Weather Sets High Expectations for Texas Archery-Only Season Opener

AUSTIN – Expectations are high for the archery hunting season opening day thanks to recent rain events, mild temperatures and reported deer movement throughout the state. The archery-only season opens on Oct. 3 and runs through Nov. 6.

“Recent precipitation throughout Texas has resulted in a flush of new growth on preferred native deer forages and should set the stage for good winter weed production, critical for deer late in the season,” said Alan Cain, White-tailed Deer Program Leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “This is quite a change from the brown and brittle range conditions experienced in July and August.”

Cain said that hunters and landowners are reporting exceptional antler quality, as seen on trail cameras or while scouting their favorite deer hunting locale. He adds that even though the western Panhandle of the state is still experiencing somewhat dry conditions, significant impacts on deer season are not expected.

TPWD biologists estimate that the state’s deer population is around 5.5 million deer, or a density of 49.25 deer per 1,000 acres. However, that density is not uniform across the state and those areas with better habitat tend to support higher deer populations.

White-tailed deer and mule deer are Chronic Wasting Disease-susceptible animals. As such, prior to hitting the field, TPWD asks that hunters review CWD information to find area testing requirements and carcass movement restrictions in CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones.

While the archery-only season kicks off the first weekend of October, the general season opener is still more than a month away on Nov. 7. The general season runs through Jan. 3, 2021 in the North Zone and Jan. 17, 2021 in the South Zone. A special youth-only gun deer season is set for Oct. 31- Nov. 1 and Jan. 4-17, 2021. For additional late season deer hunting opportunities, county specific regulations and information on how to property tag and report a harvest, consult the 2020-21 all-digital Outdoor Annual. Hunters can download the free Outdoor Annual mobile app for iOS and Android.

Archery hunters are required to purchase an Archery Endorsement in addition to their hunting license. Hunters taking advantage of Texas Public Hunting Lands must also have the Annual Public Hunting Permit. It’s also important for public land hunters to consult the Public Hunting Lands Map Booklet to review regulations that may apply to specific areas. The My Texas Hunt Harvest app can be used to complete on-site registration electronically at a public hunting area.

Those interested in learning more about archery and bowhunting, or anyone who is looking to brush-up on their skills ahead of the season, are encouraged to explore Bowhunter by Fall, a newsletter series presented by TPWD’s Community Archery Program.