Texas Hunting Season

John Lewis

2024-2025 Texas Hunting Season: Latest Dates & New Laws!

Texas, Texas Hunting Season, Tx Hunting Season

If you are planning on visiting Texas for your next outdoor trip, there are some things you should know before you go. The TPWD has released its regulations for the latest year. So, here are few things to know ahead of the wildlife expedition. Our objective was to develop the most concise guide concerning hunting timelines for the state.

Hunting season in Texas

Deer

The annual wildlife pursuit, featuring an array of games for diverse species, unfolds from September to February. The white-tailed schedule spans September to January and enjoys widespread popularity, particularly contingent on the location. Engaging in the pursuit of mule deer, exclusive to western zone, typically takes place between September and December. Various species, such as axis, fallow, and blackbuck antelope, offer different opportunities, with distinct timeframes for exploration depending on the specific species.

Mule Deer

Whitetail Deer Season

Texas Deer Population Forecast

Pronghorn

Javelina

Alligator

Turkey

Upland Game Birds

Pheasant

Quail

Chachalaca

Texas Bird Season
Texas Bird Season

Migratory Birds

Snipe

Woodcock

Duck

Goose

Rails

Gallinules

Moorhens

Teal

Sandhill Crane

Others

Rabbit

Squirrel

TX Hunting License

Individuals seeking to engage in outdoor activities like fishing must obtain licenses. These licenses, badges, and permits vary based on factors such as the pursued species, the hunter’s age, and their residency status. The available categories encompass resident, non-resident, elderly, youth, lifetime, and military options. Costs of these fluctuates, influenced by age and residency. Residents, whether children, elders, or adults, pay $7 or $25, respectively, for similar registrations. Non-residents, on the other hand, incur a higher cost of $315. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also offers a lifetime residents combo license for hunting and fishing, priced at $1,800.

ParticularsTexas Hunting & Fishing Licenses on sale starting Aug. 15th
Start Date15-Aug-23
End Date31-Aug-23
Licenses Sold AnnuallyOver 2.7 million
Available LicensesAnnual digital licenses, Youth Hunting, Lifetime Hunting and Fishing tags, Exempt Angler tag
Online PurchaseAvailable for digital licenses through online purchase only
Lifetime Super Combo DrawingA drawing for three Lifetime Super Combo licenses; $5 per entry
Entry Deadline30-Sep-23
Purchase OptionsOnline, phone (1-800-895-4248), license retailers

Archery and Bow Season

The Texas archery season runs from October 1 to January 31. The Texas bow season is the same as the archery. There is no difference between “bow ” and “archery season.” Bows and crossbows are among the equipment used in archery. Broadheads or barbed points must be used as the arrow’s tip. A minimum draw weight of 150 pounds is required for crossbows.

Additional regulations:

  • Archery equipment must be used, including a bow or crossbow.
  • Arrows must be tipped with a broadhead or barbed point.
  • Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 150 pounds.
  • Must have a valid hunting license and a deer tag, tagging immediately after harvesting.
  • TPWD must receive a harvest report from hunters within 24 hours.

Bag limits:

  • Are allowed to harvest 2 bucks per year.
  • Are allowed to harvest 1 buck and 1 doe per day.
  • Are allowed to harvest 2 does per day during the archery only days.

Exceptions:

New Laws Added

New for the 2023-24 Texas Hunting SeasonDetails
Tag Checking RequirementsEvery year, Texas hunters must check their tags. Hunters are checking their tags less due to GPS-enabled locators and deer monitoring apps.
Reduced Check OptionBackcountry hunters without GPS locators can hunt for a season without being tagged under the "reduced check" option. This option gives hunters more flexibility while adhering to regulations.

Updates and Changes

CategoryUpdates and Changes 2023-2024
Chronic Wasting DiseaseNew CWD zones established in Bexar, Frio, Gonzales, Hamilton, Sutton, Washington, and Zavala counties.
CWD zones in Duval, Gillespie, Limestone, and Uvalde counties have been reduced in size.
More detailed zone boundaries, requirements, and checkstation operating hours information will be available.
Buck & Antlerless DeerMandatory harvest reporting remains in effect for buck and antlerless deer in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties.
Reporting requirement extended to antlerless deer in 21 south central Texas counties.
Feral HogsNew rules allow aerial wildlife management permit holders to conduct nighttime hunting of feral hogs with drones.

Public Hunting Areas Interactive Map

Through the Texas Public Hunting Areas Interactive Map, anyone may virtually explore more than a million acres of property that is open to the public. This map shows a variety of places to do outdoor recreation, like as state parks, national wildlife refuges, privately managed TPWD lands, and more. Using different base maps, users may determine the game kinds and timetables at each site. To introduce newbies to the sport, TPWD hosts guided seminars and provides opportunity to compete in regulated, drawn events via the Public Hunt Drawing System. All things considered, this map is an invaluable tool for anybody who enjoys being outside.

Regulations

  • Within the confines of private land or upon private water, it is prohibited to pursue mammals and non-migratory game birds from a motor vehicle, powerboat, yacht, or from any other moving device.
  • Pursuing game animals and game birds are permitted with calling devices, recordings, and electronically enhanced sounds. However, using electronic calls to pursue migrating game birds is prohibited except during the Light Goose Conservation Order season.
  • Live decoys cannot be used when taking migrating game birds, but baits can stalk both game mammals and game birds.
  • Air rifles and arrow weapons can target alligators, game animals, furbearers, rodents, and non-migratory game birds (except for the eastern turkey).
  • Only with a Wildlife Resource Document (WRD) is it possible to transfer lawfully captured wildlife or marine resources, and the WRD has to be affixed throughout the entire transfer procedure.
  • Any legal handgun may be used to pursue game mammals and non-migratory game birds, except rimfire ammo, completely automatic weapons, and muzzleloader deer seasons, which are limited to muzzleloading weapons only.
  • The use of canines to capture wildlife birds is prohibited.
  • It is against the law to shoot a gun across a property line or on a public road, stalk remotely, use nets, or pursue deer with dogs.
  • Some public and private areas, including parks and animal preserves are banned.
  • Specific rules must be followed when using projectiles, such as the need to use broadhead tips and the ban on incendiary, doped, or poisoned shells.
  • For information on falconry permits and laws, call (512) 389-4481.
  • For labeling directions, with digital permits and tags should visit tpwd.texas.gov/digitaltags.
  • Except for vintage or novelty firearms made before 1899 or copies of such firearms that do not use rimfire or centerfire ammo, guns are usually banned from having criminals who have been convicted of a crime.
  • Keeping a deer or pronghorn with the reproductive glands removed is forbidden unless it has been at least quartered and reached its location. A finished Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP) Tag, Antlerless Mule Permit, CWD Check Station Notification, or TPWD Drawn Capture Permitted Badge are acceptable forms of sex proof, as are the heads of buck with antlers affixed, antlerless, pronghorn, and buck with horns removed.
  • A Category 1 business handler must input the body into the cold storage journal and document the county and property of capture before removing the evidence of sex from deer or pronghorn.
  • Without evidence of sex, it is illegal to own a pheasant. The proof of sex must travel with the pheasant or turkey until it gets to its location and is processed.
  • Moose, White-tailed, mule, and red deer can all contract the deadly Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in specific regions of the state. To identify and control this illness, the government has named CWD Zones.
  • To remove any portion of an animal from a CWD Zone, must transport their animals to a TPWD checkpoint within 48 hours of harvesting mule and white-tailed deer, elk, or other foreign CWD-susceptible species within the CWD Zones.
  • Body pieces must be disposed of properly to prevent pollution and the spread of CWD. In any CWD Zone, are advised to leave any inedible portions at the location of the kill, discard them in a dump, or bury them at least six feet underground.
  • Federal law forbids placing food where shooters attempt to capture migrating game birds.
  • Are responsible for determining whether a location has been lured.
  • Hunting of migrating game birds is permitted over growing fields, artificially cultivated flora, and typical soil protection techniques.
  • Certain kinds of firearms, traps, and signals are prohibited when pursuing migrating game birds.
  • Until they arrive at the possessor’s home, all migrating game birds that have been caught must be marked.
  • The entry of migrating game birds from Mexico or Canada is subject to limitations.
  • For information on regulations or license requirements, waterfowl shooters using public waterways should contact their neighborhood TPWD Law Enforcement office.

FAQ

When does hunting season start in Texas?

The East zone’ general game animals lasts from October 1, to February 25, and from May 1–31, while it lasts for other open counties from September 1, to August 31.

What animals can be taken in Texas?

Hunters can pursue a diverse range of game animals, including Javelina, Pronghorn, Squirrel, White-tailed and Mule Deer, Chachalaca, Pheasant, Quail, Rio Grande Turkey, Alligator, Rabbits and hares, Dove, Feral Hog, Feral Hog/Predator, Furbearer/Predator, Multi Species, Predator, Snipe, Teal, and Woodcock.

What are the bag limits for deer in Texas?

In most counties, there is a five maximum bag limit for white-tailed during the regular season, with a maximum of three bucks allowed.

Do I need a hunting license in Texas?

Hunters must possess a current hunting registration. A TPWD facility or an approved licensed vendor is where you can buy a license in person, over the phone, online, or both. Age, citizenship status, and the kind of wildlife being pursued are all variables that affect the particular authorization needed.

What can be hunted throughout the year in Texas?

An Annual Public Hunting Permit grants access to 180 state-designated public areas. Permits and regulations enable year-round opportunities for harvesting squirrels, rabbits, javelina, alligators, and migratory birds. Controlled seasons are in place for white-tailed deer and bighorn sheep games. Before pursuing any mammal, it is crucial to review local and species-specific laws.

Can you buy a hunting license in Texas without a driver's license?

Yes, in Texas, getting a hunting license without a driver’s license is possible. A photo and state-issued ID showing you’re over 16 are needed to get a license. You can buy a license from a game warden or wildlife agency if you’re 16 or older and not a condemned felon.

What are the dates for south zone dove season?

The South Zone dove season in Texas includes a Regular schedule from September 14 to October 29, and a second phase from December 15, to January 21. Additionally, there are Special White-winged Dove Days on September 1-3, and September 8-10.

When does dove season start in Texas?

Beginning on September 1, the North Zone’s initial period concludes on November 12, with a subsequent session from December 15 to 31. Similarly, the Central Zone commences on September 1, concluding earlier on October 29, and its second period extends from December 15, to January 14. In the South Zone, dove initiation is on September 14, concluding on October 29, and resuming with a second period from December 15, to January 21. Special white-winged dove days in the South Zone are on September 1-3, and September 8-10.

John Lewis
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