Upland Hunting - General

Tex68w

Beach Bum
Question for Texans.

What are the bird, (upland / waterfowl and some small game such as rabbits), hunting opportunities in TX?

Let me give you more details what I mean by this question.
I know there are a tons of birds and bird flyways everywhere in TX, but there are virtually no public lands, at least not to my knowledge.
I can't afford to go to big hunting ranches, which of course are a lot in TX, all the time I want to shoot a bird or two.
So what are the public / affordable options in TX? and where are those places usually concentrated?
What are the good resources to look into?
How likely a farmer will let you hunt on his land if you are respectful and nice?
What is the most wide spread game bird in TX? I know TX is a huge place, and geographically very diverse.

My wife got an inside info from her work that they might move to TX (from NYC), San Antonio or maybe Dallas or even to Florida.
But I am not moving to FL. The humidity will kill me. :D

Would love to hear some thoughts.

For the disclaimer: I am originally from Eastern Europe and so I won't bring any perverted ideas such is Socialism or Communism with me. They left too much of a bad taste in our mouth :D
Well there isn't much in the way of public lands, not those that hold quality game birds that is. There's a vast deal of land near Big Bend that you can pay to hunt publicly and if you and your dogs are fast and tough you can maybe catch a glimpse of blue quail. The majority of your good bird hunting is going to be on private property sadly. Most property owners aren't game to let strangers hunt their property either, just far too many liabilities involved, same can be said for those in search of pigs.

I would say that the most wide spread game bird would be the Bobwhite. There are blues the further south and west you go and there are some grouse but they are very few and far between. In terms of migratory birds the dove are fantastic down here and if you're into waterfowl then the south eastern portion of the state and all along the coast is a treat.

If you end up relocating down here let me know, I'll see what I can do about getting you out with your dog sometime.
 

Highlander

The Good Shepherd
Thanks @Tex68w really appreciate your insight.

blue quail
I never heard of this bird. Is it hard to find/hunt them?

The majority of your good bird hunting is going to be on private property sadly
Yeah, I kind of had a guess that would be the case. Not that it's a bid thing, but it may not be always the option, though usually the prices are reasonable, at least in the Northeast.
What kinda of bird do those private lands / resorts usually have? I assume it is the bobwhite, pheasant and chukar.
Also, I did a research and there is some amount woodcock in the Northeast, TX. Louisan and Mississippi are the hub if one wants to go there.

In terms of migratory birds the dove are fantastic down here and if you're into waterfowl then the south eastern portion of the state and all along the coast is a treat.
Unfortunately, I have never done a dove hunting, but I will be absolutely into it.
I have seen some videos, where they shoot the birds and the dogs collect them for the hunters. It must be fun.

As for the waterfowl, I am in really into it. That is one of the reason I got the breed I got.
I have never been to the costal TX. I saw the video series of Meateater, where Steve is fishing with his friend on an old boat.
Those places looks so amazing. There must be a lot of ducks and geese.
How easy is to access those places? Are they public or private?

One attractive thing with living in TX is that you are relatively closer to places like UT and NV which, as you may know, are very good upland states.
They even have the Ruffed Grouse in the mountains.

Do you know what's going on in the Northwest of the state in terms of hunting? There are massive swathes of lands, there must some birds up there.
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
I never heard of this bird. Is it hard to find/hunt them?

Blue Quail are the same thing as Scaled Quail or Cotton Tops. In my experiences with them in deep South West Texas they are definitely more elusive and faster to flush than the Bobs.

What kinda of bird do those private lands / resorts usually have? I assume it is the bobwhite, pheasant and chukar.
Also, I did a research and there is some amount woodcock in the Northeast, TX. Louisan and Mississippi are the hub if one wants to go there.

The private bird ranches vary depending on location. Some have segmented fields broken down into 100-ish acre tracts so that multiples groups can be hunting an area at once and others have large open lands to roam, it really just depends. In terms of truly private land that's just a matter of knowing the land owner or someone that does, sometimes you can be granted access for free as the large majority of people could care less about quail (dying sport with this current generation) and others you can get on with a small lease fee for upland only. We know quite a few land owners via friends and family ties and others simply from our time in the oil field and/or hunting other ranches in the area. Contacts and connections definitely matter in this game when it comes to access.

Unfortunately, I have never done a dove hunting, but I will be absolutely into it.
I have seen some videos, where they shoot the birds and the dogs collect them for the hunters. It must be fun.

Dove hunting is a pastime down here. Every September fields are a flurry with Dove hunters as it's truly the first hunting of the fall season. It allows families and friends to get together and knock the rust off from the summer time lull before things start to heat up with Early Teal and Waterfowl season. The great thing about it is that almost any age can enjoy dove hunting and it's an extremely social affair that allows you to be somewhat casual in your approach. There's really no right or wrong way to hunt them either as I have been successful with many different approaches. After 2-3 dove hunts I am usually burnt out on eating and cleaning the little boogers, I'm just not much for the dark meat, but nevertheless, it's hard to beat some dove wraps/poppers while grilling out.

As for the waterfowl, I am in really into it. That is one of the reason I got the breed I got.
I have never been to the costal TX. I saw the video series of Meateater, where Steve is fishing with his friend on an old boat.
Those places looks so amazing. There must be a lot of ducks and geese.
How easy is to access those places? Are they public or private?

The Texas coast is wide open for public access, at most you'll pay a ramp fee to launch your boat depending on where you're at. There are some exceptions when it comes to the nature preserves and protected areas but even those are accessible via day fees and lotto systems. Your ability to get on birds is only limited by your ability to physically get to them, i.e. boats haha. Teal, ducks, geese, and Sandhill Crane are quite active down here and short of Arkansas and maybe Louisiana, I can't think of a better state for overall waterfowl hunting. That said, warm years don't produce all that well as the majority of birds simply won't push this far south due to the heat. We travel out of state to hunt Arkansas and Louisiana most every year to supplement this.

One attractive thing with living in TX is that you are relatively closer to places like UT and NV which, as you may know, are very good upland states.
They even have the Ruffed Grouse in the mountains. Do you know what's going on in the Northwest of the state in terms of hunting? There are massive swathes of lands, there must some birds up there.

Proximity to the western states is relative to your location in the state lol. From where I live south of Houston along the coast it takes me nearly 12 hours to get to El Paso and nearly 14 hours to reach Albuquerque. The old saying goes that half the trip to anywhere is simply getting out of the state. I have a few buddies that live up in the panhandle of Texas and they too are avid bird hunters. Ducks are few and far between as that area is not really a nesting ground, simply a fly over. That said, my buddies do hunt them with some success. They do have quality goose and crane hunting and their dove numbers are quite strong as well. Wild pheasant can be found up there but it's nothing like Kansas or the Dakotas.
 
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Highlander

The Good Shepherd
Wow. such a detailed answer.
Thanks!

TX is indeed a huge state.
I am surprised you don't have a wild chukar population in places like Big Band and mountains around there. It does look like Nevada.
Maybe unlike Nevada or Oregon the introduction has never been done there.
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
I'm not sure that there's enough mountainous habitat in any one place with enough elevation to provide the proper climate and food needed to sustain partridge like the Chukar. If they could survive it would be awesome to see them introduced, I am going to dive deeper into this and see what I can find.
 

Highlander

The Good Shepherd
Which of the Western states has those flooded corn or soy fields where you go and shoot like 1000 ducks? Isn't it OK?

In April my pup passed her first hunting test, VJP (Natural Ability Test) with a 62 points.
I expected a bit more, but for a six month old pup she did very good.
She got somewhat lower score in the section of Rabbit Tracking due to the litter exposure to wild rabbits, but she did very good in the search, pointing and cooperation.
I was gonna run her through NAVHDA NA test, but I was late. I'll do it next year.
Now I am preparing her for the next test, HZP, which includes lot of water work, retrieves and game recovery.
Will see how it goes. I am hopeful.

C11apture.JPG
 
Which of the Western states has those flooded corn or soy fields where you go and shoot like 1000 ducks? Isn't it OK?

In April my pup passed her first hunting test, VJP (Natural Ability Test) with a 62 points.
I expected a bit more, but for a six month old pup she did very good.
She got somewhat lower score in the section of Rabbit Tracking due to the litter exposure to wild rabbits, but she did very good in the search, pointing and cooperation.
I was gonna run her through NAVHDA NA test, but I was late. I'll do it next year.
Now I am preparing her for the next test, HZP, which includes lot of water work, retrieves and game recovery.
Will see how it goes. I am hopeful.

View attachment 662757
Nice looking girl.
 

Wyo37

New member
I bought a Jayco 174bh travel trailer. Should make a decent little mobile hunting camp. It came pre-wired with a 160w solar panel that seems to keep the battery charged when only using the heater.

So far depending on big game tags I'm planning to go for ptarmigan, sharptail, blues, sage grouse, a few species of quail, huns, and chukar. Maybe chickens too.
 

Highlander

The Good Shepherd
How easy is it to drive with that on those BLM roads in the west?
In a way I was always afraid of pulling an RV in those places. This is way I am considering an awd Ford Transit.
Less roomy, less comfortable but easy to handle IMHO.
 

Wyo37

New member
How easy is it to drive with that on those BLM roads in the west?
In a way I was always afraid of pulling an RV in those places. This is way I am considering an awd Ford Transit.
Less roomy, less comfortable but easy to handle IMHO.
Some roads are better than others. I got the baja model so it's lifted, but I plan on sticking to the fairly tame roads to camp off of. And just driving to my hunting spots.
 

Highlander

The Good Shepherd
May I ask you what you are pulling it with? SUV or truck.
At my NAVHDA chapter in CT, a member has a similar size Airway RV I looked it up and it ain't cheap.
 

Wyo37

New member
May I ask you what you are pulling it with? SUV or truck.
At my NAVHDA chapter in CT, a member has a similar size Airway RV I looked it up and it ain't cheap.
I traded off my beloved 2013 Toyota Tacoma TRD TX for a 2017 Nissan Titan XD with the 5.6L V8. With a tow rating of 10k pounds it pulls the 3400lb camper pretty well. Next week will be my first trip with it. I'm hoping to use it quite a bit as a bird hunting base camp from September through January.

20210401_162929.jpg
 
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