December Deer Are Different Wise to the fact that they're being hunted, East Texas whitetails aren't likely to slip up once December rolls around. here are some time-tested tips to help you score now. (December 2007) ... [+] Full Article
Texas' 2007 Deer Outlook -- Part 1: Our Top Hunting Areas
"Compared to 2006, we're probably in excellent shape," he said. "As far as the deer go, the prospects should be as good as I've seen them. The spring moisture we got provided better conditions for forbs and other food sources that they might not have had last year. That should provide plenty of essential nutrients that are needed by deer both young and old."
The eastern Panhandle is shaping up to be one hotspot that hunters looking to fill their tags this season should really think about. While counties in the southern and western Panhandle have some of the lowest deer numbers in the state, the eastern portion of the top of Texas sees population numbers that rival counties farther south. Heavy spring rains helped the eastern Panhandle as much as or more than any other region in the state, filling the numerous streams and creeks that dot that part of the world's landscape. And while farmers have seen good crop production in the eastern Panhandle, the deer have enjoyed it just as much.
According to Jeff Bonner, a TPWD wildlife biologist in the Panhandle, at least two counties in his district are set for great years. "Wheeler and Hemphill counties are probably the best in the region, and two of the best in the state for seeing lots of deer," he said. "Too many in some cases. Any drainage areas along the Red River are going to have lots of deer, especially in wet years like this one. With a lot of rainfall, you get a lot of weeds and other stuff that deer prefer to eat. It's been like Baskin-Robbins in a lot of areas in the state and in the Panhandle."
Private owners hold about 95 percent of the land in our state, so most hunters in the Lone Star State pursue whitetails on family property or deer leases. Play your cards right, however, and a state wildlife management area might pay off in some venison.
For $48, hunters can purchase an annual hunting permit that enables access to more than 1 million acres of land. The permit allows hunters to enter WMAs when the sites are open for general visitation and exempts the holder from any hunting permit fees applicable at those areas. For more on public hunting opportunities, visit the TPWD Web site, www.tpwd.state.tx.us.
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While variety might be the spice of life, continuity's always a plus in whitetail hunting. Good range conditions and the largest whitetail population in the country mean that hunters should expect to see as many deer as ever this season, if not more. And we all hope that the trend keeps up!