The general whitetail deer season ended on Jan. 6 in over 200 counties in Texas, but interested hunters can still get outdoors and fill the freezer with venison during most of January and early February. Though they don’t get nearly as much publicity as the archery or general deer seasons, most counties in the state have some combination of a youth season, a special late season, or a muzzleloader deer season that provide a couple weeks of additional time afield for whitetail deer hunters.

First off, though the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission declined to extend the general deer season in the North Zone to match the season in the South Zone last spring, hunters fortunate enough to have a place to hunt in south Texas can continue to pursue whitetail deer until Jan. 20.

Hunters in those same South Zone counties can also take advantage of a special late season that runs Jan. 21 to Feb. 3. However, the hunters are restricted to taking antlerless deer and bucks with unbranched antlers during the special late season.

Don’t despair if you’re among the vast majority of deer hunters that hunt elsewhere in the state, though.

All counties with a whitetail deer season (every county in the state except El Paso and Hudspeth Counties) also have a special late youth season that occurs Jan. 7-20. This season is limited to hunters 16 and younger, but they can use any legal method of take for the particular county they’re hunting in. The youth seasons also usually have slightly less restrictive bag limits than the general deer season and often allow the harvest of does for the duration of the youth season.

Even though adults cannot actually hunt deer during this season themselves, this season is a wonderful chance for adults to introduce a child to hunting for those reasons.

Additionally, 90 counties in the state have a muzzleloader deer season that runs concurrently with the late youth season. Texas has very permissive regulations when it comes to hunting with a muzzleloader and the only requirement is that hunters must use a firearm that can only be loaded through the muzzle. Scopes are permitted and muzzleloader hunters may use any type of bullet, ignition system, and powder.

All things considered, the muzzleloader hunting season is a really great hunting opportunity that most Texas hunters either don’t know about or fail to take advantage of.

Finally, feral hogs are legal to hunt all year long in the state and most counties have either a squirrel or javelina hunting season open into February as well. So, there are plenty of other species to hunt while you’re afield after deer in the late season (and that’s not even taking waterfowl or upland bird hunting into account).

As you can see, there are still plenty of big game hunting prospects in Texas for hunters who aren’t quite ready to stop deer hunting in early January. Check the Texas Parks and Wildlife website or the current Outdoor Annual Hunting, Fishing, and Boating Regulations for specific dates, bag limits, and other rules pertaining to hunting in each county in Texas.