If you’re thinking of hunting whitetail deer in Texas, there are some regulations you should be aware of to make your hunt as successful as possible. The Texas Park & Wildlife has rules in place so that all hunters can have a fair hunt and enjoy the four million whitetail deer that Texas is home to, which is more than is found in any of the fifty states. Let’s take a look at some of the requirements and regulations that are in place in the Lonestar State.
Requirements for whitetail deer hunting in Texas
Hunting in Texas requires a license. Any resident or non-resident must get a hunting license through the Texas Park & Wildlife Department. In order to get a license, every hunter must complete a Hunter Education Training Course. Any hunter over the age of 17 can take a course online to meet the requirements.
Illegal activity involving hunting in Texas
Besides basic requirements, it’s also important to be aware of illegal activity involving hunting in Texas so you don’t find yourself in trouble. In Texas, it’s illegal to:
- use calling devices, recordings, and electrically amplified calls to hunt game animals
- hunt animals from a motor vehicle, including any powerboats
- use decoys to hunt game animals
- use bait for game animals
When it comes to firearms used for hunting, there are also regulations regarding them. Game animals can be hunted using any legal firearm except:
- Rimfire ammunition
- Fully automatic firearms
- Muzzleloader: any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle, as opposed to breech-loading firearms. A cap and ball firearm where the powder and ball are loaded into a cylinder is not a muzzleloader. Muzzleloader deer seasons are restricted to muzzleloading firearms only.
It is also important to note that any convicted felon may not possess a firearm, even if their conviction was not in Texas. It is also against the law to take any deer or parts of a deer that were hit by a car. Legal shooting hours for deer are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Special hunting time for youth hunters
In Texas, there is also a white-tailed deer youth-only season. This means only licensed hunters ages 16 years of age or younger are eligible to participate in youth-only deer seasons. These seasons can run at the same time as other seasons. They do not prevent people from hunting under the rules set for those particular seasons.
Any lawful means can be used to hunt whitetail deer, except in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties. Hunting in these counties is restricted to lawful archery equipment only. For more information on youth-only season, click here.
Whitetail deer hunting regulations in Texas
If you are planning on heading out on public land to hunt, there are some regulations, including statewide bag limits, which you should be aware of. You cannot exceed an annual limit of five whitetail deer, no more than three of which may be bucks. Since bag limits are set by each county, it’s important to check into the county regulations where you are planning to hunt.
Antler restrictions also apply in certain counties. In these locations, the bag limit is two legal bucks, but only one can have an inside spread of 13 inches or greater. In these areas, a legal buck is defined as one with:
- at least one unbranched antler; OR
- an inside spread of 13 inches or greater (does not apply to a buck that has an unbranched antler).
If you choose to hunt at a ranch, ask about regulations that may exist that are unique to that location. It is also against Texas law to hunt on any public roads or on the right of way of any public roads.
There are also certain rules after hunting a deer in Texas. After the deer is killed and before it is field dressed or moved, the right hunting license tag or permit must be filled out immediately and the dates cut out. If a hunting license tag is used then the Hunting License Harvest Log must also be filled out completely. After the deer is tagged and the proof of sex accompanies it, the deer can be brought to its final destination.
Hunting Whitetail Deer in Texas
You can keep all of these tips in mind if you are planning a whitetail deer hunt at Squaw Mountain Ranch. At Squaw Mountain you can expect a one to one buck to doe ratio. This allows hunters to see several deer to choose from during their hunt. The staff at Squaw Mountain aims to accommodate all hunters including those with physical disabilities.
There are a variety of hunting packages to choose from. But no matter which you choose we ensure a fair hunt resulting in a trophy any hunter would be proud to display.
If you are planning a trophy hunt at Squaw Mountain Ranch, you just need to bring your rifle and ammo, hunting clothes, a Texas hunting license, cooler to transport meat and any other desired personal items. Also be sure to bring plenty of ice to store and transport your meat. When you keep Texas deer hunting regulations in mind, everyone can have a safe and enjoyable hunt.