Exotic and Fur-bearing Species

flock of axis deer

Exotic animal refers to grass-eating or plant-eating, single-hoofed or cloven-hoofed mammals that are not indigenous or native to Texas and are known as ungulates, including animals from the deer and antelope families that landowners have introduced into this state. Includes, but is not limited to: feral hog, Aoudad sheep, Axis deer, Elk, Sika deer, Fallow deer, Blackbuck antelope, Nilgai antelope, and Russian boar. Exotic fowl refers to any avian species that is not indigenous to this state, including ratites (emu, ostrich, rhea, cassowary, etc.).There are no state bag or possession limits or closed seasons on exotic animals or fowl on private property. Therefore, they may be taken by any means or methods at any time of year, however a hunting license and landowner permission are required to hunt them.

Thompson's Gazelle Aoudad Sheep Axis buckBlack Buck Mouflon Sheep Nilgai



Feral Hogs

EEuropean Hogarly Spanish explorers probably were the first to introduce hogs in Texas over 300 years ago. As colonization increased, hog numbers subsequently increased. In the 1930s, European wild hogs, "Russian boars," were first imported and introduced into Texas by ranchers and sportsmen for sport hunting. Most of these eventually escaped from game ranches and began free ranging and breeding with feral hogs. Because of this crossbreeding, there are very few, if any, true European hogs remaining in Texas.

Feral hogs running Feral hog sow

Feral hogs may appear basically the same as domestic hogs and will vary in color and coat pattern. A mature feral hog may reach a shoulder height of 36 inches and weigh from 100 to over 400 pounds. Males are generally larger than females. Feral hogs are more muscular than domestic hogs, and have very little fat. Hogs have four continuously growing tusks (two on top, two on bottom) and their contact causes a continuous sharpening of the lower tusks. They have relatively poor eyesight but have keen senses of hearing and smell. Feral hogs are distributed throughout much of Texas, generally inhabiting the white-tailed deer range, with the highest population densities occurring in East, South and Central Texas. There is currently an estimated population in excess of 1.5 million feral hogs in Texas, and is rapidly growing.

Feral hogs are capable of breeding at six months of age but eight to ten months is normal, provided there is good nutrition. Gestation is around 115 days with an average litter size of four to six, but under good conditions may have ten to twelve young. While capable of producing two litters per year, research has shown the majority of sows have only one per year. Young may be born throughout the year with peak production in the early spring. The young are born with a 1:1 male to female sex ratio.

There are two diseases that can be transmitted by feral hogs, Pseudorabies and Swine Brucellosis. Despite its name, Pseudorabies is not a rabies type disease but derives its name from the symptoms similar to a rabid animal. It is transmitted primarily through breeding but may also to be transmitted through respiratory secretions of the infected animal. Pseudorabies poses no threat to humans but may be fatal to domestic livestock and pets.

Swine Brucellosis is an infectious, bacterial, reproductive disease that can cause abortion, low conception rates and other problems. It is transmittable to humans, known as undulant fever, and causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, aches and pains. It is treatable with specific antibiotics.

Collared peccaryTo avoid infection, TPWD recommends all hunters use disposable plastic or rubber gloves when field dressing or cleaning wild swine and make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked.

Many mistake a collared peccary, or javelina for a feral hog. While feral hogs are indeed true pigs, javelinas belong to a totally separate family of mammals. Javelinas are smaller, have an unnoticeable tail, only one dew claw on the hind foot, a scent gland near the base of the tail, a grizzled-grayish coat with a white band of hair around the shoulder or "collar."



Fur-Bearing Animals

The following are defined to be fur-bearing animals in Texas: Badger, Beaver, Fox, Mink, Muskrat, Nutria, Opossum, Otter, Raccoon, Ring-tailed cat, Skunk

Badger Otter SkunkNutria Beaver Muskrat

A trapper's license is required to take or attempt to take fur-bearing animals, except that a person who possesses a hunting license may take and possess a fur-bearing animal, provided the furbearer (or any part thereof) is not to be sold. A department-issued CITES tag is required to be attached to all otters taken and possessed in this state. Seasons, legal means of taking, and rules about fur-bearing animals or their pelts are covered in another guide (brochure) called Fur-bearing Animal Regulations. Fur-bearing animals may be hunted at night on private property with the aid of an artificial light.

Opossum Gray fox Raccoon

For more information of fur-bearing animals.

 Fur-bearing Animal Regulations