Embark on the ultimate hunting adventure in Texas, a state that boasts diverse landscapes, bountiful game species, and rare opportunities to hunt exotic animals.
With its expertly managed wildlife resources and vast public and private lands, Texas has earned its reputation as a premier hunting destination.
Want to explore its rich and cultured hunting? Keep reading to learn the hunting opportunities the Lone State has to offer.
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Texas Hunting Season
Hunting in Texas is pretty famous for having a variety of hunting seasons throughout the year. All that is thanks to its diverse landscapes and abundant game species.
From the lush pine forests of East Texas to the rugged deserts of the West, there’s a hunting season for everyone in the Lone Star State. Take a peak at the general Texas hunting seasons:
|White-tailed Deer Season||General Season: Early November to mid-January|
Special Late Season: Early to mid-January & Mid- to late January
Youth Season: Weekends of late October & Early to mid-January
Archery: Late September to early November
Muzzleloader: Early to mid-January
|Mule Deer Season||General (Panhandle): Mid-November to early December|
General (Trans-Pecos): Late November to mid-December
Archery: Late September to early November
|Alligator Season||Special Properties: Mid-September to late September|
General Season: Early April to late June
|Pronghorn Antelope Season|
(Special Permit required)
|Early to mid-October|
|Desert Bighorn Sheep Season|
(Special Permit needed)
|Early January to late June|
|Rio Grande Turkey Season||Fall General Season: Early November to late February|
Spring General Season: Throughout April
|Javelina Season||North: Early October to late February |
Visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) website for up-to-date information on seasons, bag limits, and other essential details.
Popular Game to Hunt in Texas
Texas is a haven for hunters, thanks to its diverse landscapes and a wealth of game species. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular game animals you can find in the Lone Star State:
White-tailed deer hunting in Texas is a time-honored tradition and a favorite pastime for many hunters. The Lone Star State boasts the highest population of white-tailed deer in the United States, with recent estimates ranging from three to four million.
Texas sportsmen harvest an estimated 430,000 to 500,000 whitetails each year, contributing significantly to the state’s hunting culture and economy.
Mule deer hunting in Texas allows you to connect with nature, test your hunting skills, and create lasting memories. Texas mule deer are primarily found in the western and panhandle regions of the state.
Texas has antler restrictions in place for mule deer in certain regions, designed to promote the health and sustainability of the deer population. The restrictions may require a minimum outside spread of the main beams, ensuring that only mature bucks are harvested.
Alligator hunting in Texas offers a thrilling and challenging experience for hunters seeking this unique and elusive reptile. The American alligator is primarily found in the southeastern regions of the state, particularly along the Gulf Coast and in the marshes, swamps, rivers, and bayous of East Texas.
Once you have successfully harvested an alligator, you must immediately complete and attach the Alligator CITES tag to the animal before moving it from the point of harvest. The tag should be securely fastened to the base of the alligator’s tail, where it will remain until the hide is processed.
After tagging the alligator, you must complete an Alligator Harvest Report Form and submit it to TPWD within 72 hours of the harvest. This report provides important data for TPWD to monitor and manage alligator populations and ensures that all harvested alligators are tagged and reported according to regulations.
Rio Grande Turkey
Rio Grande Wild Turkey hunting in Texas is an exciting and engaging pursuit for both novice and experienced hunters. These turkeys are the most common subspecies found in the Lone Star State and are known for their impressive size and cunning behavior.
They inhabit various landscapes across Texas, from wooded river bottoms and brushy areas to open grasslands.
There are two primary hunting seasons for Rio Grande Wild Turkeys in Texas:
- Spring season: This season offers hunters to pursue gobblers and witness their plumage and vocalization to attract females. This is the most popular time to hunt turkeys, as hunters can use calling techniques to lure gobblers into range.
- Fall season: The fall turkey season offers hunters another opportunity to pursue these elusive birds. During this time, hunters can target both gobblers and hens. Techniques often involve locating and intercepting flocks as they move between feeding and roosting areas.
Javelina hunting in Texas offers a unique and engaging experience for hunters interested in pursuing these fascinating, pig-like animals.
Primarily found in the southern and western regions of the state, javelinas inhabit arid and semi-arid environments such as deserts, brushlands, and chaparral. These social animals provide a challenging and enjoyable hunting opportunity for daring hunters as these species often stick by each other’s sides.
Javelina hunting in Texas mostly takes place on private land, so obtaining written permission from the landowner before hunting is essential. Meanwhile, the hunting bag limit for javelina is generally set at two javelinas per hunter per license year.
Limited Hunting in Texas
Desert Bighorn Sheep
Although opportunities to hunt Desert Bighorn Sheep are limited, they remain a sought-after game species in Texas.
The TPWD offers limited permits for Desert Bighorn Sheep hunting through a lottery system known as Drawn Hunts.
To apply, hunters must apply online through the TPWD website during the specified application period, typically during the summer. Applicants can apply for multiple hunts and can also apply as a group.
Desert Bighorn Sheep hunts are highly sought after, so your chances of being drawn are quite low but still worth the attempt.
Pronghorn antelope hunting in Texas offers a thrilling and unique experience for those who venture into the western and panhandle regions of the state.
Known for their incredible speed and agility, pronghorns are one of the fastest land animals in North America, making them a challenging and rewarding game species to pursue.
To hunt pronghorn in Texas, you must obtain a Pronghorn Antelope Permit in addition to your hunting license. These permits are typically issued through a draw system, with applications accepted from early June to early August. Successful applicants will receive a permit specifying the hunting area and season dates.
Moreover, pronghorn hunting in Texas often takes place on private land, so it’s essential to obtain written permission from the landowner before hunting. Trespassing while hunting is illegal and can result in fines and other penalties.
Best Texas hunting Location
Texas offers various hunting locations with unique landscapes, game species, and opportunities.
Here’s an overview of some of the best hunting locations in Texas, spread across various regions:
South Texas Brush Country
This region is famous for its dense brush and thriving wildlife. It’s an excellent location for white-tailed deer, Rio Grande turkey, and javelina hunting. Some of the best counties for hunting in South Texas Brush Country include the following:
Texas Hill Country
Encompassing central and southern Texas, this region is known for its rolling hills, live oaks, and cedar trees. It’s a prime area for white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkey hunting, with popular counties like Kerr, Gillespie, and Bandera.
The panhandle offers vast expanses of grasslands and canyons in the northwestern part of the state. It’s a great location for mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and quail hunting. The top counties for hunting in the Texas Panhandle include the following:
The rugged and remote mountains of West Texas offer hunters the chance to pursue elusive species such as mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and desert bighorn sheep.
The stunning landscape and challenging terrain make West Texas a unique hunting destination.
East Texas Piney Woods
The Piney Woods region of East Texas offers excellent hunting opportunities for white-tailed deer, feral hogs, and waterfowl due to its diverse habitat, which includes dense forests, swamps, and marshes.
This region is also home to a healthy population of alligators, providing a unique hunting experience.
Coastal Prairies and Marshes
The coastal regions of Texas offer prime waterfowl hunting, particularly for ducks and geese, thanks to the extensive marshes, wetlands, and rice fields that provide critical habitats for migratory birds.
Alligator hunting is also popular in this region.
In Texas, various hunting licenses are available to meet the needs of residents and non-residents. Here’s an overview of the main hunting license types and their prices:
|Spring Turkey Hunting||$126.00|
|Special Small Game Hunting||5-day Hunting: $48.00|
1-year Hunting: $132.00
Texas requires hunters born on or after September 2, 1971, to complete a hunter education course before they can legally hunt. Some exemptions apply, such as those under 17 years old, who can hunt under the supervision of a licensed hunter.
Blaze orange requirements
During firearm deer seasons, all hunters (including archery hunters) and their companions must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material with orange headgear and at least 144 square inches appearing on both chest and back.
Migratory Game Birds Hunting
Hunting migratory game birds, such as ducks and geese, requires adherence to federal migratory bird hunting regulations in addition to state regulations.
This may include obtaining a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) and a Texas Migratory Game Bird Endorsement on your hunting license.