While exclusive whitetail deer hunters may feel that their year’s hunting is coming to a close, there are other deer seasons for which to prepare until next fall and no shortage of other game hunting opportunities in the meantime.
The general season for whitetail, Nov. 2, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014, as well as archery-only season, Sept. 28-Nov. 1, 2013, has come to a close, but the special late general season, which began on Jan. 6, extends through today in the local area, covering Bell, Coryell, and Lampasas counties, among others.
This late season, though, includes only antlerless and spike buck whitetail deer.
Texas is also home to a wide variety of birds and fowls, and the state offers hunters a number of seasons for many of these species.
The hunting seasons for several species of birds have been designated for a universal, statewide duration.
Among these species and their statewide seasons are teal, hunted last Sept. 14-29, 2013; rails, gallinules, and moorhens, Sep. 14-29, 2013 and Nov. 2-Dec. 25, 2013 in the regular season and through falconry Jan. 27-Feb. 10, 2014; quail, Oct. 26, 2013-Feb. 23, 2014; Wilson’s snipe, Nov. 2, 2013-Feb. 16, 2014; and woodcock, Dec. 18, 2013-Jan. 31, 2014 in the regular season and through falconry Jan. 27-Feb. 10, 2014.
Three dove seasons are designated for the local area, including two regular seasons, Sept. 1-Oct. 23, 2013 and Dec. 20, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014, as well as a statewide falconry season last Nov. 9-Dec.15, 2013.
There are seven designated area goose seasons including Canada geese, Sept. 14-29, 2013 and Nov. 2, 2013-Jan. 26, 2014 for Bell County; light and dark geese, Nov. 2, 2013-Feb. 2, 2014 for the area; light geese, Nov. 2, 2013-Jan. 26, 2014 for Bell County; light geese (Conservation Order), Feb. 3-Mar. 23, 2014 for the area and Jan. 27-Mar. 23, 2014 for Bell County; and white-fronted geese, Nov. 2, 2013-Jan. 12, 2014 for Bell County.
Six duck seasons are offered in the area, including a youth-only season, Oct. 19-20, 2013; regular season, Nov. 2-Dec. 8, 2013 and Dec. 21, 2013-Jan. 26, 2014; falconry, Jan. 27-Feb. 10, 2014; and “Dusky” duck, Nov. 7-Dec. 8, 2013 and Dec. 21, 2013-Jan. 26, 2014.
Seven area turkey seasons are offered throughout the year. These seasons include archery only, Sept. 28-Nov. 1, 2013; youth-only, Oct. 26-27, 2013, Jan. 18-19, 2014, Mar. 22-23, 2014, and May 17-18, 2014; fall season, Nov. 2, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014; and spring season, Mar. 29-May 11, 2014.
Finally, the area’s designated sandhill crane season is Nov. 22, 2013-Feb. 2, 2014.
Rabbits and hares have no closed season, on a statewide basis, and in the local area there is no closed season or bag limit for squirrel.
While the hunting seasons’ information provided here is only a partial list, it outlines the most commonly hunted species in central Texas, along with their respective season durations.
Official state information about hunting season periods for the fall and winter of 2014 is not yet available, but they will most likely mirror or closely resemble those for 2013.
For more information about legal hunting seasons throughout the state, resources are available to the public, such as Texas Parks and Wildlife’s widely available Outdoor Annual or their website, www.tpwd.state.tx.us.
Here’s to another safe and rewarding year of hunting in 2014.
Shawn Paul is an avid hunter who lives in Hamilton. Check out his blog at kdhnews.com.