Question: “We have a ranch in Mason County, Texas, and are interested in using the Trap, Transport and Transplant (TTT) Permit offered by TPWD to move some deer to our place from Burnet County, which is currently in the MLDP program. This is primarily for genetic improvement since we are shooting extra deer off of our ranch to make room for the transplants. Like our area, the trap site should have breeding from early November through early December, with the rut taking place earlier during that period. Is it better to transport these deer, especially does, early in their pregnancy or later or is there even a difference? We think earlier is better but would appreciate any advice.”
Response: With regards to the TTT permit, the white-tailed deer trapping and moving season in Texas is from September 1 through March 31 every year. The permit allows the movement of wild white-tailed deer in state. It is designed to provide you with the an additional tool to enhance the white-tailed deer population on your property.
You are correct in that the primary rut is early November in that part of Texas, the trap site. From my experience, late-January through February is the preferred time to transport whitetail. There are several reasons why I believe this window is better than earlier or later.
IMPORTANT TTT PERMIT INFO PER TPWD: Conditions for Permit Issuance – All proposed release sites must have a current Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Wildlife Management Plan approved by a TPWD Wildlife Biologist. Applications will be denied if the proposed activities may detrimentally affect the population status on adjacent properties, if the proposed activities may detrimentally affect the resource, or if the proposed release site is outside of the suitable range of white-tailed deer.
All proposed relocation operations must comply with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission’s Stocking Policy, which stipulates that prospective release sites shall have suitable natural habitat capable of sustaining the animals stocked. In addition, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance is required of all prospective trap sites. CWD test results must be received by TPWD prior to permit issuance. DO NOT FREEZE SPECIMENS.
First, the weather in late-January and February is cold. This not only helps with the ability to capture deer, but also with handling, with regards to both personnel and the animals. Plus, it also allows deer to remain cool while be transported to the release site/ranch. Extreme stress causes heat build up in animals, humans included, and whitetail are no different, so it’s best to have nice cold temperatures on trap and transport day.
With regards to timing, moving deer is better from late-January through mid-February in Texas because temperatures are cooler and earlier is better with regards to pregnant does. The general rule of thumb is earlier is better with regards to fawn survival, but it’s also important to understand that if temperatures are not favorable then fawns will not survive if the doe do not survive the trip.
The TTT permit allows program can be an effective way to improve the gene pool of a whitetail herd on a property for the purpose of deer management. However, careful consideration must weigh the variety of factors concerning the release site as well as the herd from which the animals are trapped. It may not help if a handful of deer are released onto a very large property. The TTT permit works most effectively when the number of deer released comprises a significant portion (>50%) of the release site’s population.
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