Nongame, Exotic, Endangered, Threatened & Protected Species

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

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Nongame Species

A hunting license is required for the take of nongame species. There are no closed seasons, bag limits or possession limits; and, they may be hunted at any time by any lawful means or methods on private property. There may be restrictions for certain species of nongame animals (see below). In addition, be aware that public hunting lands may also have additional restrictions. If hunting at night, please make a courtesy telephone call to your local game warden (512-389-4848).

Nongame Animals

Includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Armadillos
  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes
  • Flying squirrels
  • Frogs
  • Ground squirrels
  • Mountain lions
  • Porcupines
  • Prairie dogs
  • Rabbits
  • Turtles (freshwater)

Unlawful Activities For Take, Possession Or Sale Of Nongame Wildlife

It is unlawful to:

  • take any nongame species for commercial purposes (sale, offer for sale, barter, or exchange) from public lands or waters.

  • possess and sell live armadillos.

  • purchase, sell, trade, transport or ship out of state bobcat pelts without the appropriate pelt tag (CITES) attached. A pelt tag must be attached prior to being transported or shipped out of this state. Pelt tags may be obtained from any permitted bobcat pelt dealer, or any TPWD Regional and Field Law Enforcement Office. For additional information contact TPWD at (800) 792-1112, menu 7, option 9 or (512) 389-4481.

  • transport or sell live coyotes, as they are currently under a statewide rabies quarantine. For additional information, visit the DSHS website.

  • possess a diamondback terrapin at any time.

  • hunt (capture, trap, take or kill) any wild animal or wild bird on a public road or the right-of-way of public roads, except that a person may capture indigenous reptiles and amphibians (for recreational purposes only) on the shoulder or unpaved right-of-way of a public roadway, provided the person possesses a valid Reptile and Amphibian Endorsement, the person employs non-lethal means only to capture the reptiles or amphibians, the person does not possess a trap, and the person is visibly wearing at least 144 square inches of reflective material, both front and back. No person may use artificial light from a motor vehicle to locate, capture, or attempt to capture a reptile or amphibian.

  • collect from the wild, sell, offer for sale or exchange certain species of nongame wildlife; however, many species of nongame may be sold, offered for sale, bartered, or exchanged, provided the proper nongame permit has been obtained from TPWD and all reporting and recordkeeping requirements are met.

  • take or possess species of any freshwater turtle for commercial purposes.

These regulations are subject to change.

For more information on nongame regulations, permit requirements, and lists of lawful and prohibited species, contact TPWD at (800) 792-1112, menu 7 or (512) 389-4481, or visit Nongame Permits.

Endangered, Threatened and Other Protected Animals

In Texas, animal or plant species of conservation concern may be listed as threatened or endangered under the authority of state law and/or under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). It is unlawful for any person to hunt threatened or endangered nongame species. To sell or purchase goods made from threatened or endangered species, proper documentation must accompany the goods. See a list of threatened and endangered species in Texas.

Threatened and Endangered Subspecies

Subspecies of threatened or endangered species are also protected and may not be taken or possessed. This includes but is not limited to the Eastern Timber Rattlesnake (aka Canebrake) and Indigo Snake.

Protected Birds

Hawks, owls, falcons, eagles, and all other nongame raptors, birds and songbirds (except for the unprotected birds listed in the Non-Protected and/or Exotic Species section) are protected by various state and federal laws and may not be killed, taken from the nest, picked up, or possessed for any reason, and their feathers may not be possessed or sold. Arts and crafts may not include these protected species under any circumstances. A federal depredation permit may be issued to individuals who have evidence clearly showing certain protected wildlife is causing serious damage to commercial agricultural, horticultural, or aquacultural interests, or presents a threat to public safety. For more information, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.


May not be hunted, killed, possessed, purchased or sold; however, bats may be moved, trapped, or killed if inside or on a building occupied by people. A person may transport a bat for the purpose of laboratory testing if there is a rabies concern.

Black Bears

Black bears are listed as a Texas state threatened species. They are protected and cannot be hunted or killed. Please report black bear sightings or mortalities to (512) 389-4505.

"Canned Hunts" (Dangerous Wild Animals)

No person may kill or attempt to injure a dangerous wild animal (African or Asiatic lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, hyena, bear, elephant, wolf, or rhinoceros, or any subspecies or hybrid of these animals) that is held in captivity in this state or that is released from captivity in this state for the purpose of being killed, nor may any person conduct, promote, advertise, or assist in the hunting of a dangerous wild animal (Parks and Wildlife Code §62.101-§62.107).

Non-Protected and/or Exotic Species

On private property, there are no required means and methods of take, state bag or possession limits, or closed seasons (hunting hours) on exotic animals, exotic fowl or other species not included in any of the previously addressed categories.

Exotic Animals and Fowl

An exotic animal is any animal that is not indigenous to Texas, including but not limited to aoudad sheep, axis deer, elk, sika deer, fallow deer, red deer, and blackbuck and nilgai antelope. An exotic fowl is any avian species that is not indigenous to Texas and is also not protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, including but not limited to ratites (emu, ostrich, rhea, cassowary, etc.).

It is unlawful to:

  • hunt an exotic without a valid hunting license (Class C misdemeanor);
  • hunt an exotic on a public road or right-of-way. (Class A misdemeanor);
  • hunt an exotic without the landowner's permission. (Class A misdemeanor); or
  • possess an exotic or the carcass of an exotic without the owner's consent (Class A misdemeanor).

Feral Hogs and Coyotes

  • Hunter Education requirements apply.
  • No hunting license is required to hunt feral hogs on private
    property with landowner authorization.
  • A resident or non-resident hunting license is not required to hunt depredating coyotes on private property with landowner authorization.
  • Transportation and release of live feral hogs is unlawful, unless in compliance with Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) regulations. The TAHC regulates the movement of feral swine for disease-control purposes. For more information please call TAHC at (800) 550-8242 or visit the Texas Animal Health Commission website.

Mountains Lions

Mountain lions are classified as nongame animals; they are not protected and can be harvested at any time. Please report mountain lion sightings, harvests or mortalities to (512) 389-4505.

Unprotected Birds

Birds not protected by any state or federal law include European starlings, English sparrows (house sparrow), feral rock doves (common pigeon), Egyptian geese, Muscovy ducks (only outside Rio Grande Valley counties) and Eurasian collared-doves; these species may be killed at any time, their nests or eggs destroyed, and their feathers possessed.

Yellow-headed, red-winged, or Brewer's blackbirds and all grackles, cowbirds, crows, or magpies may be controlled without a federal or state depredation permit when found committing or about to commit depredation on ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in numbers and in a manner, that constitutes a health hazard or other nuisance (Federal Regulation 50 CFR 21.43).