How Many Acres do You Need to Hunt in Texas?
Texas law enforcement officers frequently field questions around minimum acreage requirements for hunting or discharging a firearm. Landowners and potential land buyers want to know if it’s legal to hunt on a particular piece of property, especially if it’s one they are considering purchasing.
Many have heard that according to a statewide minimum you must own at least 10 acres of land to be able to legally hunt. So is it true and what’s the policy?
The truth is that it is not quite as simple as a standard statewide policy for hunting or discharging firearms on private land. But let’s dig in!
What Does Texas State Law Say About Minimum Acreage Requirements for Hunting?
In 1993 the Texas Legislature passed a law seen in Texas Local Government Code, Section 235.042. The law allows for individual counties to prohibit hunting with firearms (or bows) on lots or tracts of land that are 10 acres or smaller and located in the unincorporated area of the county in a subdivision.
Don’t think of a subdivision like it’s a suburban neighborhood. By this definition a subdivision can be any tract of land that was previously a portion of a larger tract that was platted, approved, and filed with the county. The term “hunting” is defined HERE in the Parks and Wildlife Code.
Here’s what the law actually says:
State of Texas’ Regulations Regarding Minimum Acreage and Hunting
1. It is unlawful to hunt anywhere by means or methods that have been prohibited by county or city ordinance.
2. It is unlawful to hunt in a subdivision on lots 10 acres or less in an unincorporated area of a county if prohibited by local ordinance.
Ok, so what does all this mean?
Is There a Minimum Acreage Requirement to Hunt on Your Land in Texas?
There is no minimum acreage requirement to hunt by State law. However, Texas state law gives counties and municipalities the right to prohibit hunting in their jurisdiction given certain criteria. Specifically, the criteria noted above.
So minimum acreage requirements are determined at the local level by counties and municipalities. The state gives them the right to create and enforce these standards in the interest of public safety.
Many counties in Texas have created resolutions/ordinances establishing a 10 acre minimum size for hunting or discharging firearms on land in their respective county. So this is a common policy across the state and it’s likely, even probable that this is enforced in your county. You’ll need to check with your local county office to confirm if they have established a policy for your county.
SIDE NOTE: If you’re into hunting, check out this comprehensive article Where are the Biggest Deer in Texas?
Outside of the acreage requirements you should be aware that it is illegal to shoot towards a residence, from or across a public roadway, or across property lines unless you have permission from the landowner. These are just common sense practices, but defying them will get you in big trouble. Just ask anyone who has watched an episode of LoneStar Law.
How many acres do you need for hunting in Texas?
Most of Texas counties require a minimum of 10 acres to legally hunt or discharge a firearm. There is no statewide mandate but the state has given counties and local jurisdictions the right to establish and enforce 10 acre minimums in the interest of public safety.
How do I find out if it’s legal to hunt on my property?
To find out if your county has chosen to adopt and enforce the 10 acre minimum contact your local county clerk and ask about §235.022, Local Government Code. (Source: page 56 of the 2021-2022 Outdoor Annual, and §235.022.)
Otherwise you can contact your Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Law Enforcement Office.