Hunting in Texas is a rewarding experience. This is because the natural forests, grasslands, and scrublands of the lone star state are perfect for the activity. While hunting across the state is allowed, there are guidelines set by the U.S. Forest Service that must be followed. Some people think the guidelines are unnecessary but they are essential to protect the environment and the hunters themselves.
Thinking about hunting yourself? Hunting in Texas is not always legal. We've summed up the periods where it is legal to hunt in Texas for different types of animals.
The rules set by the U.S. Forest Service mostly apply to those who wish to camp and hunt in National Forests and Parks. There are many gigantic private ranches across the state where the rules are different because they are private properties. Perhaps the most important thing you need to be aware of regarding Texas hunting is the fact that different locations have different rules. And there are booklets explaining the rules. The booklets are given to those who obtain a WMA permit.
Therefore, before you embark on any hunting in Texas, you should consider getting the booklet explaining your hunting location’s rules and regulations. This will ensure you do not get into trouble with the authorities.
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TEXAS HUNTING LICENSE
If you want to hunt any legal bird or animal in Texas, you will most likely need a hunting license. There are different types of hunting licenses for different types of hunting activities. The funds collected by the authorities help them to manage wildlife areas and public parks more efficiently.
Below are four facts about the hunting licenses in Texas
1. A hunting license is necessary for both residents and non-residents
If you think you do not need a hunting license as a resident, you are wrong. You need a license to hunt on public land. If you think you do not need a hunting license as a non-resident, you are also wrong. You need it. You need a legal/valid Texas hunting license as a non-resident to hunt in Texas.
2. A hunting license is only valid for hunting legal wildlife
Many people would naturally expect a hunting license to allow them to hunt anything on public land. However, this is not the case. The ordinary Texas hunting license only allows you to hunt legal species of wildlife such as small game animals, small game migratory birds, aoudad (wild sheep), antelope, javelina, turkey, and deer. You need a special license to hunt alligators or fur-bearing animals. You also need a special license to hunt birds such as chachalaca, prairie chicken, quail, and pheasant. Migratory birds also require a special license to hunt.
3. A hunting license does not allow you to finish
If you want to hunt and fish on public property, you will need to get two different types of licenses; a hunting license and a fishing license. When getting a hunting license, make sure you get one that allows you to hunt what you want to hunt. Similarly, when you are getting a fishing license, make sure you get one that allows you to fish what you want to fish. Hunting animals that your license does not allows you to hunt is illegal. Similarly, fishing fish species that your license does not allow you to fish is illegal.
4. Hunting licenses help to conserve the wildlife and the natural environment
When you pay for a hunting license, you contribute money that is going to help to preserve the wildlife and the natural environment in Texas. You may not care much about the natural environment but you should definitely care about the wildlife in Texas. If the wildlife is not properly conserved, you will have nothing to hunt when you visit this state. Similarly, if the environment is not properly conserved, the ecosystems that wildlife depend on to survive won’t survive leading to the decimation of various wildlife species. So you must always pay for a hunting license to help conserve both the wildlife and the environment.
TEXAS HUNTING SEASONS
The hunting seasons are very rewarding in the state of Texas. This is because whatever animal or bird you are dreaming of hunting, you can find it in plenty in this expansive state. So if you have a hunting rifle or bow that you want to put to use in the natural environment, Texas is one of the best places to be.
Some of the best animals to hunt in Texas include deer, turkey, hogs, and geese. However, as we all know, most wild animals have seasons. They are not just hunted throughout the year; there is a specific season (time) to hunt them. Below are five things you need to know about the Texas hunting seasons.
1. The primary hunting season starts mid-fall
In the state of Texas, the primary hunting season (the big game season) starts mid-fall and continues until the first few weeks of winter. In other words, the primary hunting season starts about three months to the end of the year and continues until around Christmas time. This is the perfect time to hunt big game and it is the reason why the primary hunting season is also known as the big game season. The exact time when the primary hunting season or other seasons start in Texas can slightly change. Check the official Texas Parks & Wildlife official website here for specific information on hunting seasons.
2. The best time to hunt deer is during the primary hunting season
The best time for deer hunting in the state of Texas is during the primary hunting season (between mid-fall and the first weeks of winter). This is the best time because the weather is pretty much average (not so cold and not so warm). The fact that the weather is average during this time makes shooting arrows or bolts much more fun and enjoyable. The primary hunting season is also the best time to hunt deer because deer are somewhat easier to spot during mid-fall because they are usually out searching for ripening seeds and grasses. The types of deer you will most likely see when hunting during the primary hunting season include the mule deer and the whitetail deer.
3. The perfect time to hunt different game
The primary hunting season is generally the best time for hunting deer, feral hogs, and other big game animals. If you are planning to hunt smaller game animals, you will need to find out the best time to hunt what you want to hunt. The best time to hunt pronghorn is between October and December. The best time to hunt the Rio Grande Turkey is between March and May. And the best time to hunt dove is between September and November.
4. There is an official hunting season for each animal
Every year, thousands of hunters converge in Texas to hunt deer, feral hogs, doves, and other types of game. The number of deer, hogs, and other types of game killed is usually in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Because of this, the Texas Parks and Wildlife authority publishes an official hunting season for each type of legal game. The purpose of the season is to restrict the hunting of game animals to a specific time of the year so that the species can recover during the off-season. If caught hunting game outside its hunting season, you will be penalized with a heavy fine.
5. Hunting seasons are taught in hunter education
Before you go hunting in Texas, you must know the seasons and what you can do and what you cannot do. And the best way to know the seasons and the hunting rules and regulations is to take a hunter safety education course. In fact, it is a must for you to take a hunter safety education course before you go hunting in Texas. The state requires it. Don’t worry if you think it is a physical course. The course can be done online. It will not only equip you with knowledge about hunting seasons but also with the knowledge that will ensure safety during your hunting trip.
TEXAS HOG HUNTING
One of the big game animals that hunters go to Texas to hunt is the feral hog. Nothing beats the Texas hog hunting experience. It is common knowledge that the south of Texas has a feral hog problem. In fact, about 3 million hogs (half the total hog population in the USA) are in Texas. The animals are causing a lot of damage to the environment by consuming large amounts of vegetation, destroying rare plants, and spreading swine diseases. This is the reason why the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department sees no harm in giving thousands of licenses every year for the animals to be hunted. The idea is that hog hunting will help to control feral swine in the state.
Below are five facts you should know about Texas hog hunting.
1. The whole of Texas is ideal for hog hunting
If you are looking to hunt hogs, Texas is the best place to go. This is because there are hog populations all over the state. Virtually all counties (except one) have significant hog populations. The reason why there are significant hog populations all over Texas is the fact that there are many wild areas in the south with rivers/streams, and close proximity to crop farms. These areas provide hogs with the space, the food, and the water they need to thrive. This is the reason why there are literally millions of hogs in Texas.
2. You can get paid to hunt feral hogs in Texas
Several counties in Texas will pay you a bit of money (two bucks per tail) for every feral hog you hunt. The counties include Caldwell county and Hays county. So if you want to enjoy hunting big game and make some gas money while at it, Texas is the place to be. Most counties that offer a bounty for feral hogs are located in the Eastern, Central, and Southern parts of Texas. They offer hunters money to feral hog hunters because feral hogs are causing a lot of crop damage and environmental destruction in their counties.
3. The best place to hunt feral hogs in Texas is in the south
The best place to hunt feral hogs is in the south of Texas. This is because most feral hogs in Texas are found in the south of Texas. There are many locations near the big cities of south Texas (San Antonio and Houston) that are ideal for hog hunting. So if you are going to Texas from out of state, you can land very close to a hog hunting location. Around some southwest areas of Texas, e.g. Laredo and Harlingen, you can find traditional feral hogs. These are among the most exciting feral hogs to hunt. In addition to traditional feral hogs, there are many other types of hogs that can be hunted in the south of Texas.
4. You can hunt both hog and deer in central Texas
There are many places where you can hunt both feral hogs and deer in central Texas. They include San Marcos, San Saba, Austin, and Llanna. These places have significant populations of both game animals. In fact, Llano has such a significant deer population that it is known as the deer capital of Texas. In the hunting locations in Llano, you can hunt deer during the day and feral hogs in the evening and at night. In other words, you can have a thrilling hunting experience in Central Texas Llano. Just make sure you carry your best bow because unlike shooting deer, shooting feral hogs is a much more challenging (and satisfying) experience.
5. You can hunt feral hogs from a helicopter in Texas
Several landowners allow you to hunt feral hogs from a helicopter in Texas. It is absolutely a brilliant experience to hunt feral hogs from a helicopter. If you don’t have any experience doing it, do not worry. You will be taught everything you need to know, and you will be secured using special straps that will prevent you from falling out of the helicopter when doing it. While hunting feral hogs from helicopters is a brilliant experience, it is also pretty expensive. A 2-hour trip costs between $2,000 and $3,000 as at the time of publishing this article. The actual cost you will pay will depend on the type of helicopter, the number of people going, and whether you want the experience to be videotaped.
TEXAS DEER HUNTING
Texas is one of the best places to hunt deer in the South and there are three reasons why this is so. First, it is one of the largest states in the United States. It is so massive with plenty of truly wild conservation areas, especially in the east and the south. These wild areas have allowed deer populations to increase significantly in the lone star state. Second, the state is full of crop farms, forested areas, lakes, rivers, and streams. This means that deer and other wildlife in the area have access to plenty of food and water to thrive. Lastly, the state has a robust wildlife management agency that helps to conserve and ensure the numbers of different animals are not decimated by hunting or disease.
If the information in the paragraph above makes you want to go hunting in Texas, there are five things you should know before you book your flight.
1. The best time for a Texas deer hunt is between October and January
If you want to go deer hunting in Texas, it is best to know the deer hunting season in the state. This is because you are not allowed to hunt deer outside the official deer hunting season in the state. The deer hunting season is generally between October and January in the state. The exact date is usually stated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. So make sure you check the Department’s website before you book your flight to Texas. October to January is the best time to hunt Texas deer because the animal is usually very active and on the move during the three months. This is because the three months coincide with the deer breeding season.
2. There are requirements you will have to meet before deer hunting in Texas
Despite being the proud home of many cowboys, Texas is not the Wild West. It has rules and regulations that hunters need to meet before they are allowed to hunt deer. Perhaps the biggest rule is that all types of hunting activities require a hunting license. You are not just allowed to go into parks and conservation areas to hunt deer or any other big game in the state. Getting a license is easy, just go on the official website of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. You will get all the information you need. If you were born later than September 1st, 1971, you will need to complete a hunter education program before getting a license. The program can be completed online; there is no need for you to travel to Texas to complete it.
3. You cannot hunt on a public road in Texas
As mentioned above, there are several deer hunting regulations you need to follow to hunt in Texas. One of the most important ones is that you cannot hunt on a public road in the state. This rule is meant to protect public road users by ensuring public roads are safe. You are also not allowed to use electronic devices such as calling devices and recordings to attract and hunt deer and other game animals. This is meant to ensure that deer hunters experience a real challenge and do not get to kill many deer (to protect them from decimation). Lastly, you are not allowed to surpass five whitetail deer per year. This is also meant to protect deer populations from decimation and extinction.
4. You need certain hunting equipment to have a successful hunting experience
This is quite under-estimated but it is true. You need several hunting gear to have a successful hunting experience. Perhaps most importantly, you need a hunting bow for a successful hunting experience. If you have several bows, bring two or three of the best along. You will use the best and in case it fails or gets damaged, you will simply use one of the other ones. No need to go back to base to replace or repair a damaged bow in the middle of a hunt. In addition to a hunting bow, you will need hunting bow accessories, a cooler (for deer meat), blinds (for shelter), and camouflage clothing (for total blending with the environment).
5. There are several five-star hunting ranches for the ultimate hunting experience
If you want to have a truly adventurous and memorable hunting experience, you should consider booking yourself into a hunting ranch. There are several deer hunting ranches across Texas. They are massive in size and they offer different types of hunting packages plus five-star accommodation. The hunting packages usually include a guide to make your experience as knowledgeable as possible. They also normally include a hunting tent and setup. All you will have to do is to bring your bow, your bow accessories, and your personal effects.
Hunting in Texas is one of the best experiences if you want to shoot big game animals such as deer and feral hogs. This is because the state is wild, expansive, and has many interesting landscapes and drainage areas for hunting. While Texas is a nice place for hunting before you pack your bags to go hunting in the state you should look up the rules and regulations to ensure you know exactly what is expected of you.