Hunting in the national forests and grasslands can be a rewarding experience and U.S. Forest Service officials remind hunters of guidelines designed to make their hunting trips safe and enjoyable.
All hunters and those accompanying them must wear daylight fluorescent orange at any time when hunting, except when hunting fur-bearing or predatory animals at night or when hunting turkey or migratory birds. A minimum of 400 square inches of fluorescent orange must be visible (144 square inches on both the chest and back, and a daylight fluorescent orange cap or hat.)
All those camping or hunting in the Angelina, Davy Crockett, Sabine or Sam Houston National Forest or the Caddo National Grasslands must camp in designated campsites or developed recreation areas during general gun season.
Hunters using the wildlife management areas (WMAs) must have the annual hunting permit to hunt deer, turkey, small game, waterfowl and feral hogs.
Wildlife management areas in the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas include the Alabama Creek WMA in the Davy Crockett National Forest, Bannister WMA in the Angelina National Forest, Caddo WMA in the Caddo National Grassland and the Moore Plantation WMA in the Sabine National Forest. The entire Sam Houston National Forest is a wildlife management area.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Official Hunting Guide and the Public Hunting Lands Map Booklet, regulations vary in different locations. The annual booklets are issued to individuals who obtain a WMA permit, and the booklets list rules for national forest lands within the WMAs.
Hunting antlerless deer on the national forests in Texas is conducted only within WMAs and only by permit. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will conduct Antlerless Deer permit applications and selections. For information on Antlerless Deer Permits, contact TPWD at email@example.com or 512-389-4505 or visit the TPWD Drawn Hunts page.
The regulations are issued by the State of Texas on a county-by-county basis. Regulation booklets are available where hunting licenses are sold and at TPWD offices. The rules in this guide are general in scope. More detailed, local rules and regulations may be obtained from the district ranger’s office.
“It’s the hunter’s responsibility to know the regulations and game limits while hunting in national forests and grasslands,” said Chris Crain, U.S. Forest Service patrol captain. “Hunters should check bag limits for the county where they are hunting and refer to this year’s hunting booklets for information to avoid citations. No baiting for wildlife or hunting over baited areas is allowed on the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas.”
Crain also said only portable deer stands are allowed in national forests and grasslands and are limited to 72 hours in one location. To prevent damage to trees, the stands must not be nailed to trees. When hunters fail to remove their deer stands, it causes damage to forest land and creates an expensive, time-consuming cleanup.
Vehicles should not be parked near gates or in areas that would impede traffic and block roads. Also, Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use on the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas is restricted. There is one designated OHV trail on the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas and that is the Multiple Use Trail located in the Sam Houston National Forest.
Visitors to the NFGT are encouraged to enjoy the great outdoors, but it is most important that visitors return home safely.