Migratory Game Bird Hunting Methods

Valid Sep. 1, 2017 through Aug. 31, 2018.

Lawful Hunting Methods

Legal shotguns, lawful archery equipment, falconry, dogs, artificial decoys and manual or mouth-operated bird calls. Hunting is permitted in the open or from a blind or other type of concealment or from any floating craft or boat (except a sinkbox) provided that all motion resulting from sail or motor has ceased. Sails must be furled and motor turned off before shooting starts. Powerboats and sailboats may be used to pick up dead or injured birds. A "sinkbox" is unlawful. 

Unlawful Hunting Methods

Any firearm other than a legal shotgun, trap, snare, net, crossbow, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance, live birds as decoys, recorded or electronically amplified bird calls or sounds, sinkbox or by means of baiting or hunting over a baited area. It is unlawful to hunt from or by means of motor-driven vehicles and land conveyances or aircraft of any kind except paraplegics and single or double amputees of legs may hunt from stationary motor-driven vehicles or land conveyances. It is unlawful to use motor-driven land, water or air conveyances or sailboats to concentrate, drive, rally or stir up any migratory game bird.

Nontoxic Shot

No person, while hunting waterfowl anywhere in the state, may possess shotgun shells containing lead shot or loose lead shot for use in muzzleloaders. Approved shot includes steel, including copper, nickel or zinc coated steel, bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer (i.e., molyshot) and any other non-toxic material approved by the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Sandhill Cranes MAY be taken with lead shot. However, Wildlife Management Areas and Federal Wildlife Refuges have special regulations requiring nontoxic shot for ALL game birding, including Sandhill Cranes.


NOTE: Hunters are responsible for knowing whether an area is baited or not.

The following baiting rules have been established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

A hunter may hunt any migratory game bird:

  • over standing crops, standing flooded crops and flooded harvested crops
  • at any time over natural vegetation that has been manipulated. Natural vegetation does not include planted millet. However, planted millet that grows on its own in subsequent years after the planting is considered natural vegetation
  • on or over a normal soil stabilization practice
  • on or over lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as a result of a normal agricultural practice except waterfowl and cranes may not be hunted where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered as the result of:
    • pre-harvest manipulation of an agricultural crop; or
    • livestock feeding;
  • over crops or natural vegetation where grain has been inadvertently scattered as a result of entering or leaving a hunting area, placing decoys or retrieving downed birds;
  • using natural vegetation or crops to conceal a blind, provided that if crops are used to conceal a blind, no grain or other feed is exposed, deposited, distributed or scattered in the process.

A hunter may not:

  • hunt migratory birds with the aid of bait, or on or over any baited area
  • hunt over any baited area until 10 days after all baiting materials have been removed
  • hunt waterfowl or cranes over manipulated planted millet, unless the millet was planted more than one year prior to hunting
  • hunt waterfowl or cranes over crops that have been manipulated, unless the manipulation is a normal agricultural post-harvesting manipulation in accordance with official recommendations of State Extension Specialists of the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

No person may place or direct the placement of bait on or adjacent to an area for the purpose of causing, inducing or allowing any person to take or attempt to take any migratory game bird by the aid of baiting on or over the baited area.

Extended Falconry Season

Persons holding valid Texas falconry permits may take migratory game birds by means of falconry from one half hour before sunrise to sunset during open seasons listed herein and during the following Falconry Seasons. Falconry daily bag and possession limits shall not exceed three and six migratory game birds, respectively, singly or in the aggregate.