Overall, forecasters say dry conditions push whitetail to food and water and decrease the distances they will travel and frequent. Last year the drought's worst impact may have been not only on the quality of the deer as a result of food shortages but also the limitations on movement caused by dry conditions. With substantial fall rain so far, movement should improve in heavy whitetail hunting areas across the Hill Country and in South Texas.

Forecasters say better habitat awareness and management over the last two years of drought, regardless in what corner of the state one might hunt, harvest opportunities are going to be better and as importantly, most deer should be healthier than over the last two years.

Texan Outdoors magazine is predicting whether a hunter goes to the Pineywoods thicket, a South Texas sendero, a Panhandle shelter belt or a Hill Country blind this fall, "the odds of seeing the best buck ever are as high as they’ve ever been on any given fall afternoon."

While the numbers may be slow to come in until after the season, there is at least optimism by some who believe the season may be a greater benefit to rural lease operators than in recent years, a positive development for thousands of farmers and ranchers who benefit from the Texas hunting season each year.

Most agree the state is still far away from returning to the milk and honey hunting days of times past, at least until average or better rains fall over multiple years. But they also agree that any improvement in the positive economic impact created by a healthy Texas whitetail deer season this year will be a good one for property owners and hunters alike.


Also of interest:

Definitive deer study targets rural property owners

Football, fall harvest and deer feeding are Texas fall tradition

Rainfall improves drought status