TPWD experts see big year for South Texas white-tails

Maricela Rodriguez/Valley Morning Star

HARLINGEN — Rain brought by Hurricane Hanna and other storm systems caused trouble earlier in the year, but Texas deer hunters will reap the benefits of the unusually wet summer.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department experts predict an above-average deer season this fall and winter, with South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley specifically singled out for prime conditions.

The general white-tailed deer season begins Saturday and runs through Jan. 17. A special late season runs from Jan. 18-31, where hunters can harvest antlerless deer or spike bucks.

“Hunters in the Edwards Plateau, Cross Timbers and South Texas eco-regions can expect some of the best conditions,” said Alan Cain, the TPWD White-Tailed Deer Program leader. “If dry conditions persist, hunters could expect to see increased deer activity around feeders or other key food sources.”

Relatively mild temperatures and those rains earlier in the year mean the eastern half of South Texas south into the Rio Grande Valley is poised for an especially good season.

TPWD officials say the deer population in the region is stable with most recent estimates putting the white-tailed number at an estimated 438,000.

Hunters pursuing mature bucks should look to South Texas this year, where antler quality is expected to be above average due to good range conditions, TPWD officials say.

The Edwards Plateau in central Texas has the highest deer population in the state with an estimated 2.37 million deer.

The Cross Timbers region in north Texas has the second-highest deer population in the state with deer densities ranging from 14 to 88 deer per 1,000 acres.

rkelley@valleystar.com