The following information was collected from sources on September 24, 2015.
Air Rifles and Air Guns
Air rifles are highly favored as a beginning weapon for youth hunting. This is due, in part, to the lower cost of owning and operating an air rifle in comparison with a traditional firearm. They are typically lighter in weight as well, making them more manageable for youth to operate safely. So, what is the legality of hunting with an air rifle in the state of Texas?
Game versus Non-game Animals and Birds
However, if an animal is a non-game animal (non-protected) it can be hunted with any firearm that is legal, pellet gun, or air gun. Examples of non-game animals in Texas include but are not limited to armadillos, bobcats, coyotes, frogs, mountain lions, porcupines, turtles, rabbits, and prairie dogs. These animals have no closed hunting season and do require a hunting license. They can be taken at any time by lawful means on private property. It is also recommended to use precaution when taking wild animals, particularly armadillos, as they may carry diseases such as leprosy.
Black bears are considered protected non-game animals and are not legal to hunt at any time.
Non -game (non-protected) birds may include, but are not limited to, starlings, house sparrow, pigeons, and crows (if substantiated as a nuisance).These may be hunted at any time.
Protected, and therefore illegal to hunt, birds include hawks, eagles, owls, and songbirds.
Essentially, one can safely assume that if the animal or bird in question is non-game (non-protected) or squirrel, they can hunt it in Texas so long as they have obtained the proper permit and are using a legal firearm, pellet gun, or air gun.
For children aged younger than 9, they must be accompanied by an adult while hunting. For youth ages 9-16, they must first complete a hunting safety training successfully or be accompanied by an adult. All hunters, young and old, are required by law to wear hunter orange on public land (and it is highly recommended on private property).
By and large, it is not overly difficult to legally hunt large non-game animals, small non-game animals, or bird in Texas. While there are some restrictions, it is a simple matter of checking with the Texas Parks and Wildlife for a summary of rules and regulations. So, buy your permits, wear your orange vest, and have a happy hunting season!
Contacts for Additional Information
As previously stated, one should always seek clarification through their local government as well as state and federal authorities for the most recent updated rules and regulations. Local police can inform you of local ordinances, including local protections or concerns for specific wildlife. For state wide rules and regulations the Texas Parks and Wildlife can be contacted at the following information:
4200 Smith School Rd
Austin, Texas 78744
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