The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) recently began accepting applications through its Public Hunt drawing system for the 2019-20 season.

Completely separate from the Big Time Texas Hunts that hunters may also apply for, the hunts offered through the Texas Public Hunt System are great opportunities for sportsmen and women to hunt big game, small game, waterfowl, and upland bird species at over 70 different hunt areas in Texas.

Specifically, the Texas Public Hunt System offers permits to hunt alligator, whitetail deer, mule deer, feral hogs, javelina, pronghorn, turkey, bighorn sheep, aoudad, gemsbok, scimitar-horned oryx, axis deer, sambar deer, quail, squirrel, waterfowl, and pheasant.

Just like the types of game offered on these hunts, the locations the drawn hunts take place at are extremely varied ranging from wetlands on the Gulf Coast, to the piney woods of East Texas, to the mountains of West Texas. Additionally, some hunts are fully guided (to include food and lodging) while others merely offer the successful applicant the opportunity to access a certain area to hunt.

Application and permit fees also vary as well. Depending on the specific hunting category, application fees for adults are either $3 or $10 and permit fees are either $80 or $130 for the regular drawn hunts. However, youth-only hunts (under 17 years old) do not have any application or permit fees.

Likewise, there are no permit or application fees for E-Postcard Hunts and U.S. Forest Service antlerless deer hunts. However, applicants for those categories must purchase an Annual Public Hunting Permit for $48 to apply (more details on the Annual Public Hunting Permits here).

Last year was the first year TPWD allowed hunts on the Powderhorn Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Those hunts for axis, sambar, and whitetail deer last year were extremely successful and the state is expanding the hunting opportunities for that WMA for 2019-220. Additionally, TPWD is adding some new muzzleloader and upland game hunts for the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge this year.

Application deadlines vary, but the first deadline is Aug. 1, 2019, for the alligator, alligator management, private lands dove, private lands pronghorn, pronghorn, and youth-only alligator categories. Deadlines for the other categories occur on Aug. 15, Sept. 1, Sept. 15, Oct. 1, and Oct. 15. For details on all the hunt application deadlines, visit this webpage.

TPWD typically holds drawings the next business day after each deadline. After applying for a hunt, you can check the status of your application through the Texas Public Hunt System web site. Selected applicants will be notified via email.

Visit the drawn hunts webpage to browse the full catalog of available hunts for the 2019-20 hunting season; to view permit application statistics and success rates from previous years; or to actually apply for a hunt. TWPD only accepts hunt applications submitted online.

Good luck!