Texas Deer Population:  About 4.3 million deer in 2017, 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
... Among the changes announced by the TWPD are an early opener for dove season in the South Zone, a mule deer season in Lynn County, experimental mule deer antler restriction ...

TPWD Commission denies extended deer season for North Zone April 1, 2018 Texas, The Lufkin Daily News
... Citing the possibility of conflicts between white-tailed deer hunters and quail hunters in the Rolling Plains region, the Texas Parks Wildlife Commission recently nixed a wildlife staff proposal to extend the general deer season by two weeks ...

... The Chronic Wasting Disease containment area in the north western part of the Panhandle has been extended east ...

Refuge renews push to sow 'ocelot acreage' March 24, 2018 Texas, Brownsville Herald
... Last year, using innovative white plastic tree tubes to protect delicate seedlings from browsing animals like white-tailed deer and nilgai, the planting recorded a survival rate of 93 percent. Successful reforestation efforts without the tubes can be as low as 20 percent, or even zero percent...

... Citing potential conflicts between quail hunters and deer hunters in some counties in the quail-rich Rolling Plains, the Commission voted unanimously to reject a proposal that would have set standardized, statewide dates for the general white-tailed deer hunting season...

... on Thursday the commission was acting on staff recommendations to set an opening date for the first Saturday in November for the entire state and to push back the closing dates to the third Sunday in January in each county...

... Since 2012 when the state first discovered the disease among mule deer in a remote mountain area along the New Mexico border, Texas has recorded 100 confirmed cases of CWD. Of those, 64 were discovered in captive deer breeding pens, 11 were hunter harvested on breeder deer release sites ..,

Oilman was a winner with the horses March 17, 2018 Texas, Longview News-Journal
... Clifford Mooers ... His horses won 291 races ... relocated to Kendall County in the Texas Hill Country, establishing a deer sanctuary and a horse ranch near Boerne...

Lakeway, Billboard, video spurs effort to halt Lakeway deer-management program March 14, 2018 Texas, Austin American-Statesman
... A billboard recently installed at the intersection of Lohmans Spur and RM 620 by Citizen Advocates for Animals is taking issue with Lakeway’s deer-control program... “When you listen to this video, you will hear the crying of the deer — and it’s not pleasant.” ...
  Lakeway, Video of deer trapped in netting in Lakeway causes controversy March 14, 2018 Texas, KABB
... a video sent to their board of directors shows deer trapped in the net calling out in distress and panic, some bleeding from the mouth and nose, some with broken bones and one or two that appear to be dead... the city of Lakeway has hired a contractor to lure deer into the net traps and "truck them 80 miles away to be shot in the head and butchered." ...

TPWD proposes standardizing statewide white-tailed deer season March 10, 2018 Texas, Tyler Morning Telegraph
... The change would mark the first time since 2001 that hunters in the North Zone would have the same number of hunting days as those in the South. Prior to that time the seasons were staggered ...

... Ana Lisa Garza, a district court judge in Starr County, reported accepting at least 40 semen straws, doses valued at $51,000...

...  would prohibit the harvest of any buck mule deer with a less than 20-inch outside spread of the main beams. The goal is to allow younger bucks to mature after an excessive harvest of mule deer bucks over the years skewed the sex ratio and age structure of the herd ...

Texas deer breeders challenge ruling on state's disease regulations February 15, 2018 MyStatesman.com
... A court ruling last fall upheld the authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to enact rules to curtail chronic wasting disease ... A pair of deer breeders who challenged the agency’s regulations ... are appealing ...

Spring Branch, Neighbors divided over deer trapping and slaughtering February 2, 2018 Texas, WOAI
... managing the deer population by baiting, netting and slaughtering ... has been going on for close to a decade in this community, but it was only recently when a video was posted on youtube, that many of the homeowners began protesting it...

How Does Toxic Bait Affect Deer February 2, 2018 Texas,  Bowhunting
... The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not allow feeds testing more than 20 parts per billion of aflatoxins to be fed to dairy cattle or in grain products chosen for human consumption... grains exceeding those toxicity levels can be sold as wildlife feeds ... Texas A&M researchers tested 100 samples of such feeds, they found 44 percent contained aflatoxins exceeding 20 parts per billion, and 20 percent were at 100 parts per billion and higher...

... the environmental assessment proposes the use of ivermectin-treated corn for white-tailed deer treatment. A previous study conducted by USDA found negligible effects on the environment, and the medicated corn will kill ticks on white-tailed deer, one of the three major hosts for the tick. The treatment will not only improve the health of the deer population, but will prevent the deer from spreading ticks to adjacent properties...

Texas looking at new antler restrictions for mule deer January 24, 2018 MultiBriefs Exclusive
... 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...

Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer and Other Cervids January 22, 2018 Texas, High Plains Observer
... CWD was found in Hartley County in a mule deer harvested during the 2015-2016 hunting season. Since then, a containment zone was set up ...A few new cases per year have been found in elk and mule deer within the containment zone since the first case was found... Just this year a free-ranging whitetail roadkill tested positive for the disease near the boundary of the containment zone..,

Orange County couple raises 'pet' deer on farm January 12, 2018 Texas, Beaumont Enterprise
... They have two main types of customers, he said - those who want pets and those who want to let the deer roam free on their ranches.  The couple has a yearlong waiting list for people wanting bottle-fed fawns to keep as pets...
... A white-tailed deer run over on U.S. Highway 87 between Dalhart and Hartley has tested positive for chronic wasting disease ... the first case in a Texas Panhandle white-tailed deer ..,

... considering extending the general deer season in the North Zone by an additional two weeks ... since bucks start shedding their antlers in late January and early February in Texas ... might potentially result in some hunters accidentally shooting bucks that have shed their antlers after mistaking them for does...

Tame doe visits area with her dog January 3, 2018 Texas, Texarkana Gazette
..."Rudolfina" the deer with a colorful collar  ... She comes out of the woods and will wait until her dog buddy gives the OK, then both of them will come forward to meet you and maybe take some food from your hand...

Texas Data: About 4.3 million deer in 2017, a dry summer following two years of widespread consistent rain and good habitat conditions.  Wild pigs continue to compete with deer, reducing populations.  The deer genome was sequenced at Baylor College.  A few hundred thousand mule deer, a population generally on the decline.  About 6,000 Axis deer in the wild who have escaped from hunting ranches. 
     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 1300 captive breeding farms in 2015 and 2016.
     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.  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  Screwworms kept the population in the 1950's and 60's with the peak population in the modern era prior to 1955 estimated at about 500,000.  Screworms were controlled by release of sterile males.  The 1989 estimated population:  3.5 million.  An estimated 232,000 in 1938.  Axis deer wereiIntroduced in 1932 from southern India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.  
          Chronic Wasting Disease 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.
    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  

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