LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - East Texas hunters are gearing up for the first of the hunting seasons that signal the oncoming of fall, and they’ll find some changes are coming statewide to deer season.
East Texas game wardens like Kurt Kelley are busy preparing for the upcoming hunting seasons, and educating hunters on a major change in the upcoming deer season.
“Texas has got a long deer season, longest season in the United States. I’d actually call it a big change, it’s a big plus for this part of the state. They’ve implemented in Wood County and surrounding counties, a 16-day doe season which starts on November 2 and goes all the way to the 17. And that actually allows the hunter one hunter to harvest two does,” Kelley says.
Nine East Texas counties are affected under the new rule, and Kelley says a Texas Parks and Wildlife outdoor annual identifies them.
There’s a very simple reason for this years extended harvest. Texas has a very healthy deer population. So healthy, in fact, that culling more of the herds will help with conservation.
"In some areas we do have more does per acre and they do need to be thinned out. We've got to be able to manage the herd," Kelley says.
Games wardens hope it gives more options to hunters.
“A big opportunity for the hunter, not just to focus on that one buck or the two bucks they’re able to take. It’s also a big plus for our young hunters, they’re able to go out and harvest their first deer,” says Kurt.
And he hopes that hunters will calculate their shots.
"You've actually got an opportunity to study the deer, which is what we want you to do. Study the deer, make sure he is a legal buck or a doe," he says.
The antler-less or doe rule applies to the bow-hunting season which starts the last week of September; also the first 16 days of the regular rifle season which starts the first weekend in November.
And finally the muzzle-loading season, which starts after rifle season.