Despite overwhelming support from hunters, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Thursday denied a proposal that would have extended deer season in much of Texas to match the season dates in South Texas.
More than 2,200 hunters across the state commented prior to Thursday’s commission meeting, with more than 90 percent supporting the change that would have had the season open the first Saturday in November and run through the third Sunday in January.
The primary opposition to the change came from quail hunters in the Rolling Plains region.
The change would have marked 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, but the same length with the South Zone opening two weeks later and closing two weeks later. In 2001 TPWD commissioners voted to start both seasons the same day, but continuing to allow South Texas to run two weeks longer.
Alan Cain, TPWD deer program leader, had said he did not expect the change would have a major impact on deer harvest numbers in the state since 87 percent of the total harvest comes before Dec. 31.
“Those peak harvest times are not unexpected with kids and families being off work and out of school. Even though we still have South Texas general season, MLDP season, muzzleloader season, special late season and a few days of North Zone general season still open after Jan. 1, only 13 percent of the statewide harvest occurs during this time. An additional two weeks for North Zone counties is not expected to have any impact on the deer population," he said.
"I suspect many folks have enough deer in their freezers, and those with families/kids have probably shifted focus on to things such as stock shows, high school sports, etc.,” Cain said in explaining the impact of the change.
The change was requested by a hunter and would have impacted 222 counties around the state.
In other action, commissioners did approve the use of air guns and air bows for taking alligators, game animals, nonmigratory game birds and furbearers.