The state of Texas has bragging rights to four million whitetail deer, more than is found in any of the fifty states. That’s why thousands of hunters flock to Texas each year in hopes of a successful whitetail hunt.
If you are considering a trip to the Lonestar state, there are some things you should know before you head out for your hunt, especially if it’s your first time hunting whitetail deer in Texas.
Prime hunting season for whitetail deer in Texas runs from October through early January, which is also breeding season. This is the time of year when whitetail deer are very active and on the move. As far as the best time of day to hunt deer, it’s important to know that before the rut the deer are typically nocturnal. During that time, the morning until about 10 a.m. and the evening, after 4p.m. are the best times because the deer try to sleep during the day. During the rut, you can find deer everywhere at any time of the day. Legal shooting hours for deer hunting in Texas are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Hunting in Texas requires a license. Any resident or non-resident must get a hunting license through the Texas Park & Wildlife Department. In order to get a license, every hunter must complete a Hunter Education Training Course. Any hunter over the age of 17 can take a course online to meet the requirements.
If you are planning on heading out on public land to hunt, there are some regulations, including statewide bag limits, which you should be aware of. You cannot exceed an annual limit of five whitetail deer, no more than three of which may be bucks. Since bag limits are set by county, it’s important to check into the county regulations where you will be hunting.
Antler restrictions also apply in certain counties. In these locations, the bag limit is two legal bucks, but only one can have an inside spread of 13 inches or greater. In these areas, a legal buck is defined as one with:
If you choose to hunt at a ranch, ask about any regulations that may exist that are unique to that location. It is also against Texas law to hunt on any public roads or on the right of way of any public roads.
There are also certain rules after hunting a whitetail deer in Texas. After the deer is killed and before it is field dressed or moved, the right hunting license tag or permit must be filled out immediately and the dates cut out. If a hunting license tag is used then the Hunting License Harvest Log must also be filled out completely. After the deer is tagged and the proof of sex accompanies it, the deer can be brought to its final destination.
While most hunters already know the difference, a buck is a male deer and a doe is a female deer. You can easily distinguish between the two because bucks have antlers, while does do not. However, from time to time a doe may grow antlers. When this happen’s the doe’s antlers are typically small and malformed. Hunters going on a trophy hunt in Texas are going to look for bucks with the best antlers so that they have something to show off.
There are several things you can do to make your Texas whitetail deer hunting experience a successful one. While precision and skill do play a big role, there are others things to keep in consideration when you’re hunting.
Be mindful of the wind. In order to be successful in your hunt, you should keep your wind right. If you ignore the wind, you could be setting yourself up for failure.
Whitetail deer have a keen sense of smell. If the wind carries your scent, you won’t be doing much hunting because they’ll scurry off fast.
Be “scent-less”. Speaking of scents, you want to leave the cologne at home. Deer have a keen sense of smell and any human scent will tip them off. Use an unscented soap and deodorant, and avoid aftershave and cologne. You’ll also want to keep your hunting clothes in a bag with dirt or leaves from the area you hunt. This will help you to blend in scent-wise with your surroundings. If the deer smell the woods, they won’t necessarily be looking for you.
Consider using grunt calls. Deer are vocal animals and many use grunt calls to attract a whitetail deer. Many hunters will use grunt calls or certain sounds to stop a deer in his tracks long enough to take a shot.
Don’t be afraid to get low. Finding the right hunting tactic can take some trial and error. You may need to crawl on your hands and knees in an open field to stalk your deer and to hunt them. If you’re going to try this tactic be sure to bring knee pads for crawling.
You can keep all of these tips in mind if you are planning a whitetail deer hunt at Squaw Mountain Ranch. At Squaw Mountain you can expect a one to one buck to doe ratio which allows hunters to see several deer to choose from during their hunt. The staff at Squaw Mountain aims to accommodate all hunters including those with physical disabilities.
There are a variety of hunting packages to choose from, but no matter which you choose we ensure a fair hunt resulting in a trophy any hunter would be proud to display. If you are planning a trophy hunt at Squaw Mountain Ranch, you just need to bring your rifle and ammo, hunting clothes, a Texas hunting license, cooler to transport meat and any other desired personal items.