mule deer bucks
Texas outfitter Greg Badgett says mule deer and whitetails alike are in great shape after a rainy summer. Russell Graves

The season isn’t yet open in the Lone Star State, but Greg Badgett, owner of Double B Outfitters, is already chomping at the bit. “We’ve had a great summer, with plenty of rain to keep natural forage in good shape,” he says. “That always helps with antler growth, and we’re getting some really nice bucks on our trail cams. It should be a fantastic fall.”

Badgett says the abundance of natural food will make the opener a challenge for some Texas bowhunters. “We open in early October, and any hunters waiting over feeders might have a tough go of it. Bucks especially are really hitting natural forage and green stuff, and they’ll continue to do so until the vegetation dries down or we get a hard frost. That’s when the feeders will start to come into their own.”

On the bright side, hunters who put in food plots or have the ability to hunt near ag fields should enjoy good action, Badgett says. “We always plant a mix of things, but it’s tough to beat anything with winter wheat or oats. That’s especially true if you’ve got a muley buck on the brain. We have some great mule deer here in the Panhandle, but they are pretty notorious for not coming in to feeders. But if you’ve got a good food plot or green field to hunt, they’re usually somewhere nearby.”