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.  Historical Texas deer hunting data and news archive.

Texas Deer News

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...

Drove back home from dumping a trailer load full of dirt at a friends' farm place and on the way back all of a sudden noticed these albino whitetail deer in a field right next to the road. - December 29, 2017 Texas


A large scale research project is taking a closer look at mule deer in the Texas Panhandle. Three Texas universities have teamed up with the Parks and Wildlife Department to determine how agriculture may affect mule deer movements and survival in this region. - December 25, 2017 Texas


... the 15th District Court sentenced a man caught poaching a deer to spend weekends during deer hunting season in jail for the next five years...

Deer disease prompts new rules, precautions for hunters December 19, 2017 TexasKPRC Click2Houston
... TPWD is changing the rules for hunters to contain and control the spread of CWD.  When hunting in three specific areas of the state, deer hunters have a mandatory requirement to take their kill to a check station to have a sample of its lymph nodes or brain taken for testing...

Inside Texas' Anthrax Triangle December 19, 2017 KUT
... Animals get anthrax from spores that live in the soil. ... rich in calcium and low in acid – which you find a lot of in southwest Texas ...  deer eats the grass, contracts the spores ...  Once the deer decomposes, the bacteria inside of it go right back into the soil ...

Local geography still producing healthy deer populations December 16, 2017 Texas, Waco Tribune-Herald
... Central Texas wildlife biologist Josh Sears says ...  habitat in and around the Middle Bosque  ... diverse terrain in close proximity to farmland encompasses a mosaic of micro-ecosystems along that drainage basin well suited for maximum growth potential ...

Woods, Water, & Wildlife: Deer Season Happenings December 14, 2017 Texas, Freestonecountytimesonline
... I contacted Alan Cain, TPWD ... expected an average year for quality of deer harvested (meaning antlers and body weights), and an above-average year for the number of deer harvested. That last part meant that Texas had plenty of deer – over four million ..,

Hagerman conducts aerial hog hunt December 9, 2017 Texas, Sherman Denison Herald Democrat
... feral hogs are not native to North America ... oak and hickory acorns are a staple of the feral swine diet, reducing the overall availability of food for native species like wild turkeys, white-tailed deer ...

... Perry wrote Senate Bill 720, which lawmakers passed during this year's legislative session, to help the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department curb chronic wasting disease ... The state had 4.3 million white-tailed deer last year, and the department estimated there would be the same amount this year..,

Antler restrictions, ET [East Texas] hunters reminded of the 13-inch rule as 2017 deer season busts wide open November 5, 2017 Texas, Lufkin Daily News
...Antler restrictions were first implemented as a experiment in the early 2000s in six southeast Texas counties. Since that time the regulation has been expanded to more than 100 East Texas counties... two bucks per season. One of the bucks must have an inside spread of 13 inches or more, while the second must be a spike or have at least one unbranched antler...
... Under the preliminary proposal, in Briscoe, Hall, Childress, Floyd, Motley, and Cottle counties, a legal mule-deer buck would be defined as one with an outside antler spread of 20 inches or more ,,,The antler-restriction rule is similar to one TPWD has used to great effect to protect young whitetail bucks and improve herd structure and average age of bucks taken by hunters...

Expect another high harvest season in Hill Country, South Texas November 2, 2017 Texas, San Antonio Express-News
... “We had good weather conditions into late winter, which set the stage for a good spring with green weeds and good forage available from February to May,” Cain said. “It dried up a little in July and August in parts of South Texas ..,

... Texas holds an estimated 4.2 million whitetails ... as bucks age, their antlers tend to grow larger, often peaking somewhere between 51/2 and 61/2 years, then going downhill as the bucks, which seldom live to 10 years ..,

Hunters Out in Force as Deer Season Begins October 31, 2017 Texas, The Picayune
... According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the state’s estimated 4.3 million white-tailed deer are continuing to do well in most regions. “The vast majority of the state had good habitat conditions going into last winter and early spring ... The summer months brought a mix of dry conditions ..,

The dos and don'ts of deer hunting season in Texas October 29, 2017 Dallas News
...  average to above-average numbers of deer harvested, according to Alan Cain ... habitat conditions, which were good when 2017 began. About May, the weather pattern turned dry in most of the state... Last year's estimate was 4.3 million deer ... Cain said there are similar numbers, if not more, this season..,

Central Texas could see banner year for hunting October 28, 2017 Waco Tribune-Herald
... “Deer populations in Central Texas made it through last year’s mild winter in good condition, and had abundant food resources due to early spring rains,” ... area has enjoyed 3 years of above-average rainfall. 

... corn tainted with Fusarium fungi ... corn tainted with Fusarium fungi ... purchase a quality product ...

Chronic Wasting Disease reported in Texas elk October 19, 2017 Outbreak News Today
... confirmed Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in an elk located within the South-Central Texas CWD Zone. The elk was harvested on a high fenced premises with common management as a property where whitetailed deer were previously confirmed to have CWD...

Exotics provide unlimited opportunities! October 16, 2017 Texas, KENS 5 TV
... Axis deer were brought into Texas, from India in 1932. Most were kept on high fence ranches, but of course eventually some escaped. Since then they have spread throughout 45 counties ...

Suburban Deer Management, Delivered at the 2017 Finding Common Ground Workshop hosted by the Hill Country Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists in Boerne, TX on October 6, 2017.


Area Deer Rehabilitated & Released at Camp Don Harrington October 9, 2017 Texas, MyHighPlains
... Four white-tailed deer fawns ... either covered in cuts, emaciated, or suffering from a heat stroke... The deer now can thrive and survive without fear of being hunted. That is because Camp Don is protected land...

Majestic felines subsist chiefly on deer, porcupines October 8, 2017 Texas, San Angelo Standard-Times
...  adult Mountain Lions superficially resemble the lions of the Old World, though it is more closely related to the domesticated house cat... numerous studies have shown that the vast majority of their diet (82 percent!) consists of Mule and White-tailed Deer...

Bowhunting Season For Deer And Turkey Starts Sept. 30 September 26, 2017 Texas, Patch.com
... white-tailed deer in Texas have fared well in recent years with a stable population of about 4.3 million, according to Alan Cain, TPWD whitetail deer program leader...  the summer for much the state, 2017 saw dry weather patterns take hold in May and continue into late August..,

State Deer Breeding Rules to Stave Off Deadly Disease Upheld in Court September 25, 2017 Texas, Big Country Homepage
... Attorney General Ken Paxton ... “TPWD’s lawful rules regulating the movement of breeder deer reduce the probability of CWD being spread from deer-breeding facilities, where it may exist, and increase the chances of detecting and containing CWD if it does exist,” ...
     Court sides with state wildlife officials in battle over deer disease September 25, 2017 Texas, MyStatesman.com
... filed a lawsuit, seeking to upend the rule-making authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by challenging a century-old provision in which all deer in Texas are considered public property... ordered Bailey and Peterson to pay a total of nearly $426,000 for the state’s attorney’s fees....

Deer census a key step in permit process, population control September 23, 2017 Texas, MyStatesman.com
...  Our buck-doe ratio has stayed pretty much 1-1,” he says, “and we want to keep it that way. Plus we want to reduce our numbers to try to get our population closer to a deer to 6-7 acres.” ...  MLDPs [Managed Lands Deer Permits] have become a popular way to extend hunting seasons and allow landowners room to take deer when they see them ...

2017 Texas Deer Forecast  September 21, 2017 gameandfishmag.com
...   The overall population trend remains stable in most areas of Texas ... Our deer population estimate statewide was about 4.2 million in 2016 and that figure has been growing slightly every year. The trend is going up and has been going up for a while ..,

Compressed air powers unique deer supplement system September 14, 2017 Texas, San Antonio Express-News
... the feeder holds up to 650 pounds of feed and is designed to fire food out and away from the tube-shoot ... using galvanized steel and a long shoot tube, the feeder is “coon-proof, hog-proof, mud-proof, wind-proof, cattle-proof and fool-proof,”...

Hurricane Harvey displaces countless animals in Texas September 2, 2017 Texas, ABS-CBN News
... Houston also contains the most populated and diverse wild animal ecosystem in Texas. Deer, wild hogs, raccoons, and armadillos are the most populous wild mammals within the Harvey-hit region ...

  Baby deer rescued from Houston floodwaters August 29, 2017 Texas, NBC4 Columbus
... rescued along the San Jacinto River in a northeast Houston community...

Hurricane Harvey and The Great Houston Flood (Part 4) Deer on the Run - August 28, 2017 Texas


7 deer-proof plants perfect for SA to plant now August 24, 2017 Texas, San Antonio Express-News 
... One of the best deer-proof shrubs is Sandankwa Viburnum... primrose jasmine ...  mountain laurel ...  thyrallis ...  one of the best perennials .. bearded iris
     Try to outsmart the deer with these 'deer resistant' plants August 22, 2017 Texas, Austin American-Statesman
... They tend to turn up their noses at herbs and plants with pungent scents like garlic, rosemary and mint. Textures like fuzzy or rubbery leaves often repel them. And they generally pass by plants with thick or poisonous sap. Sometimes they leave thorny or prickly-leafed plants alone ..,

... the deer farming industry generates $3 billion per year for the U.S. economy... Companies that maintain deer registries can provide their customers information about a deer’s lineage and genetic information... NADR hired DNAS to process the genetic information of various deer, perform genetic matching services, and host a database ...

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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