Waterfowl Hunting Methods
Note: The 2005-2006 Waterfowl Digest will be available in the fall.
Lawful Hunting Methods
Legal shotguns, lawful archery equipment, falconry, dogs, artificial decoys and manual or mouth-operated bird calls. Hunting is permitted in the open or from a blind or other type of concealment or from any floating craft (except a sinkbox) provided that all motion resulting from sail or motor has ceased (sails furled and motor shut off). Powerboats and sailboats may be used to pick up dead or injured birds.
Unlawful Hunting Methods
Any firearm other than a legal shotgun, trap, snare, net, crossbow, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance, live birds as decoys, recorded or electronically amplified bird calls or sounds, sinkbox or by means of baiting or hunting over a baited area. It is unlawful to hunt from or by means of motor-driven vehicles and land conveyances or aircraft of any kind except paraplegics and single or double amputees of legs may hunt from stationary motor-driven vehicles or land conveyances. It is unlawful to use motor-driven land, water or air conveyances or sailboats to concentrate, drive, rally or stir up any migratory game bird.
A hunter MAY hunt any migratory game bird:
- over standing crops, standing flooded crops and flooded harvest crops;
- at any time over natural vegetation that has been manipulated. Natural vegetation does not include planted millet. However, planted millet that grows on its own in subsequent years after the planting is considered natural vegetation;
- where seeds or grains have been scattered as a result of normal agricultural practice;
- on or over a normal soil stabilization practice;
- on or over lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as a result of a normal agricultural practice or pre-harvest manipulation of an agricultural crop, except waterfowl and cranes may not be hunted where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered as the result of:
- pre-harvest manipulation of an agricultural crop; or
- livestock feeding;
- over crops or natural vegetation where grain has been inadvertently scattered as a result of entering or leaving a hunting area, placing decoys or retrieving downed birds;
- using natural vegetation or crops to conceal a blind, provided that if crops are used to conceal a blind, no grain or other feed is exposed, deposited, distributed or scattered in the process.
A hunter MAY NOT:
- hunt migratory birds with the aid of bait, or on or over any baited area;
- hunt over any baited area until 10 days after all baiting materials have been removed;
- hunt waterfowl or cranes over manipulated planted millet, unless the millet was planted not less than one year prior to hunting;
- hunt waterfowl or cranes over crops that have been manipulated, unless the manipulation is a normal agricultural post-harvesting manipulation in accordance with official recommendations of State Extension Specialists of the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. No person may place or direct the placement of bait on or adjacent to an area for the purpose of causing, inducing or allowing any person to take or attempt to take any migratory game bird by the aid of baiting on or over the baited area.
No person, while hunting waterfowl anywhere in the state, may possess shotgun shells containing lead shot or loose lead shot for use in muzzleloaders. Approved shot includes steel, including copper, nickel or zinc coated steel, bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer (i.e., molyshot), and any other non-toxic material approved by the director of the USFWS. Tungsten-matrix and tin shot are temporarily approved for this season.
One fully feathered wing or head must remain attached to dressed migratory game birds while being transported between the place taken and the personal residence of the hunter, the personal residence of another person receiving the dressed birds or a public cold storage plant. This regulation does not apply to doves taken in Texas. One fully feathered wing or head must remain attached to all migratory game birds imported from Mexico.
Daily Bag and Possession
No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit of freshly killed birds while in the field or while returning from the field to one's hunting camp, automobile or temporary lodging facility (see General Rules - Donation or Gift). For the first day of any season the possession limit is the daily bag limit. A person may possess additional migratory birds after they leave the field, if the additional birds they possess are tagged with a wildlife resource document from the hunter who killed them. Migratory birds finally processed at the permanent address of the possessor are not considered part of the possession limit.
It is illegal to import into the United States migratory game birds belonging to another person. The number of migratory game birds imported from Mexico may not exceed the export limit set by the Mexican State from which they were taken.