Yes, it’s true. Texas’s general deer hunting season is officially over for most folks now with the close of the extended antlerless and spike season. And from the sound of it, it looks like the number of white-tailed deer harvest during the 2009-2010 season has dropped this year. At least that’s what I’ve been reading on the hunting forums and from the state.
White-tailed deer harvest was a bit down over much of Texas. The many deer processors throughout the state have reported that the number of deer they had taken in from hunters was down this year, although some more than others. I suspect the already-slow economy may have decreased the number of trips hunters made during the season. It may have even caused some to process their own deer. However, the improving habitat conditions Texas experienced last year played a role as well.
Before archery season it was dry. Very, very dry. However, just before archery season it started raining and we caught a good number of timely showers during October. That transformed the poor habitat into great habitat within a matter of days. Great from a whitetail deer management perspective, but not from a hunting perspective. The abundance of forbs caused by good ground moisture combined with a good acorn crop meant deer were eating well during October and November. Deer were not depending on corn feeders, so they tended to stay away from them.
Does were simply not visiting feeders. Does will often neglect feeders when abundant (and especially when better) forbs and acorns are available. Plus, during the rut I think whitetail does avoid feeders regardless of food availability because of constant unwanted attention from bucks. If the there was a low buck to doe ratio in your area (where you have a low number of bucks per doe), then you probably did not see many deer this year.
Deer hunting was slow this year in Texas, but that can only mean that some deer will be carried over into the upcoming hunting season. One season may have ended, but now it’s time to get ready for the next one!