No Deer Lease? Here's What You Need to Know
Our Texas gun season for deer opens Nov. 3, though the bow season has been open now for a month. Your first move should be to acquire the free Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Outdoor Annual for fishing and hunting. This booklet tells you the rules, regulations, season parameters, and other key information. You can get this at your local sporting goods store and Walmart.
You should then purchase your hunting license at the same places or online at tpwd.texas.gov. You may also purchase that license by phone at 1-800-TX-LIC-4U.
Now, you are ready to hunt — almost. Where are you going to hunt? It’s wonderful if you have your own ranch or a lease with your hunting friends; however, hunting leases in Texas are rather expensive and quite frequently taken by the groups willing to pay the most for the opportunity on a particular ranch. However, you're in luck: There are other options for a place to hunt at a reasonable price this coming season.
Hunting is available on public land and some private land at an affordable cost. Once you get your license, it will be well worth your while to purchase a $48 public hunting permit. This permit allows numerous possibilities for you. At present, there is hunting on TPWD Wildlife Management Areas, at some state parks, in the small number of our Texas national forests, and through special public draw hunts. Also, there are day hunts available on certain ranches, and those can be located through the chambers of commerce in most towns.
There is also a key website to access: texasdayhunts.com.
For answers to some questions you might have, it would be good to get familiar with the TPWD phone number, 1-800-792-1112, and even more so with the online information at tpwd.texas.gov.
Some of the following information might be helpful in finding a reasonable hunt this season.
With your $48 annual permit there are 180 entities available for different types of hunts. If you need to talk with a regional wildlife supervisor about hunting possibilities, save the following numbers:
• TPWD Region 3 — (830) 896-2500
• TPWD Region 6 — 512-389-4800
• TPWD Region 2 for a West Texas experience — (432) 837-2051
There is fine deer hunting on Texas Wildlife Management Areas, also known as WMAs. You are usually assigned a hunting date and a specific deer blind for your hunt. Here are three options as an example:
• Region 5 has three WMAs: Chaparral, Daughtrey and Las Palomas.
• Region 6 has two WMAs: Kerr and Mason Gap.
• Region 7 in West Texas has three WMAs: Black Gap, Elephant Mountain, and Sierra Diablo.
There is an option online to have your name drawn for a special hunt through the "drawn hunt’" system. These special hunts are explained on the TPWD website under "Drawn Hunts." Use the search box at the top of website.
These are examples of how you can use your Public Hunting permit. Through the TPWD Public Hunting program, you might also find private ranches that provide specific hunts for management purposes. These also can be very reasonable hunts, especially for does. Seeking out public hunting areas by county is provided by the TPWD at tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public.
Also check texasdayhunts.com as it has hunts from $250 up to $2,500. This can be a valuable website. As an example for specific area searches, I would contact a nearby town (like Mason) with a chamber of commerce site that includes some reasonable hunting opportunities. This example may be applied to many other cities or towns.
It is my wish for this to serve as a guide in finding that special place that fits your pocketbook for this coming hunting season. We all need to enjoy the outdoors as an essential element to good health. Hunting is conservation and game management.
See you in the woods!
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