2009-05-28 / General Stories

The Public Hunting Land Option

With increasing costs of the Texas hunting lease, rising gas costs, expanding urban sprawl, land fragmentation, and the demographic changes in the population from rural to urban, hunting opportunities seem to be on the decline. However, many hunters are unaware of other opportunities that exist to hunt on public lands.

Texas offers over 1 million acres of land available for hunting a variety of game species from dove to deer.

In a continuing effort to provide additional public hunting opportunity on land under its control, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) offers a variety of access permits. Each type of permit is tailored to address specific preferences of sportsmen while assuring proper management of the wildlife resources.

The Department's drawings for hunts by Special Permit will continue generally in the traditional mode employed since 1954. Changes in the program including new application cards, minimum age for applying, species available for hunting, and regulations have been made over the years.

Special permit recipients are selected by drawing. There is a limit on the number of hunters participating in drawn hunts.

Hunters may apply in the computer drawing each year for only one the areas listed in each hunt category. Each adult applicant 17 years of age or older is charged an application fee of $3 per card/application except for the Private Lands Hunts and Guided Hunt Packages that have a $10 application fee.

Successful adult applicants are charged a permit fee. There are no application of permit fees charged for youth participants, ages 8 through 16, for any of the hunts.

On Youth Only hunts, the application fee and the permit fee are waived for both the non-hunting adult supervisor and the youth hunter.

Each hunting season, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department publishes Special Drawing and Regular Permit Hunting Opportunities. If you wish to have a copy mailed to you, please call 1-800-792-1112 to receive an application booklet through the mail. The booklet contains charts, a calendar, descriptions of areas open to Public Hunting through the Public Hunt Drawing System and other information regarding hunting permits.

A $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH) provides access to over one million acres of public hunting lands located throughout the state at designated times for various types of hunting and other outdoor recreational activity. The APH permit allows you to choose from multiple areas to hunt for a variety of legal species. You can select the time and place to hunt and you can utilize the areas as many times as you want. A few areas require an additional drawing for hunting position. Hunts available under the APH Permit include migratory birds, quail, turkey, deer, feral hog, and other small game. Legal game and hunting methods vary on different units.

You may hunt the species and employ any means or methods as indicated by the legal game box for a specific unit. Upon purchasing the APH permit, a booklet of maps will be mailed to you and will indicate areas available for hunting. You may view these areas prior to purchase by visiting the Texas Parks and Wildlife homepage.

If you would like to contact your local biologist, see our website at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/ wildlifebiologist.

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