Archive for the 'mule deer' Category

On Deck for a Grand Slam

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019
Grand Slam winner 2018

2018 Grand Slam winner, Greg May ,at right, with his stepson Cauy and their professional guide, Greg Horak. Greg harvested a very nice 6½ year old 11-point mule deer that gross scored 171.

This is Passport to Texas

It’s time to step up to the plate and see if you can win the Texas Grand Slam.

Of all our Big Time Texas Hunt packages, the granddaddy of them all is the Grand Slam package.

Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Private Lands and Public Hunting Program Director Justin Dreibelbis.

This is where you hunt four iconic big game species all around the state in one calendar year.

That’s desert bighorn sheep, desert mule deer, pronghorn antelope and white-tailed deer. This is your opportunity to hunt with professional guides on some of the best wildlife management areas and private ranches in the state. Plus, you’ll get full lodging, meals and taxidermy with each hunt provided by Woodbury Taxidermy.

Enter online for only $9. There’s a $5 online administration fee, but you can enter as many times as you want in a single transaction. Just search for Big Time Texas Hunts on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

You don’t want to miss this chance of a lifetime. Take it from Greg May, the 2018 Texas Grand Slam winner.

To me it was the biggest dream come true in the world. I would tell everybody put your chances in, you might be the lucky guy or lady that wins it. If I can win it, anybody can.

The deadline to enter is October 15, so don’t stay on the bench. Hit a grand slam with Big Time Texas Hunts.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Mule Deer Antler Restrictions

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018
Mule deer at sunset.

Mule deer at sunset.

This is Passport to Texas

When Mule Deer season opens mid-November hunters must abide by antler restrictions on bucks in six counties in the southeast panhandle.

We’re using the same model as the white-tailed deer.

Restrictions implemented in the early 2000s in six east Texas counties for white-tailed bucks prevented hunters from taking very young animals from the landscape. The experiment saw an increase of bucks, and more natural buck age structure and sex ratios.

Shawn Gray is the state’s mule deer program leader. For white-tail bucks hunters use an inside spread restriction.

But, for mule deer—to protect the age classes that we want to protect, and to allow hunters harvest of the animals that we would like for them to harvest—instead of an inside spread, we’re going to use an outside spread of the main beam.

Which is ear tip to ear tip. There’s a 20-inch minimum restriction on the outside antler spread of the main beams on mule deer bucks.

And, we’re going to monitor that through voluntary check stations. Also, through our population surveys to see if we can improve our age structure of the buck segment of that population over there.

When hunting is not a factor, natural selection determines which bucks reach maturity. Antler restrictions on mule deer bucks are in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Motley, and Hall counties

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds Mule Deer management in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Restoring the Past

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Mule Deer Buck

This is Passport

Found in the Trans Pecos and Panhandle ecoregions, mule deer is an iconic Texas species. Biologist, Shawn Gray, says populations cycle up and down over the years.

A long, long, long time ago, we used to have a lot of mule deer up in the panhandle before European settlement. But, through different range practices, and different land use practices and unregulated hunting, we depleted the mule deer population up there. But through years of better management and restoration efforts, it seems like the population up there is doing pretty well now.

Gray is the state’s mule deer program leader. Texas has an estimated population of 285,000 mule deer…that’s despite a decline in the Trans Pecos population at the Black Gap WMA during the last drought.

In 2011, we reached almost an all-time low in our mule deer herd from the 70s. So, when you look at that 2011 number to today, we’re looking a lot better, for sure.

Through focused population management, including translocation of animals to these areas, as well as habitat improvements, the state’s mule deer population is stable to increasing.

There’s not very many places that really need a lot more mule deer. And hopefully we’re beyond that [translocation] with our last translocation to the Black Gap, if everything’s working in our favor.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds Mule Deer restoration in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV — Mules of the Plains

Friday, December 22nd, 2017
Mule deer buck

Mule deer buck

This is Passport to Texas

The panhandle of Texas is the epitome of rural. And mule deer can be found nearly everywhere. Just ask local, Rodney Geissler.

It’s not unusual to nearly be able to walk plumb up on a mule deer. [Truck door closes] Or drive up on one. If they’re out in the field next to the highway you can stop and take pictures of them [camera clicks].

In fall and winter it’s common to see groups of up to 200 mule deer grazing in wheat fields. And that interests biologists like Thomas Janke.

One of the big questions of this project is dealing with agriculture land versus the rangeland like you see behind me.

Janke is studying how mule deer movements and survival are influenced by panhandle agriculture.

Is there a difference in the nutritional value of the plants? Or is it the deer are picking it just because it’s out here and they have a buffet.

During the week of December 24, the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS will feature a segment on the mule deer study, which shows how they use helicopters to track and trap the animals.

We have deer that are radio collared that we captured back in 2015. The radio collars all transmit a signal. Those radio collars are allowing the helicopter crew to use radio telemetry and locate them.

Check your local listings.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series, and funds mule deer research in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Introducing Mule Deer to their New Home

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
Black Gap WMA

Black Gap WMA

This is Passport to Texas

Shawn Gray oversees the mule deer restoration program for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Over the past two years, with the help of partners, the program identified available surplus animals on public and private land and moved them to Black Gap Wildlife Management Area.

We have moved over two hundred female mule deer.

Gray says the program radio collars 30 to 40 percent of the animals before release.

Some captured deer had a “soft release” which involved keeping them in a fenced area for a couple of weeks allowing them to acclimate to their surroundings. Then, when freed…

They don’t go as far; they tend to stay where you released them.

Other deer had a “hard release”. They were let out of the trailers and allowed to immediately run free.

We have seen one or two of our [radio collared] translocated animals go back to where they were captured. Those were the ones that were hard released. The animals that we have soft released, we have not observed them going back to their home. We’ve observed them doing a lot of exploratory type movements. Figuring out their new home. But for the most part, those animals are staying in and around Black Gap Wildlife management Area.

Which makes all the hard work, planning and coordination worth it.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.