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The mere movement of drawing a bow while taking aim at an animal can scare it off. The distinct advantage of hunting with a crossbow is that you can cock it ahead of time, eliminating any movement. They're also much quieter than a firearm, so they won't scare animals away for miles should you miss an initial shot. Once a privilege reserved only for archery hunters with upper body disabilities, Texas now allows anyone to hunt with a crossbow.
Requirements for Crossbow Hunting
You'll need a state hunting license to hunt with your crossbow in Texas. Other stamps and endorsements may be necessary, depending on the species you intend to hunt. Your crossbow must have a minimum pull of 125 pounds and have a stock more than 24 inches in length. You can use a telescopic sight with your crossbow, and it must have a mechanical safety. Broadhead arrows with a 7/8-inch wide or greater tip are the only legal projectiles to use when hunting with your crossbow.
Archery Only vs. General Hunting Season
Texas has archery-only seasons for turkey, mule deer and white-tailed deer in the autumn. You can hunt with a crossbow during archery season, but you'll need an archery stamp endorsement to do so. You can also hunt any game animal with a crossbow during general season with no archery permit required in most counties. If you're hunting in Collin, Dallas, Rockwell or Grayson counties during general season, you'll need to get an archery permit to do so.
Coyotes, prairie dogs, bobcats, squirrels and other small animals are non-game animals in Texas. On private property, you can hunt them with your crossbow at any time of year with a non-game hunting permit. Some private property owners welcome hunters wishing to hone their crossbow skills by taking out nuisance animals such as prairie dogs and coyotes. You can also hunt fur-bearing animals such as beaver and nutria with your crossbow anytime of year on private property with the owner's permission. There are no bag limits enforced by the state, and you can hunt non-game and fur-bearing animals day or night.
Hunting Exotics with a Crossbow
Feral hogs are a widespread agricultural pest in Texas, but the state categorizes them as an exotic since they're not indigenous. It's legal to hunt feral hogs any time of day or night with your crossbow, and hunting season never closes. Other exotic animals you can hunt with your crossbow include elk, Russian boar, Aoudad sheep and other ungulates introduced by private land owners. You can hunt them with a valid Texas license and the landowner's permission. Game ranches throughout the state offer hog and exotic animal hunting for a fee.
- Texas Parks and Wildlife: Hunting Means and Methods
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine: Hunting Crossbows
- Texas Parks and Wildlife: Seasons by Animal
- Texas Parks and Wildlife: Nongame, Exotic, Endangered, Threatened and Protected Species
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department: Archery Only Seasons and Regulations
Indulging her passion for wide open spaces and outdoor fitness through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, author Jodi Thornton-O'Connell takes the mystery out of outdoor skills and guides readers to discover fun ways to physically connect to natural surroundings.