I recently moved to Austin from out-of-state. Some folks I do business with invited me to go dove hunting on a private ranch and are going to loan me a shotgun. I’ve never been hunting before. Can I just go to the ranch, borrow a shotgun, and have at it, or do I need a license or permit?
Welcome to Texas! Hunting is a favorite pastime to many Texans. Here are a few things you should know before your first dove hunt.
Yes – you will need a hunting license. The new license year begins each year on September 1. You can buy your hunting license online or at a local retail store. You also need to be sure that you hunt dove during the right season. Dove hunting season this year starts on September 1 (north and central zones) and September 14 (south zone).
You will also need to buy a Texas Migratory Game Bird Endorsement (it costs $7). This is required to hunt any migratory game bird. Dove is included in the State’s definition of migratory game bird.
And depending on your age, you may also need to obtain proof of hunter education. Every hunter, including out-of-state hunters, born on or after September 2, 1971, must successfully complete a Hunter Education Training course. You are required to carry proof or completion of the course while hunting.
Texas Parks and Wildlife maintains lots of great information on all the rules and regulations that apply to hunting (https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/). It is a great resource, especially if you are a first-time hunter.
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The material in this column is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute, nor is it a substitute for, legal advice. For advice on your specific facts and circumstances, consult a licensed attorney. You may wish to contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas, a non-profit public service of the Austin Bar Association, at 512-472-8303 or www.austinlrs.com.