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Southern Factor

Southern Factor

When Does Deer Season Start in Texas?

As every hunter here knows, Texas offers some of the best whitetail deer hunting opportunities in the country. With over 4 million of those popular big game animals roaming our diverse landscapes, it’s no wonder deer hunting is practically a state pastime!

But between general season, muzzleloader, archery and more, it can get confusing keeping all the modern firearm, bow, and special seasons straight as you plan your year of pursuing bucks and does across Texas. Luckily, that’s where this deer season cheat sheet comes in handy!

Below I’ll break down dates and details for every type of deer season across major regions of Texas. I’ll also touch on license application deadlines, tag quotas, and more key info every Lone Star hunter should know. Just what you need to get your deer camp ready to roll later this year.

So let’s jump in and review exactly when you can expect deer season to start in good ‘ol Texas in 2024:

General Season

For most hunters, the rite of passage general season with rifles in November still rules supreme when it comes to chasing Texas whitetails.

North Zone – Runs first Saturday in November through third Sunday in January (11/4/2023 – 1/21/2024)

South Zone – Runs first Saturday in November through first Sunday in January (11/4/2023 – 1/7/2024)

Special Late Season – In specific South Texas and the Panhandle only, general season reopens January 2024 for 2 to 3 weeks after the winter shutdown, so long as populations can sustain additional hunting pressure.

So mark those Saturdays in early November on your calendar! The general season party in deer camps statewide kicks off the first weekend of November no matter what part of Texas you’ll be hunting.

Archery Season

Junior hunters and traditional bow enthusiasts get to hit the field a few weeks early with specially extended archery seasons across Texas. Plus they get their own weekend ahead of opening day for modern firearms.

Early Archery Season – Opens first Saturday in October through first Friday in November depending on zone. (10/7/2023 – 11/3/2024 for North Zone)

Regular Archery Season – Runs concurrently with general season in both zones, opening again after general season ends on January 21 in North Zone or January 8 down south. (11/4/2023 – 2/29/2024 North Zone | 11/4/2023 – 2/26/2024 South Zone)

So if you prefer sticking to traditional archery gear only when chasing whitetails, deer season opens for business statewide October 7, over four weeks ahead of the gun hunters.

Muzzleloader Season

Sporting enthusiasts who prefer using old-fashioned muzzleloaders and black powder rifles also get extended season dates under a special antiquated firearms season held in December after general season closes.

Muzzleloader Season – Starts 2nd Saturday in December and runs through following Sunday. (12/9/2023 – 12/24/2024)

So break out your smoke poles and get in some extra late season hunting after the madness of November winds down!

Youth Season

Continuing efforts by Texas Parks and Wildlife to get more young hunters actively involved in the field, special youth seasons exist too. Junior hunters under 17 get first crack at deer before any other seasons open.

Early Youth Season – Falls on the first full weekend in October for Junior hunters only. (9/30/2023 – 10/1/2024)

The early youth weekend lets teenage hunters hit the woods a full month ahead of general season. Start getting your kiddos’ aim dialed in!

Application Deadlines

To hunt deer during archery, muzzleloader, or youth seasons, most hunters need a valid Texas hunting license. Deadlines for 2024 season license sales begin August 15th annually.

Special permit application deadlines for managed lands and draw hunts happen even sooner however. So to maximize your odds in lotteries or ensure access to popular spots, mark your calendar for the following:

  • Public land permit applications due by May 15th
  • Many private property tag request deadlines June 1st
  • Lifetime and senior license sales open mid-August

So there you have it – a complete breakdown of when you can expect deer season to start across Texas in 2024!

As you can see, lots of variability exists between East and West zones, different weapons types, land classifications, and other factors influencing seasons. Hopefully this guide has cleared up any confusion over timing as you look forward to hitting your favorite honey holes later this year when deer seasons kick off.

Good luck on harvesting a trophy buck in 2024! Be sure to brush up on regulation changes too before heading afield.

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