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Texas Hunting Seasons

Mike Slinkard

December 8, 2022

Everything is bigger in Texas — including the variety of hunting seasons and harvesting opportunities! Outdoorsmen can tag up to five deer, aim at an alligator, or hunt for javelina in the vast open fields, the thick brush, or the vast hardwood forests of the Lone Star state. 

Texas welcomes hunters from around the country to participate in their yearly open seasons. Residents and faraway visitors all have the opportunity to punch a tag on the 1 million acres of public land available in the state. 

Hunting licenses and permits can be easily obtained through local retailers or the state Parks and Wildlife Department online. Additionally, hunters can apply for exclusive, invitation-only hunting events with the Texas Public Hunt Drawing. Not many states offer premier hunting experiences like Texas!

Deer Hunting Season in Texas

The rules and regulations of Texas hunting seasons can be tricky, especially if you are not native to the state. We’ll discuss everything Texas hunters should know about the upcoming white-tailed deer season, equipment restrictions, public hunting areas, and expected costs of deer hunting

Texas Hunting Season Dates

Location is everything in Texas. Before you can prepare for the upcoming deer season, you’ll need to identify your hunting zone for corresponding hunting season start dates.

SeasonDates
Youth OnlyOctober 29th & 30thJanuary 2nd – January 15th
Archery OnlyOctober 1st – November 4th
General Season North Zone: November 5th – January 1st South Zone: November 5th – January 15th
MuzzleloaderJanuary 2nd – January 15th
Special Late Season North Zone: January 2nd – January 15th South Zone: January 16th – January 29th

Out of the 254 counties in Texas, El Paso and Hudspeth do not permit white-tailed deer hunting at any time. Check the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for specific information about the deer hunting season in your county.

Hunting Methods in Texas

During the archery season, Texas permits hunters to use crossbows, longbows, compound bows, and recurved bows to pursue deer. However, Rockwall, Dallas, Collin, and Grayson counties do not permit crossbow hunting unless an individual has a physical disability that prevents them from effectively using other archery equipment. 

Muzzleloaders cannot be used to hunt deer during the general and special late season. This type of firearm is only permitted during the Muzzleloader deer season. 

Rimfire ammunition and fully automatic firearms are not available for use at any time during the Texas hunting season. Shotguns lower than ten gauges and holding no more than three shells are legal for use.

Cost of Deer Hunting Licenses and Permits

Before harvesting a white-tailed deer in Texas, every outdoorsman must acquire a hunting license. The state discounts licenses for youth hunters (below 17 years old) and seniors (65 years or above). 

While hunter education is required to participate in Texas’ open season, hunting licenses may be purchased without proof of certification.

LicenseCost
Resident $25
Senior Resident $7
Youth$7
Nonresident$315
Five Day Nonresident$48

If you’re hoping to access public land during Texas deer season, you’ll need to purchase an additional permit. The Annual Public Hunting Permit allows hunters to traverse state parks and wildlife management areas to harvest white-tailed deer. In addition to the license cost, hunters can expect to pay $48 for a public access permit.

Where to Hunt in Texas

Unless you can find a private landowner to lease their property, you’ll need the Annual Public Hunting Permit to access the 180 hunting areas in Texas. Here are some of the excellent public hunting spots you can access with a permit:

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department holds yearly drawn hunts, where hunters enter a pool of applicants for the opportunity to harvest deer and other animals in specific hunting areas. If you’re interested in participating in a drawn hunt, look at the application process and selection guidelines.

Deer Hunting Rules

After harvesting a deer, hunters must report their tag to the Texas Parks and Wildlife department within 24 hours. The bag limits allow up to three antlered bucks with a bag limit of five deer per season. 

Some Texas counties have antler restrictions for a harvested buck. To discover specific hunting rules and regulations for your county, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for more information. 

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a neurological disease present in some of the Texas deer population. To prevent the spread of disease, the Parks and Wildlife Department has identified high CWD zones and requires mandatory testing on harvested deer from these areas.

Other Texas Hunting Seasons

While deer hunting may be a staple in Texas, it’s not the only open season that gets hunters excited. Residing in the southern midwest, the Lone Star State offers hunters the rare opportunity to harvest exotic and native wildlife.

AnimalSeason Dates
AlligatorCore: September 10th – September 30th Non-Core: April 1st – June 30th
JavelinaNorthern: October 1st – February 26th Southern: September 1st – August 31st 
PronghornOctober 1st – October 16th
ChachalacaOctober 29th – February 26th
Turkey (Fall)North Zone: November 5th – January 1st South Zone: November 5th – January 15th Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Willacy Counties: November 5th – February 26th
Turkey (Spring)North Zone: April 1st – May 14th South Zone: March 18th – April 30th Eastern Zone: April 22nd – May 14th

When you’re hunting in the second largest state in America, knowing about different county rules and regulations for hunting can be challenging. Before embarking on a hunt for alligator, turkey, or javelina, you’ll need to check the Texas hunting zones. Not every Texas county participates in these open seasons.

Conclusion 

If you’re looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind hunting experience, the Texas hunting season is not one to be missed. Whether hunting for a turkey, alligator, or buck, the Lone Star state offers countless opportunities to fill a bag. 

In Texas, open season dates can vary by county. For more information on specific dates, rules, and regulations in each Texas county, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

About the Author : Mike Slinkard

Mike Slinkard is a life long bow hunter, professional archer, successful entrepreneur, and self described science geek from the rural town of John Day Oregon. Mike has spent his life in close proximity to all types of animals. His grandfather was a well known cattle and horse rancher who first instilled Mike’s keen interest in animals and why they react the way they do in different situations. Mike’s insatiable curiosity in this realm led him to team with other professionals to make the HECS discovery in 2009. Mike has hunted all over the world and has taken over 30 species with archery gear including 48 elk to date. Mike currently hosts “Hunting with HECS TV” on the Pursuit Channel. He has also written many bow hunting and archery articles as well as being a guest on many different hunting podcasts.

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