Officials with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) Commission have made some historic proposals relating to whitetail deer season and the use of air guns in Texas.
TPWD staff propose to standardize the general deer season statewide to open the first Saturday in November and end on the third Sunday in January. Additionally, staff propose to open the special late season, muzzleloader season, and the late youth season on the first Monday following the third Sunday in January for 14 consecutive days. This proposal would also adjust concurrent turkey hunting seasons with the general deer season in the North Zone.
The general season opens on the first Saturday in November but end dates differ in North and South zone counties. Where North Zone general season ends on the first Sunday in January and the South Zone general season ends on the third Sunday in January.
In 2001 TPWD standardize the opening of general deer season statewide but did not standardize the close of general season in the two zones. Because of the different closing dates the South Zone has an additional two weeks of hunting during general season that the North Zone does not.
TPWD officials noted that staff do not believe the proposed change to the ending date of general season will have any significant biological impact on the white-tailed deer or turkey population in the North Zone counties as a result of an additional two weeks of hunting.
Big game harvest survey results indicate that only 13 percent of the statewide harvest occurs after December 31 even though general season is still open across the state as well as a several other seasons such as MLDP season, muzzleloader, and special late season.
Additionally TPWD staff proposes to allow the take of alligators, game animals, non-migratory game birds and furbearers with air guns and air bows. The proposal also specifies that the take of alligators, deer, pronghorn, big horn sheep, javelina, and turkey will be restricted to air guns .30 caliber or larger.
Under the proposal alligators in non-core counted may be taken with air bows. In all counties alligators caught on a taking device may be dispatched with air guns. Air guns propelling a .177 caliber projectile or larger may be used to take squirrel, quail, pheasants and chachalaca.
Keep an eye on fishgame.com for more information in the coming weeks.