2016-2017 Sandhill Crane Seasons & Regulations

Regular Season
Zone A
Oct. 29, 2016 - Jan. 29, 2017
Zone B
Nov. 18, 2016 - Jan. 29, 2017
Zone C
Dec. 17, 2016 - Jan. 22, 2017

Bag Limits

ZoneDaily Bag LimitPossession Limit
Zone A 3 birds 9 birds
Zone B 3 birds 9 birds
Zone C 2 birds 6 birds

Zone Map

Zone C Closed Area: Everything to the Gulf of Mexico from a line beginning at the Kleberg-Nueces county line and the Gulf of Mexico, west along the county line to Park Road 22, to State Hwy. 358, to State Hwy. 286, north to IH 37, east to U.S. Hwy. 181, north and west to U.S. Hwy. 77 at Sinton, north and east along U.S. Hwy. 77 to U.S. Hwy. 87 at Victoria, east and south along U.S. Hwy. 87 to State Hwy. 35, north and east along State Hwy. 35 to the south end of Lavaca Bay Causeway, south and east along the shore of Lavaca Bay to the Port Lavaca Ship Channel, south and east along the Ship Channel to the Gulf of Mexico.


Sandhill Crane

  • Gray, with dark wingtips; may appear white in some light.
  • Neck long, extended straight forward in flight.
  • Wingspan is 5 feet.
  • Legs extend beyond tail in flight.
  • Slow wingbeat.
  • Flocks of 2 to hundreds.

Whooping Crane - Do Not Hunt

Whooping Cranes are endangered. Do not confuse them for Sandhill cranes. Be sure before you shoot.

  • Whooping Cranes stand nearly 5 feet tall.
  • They will be the tallest bird you see.
  • Adult birds have bodies that are pure white except for a red patch on the head and a black “mustache.”
  • Juvenile birds will have rusty feathers with the white.
  • Wingtips (primary feathers) are black, black does not extend all the way along the wing edge to the body.
  • Wingspan is 7.5 feet.
  • Fly with long necks and long legs fully extended.
  • Wingbeats are slow and steady.
  • Flocks of 2 to 7.
  • Sometimes migrate with sandhill cranes.

See more species that are illegal to hunt.

Goose Hunting Regulations

Hunting Hours

One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Nontoxic Ammunition Requirement

Sandhill Cranes MAY be taken with lead shot. However, Wildlife Management Areas and Federal Wildlife Refuges have special regulations requiring nontoxic shot for ALL game bird hunting, including Sandhill Cranes.

License Requirements

Hunting License

All migratory game bird hunters must have a valid hunting license.

Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp Endorsement

Required to hunt any migratory game bird (waterfowl, coot, rail, gallinule, snipe, dove, sandhill crane, and woodcock). A valid Federal Duck Stamp and HIP Certification are also required of waterfowl hunters 16 years of age or older.

Harvest Information Program

When you purchase a hunting license, indicate to the license clerk that you intend to hunt migratory game birds and need to be HIP certified by answering a few simple questions.

Federal Sandhill Crane Hunting Permit

A Federal Sandhill Crane Hunting Permit is required to hunt Sandhill Cranes, in addition to a valid Texas hunting license, Texas Migratory Game Bird Endorsement, and HIP Certification. The Federal Sandhill Crane Hunting Permit can be obtained in person ONLY at TPWD Law Enforcement offices (see pg. 18 of the Outdoor Annual) and TPWD headquarters in Austin, but also is available by phone at (800) 792-1112 (Option 7, menu 7) or (512) 389-4820, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or through Online Sales. For phone and online orders, a transaction receipt will be issued in lieu of a permit. A $5 administrative fee will be charged for online orders. Permittees should keep a record of hunting activities because 26% of crane hunters are chosen for a federal harvest survey.

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