By Fredericksburg Standard News Staff, November 4, 2020
The Texas Hill Country draws in big game hunters from around the United States due to its successful harvest and the 2020-2021 season will be no different, according to the Texas Park and Wildlife Department.
Well distributed and timely precipitation across much of Texas in the spring, along with positive long-term growth among the state’s white-tailed deer population, has set the stage for a favorable 2020-21 hunting season, said Alan Cain, White-tailed Deer Program Leader at TPWD.
General rifle season for turkey and deer starts Saturday, Nov. 7, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.
The archery-only season in the designated North Zone (to which Gillespie County belongs) for turkey and deer ends on Friday. It runs from Oct. 3-Nov. 6.
A second youth-only hunting weekend, for those licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger, is planned Jan. 4-17, 2021. (The first was held this past weekend, Oct. 31-Nov. 1.)
A special late season during which harvests are restricted to antlerless deer and spikes, runs simultaneously to the late youth-only season, from Jan. 4-17, 2021.
Spring rains allowed many regions of the state, including South Texas, Edwards Plateau and areas west to recover from last year’s very dry fall and winter, leading to an abundance of quality forbs and shrubs, both of which are critical for deer nutrition.
These conditions have lent to a good start to antler growth and positive outlook for fawn recruitment numbers.
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.
TPWD data suggests that the hunter success rate in 2019 was estimated to be 60% and similar trends can be expected for the 2020-21 season. The Edward’s Plateau and the Cross Timbers regions of Texas are forecast to have the highest deer populations.
“From a statewide perspective, hunters might expect to see a higher proportion of bucks in the 6.5 to 8.5-year age classes as a result of the above-average fawn crop in previous corresponding years while other age classes reflect a more even distribution,” Cain said. “While doe harvest has been down slightly in the last couple of years, which is likely contributing to a widening ratio of does to bucks, the good news for hunters is that there should be plenty of carryover from previous years.”
Aside from whitetails, Gillespie County is also considered to be in the Central Zone for dove hunting.
Dove season begins again on Dec. 18 through Jan. 14, 2021. The quail season across Texas will run Oct. 31 to Feb. 28, 2021.
Information on bag limits, license requirements and other general information is available from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Outdoor Annual or at tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/.
See the original article: https://www.fredericksburgstandard.com/news/hunting-season-begins-saturday-solid-outlook