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Being that this year has been an unusually long, hotter, and drier year as compared to previous years. Although I'm not a "wildlife biologist" I do know that it puts a real strain on the survivability of our wildlife mainly our West Texas deer populations. That goes for the carnivores that prey on deer.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has just released its expectations for the upcoming deer season that is soon to start. While the bow season has already begun there have been many reports that the sightings have been fewer and the harvest has seen smaller than normal deer.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists recently stated in their recent press release that hunters will be seeing deer consistently frequenting feeders during the start of the general white-tailed deer rifle season. One of the reasons may be because of the lack of food and water.

I personally believe (because I've seen it in previous years) that the quality of the deer will be considerably smaller because of what the drought and hotter temperatures do to the deer population. One is that their health is somewhat compromised and their body size is much smaller. The biggest and most noticeable is that their antler size is a lot smaller.

Alan Cain, White-Tailed Deer Program Leader for TPWD says “a number of hunters and landowners report seeing lots of deer, especially younger deer,” Cain goes on to say “part of that is a result of good fawn crops the last couple of years so there are more bucks in those younger age classes relative to bucks in that four- to six-year-old range. As we move into November and closer to the rut, those older bucks should increase movement activities in search of does, hopefully presenting an opportunity for a lucky hunter.” Source: TPWD Press Release

The Texas Parks and Wildlife folks are saying that the harvest has been light up until now, Director Cain noted, that "it's not unexpected with the hotter than normal weather we all had the first two weeks of October. Overall antler quality is down a bit, but there’s still some great bucks being harvested during archery and Managed Lands Deer Program season.” said Cain.

Remember, all hunters are required to report all white-tailed deer harvested within 24 hours of harvesting the deer.

Also, a quick reminder that hunters are now required to report all white-tailed deer harvests within 24 hours through the My Harvest Hunt App. Accurate reporting allows agency wildlife biologists to properly study hunting impacts on local herds and develop more hunting opportunities.

Furthermore, the TPWD reminds all hunters that agency wildlife biologists and animal health officials are collecting and testing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) samples from hunter-harvested deer to get a clearer picture of the disease across Texas. Proactive monitoring improves the state’s response time to CWD detection and can greatly reduce the risk of the disease spreading into neighboring captive and free-ranging deer.

For more information about CWD, visit the TPWD website or the TAHC website.

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