Texas Hunting

Animals to hunt in Texas



Texas offers great hunting opportunities. However, only certain animals can be legally hunted year round. A hunting license is necessary, with the licensing requirements being specific to passing a hunter education class, based on the stipulations from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Hares and rabbits are small mammals or small animals that provide year-round hunting in Texas. Squirrels are also available year round with no penalty, save for east Texas where squirrel season is from early October through late September, as well as the whole month of May. Ground and flying squirrels, prairie dogs and porcupines can also be hunted year round.



Nutria, muskrats, minks, foxes, beavers and badgers can be harvested the entire year. This is also true with skunks, ring-tailed cats, raccoons, otters, and opossums. Armadillos can’t be possessed or sold.

On private land, large animals without any closed season can be hunted such as feral dogs. Also included are elk, axis deer, aoudad sheep, fallow deer, sika deer, nilgai antelopes, blackbuck antelopes and Russian boars. Mountain lions, bobcats and other large cats are open game. Since 2015, coyotes have been under statewide rabies quarantine conditions.

Holding a place of distinction among many Texans, the white-tailed deer enjoys nearly statewide presence. It is currently the most high-numbered big game animal in Texas and the US. White-tailed deer occurs in large numbers in Texas compared to other states, with population estimates pegged at 3 to 4 million. Annual harvest rates are placed at approximately 430,000 to 500,000, which is greater than on any other state. The harvest limits for antler-free deer and bucks vary from one county to another, with many counties imposing antler restrictions. The back of your license should be filled in on the white-tailed deer log for every white tail you harvest.

Occurring primarily in the Pecos River as well as in parts of the High Plains of the Texas Panhandle, the mule deer has experienced significant population fluctuations, with west Texas showing substantial population decreases. The declines are believed by experts to be due to the prolonged drought as well as the deficiency in available forage and the loss of cover. To maintain viable mule deer populations in the state, there’s a definite need for proper habitat management. Mule deer typically have larger body weights compared to white-tailed deer. Mule deer ears are also noticeably larger, thus the animal’s name. Mule deer season dates differ from those for white-tailed species. The difference also lies in the harvest limits for buck and antlerless deer.

The American Pronghorn is exclusive to North America. There was a time when the American Pronghorn ranged the deserts and prairies west of the Mississippi River, across the Rocky mountains as well as south to central Mexico. Original numbers peg American Pronghorn population at an estimated 30 to 40 million. At this time, populations for the animal are limited to the southern Rolling Plains, Panhandle and Trans-Pecos regions.

The Desert bighorn sheep numbered as high as 1,500 in the late 1800s. The last documented sighting of a native bighorn was in 1958. A cooperative agreement between private conservation interests and federal and state agencies developed in 1954 and gave rise to restoration efforts for bighorn sheep. Since 1959, the transplantation of desert bighorn sheep has been undertaken from Mexico and several states into the mountain ranges of Texas.

The collared peccary or javelina is the only peccary specie found in the US, and in Texas, the animal occurs in the semi-arid to greatly arid parts of the state. Most occur in the brush country of South Texas, the Edwards Plateau oak-juniper woodlands, and the Trans-Pecos desert.

More details and up to date regulation: http://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/regs/animals/rabbits-and-hares