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Large Game of Texas

Whether you are interested in hunting in East Texas for the biggest wild boar, South Texas to bag the best White-tailed buck, the Trans Pecos for a rare Bighorn Ram, or the Coastal Bend for an exotic Nilgai; Texas offers a range of native and exotic beasts. Since the beginning of the 20th-century, Big Game led hunters into new parts of the United States to collect the animals for zoos or museum trophies. Today, hunters strive to feel the adrenaline of getting out of their element and hopefully bag a once in a lifetime trophy. Furthermore, Texas hunting brings together families to create a new memory, appreciate the natural environment, and have the reward of fresh meat.

White-tail Deer

Texas holds the largest Whitetail population in the nation and one of the biggest hunting seasons behind Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Alabama, & Georgia. The Texas Whitetail has three subspecies inside the state. Ranging from the rocky west, the Carmen Mountain Whitetail is the smallest habituating in a desert climate; the Kansas and Texanus species take up the remaining areas of the state habitats ranging from woodlands to low swamplands. The Texas Whitetail has been traced to 4,200 years ago and was still highly regarded by the Apaches, Karankawas, Caddos, Tonkawas, and Coahuiltecan. The American Indians hunted Whitetail with snares, traps, deadfalls, bow and arrows, and axes. Present-day hunters still hold the Whitetail deer season very dear to their hearts and prepare for the season months ahead of time. Hunters today mostly use rifles; however, bow hunting is becoming more popular.

Mule Deer

The Mule deer emerged about 7,000 years ago, originating from a hybrid of a Blacktail and Whitetail deer and appearing in Baja, Mexico, up to Alaska and has now migrated into the central plains of the United States. In contrast to their Whitetail cousin, the Mule deer does not hold a large population and sticks to flat land environments, such as the Panhandle and Trans Pecos. About 80-85% of the Texas Mule deer population resides in West Texas. Since Mule deer are a closely monitored population, the hunting regulations limit to only bucks with an outside spread of 20″ or more. Any buck with spikes, one unbranched antler, or outside spread less than 20″ is illegal to harvest.

Desert Big Horn Sheep

Admired as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for determined hunters, the Texas Desert Big Horns remain actively protected after coming back from near extinction in the 1960s. The Big Horn is not only prized in Texas; however, hunters throughout the entire United States put their names in raffles annually in hopes to be selected. Since the hunters wanting a chance to experience a Big Horn hunt far outweighs the annual tags, there is less than a 1% chance a hunter will receive this opportunity in their lifetime. However, if the fortune ever arises to experience tracking a Big Horn for yourself, the rule of a respectful hunter is to kill the oldest out of the herd. Removing the oldest leaves the healthier rams to remain in the environment, and as a bonus, this once in a lifetime hunt will leave you with an unbelievable memento of the ram’s horns.

Pronghorn Antelope

Not a goat or an antelope, the Pronghorn belongs to entire species of its own located in North America. The Pronghorn at one point outnumbered the amount of deer in Texas; however, a different story holds true today. In the 1800s, the Pronghorn population was 35 million; in the 1900s, it dwindled to 13,000, and by 2009 the population hit a low of 2,000. However, with help from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the population is up to 12,000 today. A combination of overgrazing and habitat destruction has led to the decline of the Pronghorn population. Pronghorns are available to hunt only through landowners or land managers where their property falls into herd locations in the Trans-Pecos, Permian Basin, and Panhandle regions of the state. Since the want is greater than the harvestable population, not all landowners/managers will receive permits every year. If you are not a landowner or manager whose property is within the permissible lands to hunt Pronghorn, you must contact the landowners who are on Texas’ Lease List. 

Nilgai

The antelope, native to the Himalayan foothills of India and parts of Pakistan, was brought to King Ranch in 1929. The original twelve Nilgai became the new addition for the ranch’s Safari hunts. While the Nilgai thrived in south Texas due to plenty of vegetation, adaptable climate, and no predation, their numbers grew to an estimated 15,000 today. This antelope is known for an arduous hunting experience, and if you are lucky to ground one, the meat is exceptional. If you are up for a Nilgai hunt, all you need is a regular Texas hunting license. The Nilgai falls into the Texas Exotic hunting group; therefore, the only regulations are that you bag one on your land or land of an owner that permitted you to hunt on or buy a hunt on an exotic ranch. The Nilgai has a good sense of smell, exceptional sight, and terrific hearing. They also have the strength to run through fences, allowing you to have a challenging experience.

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