Frequently Asked Questions About Drones / Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Hunting

Except with permits issued by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the use of drones to hunt, drive, capture, take, count or photograph any wildlife is unlawful. This includes locating wounded animals as well.

Permits required from our department are an Aerial Management Permit (AMP) and a Land Owner Authorization (LOA). Department rules are adopted under the framework and guidelines of the Federal Airborne Hunting Act.

Under federal law it is a violation to use an aircraft for any of these activities unless a permit is issued by the respective state. Federal guidelines specify the states may only issue these permits for the management of wildlife such as Trap Transport and Transplant (TTT) or depredation species and certain predator species. At no time would recreational or sport hunting be lawful and violation of these rules is a Parks And Wildlife Class A misdemeanor and under certain instances a Federal Lacy Act Violation.

Some useful definitions include, from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Code, include:

  • "Hunt" means capture, trap, take, or kill, or an attempt to capture, trap, take, or kill.
  • "Catch" means take or kill and includes an attempt to take or kill.
  • "Take," except as otherwise provided by this code, means collect, hook, hunt, net, shoot, or snare, by any means or device, and includes an attempt to take or to pursue in order to take.

The relevant definition from the Texas Administrative Code is:

  • “Aircraft” means a mechanical or other device used for flight in the air (TAC §65.151)

And the offense itself as listed in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC §65.152) is:

  • A person (which includes a pilot, applicant, gunner, observer, or Subagent) commits an offense if:..the person counts, photographs, relocates, captures, hunts, or takes or attempts to count, photograph, relocate, capture, hunt, or take from an aircraft any wildlife or exotic animals other than wildlife or exotic animals authorized by the AMP and LOA.