Texas deer forecast looks excellent and Lake Texoma still a striper hot spot

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In contrast to a younger buck, the mature deer will have sags, specifically in its skin and belly, and some older deer will sport a distinct potbelly.

It’s Father’s Day weekend, and in this installment of the Texan Outdoors Show, I offer my take on what it means to be a father and why fulfilling that role successfully is so important to our children and to future generations.

With summer rains come big predictions for the fall and winter deer seasons, and Alan Cain, white-tailed deer program leader for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, stops by to discuss this year’s seasons.

Texas deer hunting is a multi-billion-dollar industry enjoyed by more than a half-million hunters each fall and winter, and even in average or bad years when dry conditions are prevalent we still have it better than any other state in the country. However, this year’s seasons should shape up to be exceptional, possibly one of the best on record, Cain said.

“I have no reservations suggesting antler quality will be above-average this year and with a good number of bucks in the 5.5-year-old age class … I expect a number of hunters to harvest some exceptional bucks this year,” he said. “The habitat conditions statewide are much better than we’ve seen in years and the abundance of native forage will help bucks maximize antler growth this year.”

Cain pointed to the best areas to bag a huge buck, with no surprise in which ones he picked.

“Those hunters looking for a buck with good quality antlers can expect the usual locations to produce such as South Texas where the average Boone & Crockett score of a 6.5-year-old buck is about 136 B&C,” he said. “The Rolling Plains is right up there with South Texas where the average score of a 6.5-year-old buck is about 133 B&C.

It should be noted, Cain said, that other areas still produce some top-quality headgear.

“Although South Texas and the Rolling Plains are destination locations for bucks with big antlers, hunters can still connect on great deer in any ecoregion. In fact, in 2014 a beautiful 197 5/8 B&C buck was bagged in Nacogdoches County in East Texas and multiple bucks scoring 160 B&C or better were taken in many of the antler restriction counties of the Cross Timbers, Post Oak Savannah and Pineywoods,” he said. “Although those type of deer are the exception to the norm, the average 6.5-year-old buck still sports quality antlers with the statewide average around 128 B&C. The majority of ecoregions produce bucks with that quality of antlers if the bucks are able to survive to those older age classes. Regardless of where you hunt in Texas, there’s always a good chance you’ll see a great quality buck each season. Enhancing habitat to make your hunting lease or ranch more attractive to deer is always helpful to entice that big buck to your deer blind and hopefully in your crosshairs.”

Guide Chris Carey

Later in the show, Bill Carey of Striper Express Guide Service, will discuss the fishing on Lake Texoma. Even though the lake has never been as high as it is now with recent huge rainfall and flooding events, the fishing outlook remains strong heading toward the heat of the summer. Carey, who along with his son, Chris, have great insight into catching striped bass, white bass and a host of other freshwater species, offers his take on what makes Texoma such a great angling paradise, including how his guides helped break four Texas and Oklahoma records this year and last.

I’ve fished with the Careys a couple of times and the topwater bite always is mind-boggling for stripers during the summer. Texoma features the only self-sustaining population of breeding stripers in the country, making it among the best fishing destinations in the entire United States. The lake even made the Bassmaster Top 100 lakes in the country recently and shows no signs of slowing down.

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