Matagorda Island WMA: Hunting

Phone: (361) 205-1510
2200 7th Street, 3rd Floor
Bay City, TX 77414
Contact: Dan Walker


Hunting Permitted

Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) have rules and regulations for hunting not required on private property. Hunters must possess a valid hunting license, the appropriate tags and stamps, as well as the proper public hunting permit. Permits include: Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH), computer drawn Special Permits, and the Regular Permit, which allows daily small game hunting on some areas. Hunters 16 years of age and younger are not required to have a hunting permit, but must have a hunting license and be supervised by a licensed, permitted adult, 18 years of age or older. Hunters and non-hunters must wear hunter orange during daylight hours at any time when firearm hunting for any species is authorized on the unit (except turkeys, waterfowl, and dove). For more details see the rules page for this WMA, the Summary of Fishing and Hunting Regulations and Public Hunting Lands Information and Maps.

Matagorda Island WMA Hunt Information

Approximately 20,000 acres of upland habitat are available for hunting. The hunter check station on the island is approximately 11 water miles from the mainland and takes about 45 minutes to reach. Waterfowl may be hunted in the Bayside Marsh Unit of Matagorda Island WMA without a Regular Permit; however, hunters are cautioned that whooping cranes, protected as an endangered species, frequent the vicinity. Waterfowl hunting is by Annual Public Hunting Permit and Regular Permit. Special Permit hunts may be offered for white-tailed deer. Hunters should bring all supplies, as there are no sources of food, water or other supplies on the island. There are no cold storage facilities on the island and hunters should arrange to transport harvested animals to the mainland as soon as possible. Conditions are primitive and persons should consider these conditions.

Annual Public Hunting Permit Hunts

For current APH information see: the Annual Public Hunting page.

Deer Hunting

Deer hunters are selected in advance by drawing and are required to arrive at 11:00 am at the hunter check station located on the island on the first day of their assigned hunt. A short briefing will be held, after which the hunters will be transported to a hunting stand. Standby hunters must report to the Port O'Connor office by 8:00 am to complete the application process and will be drawn at 8:30 am as vacancies allow. Hunters must be present to participate in the drawing.

Deer hunting will be from permanent stands only. Hunter placement in stands will be as assigned by the hunt supervisor. Hunters should be physically able to climb a 12-foot stand.

Successful hunters should arrange to transport harvested game off the island as soon as possible, since there are no cold storage facilities on the island. Deer hunters may camp overnight in the designated camping area.

Most deer hunting regulations that apply to Calhoun County will apply to Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area. All deer hunters are required to visibly wear at least 400 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange clothing with 144 square inches on the front and back above the waistline and orange headwear.

Hunters are reminded that they must have a valid Texas Hunting License, and any required stamp as required by statute. It is no longer necessary to use a hunting license tag or bonus tag for a deer taken during a Special Permit drawn hunt however a TPWD Legal Deer Tag, issued at the area, must be attached to a harvested deer prior to leaving the hunt area.

Hunters engaged in hunting activity on the Wildlife Management Area shall not be under the influence of alcohol, or consume or possess alcoholic beverages.

Persons under 17 years of age must hunt under the supervision of a permitted authorized adult. Hunter Education is required of Texas hunters born on or after September 2, 1971 (see the Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Annual for more information).

Waterfowl Hunting

  • Public hunting is permitted for waterfowl (South Zone Duck), rail, snipe, and gallinule on designated areas.
  • All hunting is by Annual Public Hunting Permit. Check the Outdoor Annual for hunt dates and bag limits. The Special Regulations for hunting and other Access Rules are listed on the map page listed below.
  • For current information on hunting waterfowl in Texas, refer to Migratory Game Bird Regulations.

The hunter check station opens at 5:00 am, and all hunters must check-in and check-out through the manned hunter check station. Hunters will select hunt sites based on a first-come, first-served basis. TPWD vehicles will depart headquarters at 5:30 am to begin dropping off hunters. Hunters will hunt their designated pond only; no jump shooting of adjacent ponds. Hunters will return to headquarters via TPWD vehicle only, to complete the checkout procedure at the check station.

Waterfowl hunting is allowed in the bayshore marshes (Pringle Lake, Contee Lake, South Pass Lake, Long Lake, Pat's Bay, etc.) accessible via boat. No access permit is required, and hunting is allowed each day of the waterfowl season as governed by the South Zone waterfowl regulations for Calhoun County. Hunters should be aware that several species of endangered birds, especially whooping cranes, occur within these areas, and hunters should exercise caution and good judgment at all times while hunting.

For more information contact the Bay City field office at (979) 244-6804 or (979) 244-7697.

Special Permit Hunts (Drawn Hunts)

*Those hunting under a special drawn permit do not need to purchase an Annual Public Hunting Permit.

Check the Drawn Hunts System for the latest information on hunting.

Special Regulations:

  • All hunters are required to check-in and check-out.
  • No daily permits will be issued.
  • Within the designated Marsh Unit: no regular permit is required, waterfowl may be taken during the entire waterfowl season provided for the South Zone Duck season.
  • Access by boat only.