The first new hunting seasons of the year are still in their infancy.

Dove seasons in the north and central areas are in their third week and the south area opened last week. The early short seasons of teal and Canada geese are open until Sunday, and mosquito bite season continues. But am I already talking about deer season?

You bet. This could be an unforgettable year, and one for the outdoor writers whose columns will be talking about.

This was not the case in mid-February. TPWD biologists, however, expect white-tailed deer populations to increase from last year. After the freezing weather, which delayed the usual spring greening, it started to rain.

“The late spring and summer precipitation acted as a liquid fertilizer for herbs, grasses and woody plants,” said Alan Cain, TPWD White-tailed Deer Program Manager. “(He) provided a buffet of natural forages for the deer.”

Cain therefore predicts that the deer will come in autumn and winter fat and healthy. The timing of the rains should have helped the males to maximize the timber at the end of the growing season. He expects the quality of the woods to be much higher than last season. Calves born in the summer often suffer from heat, drought, and lack of fresh graze to keep their mother’s milk flowing as needed. This was not the case this summer. Seen from the sky, Texas must have looked like a big green pool table. The months of August are rare and lack brown grass and dead weeds. And fawns are everywhere now.

As you read this, the first season of the deer – archery season in Texas only – will only be around nine days away. It opens the first weekend of October to October 2 this year. It closes Nov 5 in most counties the day before the general season opens, but archery equipment can still be used during the regular season, as well as all legal firearms (at except rimfire weapons for deer, fully automatic firearms and nothing but hunting rifles for migrating birds).

During this special archery season only, only legal archery equipment may be used. This is defined as limited to compound bows, crossbows, longbows, and recurve bows. No guns. This does not mean that you can use archery gear during muzzle-only season, or muzzleloaders during archery-only. Most hunters understand this, but I had to say it.

If readers decide to enjoy archery season only, but have never shot archery equipment, I urge them to bring in an experienced archer to help them get started. And then practice every free minute before you hunt. Some facilities, like Austin’s Archery Country, have indoor stands.

Just because seasoned and dedicated archery hunters like Round Rock’s Alan McGraw can bow-kill grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, and many other animals doesn’t mean it’s easy. McGraw trains continuously. He also knows when to let go of a shot that could only hurt his prey.

Some inexperienced bow hunters have also had serious accidents. Don’t archery if you don’t know your gear.

Once you’ve done that, the rewarding challenge awaits.

John Jefferson, “Woods, Waters and Wildlife” columnist, can be reached at 512-219-1199 or at his website,