New License Log Deer Hunting Requirements

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As you come upon that freshly killed buck this fall, the adrenaline still flowing, something as simple as filling out a deer tag can become quite confusing. At least, that's what Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens have observed in the past.

"Under the old system the various tags could be confusing," said David Sinclair, TPWD law enforcement chief of wildlife enforcement. "One tag was for a one-buck county in the West zone or a three buck county and one was for a one-buck county in the East zone or a two or three-buck county so it was confusing to know which was the right tag."

Hunters will notice the 2002-03 hunting license has been simplified and includes five generic white-tailed deer tags - three can be used to tag a buck or antlerless deer and two are antlerless only.

"Now, in addition to filling out a generic carcass tag, the hunter will complete the harvest log on the back of the license," Sinclair said. "That's where we look to see if the hunter is in compliance with county bag limits and harvest restrictions."

Hunters should also be aware of the documentation requirements for a harvested animal that leaves their possession prior to reaching its final destination such as a meat processor or taxidermist.

According to Sinclair, it is legal to give, leave, receive, or possess any species of legally taken wildlife resource, or part of the resource, that is required to have a tag or permit attached or that is protected by a bag or possession limit if the wildlife resource is accompanied by a wildlife resource document from the person who killed or caught it.

No wildlife resource document is required when the entire carcass of a deer (including head, which may be skinned or unskinned) or antelope (including head, which must be unskinned) is given to, or transported by another person if the tag from the hunter's license and other required permits or the pronghorn permit remains attached until the carcass reaches its final destination and is finally processed.

An example of a wildlife resource document can be found in the Outdoor Annual of hunting and fishing regulations available where hunting licenses are sold or on line at (

"Hunters will take an animal to a taxidermist and are not sure where the tag should stay, with the meat or the antlers," said Sinclair. "Keep in mind the tag always stays with the carcass, so if you leave the antlers and cape only, then you have to leave a Wildlife Resource Document and get a statement from the taxidermist declaring proof of sex to accompany the carcass."

Also new this year is the elimination of a requirement that an unskinned head must accompany a carcass as proof of sex. Hunters can go ahead and preserve a cape in camp for taxidermy purposes as long as the head (skinned or unskinned) with antlers attached is present with the carcass and other tagging and documentation requirements have been satisfied.

For additional information about license requirements and tagging, contact your area game warden or call TPWD at 800-792-1112.