AUSTIN – Hunters looking for a new opportunity or simply a change of scenery this fall are urged to check out the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s drawn hunt permits program. Applications are being accepted now for a shot at more than 9,000 permits in 51 hunt categories.
The permits are for drawn hunts on both public and private lands throughout Texas. Among the offerings available through the online system are hunts for white-tailed and mule deer, pronghorn, turkey, alligator, exotic gemsbok, and scimitar-horned oryx.
In addition to drawn hunts managed by TPWD, the system includes applications for hunts administered by other entities, including almost 2,500 deer and exotic hunt positions on five U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges in Texas and 1,300 antlerless deer permits for U.S. Forest Service properties in East Texas.
The program’s highly-popular private lands dove hunt permit category will feature almost 195 hunt slots at six prime locations around the state, including dove rich Uvalde, south of San Antonio near Pleasanton, north of Dallas/Ft. Worth in Young County, and Ellis counties. These permits are for dedicated hunt positions with quality dove hunting outfitters. Application fee is $10 with no additional hunt permit fees for this category.
Among the program changes this year, all drawn hunts associated with the $48 Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit will not be available for application until Aug. 15, when APH Permits go on sale. Applicants for e-Postcard hunts and USFS Antlerless Deer Permits must have a current APH to apply. This change is intended bring the postcard hunts back to the way they functioned before the draw system went on-line.
“Overall, our hunts will pretty much operate the same as last season,” said Kelly Edmiston, TPWD public hunting program coordinator. “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.”
Drawn hunt opportunities can be viewed online by category or by area via an interactive map and all applications, fee payments and permit issuance is handled electronically. To participate, applicants will need internet access, an email address and a credit or debit card. The Customer ID number from the applicant’s hunting or fishing license is one of the easy ways to access the system.
Last year, the department received 162,000 applications for drawn hunts.
The first application deadlines are in August. Aug. 1 is the deadline for the alligator hunt categories, pronghorn, and the new private lands dove hunts, and Aug. 15 is the deadline for archery deer, exotic, and javelina. Application deadlines are on the 1st and 15th of each month. A full list of category deadlines can be found online. 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.
The Drawn Hunts program offers affordable hunting experiences throughout the state, including several Youth-Only hunt categories. Application fees are $3 or $10 depending on the hunt category. Adult hunters that are selected may also need to pay a Special Permit fee of $80 for regular hunts and $130 for extended hunts. Some categories, such as the Youth-Only hunts, require no application fees or permit fees. Permits are open to resident and non-resident hunters alike. Last year, about 4 percent of applicants were non-resident.
For more information or to get started in the application process visit the TPWD drawn hunts webpage. For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (512) 389-4505 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In addition to signing up for public drawn hunts, hunters can also enter to win any of 10 exciting premium guided hunt packages in the Big Time Texas Hunts drawing. All lodging and food is included and most of the packages allow winners to bring friends along to hunt. There are packages to hunt bighorn sheep, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, alligator, waterfowl, upland game birds, wild hog and exotics. Big Time Texas Hunts entries are available online for $9 each at www.tpwd.texas.gov/buyentry or for $10 each at license retailers or by phone at (800) 895-4248. Big Time Texas Hunts raises over $600,000 each year for wildlife research, habitat conservation efforts, and public hunting programs in Texas.