Nine Bar Ranch Blog

What to Hunt in Texas in Early Spring

what to hunt in texas in early spring

​In our great Lone Star State, we enjoy excellent hunting all year round. Depending on the county where you’re hunting, the hunting season, and rules governing that specific year, your hunting options will vary. With that in mind, let’s talk about what to hunt in Texas in early spring. Bow hunters, crossbow hunters, and rifle hunters be sure to share your favorite early spring game in the comments.

Which Game Animals Come into Season in Early Spring in 2022?

Rio Grande Turkey

North Zone: April 2 – May 15

South Zone: March 19 – May 1

Special Limit Season (1 turkey): April 1 – 30

Youth Hunters:

March 26 – 27

May 21 – 22

Eastern Turkey

April 22 – May 14

Turkey hunting in Texas has an annual bag limit, which applies in and across all counties: (4) turkeys are permitted per hunter, with no more than (1) of which shall be an Eastern turkey.

Exotic Game Animals

Texas imposes no limits on the hunting season for non-native exotic animals, nor do they impose any state bag limits, possession limits, or closed seasons on exotic wild game. At Nine Bar Ranch, we know our hunters want to know what to hunt in Texas in early spring. You may enjoy hunting year-round on species that include, but are not limited to:

Aoudad

The aoudad, or Barbary sheep, stands from 2.5 to 3.6 feet tall at the shoulder, and weighs 66 to 320 pounds. Their immense horns curve out, back, then inward, and can be over 3 feet long. Their horns are mostly smooth, though small ripples appear at the base as the sheep ages.

Axis

The axis, or chital deer, stands from 23 to 35 inches high at the shoulder. Males are much larger than females. Males have antlers that are three-pronged and nearly 40 inches long.

Blackbuck Antelope

The blackbuck is a strikingly-colored antelope native to Nepal and India. In addition to bright white chins and eye areas, males sport bright white underbellies and inner legs. In contrast, their backs and the outside of their legs are deep brown to black. They stand from 29 to 33 inches high at the shoulder. Males weigh up to 125 pounds, with an average of 85 pounds.

Fallow 

Fallow deer stand 33 to 37 inches at the shoulder and weigh 130 to 220 pounds. Fawns are born in the spring, making this season a great opportunity to see fawns sprinting around the ranch.

Sika

Sika deer are widespread in Japan. The stags have thick, high antlers which are usually forked. Antlers of this species range from 11 to more than 30 inches.

Red Deer

The red deer is one of the world’s largest deer species, standing 37 to 51 inches high at the shoulder. Their size, widespread range, and ability to adapt to many climates make them favorites of hunters throughout the world.

Scimitar Horned Oryx

The scimitar oryx is a majestic animal that is extinct in the world, but thrives in human-provided habitats. Scimitar horned oryx stand 39 inches at the shoulder. Their smooth, swooping horns are prized by hunters.

How to Extend Texas Hunting Through Winter

texas hunting through winter

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.

Northern Javelina

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 Hog

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

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.

Non-game Species

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:

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

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!