Question: “I deer hunt in Texas in areas that have antler restriction regulations. Am I allowed to take more than one 13 inch or larger (spread) buck in Texas?”
Response: The short answer to your question is, YES. A hunter can shoot more than one buck with an inside spread greater than 13 inches in Texas. However, there are some stipulations that hunters need to adhere to in order to remain legal.
Texas Deer Hunting License
When a deer hunting license is purchased in Texas it comes with 5 white-tailed deer tags, 3 of which can be used for bucks or does, and the remaining 2 tags are for antlerless deer only.
A hunter has the option of using all 5 whitetail tags on antlerless deer or harvesting some combination of 5 deer with no more than 3 of them being bucks with a standard deer hunting license. Straight forward.
Texas Antler Restrictions
At the time of writing, there are 112 counties in Texas that have antler restrictions in place that regulate buck harvest. There are only 2 types of legal bucks in these counties, (1) bucks that have an inside spread between the main beams of 13 inches or greater, and (2) bucks with at least 1 unbranched antler, so most likely spikes or 3 point bucks.
In these counties, the bag limit is 2 (legal) bucks, but no more than 1 may have an inside spread between the main beams of 13 inches or greater. A hunter does have the option to shoot 2 unbranched antlered bucks in these counties, as well. Probably more than many of you needed to know?
Deer Hunting Regulations
The hunter’s question above asks generally about buck harvest in Texas, but I suspect he is specifically asking about buck harvest in within additional antler restriction counties. Fortunately, deer hunting regulations in Texas are established based on county bag limits.
These county-based regs works to the benefit of a hunter that may hunt white-tailed deer in several counties within the state. A hunter can shoot up to 5 whitetail in any number of counties as long as he or she does not exceed the bag limit for any one county.
Basically, a hunter can shoot up to 3 bucks with an inside spread between the main beams of greater than 13 inches in 3 different antler restriction counties within the same hunting season. The fact that this option exists is why there is a harvest log on the back of a deer hunting license in Texas.
The log allows a hunter to record up to 3 harvested bucks and denote whether the deer were taken in antler restriction counties or not, as well as if the bucks were greater than 13 inches, but it’s also used by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) game wardens for compliance with county bag limits for deer.
Note: If you shoot even a single deer in Texas you DO want to complete the harvest log. If you get checked by a game warden, even while out fishing next year, and you have deer tags missing, they will refer to that log on the back. If it’s not completed, then you will be cited.