Get ready for your best hunting trip yet in the Lone Star State
With an abundance and diversity of game animals, there's never a season in Texas when you can't go hunting. From turkey in spring and deer in fall to a year-round open season on rabbits and hares, you have plenty of options. So when it comes to planning a hunting adventure in Texas, timing depends entirely on your target species of choice.
Planning for hunting season
Before you go hunting in Texas, keep in mind that it's a huge state, so much so that prime hunting conditions, and even legal hunting seasons, vary from one region to another. For example, Duck hunting season begins on November 4 in the southern part of the state, but not until November 11 in the northern region. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) provides some excellent resources for planning your trip by region, including a breakdown of hunting seasons in each of the state's 254 counties.
Best time to hunt
Overall, late fall and early winter are the best times to hunt in Texas, offering prime hunting conditions and open seasons for many of the state's most sought-after game animals. At the time of publication, regular fall hunting seasons begin on the following dates:
- Dove: September 1 (North and Central Zones) or September 22 (South Zone)
- Duck: November 11 (North Zone) or November 4 (South Zone)
- Goose: September 9 (East Zone) or November 4 (West Zone)
- Pheasant: December 2 (Panhandle only)
- Pronghorn Antelope: September 30 (statewide)
- Quail: October 28 (statewide)
- Squirrel: October 1 (East Texas) or September 1 (rest of state)
- Turkey: November 4 (statewide)
- White-tail deer: November 4 (statewide)
For many species, additional late hunting seasons, as well as early youth-only and archery seasons, are also open. For a complete guide to Texas hunting seasons by species as well as by region, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department publishes an annual guide to the state's hunting regulations that is available online, and in printed form at most sporting goods retailers across the state.
Know before you go
Open shooting hours in Texas extend from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Hunters on public lands must wear at least 400 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange at all times, including 144 square inches on both the chest and back, as well as daylight fluorescent orange headwear.
Hunting licenses and hunter education courses – both required by law in the state of Texas – are available through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. Be sure to check with the TPWD for up to date hunting regulations, as seasons and bag limits are subject to change from one year to the next.