On the eve of the 2017-18 general deer season in the state of Texas, at first glance, it seemed a bit odd not to see a news release this week from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department main office in Austin.
After all, when the Nov. 4-Jan. 7 general deer season begins tomorrow morning for the 226 counties open to deer hunting in North Texas — and the Nov. 4-Jan. 21 general season in the 30 counties open to deer hunting in South Texas — the next couple of months are in many ways the state's marquee hunting campaign.
With a stable population of about 4.3 million whitetails according to Alan Cain, TPWD whitetail deer program leader, there is much to lure afield the state's more than 700,000 deer hunters to their treestands, ladder stands, ground blinds, tripods, box blinds and tower blinds this weekend from Dalhart to Brownsville and from Texarkana to El Paso.
Even if all-time record early November high temperatures in the lower 90s and beyond are gripping some areas as hunters head for their favorite deer hunting ground. Heat or no heat, those deer hunters are all hoping for the chance to fill the freezer with venison and to tag a Muy Grande buck with a gun or a bow.
In nearly every spot where deer are legally hunted across Texas this fall, prospects of tagging such bucks and does should be good to very good as another excellent general deer season is forecast despite recent temperatures pushing high up on the thermometer.
“The vast majority of the state had good habitat conditions going into last winter and early spring, which helped bucks recover from the rigors of the rut, and gave them a good foundation to start the antler growth cycle this year,” said Cain in the agency's late September news release prior to the start of the 2017 early archery season.
If there is a difference this year from the previous two deer seasons across Texas, Cain noted a few weeks ago that it came thanks to drier weather patterns that took hold in May and continued into late August across good portions of the state. Such drier conditions late in the growing season would likely have some impact on final stages of antler development, body weights, and possibly fawn production according to Cain.
Nonetheless, the TPWD biologist indicated that Texas deer hunters should still expect a good hunting season, particularly in portions of the state where better precipitation has fallen. That includes the Red River Valley here in Texomaland where copious July and August rainfall inundated the area with record summer precipitation and left habitat awash with lush green growth.
“Dry conditions were not uniform across the state and spotty rains from May through July left patches of green across the landscape in the western two-thirds of the state,” said Cain in the TPWD news release a few weeks ago. “Landowners and hunters with properties lucky enough to receive some of the early summer rains and that have remained green may expect better than average deer quality this fall.”
That should be the case here in Grayson County where the general season opens up tomorrow with the means and method of take restricted to lawful archery and crossbow gear. With the same season format taking place in Collin County, expect to see some good hunting over the next two months as archers take to the field.
And don't be surprised to hear of a whopper whitetail or two get getting tagged by archers in either county, especially at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge where the first of three archery deer hunts is happening this weekend.
With habitat conditions in really good shape — and with several 200-class whitetails already being reported in nearby southern Oklahoma over the past few weeks — don't be surprised to hear of a monster buck getting tagged here in the local woods.
Perhaps with a little bit of luck, it will be a buck big enough to grab some attention, the kind of Boone and Crockett Club record book candidate that might literally stop the presses.
And maybe even spur on a news release or two about a buck that might be talked about all around the great deer hunting state of Texas.
Because the hunting for whitetails is almost always a good thing here in the Lone Star State and this year — including right here in Grayson County — there should be little to no exception.