DEER SEASON, 2013!!

Deer season has again overcome us. I say that because once again I am not as prepared as I had hoped to be – although I am sure no one else will find themselves in that situation! For me, deer hunting is mostly on my small Brazoria County property. I could certainly be on a decent lease in a better deer area for what I have spent on that place, but it’s mine, I can do pretty much what I want to there, the drive from home is around 30 minutes, and although I don’t get to watch herds of deer around my feeders, for me the “hunting” is just fine.

For a "wild", Texas buck on the Coastal Plain, I was proud to lure this one to my property.

For a “wild”, Texas buck on the Coastal Plain, I was proud to lure this one to my property.

Also, in five seasons, I’ve taken three bucks on this property, including a very good one – and had pictures of a real monster that I hope is still available.

Since this picture was taken 4 years ago, if this buck is still around, he'll be a senior citizen. Still, maybe he has a son to take his place?

Since this picture was taken 4 years ago, if this buck is still around, he’ll be a senior citizen. Still, maybe he has a son to take his place?

When I was a kid, our deer season ALWAYS opened on November 16 – as if it were a Congressionally certified holiday – like, say Halloween (heard a lady newsreader refer to Halloween as a “holiday” last week). Didn’t matter if the 16th was Wednesday and hunters needed to be in school or at work – it was our responsibility to get free somehow. For Brazoria County and most of “North Texas” (according to TPWD regs), the 2013 season opens Saturday, November 2, and continues until January 5, 2014. Of course, the guys wanting to impale a deer with a sharp stick (bowhunters) have been able to take a deer since September 28, but their monopoly on deer hunting will end Friday, 11/1/2013.There was also a Youth Only “season” last weekend, but just for Saturday and Sunday, according to the TPWD website. The kids get another chance to hunt sort of without adult competition from January 6 – 19, but this is the same time period as muzzle loader season. Since there still are not that many folks shooting muzzle loaders, I guess the kids aren’t getting too much of a raw deal here?

Antlerless season for does runs this year in the general rule counties from opening day until December 1, instead of cutting off on Thanksgiving weekend. I let a doe walk last year that I really needed to shoot with my suppressed rifle for an article I was working on, hoping she’d help me attract a buck. Didn’t work, so this season I “may” take a meat doe, should the opportunity arise. In most counties, including Brazoria, two does may be taken.

Here is the antler restriction rule for Brazoria County:
Bag Limit 4 deer, no more than 2 bucks, and no more than 2 antlerless, all seasons combined.
Antler Restrictions: Special Antler Restrictions do not apply to properties for which Level 2 or Level 3 MLDPs have been issued. For counties with Special Antler Restrictions, a legal buck deer has: 1. at least one unbranched antler, or 2. an inside spread of 13 inches or greater. The inside spread requirement does not apply to any buck that has an unbranched antler. Not more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater may be taken.

This means that spikes are legal bucks, not antlerless deer, since they have “at least” one unbranched antler, and they do not need to meet the 13″ spread requirement. It also means that of the two legal bucks you are allowed to kill, only one may have a spread of 13″ or better, which is a part of the antler restrictions many hunters may not be aware of. Basically, you can shoot one “spike” and one buck with a rack wider than 13″, or two spikes – but not two nice, trophy class bucks, in counties where the “Special Antler Restrictions” apply.

In the past, I have let does "walk" on my property, feeling they were the most effective "lure" for bucks. This year, however, with the extended antlerless "season", I intend to look for a "meat" doe.

In the past, I have let does “walk” on my property, feeling they were the most effective “lure” for bucks. This year, however, with the extended antlerless “season”, I intend to look for a “meat” doe.

My wife and I like to eat venison, and getting a deer from our own property adds to the enjoyment. I also get a lot out of sitting in a stand and watching nature – although one of the 3 bucks I’ve taken on my property was by still hunting. I have gotten some rye grass growing, thanks to the rains,and have various scents and other enticements employed to hopefully boost my odds. I have “seen” a couple of what appear to be legal bucks on my place in the last month, so I have some hopes for success. On a small property, however, sometimes the odds are better later in the season, when hunting pressure on surrounding lands may cause the deer to seek a less harried environment.

I seem to have “collected” more firearms than I really need to deer hunt with – to compensate from not having them when I was younger – so I try to rotate which rifle I carry on different trips to the woods. I have two Model 70 Winchesters in .30-06 that have not yet killed a buck for me, so they will get first shot, so to speak. I also still need a picture of a deer with my suppressed .44 magnum leaning against it, and I am going to be packing a sidearm in case a close range shot presents itself. Hoping to get an invite to hunt South Texas again this year, but there are about a dozen eating sized hogs hitting my feeders to give me shooting opportunities and keep me on alert if my little piece of heaven is the only place I look for deer this season!

About MikeH

Texas hunter and fisherman for 50 years, published outdoor writer since 1979, licensed charter boat operator from 1982 to 2013. Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Charterboat Operators, current member Environmental Advisory Committee to the DOE and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Married to Dorothy since 2000, one son, Michael who is recently married and living in Nederland, Texas. My wife and I live in Oyster Creek, Texas, near Freeport, and have a hunting property outside of Brazoria, Texas.
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