and trapping. He’s stated that he’s worried about the risk of feeding poisoned pork to his family, though Miller says that in a “dead giveaway,” the poison will turn hog fat bright blue.

Why can’t we just feed those hungry hogs bacon? It turns out a popular meat preservative works quite well at killing hogs, too.

TYHP Adventure Hunts

The Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) is committed to helping youth hunters experience hunting and the outdoors. The TYHP is excited to introduce a new element for young hunters, Adventure Hunts. Adventure Hunts will be advanced hunting opportunities designed for older hunters (age 13-17) with previous hunting experience in TYHP.

Adventure Hunts will feature chances to learn and apply advanced hunting skills such as stalking and calling, and many will employ more primitive sporting arms such as bows and muzzleloaders. Hunters on Adventure hunts will not be perched in permanent blinds waiting for game to come to them – the focus will be on hunting actively rather than passively, making things happen rather than waiting for opportunity.

TYHP Adventure Hunts

More challenge will yield greater skills, rewards, and lifelong memories. There will be much to learn, and of course these hunts will offer great fun!

TYHP Hunts: All About Adventure

TYHP Adventure Hunts will focus on wilderness-style camping. And in some cases, that wilderness may very well be in another state. Adventure Hunts will include expeditions to locales such as Colorado, in pursuit of wildlife we normally don’t get to hunt in Texas. Most of the Adventure Hunts, however, will be in Texas, but you’ll be learning to hunt our Texas game in new ways that will be both exciting and educational.

TYHP is designed to be an educational experience, and Adventure Hunts will take outdoor educational activities to a higher level. Success as an “active” hunter will require more knowledge of animal behavior and habitat requirements, not only to locate animals, but to get close enough for an ethical shot if using limited-range arms such as muzzleloaders or bows. Wilderness-style camping will present opportunities to learn about traveling light, leaving no trace and doing more with less. And consistent with the TYHP model, Mentors will be provided on Adventure Hunts to help you learn.

Due to the nature of Adventure Hunts and the physical challenges involved, participation will be limited to older youth aged 13 – 17. The privilege of Adventure Hunts will have to be earned – youth must earn points by providing support to or promotion of TYHP, or by supporting Hunter Education efforts. In other words, we will reward youth who give back to TYHP and the hunting community with spots on Adventure Hunts. So join TYHP for next-level hunting experiences on Adventure Hunts!

First Adventure Hunt Announced

The first Adventure Hunt will be an archery hunt for Pronghorn in Colorado, on the beautiful Comanche National Grasslands in southeast Colorado. Dates are August 14-18, 2017. Learn to camp wilderness-style and go pronghorn hunting with your bow – adventure awaits!

Begin earning points now, and watch this space for the schedule of Adventure Hunts to be added later in 2017. The TYHP staff will be happy to help you coordinate your Adventure Hunt point activities and earn points; for assistance or if you have any questions about the Adventure Hunts program please contact the TYHP.

TYHP Adventure Hunt Details

  • Ages 13 – 17
  • Previous participation in TYHP hunt(s)
  • Additional fees may apply (e.g. non-resident licenses in other states)
  • First hunts will be offered in Fall 2017
  • Youth must earn at least 180 of a possible 500 points to earn a spot
  • Points will be submitted & verified via online Activity Reporting Form
  • TYHP Adventure Hunts Activity Reporting

The table above spells out the TYHP Adventure Hunt Point System and requirements for eligible tasks and events (click on it to display a larger image). If you have been involved with the TYHP in the past or are looking to get started, make sure to contact them as soon as possible about scheduled hunts. The TYHP is a great organization and they can get you and your child out and hunting and on the path to success!

Powderhorn WMA Offers Unique Hunting, Habitat

Powderhorn Ranch is a soon-to-be wildlife management area (WMA) and state park administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), but the hunting has already begun. A group of 14 lucky youth hunters had the opportunity to take part in the first-ever public hunting opportunity at Powderhorn Ranch, which is located just north of the Port O’Connor City Limits.

The youth group got to experience remote deer hunting and the ups and downs that go with it, as well as learn more about the wildlife that call the Texas coast home.

Hunting Powderhorn Ranch

The hunt was a result of a partnership with the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. The TYHP strives to get kids outdoors so that they can experience what hunting is all about, such as being safe, ethical and making sound use of our natural resources. Many parents and their kids are interested in hunting, but having a place to go ends up being the limiting factor.

Powderhorn WMA Park Hunting

The TYHP tries to fill the gap by combining outdoor teaching and experience with interested youth hunters and their mentors on properties where hunting is beneficial to the resource. The newly-acquired property fit the bill, since not completely staffed and ready for TPWD’s drawn hunt system.

The opportunity not only presented a learning experience for young hunters also was the public’s first introduction to Powderhorn Ranch.

Powderhorn WMA

The Powderhorn is as cool as its name, sprawling an incredible 17,351 acres. The Powderhorn is located along the coastal prairies of Texas, comprised of woodlands, grasslands and, of course, wetlands. A variety of native wildlife species call this property home.

The Powderhorn Ranch is to serve both as a state-managed WMA and Texas state park. This means the Powderhorn Ranch WMA should offer hunting opportunities for deer, doves, ducks, geese and non-native feral hogs, too. The park will provide day-use and overnight facilities for families interesting in exploring Texas’ coastal plains.

Powderhorn Patchwork

Source: “Everything has purpose and value, but it also has timing and balance,” said Gene McCarty, the property’s caretaker and retired deputy executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “I like to call it a mosaic. It’s a patchwork of habitats that all work together.”

Powderhorn Ranch was acquired in 2014 and with the infrastructure and environmental renovation, the property is being opened to the public in a limited fashion. The plan is to open as a state park sometime after it changes into the care of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 2018.

McCarty scanned the golden grasslands boarded by the Powderhorn lake and live oak mots.

“If they only know this world from looking at their iPhones, all this is in jeopardy,” McCarty said as he shook his head side to side. “These places are so beautiful, so unique, so important to the bigger picture. It’s important we do what we can to protect the pieces that are left and to be able to use those pieces for the education and enjoyment of its citizens.”

Late Season Deer Hunting in Texas: Time to Go!

It’s almost over, but late season deer hunting is a great time to hunt in Texas for a number of reasons. The weather is typically colder and deer have depleted many of the natural foods that were available during fall. This means deer are hitting stable energy sources, such as spin feeders and winter food plots, on a regular basis.

It’s good timing, too. Getting outside is a great idea because kids are out of school and both parents and youth are looking for a reason to break the cabin fever funk. Fortunately, these late season hunting shots exists in Texas, allowing quality time with family and friends, the chance to complete harvest quotas, and put up some protein for the remainder of the year.

Deer Hunting the Late Season

Late Season Hunting Opportunities

The general white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkey season closed in most parts of the state on New Year’s Day, but that doesn’t mean hunters with unused tags are out of luck. Special youth-only and late season opportunities start Jan. 2 and run through Jan. 15.

The two-week youth-only late season is open in all counties where there is a general open season for white-tailed deer or a fall hunting season for Rio Grande turkey. All legal hunting means and methods are allowed, except in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties, where hunting is only allowed with archery equipment and crossbows. Only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt deer during a youth-only season and hunter education requirements still apply. Be sure to check the county-specific harvest restrictions in the Outdoor Annual.

Youth-only open season provides young hunters with opportunities to learn about wildlife conservation through an enjoyable and memorable outdoor experience allowing parents and mentors to introduce them to safe and responsible hunting.

During the special late white-tailed deer season in 106 counties in the North Zone and 30 in the South Zone, harvest is restricted to antlerless and unbranched antlered deer only. The late season provides additional opportunity for landowners and managers to attain deer harvest goals on their property.

Late Season Muzzleloader

The special muzzleloader-only season provides an opportunity for hunters, adults and youth alike, in 90 Texas counties to pursue white-tailed deer with primitive firearms. A muzzleloader is any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle. A cap and ball firearm in which the powder and ball are loaded into a cylinder is not a muzzleloader. Muzzleloader deer seasons are restricted to muzzleloading firearms only.

Late season deer hunting can be quite productive for the reasons noted earlier, but it’s also a good opportunity to pull out the muzzleloader and knock blow out the dust. And bring the kids, too!