Hearings set for Proposed Panhandle Mule Deer Regulation Changes

AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has set three public hearings in the Panhandle to seek public comment on two proposed mule deer hunting regulation changes. The proposals are to open a mule deer season in Lynn County and initiate an experimental antler restriction in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Motley, and Hall counties.

Proposed for Lynn County is a 9-day buck-only season with no special archery season. The department’s survey data indicate the existence of mule deer populations within the Lynn County area that can sustain buck-only hunting pressure.

Proposed for six counties in the southeast Panhandle is a harvest strategy that would prohibit the harvest of any buck mule deer with less than a 20-inch outside spread of the main beams. This proposal, which would apply to Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Motley, and Hall counties, is intended to allow younger bucks to mature and improve the age structure of the herd. This is an area where an undesirably excessive harvest of mule deer bucks over the years has created a skewed sex ratio and an age structure inordinately weighted towards young bucks.

The proposed antler-restriction rule would not apply to properties enrolled in the Managed Lands Deer Program because a wildlife management plan designed to optimally manage deer populations is implemented on those properties. Staff propose to test the experimental antler-restriction harvest strategy for at least 4 hunting seasons and monitor the experiment using annual aerial mule deer surveys, incentive-based voluntary hunter check stations, and opinion surveys.

Meetings will be held at 7 p.m. in:

Childress – March 5

Childress County Courthouse – 2nd Floor (County Judge Hearing Room), 100 Ave E NW

Turkey – March 6

Bob Wills Center, 602 Lyles Street

Tahoka – March 7

Community Room, 1807 N Main Street (enter on the west side of the building)

Public comments regarding these proposals can also be provided online at https://tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/proposals/201803_mule_deer.phtml