I get a lot of email these days from people looking for leases or day hunts that are affordable. Hunting in Texas is becoming more and more expensive even in this slow economy. There is only so much land and our population keeps growing by leaps and bounds. Land prices have gone out of sight and the prices land owners charge for hunting have followed suit. There are still however some bargains out in the hunting world. The days of asking a landowner to hunt and being allowed access for free are pretty much gone in Texas unless they are close friends or family. There is however a couple of pretty inexpensive methods to get to hunt in Texas. One is the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Public hunting permit. For a fee of $48.00 you get a map booklet and access to over a million acres of public hunting. Here is the link to that program.
The other is the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Drawn Hunts Program. This is a lottery system for hunts in the Texas State Parks system and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Wildlife Management areas. Some of the hunts rank right along with the best private hunting available in the State. The more desirable the hunt the more people that put in for the draw and the smaller your chances of getting drawn. There is a small fee charged to enter the drawing and if drawn there is a charge for the hunt. The charges range from around $75.00 to $150.00 per successful hunter. The application fees range from $3.00 to $10.00 depending on the hunt and location. Here is a link to more information on this program.
Many Texas ranches are booked for their trophy deer hunts or have a high price tag on the bucks, but they may also have management hunts for cull bucks at a reasonable price. Also a lot of these ranches run hunts for does as they have to harvest does to be able to maintain proper buck to doe ratios in their whitetail population.
Texas is home to more exotic big game than any other state and many countries. Texas game ranches have even sent animals back to countries where they are endangered in their natural habitat. All of these ranches are raising game for trophy hunters and in some instances to produce a natural healthy meat product. I have found that if you watch the ads in local newspapers and even on Craigslist you can find some real deals for female exotic meat hunts. I have seen Black Buck antelope, Axis deer, Fallow deer, Red deer, Sika deer and other species offered for as little as $150.00 per doe. That is a great price for a hunt, tasty all natural meat and a beautiful hide.
The best deal I have saved for last but not the least. Texas is being over run with feral hogs. These are domestic hogs gone wild and living as wild animals. They are multiplying out of control and doing mega bucks worth of damage every year. I see hunts advertised for as little as $75.00 and up. Sure there are places that charge high dollar to hunt hogs and with some of the services provided may be worth the money. I have found that if you check the local ads or talk to local people you can find some real bargains on hog hunts. I often go check the bulletin boards at feed stores as ranchers and farmers often put up bargain hunts there. While there ask the feed dealer if he knows of anyone that would take hog hunters, you might be surprised. Don't sell the feral hog short as table fare as they can be very good depending on what they have been eating and how good of shape they are in at the time. Some of the best BBQ I have had was feral hog slow smoked over dry Texas mesquite.
Texas leases and hunting prices are going up and will continue to increase as long as the demand is there. There are some real bargains out there but you have to get out and do a little digging to find them.
Start looking, Wild Ed
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