Texas is blessed with a diversity of habitats along with the variety of game that live there. There are many hunting opportunities in Texas year round, depending on the species you want to hunt. Wherever you hunt, there are some basic ethical rules to follow.
Always get permission from the landowner before hunting.
Follow the landowner’s restrictions on where, when and what you may hunt.
Establish if and where any game can be cleaned and where to dispose of any entrails, carcass or remnants.
Be clear on the retrieval protocol if wounded game leaves the property and acquire contact information of the neighbors if possible.
Leave all gates as you found them.
Respect crops and pastureland. Stay on the ranch roads.
Pack out what you pack in. Leave no trash, and pick up any trash you find even if you did not put it there.
It’s always a good idea to offer to share part of your harvest with the landowner.
Notify the landowner if you notice anything wrong or out of place.
More than 95% of the land in Texas is privately owned or managed. You can hunt on the private land that you own or get permission from the landowner to hunt as a guest or pay the landowner to hunt on that land. Many hunters find leases and book hunts a year or more in advance.
- Landowners can grant or deny permission to hunt on their land.
- Landowners can require and charge for a hunting lease.
- Landowners can require hunters to sign a liability waiver.
- Landowners can impose stricter bag limits or harvest requirements, within existing game laws.
TWPD has an online hunting lease listing service, the Hunt Texas Online Connection: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/exptexas/programs/hunt-texas/
There are also numerous hunting lease services that operate in Texas: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/planning/hunting_lease_websites/
If you purchase a hunting lease, create a written lease agreement, signed by both the landowner and hunters. It should list all the participant’s names and addresses, the type of lease (day, season or year), payment, restrictions, etc.
There are many different opportunities to hunt on public lands, both state and federal. Many public hunts have entry deadlines.
Texas Parks and Wildlife has two types of programs. The Annual Public Hunting Permit provides year-round hunting on nearly one million acres of land. Popular dove and small game hunting areas are offered through this system.
The Public Hunt Drawing System provides opportunities to apply for a wide variety of supervised, drawn hunts including special drawings for both adults and youth hunters.
In addition, TPWD offers special hunt package drawings for exotic wildlife and quality native animals on TPWD managed lands as well as specially leased private properties.
TPWD Big Time Texas Hunts offers seven premium hunt packages on some of the finest private ranches and prime wildlife management areas in the state.
National Wildlife Refuges, operated by the US Fish and Wildlife service, offers hunts on some of their refuges in the state.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has established statewide Youth Only open seasons for deer, turkey, and squirrel, and, with cooperation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for waterfowl. The purpose of these Youth Only open seasons is to provide youth with an enjoyable and memorable outdoor experience and allow parents and mentors to introduce them to safe and responsible hunting. The Youth Only open seasons hunts are scheduled to occur at times when youth are out of school.
Drawings are held to select a limited number of participants in high quality supervised Youth Only hunts for deer, feral hogs, javelina, turkey, and alligators. The purpose of drawn Youth Only hunts is to provide youth with an enjoyable and memorable outdoor experience and introduce them to the sport-hunting ethic through an experienced and responsible mentor. The hunts are scheduled to occur at times when youth are out of school and will be structured to make the activities more youth oriented and accessible.
The Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit is a $48 permit, valid from September 1 through August 31 of the following year. The APH Permit allows an adult access to designated public hunting lands as published in the Map booklet for Public hunting Lands available to permit buyers in August each year. Having purchased the appropriate Texas hunting licenses and stamps, holders of an APH Permit may take youth under age 17 hunting free of charge on these public hunting lands. Thereby making them aware of the need for proper management of wildlife resources and introducing them to the ethics of sport hunting.
The Texas Brigades is a wildlife-focused leadership development program for high school youth (ages 13-17) interested in learning about habitat management, communication skills, and developing a land ethic. The camps, each 4.5 days long, are held on private ranches and at environmental camps in different areas around the state. There are several different camps from which to choose: Bobwhite Brigade, Buckskin Brigade, Waterfowl Brigade and Bass Brigade. Top wildlife professionals and resource managers serve as instructors and mentors. Through these activities, you will develop valuable life skills that will help you no matter your goals.
Texas Youth Hunting Program
The Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) have joined forces to offer weekend youth hunts that are safe, educational and very affordable. We sponsor introductory, instructive youth hunts for deer, turkey, hogs, javelina, exotics, dove, small game, waterfowl, varmints and other species. The program provides instruction, mentoring, educational programs, food and lodging/camping for youth participants and their accompanying adult.
On our youth hunts, you will learn how to hunt safely, legally and ethically, find out how to track game, learn how to process game, appreciate nature first-hand, spend quality time with family and make new friends.