TPWD announces dates for dove, deer seasons

A hunter takes aim at a passing white-winged dove in this file photo.

HARLINGEN — A late Labor Day will mean a slight delay in the opening of the popular Special White-Winged Dove Season, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials say.

The special dove season for South Zone hunters allows four extra days to hunt white-winged doves, and nearly all dove hunters want them as early as possible, although Sept. 1 is the earliest federal migratory bird regulations allow.

Since Labor Day falls on Sept. 7 this year, the dates this year for the special season are Sept. 5-6 and Sept. 12-13.

Daily bag limits for the special season are 15 birds, with no more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves.

Dates for the regular dove season are Sept. 14 through Nov. 1 in the first section, and Dec. 18 through Jan. 23 in the second section.

Daily bag limits for the regular season are 15 birds, of which no more than two can be white-tipped doves.

White-tailed deer’s gun season begins Nov. 7 in the South Zone and continues until Jan. 17.

A special late season will be held Jan. 18-31 in the South Zone, and two youth seasons are scheduled from Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, and Jan. 4-17.

Archery deer season is Oct. 3 through Nov. 6.

This year the Texas white-tailed deer population looks to be strong, says Alan Cain, White-Tailed Deer Program Leader at TPWD.

“With any luck we’ll receive another rain or two in July solidifying the good conditions and setting the stage for another favorable hunting season,” Cain said.

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, although that density is not uniform across the state.

“From a statewide perspective, hunters might expect to see a higher proportion of bucks in the 6.5- to 8.5-year age classes as a result of above average fawn crop in previous corresponding years while other age classes reflect a more even distribution,” Cain said. “While doe harvest has been down slightly in the last couple of years, which is likely contributing to a widening ratio of does to bucks, the good news for hunters is that there should be plenty of carryover from previous years.”

rkelley@valleystar.com