Of the 254 counties that make up Texas, 177 have a turkey season. Furthermore, the dates of the hunting season vary based on county. Thus it is important to know the different turkey season dates by county and texas turkey hunting regulations.
Equally important are the rules and regulations regarding taking wild turkeys in different counties. The laws are developed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Here is an overview of the laws relating to turkey hunting you need to be aware of.
Texas Turkey Hunting Regulations: A Brief Overview
Acquiring A License
In Texas, you need a hunting license to hunt any wild animal that is legal to hunt in the state. The permit remains valid from September 1 to August 31 of the following year. In addition to a hunting license, you also need an upland game bird stamp endorsement for hunting wild turkeys.
Licenses are available for both residents and non-residents. Non-resident hunters who acquire a spring turkey license are exempt from the stamp endorsement. Licenses are also available for seniors and young hunters below 17 years.
Permitted Equipment For Turkey Hunting
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website, only pre-charged pneumatic arrow guns or pre-charged pneumatic rifles can be used to hunt turkey. However, Eastern turkey is exempt from this law.
For the spring eastern turkey season, only shotguns can be used. There are no restrictions on the number of shells or cartridges a legal shotgun should hold when hunting a turkey.
For PCP rifles, only rifles that fire at least .30 caliber rounds of at least 150 grains in weight are allowed, those kinds of PCP air rifles can be found for under $1000. The minimum permitted muzzle velocity for this rifle is 800 FPS. You can also use any combination of bullet weight and muzzle velocity that produces at least 215-foot pounds of energy.
PCP arrow guns are not allowed during the archery season. Compound bows, crossbows, longbows, and recurve bows are all legal for the archery season. There is no minimum draw weight requirement for longbows, compound bows, and recurve bows.
Poisoned, drugged, and explosive arrowheads or projectiles are not allowed. There are no requirements for arrow length or material. However, the arrows used for hunting turkey must have a broadhead.
Using artificial light and traps is also prohibited when hunting wild animals and wild birds, turkeys included.
Wild Turkey Bag Limit
There is a general bag limit of four turkeys per hunter per year. However, for Eastern turkeys, the bag limit is 1 Eastern turkey. This applies to all counties. Thus the bag limit is four turkeys, and only one can be an Eastern Turkey.
Rules on Tagging
Regarding tagging, a tag from your hunting license should be correctly and legibly completed and attached to your kill. Also, you need to indicate the month and date of the kill clearly.
Specific turkey tag types also need to be used on different turkey species. So, where should you attach the tag? Ideally, the tag can be attached anywhere on the turkey’s body but must be somewhere it cannot be lost, damaged, or defaced when transporting the animal.
The tag should remain on the turkey’s body until you get to your final destination and process it. In seasons where only gobblers or gobblers and bearded hens can be harvested proof of sex should remain with the turkey attached or unattached.
The proof of sex should remain with the body until it reaches the residence of the processor. When tagging, you kill; using someone else’s tag is unlawful. In the same light, allowing another hunter to use your tag is illegal.
You cannot use your license tag more than once or on more than one turkey. Furthermore, you cannot use a tag designated for other animals on a turkey. For instance, you cannot use a mule deer tag on wild turkey.
Some counties have special regulations regarding the taking of wild turkey. For starters, during the spring eastern turkey season, only archery equipment and shotguns can be used in some East Texas counties.
Also, the use of bait is not allowed. Additionally, all turkeys must be reported within 24 hours of the kill. The reporting of eastern turkey harvests can be done either via a mobile app or online. Harvest reporting applies to Eastern turkey harvests in some South-central counties.
In the western counties that fall under the on-gobbler zone, only one turkey may be harvested yearly. Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Matagorda, Milam, and Wharton are these counties.
When Does The Turkey Season Start
The turkey hunting season period varies based on counties. Generally, the counties can be classified into North and South Zone counties.
The South Turkey Season Dates
In the southern counties, the fall turkey season starts on November 6 and ends on January 16. The fall season is followed up by the spring turkey season, which runs from March 19 to May 1. A youth-only season also starts on January 17 and ends on January 30.
Northern Counties Season Dates
For the northern counties, the fall turkey season starts on November 6 and ends on January 2. The spring Rio Grande turkey season begins on April 2 and ends on May 15. On the other hand, the youth hunting season starts on January 3 and ends on January 16.
Other Turkey Season Dates
In Brooks, Kenedy, Kleber, and Willacy counties, the fall season starts on November 6 and ends on February 27. A special Rio Grande 1 turkey bag limit season runs from April 1 to April 30.
The one-limit special turkey season is only in Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Milam, Wharton, and Matagorda counties.
For Eastern Turkeys, the season starts on April 22 and ends on May 14. The Eastern turkey hunting season happens in Bowie, Cass, Fannin, Grayson, Jasper, Lamar, Marion, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Red River, and Sabine counties.
There is also an archery season in all counties with a fall season. This season runs from October 2 to November 5.
Can you hunt turkey over bait in Texas?
No, you cannot, turkey hunting over bait is not a legal activity in Texas.
What do you need to turkey hunt in Texas?
To turkey hunt in Texas, you will need a texas turkey hunting license and appropiate equipment which are permitted to hunt turkey.
Is It Legal To Shoot A Turkey In A Tree?
No, the shooting of a turkey in a tree is illegal in Texas as like most other states.
Can you carry a pistol while hunting in Texas?
According to Concealed Handgun laws of Texas, you can only carry a pistol for personal defense, not for hunting.
About The Author:
Lake Streeter, A Gun enthusiast, and loves to hunt in the middle of the wood. Always check the latest hunting gears out in the market and try to share his honest opinion with the audience in OUTDOOR EVER.