Statewide NewsFrom Whitetail Deer to Sandhill Crane, Fall Hunting Season Opens in Texas

With hunting season open across the State of Texas, here are a few of the highlights hunters need to know.
November 7, 2022
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The hunting industry in Texas not only plays a substantial role in the state’s economy, but proceeds from hunting have translated into millions invested into crucial wildlife conservation efforts across the state.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), hunters do more to aid the state’s wildlife than any other group; the industry has generated over $5.5 billion in conservation funding in under 60 years and paid an estimated $372 million a year for conservation efforts.

Some of the revenue derived from sales taxes and hunting-related fees go towards wildlife research and conservation, establishing management areas, hunter education programs, and restocking and restoration of fish, deer, turkey, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep populations.

Last week,  TPWD announced the graduation of the 1.5 millionth student from the agency’s hunter education program.

With some of the most important hunting seasons of the year either open or opening soon, below are a few details hunters need to know.

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Whitetail Deer Season

General season for whitetail deer opened November 5 and runs through January 1, 2023. 

A preview released by TPWD detailing what hunters might expect this season states that with dry conditions across the state, hunters should expect to see deer close to feeders and sources of food.

“A number of hunters and landowners report seeing lots of deer, especially younger deer,” said Alan Cain, White-Tailed Deer Program Leader for TPWD. “Part of that is a result of good fawn crops the last couple of years so there’s more bucks in those younger age classes relative to bucks in that four- to six-year-old range. As we move into November and closer to the rut, those older bucks should increase movement activities in search of does, hopefully presenting an opportunity for a lucky hunter.”

More details about specific county regulations and special seasons can be found on the TPWD website or in the Outdoor Annual. 

Quail, Pheasant, and Turkey Seasons

A favorite for bird hunters, quail season opened across Texas on October 29. According to TPWD,  bird populations will vary in different regions across the state.

“The lone bright spot again this year was the South Texas Plains, the only bobwhite region in the state to see an increase in recorded abundance,” said John McLaughlin, Upland Game Bird Program Leader for TPWD. “With a grain of salt, the number of bobwhites observed per route was up from 3.1 to 5.3, but still below the 15-year mean of 9.0. These numbers will provide some comfort to Texas hunters, but the statewide outlook, including the Rolling Plains, again points to tough sledding in 2022.”

The season continues now through February 26, 2023.

Pheasant season is rapidly approaching, with 37 counties across the state holding a general fall season from December 3 and through January 2023.

For turkey hunters looking to bag Thanksgiving dinner, a fall season has just opened  on November 5 for 177 of the state’s 254 counties.

Regulations vary per county, and both the spring and fall seasons have regions that correspond with season dates.

Sandhill Crane

Commonly referred to as the “ribeye of the sky,” sandhill cranes are a rewarding challenge for bird hunters. 

192 counties across the state will feature a fall season this year, with Texas being divided into three regions that each have distinct season dates.

The season for zone A, which includes most of the panhandle and West Texas, opened on October 29 and runs through January 29, 2023. Zone B, which is a large portion of central Texas, has a season opening on November 25 and runs until January 29. Lastly, the season for Zone C, which includes a south coastal region of Texas, opens on December 17 and runs until January 23, 2023.

TPWD is also reminding hunters not to confuse the popular game bird with the endangered “whooping crane” that is illegal to hunt.

Dove season, which opened in most counties on September 1, is still open in most parts of the state. Details about when the season ends in each zone can be found on the TPWD website.

Additionally, TPWD released a few new regulations and features earlier this year that hunters should brush up on before heading out to the field. 

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Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy in West Texas. He graduated summa cum laude from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and is presently finishing a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.

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