It is that time again, opening season for whitetail deer and it opens this Saturday and runs through Jan. 5, 2020. The TPWD says that we have another bumper crop of whitetail deer in the state this year and the last time I checked the population was over fourteen million. Surely at least one has you name on it. My wife and I have found that it usually takes one or two nice does to keep us in the meat we want for a year.
I obtained my information about the season dates from the TPWD Outdoor Annual, but don’t take my word as gospel as there are some differences that can occur in any of the 254 counties in Texas. Therefore be sure and check the TPWD Annual to discover all of the ins and outs in the county in which you will be hunting.
Now, let’s all take a look at the gorilla in the room, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). CWD does not affect all of the deer in the state by any means, but there is zones setup by the TPWD where certain precautions against the spread of the disease must be addressed. It is necessary to know if you are hunting in one of those zones and what steps have to be done after you have bagged your deer.
This year the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reminds hunters throughout the state to properly dispose of carcasses from harvested deer to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in deer. This is particularly important for those taken inside the Trans-Pecos, South Central, and Panhandle Chronic Wasting Disease Containment and Surveillance Zones.
Additionally, hunters cannot take whole deer carcasses, or carcass parts that contain brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, or lymph nodes, out of the CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones or from another state or country known to have CWD. Also note that hunters wishing to take an intact skinned or unskinned deer head to a taxidermist outside a CWD zone or from another CWD positive state or country may do so, but must obtain the Deer Head Waiver at any TPWD CWD check station or at the TPWD CWD website. The waiver should be completed and kept with the hunter or with the deer head until it reaches the taxidermist.
Now let’s move on to equipment. It is safe to say that if you do not have your rifle(s) all sighted in and enough ammunition of the same brand name, and bullet weight and style, purchased and sighted in you can have a problem. So when in doubt, get to a shooting range and make sure you are shooting where you are aiming. Also after transporting your rifle to your hunting camp it never hurts to take a few shots at a target to make sure nothing has been disturbed during the trip to your camp.
You might have noticed I stated ‘rifle(s)’ above and I did that because even though I have never had a rifle failed during a hunt I believe Murphy’s Law is alive and well and so I never take a chance and take only one gun on a hunt.
I could never understand how folks can put away a clean, sighted in rifle after season and it not shoot in the same place it did the last time you shot it, but it somehow can for some folks. Seeing as how I load my own ammunition and have used the same primer, powder, and bullets for many years in my hunting ammunition and try to occasionally shoot all year long, I have never had that problem. Every time I have to change the batch of one of the components, batch number of powder for instance, I load up about ten and go to the range to make sure nothing has changed. More times than not, it hasn’t.
Many folks here in Texas will be hunting from a stand. The reason for that is probably because of one important fact. A deer’s eyes are conditioned to movement and can be fooled by something that does not move. The hunter that sits still in a stand and lets the deer come to him is likely to get more opportunities to take a deer and will probably get easier shots.
When it comes to deer stands the type and location is limited only by man’s imagination. I am sure anyone who has ever been into the wood, fields, hills or mountains of our great state are familiar with the stand that I can only describe as looking like and old fashion outhouse up on stilts. The idea behind this type of stand is the hunter can sit in dry comfort, squirm and fidget to his heart’s content, as long as he doesn’t make too much noise and still get a shot.
Tree stands are one of my favorites because in a tree stand my sight is not restricted and open for viewing all of my surroundings.
So as you go out this weekend full of anticipation and ready for the hunt always be careful, think safety first, and remember that alcohol and gun powder do not mix.