Chapter 7 - Responsible and Ethical Hunting

Turkey HuntersResponsible and ethical conduct makes the hunting experience much more rewarding and enjoyable for everyone involved. It also safeguards our precious hunting heritage by promoting a positive image of hunting to the public. About 4.4%of the population of Texas hunts. Most Texans support legal, ethical hunting. Your conduct as hunter can influence the opinion of the majority of non-hunters for better or worse. Hunting is a wonderful privilege that could be lost if hunters fail to act responsibly.

Wildlife Exploitation

During the 19th century, many animals were market hunted almost into extinction. Buffalo, elk, deer, pronghorn and beaver, once abundant, were reduced to a fraction of their original population. Some species like the passenger pigeon vanished completely. Wildlife management laws were introduced to conserve wildlife for future generations.

Wildlife Conservation

Today, laws governing wildlife protect both game and non-game species, allowing both to flourish. This is done by setting hunting seasons and bag limits that limit the number of animals harvested. Hunting methods and equipment are also regulated to conserve the resource.

Hunting laws and regulations are important to insure:

  1. Public Safety
  2. Conservation of Natural Resources
  3. Fair Share
  4. Equal Opportunity
  5. Fair Chase 

In Texas, laws concerning wildlife are passed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, a nine-member board of private citizens appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Texas Senate. The commission adopts policies and rules to carry out all programs of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Every year the Commission conducts an annual public hearing to receive input from our partners, stakeholders and constituents concerning any issues relating to

Outdoor Annual Print Cover

Department policies, goals, programs, and responsibilities. Prior to any changes to laws concerning fish and wildlife, public hearings are held across the state. You have a voice and are invited to speak at any of TPWD’s public hearings.

TPW Commission Meetings

Regulations are summarized in the Outdoor Annual, available wherever fishing and hunting licenses are sold.

 Be sure to read the Outdoor Annual each year and be aware of any changes since the last season.


Texas Game Wardens

Texas Game Wardens are certified state peace officers. Their priority is the enforcement of all hunting and fishing laws and regulations. Game Wardens also protect and serve the public of the State of Texas by enforcing all other state laws and have the authority to do so anywhere within the boundaries of Texas.

Game Wardens may enter onto any land or water to conduct inspection of licenses or equipment used by individuals participating in an activity or believed to have been participating in an activity regulated by law. Game Wardens may also inspect wildlife resources taken or possessed by individuals.


Game warden standing in bed of truck looking through binocularsheadless dead deerGame Wardens arresting a man

Operation Game Thief logoGame Warden ad photo

Operation Game Thief is Texas' wildlife Crime-stoppers program, offering rewards of up to $1,000.00 for information leading to the arrest and conviction for a wildlife crime. OGT is highly successful, having been responsible for the payment of over $200,000 in rewards. Privately funded, the program is dependent on financial support from the public through the purchase of OGT memberships and merchandise, donations, sponsorships, and gifts.

How to report violations

If you witness what you believe to be a violation, do not confront the perpetrator yourself. Call immediately, toll-free, 1-800-792-GAME (4263), any time, day or night and provide the following information to the Texas Parks and Wildlife police communications officer:

  • the nature of the violation
  • the location of the violation
  • the name and/or description of the violator
  • a description of any vehicle or boat involved in the violation
  • any other important information which will assist in apprehending the violator

You may also send a text from a smart phone to call in a tip.

You do not have to give your name if you do not want to. If you wish to remain anonymous, a code number will be assigned to you. The more information you can provide at the earliest opportunity will increase the probability of an arrest and conviction.