Texas Hunting Options

Discussion in 'Hunting USA & Canada' started by Gater, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. Gater

    Gater AH Senior Member

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    Hey everyone,

    Having grown up in Kansas with my grandparents owning a farm and knowing multiple farmers who let us hunt all the time, I didn’t realize how good I had it. After grad school I moved to CA where I got really into predator hunting and I learned a lot about that type of hunting from friends and enjoyed the heck out of that. My profile pick is a dog we called and I shot with my 357!

    Since then, my job moved me to MI and then NJ where I was able to secure spots in both states to bow hunt for deer and that was awesome. 2 years ago, being sick of corporate relocations, I changed companies and now live on the north end of the DFW metro. I was super excited about the hunting opportunities I predicted would be available when getting to TX, plus just excited to be moving back to a “free state” again after having lived in CA and NJ (puke).

    To my surprise, after getting here, I’ve learned how difficult it can be to secure hunting property and that even for shooting hogs, can cost a fortune. I get it, Texans have turned hunting into big business and I can’t blame them for that! It seems most the land here is either leased or operated by an outfitter. I’ve been told the days of knocking on doors to get permission are pretty well behind us. Not sure if that’s true or not.

    My question is if anyone has any leads on decent lease ground within 2-5 hours of north DFW? Or better yet, know of someone who would just like some hogs taken out? We inherited part of my grandparents farm in KS, so I’ve got that for deer hunting and don’t necessarily need a place in TX to deer hunt, but that would be a bonus given that our KS farm is 8 hours away. Mainly, I’d just love to get out of the house and shoot some hogs, but hunting turkeys in the spring is also a favorite of mine.

    I’m likely not going to hunt this Fall/Winter due to a double cervical disc replacement surgery I’m having on Oct 7th, but I’m trying to get a jump on next year. I had a buddy who left a lease near Ranger, which is loaded with hogs, for one with better deer and we thought I’d be able to join that one, but the other members brought family in instead - again - can’t blame them!

    If anyone has any leads or contacts they’d be willing to share, I’d greatly appreciate it!

    Thanks!
     

  2. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    There is a lot more public land then one thinks in Texas too. The problem is that if you don’t know about it then it can be difficult to find out about. I can give you areas to look into up where I am at but that’s about 4-5 hours from you. Really, call the local game warden he/she can point you toward public hunting opportunities. I know there is some around some of the lakes and such but it’s been so long since I lived in the DFW area a lot is different now.
    Also dudes like @BWH may be able to point you in the direction of an affordable lease and such.
     
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  3. Gater

    Gater AH Senior Member

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    Thanks! I’ve looked at some of the public land maps, but really only for areas which allow coyote hunting and the options were pretty limited. I’ve also heard horror stories from my neighbors about public land within a reasonable drive from DFW being overcrowded to point of being almost dangerous. I’ll definitely look harder at public land, but there’s just something about being able to get set up on private land and having a secured spot that’s really nice.
     

  4. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    Yessir I understand. Also look at some of the drawn hunts. There are some really good hunts, not just the high ticket ones, offered. There is Aoudad, Nilgai, Pronghorn, Deer, hogs, and exotics. Draw odds are pretty good and a lot of places have standby spots every year. They are super cheap too and you get preference points if you don’t draw.
     
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  5. Gater

    Gater AH Senior Member

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    Are those draw only public land hunts?
     

  6. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    Yessir for the most part but...... they only allow x # of people on the land and you have assigned areas so your the only one hunting a very large area. The park rangers and such will assist you in recovering game, making sure people are where they are supposed to be etc.... for anyone willing to put the effort in during those hunts they are very high success rates. I have a lot of friends and clients that have drawn tags all over the state and everyone that I personally know that has done it has been successful.
    I’ve got a bunch of preference points for a Nilgai hunt and will almost certainly draw next time I put in for it. I didn’t this year because of my schedule and didn’t want to draw and not go.
     
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  7. Gater

    Gater AH Senior Member

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    I started looking into this today as someone else recommended that too. Question - am I missing something on the guided hunts? I see the application price, but there’s no other pricing listed and they say that guides, food and transportation are included. Is that stuff included for no extra charge? I know those tags are REALLY HARD to get, but even if it took a decade to get one, it’s a bargain.
     

  8. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    Yes those particular hunts are the “Big Time Texas” hunts and are all inclusive.
    There are a ton of regular draw hunts on SWA areas too that are better odds etc
     

  9. Gater

    Gater AH Senior Member

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    I was looking through those too. I’ll start putting in for pronghorn for sure! There’s a lot of different options.
     
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  10. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    Put in for the Aoudad hunts at Palo Duro and Caprock Canyons state parks. Draw odds are really good and success rates are very high if you put the work in. Matador WMA has great mule deer.
     
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  11. Gater

    Gater AH Senior Member

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    I will, thanks for the tips!
     
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  12. Gater

    Gater AH Senior Member

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    Looks like there’s still time to put in for mule deer, but in the slim chance I draw, I wouldn’t likely be recovered from my surgery well enough by then.
     

  13. Gater

    Gater AH Senior Member

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    One last question on those hunts - it's obviously best to apply for a bunch of them to increase your odds, but, if by chance you draw out on more than one, can you decline one of the hunts without repercussions?
     

  14. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    Yes you just loose your 5 dollar draw fee.
     

  15. buck wild

    buck wild SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    If you are waiting for the drawn hunts, your rifle might rust up. Since TPWD went to a "put in for an many as you want in each category" several years back, the odds of getting drawn have greatly diminished. I'm not even sure prefenece points do much any more as I have 13 points in the buck catagory ! There is like a $50 public permit license you can get that opens up some more "public access" but not sure about your area. There is a the LBJ Natl Grassland in your area that does some hunting. My place is a 6/7 hr drive from you, but I'd let you come shoot hogs some day. Best way I know of is to get embedded with the local hunting community and start networking.
     
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  16. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    I agree with some of the super hot ticket items but I know several people that draw something just about every year. The key is doing your home work. I’ve got a friend that drew Nilgai hunts 3 years in a row. In Caprock and Palo Duro there are stand by positions almost every year. It also depends on if one is stuck on drawing a buck hunt or not. The draw odds for some of the doe and pig hunts are super high. Same guy that drew the Nilgai Hunt last year drew 1 pig hunt and 2 doe hunts also. It’s a maze of research to figure out where to put in but it’s there and can bring a lot of success.
    I’ve got another buddy that’s drawn the Aoudad in Caprock Canyon twice and took 2 rams over 30”. It just all depends and it is a lot of work.
     
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  17. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    @Gater I think your plight is the same plight most east of the Mississippi river experience. Leases are stupid expensive, which is what finds us having these discussions. Africa or drawing tags in the Western states is the least expensive path.
     

  18. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Gater,
    I have lived in Dallas suburbs for 50 years and it took me a while to determine what worked best for me.
    So far Gizmo and rockhawk have given you good advice, so here are my two bits:

    Join either or both of the Dallas Woods and Waters Club and the Dallas Safari Club to make contacts and get to know folks and here they hunt.
    DWWC just wrapped up an opening day dove hunt out at the Rivers West Ranch on the clear fork of the Brazos - big lodge is too big for just one person, but with 20 folks, it was affordable and fun.
    Next week, a few of us are bound for Dalhart in the Panhandle for Pronghorn in an area where I have take a Texas record book buck; my first hunt there was with DWWC.

    Also, WRT leasing land for a family or group to hunt. I did that on a ranch down near Comanche for 18 years. It was a great place to camp, picnic and hunt with my family, but when my kids went to college, I bought my own few acres out east of Dallas and retired there. I grew tired of maintaining a lease and my acreage, and began to use guided hunts for nearly all hunting - birds and big game. Texas has a plethora of such places and shopping around some is fun! I am not an outfitter, but know some good ones.

    And there are the exotic ranches! An almost infinite selection of critters to hunt and remember that in Texas elk are exotics with no closed season! Cow elk taken on a day hunt ranch a couple years ago:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    And a DWWC friend with his big bull water buffalo taken near Hondo:
    [​IMG]

    And there is a neat place we go just north of the Red River to hunt feral boars with dogs! Great fun and they bring in the dead ones, clean them, cut them and drop into your cooler while you eat lunch!

    Welcome home!!
     

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  19. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Not sure what you mean by “as many as you want in each category.” The system will let you buy only one draw per category per year. And like you I have many preference points for sheep, pronghorn, oryx and some others. Maybe after another 13 years I might actually draw a hunt.
     
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  20. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Wes,
    I could have put you on a good Pronghorn hunt up in the NW corner of the TX Panhandle where I will be next weekend. An outfitter friend learned that my son and I had a misrepresented and lousy Pronghorn hunt in NM recently, so he found us one that must be good as he is riding up with us will also hunt.
    Of course, good outfitters can locate all types of hunts.
     
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