Nongame Species Regulations

Hunting License Requirement

  • A hunting license is required for the take of nongame species.
  • There are no closed seasons, bag limits, or possession limits for nongame species.
  • Nongame species can be hunted at any time by any lawful means or methods on private property.
  • Note that there may be additional restrictions for certain nongame species, including possession limits.

Nongame Animals

Nongame animals include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Armadillos
  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes
  • Flying squirrels
  • Frogs
  • Ground squirrels
  • Mountain lions
  • Porcupines
  • Prairie dogs
  • Rabbits and Hares
  • Turtles (freshwater)

Unlawful Activities for Take, Possession, or Sale of Nongame Wildlife

It is unlawful to:

  • Take any nongame species for commercial purposes (sale, offer for sale, barter, or exchange) from public lands or waters.
  • Possess armadillos for sale.
  • Purchase, sell, trade, transport, or ship out-of-state bobcat pelts without the appropriate pelt tag (CITES) attached.
  • Transport or sell live coyotes, as they are currently under a statewide rabies quarantine.
  • Possess a diamondback terrapin at any time.
  • Hunt (capture, trap, take, collect, or kill) any wild animal or wild bird on a public road or the right-of-way of public roads, except that a person may capture indigenous reptiles and amphibians (for recreational purposes only) on the shoulder or unpaved right-of-way of a public roadway, provided the person possesses a valid Reptile and Amphibian Endorsement, employ non-lethal means only to capture the reptiles or amphibians, do not possess a trap, and is visibly wearing at least 144 square inches of reflective material, both front and back.
  • Collect from the wild, sell, offer for sale, or exchange certain species of nongame wildlife (including rattlesnakes and other reptiles or amphibians) without a proper nongame permit from TPWD and meeting all reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
  • Take or possess any freshwater turtles taken from the wild for commercial purposes.
  • Possess more than 6 individuals of any species of freshwater turtle from the wild.
  • Sell rattlesnakes at a roundup without a nongame permit/license to do so.

Endangered, Threatened, and Other Protected Animals

Endangered and Threatened Species

  • Animal or plant species of conservation concern may be listed as threatened or endangered under state law or the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).
  • It is unlawful to hunt threatened or endangered nongame species.
  • Proper documentation must accompany goods made from threatened or endangered species.
  • See a list of threatened and endangered species in Texas for reference.

Protected Birds

  • All indigenous birds, including raptors and songbirds, are protected by various state and federal laws.
  • They may not be killed, taken from the nest, picked up, or possessed for any reason.
  • The possession or sale of their feathers is also prohibited, except for the unprotected birds listed in the Non-Protected and/or Exotic Species section.
  • A federal depredation permit may be issued for individuals with evidence of protected wildlife causing damage to commercial agricultural, horticultural, or aquacultural interests, or presenting a threat to public safety.


  • Bats may not be hunted, killed, possessed, purchased, or sold.
  • Exceptions include situations where bats are inside or on a building occupied by people.
  • Transportation of bats for laboratory testing is allowed if there is a rabies or white-nosed syndrome (WNS) concern.
  • Excluding bats from buildings is discouraged from May 1 to August 15 when young bats are unable to fly and may be entrapped.
  • Suspected WNS cases should be reported to TPWD by email.

Black Bears

  • Black bears are listed as a state-threatened species by TPWD.
  • They are protected and cannot be hunted or killed.
  • Sightings or mortalities of black bears should be reported to (512) 389-4505.

"Canned Hunts" (Dangerous Wild Animals)

  • No person may kill or attempt to injure a dangerous wild animal held in captivity in Texas or released from captivity to be killed.
  • Conducting, promoting, advertising, or assisting in the hunting of dangerous wild animals is prohibited.

Non-Protected and/or Exotic Species on Private Property

  • There are no required means and methods of take, state bag or possession limits, or closed seasons (hunting hours) on exotic animals, exotic fowl, or other species not covered in previous sections.
  • Hunting License required for exotic animals and fowl.

Unlawful Activities for Exotic Species

It is unlawful to:

  • Hunt an exotic without a valid hunting license (Class C misdemeanor).
  • Hunt an exotic on a public road or right-of-way (Class A misdemeanor).
  • Hunt an exotic without the landowner's permission (Class A misdemeanor).
  • Possess an exotic or the carcass of an exotic without the owner's consent (Class A misdemeanor).

Feral Hogs and Coyotes

  • Hunter Education requirements apply.
  • No hunting license is required to hunt feral hogs on private property with landowner authorization.
  • No hunting license is required to hunt depredating coyotes on private property with landowner authorization.
  • Transportation and release of live feral hogs is unlawful, unless in compliance with Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) regulations. TAHC regulates feral swine movement for disease-control purposes.

Mountain Lions

  • Mountain lions are classified as nongame animals.
  • They are not protected and can be harvested at any time.
  • Sightings, harvests, or mortalities of mountain lions should be reported to (512) 389-4505.

Unprotected Birds

  • Birds not protected by state or federal law include European starlings, English sparrows (house sparrow), feral rock doves (common pigeon), Egyptian geese, Muscovy ducks (except in Hidalgo, Starr, and Zapata counties), and Eurasian collared-doves.
  • These species may be killed at any time, their nests or eggs destroyed, and their feathers possessed.
  • A hunting license is required for hunting these unprotected birds.

Nongame Collection Permits

Resident Nongame Collection Permit

  • Eligibility: Texas resident
  • Item: 548
  • Fee: $19
  • Availability: Buy online

Non-resident Nongame Collection Permit

  • Eligibility: Non-resident
  • Item: 550
  • Fee: $63
  • Availability: Buy online

Controlled Exotic Snake Permits

Recreational Controlled Exotic Snake Permit

  • Eligibility: Texas resident and non-resident
  • Item: 580
  • Fee: $20
  • Availability: Buy online

Commercial Controlled Exotic Snake Permit

  • Eligibility: Texas resident and non-resident
  • Item: 581
  • Fee: $60
  • Availability: Buy online
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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.