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      Nature Report: Deer Season 2013

      The most anticipated weekend on the sportsman's calendar is the first Saturday in November, the traditional start of the general hunting season for whitetail deer. This year's opening day is set for November 2nd, and the season runs thru January 19th in deep South Texas. Texas boasts the largest deer herd in the nation, and Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists put the state's whitetail population at more than three million. Texas also leads the nation in hunters and annually some 600,000 sportsmen take to the field in pursuit of whitetail deer. In the lone star state deer hunting generated approximately $1.25 billion in retail sales while supporting 22,136 jobs in 2011, according to the most recent survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Deep South Texas is home to some of the finest deer hunting in the state, and those much sought after big bucks bring big dollars to the region's economy. Hunting revenues pay the bills on many properties, and by managing their lands for deer, quail turkey and other game animals habitat is also protected for non-game species like endangered ocelots and colorful green jays. While this promises to be a reasonably good year for deer hunters in southernmost Texas, many deer were severely stressed and some perished during the area's prolonged drought. Recent rains have promoted a rebound of native habitat on most ranches and for now there is plenty of browse for whitetail deer. Deer season is a time-honored tradition in Texas and a great way to spend time in the outdoors, especially when you come home with some tasty venison. With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore