A leading West Texas wildlife management expert says that recent rainfall in the area has helped with the first step in range recovery, but he has some tips on how to manage an already severely damaged deer and turkey population.
With the Texas big game season only a few days away, Steve Nelle of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in San Angelo is urging hunters to be cautious in taking spiked horned deer this season.
When the season opens on Nov. 5, “hunters will definitely be seeing a big increase in spikes, but many of them will be immature bucks that haven’t had the food needed for normal antler development,” said the range management expert.
Nelle is almost through with his annual survey of game populations in Tom Green, Coke, Irion and Sterling counties, but he’s already seen enough to say that deer numbers are below normal. “The hot and dry summer has taken a toll on both adult and young deer. Recent rains will help going forward, but they came too late to help with antler development and the survival of animals struggling to find water and forage,” Nelle said.