Selecting Places to Hunt in Texas
When planning your trip, there are a number of factors to consider when selecting places to hunt in Texas. First, and perhaps most importantly, is deciding what you plan to hunt and where they like to hang out. Each species of big game have different preferences as far as their habitat and environmental conditions are concerned. The preferences of the animals you plan to hunt are all important things to consider when looking for places to hunt in Texas.
Deer can survive in a variety of ecosystems. They can live quite comfortably in wetlands, forests, grasslands, arid scrublands, and mountains. Many species of deer, such as fallow and whitetail, prefer to remain under the cover of trees or in thickets of brush during the hottest portions of the day to conserve water. They only venture out into open prairie and grasslands to graze or when temperatures cool. They eat a varied diet of grasses, shrubs, herbaceous plants, and even strip the bark off of trees when food is scarce. During the rut, most species including elk and red stag will congregate in large numbers in open spaces, making them easier to track and harvest.
Sheep and Goats
Sheep and goats, both wild and domesticated species, are tough animals that can live in a variety of incredibly harsh conditions. Well suited to living on steep canyon walls and mountain prairies, agile climbers like the Himalayan Tahr and Hybrid Ibex have adapted to living in such treacherous terrain to avoid predators. They are most active in the morning and evening when temperatures are lower. While they do prefer to live at higher altitudes, goats and sheep will travel down to lower elevations in search of food and water.
With Texas’s varied ecological makeup, it is the perfect state to raise herds of some really fascinating exotic species. Thanks to Texas’s moderate temperatures and frequent rainfall compared to their native habitat, there is plenty of forage for species like zebra, gazelle, and antelope year-round.
Places to Hunt in Texas
Private vs. Public Land
In most states, the government owns a good portion of the available hunting lands. Land owned by the government can be hunted by just about anyone, so long as you have a valid hunting license and follow certain regulations. However, hunting is restricted or prohibited in some areas. Before planning your trip, be sure to contact the appropriate agency to see what special restrictions you may need to adhere to when hunting in that area.
The government owns less than 5% of land in the Lone Star State, the remaining 96% is privately owned. This means that before you park your truck and break out your blind, you’ll need to contact the property owner for hunting rights. Hunting is big business in Texas, so many landowners offer hunting leases if they do not own or operate a lodge on the property. When hunting on privately owned land it is recommended that you do the following:
Contact the landowner well in advance of when you plan to go hunting.
Contact the landowner when you enter the property and before leaving, even if you have received prior permission.
Always follow the landowner’s instructions. They may have specific requirements on when and where you can hunt on the property.
Discuss your plans with the landowner and share your planned route and time you expect to return. If you do not return when expected or contact them for assistance, this will make it easier for search and rescue to locate you in the event of an emergency in the field.
South Texas is a popular place to go hunting, and for good reason! With whitetail deer populations numbering somewhere between 3 and 4 million individuals, you are sure to spot some premium bucks. With relatively flat shrubland it is easy to underestimate the challenge in hunting here, but the while the terrain is not particularly punishing, but the plant life certainly is. The thick and prickly undergrowth of South Texas makes it difficult to traverse on foot or install a blind. In this region, most hunting happens in senderos, or clearings along trails. Feeders and other attractants will be helpful when hunting deer here.
The arid shrubland of South Texas is also perfect for many exotic species of big game. Species native to Africa, like Bongo, Eland, Gemsbok, and others do very well here. The dry conditions and prickly flora may seem harsh to us, but these animals are right at home in South Texas. In fact, many non-native species thrive here thanks to slightly wetter conditions than their native environment.
When looking for places to hunt in Texas, consider areas with terrain similar to the foothills region of Texas. These rocky foothills formed when rivers and streams eroded the softer limestone away from the harder granite underneath. The resulting rocky canyons and gullies are now home to nearly half the state’s deer population. Dotted with stands of oak, mesquite, and cedars, the Foothills of Texas is a truly beautiful area to hunt. These stands provide plenty of cover for animals during the hottest portion of the day. The foothills are lush and provide plenty of forage for grazing animals. The deer in the foothills are usually a little smaller than those found in South Texas. However, hardier species like Corsican Ram, Four-Horned sheep, and other exotic breeds flourish here.
The Piney Woods of Texas are, as one might expect, densely wooded and are home to many deer. Due to the particularly challenging nature of the hunt in this region, it is a popular destination for trophy hunters. To make sure you get a good buck, be sure to hunt early in the season. Later in the hunting season, the herds have thinned and large bucks will be harder to find. Just as with South Texas and the Foot Hills, much of this land is privately owned. Before you plan your trip, be sure to contact the landowner for permission.
Some of the best places to hunt in Texas are hunting lodges like Squaw Mountain Ranch. Squaw Mountain Ranch offers some of the finest hunting country in Texas. Our large oak filled canyons and 23 ponds scattered throughout the property provide a one of a kind hunting experience. Our passion for fair chase hunting has driven us to give the animals every advantage they enjoy in a low fence environment. We are careful to prevent overgrazing and use careful clearing and vegetation management, ensuring a challenging hunt.