Planning on hunting mule deer in the Panhandle? Make sure you have brushed up on the new antler restriction.

Hunters in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Hall, and Motley counties will be required to uphold a new antler restriction regulation that requires all harvested mule deer bucks to have a main beam outside spread greater than 20 inches. Additionally, any buck with a branched antler is not legal to harvest, unless the outside spread of the main beams is 20 inches or more in width.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is implementing the new experimental regulation with the goal of improving buck age structure and sex ratios in these counties by reducing excessive hunting pressure on younger bucks. A similar antler restriction for white-tailed deer has been in place for several years in other parts of the state and has successfully shifted the age class structure toward older bucks.

This new regulation comes from years of harvest data and analysis by TPWD, which tells them that the average ear-tip to ear-tip spread for a 2.5 to 8.5-year-old mule deer is about 21 inches in the alert position.

Mule deer archery-only season in the antler restriction counties occurs Sept. 29-Nov. 2, with the general firearm season occurring Nov. 17-Dec. 2.

For more info on regulations and licenses in Texas, click here.

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife