Texas Deer Population:  About 5.7 million deer in 2020 with about 5.5 million whitetails.  Good rainfall in 2018 and 2019 allowed for an increase in the population to about 5.6 million deer, about 5.4 million whitetails and 200,000 mule deer.  Up from nearly 4.6 million in 2018, and about 4.3 million deer in 2017 when there was a dry summer for much of the state.    An estimated 4.2 million deer in 2016 and 4 million in 2015, up from about 3.95 million deer in 2014 as result of significant rainfall.  The 1989 estimated deer population was 3.5 million. First case of chronic wasting in a wild white-tail deer reported in 2017.  Herd analysis at right. 

Texas Deer News

97A wildlife fence helps reduce vehicle/animal collisions September 23, 2020 Texas, Quad City Herald
... Parts of 97A between Chelan and Wenatchee have been the scene of scores of animal/vehicle accidents over the years and led to a cooperative effort between public/private group to install miles of wildlife fencing along portions of the road’s west side to help keep mule deer and bighorns away from the highway...

Statewide Outlook Good For Early Season Deer Hunting September 13, 2020 Texas, Tyler Morning Telegraph
... “The spring rains helped many areas of the state, including South Texas, Edwards Plateau, and areas west, recover from very dry conditions persisting from fall and winter of 2019. Vegetation has responded positively to the spring moisture with an abundance of quality forbs and an explosion of new growth on shrubs both of which are critical for providing good deer nutrition,”  ... Texas has an estimated 5.5 million white-tailed deer ..,

Texas A&M Researchers Developing Oral Anthrax Vaccine August 20, 2020 Bovine Veterinarian
... If successful, they will have developed the first effective oral vaccine against anthrax for wildlife. “The preliminary results showed that this concept has potential, so now we are starting up a deer study and we’ll see where it goes from there,” ...

  Local deer finally free August 16, 2020 Texas, hccommunityjournal.com
... The deer had been a familiar sight roaming Kerrville near Barbara Ann Street since November, sporting a trash can lid stuck, inexplicably, around her head for the past 9 months... McCoy successfully cornered the deer in a back yard and removed the trash can lid off her head ...

Genetic selection may reduce CWD among farmed deer August 12, 2020 Texas, American Veterinary Medical Association
... Dr. Seabury said his team also plans to study susceptibility in wild deer populations. State wildlife agencies could use that information to relocate white-tailed deer with reduced susceptibility into areas where, for example, anthrax killed substantial numbers of deer...

...  recently published the results of a pilot study in Nature ... If successful, they will have developed the first effective oral vaccine against anthrax for wildlife. “The preliminary results showed that this concept has potential, so now we are starting up a deer study ...

South and East Texas deer forecast August 10, 2020 Victoria Advocate
... South Texas Brush Country ... The season ended very dry. Ranches with supplemental feed program fared better... estimates 438,000 deer with densities ranging from 15 deer/1,000 acres to 40/1,000. Sex ratio is about 2.2 does/buck ... East Texas has roughly 286,000 deer and densities range from 7.88 deer/1,000 acres in the southern portion to 25.25/1,000 in the center ..,

Hill Country/West Texas deer forecast  August 4, 2020 Wilson County News
... Texas white-tailed deer population has grown to an estimated 5.5 million deer ... Statewide, good rains fell at the right time (April, May, June) to spur vegetation ... The Hill Country has the most whitetails in Texas, nearly 2.37 million... populations in western areas of the region are down due to an anthrax outbreak last year... The Eastern and Western Rolling Plains ... are lower due to sparse rainfall..,

... 20-inch minimum spread since 2018 ... “The age structure looks like it’s getting older in the harvest and the sex ratio is becoming more natural, instead of being skewed from overharvest,” ... TPWD collected data at four check stations in the Panhandle ...

... certain aspects of the white-tailed deer’s response to chronic wasting disease (CWD) are moderately to highly heritable, or passed from parent to offspring, and can be predicted using a custom genomic tool designed by Seabury and his team...

... 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... Spring rains allowed many regions of the state, including South Texas, Edwards Plateau and areas west to recover from last year’s very dry fall and winter, leading to an abundance of quality forbs and shrubs ..,

Life in the 'A-list community' of Hollywood Park July 12, 2020 Texas, mySanAntonio.com
... Hollywood Park takes its commitment to wildlife preservation so seriously that it has a Deer Committee for the continued health and safety of its deer population.)  “Hollywood Park is the crown jewel of the A-list communities within the San Antonio area ...

... The CWD testing year that ended in February produced just shy of 13,000 CWD samples statewide ... Texas recorded 26 new confirmed CWD positives, with six additional “suspect positives” awaiting confirmation. That includes CWD found in a new area, Val Verde County ...

We are excited to have TPWD Deer Breeder Program staff explain the upcoming Annual Report submission process. - April 22, 2020 Texas


... Chronic Waste Disease has been found in a five and a half-year-old white-tailed deer breeding facility, making it the first positive detection of the disease in the county ...

New fees for managed lands deer permit system (MLDP) February 22, 2020 Texas, Austin American-Statesman
... The MLDP system grew out of complains lodged with TPWD at least as far back as the early 1980s, during discussions and plans to pass the Wildlife Conservation Act in Texas. That landmark piece of legislation allowed TPWD to set seasons and bag limits throughout the state and ended the outdated system whereby county commissioners courts could set seasons for the hunters in their county...

... The first case of CWD in Texas was discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in the Hueco Mountains of far West Texas. The disease has since been detected in free-ranging mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk in ... in the northwest Panhandle.  The first case of CWD in Texas white-tailed deer was found in a Medina County deer-breeding facility in 2015 ..,

Drought-like conditions this winter are a concern for wildlife February 1, 2020 Texas, Tyler Morning Telegraph 
... now about 40 percent of the state is in moderate drought conditions and just over 10 percent is already facing severe drought conditions ... a long way from October 2011 when 88 percent of the state was in an exceptional drought, a period of extended drought that almost completely took out a year-class of deer ...

... The harvest option is self-service and provides automated tag issuances that aren’t site-specific. The conservation option, which accounts for 83 percent of enrollment, provides customized one-on-one assistance from TPWD staff and tag issuances that are tailored to each property. Conservation option participants are required to have a wildlife management plan, conduct population surveys and improve habitat...

... City Manager Jeff Looney emphasized that officials aren’t telling residents they can’t feed the deer.  “They want people to still feed the deer by hand in spreading of the feed for them,” he said. “You can do that. They want to discontinue the automatic feeders.” ...

These hunters took a break from hunting deer to save this buck from a hog trap. - January 16, 2020 Texas


... "Forty years ago, there were no white-tailed deer anywhere near here ... the lower Texas-Mexico border ... Today, the white-tailed deer are all over the place. And so it's been a huge success."  Fish and Wildlife told NPR that the border wall may impact 8,839 acres of native habitat on 30 separate tracts of its land... "... staff have worked on this issue for decades and decades. And it's being torn down in front of our eyes." ...

Lakeway pursues permit to trap, transport deer January 9, 2020  Texas, Austin American-Statesmen
...  the first step toward a state permit application to trap, transport and transplant ... white-tailed deer ... an applicant must trap and euthanize 15 deer within the trap site, testing them for chronic wasting disease ... Parks and Wildlife requires the test results before it will issue a permit...

...  Managed Lands Deer Permit... the program has grown to more than 12,000 properties covering almost 28.5 million acres... it allows the harvest of deer without using a license tag within an individual property’s quota and it offers an extended season... Based on current participation, the fee would generate about $1.8 million...

CWD-positive deer shot in Val Verde County  December 20, 2019 Texas, Lone Star Outdoor News
... A free-ranging 5 ½-year-old deer taken between Del Rio and Amistad Reservoir has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, making it the first confirmed case of the disease in Val Verde County...

Lakeway, Committee recommends trapping, transporting excess deer population from Lakeway to west Texas December 17, 2019 Texas, KVUE
... Lakeway's Wildlife Advisory Committee (WAC) recommended to the city council that an unspecified number of deer be moved to west Texas as a way to limit the deer overpopulation across the city...Dennis Hogan, the chair of WAC, brought up the plan to trap, transport and translocate deer to west Texas. Claiming anthrax had killed off parts of the deer population in that area ...

... public comment period has opened for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s proposal of a fee structure for its popular Managed Lands Deer Program... historically been free of charge and offers a lengthier deer season and liberal bag limits to participants. The department intends to use the revenue from the proposed fee to bolster the group of administering biologists ...

Proposed fee would aid Texas’ popular Managed Lands Deer Program November 23, 2019 Texas, Houston Chronicle
... Texas Parks and Wildlife moved closer to levying an annual fee on the highly popular program ... revenue from a future fee would be used to bolster the staff of biologists administering a program that has experienced immense growth...

... The regulations ... prohibits the harvest of any mule deer buck with a main beam outside spread of less than 20 inches in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Hall, Lynn, and Motley counties... The goal of the new regulations is to improve buck age structure and sex ratios in these counties by reducing excessive hunting pressure on younger bucks...

Chronic Wasting Disease: detecting the disease plaguing Texas’ deer populations November 14, 2019 Texas A&M AgriLife
... the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, TVMDL, tests hundreds of thousands of samples annually... In 2012, CWD was first discovered in Texas in free-ranging mule deer in the Hueco Mountains. Since then, the disease has continued to be detected in the West Texas and Panhandle regions in mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk..,

... a population of about 5.4 million and a growth rate of 3.8 percent annually, it is pretty clear that Texas has a vibrant white-tailed deer  ... "There are certainly areas where the deer population could be reduced, part of the Hill Country for example, but in other areas harvest is acceptable with the deer population. Overall, I’d say we are doing good with the deer population in Texas.”  [Alan Cain, TPWD deer program leader] ..,

General white-tailed deer hunting season opens Saturday October 31, 2019 Texas, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
... “We’ve seen a slow but steady growth in the statewide population over the last 15 years, particularly in areas such as the Hill Country, Oak Prairies and portions of the Cross Timbers..,

Texas Hunters Can Expect Big Things This Deer Season October 26, 2019 Tyler Morning Telegraph
... Last year Texas deer hunters took an estimated 883,000 deer statewide, down from about 918,000 the previous year... The dip in harvest numbers was completely weather related. Rainfall produced ample fall forbs to reduce deer movement and enough sloppy conditions to slow hunters down..,

2019 deer forecast looking bright October 22, 2019 Texas, Athens Daily Review
... Texas Parks Wildlife’s latest estimates indicate there are about 5.4 million whitetails ... Mississippi’s whitetail count of about 1.6 million ranks a distant second to Texas; Missouri is third with 1.4 million, according to figures presented during a Southeast Deer Study Group conference in 2018..,

...  released back into the wild by Austin Wildlife Rescue ... 

... Highest deer densities are in areas northwest of Killeen – as high as 133 deer/1,000 acres in places... Post Oak Savannah ... A buck/doe ratio of one buck for every 4.5 does screams for increased doe harvest... South Texas ...Native habitat is excellent ..,

White-tailed Deer Management October, 2019 Texas, TPWD News
... An estimated 5.3 million white-tailed deer inhabit 252 of the 254 counties in Texas ... white-tailed deer are important to the state’s economy with deer hunting generating an estimated $1.2 billion in economic output and $15.7 billion nationwide..,  [Texas also has about 200,000 mule deer]

West Texas Deer Forecast October 4, 2019 Freestone County Times
... Texas white-tailed deer population has grown to an estimated 5.4 million deer from the previous estimate of four million! Improved survey practices combined with Nature have increased the ... total...  winter weeds flourished into the spring, replenishing body reserves lost through the rigorous breeding season ..,

TPWD reminds hunters about proper deer carcass disposal October 1, 2019 Texas, Austin American-Statesman
... they are key players in preventing environmental contamination or minimizing the spread of diseases such as CWD ... CWD prions are found ubiquitously throughout the body of an infected deer, they are known to accumulate in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes... leave all inedible parts at the site of harvest, or preferably dispose of in a landfill, or bury at site ...

Expectations High for Archery-Only Hunting Season September 30, 2019 Texas, frontporchnewstexas.com
..Texas boasts a robust white-tailed deer population of about 5.3 million deer which should contribute to hunter success this season. Despite the deterioration in range conditions over the last several months with the 100-degree weather and wind..,

...Both winter and spring provided good conditions for pregnant does throughout their gestation period, Tomecek said. Deer were showing good body conditions during and after breeding season.  Despite extended dry and hot weather over the last few months ... bucks have had good conditions ...

Lakeway wildlife chair resigns over deer issue August 31, 2019 Texas, Austin American-Statesman
... During its Aug. 19 meeting, Lakeway City Council rejected a proposal Haley presented that would have provided a program goal to limit the growth of the herd to its current size, without deciding on the means of how to contain the animal population...

On the hunt for deer — to count  August 23, 2019 Texas, Austin American-Statesman
... annual census count time in Texas, when landowners and managers are heading out after dark on three nights per ranch, counting bucks and does and fawns ... the Hill Country average of one adult deer to 6-7 acres ..,

...  A year after a video of deer trapping in Lakeway went viral and sparked public outrage ... leaders also voted to extend that trapping suspension until Jan. 31, 2020...
     Lakeway adopts deer program to 'manage impact of the herd' August 20, 2019 Texas, Austin American-Statesman
... “Despite 15 years of trapping and killing the deer to control the deer population, that number (of deer carcasses picked up) has not changed,” Windecker said. “So, trapping and killing the deer or trapping and taking them somewhere else isn’t solving that problem at all.” ...  

Texas hunters and anglers in for big rule changes August 14, 2019 Houston Chronicle
... The liberalization of antlerless deer harvest in the 41 counties comes as the deer population there has expanded steadily over the past two decades, growing almost 5 percent a year in the Blackland Prairies counties.  The limited harvest of antlerless deer under previous rules resulted in a population heavily skewed to does. In the Blackland Prairies region, antlerless deer outnumber bucks almost 4 to 1 ..,

...  about 5.4 million animals, which equals about 48 deer per 1,000 acres... one deer for every 21 acres of monitored deer range...  fall rains drenched much of the state and turned the landscape ripe with valuable forage that lasted well into spring with mild winter conditions... 700,000-plus whitetail hunters ..,
...  Anthrax is ... responsible for the deaths of at least 10 livestock and deer this year...“We have not seen an outbreak of this size in over a decade,” ...

Rains fuel boom year for Texas whitetail deer July 13, 2019 Houston Chronicle
... Texas, has a bumper crop of whitetail fawns... Texas has had an unusual stretch of wet weather that began early last autumn and has persisted into summer... flourishing habitat also greatly benefited does, allowing them to maintain excellent body condition as they carried this year’s fawns..,

Court rules deer are wildlife July 8, 2019 Texas, Victoria Advocate
... an appeal filed by two deer breeders claiming that breeder deer are, or became, private property and asking to invalidate Texas Parks and Wildlife Department rules requiring breeders to test for chronic wasting disease... “We conclude breeder deer are public property ...

... Prior to the 1960s, Texas had less than a million deer statewide. In 1961, the number climbed to 2 million and by 1965, it was 2.25 million, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department..,

... Tewes argues the ocelot's best hope lies in expanding habitats on private ranches in Willacy County, where development pressure is low and where he says ranchers have a natural goal to preserve ocelot habitat, which is also ideal for lucrative quail and deer hunting leases...

Changing times April 16, 2019 Texas, Wilson County News
... The infamous drought of the ’50s caused a roughly 100,000-deer die-off in the Hill Country. After that, allowing the shooting of female deer sounded outrageous..,

... Texas Parks and Wildlife is expanding doe days in 20 counties from four to 16 days ...  after several years of whitetail population growth within these ecoregions, combined with a relatively conservative doe harvest...

... HB 3396 introduced by Cyrier and SB 733, jointly sponsored by Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, and Sen. Pete Flores, R-Pleasanton — would allow the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to charge a fee for participation in the agency’s Managed Lands Deer Program...

Drought-Proofing Mule Deer Herds in Texas March 14, 2019 Texas, Land.com
...  the Lone Star State is also home to roughly 200,000 mule deer. The Trans-Pecos region supports the highest number ... what we can do to “drought-proof” these mule deer herds? The simple equation to the solution involves water, appropriate grazing practices, predator control and supplemental feed..,

Texas Parks and Wildlife Proposes Hunting and Fishing Changes for 2019-2020 February 21, 2019 News/Talk 790 KFYO... In Lynn County, a new mule deer restriction ... "An experimental 20-inch minimum antler spread restriction ... implementation and expansion of white-tailed deer “doe days,” ... Public comments concerning the proposed changes can be made online through March 19, 2019 ...

Urban wildlife raise safety and environmental concerns in New Braunfels February 18, 2019 Texas, Community Impact Newspaper
... an ordinance that prohibits feeding wildlife  .. “Education is imperative in making sure the public knows what our local wildlife can and cannot eat, but government intervention is not necessary at all,” Botter said. “… making it a criminal act is just government overreach.” ...

... In the Blackland Prairie region, antlerless deer outnumber bucks almost 4 to 1, and antlerless deer make up only 41 percent of the annual deer harvest... TPWD’s proposal to liberalize antlerless harvest rules for those 41 counties...

Complaint: Lakeway deer-trapping program OK'd because of false statements January 16, 2019 Texas, Austin American-Statesman
... alleges ... false statements to the state Wildlife Department, saying the city “had a severe public safety problem with the overpopulation of whitetail deer” when it had not conducted a professional deer census to determine the population... told wildlife officials the city built a $65,000, three-mile fence to deter the deer from city limits when it was never installed...

No Cure For Chronic Wasting Disease, But Parks And Wildlife Is Confident About Containing It January 10, 2019 Texas, Texas Standard
... six new cases of chronic wasting disease had been discovered ... there isn’t really a cure for CWD, so most states have to have these containment zones to try to control the disease. “What we can do … is keep from inadvertently moving that disease out of that zone,” Wolf says...

Lake Fork, Deer netting operation underway in Lake Fork neighborhood January 8, 2019 Texas, KLTV
... “We trap the deer under nets,” Russell said. “They are taken out, put in a trailer and then transported to a processor.”...

Texas Data:  The state estimates about 5.5 million whitetailed deer in 2020 with 230,000 mule deer bringing the population to 5.7 million.  Up somewhat from the estimate of 5.6 million deer with 5.4 million whitetails in 2019 as a result of good rainfall and ample forage.  About 200,000 mule deer.  Over 700,000 hunters.  An estimate of nearly 4.6 million deer in 2018 following good rainfall in September and abundant food, although summer drought in some areas reduced populations.  A rough estimate of about 200,000 mule deer in 2019, many in the Trans-Pecos, a population generally in decline.  
     About 4.3 million deer in 2017, a dry summer following two years of widespread consistent rain and good habitat conditions. Good rainfall for 2018 in south Texas will increase fawn survival and provided good forage for deer in much of the state in the fall, with deer less likely to come to corn feeders.   Wild pigs continue to compete with deer, reducing populations.  The deer genome was sequenced at Baylor College.  About 6,000 Axis deer in the wild who have escaped from hunting ranches.  In 2018 TPWD estimates for eastern Texas 220,000 and 284,000 over the last five years, about 2.6 million in Edward's Plateau, 
     A total deer population estimated at 4.2 million in 2016, up from about 4 million in 2015 and  3.95 million deer in 2014, as result of significant rainfall.  The 2016 spring and summer was one of the wettest in decades.  Increased hunting recommended for 2016 in the western Panhandle and Post Oak Savannah region.  Prices for deer hunts plummeted in 2016, thought to be a result of a downturn in the oil industry who send executives and clients on corporate hunts.  For 2015 the mule deer population is estimated at 209,732.  South Texas had good rains and a mild summer in 2014 and 2015 with ample food that has increased fawn production. About 160,000 deer raised by 1,300 deer breeders in 2016. 2015 Hunting Forecast. About 700,000 deer hunters.  About 110,000 deer in 1265 captive breeding farms in 2016, up from 946 farms in 2006.
     An estimated 3.8 million white-tail deer in 2013 before deer hunting seasons, 39 deer per 1,000 acres on average.  About 3.7 million in 2012.  Little fawn production in 2011 as a result of the severe drought, almost as low in 2008-2009.   No fawn production in the panhandle in 2011 and 2012.  A hunting success rate of about 70 percent in 2013.  Antler restrictions were in place for 117 counties requiring at least a 13 inch inside spread.  An estimated $1.5 billion annually related to Texas deer hunts, $2.2 billion including deer breeding and tourism according to a Texas A&M study.
     The deer population trended upward from 2004 to 2010 with the white-tail population estimate of 3.46 million, a high point in 2005.  An estimate of four million deer in 2004.  The record setting drought that started in 2010 resulted in low fawn recruitment and the population dropped. Drought also into 2012, but a good acorn crop.  Improved weather in spring 2014 improved fawn survival and deer health. Generally good fawn recruitment, over 45 percent, in 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2013.   
     The Hill Country had the highest deer population in 2016, an estimated 2.2 million deer, or 118 deer per 1,000 acres, 76 per square mile.  A 2019 average of about one deer per 6 to 7 acres.  The Cross Timbers region had about 600,000 deer or 56 deer per 1,000 acres.  Post Oak Savannah has about 400,000, 35 per 1,000 acres.  PIneywoods has a much lower estimated deer population, about 260,000 deer.  The state average is about 40 deer per 1,000 acres, about 26 per square mile.  Texas maintains good deer demographics, with over 60 percent of bucks killed 3.5 years or older.  Before antler restrictions, this group was only 30-35 percent of the harvest.  
     History    An estimated 232,000 deer in 1938.  Over hunting and drought into the 1940s limited the mule deer population to a few counties.  Screwworms kept the population down in the 1950's and 60's with the population in 1955 estimated at about 500,000.  Screwworms were controlled by release of sterile males.  A severe drought in the 1950s killed about 100,000 deer in the Hill Country.  About two million deer in 1961 and 2.25 million in 1965.  The 1989 estimated population:  3.5 million.  An estimated 232,000 in 1938.
      Axis deer were Introduced in 1932 from southern India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.  About 15,000 wild Axis deer in 2018.
        Chronic Wasting Disease (Texas Updates) was first detected in far West Texas, the Trans-Pecos,  during the summer of 2012 in the remote far western reaches of El Paso and Hudspeth counties near the border with New Mexico. Many years ago in a effort to increase populations, mule deer were transported into New Mexico from norther Colorado -- ground zero for Chronic Wasting.  In 2015, a captive deer tested positive in a captive breeding ranch southwest of San Antonio in Medina county.   In 2017 the first wild white-tailed deer and elk tested positive.  In 2018 the first wild white-tail in the panhandle, 49 confirmed cases statewide.  And 2019.
    Elk, hunted to extinction in the early 1900's, previously found in the Trans-Pecos and western Panhandle.   In the late 1920's, 40 elk were transported from South Dakota and released into the Guadalupe Mountains.  Managed as livestock by the Texas Animal Health Commission.

Useful links:
- Texas Hunting Regulations 
- DeerAustin.Org for information on deer management in Austin, Texas 
- American Deer & Wildlife Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to the growth of the deer and wildlife industry, and to help educate the public and youth on conservation and wildlife issues.
- Texas Parks and Wildlife