South Zone Dove Hunters to See Earliest Opener in Seven Decades
by TWPD staff
This fall, several changes to hunting regulations will take effect following amendments approved recently by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. Among a suite of modifications include an early opener for dove season in the South Zone, a mule deer season in Lynn County, experimental mule deer antler restriction, an increase to the northern pintail bag limit to two, and a one week reduction to the spring 2019 Eastern turkey season in 13 counties.
The Commission adopted the following modifications to the 2018-19 Statewide Hunting Proclamation, the details of which will be incorporated into this year’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Outdoor Annual:
- Open the general dove season in the South Zone on Sept. 14; earliest starting date for the region since 1950.
- Approve the use of air guns and air bows to take certain game animals, game birds, alligators, and furbearers. Air guns .30 caliber or larger may only be used to take alligators, deer, pronghorn, big horn sheep, javelina, turkey, and furbearers. Air guns .177 caliber or larger may be used to take squirrel, quail, pheasants, and chachalaca.
- Shorten the Eastern spring turkey hunting season in Bowie, Cass, Fannin, Grayson, Jasper, Lamar, Marion, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Red River, and Sabine by one week while retaining the current closing date of May 14. The Commission also approved closing the Eastern turkey season in Upshur and San Augustine counties.
- Open in Lynn County a 9-day buck-only mule deer season with no special archery season.
- Set a 20-inch minimum outside antler spread of the main beams restriction on mule deer bucks in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Motley, and Hall counties.
- Clarify that deer antler restriction regulations that state in each county where antler restrictions are imposed, a person who takes a buck in violation of antler restrictions is prohibited from subsequently harvesting any buck deer with branched antlers on both main beams in that county during that current deer season.
- The Commission also adopted several housekeeping changes, including language to clarify that take of antlerless deer is prohibited on U.S. Forest Service Property except during archery only season, muzzleloader season, special youth seasons, and the 4-doe day season on the LBJ National Grasslands in Montague and Wise counties. This changes removed reference to the take of antlerless deer by Managed Lands Deer Permit tag only on U.S. Forest Service Properties, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and river authority lands.
- Lastly, The Commission adopted changes that simplified archery regulations by removing requirements for broadhead hunting points to have two cutting edges and a cutting width of 7/8 of an inch. Also removed were the minimum pull requirement of 125 pounds and the minimum crossbow stock length of 25 inches.