Falconry Seasons & Regulations
- Rails, Gallinules and Moorhens
- It is unlawful for any person, while hunting or engaging in recreational shooting, to knowingly discharge a firearm in such a fashion as to cause a projectile to cross a property line, unless the person owns the property on both sides of the property line or has obtained written permission from the owner of any land crossed by the projectile.
- Remote-controlled Hunting: A person may not engage in computer-assisted remote hunting of any animal or bird or provide or operate facilities for computer-assisted remote hunting if the animal or bird being hunted is located in Texas.
- Artificial light of any form that casts or reflects a beam of light onto or otherwise illuminates a game animal or bird may not be used as an aid to hunt, except battery-powered scoping devices that project a light or dot only inside the scope; pin sight lights on archery equipment; or laser sighting devices used by legally blind hunters, or hunters who have a documented permanent physical disability that prevents them from using traditional firearm sighting devices.
- Legal blindness is: no more than 20/200 of visual acuity in the better eye with correcting lenses or visual acuity greater than 20/200, but with a limitation in the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees. Blind hunters must be assisted by a licensed hunter at least 13 years of age who is not legally blind. Blind hunters must possess a physician's signed statement attesting to legal blindness.
- A person who uses a laser sighting device because of a permanent physical disability that prevents them from using a traditional firearm sighting device must have in possession a signed statement from a physician or optometrist certifying that the person is incapable of using a traditional firearm sighting device and be accompanied by a person who is not physically disabled or legally blind, has a hunting license, and is at least 13 years of age.
- Hunter education requirements apply to legally blind hunters, hunters with a documented permanent physical disability, and persons assisting blind or disabled hunters.
- Non-protected nongame animals and fur-bearing animals may be hunted at night with the aid of an artificial light on private property. If hunting at night, please make a courtesy telephone call to your local game warden.
- Traps may not be used to hunt game birds or game animals.
- Dogs may not be used to hunt deer in this state.
- A person is prohibited from using a dog to hunt or pursue deer in this state. A person who violates this law is subject to a fine of $500-$4,000 and/or a year in jail. Additionally, a person's hunting and fishing licenses may be revoked or suspended. In addition, no person may possess a shotgun and buckshot or slugs while in the field with dogs on another person's land during an open deer season in Angelina, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler, and Walker counties.
- It is unlawful to use dogs to trail a wounded deer in the counties listed above.
- Not more than two dogs may be used to trail a wounded deer in counties not listed above. A "wounded deer" is a deer leaving a blood trail.
- Pheasant may not be hunted by means of a cable, chain, or rope connected to or between a moving object or objects.
- Aircraft may not be used to hunt any animal or bird unless authorized by the department.
- See County Listings for additional regulations.
- Animals and game birds not classified as migratory may be hunted from a motor vehicle, powerboat, sailboat, or from any other floating device within the boundaries of private property or upon private water. Migratory game birds under certain circumstances may be hunted from a boat on public water. See the migratory game bird section for the exceptions (Lawful Hunting Means and Methods).
- Calling devices (including manual and mouth-operated), recordings, and electrically amplified calls may be used to hunt game animals and game birds, except electronic calls may not be used to hunt migratory game birds, unless allowed by special regulation.
- Decoys may be used to hunt game animals and game birds, except that no person may use live decoys when hunting migratory birds.
- Baiting for game animals, nongame animals, and game birds is lawful on private property, except for turkey in certain East Texas counties and migratory game birds statewide.
- Trapping may be used for nongame/exotic animals (e.g., feral hogs, rabbits, etc.) on private property.
- Dogs may be used to aid in the hunting of any game bird.
Extended Falconry Season
Persons holding valid Texas falconry permits may take migratory game birds by means of falconry from one half hour before sunrise to sunset during open seasons listed herein and during the following Falconry Seasons. Falconry daily bag and possession limits shall not exceed three and six migratory game birds, respectively, singly or in the aggregate.
Violation and Penalty
Violation of state migratory game bird regulations also is a violation of federal regulations. A person who violates any state migratory game bird regulation is subject to:
- a criminal penalty from $25 to $500 for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed;
- civil restitution fee for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed; and
- license suspension for up to 60 days or license revocation for one year.
No person may import into this state or possess a migratory game bird taken outside this state, unless the person possessing the migratory game bird produces upon demand by a game warden a valid hunting license, stamp, tag, permit or document for the state or country in which the migratory game bird was legally taken. A person possessing a migratory game bird under this section must produce, upon demand by a game warden, a valid driver's license or personal identification certificate. In lieu of the requirements set forth in this subsection, a statement from the United States Customs Officer at the port of entry showing that the migratory birds were brought from Mexico is satisfactory.
Unless otherwise specified, there are no open seasons on state wildlife preserves and sanctuaries, public roads and highways or their rights-of-way. More restrictive federal regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting.
It is a violation to hunt a migratory game bird or possess a freshly killed migratory game bird listed in these rules at any time other than as provided in the "OPEN SEASONS, BAG AND POSSESSION LIMITS" section. If no season is listed for a species, the season is closed.
For information on permitting or hunting regulations for falconry, call (800) 792-1112 (menu 7) or (512) 389-4481.