As July deepens, the thoughts of many Texas outdoorsmen are beginning to turn towards fall and the hunting seasons that will follow its arrival.
First up is the September 1 start to dove season across much of the state, followed by early teal hunts, and early archery hunting for deer. After that, regular deer, waterfowl and quail hunting seasons will arrive as October, November and December show up on the calendar.
With that in mind, it’s time to note that the TPWD annual Drawn Hunts application period is now open for the 2019-20 hunting season with more than 9,000 hunting permits available in 51 hunt categories. Such hunts are available on wildlife management areas, other state lands, and federal property scattered around the Lone Star State.
Last year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says it received 162,000 applications for drawn hunts — the guess here is that similar numbers are likely to occur this year.
Interested hunters should note that the first application deadlines are coming up shortly — Aug. 1 is the deadline for the alligator hunt categories, pronghorn antelope, and the new private lands dove hunts. A couple of weeks later, Aug. 15 is the deadline for archery deer, exotic big game, and javelina.
According to TPWD, future application deadlines are always on the 1st and 15th of each month. Hunters can apply up to 11:59 p.m. Central Time on the application deadline, and after the application is submitted, they can check their drawing status online at any time. Drawn hunt entries cost anywhere from $0 to $10 with Youth Only category entries always being free.
According to the Austin-based agency, permits are open to Texas resident and non-resident hunters alike. The agency says that last year, about four percent of applicants were non-resident hunters.
In addition to the drawn hunts managed by TPWD, the agency says that its system also includes applications for hunts administered by other entities.
In 2019, TPWD says that includes almost 2,500 deer and exotic hunt positions on five U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges in Texas. It also includes some 1,300 antlerless deer permits for hunters on U.S. Forest Service properties in East Texas.
TPWD notes in a news release that this fall, the program’s highly-popular private lands dove hunt permit category will feature almost 195 hunt slots at six top-notch locations around the state. Such locations include dove hunting hotspots near Uvalde, south of San Antonio, and northwest of the DFW area.
Among changes to the Drawn Hunts program this year, TPWD notes that all hunts associated with the $48 Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit will not be available for application until Aug. 15, the date when APH Permits go on sale.
“Overall, our hunts will pretty much operate the same as last season,” said Kelly Edmiston, TPWD public hunting program coordinator, in the news release. “Youth applications will be still be limited to three per youth category while hunters applying for an USFS Antlerless Deer Permit will be limited to applying for one forest service unit and must have a purchased a 2019-20 Annual Public Hunting Permit beforehand.”
Hunters interested in this year’s TPWD Drawn Hunts program can go to tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public/public_hunt_drawing to learn more about the hunt categories, category deadlines, costs, and to browse to see what hunts are available this year. Interested persons may also call TPWD toll-free in Austin at 1-800-792-1112.
Hunters may also contact the agency by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 512-389-4505 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.