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Texas Sportsman
Texas' 2008 Deer Outlook Part 2: Finding Trophy Bucks
Big bucks can turn up almost anywhere in the Lone Star State, but a few areas are always known for consistently producing whopper deer. Here's a review of some prime locations for taking a trophy this fall. (November 2008)

The distinct charm of each of Texas' different eco-regions makes each stand out.

But whether you're a Pineywoods deer hunter who roams the evergreen thickets, a South Texas hunter who shuffles through cactus flats or a Rolling Plains hunter who traverses open spaces, you're probably not far from a big whitetail buck. More big bucks seem to be showing up in every county in the state, and many Lone Star deer hunters have had or will have the opportunity to harvest that deer of a lifetime.

This season is shaping up to be on par with previous years that have seen big whitetails taken all across the state. Most of the state received ample rains, and with a good carryover of animals from the previous season, there should be no shortage of bigger bucks sporting bigger headgear from the Pineywoods to the High Plains.


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South Texas has always been the big-buck capital of Texas, but other locales too have the potential to produce a deer of the year. With that in mind, here's a look at your best bets for finding a trophy buck this season.

SOUTH TEXAS PLAINS
Hunters worldwide flock to the South Texas Brush Country for one reason: the possibility of harvesting their biggest buck ever.

An inspection of Texas Big Game Awards entries again proves that the first place to look for big bucks is below Interstate 10. South Texas again produced the highest number of TBGA entries, even though it has a higher minimum entry score than other regions. To be a TBGA entry from South Texas, a typical whitetail must score at least 140 Boone and Crockett points, while a non-typical buck must score a minimum of 155. In the Rolling Plains, High Plains, Cross Timbers and Edwards Plateau, a typical buck must meet a minimum of 130 and a non-typical 145. In the Post Oak Savannah, Blackland Prairies, Pineywoods and Coastal Prairies, the minimums are 125 and 140.

Last season kept David Brimager, director of the TBGA, as busy as ever. "Last year was a great year for deer in Texas," he said. "Entries were up from previous years, and we had about 2,600 entries into the program, including the first harvest numbers. As far as the big bucks we had entered, there were 1,568 entries, which would be an all-time high."

After a banner season, Brimager said, some variables could reduce the number of entries this fall. "We expect the entries to be down from last season. There are any number of things that might affect the number of deer we see -- anything from drought and fires to other stresses the weather puts on the animals."

Among the variables helping the Lone Star State produce bucks at the top end of their potential are landowner cooperation and improved management practices overall. "Everybody's working together more these days," said Brimager, "and so you're seeing more big deer coming from co-ops and other managed areas. Landowners are doing more today than they ever have to manage for deer, and the number of good bucks we're seeing proves that every year. The data we have shows that 74 to 76 percent of our entries came from low-fenced properties, so the myth that only high-fenced places produce the biggest bucks isn't true."


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