Recent flooding has impacted state parks across Texas. Status of Parks - Videos, Photos, News

2014 - 2015
The 2015-2016 hunting season dates are now available. Download a PDF »

Hunting Methods for Waterfowl

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 (except a sinkbox) provided that all motion resulting from sail or motor has ceased (sails furled and motor shut off). Powerboats and sailboats may be used to pick up dead or injured birds.

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.


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 not less 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.

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.

Species Identification

One fully feathered wing or head must remain attached to dressed waterfowl while being transported between the place taken and the personal residence (personal abode) of the hunter, the personal residence of another person receiving the dressed bird or a migratory bird preservation facility. One fully feathered wing or head must remain attached to all migratory game birds imported from Mexico.

Daily Bag and Possession

No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit of freshly killed birds while in the field or while returning from the field to one's hunting camp, automobile or temporary lodging facility (see General Rules - Donation or Gift). For the first day of any season the possession limit is the daily bag limit. A person may possess additional migratory birds after they leave the field, if the additional birds they possess are tagged with a wildlife resource document from the hunter who killed them. Migratory birds finally processed at the permanent address of the possessor are not considered part of the possession limit.

Importation Limit

It is illegal to import into the United States migratory game birds belonging to another person. The number of migratory game birds imported from Mexico may not exceed the export limit set by the Mexican state from which they were taken.

Back to Top
Back to Top