Skip to main content Skip to main content

Texas Whitetails Riding Out Hurricane Harvey

Texas Whitetails Riding Out Hurricane Harvey

As Hurricane Harvey struck the upper Texas coast in late August, video and photos of swimming deer began turning up on the Internet and TV news reports.

Fortunately, according to Texas wildlife officials, few adult whitetails succumbed to the storm. Even those in the hardest-hit areas soon returned to life as usual — or as close to usual as could be hoped for in the hurricane-ravaged areas.

A 10-point buck swims to escape rising waters in downtown Friendswood, Texas, a suburb of Houston. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Forrest)

"As far as deer, we will likely see some mortality due to flooding, but most of this will be fawn mortality," noted wildlife division director Clayton Wolf.

"Two years ago we essentially lost the entire fawn crop on WMAs like Richland Creek, but these floods were earlier in the year," the biologist said."I suspect many of the earlier-born fawns in Southeast Texas were old enough to swim to high ground, but landowners could see a reduced fawn crop this fall.

"Interestingly enough, the earliest rut and corresponding fawning dates in Texas are in that area just southwest of Houston," Wolf pointed out. "Do you suppose that maybe this area has early fawning dates because previous hurricanes and tropical storms resulted primarily in survival of those very-early-born fawns?"

Major flooding can endanger deer not only directly, but also through the major habitat changes that follow.

"If vegetation is inundated for an extended period, there will be defoliation of woody species and mortality of herbaceous species," Wolf said. "Until the new vegetation germinates or the existing vegetation re-sprouts, there could be very little forage in some areas."

Harvey struck about a month before archery season was set to open, with few public hunts directly affected. An early bowhunt at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge was canceled, but the storm didn't interfere with other quota deer hunts. Most of the hunts canceled were in September and were for alligators or teal.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the North American Whitetail App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top North American Whitetail stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All North American Whitetail subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Subscribe Now and Get a Full Year

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now