From the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
-- Sportsmen looking for an affordable family activity should consider Texas’ public hunting opportunities. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department will offer adult and youth only hunts by special drawing for a wide variety of species. Hunt schedules and applications are available upon request and online now.
Don’t miss out on a chance to take a kid hunting. During upcoming hunting seasons, almost 5,000 hunters will be selected through random computer drawings allowing access to some of the state’s high-quality managed wildlife habitat. Wildlife management areas, state parks and leased private property will be available for these quality supervised hunts for white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn, javelina, alligator, exotics, feral hog and spring turkey.
Through an application process, hunters can select from among 25 different hunt categories, including eight specifically for youth only, and choose a preferred hunt date and location from hunt areas stretching across the state. There’s even a provision for hunting buddies to apply as a group — in some cases up to four hunters can apply together on one application.
Eight free youth-only hunt categories are available to hunters who are between the ages of 8-16 at the time of application. All hunt positions are randomly selected in a computer drawing from all correctly completed entries received by the specified deadline.
In addition to exceptional hunting opportunities for big game, such as white-tailed deer and mule deer, TPWD’s special drawing hunts will offer some unique opportunities. A guided bighorn sheep hunt at a West Texas wildlife management area will again be offered this year depending on the availability of a bighorn sheep permit.
There are also some unique guided hunt opportunities on Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, including hunts for white-tailed deer, scimitar-horned oryx and gemsbok.
Hunters drawn in the special permit hunts are not required to use a tag off their hunting license on white-tailed or mule deer that are taken during the hunt. The hunters will be issued a free TPWD legal deer tag at the area when they bring their harvested animal to the check station. This will allow the public hunters additional opportunity to use their license tags.
To maintain current programs and services, public hunting permit fees have increased to $80 for the standard period drawn hunt permit fee, $130 for the extended period drawn hunt permit fee, and $20 for the Regular (daily) Permit fee. Non-refundable application fees for drawn hunt have not increased and remain $3-10 for each adult applicant 17 years of age or older. There are still no application fees or drawn hunt permit fees for youth age 8 to 16.
There are three new areas offering drawn public hunts this season: Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Lake Texana State Park and Stephen F. Austin State Park. In addition Pedernales Falls State Park and the Pedernales Falls State Park Annex will be offering public drawn hunts again.
Special Permit fees do not apply to drawn hunts for pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, guided hunts at Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, and drawn hunts on private land. Application fees for the Guided hunt packages and private land hunts cost $10 per adult applicant.
The application deadline for alligator hunts is Aug. 5. For pronghorn antelope hunts on private land or the Rita Blanca National Grasslands north of Dalhart, the deadline is Aug. 12. Bowhunters also have until Aug. 12 to apply for special drawn public archery hunts. Entries for the general (gun) season deer hunts must be received by Sept. 3. Deadline for the Guided Bighorn Sheep Hunt is Nov. 4.
Information and applications for Special Permit hunts are available on the Public Hunting Web site. Application booklets have been mailed to hunters who applied for special permit drawn hunts last year. The booklets are also available at TPWD law enforcement offices. Information about Special Permit drawn hunts can be found on-line or by calling toll free (800) 792-1112, or on the internet at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/public/