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#7052078 - 01/24/18 09:18 PM Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer
jeh7mmmag Online   happy
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Registered: 11/01/04
Posts: 13137
Loc: Colleyville, DFW, TX
John McAdams
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

In an effort to improve the overall mule deer herd composition in the Texas Panhandle, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials are considering making changes to the mule deer hunting regulations. Specifically, TPWD is looking at implementing antler restrictions in order to reduce the harvest of younger mule deer bucks.

According to TPWD mule deer program director Shawn Gray, the mule deer herd in the southeastern portion of the Texas Panhandle is in rough shape. Specifically, the mule deer herd has far too few bucks 3.5 years of age or older and a skewed doe-to-buck ratio of around 6 to 1.
TPWD thinks these problems are the result of hunters harvesting too many young bucks. Current regulations permit hunters to harvest one mule deer buck in Texas during all seasons combined. While most counties only allow hunters to harvest bucks during mule deer season, hunters may harvest up to two mule deer (but still no more than one buck) in Brewster, Pecos and Terrell Counties.

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#7052115 - 01/24/18 10:04 PM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag]
Txduckman Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 13345
Loc: Big D
And we will get 2 weeks longer general season in north zone.

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#7052141 - 01/24/18 10:26 PM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag]
ckat Offline
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Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 1316
Loc: Lubbock Area
It's a start. I wish they would extend it to Dickens, Crosby, Hale, etc.

The future looks sad around here. The newly-opened seasons have made "hunters" out of many who never cared a thing about it. Lots of young bucks are getting shot just to say they shot one - no interest in the antlers or the meat.

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#7052152 - 01/24/18 10:38 PM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag]
rifleman Offline
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Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 44375
Loc: Kingwood
They’re more herd animals than WT, so I wouldn’t worry as much about the ratio until population numbers are starting to exceed expectations.

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#7052197 - 01/25/18 01:31 AM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: ckat]
Tff caribou Offline
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Registered: 08/27/12
Posts: 4027
Loc: Watauga, TX
Originally Posted By: ckat
It's a start. I wish they would extend it to Dickens, Crosby, Hale, etc.

The future looks sad around here. The newly-opened seasons have made "hunters" out of many who never cared a thing about it. Lots of young bucks are getting shot just to say they shot one - no interest in the antlers or the meat.
If they are shooting and letting them lay, that’s illegal, even if they tag it. If they are taking it home, how do you know they don’t care about he meat?
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#7052268 - 01/25/18 06:57 AM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag]
Pitchfork Predator Offline
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Registered: 01/25/13
Posts: 14295
Loc: Murphy, TX Dickens county
Education would help along with some doe harvest.

Most hunters are not aware of the fact it takes a mule deer buck 2 more years than a WT to reach full maturity. They don't take the time to study and educate themselves on how to determine if a buck is fully mature.

TPW could be more pro active putting together age pics and info for hunters to study.
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#7052408 - 01/25/18 09:03 AM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: Pitchfork Predator]
Always ready 2 hunt Offline
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Registered: 07/31/15
Posts: 1444
Originally Posted By: Pitchfork Predator
Education would help along with some doe harvest.

Most hunters are not aware of the fact it takes a mule deer buck 2 more years than a WT to reach full maturity. They don't take the time to study and educate themselves on how to determine if a buck is fully mature.

TPW could be more pro active putting together age pics and info for hunters to study.


x2. In the very far SE Panhandle area down to Childress the ratio IMO is high doe to buck. I'd like to see Archery open for MD doe. I have not seen a mature MD buck in years during season. Lots of young bucks and we got to let them keep walking.

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#7052510 - 01/25/18 10:21 AM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag]
bp3 Offline
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Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 1204
I know the Bar 73 ranch that dkershen on this forum has and hunted 15 years ago had a extremely high doe population guessing 15 or more does to bucks, but the drought might have lowered that some.What helped with age structure was it joins the park.

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#7052562 - 01/25/18 10:59 AM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag]
txtrophy85 Offline
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Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 23592
people want to kill a mule deer to say they killed one, don't care if its a 2 year old 130" buck.

Mule deer are not like whitetail, they are not as prolific and you can ruin a herd in a matter of seasons if you don't use discrecion.
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#7053372 - 01/25/18 10:35 PM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: bp3]
dkershen Online   content


Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 18610
Loc: Denton/Argyle
Originally Posted By: bp3
I know the Bar 73 ranch that dkershen on this forum has and hunted 15 years ago had a extremely high doe population guessing 15 or more does to bucks, but the drought might have lowered that some.What helped with age structure was it joins the park.

Between the drought and doe management we've brought ratios back to roughly a 1 to 4 ratio. Much improved, but not any real way to long term fix this without a lot more doe tags.

I'm not a fan of Mule Deer antler restrictions the way they are proposed. A lot of mature panhandle bucks will never make 20 inches. In fact I'll bet nearly half the population of 4.5 and older bucks will not meet that criteria. I've got a decade of rack measurements on mature bucks I'll share with TPWD if they want more data points.
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#7053492 - 01/26/18 06:53 AM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: dkershen]
NDN98 Online   content
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Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 11217
Loc: McKinney, TX
Originally Posted By: dkershen
Originally Posted By: bp3
I know the Bar 73 ranch that dkershen on this forum has and hunted 15 years ago had a extremely high doe population guessing 15 or more does to bucks, but the drought might have lowered that some.What helped with age structure was it joins the park.

Between the drought and doe management we've brought ratios back to roughly a 1 to 4 ratio. Much improved, but not any real way to long term fix this without a lot more doe tags.

I'm not a fan of Mule Deer antler restrictions the way they are proposed. A lot of mature panhandle bucks will never make 20 inches. In fact I'll bet nearly half the population of 4.5 and older bucks will not meet that criteria. I've got a decade of rack measurements on mature bucks I'll share with TPWD if they want more data points.


Dave,
I was thinking the same thing about the antler restrictions. Many a 4.5+ buck will not make the 20 inches.

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#7053622 - 01/26/18 08:31 AM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: NDN98]
Pitchfork Predator Offline
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Registered: 01/25/13
Posts: 14295
Loc: Murphy, TX Dickens county
Originally Posted By: NDN98
Originally Posted By: dkershen
Originally Posted By: bp3
I know the Bar 73 ranch that dkershen on this forum has and hunted 15 years ago had a extremely high doe population guessing 15 or more does to bucks, but the drought might have lowered that some.What helped with age structure was it joins the park.

Between the drought and doe management we've brought ratios back to roughly a 1 to 4 ratio. Much improved, but not any real way to long term fix this without a lot more doe tags.

I'm not a fan of Mule Deer antler restrictions the way they are proposed. A lot of mature panhandle bucks will never make 20 inches. In fact I'll bet nearly half the population of 4.5 and older bucks will not meet that criteria. I've got a decade of rack measurements on mature bucks I'll share with TPWD if they want more data points.




Dave,
I was thinking the same thing about the antler restrictions. Many a 4.5+ buck will not make the 20 inches.


That's ok, 4.5 year old mule deer bucks are not mature. It's not a perfect rule, but also remember it's an outside spread not inside. It's better than doing nothing. But I believe they need to allow more doe harvest as well if they want to see the buck doe ratio fixed.
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#7053821 - 01/26/18 10:26 AM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag]
Wytex Offline
Tracker

Registered: 12/07/16
Posts: 521
Loc: Wyoming
Why not an antler point restriction? Our antler point restrictions on mule deer have increased the buck/doe ratios and fawn recruitment on NF lands. for a few years we have many more younger bucks but the mature bucks have really increased to a point of relaxing the antler point restrictions.
The Snowy Range had diminished mule deer numbers for years and with a few years of 3 pt or better we now have healthy ratios and many more mature, trophy bucks being taken. It does allow those mature management type 2 and 3 pts to breed but numbers of mature bucks came up significantly.
We see lots of NR harvesting very young bucks just to get a mule deer, locals too that hunt for meat. Let the young 'uns walk.

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#7053968 - 01/26/18 12:12 PM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag]
bp3 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 1204
I hunted central Nevada back in 1980 and they had a 4 point rule there and it helped a lot. I know now they kill some big deer out there. rifle

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#7054427 - 01/26/18 07:04 PM Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: Wytex]
rifleman Offline
Sparkly Pants

Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 44375
Loc: Kingwood
Originally Posted By: Wytex
Why not an antler point restriction? Our antler point restrictions on mule deer have increased the buck/doe ratios and fawn recruitment on NF lands. for a few years we have many more younger bucks but the mature bucks have really increased to a point of relaxing the antler point restrictions.
The Snowy Range had diminished mule deer numbers for years and with a few years of 3 pt or better we now have healthy ratios and many more mature, trophy bucks being taken. It does allow those mature management type 2 and 3 pts to breed but numbers of mature bucks came up significantly.
We see lots of NR harvesting very young bucks just to get a mule deer, locals too that hunt for meat. Let the young 'uns walk.


It’s going to be hard For ratio to actually improve recruitment. The does are getting bred. Western ratio management has turned into a thing of economics to sell tags since they’ve cut the mess out of buck tags & budgets over the years, but operating costs continue to climb.

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