Be mindful of these common violations as deer season begins
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
The turning of the calendar from October to November means that the start of the general deer season has arrived in most of Texas. However, especially when taken in combination with all the recent changes to hunting regulations, the start of deer hunting season on Nov. 2 also means that game wardens will probably be very busy for the next few weeks.
Here are a few hunting violations hunters commonly get in trouble for. Keep these things in mind to ensure that you don’t inadvertently run afoul of the law while you’re out hunting.
First, make sure you have a valid hunting license. There have been a lot of headlines lately about the new law allowing the harvest of feral hogs on private land without a hunting license.
However, that new law only applies to feral hogs and only applies when hunting on private land with landowner permission. Hunters pursuing feral hogs on public land or any game species (to include deer, upland game, waterfowl, etc.) anywhere in the state must possess a hunting license.
Hunting licenses also expire on Aug. 31 each year, so double check to make sure your license is still valid.
Next, if you were born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, you must have a valid hunter education certification. You must also carry proof of that certification with you while you’re actually out hunting.
Also, brush up on the specific regulations for the area where you’ll be hunting. There are a number of changes to the regulations this year that pertain to antler restrictions, bag limits, periods within the season were hunters are allowed to harvest does, etc. Additionally, Texas Parks and Wildlife now requires that hunters in certain counties report their harvest within 24 hours.
Like I said, get a copy of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Annual Hunting, Fishing, and Boating Regulations and go over the rules for where you’ll be hunting in detail because there’s a good chance that something has changed this year. While this will potentially help you avoid a negative interaction with law enforcement, there are also some expansions of hunting opportunities this year (like those new doe seasons I referred to earlier) that you’ll probably want to know about as well.
Finally, if you’re successful in actually harvesting a deer this year, make sure you tag that deer immediately.
Use the appropriate tag for the animal you harvest, cut out the date of harvest (don’t “ink out” the date), update the harvest log on the back of your hunting license, and attach the tag to your deer. Do all of that as soon as you find the deer and before you move or field dress it. Additionally, do not remove proof of sex from the animal until it reaches its final destination.
Above all things though, be safe and have fun while you’re out hunting this fall! This is shaping up to be a great year for deer hunting, so make the most of your time afield.
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