Nongame, Exotic, Endangered, Threatened & Protected Species

Nongame, Exotic, Endangered, Threatened & Protected Species

Valid Sep. 1, 2017 through Aug. 31, 2018.

Nongame Animals

Includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Armadillos
  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes
  • Flying squirrels
  • Frogs
  • Ground squirrels
  • Mountain lions
  • Porcupines
  • Prairie dogs
  • Rabbits
  • Turtles
  • Does not include feral hog (see Exotic Animals and Fowl).
  • No closed season. These animals may be hunted at any time by any lawful means or methods on private property. Public hunting lands may have restrictions. A hunting license is required.
  • ARMADILLOS: Possession and sale of live armadillos is unlawful.
  • BOBCAT pelts sold, purchased, traded, transported or shipped out of state must have a pelt tag (CITES) attached. A pelt tag must be attached prior to being transported or shipped out of this state. Pelt tags may be obtained from any permitted bobcat pelt dealer, or TPWD Regional & Field Law Enforcement Offices. For additional information contact TPWD (800) 792-1112, menu 7, option 9 or (512) 389-4481.
  • Live COYOTES are currently under a statewide rabies quarantine that prohibits them from being transported or sold in Texas (see exceptions). For information on the rabies quarantine, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services Infectious Disease Control Unit Web site.
  • No person may possess a diamondback terrapin at any time.
  • No person may hunt (capture, trap, take, or kill) any wild animal or wild bird on a public road or the right-of-way of a public road, except that a person may capture indigenous reptiles and amphibians on the shoulder or unpaved right-of-way of a public roadway, provided that:
    • the person possesses a valid Reptile and Amphibian Stamp,
    • the person employs non-lethal means only to capture the reptiles or amphibians,
    • the person does not possess a trap, and
    • the person is visibly wearing at least 144 square inches of reflective material, both front and back.
  • No person may use artificial light from a motor vehicle to locate, capture, or attempt to capture a reptile or amphibian.

Possession and Sale of Certain Nongame Wildlife

  • The take of any nongame species for commercial purposes (sale, offer for sale, barter, or exchange) from public lands or waters is unlawful.
  • Provided the appropriate permit has been obtained, red-eared slider, common snapping turtle, and softshell turtle may be taken from private water for commercial purposes; however, the take or possession of any other species of turtle for commercial activity is unlawful.
  • Many species of nongame wildlife may be sold, offered for sale, bartered, or exchanged, provided the proper nongame permit has been obtained from TPWD and all reporting and recordkeeping requirements are met; however, the collection from the wild, sale, offer for sale, or exchange of certain species of nongame wildlife is unlawful.
  • A landowner or landowner’s agent may kill any nongame wildlife other than protected birds and threatened or endangered species (see below) at any time in any number, provided the wildlife is not taken into possession or used in a commercial activity.

For more information on nongame regulations, permit requirements, and lists of lawful and prohibited species, contact TPWD at (800) 792-1112, menu 7 or (512) 389-4481 or go to Nongame Permits.

Exotic Animals and Fowl

An exotic animal is any animal that is not indigenous to Texas, including but not limited to feral hog, Russian boar, aoudad sheep, axis deer, elk, sika deer, fallow deer, red deer, and blackbuck and nilgai antelope. An exotic fowl is any avian species that is not indigenous to this state, including ratites (emu, ostrich, rhea, cassowary, etc.).

There are no state bag or possession limits or closed seasons on exotic animals or fowl on private property. It is against the law to:

  • Hunt an exotic without a valid hunting license.
  • Hunt an exotic on a public road or right-of-way.
  • Hunt an exotic without the landowner’s permission.
  • Possess an exotic or the carcass of an exotic without the owner’s consent.


Penalty: A person who violates these laws commits an offense. Hunting exotic wildlife without a license is a Class C misdemeanor ($25-$500 fine). The remaining listed offenses are Class A misdemeanors ($500-$4,000 and/or up to one year in jail).

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) regulates the movement of feral swine for disease-control purposes. For more information please call TAHC at (800) 550-8242 or visit the TAHC Web site.

“Canned Hunts” (Dangerous Wild Animals)

No person may kill or attempt to injure a dangerous wild animal (African or Asiatic lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, hyena, bear, elephant, wolf, or rhinoceros, or any subspecies or hybrid of these animals) that is held in captivity in this state or that is released from captivity in this state for the purpose of being killed, nor may any person conduct, promote, advertise, or assist in the hunting of a dangerous wild animal.

Endangered, Threatened and
Other Protected Nongame Species

It is unlawful for any person to hunt (see Definitions – Hunt) threatened, endangered, or protected nongame species. To sell or purchase goods made from threatened or endangered species, proper documentation must accompany the goods. For a complete list of threatened and endangered species, and regulations relating to breeding threatened and endangered species, please call (800) 792-1112 (menu 5).

  • Protected Birds: Hawks, owls, eagles, and all other nongame birds and songbirds (except for the few unprotected birds listed below) are protected by various state and federal laws and may not be killed, taken from the nest, picked up, or possessed for any reason, and their feathers may not be possessed or sold. Arts and crafts may not include these protected species under any circumstances.
  • Unprotected Birds:
    • The only birds not protected by any state or federal law are European starlingsEnglish sparrowsferal rock doves(common pigeon, Columba livia) and Eurasian collared-doves; these species may be killed at any time, their nests or eggs destroyed, and their feathers may be possessed.
    • Yellow-headed, red-winged, rusty, or Brewer’s blackbirds and all gracklescowbirds (does not include cattle egret), crows, or magpies may be controlled without a federal or state depredation permit when found committing or about to commit depredations on ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in numbers and in a manner that constitutes a health hazard or other nuisance.
  • Bats: May not be hunted, killed, possessed, purchased or sold; however, bats may be moved, trapped, or killed if inside or on a building occupied by people. A person may transport a bat for the purpose of laboratory testing if there is a rabies concern.

Black Bears and Mountain Lions

Black bears are protected and cannot be hunted or killed. Mountain lions are not protected and can be harvested at any time. Please report black bear sightings or mortalities, and mountain lion sightings, harvests, or mortalities to (512) 389-4505.

Controlled Exotic Snakes

It is unlawful (Class C misdemeanor) for any person, regardless of age, to possess certain nonindigenous snakes for commercial (Type 581) or recreational (Type 580) purposes if that person has not obtained a TPWD controlled exotic snake permit for that purpose. A controlled exotic snake is any species of venomous snakes not indigenous to Texas; African rock python (Python sebae); Asiatic rock python (Python molurus); green anaconda (Eunectes murinus); reticulated python (Python reticulatus); southern African python (Python natalensis), and includes ANY hybrid of these species. Permits may be purchased anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold. In addition, it is unlawful (Class A misdemeanor) to intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence release or allow the release from captivity of any of these snakes. Snakes possessed without the necessary permit may be seized, removed, and disposed of at the cost of the person possessing the snakes. Controlled exotic snakes are regulated under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter V, which may be enforced by any licensed Texas peace officer. For further information, call (800) 792-1112 (menu 7) or visit Frequently Asked Questions on Controlled Exotic Snakes.