Texas offers a wide variety of seasonal deer hunting and is known for its high range of game animals. Approximately one million acres of publicly accessible land is available to hunt on in Texas. The state’s diverse landscape and mild climate provide ideal habitats for various deer species, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, and axis deer. From 1966 to 2017, the number of hunters in Texas doubled, from 644,000 to 1.25 million, due to the significant amount of effort that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has put into the state. They have created all kinds of public access opportunities and affordable private lands added in between.
Texas also has a strong hunting culture, with many hunting lodges, guides, and outfitters available to assist hunters. The Lone Star State’s hunting culture is entirely unmatched.
Most deer hunting ranges in the fall and winter seasons depend on the given location and types of deer. If you are hunting in the northern area of Texas, expect the season to range from early November to early/mid-January for mules and white-tailed deer. If you are ranging in the southern region, it is usually expected that early November to mid-January will also be peak time. The exact dates and regulations for deer hunting vary depending on the specific type of deer being hunted. Archery is also available from the beginning of October through the beginning of November, but be aware of the limited counties in which the sport is offered.
It is essential for hunters to be aware of season dates and regulations and to obtain the appropriate licenses and permits before hunting.
Texas Hunting Regulations and Registration
In addition to a hunting license, it is expected that additional endorsements may be required as well as a mandatory hunter education course for anyone born on or after September 2, 1971. The system is offered in person or online, depending on personal preference. This certification is required for all hunters to carry when hunting.
Residential and nonresidential licenses can differ depending on what you are looking for. Texas resident licenses are offered for youth, seniors, lifetime packages, or active military. Non-residents can also purchase specific or general licensing, although the variety is more limited. Pricing ranges depending on license choice. More details can be found at Texas Parks and Wildlife.
A program that hunters should take advantage of is the Annual Public Hunting permit (APH). It costs $48 in addition to your state hunting license, but it gives you access to more than 180 hunting
areas (mostly Wildlife Management Areas and state parks), plus 120 dove and small game tracts that are privately owned.
In addition, hunters must abide by specific regulations for the type of game they are hunting, including season dates, bag limits, and legal hunting methods. It is also illegal to hunt from a vehicle, boat, or aircraft or to use artificial light to hunt game. Violation of hunting laws can result in fines and other penalties.
It is very common to find White-tailed deer throughout the whole state of Texas. These deer tend to move solitary but can also be found in various sizes of herds. You will generally find white-tailed deer in most areas, including urbanized and they usually tend to stay in one specific place since they do not migrate. When hunting white-tailed deer, they can also be determined as “buck” or “antlerless.” According to TPWD, “Modified proof of sex is required for harvesting buck deer, and new mandatory harvest reportings are placed in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties.” Make sure you stay dated on new updates throughout the year.
Mule deer are also found throughout the state but are most common in the western and central regions. They are generally larger than white-tailed deer, with adult males weighing up to 200 pounds. In general, mule deer prefer open, brushy areas with access to water, but they can also be found in forests and other habitats. Some of Texas’s best places to see mule deer include Big Bend National Park, the Davis Mountains, the Trans-Pecos region, and the Hill Country. With their impressive size and trophy-worthy antlers, mule deer are a test of a hunter’s skills and endurance.
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