From the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
-- Nearly half of the sites in the Texas State Parks system will conduct public hunts during the 2009-2010 hunting season. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved scheduled hunts on 44 state park units at its May 28 public hearing.
Most of the state parks approved for public hunting will be offered through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s computer drawings for a variety of game and hunting options, including new youth opportunities. Selected hunting opportunities on state parks comprise 1,676 hunt positions, including 253 for youth, out of nearly 5,000 total positions available in this year’s special drawings for hunts on public lands in Texas.
Three new park units are included in this year’s offerings: Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Lake Texana State Park and Stephen F. Austin State Park. Three other units are returning to the hunt schedule, including: Pedernales Falls State Park, Pedernales Falls SP Annex and Mother Neff State Park. A complete summary of approved state park hunts, including hunt type and date, is available on the TPWD website.
Other state parks where public hunts will take place are: Atlanta; Big Bend Ranch; Brazos Bend; Caprock Canyons; Choke Canyon — North Shore Unit; Colorado Bend; Cooper Lake — South Sulphur Unit; Copper Breaks; Davis Mountains; Devil’s River; Devil’s Sinkhole; Enchanted Rock; Fairfield Lake; Fort Boggy; Garner; Guadalupe River; Guadalupe River Bauer Unit; Hill Country; Honey Creek; Huntsville; Inks Lake/Longhorn Caverns; Kickapoo Caverns; Lake Bob Sandlin; Lake Brownwood; Lake Mineral Wells; Lake Somerville Birch Creek and Nails Creek; Lake Whitney; Lost Maples; Martin Dies Jr., Possum Kingdom; Purtis Creek; Resaca de la Palma; San Angelo; Sea Rim; Seminole Canyon; South Llano and Tony Houseman.
To minimize conflict between park user groups, public hunts are offered during off-peak visitation periods, typically on weekdays in the winter months. A number of youth hunts are scheduled during school holidays. During these events, signs are posted at parks alerting visitors that a hunt is in progress. The public is urged to contact the park or check the hunting calendar posted online before heading out during hunting season.
Applications for special drawing hunts to be conducted on state parks, wildlife management areas and other TPWD-managed properties during the 2009-2010 season will be available in early July from TPWD headquarters and field offices, and posted on the TPWD Web site. Each hunt’s application fee ranges from $3 to $10 for adults and is free to youth, who must be accompanied by an adult hunter.
Deadlines to apply for TPWD public hunts are as follows:
Alligator, Youth Only Alligator — Aug. 5
Prong-horned Antelope — Aug. 12
Archery Deer, Archery Mule Deer, and Archery Exotic — Aug. 12
Private Lands Management Either Sex, Private Lands Antlerless/Spike- Aug. 12
Gun Deer (Either-Sex, Antlerless/Spike, Youth Only Either Sex, Youth Only Antlerless/Spike, Management Buck, and Youth Only Management), and Mule Deer — Sept. 3
Javelina, Youth Only Javelina and Guided Deer Hunt Packages — Oct. 6
Guided Gemsbok Hunt Packages and Exotic Only — Oct. 6
Guided Bighorn Sheep Hunt — Nov. 4
Feral Hog, Youth Only Exotic and Youth Only Feral Hog — Nov. 4
Youth Only Spring Turkey, Spring Turkey, Guided Scimitar-Horned Oryx Hunt Package- Nov. 4
Many parks will also provide hunting opportunities as part of the department’s Annual Public Hunting Permit program, which offers purchasers of the $48 permit hunting access to more than one million acres throughout the state.
Among the hunting opportunities available to permit holders are leased small game-hunting units, primarily for dove. Many of these hunting sites are leased from private landowners within close proximity to major urban areas. The permit also provides access to hunting for other species, including deer, feral hogs, waterfowl and small game.
The $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit is available for the 2009-2010 seasons on Aug. 15. Permits can be purchased wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold. Map booklets detailing public hunting units can be viewed on the department’s website beginning Aug. 15.
Drawn hunt information can also be found on the department’s website. Drawn Hunt booklets and web information will be available late June. For public hunting information or to request a free Drawn Hunt booklet, please call Wildlife Information at (800) 792-1112, option 5, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.