Texas Hunting Regulations
AGE 17 AND OVER?
Every hunter (including out-of-state hunters) born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, must successfully complete a hunter safety course.
Once you complete the online course and exam, print out your Temporary Hunter Student Certificate (proof of online course completion). This allows you to go hunting right away.
To obtain your Permanent Hunter Education Certificate go to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department website and click “Am I Certified”. You will receive your official certificate within 45 days.
Proof of certification or deferral is required to be on your person while hunting.
AGE 9 to 16?
Persons under 17 must complete either an in-person course OR an online + field day (4 hours minimum) course in order to obtain Proof of Certification (PoC). Minimum age of certification is 9 years.
Once you complete the online course and exam, print out your Field Day Course Voucher. You’ll need to bring the voucher with you to your Field Day.
Once the Field Day has been successfully completed you will get your Permanent Hunter Education Certificate.
Hunter Education versus a Hunting License
Texas hunters must obtain a Texas Hunting License, which is different than hunter education certification. You will need to purchase an annual hunting license from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department once you complete your safety course. A hunting license is required for any person, regardless of age, who hunts any animal, bird, frog or turtle within the state. You can get a hunting license through the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
RESTRICTED HUNTING AREAS
Various regions in Texas have certain hunting regulations and restrictions in place, which must be followed by any person hunting in the area. These restrictions have been set in place for your own safety, and for the safety of the public, and wildlife.
These regulations can change regularly, and new restrictions may be imposed depending on the season. As a hunter, it’s your responsibility to stay up to date on these regulations with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
Texas’ hunting seasons are established based on the type of game animal you are permitted to hunt, the type of firearms hunters are permitted to use, and the county in which you want to hunt.
Open Season is a duration of time where you can legally hunt specific animals, waterfowl, and birds in a particular area. Open Season dates can change annually so it’s important to check with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to get up-to-date information.
Special Seasons include Archery-only (restricted to legal archery and crossbow equipment), Falconry hunting, hunting deer with muzzleloading guns only, and youth-only/age-restricted hunting seasons.
Seasonal hunting pertains to game animals, upland game birds, migratory game birds, and other animals including rabbits & hares, fur-bearing animals and non-game animals.
Texas game animals include alligator, Javelina, mule deer, pronghorn, squirrel, white-tailed deer. Upland game birds include Chachalaca, pheasant, quail, and turkey. Migratory game birds include common snipe, dove, duck, goose, rails, gallinules & moorhens, sandhill cranes teal, and woodcock. Regulations differ for each animal and bird in terms of which season they can be hunted, whether a permit is required, and whether or not archery can be used.
It’s also very important to be aware of threatened, endangered, and protected species to ensure you are not breaking the law.
Remember bag limits
The maximum number of a game species (quail, pheasant, squirrel, etc.) that may be lawfully taken by a hunter during the legal shooting hours in one day.
Don’t forget your hunter orange
Hunters are required to wear 400 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange with 144 square inches appearing on both chest and back, and daylight fluorescent orange headwear while hunting on public lands.
No hunter orange is required while hunting on private property, but it is recommended.
Due to reciprocal agreements, your Texas Hunter Education Certificate will be accepted by all US States, Canadian Provinces and Territories and other countries that require mandatory hunter education.
Texas will also accept hunter education certificates issues by outside jurisdictions that meet the official IHEA-USA requirements.