The global pandemic has hurt a lot of things around the state, but it doesn’t seem like the upcoming deer season will be one of them.

Spring rains allowed many regions of the state, including South Texas to recover from last year’s very dry fall and winter, leading to an abundance of quality forbs and shrubs, both of which are critical for deer nutrition. The conditions have lent to a good start to antler growth and a positive outlook for fawn recruitment numbers.

While deer season doesn’t start until Nov. 7, the rain that fell recently is another good sign for hunters locally.

“The fawns are on the ground for the most part,” Wharton County Game Warden Scott Blackburn said. “Anytime we have a good rain system it helps with the food system for them. Acorns are going to be their number one source of food and protein and they’re going to get that anytime we have good rains. The Oak trees are going to produce that much more for them and give us a healthy crop.”

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists estimate that the state’s deer population is around 5.5 million deer, or a density of 49.25 deer per 1,000 acres. However, that density is not uniform across the state and those areas with better habitat tend to support higher deer populations. TPWD data suggests that the hunter success rate in 2019 was estimated to be 60% and similar trends can be expected for the 2020-21 season.

For area hunters who prefer to travel out of the county, according to TDPW, The Edward’s Plateau and the Cross Timbers regions of Texas are forecast to have the highest deer populations.

A change to hunting in Wharton County mandates hunters harvesting in the county or Colorado County along with numerous counties in the area must report their kill to the free TPWD app called My Texas Hunt Harvest and it can be found on the Apple and Google app stores.

Dove season nears

Before you take the rifle out, dove season is quickly approaching starting in September. This year Wharton County has special white-winged dove days to open up the season Sept. 5-6 and Sept. 12-13.

“I really like that (special season) it gives the birds a chance to rest. We’re not hitting them in the morning and the evening. I think that allows for more good quality days of hunting,” Blackburn said. 

With the added special season it gives hunters three good weekends of hunting, Blackburn said.

Information provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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