Hunters in Brown and Mills counties who are preparing for the opening of deer season will want to be aware of few details — such as antler size — before making their shot.
Joining other surrounding counties who have had the same restrictions for the past six years, Brown and Mills counties are adopting an antler restriction regulation. Based on harvest data collected by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department over harvest of younger age bucks has resulted in a poor age structure.
According to Dan Davis, a wildlife biologist at the TPWD, this improper age structure within a buck herd creates a longer breeding season, which leads to a longer fawning season, and a reduction in fawn production. Poor age structure also contributes to adverse hunter satisfaction.
To improve the age structure, the regulation is being implemented in order to reduce the intense hunting pressure on bucks and particularly on young bucks.
Under the new regulation, a lawful buck is defined as any buck having at least one unbranched antler or an inside antler spread of at least 13 inches.
This new restriction makes the buck limit, two lawful bucks, no more than one of which may have an inside spread of greater than 13 inches. The overall bag limit will be five deer with no more than two bucks, all seasons combined.
All new restrictions for Brown and Mills counties go into effect Saturday, Oct. 3, when the archery season begins. The archery season, which lasts through Friday, Oct. 6, is followed by the general deer hunting season, Saturday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Jan. 3.
The special youth season for deer in Brown and Mills counties, will run from Monday, Jan. 4, through Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010. During this time youth will follow the general county regulations and adults will hunt anterless and spikes only.
Dove hunters especially should be aware of the new banding on mourning and white-winged doves. Wildlife biologists have been banding some of these birds across the nation, and they urge hunters to thoroughly look over the birds before taking their shot.
Dove season in the Central Dove Zone runs from Tuesday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 25, and will reopen Saturday, Dec. 26, through Sunday, Jan. 9, 2010.
For more information on the new hunting regulations, visit the TPWD web site at www.tpwd.state.tx.us.