By Kyle Thigpen
Kyle Thigpen is a Private Lands Leasing Biologist for Texas Parks & Wildlife
THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT ISSUES ANNUAL HUNTING PERMITS TO HUNT ON PUBLIC LANDS
Although Texas is more than 95% privately owned, the opportunities to hunt on public lands are numerous. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proudly offers the option to participate in a variety of inexpensive, family oriented hunting opportunities on over 1 million acres, throughout the state.
In addition to the more than 50 Wildlife Management Areas operated by TPWD, public access for hunting is also allowed on over 70 State or Federal governmental agency lands. Furthermore, TPWD annually leases approximately 180 public hunting areas from private landowners. On the majority of these leased private lands, dove hunting is a primary focus, and placed at a premium are properties that provide easy access and prime habitat, including agricultural fields and native pastures with stock tanks.
Access to these properties is gained through the purchase of an Annual Public Hunting Permit. A $48 fee for the APH not only allows hunters access to these great dove fields in the fall, but it also provides nearly year-round hunting for a multitude of wildlife species. A Public Hunting Lands Map Booklet which outlines the rules, regulations, and locations of these properties is provided with the purchase of the APH. Additionally, an interactive map can be found online which allows hunters to browse the hunting areas and overlay different base maps like satellite, terrain or topography maps.
The APH (not required for youth hunters 17 years of age and younger) also provides permit holders the bonus opportunity to apply for “E-Postcard” hunts. These E-Postcard hunts, with applications submitted online, are held on TPWD and specially leased private properties. They allow a limited number of participants special access to hunts for dove, waterfowl, deer, exotics and small game. There are no application hunt fees for these selection hunts, and youth must have an accompanying adult APH holder to apply.
The Public Hunt Drawing system is another route for hunters to gain entry to great hunting properties. The draw system allows hunters to apply for several supervised, limited access, premium quality day dove hunts located near the San Antonio & DFW metro areas. Valued at over $100 each, these hunts are administered by reputable outfitters on private lands. These hunts are drawn in August and occur in September. The application fee for these drawn hunts is $10 per adult, with no permit fee.
Valid hunting licenses and any required stamp endorsements are required to participate in these hunts. For these public hunting opportunities and more, please visit https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public/.