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Mar 25th, 2012
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Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer #7052078
01/25/18 03:18 AM
01/25/18 03:18 AM
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Colleyville, DFW, TX
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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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Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7052115
01/25/18 04:04 AM
01/25/18 04:04 AM
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And we will get 2 weeks longer general season in north zone.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7052141
01/25/18 04:26 AM
01/25/18 04:26 AM
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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.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7052152
01/25/18 04:38 AM
01/25/18 04:38 AM
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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.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: ckat] #7052197
01/25/18 07:31 AM
01/25/18 07:31 AM
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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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Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7052268
01/25/18 12:57 PM
01/25/18 12:57 PM
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Murphy, TX Dickens county
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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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Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: Pitchfork Predator] #7052408
01/25/18 03:03 PM
01/25/18 03:03 PM
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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.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7052510
01/25/18 04:21 PM
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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.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7052562
01/25/18 04:59 PM
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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.


Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
I think the deer hunting shows and "Bro' Country" are going to be the downfall of this once-great nation.
Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: bp3] #7053372
01/26/18 04:35 AM
01/26/18 04:35 AM
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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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Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: dkershen] #7053492
01/26/18 12:53 PM
01/26/18 12:53 PM
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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.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: NDN98] #7053622
01/26/18 02:31 PM
01/26/18 02:31 PM
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Murphy, TX Dickens county
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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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Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7053821
01/26/18 04:26 PM
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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.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7053968
01/26/18 06:12 PM
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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

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: Wytex] #7054427
01/27/18 01:04 AM
01/27/18 01:04 AM
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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.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7054783
01/27/18 01:25 PM
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This is just my 2 cents because I don't have any Mule Deer or a place in Tx. to hunt them. I would think that making antler rules for them is a lot different than for especially East Tx. WT. The WT are for the most part hunted on smaller places. The rules can there probably be of some help if the objective of the rules is to try to produce older larger antlered Bucks. As for MD most of the places hunting them are larger properties. If the land owner or the hunters want this then implement your own rules. If they do not care about size then they can shoot what they want. Once you start getting State regulations on something it it hard to get rid of them.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7055023
01/27/18 05:36 PM
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I would like to see a minimum spread requirement due to the range of a mule deer (8 miles appears to be common) that makes individual lease rules insufficient to protect the young deer. This past season I saw a 4 point mule deer {forks on both main beams} with the antlers well above the ears, probably 12-14 inches and wide as the ears. Probably a 3 year old and I had no interest in shooting him. But, there was a crease across the top of his shoulders where there was no hair and white skin could be seen. A bullet is the only thing I am aware of that could have caused that crease. He was not shot at by anyone on our lease. We hunt 8 square miles and that was not enough country to protect him.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: dkershen] #7056016
01/28/18 06:59 PM
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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.


I totally agree with Dave here "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."

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: Tff caribou] #7056608
01/29/18 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted By: Tff caribou
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?



Because many of them are friends/acquaintances of mine. Most say, "The meat tasted funny, so I just gave it away."

Then guess what they are doing the next year???

That's how I know...

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7058288
01/30/18 02:27 PM
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They've been doing antler restrictions at Matador WMA for years, but a little differently. They required the buck to have at least 4 points on one side. That makes sense to me because the mule deer in that area don't tend to move beyond a 3X3 until they have a few years on them. IMO, it's also a lot easier to judge. They either have the points or they don't.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7060474
01/31/18 08:38 PM
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I agree that some kind of antler regulation needs to be established. We hunt near the Matador WMA. The mule deer bucks in that area rarely make it to breeding. I have yet to see a buck reach 4 x 4. Most all bucks we see are 2 x 2 and 3 x 3 but are only a couple years old at most. Inside spread wouldn't meet standard WT ARs. Because we are so close to the WMA (literally less than 1/4 mile), any "legal" MD buck is usually taken before it can reach maturity. Amazing how many does are shot in that area as well. Every year, a landowner will catch someone shooting off the CR or loading up a MD doe. All the excuses are the same. "I thought we are on the WMA" or "it's a WT doe, not a mule deer".

I have yet to see a quality buck in that area within the last 5 years. Just does and yearlings. bang

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: TX Hitman] #7061809
02/01/18 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted By: TX Hitman


I have yet to see a quality buck in that area within the last 5 years. Just does and yearlings. bang


That's a shame. There used to be some real quality management over at Matador. Have they changed staff? Ole Chip was a real good guy but he had no patience for rule breakers. When I hunted there, I saw the game warden handing out financial encentives to a couple of folks who didn't remember or care what the rules were.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7064029
02/03/18 12:10 PM
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The biggest issue is way too many hunters are getting stacked on those panhandle leases and everyone wants a MD buck.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: jeh7mmmag] #7064745
02/04/18 01:52 AM
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I hope they do something to help the bucks grow/get bigger-at the same time I hope they let us take some does-Been on our little place 5 years and for every one buck I see at least 20 doe. and I can only recall 2, maybe three bucks that would be outside the ears in width.

Re: Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer [Re: lubbockdave] #7065003
02/04/18 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted By: lubbockdave
I hope they do something to help the bucks grow/get bigger-at the same time I hope they let us take some does-Been on our little place 5 years and for every one buck I see at least 20 doe. and I can only recall 2, maybe three bucks that would be outside the ears in width.


Agreed on the bucks, but there have always been antlerless MD permits available (at least since 2009 when I first started hunting MD, and certainly prior to that), you just have to apply to your biologist to enter the drawing. I get one every year for my property (240 acres).

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