It’s that time of year again: the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is now accepting applications through the Texas Public Hunt system for the 2020-2021 season. This year, the state is offering over 9,000 permits on nearly 100 different hunting areas in Texas to hunt a variety of different big game, exotic, small game, upland bird, and waterfowl species.

In particular, the Texas Public Hunt System is offering permits to hunt alligator, axis deer, aoudad, sambar deer, Corsican sheep, Catalina goat, gemsbok, scimitar-horned oryx, feral hogs, whitetail deer, mule deer, javelina, pronghorn, turkey, bighorn sheep, dove, quail, squirrel, rabbits, waterfowl, and pheasant this year.

These hunts take place literally all over the state from the Rio Grande Valley, to the Trans-Pecos, to the Texas Panhandle, to the Hill Country, to the Piney Woods of East Texas, and all along the Gulf Coast. Among other hunting areas, people can apply for the chance to hunt on recent additions to the list of available properties like the Powderhorn Ranch on the Gulf Coast near Victoria, the Roger Fawcett WMA east of Fort Worth, and the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge north of Dallas.

These hunts are also extremely reasonably priced, especially when compared to the cost of drawn hunts in other states. Depending on the exact hunting category, application fees for adults aged 17 or older are either $3 or $10. If drawn for a hunt, permit fees for adults are either $80 or $130 for the regular drawn hunts.

However, certain hunts do not have any permit fees for adults and there are no application or permit fees for all youth-only hunts. To top it off, while some hunts just offer the successful applicant the opportunity to access a certain area to hunt, other hunts are fully guided and even include food and lodging.

While the situation with COVID-19 is constantly changing and there are still some temporary closures and adjustments to TPWD operations, the state is planning on conducting these hunts as scheduled. Indeed, Gov. Greg Abbott even specifically listed hunting and fishing as “essential daily activities” in his March 31 executive order directing people to minimize nonessential gatherings.

So, while nothing in life is guaranteed, the fact that hunting takes places outdoors and in socially distanced situations makes most of these drawn hunts more resistant to COVID-19-related disruptions than many other activities. All things considered, these hunts are fantastic opportunities to enjoy some time outdoors this fall and winter.

Application deadlines vary, but the first deadline is Aug. 1, 2020 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.

Visit the Texas drawn hunts webpage to browse full catalog of available hunts for the 2020-221 hunting season, to view permit application statistics and success rates from previous years, or to actually apply for a hunt. TPWD only accepts hunt applications submitted online.