October 25, 2016
COMMENTARY by Kendal Hemphill
October 25, 2016

Did you know you are allowed to quarter a deer (or pronghorn antelope) in camp, but tagging and proof-of-sex requirements continue to apply until the wildlife resource reaches a final destination?

Chances are you probably did know that.

The deer harvest in Texas is the largest in the nation.

Well, did you know said deer may not be processed beyond quarters in camp unless the camp qualifies as a final destination?

“While in camp you may remove and prepare a part of a wildlife resource if the removal and preparation occur immediately before the part is cooked or consumed; however, all tagging and proof of sex regulations apply to remaining, parts and those parts may be transported to a final destination,” according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Final destination is defined as the permanent residence of the person who takes the antelope, deer, or turkey; the permanent residence of the person who receives the antelope, deer, or turkey or part of the antelope, deer, or turkey; or a cold storage or processing facility.

In other words, not hunting camp unless you live there.

The state is concerned chronic wasting disease will spread from captive to wild herds.

This year new regulations are centered on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). TPWD has created CWD zones and restricted live deer movement in those areas. It also impacts the average hunter.

The TPWD Commission passed regulations banning importation of certain deer carcass parts from states where the disease has been detected and restricting carcass movement from CWD zones within Texas. 

“Since CWD prions are known to be present in tissues of infected animals (especially brain, spinal cord and viscera), the new deer carcass movement restrictions establish the conditions under which certain parts of a harvested white-tailed deer or mule deer could be lawfully transported from those same zones or from a  state, province or other place outside Texas where 

CWD has been detected among free-ranging or captive herds.”

Doe harvest regulations are radically different in East Texas than they are in South and Central Texas. It always pays to know the regulations.

“Hunters will be allowed to transport boned or packaged venison, cut quarters with the brain stem and spinal tissue removed, caped hides with skull not attached, the skull plate with antlers attached and cleaned of all soft tissue or finished taxidermy products. Hunters wishing to preserve a head for mounting can obtain a waiver to transport the skinned or unskinned head of a susceptible species to a taxidermist, provided all brain material, soft tissue, spinal column and any unused portions of the head are disposed of in a landfill in Texas permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.” 

These waivers can be obtained at CWD check stations where TPWD staff will collect CWD samples. Texans hunting out of state can obtain releases online at

The new rules shrink the current CWD zones in Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth and Reeves counties based on the department’s CWD surveillance efforts over the past four hunting seasons, establish a new CZ and SZ in the western Panhandle around Hartley County and create a SZ in portions of Bandera, Medina and Uvalde counties.

“Since the disease has only been associated with permitted deer breeding facilities and an enclosed release site within the Medina area SZ, the new rules do not require hunters in this particular zone to submit harvested deer for sampling. However, a grassroots effort to generate voluntary samples from hunter harvests will be necessary to establish sufficient confidence that the disease will be detected if present at a low prevalence. TPWD encourages all hunters who harvest deer in Bandera, Medina and Uvalde counties to assist in this voluntary effort by presenting their harvested deer at a department-run voluntary check station for CWD testing. Check station locations and additional information were not available at the time of this printing, but can now be found online

New rules are not the only ones people sometimes slip up on.

It seems there are some hunters in parts of the state who have forgotten hunting deer with dogs is illegal. A person is prohibited from using a dog to hunt or pursue deer in this state. A person who violates this law is subject to a fine of $500-$4,000 and/or a year in jail. Additionally, a person’s hunting and fishing licenses may be revoked or suspended. In addition, no person may possess a shotgun and buckshot or slugs while in the field with dogs on another person’s land during an open deer season in Angelina, Hardin, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, and Tyler counties.

As we noted in last month’s feature on trailing dogs, it is unlawful to use dogs to trail a wounded deer in the counties listed above. Additionally, not more than two dogs may be used to trail a wounded deer in counties not listed above. A “wounded deer” is a deer leaving a blood trail.

Here is a unique one.

Crossbows are lawful for any person during the archery-only season for whitetail in all counties except Collin, Dallas, Grayson and Rockwall counties, where no person may use a crossbow to hunt deer during the archery-only season (Oct. 1 – Nov. 4, 2016) unless the person has an upper-limb disability and has in immediate possession a physician’s statement that certifies the extent of the disability.

An upper-limb disability is defined as “a permanent loss of the use of fingers, hand, or arm in a manner that renders the person incapable of using a longbow, compound bow, or recurved bow.”

And finally it is unlawful to possess a deer or any part of a deer that has been hit by a motor vehicle. It might seem like a shame to waste a perfectly good road kill, especially if it does maximum damage to your vehicle, but taking that deer back home will get you trouble just like disobeying all of these regulations pertaining to our state’s top game animal.

—story by TF&G STAFF 


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