TPW Releases Season Opening Dates

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – As the year rolls on, new hunting and fishing regulations are set to take effect on Sept. 1. While not the bevy of new laws normally offered up to the outdoorsman, there are several new laws fishermen and hunters need to be aware of.

In the area of coastal fisheries, Texas modified harvest regulations for certain offshore species to be in line with federal rules. The changes are:

  • The minimum length for scalloped, smooth and great hammerhead sharks is 99 inches, total length.
  • The minimum length for gag grouper is 24 inches, total length.
  • The daily bag limit for black grouper is four fish, with a daily bag limit of four fish.
  • For Nassau grouper, a threatened species, no harvest is allowed.

In the inland fisheries area:

  • Largemouth and smallmouth bass regulations have been modified to catch-and-release only on the 38-mile stretch of the Devils River from Baker’s Crossing to Big Satan Creek along the downstream end of the Dan A. Hughes Unit of the Devils River State Natural Area.
  • Established a catch-and-release-only rule for largemouth bass and sunfish in Bedford Boys Ranch Lake (Tarrant County).
  • Alabama bass has been added to the list of game fishes, and bass regulations for Alan Henry Reservoir in Garza County are updated to reflect this change.
  • The collection of gizzard and threadfin shad from public water for use as bait now requires a $60 permit for the possession or sale of nongame fish if the container capacity used to hold the shad exceeds 82 quarts.

There is only one new regulation in the area of hunting and it is as follows:

  • Special White-Winged Dove Area now includes all of the South Zone. The daily bag limit for the new Special White-Winged Dove Days in the South Zone is 15 birds with no more than two mourning or white-tipped doves. Hunting hours for these days are from noon to sunset during the first two weekends in September.

The hunting season dates for the 2017-2018 year have also been released by the TPWD.

Alligator

22 Counties and special properties: Sep. 10 – 30; All Other Counties: Apr. 1 – June 30, 2018

Chachalaca

Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy Counties: Nov. 4, 2017 – Feb. 25, 2018

Dove

North Zone Sep. 1 – Nov. 12, 2017 & Dec. 15 – Dec. 31, 2017

Central Zone – Sep. 1 – Nov. 5, 2017 & Dec. 15, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018

South Zone – Regular season: Sep. 22 – Nov. 8, 2017; Dec. 15, 2017 – Jan. 21, 2018

Additional days for Special White-winged Dove season: Sep. 2, 3, 9, 10 (special regulations apply)

Duck

North Zone – Regular season: Nov. 11 – 26, 2017 & Dec. 2, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018; Dusky duck: Nov. 16 – 26, 2017 and Dec. 2, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018; Youth-only: Nov. 4 – 5, 2017

South Zone – Regular season: Nov. 4 – 26, 2017 & Dec. 9, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018; Dusky duck: Nov. 9 – 26, 2017 and Dec. 9, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018; Youth-only: Oct. 28 – 29, 2017

High Plains Mallard Management Unit (HPMMU) – Regular season: Oct. 28 – 29, 2017 and Nov. 3, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018; Dusky duck: Nov. 6, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018; Youth-only: Oct. 21 – 22, 2017

Gallinule, Rail, Moorhen

Sep. 9 – 24, 2017 and Nov. 4 – Dec. 27, 2017

Goose

East Zone – Early Canada goose: Sep. 9 – 24, 2017; Light goose: Nov. 4, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018; Light goose conservation order: Jan. 29 – Mar. 18, 2018; White-fronted goose: Nov. 4, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018

West Zone – Light & dark geese: Nov. 4, 2017 – Feb. 4, 2018; Light goose conservation order: Feb. 5 – Mar. 18, 2018

Javelina

North Zone: Oct. 1, 2017 – Feb. 25, 2018

South Zone: Sep. 1, 2017 – Aug. 31, 2018

Mule Deer

General Season

Panhandle: Nov. 18 – Dec. 3, 2017

SW Panhandle: Nov. 18 – 26, 2017

Trans-Pecos: Nov. 24 – Dec. 10, 2017

Archery Season

Sep. 30 – Nov. 3, 2017

Pheasant

Panhandle: Dec. 2 – 31, 2017

 

Pronghorn Antelope

Sep. 30 – Oct. 8, 2017

Quail

Statewide: Oct. 28, 2017 – Feb. 25, 2018

Sandhill Crane

Zone A: Oct. 28, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018

Zone B: Nov. 24, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018

Zone C: Dec. 16, 2017 – Jan. 21, 2018

Squirrel

East Texas: Oct. 1, 2017 – Feb. 25, 2018 and May 1 – 31, 2018

Other Open Counties: Sep. 1, 2017 – Aug. 31, 2018

Special Youth Season: Sep. 23 – 24, 2017

Snipe

Oct. 28, 2017 – Feb. 11, 2018

Teal

Sep. 9 – 24, 2017

Turkey

Rio Grande Turkey

Fall Season

North Zone: Nov. 4, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018

South Zone: Nov. 4, 2017 – Jan. 21, 2018

Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg and Willacy counties: Nov. 4, 2017 – Feb. 25, 2018

Archery-Only: Sep. 30 – Nov. 3, 2017

Fall Youth-Only

Early: Oct. 28 – 29, 2017

Late: Jan. 8 – 21, 2018

Spring Season

North Zone: Mar. 31 – May 13, 2018

South Zone: Mar. 17 – Apr. 29, 2018

One-turkey counties: April 1 – April 30, 2018

Spring Youth-Only

North Zone: Mar. 24 – 25, 2018 & May 19 – 20, 2018

South Zone: Mar. 10 – 11, 2018 & May 5 – 6, 2018

Eastern Turkey

Spring Season

East Texas: Apr. 15 – May 14, 2018

White-tailed Deer

General Season

North Zone: Nov. 4, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018

South Zone: Nov. 4, 2017 – Jan. 21, 2018

Special Late Season

North Zone: Jan. 8 – 21, 2018

South Zone: Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, 2018

Youth-Only Seasons

Early Season: Oct. 28 – 29, 2017

Late Season: Jan. 8 – 21, 2018

Archery Season

Sep. 30 – Nov. 3, 2017

Muzzleloader-Only Season

Jan. 8 – 21, 2018

Woodcock

Dec. 18, 2017 – Jan. 31, 2018

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) reminds hunters and anglers that the new 2017-2018 licenses go on sale Tuesday, Aug. 15. All current year Texas hunting and fishing licenses (except year-to-date fishing licenses) expire Aug. 31.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.