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TPWD Offers Opportunities During Special Youth Seasons
AUSTIN, Texas — Spurred by recent rains and the onset of fall cool fronts, duck numbers are steadily building along coastal ponds and on Panhandle playa lakes. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is encouraging hunting mentors to take advantage of these early migrants with young waterfowlers during the Oct. 28-29 Special Youth Season in Texas.
In addition to waterfowl hunting during the statewide special youth-only hunting weekend, licensed youth 16 years of age or younger will also be allowed to harvest white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkey. Seasons for other species, including quail and squirrels, are also open to all hunters regardless of age during this special weekend, providing excellent opportunities for mentoring youth.
Hunting for ducks, mergansers and coots during the youth-only waterfowl hunts is limited by federal rules to youngsters 15 years of age or younger. Bag limits and hunting restrictions under the new Hunter’s Choice will apply during the youth season.
For hunters who do not have access to privately-owned land, TPWD is providing low cost access during the Special Youth Season to nearly three quarters of a million acres of department managed lands for hunting, including most wildlife management areas, some state parks and many leased properties under the Annual Public Hunting permit program.
Here’s some of what’s available during the youth-only weekend on public hunting lands with easy access from major urban areas:
- Youth hunts for white-tailed deer are scheduled during the special weekend season on 17 public hunting units, mostly in East Texas.
- Youth hunts for waterfowl are available on 60 public hunting units covering more than 500,000 acres, including the J.D. Murphree WMA an hour’s drive from Houston and the Granger WMA just north of Austin.
- In addition to deer, quail season opens Oct. 28 and youth-only hunts are scheduled for two prime public areas, the Chaparral WMA, located an hour’s drive south of San Antonio and Caprock Canyon State Park in the Panhandle.
- Adults may accompany youth on quail and dove hunts on the Black Gap and Elephant Mountain WMAs in the Trans Pecos.
- Youth-adult squirrel hunting is available on 28 units of public lands, mostly in East Texas, including the Gus Engeling WMA less than two hours drive from Dallas.
- Youth-adult feral hog hunting is available on five public hunting areas, including Richland Creek and White Oak Creek WMAs within range of Dallas.
Youth hunting on departmental public hunting lands must be accompanied by a supervising adult 18 years of age or older who possesses the required Annual Public Hunting Permit, a valid hunting license and any required stamps and permits.
The Annual Public Hunting Permit is a $48 permit, valid from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31 of the following year. The permit allows an adult access to designated public hunting lands in the TPWD public hunting lands program. Hunting is allowed during legal hunting seasons for small game, turkey, white-tailed deer, exotics, predators, furbearers, and fishing without having to pay daily permit fees and in most instances, without having to be selected in a drawing.
Along with the appropriate Texas hunting licenses and stamps, permit holders may take youth under age 17 hunting free of charge on these public hunting lands.
Permits are available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online through the TPWD Web site (tpwd.state.tx.us) or by calling 1-800-TX-LIC-4U and paying by major credit card. There is a $5 convenience fee for online and phone purchases. If the permit is purchased at a TPWD office, the public hunting lands map booklet and supplement will be provided immediately at the time of purchase; otherwise, the publications will be mailed to the purchaser within two weeks of purchase.
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