Texas hunters may see more liberal regulations and increased opportunities if state wildlife officials adopt changes to hunting regulations that have been proposed.
Under recently approved federal framework governing hunting of migratory game birds during the 2016-17 hunting seasons, Texas will be allowed to hunt doves for a total of 90 days, up from the 70 day season allowed in recent years.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff recommended the additional days be split between the early dove and winter seasons.
The additional dove season day allows the state to extend the first segment of the regular season into November.
In the Panhandle, 14 counties, deer hunting would be allowed for the first time.
In 23 counties and portions of two counties, all in the Post Oak Savannah ecological region of the state, deer hunters would gain additional days during the general deer season during which they could take antlerless (doe) whitetails without having to hold a special antlerless deer permit or Managed Lands Deer Permit. The doe could be tagged with a standard antlerless whitetail tag from a general hunting license.
Thirty-two counties in the Post Oak Savannah would see a 14 day muzzleloader only deer season that would run immediately following the close of the general whitetail season.
To alleviate confusion tied to the definition of a spike buck legal to be taken by a hunter—a buck with at least one unbranched antler during the general deer season in counties with antler restrictions rules and a buck with two unbranched antlers during the special antlerless and spike only season that follows the close of the general season—TPWD Is recommending that a legal buck taken during the late season as a buck with at least one unbranched antler.
All proposed regulation changes are open to public comment in public hearings across the state in coming weeks. The TPWD Wildlife Commission will vote to adopt, modify or reject the proposals at its public hearing in Austin, March 24. Adopted changes will become effective Sept. 1.