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Lake LBJ

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Definition of a Legal Buck


Tom Behrens has over 50 years experience in fishing and hunting across the United States. Much of this time was spent in Oklahoma and Texas where he became very familiar with the outdoor opportunities in these states. You may contact him by email at:

Now that we are into the archery season for deer and the gun season will be opening in a couple of weeks, let’s review what’s a legal buck, according to TPWD regulations.

“In antler restricted counties, a legal buck deer is defined as a buck deer with:
a hardened antler protruding through the skin AND;
at least one unbranched antler; OR
an inside spread measurement between main beams of 13 inches or greater (does not apply to a buck that has an unbranched antler).
To determine if a buck has an inside spread measurement of at least 13 inches, look at the distance from ear-tip to ear-tip on a buck with ears in the "alert" position.

It is unlawful to take more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater in a county where antler restrictions are in effect.

Does not apply on properties enrolled in the MLDP and for which MLDP buck tags have been issued.

During the Special Late Season, take is restricted to antlerless and "unbranched antlered" deer. An unbranched antlered deer is a buck deer with at least one antler that has no more than one point.

Definition of a Point
A point is a projection that extends at least one inch from the edge of a main beam or another tine. The tip of the main beam is also a point.


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