Hunting in Texas: 3 Invasive Species and State’s Rules for Hunting Them

By Rhi Etzweiler   |  

When it comes to hunting in Texas, the state has more distinctive eco-regions than any other state in the continental U.S. With such a diverse spectrum of native species and ecosystems, managing invasive species can prove a challenge. Non-native animals thrive in environments that lack the checks and balances to maintain their population stability.

Without that natural balance of forces, native species can become at-risk as they are forced out of their habitat and restricted access to valuable resources. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department maintains and enforces strict policies about the transport and introduction of exotic species.

Here are some of the invasive species in Texas and the rules for hunting them:

1. Feral Hogs

The presence of this Eurasian species in North America dates back to the arrival of European settlers, who brought them as domesticated livestock. Since then, this hardy and adaptable species has spread throughout the continent. They are found in virtually every county across Texas, save in the Trans-Pecos and Panhandle regions where the dry desert ecosystem puts them at a distinct disadvantage.

Lack of natural predators combined with intentional releases has contributed to their population. They present a real threat to various interests within the agricultural industry through their foraging and feeding habits. While this is a nongame species and can be taken without limit all year long, sport hunters are required to possess valid licenses. There are also certain region-specific restrictions during potential big game season overlaps.

2. Feral Pigeons

Also known as the Rock Dove, this bird is sometimes called the rat of the bird kingdom because of its proliferation in cities and metropolitan areas. It congregates and thrives in close proximity to humans. This species found its way to North America with the help of the French in Nova Scotia back in the 1600s. As a nongame species, they can be hunted year-round without bag or possession limits.

3. European Starling

Transported to North America in the late 1800s, this bird species competes with at-risk native songbird species for limited resources such as prime nesting sites. When combined with the parasitic behavior of the native brown-headed cowbird, the effect is proving increasingly devastating. They tend to prefer urban areas over undisturbed prairieland or wilderness. TPWD regulations permit year round unlimited hunting of this nongame species.

This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.