Deer management is not rocket science but more common sense management.

Story and Photography by Bob Zaiglin

As Texans enter another deer hunting season, a dearth of rainfall, particularly in the spring, has generated a bit of angst among sportsmen because of the negative impact it could have on antler size.

Rainfall is of paramount importance to everything from farming practices to the maintenance of our backyards, and all deer hunters know it’s an integral ingredient to antler development.  Prior to the spring of 2018, Texas, particularly South Texas, has realized three relatively wet springs, but it doesn’t take long for the residual moisture banked deep in the soil to dissipate under the relentless Texas sun.  In reality, we are actually realizing climatic conditions that are quite normal to the arid Southwest, which fortifies the importance of managing our deer herds to do well in those commonly occurring drought periods, so that when ideal climatic conditions occur, they come closer to exhibiting optimal performance.

Antlers, however, are not the only thing that is dependent on rainfall.  Of major concern is fawn survival.  Fawns must be able to survive extreme temperatures as well as predation, both of which are affected by rainfall.