Sunday, October 28, 2012


The Texas Antler Restriction and Ethics


I have struggled with writing about this as I know it will make some people mad.  The Texas Antler Restriction Rule has been around long enough for everyone in those counties effected to be aware of the rule.  There are still too many violations of this rule and hunters should be helping to enforce the rule by reporting those that break it.
Report Game Violations
We had around nine, year and half old eight points coming to our feeders last year.  None of them would have been legal shooters under the antler restriction rule.  By the end of the season we could find none of them on our game cameras. I made sure my kids and family knew the antler rule and would not shoot anything but a legal mature buck, a doe or cull spike. I watched two of these young eight points crossing a road easement last year and jump over the fence on to a neighboring place with lease hunters.  I heard multiple shots and someone then yelling for help to find a deer.  I talked with a hunter last year that told me it was so close to 13 inches that he was pretty sure it was a legal buck when he shot.  My answer was that if it is that close why would anyone shoot it.  If you can not tell let it walk.  If a buck is too little to kill this year just remember how big it will be next year.  I also saw a neighbor and his grandson with a buck in the back of a truck that would not meet the 13 inch rule, so I mentioned it just to make sure he was aware.  He said it was a big buck to his grandson so he let him shoot it. What a great chance he blew to have let his grandson pass on the buck and then explained about deer management and that a true hunter doesn’t break the law or kill everything that they see.
 I am giving notice to all in this article that from now on I will be calling the game warden and reporting any antler violations I see, so will most of my family and friends.  So should you.  "Why" some will ask?  It is the law number one; number two is that we have only a few legal bucks on the place this year coming to the cameras.  It makes me mad when I think of all the promising young bucks of last year.  There would have been a pretty good group of nice bucks for the girls to hunt this year if not for the thoughtless shooting of illegal bucks by others last year.  In fact all of the hunters in the area would have had a chance at bigger bucks.  All of our would-be-bigger bucks were killed before they had any chance of growing a decent set of antlers.  I would bet that none of those eight points were mounted or even the antlers kept as a trophy as the largest might have had a twelve inch spread.  What is the point in killing them when a legal doe or spike could have been taken for meat?    The problem with management on small tracts is  that your neighbors have to manage the deer also.  Making sure they follow the law will help in managing the deer herd in the area.  I would also urge parents and grandparents to explain to kids and grand kids about management and help them hunt a cull or get a legal buck and then make sure they understand that the Texas Antler Rule helped grow the big buck for them to harvest. 
Remember I’ll be out there watching and so will others, I hope you will be too.  Wild Ed


Report Game Violations

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.

The following picture shows how to judge if a buck is legal or not.  If you can not tell he is not big enough to shoot, let him grow one more year
Ears in alert position
are approximately
13 inches apart and
may be used to judge
the inside spread.



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