Hunting is a popular pastime in Texas, with over 1.25 million licensed hunters on the prowl for the wide variety of game here. Each hunting season brings a different and unique experience, giving these hunters something to look forward to once the much-awaited event arrives.
Of course, there are several rules and guidelines that each hunter must follow before heading out to the woods. Here’s everything you need to know about hunting in the Lone Star State:
All hunting activities in the state of Texas are managed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. This state agency aims to protect the park’s resources and its inhabitants. It also regulates the hunting season, as well as the application and distribution of hunting licenses.
If you’re hunting in public land, you’re required to have at least 400 square inches of fluorescent orange color on your chest and back. Your headwear must also be of the same color.
Wearing this bright color keeps you safe because it helps other hunters in distinguishing you from animals. However, those hunting on private land are not required to wear hunter orange.
In Texas, hunters are only allowed to shoot between sunrise (starting 30 minutes before) to sunset (until 30 minutes after the sun sets). To get an accurate time of day, you can refer to this Sunrise Sunset Calendar.
Types of animals to hunt
Texas has a variety of wildlife that can be found in many of the state’s hunting lands:
- Mule deer
- Rabbits and hares
- Sandhill crane
- White-tailed deer
White-tailed deer are the most commonly-found game to hunt in Texas, along with desert bighorn sheep, gray or cat squirrels, and alligators. Texas is also home to the most number of white-tailed deer, with an estimated 430,000 to 500,000 deer being hunted each year.
Hunting season dates
The opening and closing dates for each hunting season are given by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Open season is considered as a “general” season, which means that hunters are allowed to hunt for any of the animal species mentioned above.
Remaining dates for hunting various game in Texas are:
- Alligator: April 1 to June 30, 2019 (All other counties)
- Javelina: September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019 (South Zone)
- Squirrel: May 1 to 31, 2019 (East Texas) and September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019 (Other open counties)
- Rio Grande Turkey during Spring Season: March 30 to May 12, 2019 (North Zone), March 16 to April 28, 2019 (South Zone), and April 1 to April 30, 2019 (One-turkey counties)
- Rio Grande Turkey for Spring Youth only: May 18 to 19, 2019 (North Zone) and May 4 to 5, 2019 (South Zone)
Selling of wildlife parts
Hunters are allowed to sell the inedible parts of the wildlife they catch. If you catch animals such as white-tailed deer, desert bighorn sheep, squirrels, or javelin, you’re allowed to sell their hair, hide, horns, and hooves. You are also allowed to sell feathers, bones, and feet of game birds, provided that they are for commercial use.
Additional hunting rules
- Hunting on public roads or right-of-way public roads is prohibited. Only those with a Reptile and Amphibian Stamp are allowed to capture indigenous reptiles or amphibians
- If a deer has been hit by a motor vehicle, residents and visitors are prohibited from bringing it home.
- Texas also disallows the buying and selling of migratory bird feathers for hats or other ornamental purposes. Buying and selling of bird specimens are also not allowed.
Obtaining a hunting license
Texas requires all hunters (regardless of age and residency) to have a hunting license for hunting animals, birds, frogs, or turtles. The state offers several types of hunting licenses such as a Resident Hunting License, a Youth Hunting License, a Super Combo Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package, and a Lifetime License.
Those applying for a hunting license must first complete a Hunter Education Training Course. Each hunting license is valid until August 31 of the following year, regardless of when the license was obtained.
Ranch Partners is an experienced team of real estate agents who specialize in the buying and selling of North Texas ranch land. Search for North Texas hunting land for sale by getting in touch with us at 254-433-2561 or 254-631-3200. You may also send an email to jeffclarktexas(at)gmail(dotted)com.