Hunting Means and Methods

Valid Sep. 1, 2019 through Aug. 31, 2020.


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, see Legal Shotgun).
  • 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.

Air Guns and Arrow Guns

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

  • alligators, bighorn sheep, javelina, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, and turkey (except Eastern 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.

For more information see Air Gun and Arrow Gun Regulations.

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, 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
  • 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 28 - Nov 1) 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 2 - Jan 5).
  • 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.

Unlawful Activities

It is unlawful to:

  • knowingly discharge a firearm causing a projectile to cross a property line, unless the person owns both sides of the property line or has obtained written permission from the owner of any land crossed by the projectile.
  • discharge a firearm on or across a public road or hunt from public roads.
  • use a computer, or operate a facility that uses a computer, to assist in remote firearm or archery hunting, if the animal being hunted is located in Texas.
  • hunt with the aid of artificial light of any form that casts or reflects a beam of light onto or otherwise illuminates a game animal or bird; EXCEPTION: legally blind hunters, or hunters who have a documented permanent physical disability that prevents them from using traditional firearm sighting devices (Parks and Wildlife Code Sec. 62.0055- 62.0056) may use battery-powered scoping devices that project a light or dot only inside the scope, pin sight lights on archery equipment, or laser sighting devices.
    • Blind hunters must possess a physician’s signed statement attesting to legal blindness; and be assisted by a licensed hunter at least 13 years of age who is not legally blind. Legal blindness is defined in section 62.104 (c) of the Texas Government Code.
    • Hunter education and licensing requirements still apply to legally blind hunters, hunters with a documented permanent physical disability, and persons assisting blind or disabled hunters.
  • use traps to hunt game birds or game animals.
  • use dogs to hunt deer in this state.
    • A person who violates this law is subject to a fine of $500-$4,000 and/or a year in jail. Additionally, a person’s hunting and fishing licenses may be revoked or suspended. In addition, no person may possess a shot- gun and buckshot or slugs while in the field with dogs on another person’s land during an open deer season in Angelina, Hardin, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, and Tyler counties.
    • Not more than two dogs may be used to trail a wounded deer in counties not listed above. A “wounded deer” is a deer leaving a blood trail.
  • use aircraft (including drones, except by activity-specific permit) to hunt, locate (including wounded animals), manage, harass, drive, trap or photograph any wild animal.
  • hunt on Public Hunting Areas without the required permits.
  • hunt in a subdivision on lots 10 acres or less in an unincor- porated area of a county if prohibited by local ordinance. Contact local county clerk and ask about §235.022, Local Government Code.
  • hunt anywhere by means or methods that have been prohibited by county or city ordinance.
  • hunt on any area named as a wildlife sanctuary, nesting, or propagation area.
  • hunt in state and/or national parks or refuges except during scheduled hunts or under other special state or federal policies.
  • hunt any wild animal or wild bird on or over privately-owned land that is submerged under public fresh water due to seasonal or occasional inundation or submerged under salt water above the mean high tide line. The property must be posted to indicate that hunting is prohibited. (Class C misdemeanor: $25-$500 fine.)
  • hunt any wild animal or wild bird, including exotic animals, on foot or from a vehicle on any public road or road right- of-way, or a boat on public water, except that migratory waterfowl may be hunted from a boat or any floating craft (except a sinkbox) under certain conditions.
  • possess a firearm if a convicted felon, with limited exception. Texas law allows the possession and use of a muzzle loading firearm 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. For questions regarding the possession and use of firearms by convicted felons, refer to Texas Penal Code Ch. 46 and/or seek guidance from legal counsel.