PUBLIC HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES IN TEXAS
I think that we can all agree that hunting in Texas has become very expensive. A lot of what drives the cost, compared to most states, is that Texas has significantly less National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, and other public land.
Texas is also known as a quality and quantity state when it comes to wildlife. This is due to lack of hunting pressure. To many people, there’s a feeling that there is no affordable opportunity to hunt in their home state.
What if I told you that you could access over a million acres of public hunting land in Texas, where you can hunt hogs, deer, dove, squirrel, and most other game animals for $48 per year? Yea right, what’s the catch you ask? There isn’t one.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department manages, through a cooperative agreement with the National Forest Service, several wildlife management areas that total hundreds of thousands of acres in our east Texas forests with no lottery draw and no special access permission. Just buy your $48 Public Hunting Permit when you get your hunting license, and you will receive a detailed map booklet showing the available hunting land, the wildlife species available to hunt, and any weapon restrictions.
Many of these areas are leased by the State from private landowners and timber corporations. It’s some of the most exceptionally beautiful country, and there are some truly huge whitetail bucks that are harvested every year. You’ll also be surprised that your permit will allow you to dove hunt on state leased private lands around most of the large metropolitan areas.
Texas Public Hunt Drawing System
Other great and inexpensive hunting opportunities exist through the Texas Public Hunt Drawing System, which is also administered by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Around mid-summer every year, you can go online and submit your entries to hunt on some of the most premier wildlife areas in the country, right here in the state of Texas.
If drawn, you stand a great chance of harvesting a trophy Mule Deer, Whitetail Deer, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Alligator, Axis, Oryx, Aoudad, or Pronghorn Antelope. The draw system also has a category for youth only hunting opportunities.
Within this system, you submit your application every year, based on what you want to hunt, and if you don’t get drawn for that hunt, you will accrue a “preference point”, which TPWD refers to as a loyalty point. The more loyalty points that you accrue, the higher your chances of getting drawn. Each entry only costs $3 per hunter, and if you are drawn you will pay around $80 to $130 fee for a 3- or 4-day hunt.
National Wildlife Refuges
Another great opportunity is hunting on one of the National Wildlife Refuges in Texas. These are drawn hunts and are administered by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Texas is blessed to have over a dozen of these properties, and most of them are large acreage, with generous bag limits on deer. The USFWS also administers youth only hunts, which are a fantastic opportunity to spend time in the outdoors with your kids or grandchildren.
So, the next time that you are feeling bummed out because the cost of hunting has outpaced your budget, take a hard look at these awesome hunting opportunities available. Remember, we are all PUBLIC LANDOWNERS.
Texas Hunting Season
The start of the Texas hunting season is always very exciting around the store. We can outfit you for whatever game you’re hunting for. Make sure to stop by Buck & Doe’s Mercantile for all your hunting, firearms and archery needs. Our experts will be happy to help you.