Deer Hunting in Texas

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  • B
  • 5,596,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 1,213,000

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $25-80

    Deer hunting license is $25. Archery endorsement is $7. Annual public hunting permit is $48.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $370

    Deer hunting license is $315. Archery endorsement is $7. Annual public hunting permit is $48.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 196 4/8"

    Taken by Tom McCulloch in Maverick County in 1963 and is currently ranked 47th.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 515

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 284 3/8"

    Taken by an unknown hunter in McCulloch County in 1892 and is currently ranked 14th.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 290

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Tyler Jordan and his big Texas buck. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Jordan)

Season Dates (2021):

The Texas archery season is from October 2 to November 5 for all but two counties. Muzzleloader season runs January 3 to 16 for 90 of 254 counties. In the North Zone, the general season runs from November 6 to January 2, and in the South Zone, it runs from November 6 to January 16. The special late season runs January 3 to 16 in the North Zone and January 17 to 30 in the South Zone. Youth season falls on October 30-31 and January 3 to 16. These are the dates set when published. Please check the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website to confirm.

The Grade: B

Each season, more deer are taken in Texas than in any other state, partly because of the size of the place — but also because of the abundance of animals and outstanding habitat. Comparatively speaking, Texas has very little public land. For the most part it takes money spent on a lease or outfitted hunt to enjoy the best of Texas deer hunting. For that, the grade slips to a B. 

Still, there is good opportunity. Big Time Texas Hunts, for example, provides chances to win premium guided hunt packages with food and lodging provided. Few other states have programs like that.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

The Lone Star State is 95% private, but there are many public tracts around. WMAs are the obvious choice. Also, think about U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ground. And definitely don’t forget about Texas’ prized drawn hunts. The Texas Public Hunting map is a great resource.

South Texas and the Western Rolling Plains are especially known for consistently producing quality bucks. In this region, there are plenty of 5 ½-plus-year-old bucks that score well into the 130s and 140s, but the occasional Booners do live there. Hunters looking for a true trophy might consider Brooks, Dimmit, Duval, Jim Hogg, Frio, Kenedy, Kleberg, La Salle, Maverick, McMullen, Refugio, Uvalde, Webb and Zavala counties. These lead the way in top-end deer.

If quantity is the goal, focus on the Texas Hill Country. According to TPWD officials, an estimated 2.37 million deer inhabit that area — the highest deer density in the state. In fact, both Llano and Mason counties boast deer densities exceeding 290 deer per 1,000 acres. Grayson, Irion, McCulloch, Shackelford, Sutton and Tom Green counties are great big-buck locations to try, too.

Finally, several recent changes affect Texas hunters. There are increased antlerless opportunities in 43 counties. Air-powered guns and arrow guns (air bows) are now legal weapon types. And CWD zones are established in Val Verde and Kimble counties.

Texas Harvests

  • Jenny Hollowell

    Callahan, Texas

  • Brooke McGee

    Cooke county, Texas

From the Realtree Trophy Den