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Hunt Texas - The Latest Texas Hunting News
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department sent this bulletin on October 27, 2010 04:23 PM

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Fall Hunting Forecast: Deer, Quail, Turkey

Post-drought rain brings increase in game populations and happy hunters. Solo hunter

White-tailed Deer General Season:
North Texas: Nov. 6–Jan. 2
South Texas: Nov. 6–Jan. 16
Llano is one of the most popular deer hunting counties in Texas. Dale Schmidt, a wildlife technician there, probably says it for all of the Hill Country: “Llano and San Saba have received ample rainfall starting in September 2009. Therefore, the overall habitat greatly improved from this time last year. With a good acorn crop last fall along with pastures green with forbs in the spring, this deer season is shaping up to be a possible record year for antler growth.

Quail: Oct. 30–Feb. 27
Last season was dreadful in most areas of Texas. Two summers without rain reduced quail populations to maybe enough to fill a Volkswagen. The Chaparral Wildlife Management Area in South Texas — often one of the better bobwhite hunting areas — even suspended hunting because of lack of birds and fear of losing more. Then the drought broke, and hopes rose. But like Rome, a quail nation cannot be rebuilt in a day. Or even a season. Evan McCoy, on the Kerr WMA, describes it like this: “We should see some tremendous hatches this spring and summer, but we may not be working with a large carryover of birds from last spring (2009) when conditions were poor.”

Rio Grande Turkeys Fall Season:
Special Youth Season Oct. 30–31, Jan. 15–16
North Zone (122 counties) Nov. 6–Jan. 2
South Zone (26 counties) Nov. 6–Jan. 16
Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg and Willacy counties Nov. 6–Feb. 27
Most Texas turkey hunting is now done in the spring, but some unlucky toms happen past deer hunters and end up on the table at Thanksgiving. Unlike quail hunters, most fall turkey hunters don’t benefit from good conditions that year; they are hunting a hatch from previous seasons.

Read more about what the TPWD wildlife biologists say about this year’s hunting prospects in the September Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.

Also, check out the recent press release explaining why Wildlife biologists at TPWD are cautiously optimistic about quail prospects this season.

Have other questions about hunting? Ask a game warden or a wildlife biologist during our "Ask An Expert" online chat session on Thursday, November 4 from noon to 1 p.m.

Prospects Good for Texas Deer Season

Two DeerTexas deer hunters could be blessed with too much of a good thing this fall, at least early on, as excellent range conditions throughout the state have set the stage for what could be a season to remember.

The Texas deer hunting season opened Saturday, Oct. 2, for bowhunting and opens Nov. 6 for the general gun season. A special youth-only weekend season is set for Oct. 30-31. The general season runs through Jan. 2, 2011 in North Texas and Jan. 16, 2011 in South Texas. A late youth-only season is also slated for Jan. 3-16, 2011.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists equate good habitat with healthy wildlife populations and suggest you don’t have to look hard to find plenty of both this year. Timely rainfall that began last winter and continued throughout the first half of 2010 has helped maintain range conditions and provide an ideal environment for deer to flourish.

Read the news release for more about the dynamics and prospects for the upcoming deer season.

Bright Outlook for Waterfowl Season

WaterfowlThe stage is set for what could be one of the better waterfowl hunting seasons in recent years and Texas hunters will be able to take full advantage with a 74-day season and six bird daily bag limit. The 2010-11 late season migratory proposal was finalized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Aug. 26 public meeting.

“Texas has water on the ground and when you factor in predictions for an early winter in the north, we’re set up for a good season,” said Dave Morrison, TPWD waterfowl program leader. “There’s going to be a lot of production out of the Dakotas this year because of wet conditions and good habitat and I expect we’ll see more birds migrating from and through the Central Flyway.”

See the news release for a summary of the Texas late season migratory framework for 2010-11. Download a PDF of the 2010 - 2011 Waterfowl Digest for complete regulations.

Remember your first waterfowl hunt? Relive it when you watch this video of some Houston area kids trying for their first ducks on the Katy Prairie through the Texas Youth Hunt Program. 

Deferred Options for Hunter Education

Hunter ed screenshotWere you were too busy to complete your mandatory Hunter Education class? Don’t despair. A great hunt season can still be in your sights.

Hunters age 17 or older are eligible to purchase a one-time, one-year hunter education deferral which allows them to hunt with qualified hunters. A hunter with a deferral must be accompanied by another licensed hunter 17 years of age or older who has: 1) completed hunter education, or 2) was born before September 2, 1971. Every hunter in Texas, including out-of-state hunters, born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, must successfully complete a Hunter Education Training Course or carry proof of deferral.

Read more about the hunter education deferral in Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine or on our Web site. Hear more from Program Director Terry Erwin in this Passport to Texas radio interview.

Then get ahead of next year’s game by completing the required coursework between now and next August. Visit the Web site to look into hunter education classes near you, or sign-up for the online course or home study option. Watch this video to see what to expect in your hunter education class.

Preparing Venison, From Field to Plate

Venison PreparationPreparing your own venison feast is the ultimate local food experience.

We’re heading into the thick of fall hunting season, which means venison is on the menu. When cooking this perfect protein, it’s important to use the correct method to achieve the best flavor and texture. For tips about preparing venison and a Stuffed Venison Flank recipe by Jessee Griffiths of Dai Due Supper Club, Austin, Texas, listen to this audio story from Passport to Texas.

For a vicarious venison cooking class experience and some nitty gritty tips about dressing and preparing venison, read Cecilia Nasti’s article on her experience in Griffiths’ venison cooking class, a story from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.

Hunting Dogs 101

Hunting Dogs 101 Screen ShotMore than companions, these dogs really earn their keep.

Many dogs, kept only as household pets, use their sensory talents for little more than stalking the postman, but the breeds featured here earn their keep as hunters, herders, enforcers, search and rescue animals, and caretakers.

Hunting with a good dog is like dancing with a great partner. Watch this video to see how different breeds have special skills to help hunters find their quarry and minimize waste in the field.

Kayak Convert

Sunset kayak huntingIt only took one hunting trip to prove the allure of duck hunting from a kayak.

Over the years I have taken to the water to chase fowl in more ways than a person could possibly imagine. When I was younger I would walk miles through the marsh with decoys on my back or travel hours in a rough-riding johnboat or, sometimes, do both in a day in pursuit of a limit of ducks. Later in life I resorted to elaborate contraptions such as marsh buggies and airboats. Now I prefer to revert back to a simpler time in life and can sometimes be found making my way to a favorite duck-hole paddling a kayak.

Read more of Scott Summerlatte’s article about his enthusiastic conversion to kayak duck hunting in Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.

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