Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


 Cissy Beasley

Almost Everything Whitetail

If you spy a flash of white under that buck’s tail when he turns to slip away, you’ve encountered a white-tailed deer, the most sought-after big-game species in Texas.

Whether you’re a hunter filling the family freezer with fresh meat or a wildlife watcher charmed by the sight of a whitetail’s power and regal beauty, you likely know what it means to have “buck fever.” An estimated 5.5 million white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) inhabit all but two of Texas’ 254 counties and can be seen everywhere, from urban green spaces to the most remote wilds.

White-tailed deer hunting generates an estimated $1.2 billion in economic output (think gas, gear, lease fees, hotels, restaurants and small-town retail businesses) in Texas and $15.7 billion nationwide. Even those admittedly impressive numbers can’t convey the depth of Texas’ enduring attraction to the whitetail and the culture that surrounds it, from art to cooking to writing — not to mention the thrill of the hunt itself.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department handles the weighty responsibility of regulation, conservation and management of deer populations throughout the state, as well as the education and safety of hunters. The agency sold more than 1.24 million hunting licenses in 2019; license sales are up in 2020 as Texans see hunting as an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while staying COVID-safe.

There’s not enough space to tell you literally everything about white-tailed deer, but we love a challenge!


Average 7 years


up to 30 mph


201 days


175lb (m); 110lb (f)


up to 7 ft, +/- 3 ft @ shoulder


forbs, shrubs, acorns


In the Wild: Focus On the Eyes

In The Wild: Leave Fawns Alone

In the Wild: What the Rut?!

Before the Hunt: The Epicenter of Deer Research

Before the Hunt: Stay Safe in Deer Camp

Before the Hunt: Learn Before You Leave

Before the Hunt: The Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety

The Hunt: Becoming a Deer Hunter

The Hunt: Public Hunting

The Hunt: Become a Legend

The Harvest: A Life-like Vision

The Harvest: Wall-to-Wall Antlers

The Harvest: Ancient Rock Stars?

The Harvest: Hunters for the Hungry

The Feast: Venison Backstrap Stuffed with Pecan and Cranberry

The Feast: How to Butterfly and Truss a Loin

The Feast: Oh-So-Spicy Venison Ribs

The Feast: Venison Loin

The Feast: Venison Sourdough Toast

The Feast: Cooking Tips from Tim Love

The Stories: A Fever for Fiction

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