Texas Non-Game Animals
Texas is home to an array of non-game animals including armadillos, bobcats, coyotes, flying squirrels, frogs, ground squirrels, mountain lions, porcupines, prairie dogs, rabbits and turtles. On private property, these species can be hunted at any time with a valid hunting license. Public hunting lands might have varying restrictions.
The bobcat, also known as the wildcat or bay lynx, is a nocturnal, North American cat that can adapt to diverse habitats such as forests, swamps and deserts. As many as one million of these large cats have been reported in the United States. Bobcats can have a brown, grey or red coloured coat with a white stomach and a distinct black-tipped tail which it received its name after as it appears to be “bobbed”. They can weigh anywhere from 11 to 30 pounds and range between 26 to 41 inches in length. The bobcat is an independent and territorial predator that typically prey on rabbits, birds, mice, squirrels, birds, small rodents and deer, depending on the region, season and abundance.
Bobcat pelts that are sold, purchased, traded, transported or shipped out of state must have a pelt tag (CITES) attached. These pelt tags can be obtained from a bobcat specific pelt dealer or through the TPWD Regional & Field Law Enforcement Offices.
Coyotes have a similar appearance to that of a domestic dog and can be found throughout Texas in rural areas but often in cities as well. They have longer snouts and skinnier legs than dogs, with a large, bushy tail that hangs toward the ground. These animals are highly adaptable as a result of their scavenger natures which makes them extremely versatile. Their natural diet however, consists mostly of small game. They can either travel alone or in packs and are recognised for their howl and high-pitched yips.
Coyotes should never be fed by humans as they could become aggressive and as a wild animal, they have an unpredictable temperament. Coyotes have also been known to misinterpret common household pets for their meals. Preventable measures for pet owners include: never leaving food out overnight for your pet, do not let small pets outside after dark, always supervise small dogs when they go outside and clean any fruit in your yard that may have dropped from trees.
The Mountain Lion, also known as cougar, puma, painter, catamount and panther, have the widest distribution of any wild cat. It’s found throughout remote areas of the western U.S., Western Canada and Mexico. In Texas, the Mountain Lion is found throughout the Trans-Pecos, the brush lands of the south and portions of the Hill Country. The mountain lion is carnivores and enjoys a diet of various animals such as deer, rabbits and javelina. They can be harvested at any time with the adequate hunting licensing.
These large cats are extremely reclusive and are quite hard to sight however, if you happen to stumble upon a mountain lion it’s important to know what steps to take in order to protect yourself. Attacks continue to grow in number due to an increase in people using wildlands and building residences in areas where mountain lions live.
Pick up any children off the ground, do not crouch or try to hide, remain calm, don’t turn your back to the lion, do not run, try to enlarge your stature, if the lion becomes aggressive or attacks, fight back by throwing objects. If you will be hunting in a known mountain lion territory, hunt with someone else and never hunt alone.