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Stay Informed: Latest Updates on Texas 2024 Hunting & Fishing Regulations

Thayne Muthler

Last week, the commission for Texas Parks and Wildlife gathered to discuss changes in the Hunting and Fishing Rules for the entire state. They reviewed eighteen proposed adjustments to hunting regulations, which was almost the most they have ever discussed at one time. All proposals were adopted.

Migratory Waterfowl changes are as follows:

The US Fish and Wildlife Service made the decision to end the Conservation Order on light geese from February 2022. They considered information about bird populations, habitat conditions, hunting pressure, and other important details discussed during a meeting in December 2020.

The daily bag limit for light geese has been reduced from ten to five, starting with this hunting season.

The hunting season for light geese in the Eastern Zone will be extended by nineteen days, now continuing until mid-February instead of ending on January 31st.

The rule for the possession limit of light geese has changed; previously, there was no fixed number, but now it is set at twice the daily bag limit across all areas.

There are also changes to the days for hunting Whitewing Doves, extending the second Dove Hunting season, changing the daily bag limit for Western Zone Greater White-fronted Geese to five, adding "Mexican ducks" to the daily limit across all areas, and updating the dates of bird seasons for improved wildlife management.

For Upland Game Bird, the modifications include mandatory reporting of harvest for all wild turkey seasons, ending spring turkey seasons in some regions across four counties in northeast Texas, ending all turkey seasons east of I-35 in Bell and Williamson counties and in Milam County; changing the names of turkey subspecies to "wild turkey", reducing seasons and bag limits west of the Pecos River and certain parts east of I-35 above highway I-10 to a spring-only season from April 1st until the 30th with a limit of one male bird per year.

Major changes to the game rules include shifting the hunting season for bighorn sheep to run from November 15th to September 30th, replacing "antelope" with "pronghorn", allowing young hunters on Managed Lands Deer (MLD) properties to hunt bucks using firearms in early youth seasons, expanding Doe Days across 43 areas within the Post Oak Savannah and Pineywoods regions, and extending autumn seasons meant only for young people so they can hunt whitetails, squirrels, and wild turkeys starting from Fridays.

The Conservation Order was implemented because there were too many snow geese, and their northern habitats were being destroyed. Wildlife biologists called for help, so many states put this order into action. The regulation did not set a limit on the number of animals hunters could take, it permitted the use of electronic devices for calling animals, and it allowed hunters to use shotguns without internal restrictions.

TPWD suggested extending the regular season by 19 days to make up for hunting opportunities missed because of Hurricane Harvey. After considering everything, the Commission decided to conclude the Conservation Order's action plan.

At the TPW Commission meeting in January, rules for speckled trout were decided upon. Now, anglers can only keep three trout that measure from 15 to 20 inches long statewide. However, there is a special rule allowing one larger trout to be kept if it measures more than 30 inches; however, these larger trout are not often caught. The regulation was put into effect from March 26th.

When the new license period begins on September 1st, anglers are allowed to retain up to three fish. But if they have a license tag and purchase extra bonus tags for $3 each, they can also catch and keep one trout that is 28 inches long.

For more on Texas Hunting & Fishing Regulations, See:

General Information

Hunter Education

Regulations

Game Regulations

Hunting Licenses

Hunting Seasons

Fishing Regulations:

Fishing Licenses

Creel Limits