Texas Hunting

5 essential items to bring with you on a hunting trip



You might know the woods like the back of your hand simply because you’ve hunted there all your life, but there are just some things you need to carry in your backpack to ensure you won’t be sorry for keeping out some very essential items.


Illumination, nutrition and hydration

Whether you need them or not, light sources such as a flashlight, matches or a lighter should be in your backpack. It’s not a question of whether you need them or not, but when you’ll need them. If you would rather not use credit cards as emergency fire starters, you have to start making sure you always bring a lighter or matches.

Staying out long up in a treestand ( here are some amazing tips) or in a hunting blind, or running about in search of your target can get you dehydrated. Every time you take a piss, you lose water. When you sweat, you lose water. Even your eyes need to stay hydrated because staring long into a rifle or bow scope can get them tired or dry and irritated. Rehydrate yourself with a swig of water every now and then. Some hunters bring a pee bottle as well. Energy bars help keep your stamina up during the hunt.



Safety first

You’ll also need to bring a hunter safety system harness. Comprising a safety belt and harness, this system goes on before you commence your climb up in the tree and stays on till you are safely back on the ground after hunting. Some hunters use a chest-only belt instead of a full body harness. However, you would also have to bring along a sharp folding knife to ensure that when you fall using just a chest-only belt, you can cut your way out of an upside down position and make your way down the tree. The safety belt or harness can also double as a deer drag. Some rope will enable you to haul your weapons up into your tree stand to ensure safe climbing as well as safe descent. An arm and wrist guard protects your arms from injury, but you can improvise by trimming the foot off from one leg dark ladies’ tights.

In the summer, camo cotton gloves can be sprayed with scent killer. They should be on your hands from the time you leave your vehicle till you are fully set up in your tree stand. When hunting in cold season, go for polypro liner gloves that have also been similarly de-scented and then worn under wool gloves with the first two fingers and thumb cut off. This enables you to handle zippers, focus your rangefinder or binoculars and do tasks that require manual dexterity. A first aid kit with bandages and emergency medication including diarrhea and pain tablets, alcohol swabs and antibiotic cream will come in handy for emergencies.


Hunting accessories

Mechanical broadheads and arrows can be carried in a detachable quiver. A pump spray of scent killer enables you to easily spray the formulation on everything, from your tree stand, boots, bow, hat and body before you set out. You can carry a small bottle to the field for touch ups, such as before and after you’ve climbed up the tree, since you may sweat off the scent killer on your way up. A tree belt with hooks and clips to hold calls, optics, quiver, excess clothing, even pots and pans, will be handy.

A grunt call or call device that produces the sound of rattling antlers is a sensible item to have in your hunting backpack. There are models that can generate everything from a fawn bleat to a snort wheeze. Lure deer attractant covers your own odor while attracting the deer. This can induce the deer with an all-season curiosity scent or buck urine smell. Binoculars help you get closeups of your target.



Identification and orientation tools

Your hunter education certificate and other identification documents should be within easy reach when challenged. A laser rangefinder and GPS device will ensure you don’t lose your bearings easily especially when chasing your prey. A sighting compass will do fine for backup.


Survival kit

A folding saw lets you handle twigs or branches that get in the way of setting up your stand. A mylar heating blanket keeps you warm in the stand. Bring along water purifying tablets in case you need to draw water from natural sources. Extra batteries should also be available for your electronic hunting devices.




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