Texas, known for its vast landscapes and diverse wildlife, is a prime location for bowhunting enthusiasts. Whether you’re a novice looking to delve into the world of bowhunting or an experienced hunter wanting to try a new location, Texas has something for everyone. Here’s a beginner’s guide to help you get started.
A Glimpse into the History of Bowhunting in Texas
Bowhunting is an ancient practice, with its roots stretching back to the Stone Age. It’s been an integral part of many cultures around the world, from Asia and Europe to North America. In Texas, the significance of bowhunting is showcased by the establishment of the Texas Bowhunting and Bowfishing Records (TBBR) in 1975 by the Lone Star Bowhunting Association. The TBBR was formed to record and acknowledge hunting accomplishments achieved with bows and arrows, following ethical and legal standards.
To join this traditional activity that is unique to Texas you must obtain your hunting license, understand the regulations and know where to hunt. Continue reading this article to learn how you can get started!
How to Start Bow Hunting in Texas
Understand the Regulations
Before embarking on any hunting trip, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the local regulations. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) oversees all hunting activities in the state. Before setting out, purchase any required licenses from your nearest Texas Parks and Wildlife office.
To be eligible to obtain your hunting license you must meet the following age criteria’s:
If you were born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, and you are:
- Under 9 years of age: You must be accompanied. Accompanied means: By a person (resident or non-resident) who is at least 17, who is licensed to hunt in Texas, who has passed hunter education or is exempt (born before Sept. 2, 1971), and you must be within normal voice control.
- Age 9 through 16: You must successfully complete a hunter education course or be accompanied.
- Age 17 and over: You must successfully complete a hunter education course; or purchase a “Hunter Education Deferral” and be accompanied.
- “Accompanied” means: by a person (resident or non-resident) who is at least 17, who is licensed to hunt in Texas, who has passed hunter education or is exempt (born before Sept. 2, 1971), and you must be within normal voice control.
Bow Hunter Education
On top of the age requirements the state of Texas also requires hunters to obtain a Bow Hunter Education Certificate that can be taking in class, or online , or Online + Field Course.
There are also exemptions to to the the bow hunter education if you meet the following criteria:
Military & Law Enforcement Hunter Education Exemptions
The following persons are exempt from requirements to complete a hunter education course to hunt in Texas:
- Active duty members and honorably discharged veterans of the United States armed forces;
- Active duty members or those who have previously served as members of the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, or the Texas State Guard; or
- Persons who are serving or have previously served as a peace officer as described by Subdivision (1), (2), (3), or (4), Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure.
Remember your proof of certification or deferral is required to be on your person while you hunt.
Hunting License Fees
Of course with every license there are fees associated with it. Unless you have the following licenses you would have to purchase a Resident Hunting license thatallows you to hunt any legal bird or animal (terrestrial vertebrate).
- Senior Resident Hunting License;
- Youth Hunting License;
- Super Combo or Resident Combination Hunting and Fishing License Package;
- Lifetime Resident Hunting License;
- Disabled Veteran Super Combo Hunting and Fishing License Package;
- Lifetime Resident Combination Hunting and Fishing License; or
- Texas Resident Active Duty Military Hunting Package
- Texas Resident Active Duty Military Super Combo Hunting and Fishing License Package.
The fees are as followed:
- Resident Hunting License (for Texas Resident) $25
- Senior Resident Hunting License (Texas resident 65 years and older) $7
- Youth Hunting License ( Texas Resident / non resident under 17 years of age) $7
- Non Resident Hunting License $315
- Trappers License – For those who sell fur bearing animals
- Resident $19
- Non Resident $315
For a complete list of fees such as seasonal licenses, and land leases refer to the TPWD fee schedule.
Know What You Can Hunt
Texas offers a plethora of game animals available for bow hunting, from whitetail deer and hogs to Rio Grande turkeys and small game. And if you’re looking to snag a record, remember, Texas is known for having some of the largest bucks in the nation! You can always purchase a local hunting guide from your pro shop or check the TPWD website for more information.
But a general license can cover animals such as:
- Whitetail Deer
- Rei Grande Turkeys
- Small Game
Rules can differ considerably depending on the animal you’re after. From hunting seasons to the type of equipment and special licenses required, always ensure you’re well-informed to avoid any legal complications.
Must-See Locations for Bowhunting in Texas
After arming yourself with the essential knowledge of regulations and bowhunter education, the next step is choosing where to embark on your bowhunting adventure. Texas, with its diverse landscapes, offers a variety of captivating locations for every type of bowhunter. Whether you’re seeking the challenge of the rolling terrains or the thrill of dense woodlands, Texas has a location tailored for you. Dive into our list of must-see locations for bowhunting in the Lone Star State.
Hill Country: A picturesque setting where you can hunt for whitetail deer, axis deer, and wild boar. The rolling hills and serene landscapes make it a favorite among many bowhunters, offering both challenge and beauty in each hunt. Be sure to check out all the hunting ranches in Hill country to make your experience that much more memorable. Lazy CK Ranch is one such ranch that offers all sorts of amenities.
South Texas: Renowned for its top-notch bow-hunting ranches. The expansive plains and warmer climate provide a unique backdrop, often leading to longer hunting seasons compared to other regions. South Texas has a unique ecosytem that allows you to not only trophy hunt Nilgai Bulls, or hunt the abundant Whitetail Deer population there is also a large amount of fishing spots if you so choose. Check out the All Seasons Guide Services to plan your trip for hunting, fishing or just a simple lodge.
East Texas: Venture into the Piney Woods for a distinct hunting experience. Dense forests and rich biodiversity mean a variety of game to target. Famous for their deer population you can always find accommodations to make your stay even more memorable. Try out Hawk Eye Hunting that offer guided hunts from Bird Hunting to Deer hunting, or even just book a vacation getaway on their luxury lodges.
OX Ranch: As an honorable mention be sure to check out Ox Ranch. With over 18,000 acres dedicated to fair chase hunting and numerous hunting blinds to choose from, OX Ranch is a haven for bowhunters. The ranch’s dedication to conservation also ensures sustainable hunting practices. OX Ranch includes everything from Buffalo and hog hunting all the way to Antelopes and many species of Whitetail and Exotic Deer hunting.
As you embark on your bowhunting journey in Texas, let the vast landscapes and rich heritage of the Lone Star State guide your adventure. Remember, every hunt tells a story; not just of the game pursued, but of the experiences, the learning, and the connection with nature. Armed with knowledge and passion, Texas awaits you. Until your arrows fly true, happy hunting!