Texas is best known for private ranch hunting, especially big game hunting.
There are many opportunities to hunt for deer, hogs, and other small game on a hundred plus accessible Wild Life Management Areas across Texas. Most of the big game Texas hunting opportunities are only accessible by winning a tag in the lottery systems. Every year starting in August, hunters can enter lotteries for specific hunts hoping to win a tag. There are about 100 lotteries scattered over the seasons and public land areas. Each hunt has a few hundred to a few thousand applicants competing in a draw for 20 or so tags. The odds are not in your favor. However, if you are lucky enough to land a tag, the success rate for harvesting a deer or other big game can be over fifty percent.
Texas Hunting on No-Draw Public Land
Not all Texas hunting is on private ranches and not all hunting tags are available through lotteries. Sam Houston National Park just outside of Houston is a large wilderness area open to deer and hog hunting. Just like in many states, you may purchase hunting licenses and public land hunting permits over the counter. These two permits are available to people living both in-state and out-of-state.
The three big areas in the state for hunting are Sam Houston National Park, Caddo National Grasslands, and the new Pipeline road near Waco.
The Caddo National Grasslands
The Caddo National Grasslands are a set of tracks of lands open for deer and hog hunting for bow and gun seasons. No doe permit is required for bow season, general gun season requires antlers permit by draw to take a doe. Texas Hunting and Public Land permit required.
The area is two sets of units that are located about twenty miles apart. Each section has about ten un-connected areas that average a few hundred archers each. It is a 17,873-acre, protected area, that was purchased in the 1930s. The units to the South are grasslands with small sections of woods. The Northern section is all tick woods.
Tick woods, as it sounds, are woods where wood ticks live in densely wooded areas and long grass, especially in areas where you run livestock. Ticks particularly like warm, humid conditions, so these ticks are usually dormant in cold winter months, breeding in springtime weather.
Waco Pipeline Road
New to the public Texas hunting lands options in the past two years is a 12,000 acres strip of land that has opened up east of Waco. You can hunt this area during rifle season and you do not need a special doe permit for gun season. The property has a nice mix of open spaces, woods, a few ponds, and creeks that are not too thick.
Applying for Draw Tags
You have to create an account with The Texas Wildlife and supply a credit card. After you have created your account, the cost is $3 to enter most hunts. If you win, then you have the right to purchase the tag and the cost is typically around $80. The deadlines start in August and for the most part, finish by the end of September. If you start applying each year, you will start to accumulate preference points and increase your chances of winning future lotteries.