PDA

View Full Version : Texas Hunting Advice


JagFarlane
June 17, 2009, 08:09 PM
So, it looks like next year I'll be heading down to College Station, TX to attend Texas A&M.
As such, I'm curious about the hunting around the area. I've only had the opportunity to go whitetail hunting in New Jersey, and seeing the abundance of game in Texas, well lets just say I'm a bit excited. :D
Would like to get into whitetail down there, hog, antelope, muley, turkey, maybe javelina. Also interested in waterfowl, and maybe some small game. What can I say? Hunting brings back quite a few good memories of my childhood, and even though my dad and I never got anything in NJ [he admitted later he would purposely miss so he wouldn't have to deal with my mom upset over a dead deer], I am looking forwards to the opportunity.
So, I'm wondering if there are some good sites you all would recommend, perhaps good areas to lean towards, maybe some camo patterns that work well down there, and perhaps some firearm recommendations? As far as firearms go, I have a .270Win so pretty sure that should cover the large game down there, but there's always small game, etc.

Doodlebugger45
June 18, 2009, 01:28 AM
I used to live in TX and I still do some jobs down there on occasion. There are lots of really good things to say about the state and the hunting. Unfortunately, there are some bad things as well. The biggest problem for hunting is that there is virtually no public land. For most of the game you mentioned, you can hunt a lot but it comes at a price. A pretty steep price if you ask me. Landowners collect a pretty steep price to hunt deer. The price varies by area so I won't quote any prices. Bird hunting is a lot cheaper than deer though.

If you're looking for a cheap hunt though, just start asking some friendly ranchers about shooting some hogs. If you ask around a bit, you'll find one that will let you kill as many as you want for free. Those things are like coyotes are around here. They are just pests and they are out of control.

There are always exceptions to anything though. Texans are great people mostly. Get to know some locals real good. Chances are you'll be able to find someone who knows someone or who has a great uncle with a ranch... etc... so there's always a chance you might be able to go deer hunting for cheap.

JohnKSa
June 18, 2009, 01:56 AM
I started poking around on the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and while there are large portions of the state with virtually no public land, that's not true everywhere. I drive past one public tract on the way to work and there's another one that's not more than 10 miles out of my way.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/public/

While there are no public lands in Brazos County, there are some in a couple of the adjacent counties.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_0112a_eastern_region_map.pdf

Here's the information for Robertson County.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_0112a_607.pdf

Here's the information for Leon County. Mostly postcard hunts--you'll have to read up on what that means--I haven't gotten that far into it yet.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_0112a_726.pdf

JagFarlane
June 18, 2009, 04:49 AM
Hmmmm interesting reads and very interesting to find out about the lack of public land. Honestly thats a huge reverse of NJ. Where I grew up, I could walk from my house into public land, and Dads and my favorite hunting spot was a 15min drive into the woods.
Have an acquaintance down near College Station, will have to ask him if he knows some ranchers who wouldn't mind a little pest control.
Much appreciated for the links and heads up on availability of land.

paknheat
June 18, 2009, 03:36 PM
Most large property owners won't mind tooo much if you tell them you are there help eliminate the wild hogs . Alot of rancher types hate them because of the damage they do to their fields.

JagFarlane
June 18, 2009, 08:44 PM
Still find it interesting at the lack of public land.

John thanks for the links. Apparently a postcard hunt, is a WMA where you submit a postcard with yours and up to 3 other peoples names. From there they draw names to give permission on particular dates to hunt the land.

fisherman66
June 19, 2009, 04:24 PM
Most of them Aggies hunt domesticated animals, but that's a nuther story. College Station is a wonderful place to be if you like hunting or beer drinkin', just don't mix the two. Residents get a great deal on the annual public land access. Be sure to find out the requirements to be considered a resident.

publius
June 19, 2009, 07:02 PM
No antelope, mule deer or javelina around college station. Might be some turkey, not sure. Make friends on campus. Not sure if you are going to try to join a fraternity but if you do i'm sure several of them will have hunting land nearby. Go talk to some landowners, go to the co-op and ask them if they know of any farmers that would let you shoot pigs. It shouldn't take long to find one that will be glad for you to slaughter the pigs. Become friends and take care of his property, volunteer to help him do some bush hogging etc. With some luck he'll like you and let you hunt deer and small game. Your .270 is fine for deer and pigs. Get a 12 gauge and a .22 rifle for small game.

Art Eatman
June 20, 2009, 11:19 AM
For 49 states, the federal govenment unilaterally claimed ownership and then doled out portions to private interests. That land which was not doled out is now "public land".

Texas was a sovereign nation, a Republic. It joined the Union, but retained ownership of all its lands--most of which, over time, entered private ownership. (We also own the bed of the Gulf of Mexico to the three-league limit, not the three-mile limit. A league is 3.4 miles. We get a lot of oil and gas royalty from that.)

Finding a place to hunt takes leg work. Shmoozing at gun stores and at feed/seed stores is helpful. Reading all the TP&WD info also helps.

JagFarlane
June 20, 2009, 01:21 PM
No antelope, mule deer or javelina around college station. Might be some turkey, not sure. Make friends on campus. Not sure if you are going to try to join a fraternity but if you do i'm sure several of them will have hunting land nearby. Go talk to some landowners, go to the co-op and ask them if they know of any farmers that would let you shoot pigs. It shouldn't take long to find one that will be glad for you to slaughter the pigs. Become friends and take care of his property, volunteer to help him do some bush hogging etc. With some luck he'll like you and let you hunt deer and small game. Your .270 is fine for deer and pigs. Get a 12 gauge and a .22 rifle for small game.

Thank you for the advice :) and for the heads up on what species are in the area. Might join a fraternity, not too sure. By the time I start classes, I'll be about 7 years older than the average senior, lol my partying days are well past me.

For 49 states, the federal govenment unilaterally claimed ownership and then doled out portions to private interests. That land which was not doled out is now "public land".

Texas was a sovereign nation, a Republic. It joined the Union, but retained ownership of all its lands--most of which, over time, entered private ownership. (We also own the bed of the Gulf of Mexico to the three-league limit, not the three-mile limit. A league is 3.4 miles. We get a lot of oil and gas royalty from that.)

Finding a place to hunt takes leg work. Shmoozing at gun stores and at feed/seed stores is helpful. Reading all the TP&WD info also helps.

Interesting history, and that does explain a lot. Grew up in NJ, where for the past decade or so there has been an intense amount of work at the state buying back land and allowing it to become public forests and what not.
I do recall a little of the history, of how Texas was its own nation for a bit, and they did acquire a nice bit of extras for becoming a state.

And once again, the advice is muchly appreciated. Hoping to call Texas my home for at least a couple of years and very much looking forwards to the adventure of living there.

Art Eatman
June 20, 2009, 08:24 PM
A&M is a helluva good school, although as a Teasipper from Austin, I've been known to tell an Aggie joke or two.

There was the Aggie coyote--who chewed off three paws and was still caught in the trap...

Then there was the Aggie who majored in Animal Husbandry--until they caught him at it, one day...

Enuf...

kyle1974
June 20, 2009, 10:06 PM
hunting within about 1-2 hours of collega station isn't all that great.... HIGHLY hit or miss.

east texas is full of poachers, and jackass locals that think they own the very, very limited public hunting areas. As a new resident...I would advise you to steer clear of the public hunting areas until you hook up with someone that knows the areas very well....

You can find a cheap lease in the area that will certainly have hogs within an hour or so... by cheap, I mean less than $1000 a year, usually for full year access.

for antelope, javelinas, turkey, and good deer hunting, you will need to head about 4-6 hours west. antelope.. probably further than that.

I've been hunting in east texas for about 4 years now, and I got lucky and had a great lease, with a great landowner... it was sold last week, so I'm on the look again.

another word of caution... get ready to see some insane lease prices. I have friends that are paying over 10,000 per person down in south texas.

dwwhite
June 20, 2009, 10:39 PM
Congrats on getting in to A&M. On a side note, what do you plan on majoring in? Depending on which college you are entering, you may not have any trouble at all, the Colleges of Agriculture and Engineering tend to have a lot of outdoors types (at least this was my experience)

As others have stated, your best bet is to make friends on campus, as this will likely afford you hunting opportunities around the state. During my time there, I was able to hunt all over central and west Texas, and took several of my buddies home with me to hunt on our place.

You'll find the frat scene a little lacking, as A&M was until relatively recently (well, the 1960's) an all male military school, but there are an incredible number of student organizations on campus, including student chapters of Texas Trophy Hunters and Ducks Unlimited, as well as a rifle team and a shotgun club, both of which are highly competitive on a national level. Joining any of these clubs will result in lots of valuable contacts, especially as related to hunting opportunities.

Don't forget though, that a lot of the fall is taken up with Yell Practice on friday nights, football on saturdays, with dominoes, beer and dancing starting no later than thursday night and lasting until at least sunday afternoon.

edited to add...

By the way, your .270 ought to be plenty for any animal you'll encounter in this part of the world. Even our "world famous armour plated wild feral russian boar mutant hog crosses" are not really as tough as some would have you believe. Though it might be a little much if you get a chance to hunt jackrabbits or cottontails.

JagFarlane
June 21, 2009, 09:38 AM
kyle - much appreciated on the heads up in regards to some of the locals and the poachers...and more importantly the prices of leases. Don't think I'd be able to afford those for now.

DW - Majoring in nuclear engineering. Not officially accepted, however I've been in contact with the Dept Head [really nice guy btw], who has offered and is taking over as my adviser during this year of community college. But my acceptance is fairly well ensured, as long as I do well in community college [need 3.0's to transfer], due to my previous job, which was a reactor operator for the Navy.
Thank you very much for the input on student life in the area. I have been slowly trying to learn about that, and the heads up on the clubs is welcome news.

kyle1974
June 21, 2009, 12:07 PM
hey Jag... I went to Texas for mechanical and geology, but my brother in law jsut graduated in petroleum from A&M. the nuclear engineering program was by far the smallest class there. Should be a good chance to get in. Good luck to you.

James R. Burke
June 21, 2009, 12:36 PM
I was stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas. There is alot of game there to hunt, but like the pervious post said most of it is private. I got lucky at Ft. Hood they had places you could hunt at. Deer season they would bring you out to a set up blind with a bag lunch, and pick you up at the end of the day. It was great. I also was lucky to meet someone who owned alittle land there. It was not much but it gave me something to go to. It can be hard finding a spot, and it can cost alot. I would first try to meet someone who can give you some ideas, and start asking land owners. Maybe you could do something for them to let you hunt there land etc. Or try to find someone who does not charge a arm and a leg. Good luck, and hope it works out for you.

JagFarlane
June 21, 2009, 02:58 PM
Kyle, yup I know. There are only 21 schools in the nation that offer nuclear engineering, graduating about 400 students a year combined. A&M has the largest department among that group, about 230 students freshman through senior at any one time.

dwwhite
June 21, 2009, 07:59 PM
Jag,

Another thing that I've thought of, you might make some contacts at a couple of the local gun stores, i.e. introduce yourself to the help, explain your situation, and they may have some contacts for you as well.

My suggestions would be Sullivan's Outfitters in Bryan (more of an archery shop, but it's worth a shot) and Burdett and Sons, in College Station, across from campus.

Good luck with the nuke program. I went through the Civil engineering program there and had a great time. My wife was an animal science major and just graduated from the Vet school in May.

Major Dave (retired)
June 21, 2009, 11:23 PM
"63 is almost half a century ago, but I'm sure some things never change.

While cruising country roads with several WM majors, not far from the campus @ A&M one night, the farmer who owned the (deer infested) land ran us off the road into the bar ditch because he thought we were jack lighting his deer. The truth is we were shining a spotlight out across the terrain from our car, looking for ponds where we could collect herptile specimens ( frog, toads, etc) which were very loudly mating. That is, each species has a distinctive mating call, and we would spotlight an area where we heard thousands of the little critters sounding off. We were looking for the pond or swampy area where thet were breeding, so we could get out of the car and go capture some specimens for the collection the professor required as part of our course credits.

Durn fool farmer leveled down on us with a double barrel shotgun, claiming he was a "deputy assistant game warden" and finally left us alone after searching our car and finding a couple of dozen Mason quart jars filled with frogs and toads - but no guns.

Texas license year starts Sept 1st, and you can buy a Public Hunting Lands permit (AKA Type II Permit), which includes lots of East Texas properties. East Texas also contains 4 National Forests, which require only a state hunting license.

Private land hunting is by lease (paying the land owner a fee). Most of that hunting is done by sitting in a box stand near a corn kernell loaded feeder. One Texan wrote in to the mailbox of a national hunting magazine and bragged that the only thing he needed to know about deer hunting in Texas was how to open 50 pound bags of corn! But on the public lands, feeders are not allowed.

So, public land hunters in Texas must be able to determine natural food sources/sites, and bedding areas, and identify game trails connecting same. Tree stands (climbers, and ladders) are then positioned accordingly, and the fun begins.

Good luck, and "Gig'em"

Tex S
June 21, 2009, 11:51 PM
You wont have a problem finding hunting buddies in College Station. Trust me.

Some of those kids have family that own HUGE ranches.

JagFarlane
June 22, 2009, 07:38 PM
Major Dave,

Reminds me of a SAR mission I went on. Long story short, we were in a field early morning when the unmistake sound of a pump shotgun chambering a shell came from behind us. Thank God we were in uniform.

I've looked into the recommended clubs, the DU club is still active, but the trophy hunters club is currently suspended due to not getting their information in on time. Will have to see where that goes.

Once again, thanks to all who have provided information here, it was all helpful.