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Waterfowl General Rules

License Requirements

All migratory game bird hunters must have a valid hunting license. Non-residents under 17 years of age are designated as residents and may hunt with a resident license. Hunters 17 years of age or older must have a driver's license or personal identification certificate (issued by the Department of Public Safety) on their person while hunting. Non-residents must have similar documents issued by the agency in the state or country of which the person is a resident that is authorized to issue driver's licenses or personal identification certificates.

Permit Requirements

A person is required to possess either an Annual Public Hunting Permit or a Daily Hunting Permit to hunt migratory game birds on certain state and federal lands and on private lands leased by the State for public hunting purposes. Youth under the age of 17 may hunt free of charge on these lands.

Stamp Endorsement Requirements

A person 17 years of age or older must possess a migratory game bird stamp endorsement receipt to hunt any migratory game bird in this state. Federal law also requires waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and over to have a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (commonly called a Duck Stamp; available at most post offices and TPWD offices).

Harvest Information Program Requirements

The Harvest Information Program (HIP) is a federally mandated program to improve information about the harvest of all migratory game birds. Anyone who purchases a hunting license or any migratory bird hunting stamp endorsements will be asked a few simple questions about their migratory bird hunting activities. For additional information about HIP, you may consult the TPWD Outdoor Annual, the Web page for H I P or call (512) 389-4505.


Licenses, permits and stamp endorsement receipts (or replacements if they are lost or stolen) are available at TPWD offices, many sporting goods stores, bait shops and other retailers, or by calling 1-800-TX-LIC-4-U.

Hunting Hours

One-half hour before sunrise to sunset except during the Light Goose Conservation Order.


When shipping migratory game birds the package must be marked with the name and address of the sender, the name and address of the persons to whom the birds are being shipped and the number of birds of each species contained in the package.

Wanton Waste

A reasonable effort must be made to retrieve any killed or wounded birds and any wounded bird retrieved must be immediately killed and made a part of the bag limit. After retention, the birds must be kept in an edible condition.

Donation or Gift

A person may give, leave, receive or possess any species of legally taken migratory game birds, or parts of birds, that are protected by a bag or possession limit, if the birds are accompanied by a wildlife resource document from the person who killed the birds. For example, a document is required if the birds are being transported by another person for the hunter, or if the birds have been left for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment or taxidermy services. The document is not required of a person who lawfully killed the birds to possess the birds, or if the birds are transferred at the personal residence of the donor or donee. The document (which can be a hand-written tag) shall accompany the birds until the birds reach their final destination and must contain the following information:

  • the name, signature, address and hunting license number of the person who killed the birds;
  • the name of the person receiving the birds;
  • a description of the birds (number and type of species or parts);
  • the date birds were killed and
  • the location where the birds were killed (ranch and county).

Violation and Penalty

Violation of state migratory game bird regulations also is a violation of federal regulations. A person who violates any state migratory game bird regulation is subject to:

  1. a criminal penalty from $25 to $500 for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed;
  2. civil restitution fee for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed; and
  3. license suspension for up to 60 days or license revocation for one year.

No person may import into this state or possess a migratory game bird taken outside this state, unless the person possessing the migratory game bird produces upon demand by a game warden a valid hunting license, stamp, tag, permit or document for the state or country in which the migratory game bird was legally taken. A person possessing a migratory game bird under this section must produce, upon demand by a game warden, a valid driver's license or personal identification certificate. In lieu of the requirements set forth in this subsection, a statement from the United States Customs Officer at the port of entry showing that the migratory birds were brought from Mexico is satisfactory.

Closed Areas

Unless otherwise specified, there are no open seasons on state wildlife preserves and sanctuaries, public roads and highways or their rights-of-way. More restrictive federal regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting.

Closed Seasons

It is a violation to hunt a migratory game bird or possess a freshly killed migratory game bird listed in these rules at any time other than as provided in the "OPEN SEASONS, BAG AND POSSESSION LIMITS" section. If no season is listed for a species, the season is closed.

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