The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is now accepting public comment on a suite of proposed changes to this year’s hunting regulations, which include: a unified statewide deer season opener, legalizing air guns and air bows for hunting certain wildlife species, and a reduction of the spring Eastern turkey season.
The following amendments to the 2018-19 Texas Statewide Hunting Proclamation are being proposed by TPWD staff:
- Standardize the general deer hunting season statewide to open the first Saturday in November and end on the third Sunday in January. Additionally, staff propose to open the special late season, muzzleloader season, and the late youth season on the first Monday following the third Sunday in January for 14 consecutive days. This proposal would also adjust concurrent turkey hunting seasons with the general deer season in the North Zone.
- Allow the take of alligators, game animals, non-migratory game birds and furbearers with air guns and air bows.
- Remove references to the take of antlerless deer by MLDP tag only on U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and river authority lands, and clarify in regulation that take of antlerless deer is prohibited on U.S. Forest Service properties except during archery-only season, muzzleloader season, special youth season, and during the 4 doe days on the LBJ National Grasslands in Montague and Wise counties.
- Clarify in regulation that in each county where antler restrictions are imposed that a person who takes a buck in violation of antler restrictions is prohibited from subsequently harvesting any buck deer with branched antlers on both main beams in that county during that current deer season.
- Remove requirement minimums for certain archery equipment, including: broadhead hunting points, 125-pound pull for crossbows, crossbow stock length of 25 inches, and mechanical safety on crossbows.
- Increase the possession limit from 2 to 3 times the daily bag limit for chachalaca, ring-necked pheasants and squirrel.
- Shorten the Eastern spring turkey hunting season in Bowie, Cass, Fannin, Grayson, Jasper, Lamar, Marion, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Red River, and Sabine by one week while retaining the current closing date of May 14. Staff also proposes closing the Eastern turkey season in Upshur and San Augustine counties.
- Increase the daily bag limits on northern pintails from one to two per day during the 2018-19 duck hunting season.
- Add dove hunting opportunity to the end of the late segment (December – January) of the North and Central Zones; and add a week to the early segment of the South Zone during the 2018-19 dove season.
Access to online resources, including details on these proposals and options to provide public comment, can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.
Comment may also be made in writing to TPWD, attn. Hunting Regulations Public Comment, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744, or in person during the March 22 public meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at TPWD headquarters in Austin prior to rulemaking.