There is a new experimental regulation on mule deer antler restrictions this hunting season in the Southeast Texas panhandle.
Hunters pursuing mule deer will have to comply to the new regulations, prohibiting the harvest of mule deer with a spread of antlers less than 20 inches.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is implementing the new experimental regulations in the hopes of improving buck’s age structure and sex ratio in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Hall, and Motley counties.
It aims to reduce excessive hunting pressure on younger bucks. A similar antler restriction for white-tailed deer has been in place for a number of years in other parts of Texas and has successfully shifted the age class structure towards older bucks.
Mule deer season, archery only is from Sept. 29 until Nov. 2 while general firearm season occurs Nov. 17 through Dec. 2.
The experimental hunting regulations will be conducted for four hunting seasons. At the end of the four seasons, TPWD will collect research and see what effect the regulation had on the mule deer growth.
Based on their findings after the four years, TPWD will either propose to extend the regulation, modify the antler restriction, or permanently terminate the restriction.
The hunters that turn their deer over to the TPWD to be measured will be entered into drawings for numerous items such as rifles, lifetime hunting rifles or many other items.