If you are an avid hunter, you are probably already aware of the fantastic hunting opportunities and the wide diversity of species available to hunt in the State of Texas. Species such as whitetail deer, coyotes, javelina, turkeys and doves are abundant and feral hogs run rampant in various parts of the state. But it may astound and surprise you to learn of the wide array of species to hunt that you probably didn’t even know existed in Texas. Some of these exotic species are imports and even more amazing is that statistics indicate that the population levels of these imports are higher in Texas than in their own native lands!
Six Amazing Species That You Can Hunt in Texas
1. Alligator – The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) often referred to as a “gator” or “common gator” is native to the United States, and inhabits freshwater wetlands, such as marshes and cypress swamps from Texas to North Carolina. Texas has a large population of these prehistoric monsters and the males can range in size from 11 to 15 ft. in length, and can weigh up to 1000 lbs. In Texas, designated areas are open for hunting in the month of September, while in other areas a full season runs from the beginning of April through to the end of June.
2. Exotics – Texas has over 80 species of exotic deer, goats, sheep and antelope along with many others. Some of the most popular include several species of deer namely axis, sika and fallow deer along with aoudad sheep, and blackbuck and milgai antelope. Exotic species such as these are native to Asia and Africa and primarily available to hunt in Texas on private ranches. In many cases, exotic populations in North America are higher in number than those in their native regions.
3. Mountain Lion – Mountain Lion (Puma Concolor) are also called cougars, panthers, pumas, painters and catamounts. Despite their large populations mountain lions are elusive and difficult to hunt. They are most commonly hunted by deer hunters as a secondary species to hunting deer and it’s usually a case of the mountain lion being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mountain lions can be harvested at any time as they do not have a regulated season.
4. Elk – Elk (Cervus Canadensis) historical evidence suggests that long ago, elk populated many areas of Texas. By the late 1800’s, elk were only to be found in the Guadalupe Mountains of far west Texas. Currently, elk are considered to be an exotic species that are free ranging and exist over a large portion of West Texas and on high fence ranches throughout the state.
5. Mule Deer – Texas has a population of approximately 4 million white-tailed deer. Few hunters realize that Texas is also home to 250,000 mule deer. Two areas of Texas, called the Trans-Pecos and Panhandle/High Plains region provide an ideal habitat for Mule deer and mule deer subspecies such as desert mule deer.
6. Pronghorn – Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) is a species of antelope that is quick footed and can run at speeds of up to 44 miles per hour. They can be found in abundance in the Panhandle and the surrounding areas.
Many of the species available for hunting in Texas are very closely managed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Texas Parks & Wildlife is an excellent resource to help you plan and research a hunt and keep you in compliance with State issued hunting regulations and the required hunting permits. Texas Heritage Protection hopes to educate fellow Texans in how to preserve and conserve our great State and the invaluable resources found here.