Hunting Means and Methods

Valid Sep. 1, 2018 through Aug. 31, 2019.

Lawful Means and Methods

It is LEGAL to:

  • hunt animals and non-migratory game birds from a motor vehicle, powerboat, sailboat, or from any other floating device within the boundaries of private property or upon private water.
  • use calling devices (including manual and mouth- operated), recordings, and electrically amplified calls to hunt game animals and game birds. Electronic calls may not be used to hunt migratory game birds except during the Light Goose Conservation Order season.
  • use decoys to hunt game animals and game birds. NO per- son may use live decoys when hunting migratory game birds.
  • bait for game animals, nongame animals, and upland game birds, except for Eastern turkey and migratory game birds. (Baiting is unlawful on most public property. Please check specific regulations for that public property.)
  • trap nongame/exotic animals (such as feral hogs, rabbits, etc.) on private property.
  • use dogs to aid in the hunting of any game bird.

Firearms

Game animals and non-migratory game birds may be hunted with any legal firearm, EXCEPT:

  • Rimfire Ammunition (of any caliber) may NOT be used to hunt white-tailed deer, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, or pronghorn.
  • Fully Automatic Firearms
  • Shotguns are the only legal firearm that may be used during spring Eastern turkey season.
  • Magazine Capacity (number of shells/cartridges allowed): there are no restrictions on the number of shells or cartridges a legal firearm may hold when hunting game animals or game birds (except migratory game birds).
  • Muzzleloader: any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle (as opposed to breech-loading firearms). A cap and ball firearm in which the powder and ball are loaded into a cylinder is not a muzzleloader. Muzzleloader deer seasons are restricted to muzzleloading firearms only.
  • Suppressors (aka “silencers”): may be used to take any wildlife resource; however, all federal, state and local laws continue to apply.
  • Possession of Firearms by Felons: A convicted felon, regardless of where the conviction occurred, may not possess or use a firearm (as defined by Texas Penal Code, §46.01) to hunt in this state. Under Penal Code, §46.01, possession of and hunting with a muzzleloading firearm is lawful if it is an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899 or is a replica of an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899 that does not use rimfire or centerfire ammunition.

Air Guns and Arrow Guns

Definitions:

  • Arrow gun: a device that fires an arrow or bolt solely by the use of unignited compressed gas as the propellant.
  • Air gun: a device that fires a bullet solely by the use of unignited compressed gas as the propellant.
  • Pre-charged pneumatic: an air gun or arrow gun for which the propellant is supplied or introduced by means of a source that is physically separate from the air gun or arrow gun.

Alligator, game animals, furbearers, squirrels, and non-migratory game birds (except Eastern Turkey) may be hunted with air guns and arrow guns provided:

  • Alligators, big horn sheep, javelina, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, and turkey may be taken only with pre-charged pneumatic arrow guns, or pre-charged pneumatic air guns.
    • Pre-charged pneumatic air guns must fire a projectile of at least 30 caliber in diameter and at least 150 grains in weight with a minimum muzzle velocity of 800 feet per second or any combination of bullet weight and muzzle velocity that produces muzzle energy of at least 215 foot pounds of energy.
  • Squirrels, pheasant, quail, and chachalaca may be hunted with air guns that fire a projectile of at least .177 caliber (4.5mm) in diameter producing a muzzle velocity of at least 600 feet per second.
  • Arrows or bolts used with an arrow gun must conform to the same standards for projectiles for archery.
  • Arrow guns may not be used to hunt deer or turkey during archery season.

Guidance for Hunters to Reduce Wounding Loss

Air guns and arrow guns function much differently than centerfire rifles or shotguns most hunters have traditionally used to hunt game birds and animals. Therefore, a hunter’s understanding of the limitations of air guns and arrow guns is critical to minimize or avoid wounding loss when hunting and taking game. Before purchasing an air gun or arrow gun, a hunter should check the specifications to ensure they meet minimum caliber and muzzle velocity or muzzle energy requirements as listed in the Outdoor Annual.

As with any legal method of take, knowing the limitations of your specific equipment is critical to reduce or avoid wounding loss. Hunters should understand that although a number of air guns and arrow guns may meet minimum standards to make them legal for hunting, different brands and models have different levels of ballistic performance and effectiveness. Other factors such as proficiency of the hunter using an air gun or arrow gun, distance to target, and type and weight of bullet or arrow used, all factor in to the ability of that air gun or arrow gun to perform well in the field and deliver a lethal shot. Additionally, the amount of air charged in the reservoir on the air gun is diminished after each successive shot which changes ballistics and ultimately the effectiveness of the air gun in taking game. Hunters should be cognizant of the number of shots an air gun or arrow gun can produce on a fully charged tank before becoming ineffective at taking game.

Although big game animals have been harvested with air guns at distances greater than 150 yards, the effective range is recommended to be 75 yards or closer. Beyond 75 yards, the ability of some models of air guns or arrow guns to be lethal becomes diminished, so it is critical for hunters to know the limitation of the model of air gun being used and practice with the equipment just like with any sporting arm.

Shot placement into vital organs (heart, lungs) is also critical in order to minimize wounding loss since cause of death from air guns and arrow guns would be more similar to archery or historic muzzleloader equipment rather than that of a centerfire rifle. Similar to archery hunting, hunters taking animals with an air gun or arrow gun are encouraged to wait an hour before going to retrieve the deer or other game animals, allowing sufficient time for the animal to expire. Above all, hunters should strive to take ethical shots which will greatly reduce chances of wounding loss.

Archery and Crossbows

  • Only the archery and crossbow equipment prescribed in this section may be used for taking game animals or game birds.
  • Archery and crossbow equipment may not be used to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader-Only Deer Season.
  • Archery and crossbows are lawful for non-protected non- game animals.

Longbows, compound bows, or recurved bows:

  • There is no minimum draw requirement.
  • Lighted pins, sight magnification, overdraw rests, and devices that allow a bow to be locked at full or partial draw are lawful during any season when lawful archery equipment may be used.

Crossbow:

Current crossbow requirements will be posted here when they become available.

  • Crossbows are lawful for any person during the Archery- Only Open Season except in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties, where no person may use a crossbow to hunt deer during the Archery-Only Open Season (Sep 29 - Nov 2) unless the person has an upper-limb disability and has in immediate possession a physician’s statement that certifies the extent of the disability. An upper-limb disability is a permanent loss of the use of fingers, hand, or arm in a manner that renders the person incapable of using a longbow, compound bow, or recurved bow.
  • An Archery Endorsement is required to hunt deer during the Archery-Only Open Season. An archery endorsement is required to hunt deer, turkey and/or javelina at any time in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties, including during the general open season (Nov 3 - Jan 6).
  • Any person, regardless of physical ability, may use a crossbow to hunt game animals or game birds in any county, including Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties, during a general open season or Eastern spring turkey season.

Projectiles (Arrows and Crossbow Bolts)

While hunting game animals and game birds, a projectile may not be poisoned, drugged, or explosive.

  • When used to hunt turkey and all game animals other than squirrels, a projectile must be equipped with a broadhead hunting point. An archer may have arrows/bolts with field, target, or judo points in the quiver with the broadhead hunting points.
  • There are no restrictions or minimum requirements on arrow or bolt lengths, arrow material, arrow weight, lighted nocks, broadhead lengths or diameter, number of cutting edges, broadhead material, or mechanical broadheads.

Falconry

Please contact (512) 389-4481 for information on falconry permitting and regulations or see Wildlife Diversity falconry permits information. For open seasons and daily bag limits for game birds see migratory game bird regulations.