I am an avid fisherman and hunter from the great state of Texas.
Online searches can be time-consuming and frustrating, including when you are looking for information about duck hunting on public lands in Texas.
This article is the first in a series of articles intended to provide readers helpful information about duck hunting on public lands in Texas.
For this article, we seek to answer the frequently asked question, "What licenses and permits do I need to hunt ducks in Texas?"
Check the Regulations
Always refer to the current Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual: Hunting and Fishing Regulations before heading out to the field. Refresh your understanding of the hunting regulations and learn of any changes.
What Licenses and Permits Do I Need to Hunt Ducks in Texas?
1. A Texas Hunting License is required and can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. The cost of a hunting license varies depending on age, resident status, military service, and physical limitation. Be prepared to provide a driver's license or other government-issued identification and your Social Security Number.
2. A Harvest Information Program (HIP) Certification is required for hunters who are 16 years of age or older. Certification consists of a survey conducted by the purchasing agent when buying a hunting license. The purchasing agent will ask a series of questions related to migratory game birds taken the season prior. If you did not hunt the year before or did not hunt migratory game birds, then answer accordingly. There is no charge for HIP Certification.
3. A Hunter Education Certification is required for hunters born on or after September 2, 1971. You are required to have proof of certification on your person while hunting. If born on or after September 2, 1971, the following applies:
- Under 9 years of age: must be accompanied by a person who is at least 17 years old, who is licensed in Texas, who has passed hunter education or is exempt (born before September 2, 1971), and is within normal voice control.
- Age 9–16: successfully completed a hunter education course or be accompanied as noted above for "Under 9 years of age."
- Age 17 and over: successfully completed a hunter education course, or purchased a "Hunter Education Deferral" and be accompanied as noted above for "Under 9 years of age." Deferral is for up to one year and may only be obtained once and is only valid until the end of the current season.
- Note: Minimum age of certification is 9 years of age.
4. A Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp Endorsement is required to hunt migratory game birds, except for hunters under 17 years of age, holders of Lifetime Resident Combination, or holders of Lifetime Resident Hunting licenses. Note: Stamp endorsement is included with the purchase of the "Resident Super Combo License Package."
5. A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp is required for all waterfowl hunters 16 years of age or older. Commonly referred to as a "Duck Stamp," it can be purchased at most Post Offices and sporting goods stores that sell Hunting Licenses.
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- When purchased from a Post Office, the "Duck Stamp" is provided at the time of sale.
- When purchased from a sporting goods store, proof of purchase will be provided. It will be valid for 45 days from the purchase date and can be used for the interim while the "Duck Stamp" is mailed to the address on your Hunting License.
- Note: Be sure to sign the face of the "Duck Stamp" else it will not be valid for hunting purposes and could result in a costly fine.
6. An Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit may be required to hunt public lands managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife, Federal Forestry Services, and the Corps of Engineers. Permits are purchased at the same locations selling Hunting Licenses.
- As a rule, defer to location-specific regulations to determine if an APH permit is required. Refer to the TPWD: Annual Public Hunting Permit Information and Maps.
7. Lake-Specific Permits may be required to hunt lakes managed by the Corps of Engineers or controlling Water Authority. In some cases, both an Annual Public Hunting Permit and a Lake Specific Permit may be required. As a general rule, go to the lake's official website to obtain lake-specific regulations and requirements and to find a contact person who can clarify any questions that you may have. Examples are noted below for reference:
- Lake Lavon (2009 Season relaxation of Lake Specific Permit)
- Grapevine Lake (Partial info, navigate to the contacts page to find a contact person)
- Lake Ray Roberts (Refers to TPWD link for details)
Caution: Be prepared to produce your Driver's License (or State Identification) and all required hunting licenses, stamp endorsements, and permits when directed by the Game Warden. And make sure you sign all documents, or else a fine may result.
PS: Don't Forget to Scout Areas!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
hbng84 (author) on April 22, 2011:
Each COE Lake has its own regulations. Every year the COE publishes a guide. Here is a link from last season. Hope it helps. Link: http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/lavon/final%20HUN...
Douglas Bisballe on February 23, 2011:
Can I get the names of just the lakes that need a AHP or Corp of Engineers permit to water fowl hunt on? Otherwise I have to call every lake to waterfowl hunt on. Or will one Corp of Engineers lakes permit included all the Corp lakes if get only one Corp permit?