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Red River Army Depot proclaims this year's hunting season a HUGE success - on its 11,000 hunting acres

Mar 30, 2022
Jessica Bilimek is pictured with her first buck and her father Robert Bilimek at Red River Army Depot. Photo by Adrienne Brown

Red River Army Depot helped families come together this hunting season, and RRAD is excited to let the public know that big changes this year led to a successful season.

Each year, hunters of all ages take on approximately 11,000 hunting acres at Red River Army Depot, attempting to harvest deer, buck, or doe.

One of the most significant successes during the season was the removal of 600 feral hogs from the depot, which has been ongoing since 2019.

"For the first time in several years, we are seeing more deer tracks than hog tracks," says Dennis Kuykendall, RRAD Natural Resources Manager. "Though we trap hogs year around, we did more over the last two years, and it seems to have had a positive effect on the deer."

In addition to implementing the plan to remove the hogs, the depot's resource managers are also working to improve the age structure of the deer herd. While it isn't illegal to harvest a young deer on the depot, hunters are encouraged to think twice before pulling the trigger and letting the young ones walk.
Reili Brewer hunting at Red River Army Depot. Photo by Adrienne Brown

Antler restrictions such as 13" or greater inside spread, 5-points on one side, and no harvesting of spikes are also in place to help prevent the taking of young deer. The 2021 season also introduced a bag limit of one deer, buck, or doe.

Kuykendall said hunters seemed to be more selective with the new guidance in place.

Hunters were also allowed to earn an extra deer tag if they could harvest two hogs or two predators.
Ryan Meadows displays his hunting success at Red River Army Depot. Photo by Adrienne Brown


The new changes didn't stop the hunters' success at the depot.

The depot's 2021 hunting season produced eight-year-old Ryan Ward. Ward, hunting with his dad Josh, bagged his largest buck to date and ended the season with the largest buck taken on the depot for 2021. The heavy 10-point deer was taken near Elliott Lake.
Eight-year-old Ryan Ward was the youngest hunter at Red River Army Depot to take a deer during 2021 season. Photo by Adrienne Brown
  
Ward wasn't the only youngster this season to take a deer. In fact, nearly 18% of the deer harvested on the depot in 2021 were taken by hunters under 16. Thirty percent of the deer taken this year were by youth, veteran/active duty, and even a few first deer!

"This was an unexpected statistic for a season that had 'added' restrictions to keep harvest numbers to a minimum while not significantly sacrificing revenue," Kuykendall said.

Revenue for the season only decreased by approximately 10% from the previous season despite the added restrictions.

At $60 for an adult permit and $15 for a youth permit, eligible hunters have 135 hunt areas of their choice. In addition, hunters do not use their state-issued tags for deer harvested on RRAD. Instead, a Managed Lands Deer Program permit is used to tag the deer.

Revenues from permit sales go back into the program to fund habitat improvements, traps, bait for feral hog control, and wildlife survey supplies.

Story by Adrienne Brown


Brody Rogers hunting at Red River Army Depot. Photo by Adrienne Brown

Edgeliea Woolfolk after a successful hunt at Red River Army Depot. Photo by Adrienne Brown

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