Means and Methods
NEW LAW: Silencers may be used to take any wildlife resource; however, all federal, state and local laws continue to apply.
Game animals and game birds may be hunted with any legal firearm, EXCEPT:
- white-tailed deer, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope may NOT be hunted with rimfire ammunition of any caliber.
- shotguns are the only legal firearm that may be used to hunt Eastern turkey during the spring Eastern turkey season (see County Listing). Rifles and handguns may not be used to hunt Eastern turkey.
- pellet guns and other air guns are NOT LEGAL.
- fully automatic firearms are NOT LEGAL.
- a shotgun is the only legal firearm for hunting migratory game birds (see Definitions - Legal Shotgun).
Nongame Animals (Non-Protected): Any lawful firearm, pellet gun, or other air gun is legal.
Magazine Capacity (number of shells/cartridges allowed): There are no restrictions on the number of shells or cartridges a legal firearm may hold when hunting game animals or game birds (except migratory game birds, see Legal Shotgun).
Muzzleloader: Any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle. Note: A cap and ball firearm in which the powder and ball are loaded into a cylinder is not a muzzleloader. Muzzleloader deer seasons are restricted to muzzleloading firearms only.
Possession of firearms by felons: A convicted felon, regardless of where the conviction occurred, may not possess or use a firearm (as defined by Penal Code, §46.01) to hunt in this state. Under Penal Code, §46.01, a muzzleloading firearm is lawful if it is an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899 or a replica of an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899 that does not use rimfire or centerfire ammunition.
Archery and Crossbows
(see Artificial light in Restricted Methods section)
Only the archery and crossbow equipment prescribed in this section may be used for taking game animals or game birds. Archery and crossbow equipment may not be used to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader-Only Deer Season. It is unlawful to be in possession of a firearm while hunting with a broadhead HUNTING point during the Archery-Only season, except a person licensed to carry a concealed handgun in Texas may carry a concealed handgun. NOTE: A firearm may be possessed in camp, in a motor vehicle, or while hunting lawful game other than whitetail or mule deer and turkey (e.g., exotics, feral hogs, squirrels).
Nongame Animals: Archery and crossbows are lawful for non-protected nongame animals.
Longbows, compound bows, or recurved bows:
- there is no minimum draw requirement.
- devices that allow a bow to be locked at full or partial draw are lawful during any season when lawful archery equipment may be used.
- IMPORTANT NOTICE: Crossbows are lawful for any person during the Archery-Only Open Season in all counties except Collin, Dallas, Grayson and Rockwall counties, where no person may use a crossbow to hunt deer during the Archery-Only Open Season unless the person has an upper-limb disability and has in immediate possession a physician's statement that certifies the extent of the disability. An upper-limb disability is a permanent loss of the use of fingers, hand, or arm in a manner that renders the person incapable of using a longbow, compound bow, or recurved bow.
- Any person, regardless of physical ability, may use a crossbow to hunt game animals or game birds in any county, including Collin, Dallas, Grayson and Rockwall counties, during a general open season or Eastern spring turkey season.
- An archery stamp endorsement is required to hunt deer during the Archery-Only Open Season. An archery stamp endorsement is required to hunt deer at any time in Collin, Dallas, Grayson and Rockwall counties, including during the general open season.
- A crossbow is lawful for game animals and game birds, provided:
- the crossbow has a minimum pull of 125 pounds;
- the crossbow has a mechanical safety; and
- the crossbow stock is not less than 25 inches in length.
- Telescopic sights are lawful.
Projectiles (Arrows and Crossbow Bolts):
- While hunting game animals and game birds, a projectile may not be poisoned, drugged, or explosive.
- When used to hunt turkey and all game animals other than squirrels, a projectile must be equipped with a broadhead hunting point that is at least 7/8-inch in width (upon impact) and has a minimum of two cutting edges. A mechanical broadhead must begin to open upon impact and, when open, must be a minimum of 7/8-inch in width.
- An archer may have arrows/bolts with field, target, or judo points in the quiver with the broadhead hunting points.
For information on permitting or hunting regulations for falconry, call (800) 792-1112 (menu 7) or (512) 389-4481.
- It is unlawful for any person, while hunting or engaging in recreational shooting, to knowingly discharge a firearm in such a fashion as to cause a projectile to cross a property line, unless the person owns the property on both sides of the property line or has obtained written permission from the owner of any land crossed by the projectile.
- Remote-controlled Hunting: A person may not engage in computer-assisted remote hunting of any animal or bird or provide or operate facilities for computer-assisted remote hunting if the animal or bird being hunted is located in Texas.
- Artificial light of any form that casts or reflects a beam of light onto or otherwise illuminates a game animal or bird may not be used as an aid to hunt, except battery-powered scoping devices that project a light or dot only inside the scope; pin sight lights on archery equipment; or laser sighting devices used by legally blind hunters, or hunters who have a documented permanent physical disability that prevents them from using traditional firearm sighting devices.
- Legal blindness is: no more than 20/200 of visual acuity in the better eye with correcting lenses or visual acuity greater than 20/200, but with a limitation in the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees. Blind hunters must be assisted by a licensed hunter at least 13 years of age who is not legally blind. Blind hunters must possess a physician's signed statement attesting to legal blindness.
- A person who uses a laser sighting device because of a permanent physical disability that prevents them from using a traditional firearm sighting device must have in possession a signed statement from a physician or optometrist certifying that the person is incapable of using a traditional firearm sighting device and be accompanied by a person who is not physically disabled or legally blind, has a hunting license, and is at least 13 years of age.
- Hunter education requirements apply to legally blind hunters, hunters with a documented permanent physical disability, and persons assisting blind or disabled hunters.
- Non-protected nongame animals and fur-bearing animals may be hunted at night with the aid of an artificial light on private property. If hunting at night, please make a courtesy telephone call to your local game warden.
- Traps may not be used to hunt game birds or game animals.
- Dogs may not be used to hunt deer in this state.
- A person is prohibited from using a dog to hunt or pursue deer in this state. A person who violates this law is subject to a fine of $500-$4,000 and/or a year in jail. Additionally, a person's hunting and fishing licenses may be revoked or suspended. In addition, no person may possess a shotgun and buckshot or slugs while in the field with dogs on another person's land during an open deer season in Angelina, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler, and Walker counties.
- It is unlawful to use dogs to trail a wounded deer in the counties listed above.
- Not more than two dogs may be used to trail a wounded deer in counties not listed above. A "wounded deer" is a deer leaving a blood trail.
- Pheasant may not be hunted by means of a cable, chain, or rope connected to or between a moving object or objects.
- Aircraft may not be used to hunt any animal or bird unless authorized by the department.
- See County Listings for additional regulations.
- Animals and game birds not classified as migratory may be hunted from a motor vehicle, powerboat, sailboat, or from any other floating device within the boundaries of private property or upon private water. Migratory game birds under certain circumstances may be hunted from a boat on public water. See the migratory game bird section for the exceptions (Lawful Hunting Means and Methods).
- Calling devices (including manual and mouth-operated), recordings, and electrically amplified calls may be used to hunt game animals and game birds, except electronic calls may not be used to hunt migratory game birds, unless allowed by special regulation.
- Decoys may be used to hunt game animals and game birds, except that no person may use live decoys when hunting migratory birds.
- Baiting for game animals, nongame animals, and game birds is lawful on private property, except for turkey in certain East Texas counties and migratory game birds statewide.
- Trapping may be used for nongame/exotic animals (e.g., feral hogs, rabbits, etc.) on private property.
- Dogs may be used to aid in the hunting of any game bird.