Autumn is long gone, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up hunting until spring. In Texas, we have plenty of hunting opportunities year-round. Today, we’re sharing our tips on how to extend Texas hunting through winter, so round up your gear, call a buddy, and get back to the hobby you love best!
Focus on Small Game
Rather than searching for bucks and does, winter is the ideal time to hunt small game. Rabbits and hares may be hunted at any time on private property. They are delicious when properly prepared, and their small size and rapid movements make them excellent opportunities to practice your marksmanship.
In Texas’s northern hunting zones, javelina may be hunted from October 1 – February 27. Though they look like pigs, javelina are peccaries. Despite being nocturnal during the hotter months, in the winter, they’re most active in the early morning and late afternoon. When you’re looking for javelina, keep your eye out for the cacti, mesquite, and fruit they adore.
Javelina have poor eyesight, so they’re most likely to respond to any noise you generate. While javelina are rarely dangerous to humans, they can be deadly to dogs, so we do not recommend bringing your canine companion on the hunt as you track javelina.
Wild hogs are famously a nuisance in our state, making them a great opportunity to re-purpose your deer gear. Be prepared to battle these tough, fearsome creatures! Their thick hide, dense bones, and heavy musculature make both the hunting and dressing of hogs a labor-intensive endeavor.
Light and Dark Geese
In Texas, geese can be hunted from November through March, depending on the zone. Geese are delicious, of course, and make for an enjoyable hunting experience.
Chachalacas can be hunted from October 30 – February 27. They are traditionally enjoyed in soup. Their size, similar to that of the pheasant, makes them perfect for these smaller dishes.
In Texas, non-game species may be hunted on private property. There are no closed seasons, bag limits, or possession limits for non-game species, including, but not limited to:
Refine Your Tracking Skills
Tracking is a highly useful hunting skill that you can practice during the winter, and then use year-round. Work on identifying animal tracks, scat, and indications of animal dens, warrens, and nests. Even if you’re not actively hunting a species, you can benefit from tracking animals until you’re within hunting range.
Identify New Hunting Grounds
Through tracking game and networking with other hunters, you can begin planning to visit new hunting grounds during your next season. Scout ideal entry and exit paths that will take you close to hunting hot spots.
If you plan to ask to hunt on private property, consider offering labor in exchange for access. The landowners may need assistance with chopping firewood, removing trees, removing snow, repairing fence lines, and doing general yard maintenance. Bartering in this way is a great way to secure access rights ahead of other hunters.
As you can see, hunting during the winter can be just as much fun as during any other time of year. Don’t sit out this month and wait for the next season—enjoy Texas hunting through winter and keep your skills sharp!