Texas is a great state for hunting. With its diverse wildlife and natural resources, many hunters go to Texas for both small game and big – even exotic – game. Luckily, this state has it all: from Chachalaca and Pronghorn antelopes, to the Fallow Deer, Nilgai, and many other imported large game, not to mention lots and lots of alligators.
The Lone Star State possesses large amounts of natural resources, and it is an industrial giant, leading all other states in categories such as cotton, oil, sheep, and cattle. To hunt Texas, you will mostly be on private land, primarily on large ranches that are leased by individuals or outfitters with the permission of the landowner.
Another interesting aspect of hunting in Texas is that some ranches have large populations of non-native animals that have been imported into the state. This includes aoudad, nilgai, axis, blackbuck, and a wide variety of African game such as oryx and zebras. Nilgai hunting Texas and Oryx hunting Texas are both very popular for hunters. This is a rare chance for hunters to experience exotic hunting Texas for animals that are native to Asia and Africa without having to the United States and at a relatively low cost.
Despite all the great benefits of hunting in Texas, hunting grounds in the state are often thick and brushy, which can make it challenging to hunters. A lot of the ranches in Texas are high-fenced, especially the ones with exotic species. So, it is important for hunters to have a definitive plan before starting their hunt.
Below are some of the top 12 draws for hunting in Texas:
1. Deer Hunts: Red Stag Hunting Texas, Axis Deer Hunting Texas, and Fallow Deer Hunting Texas
There are many different populations of deer hunting Texas that hunters can enjoy.
Red Stags are the 4th largest in the deer species and are capable of growing antlers over 66 points. Because they are considered a non-game animal by Texas Parks and Wildlife, there are not season restrictions. However, you can only hunt on private land, harvesting a Red Stag on private land is prohibited.
Axis deer and Fallow deer will be treated the same way since they are all considered non-game.
To secure a hunt, you will need to work with a private guide. Prices vary depending on what guide service you use and the options they offer.
2. Hunt Texas Real Estate: Low-fenced Ranches
Most of the ranches are low-fenced, and four or five stands of barbed wire have no impact on the movements of free-ranging deer. Because many of the leases are relatively small, and because the deer can travel freely from one low-fenced ranch to the next one. This makes it difficult for landowners to manage the game herd, which can work to the hunter’s advantage.
Since there are few restrictions on antlered bucks in effect, hunters can have access to free-range deer while being in a ranch setting. This is also a potential opportunity for hunters to check out homes for sale in hunt Texas areas. It can be a good time to review options for anyone who wants to make a move.
When hunting Texas since most of the hunting is done on private land, there are many different options for accommodation. In fact, some guide companies even offer accommodation options.
For instance, Ox Hunting Ranch has lake front cabins and also offers hunts on side. They specialize in exotics hunts like bongo, giraffes, kangaroos, wildebeests, white buffalo, axis, blackbucks, and zebras.
As another example, Big Easy Ranch in Columbus, Texas offers large lodge style stays on their sprawling 13,000 acres of land. The lodge itself is over 12,000 square foot and overlooks a lake.
4. Javelina Hunting Texas
The collared peccary, also known as the javelina, thrives across portions of west Texas and the Hill Country. Javelinas have a reputation for ferocity which they gained with their bristling hair and tusk like, sharp teeth. It takes a hunter with minimal stalking skills to creep up on them due to the fact they have very poor senses of hearing and sight.
They are about 30 to 40 pounds, which makes them deceptively small, and it seems as if half of that weight is in their heads. Javelina hunts cost $100 to $200 and are usually provided as hog hunts and add-ons to deer.
You can eat javelina meat. You should cook it like domestic pork, because that’s what it’s related to. There is no evidence of trichinae in javelina, meaning you should be able to serve the meat at an interior temperature of 145 Fahrenheit – cooked, with a lovely blush of pink.
5. Feral Hog Hunting Texas
On May 31, 2019 Governor Gregg Abbott signed a bill which allows people to kill feral hogs without a license. The feral hogs are a detriment to communities and also a menace to the environment and to agriculture. Around 3 to 5 million pigs can be found in about 90% of the countries in the state.
Taking part in hog hunt Texas style, can be an exhilarating experience, even for a seasoned hunter. Pig hunting Texas is a great option for hunters who are looking for a way to fill their time during off season from other hunts since public hog hunting Texas can be done year-round.
Helicopter hog hunting Texas is a service that is provided by some outfitters who specialize in wild boar hunting Texas. Helicopter hunting Texas is also used for other animals, so make sure to ask your guide about it before going out.
6. Alligator Hunting Texas
The only species from the Alligator family that is native to the United States – The American Alligator, can be found in Texas. The coastal area of Eastern Texas has a large population of these prehistoric reptiles. There are certain designed areas that are open in the month of September, and a fall season in other areas that runs from the begging of April and ends in June.
Gator hunting can be done safely, but what may not be safe is the boating at night, the areas you hunt, the equipment and the reflexes of your fellow hunters. You need to pay attention at all times, watch the waterway for logs, rocks, and obstructions, and watch your lines and equipment.
7. Coyote Hunting Texas
The dog-like carnivore is common throughout Texas, adapting easily to the growth of human communities into its habitat thus the reason why it can be found in urban and suburban neighborhoods. Even though they hunt at all hours of the day and the night, they can be more often seen just before sunset and in the early morning.
The best reason to hunt coyotes is to manage their growing population. They are also predators and hunt many of the same game that hunters do. When the coyote population rises, the population of game animals shrinks.
8. Mountain Lion Hunting Texas
In Texas, this slender cat with a smallish head, a long tail, and a light fur is a relatively uncommon animal. It can be found in portions of the Hill Country, the brushlands of the south Texas and throughout the Trans-Pecos. They appear to be expanding their range into central Texas and they now occur in more counties than they did 10 years ago.
You should be prepared for an exciting hunt that can have many ups and downs, because it’s a lot more than just walking up to a tree and shooting a cat. Each one of them is a different experience, you never know if a cat will tree within minutes or hours or if it will even tree at all.
9. Turkey Hunting Texas
Texas has a population of turkey over 600,000 strong. The state is one of the premier spots for turkey hunting. The biggest gobblers can be found in South Texas, Cross Timbers, Panhandles, and Edwards Plateau.
Although traditional turkey season is in spring, there is also a fall hunt that runs in line with the whitetail season. Hunters can add a guided turkey hunt onto a packaged deer hunt for $200 to $300. This can be great for traveling hunters who want to get the most out of their Texas trip. The spring turkey season takes place between mid-March and late April. This is the traditional time for turkey hunts in the state and many outfitters offer packages.
A hunt from 2 to 4 days with a two-gobbler bag limited (Texas has an annual limited of four gobblers per hunter) is about $500 to $1,000 range.
A great part of hunting turkey in the spring is that gobblers are on the move all day looking for a hen. This means you have the option of hunting all day long, rather than having to wait out the middle of the day when other animals might traditionally be bedded down.
10. Wild Quail Hunting Texas and Pheasant Hunting Texas
Unlike other bird species that are hunted in zones, the quail hunting season runs statewide from Oct. 26- Feb. 23. There is a daily bag limit of 15 birds and a possession limit of 45 birds. Like many of the hunts in Texas, wild quail hunting is offered on private ranches.
Pheasant hunting is a little bit different since only male Pheasants can be harvested. The season runs from Dec. 7- Jan. 5 and is specific to the Panhandle area of Texas. The regulations surrounding male only hunts are very strict. You must not possess a pheasant with proof of sex removed. Examples of proof of sex are, one leg, including the spur, attached to the pheasant carcass or the entire plumage attached to the pheasant carcass.
11. Duck Hunting Texas and Goose Hunting Texas
There are many opportunities for hunting geese and ducks in the grain fields of north Texas, the bay flats and marshes of the lower and middle coast, and the coastal marshes and prairies of south-east Texas. The seasons beings in late September and it is extended into January, with the daily limit of six sucks and as many as twenty light and five dark geese.
There is also a special light-goose conservation season running through March. Most of the waterfowl hunting is done in the morning because it allows for the birds to regroup during the afternoon, and the price for a full-service hunt with dogs, a guide, and a field decoy spread is between $100 and $150.
12. Dove Hunting Texas and Sandhill Crane Hunting Texas
The Lone Star State is a home for an estimated 50 million white wing and mourning doves. It is one of the most popular species in Texas to hunt. The season for doves is set according to zones: central, south and north. The central and south zone offer a winter season from late December into January and a daily bag limit of 12. While the north zone allows for 15 per day. A typical day in the dove field costs around $50 to $75.
Sandhill Crane Hunting is another popular attraction in Texas. Similarly to dove hunting, the regulations for Sandhill are zone based. Zone A season runs from Oct. 26- Jan. 26, Zone B Nov. 22- Jan. 26 and Zone C Dec. 14- Jan. 19. All zone have a 3 bird bag limit, however Zone A and B have a 9 bird possession limit while C only has a 6 bird possession limit. To make it easier to hunt Texas map the zones before going out.
Information About Texas Hunting Requirements
Before packing your bags and going for an adventure in Texas, it is important to educate yourself on the basic regulations and requirements that all hunters in the state must be aware of.
First is the Texas hunter safety course, which all hunters born after September 2, 1971 are required to complete to get a valid hunting license. To take the course you must be 9 years old or older, and you must carry the proof of the certification at all times while hunting. The cost of the course is $15.00, and it is available online. Minor hunters must be accompanied by an adult who has been certified while hunting. The course provides knowledge on firearm safety and firearms, hunting techniques and methods, basic first aid, ethnical hunting practices and information on laws. For instance, at least 400 square inches of hunter orange vests and headgear must be worn by the hunters for most types of hunting game.
Also, it is important to note that certain types of game need additional permits and are often limited to a specific number of kills. If you are planning on crossbow hunting, some areas require additional training.
Since much of the hunting done in Texas is on private land, it is important to respect the landowner. Chasing game onto private property without express permission from the owner is prohibited. The strict guidelines imposed by the state are there for the hunter’s personal safety and to protect the rich variety of wildlife that Texas is so popular for.
Texas offers a diverse array of options for hunters, with wildlife management areas open to hunter at different times of the year, private hunting ground, hundreds of state parks and the US Forest Service Lands. In fact, Texas Parks and Wildlife offers an annual hunting permit which provides year-round fishing, hunting, and camping on a huge piece of land. Deer, doves, waterfowl, feral hogs, squirrels, and other types of game are available to hunters with this permit. The price is $20 per day or $48 for the year. Additionally, minors who are accompanied by an adult with an active permit can hunt for free.