If you are new to the state or a Texan through and through, you'll enjoy hunting each of the big game species that the state has to offer. From the exotic alligators to the trophy bucks, there is no shortage of exciting hunts in Texas. We put together an all inclusive road trip through the state hitting the 5 major species throughout each region. Every species will require a unique rifle and ammunition combination so make sure to plan each hunt out beforehand and stock up before you go.
Hunt Pronghorn in the Panhandle
The best areas to hunt pronghorn in Texas is in the Panhandle regions, specifically just North of Amarillo. The land is flat and rolling with very little trees. You will need to obtain a pronghorn permit along with the consent of a landowner to hunt the new experimental, buck-only season in the Panhandle region. For more information on permits, you can visit the Parks & Wildlife website to review frequently asked questions. (1)
When it comes to the firearm you choose for this hunt, I would suggest the 25/06. Antelope are not hard to take down as long as you hit vitals, otherwise, they can, and will, run forever. Your cartridge should range from .243 and 6mm to .270, and use quick expanding bullets.
Take Down a Huge Muley in Trans-Pecos
Hunting Mule deer in West Texas can prove to be difficult with high winds and very little habitation to conceal you during the stalk. The Trans-Pecos highlands and canyons offer amazing hunts for big muleys but it does get hot so plan your hunt later in the evening once it's cooling off. You'll have the best luck finding deer around the rancher's water tanks, but be aware of whose property you're on and make sure you have a farmers permission before you pull the trigger.
If you chose to hunt pronghorn with 25/06 then you're in luck because you can easily apply that same rifle to your muley hunt. But switch up your ammunition to something deadly and fast, like the 115-grain Nosler Partition.
Hunt for White Tail in the Cross Timbers Region
Hunting White Tail in Texas is very similar to hunting Mule deer so you'll be able to apply the same rifle and ammunition accordingly. There are big bucks found in the central, Cross Timbers Region of Texas. You'll need to be prepared for longer shots, whether you're hunting with a rifle or with your bow.
Harvest an Alligator in Oak Prairie on the Eastern Gulf Coast
The only time you can use a centerfire on an alligator hunt is if you're on private land. That's why I would suggest taking your alligator with a bow. If you see an alligator surface and then drop down underwater again, you will have a minute or two to reposition yourself within a comfortable range of that area because the animal will usual surface again near the same spot.
When scouting for alligator look for their crawl sign on the banks and flattened grass on the shoreline from where they sun themselves. If you are trying to gauge the size of an alligator in the water you can use the distance between their eyes and nostrils to determine the overall length of the animal.
Enjoy an Exciting Turkey Hunt in the Rio Grande
You'll enjoy hunting the wooded areas looking for toms along the Rio Grande. The turkey is a wide-spread species so hunting them along the Rio Grande river can prove very fruitful if you put in the early morning hours and late afternoon walks. You can take a Rio with your bow or rifle. If you chose to use your shotgun you can't always run and gun these gobblers so consider using something like the 3" Federal 3rd Degree No. 6.
Scour Edwards Plains and Oak-Juniper Regions for Javelina
You'll enjoy hunting Javelina in the Oak-Juniper region of the Edwards Plateau. They travel in small families and don't wander very far from home. They live in a very hot, arid part of the state so plan your hunt earlier in the morning and later in the day to take advantage of the cooler weather. It's important to catch them on the move since their small stature and dark hide it can be challenging to spot them among the trees.
Javelina are small, fast little critters, so use a nail driver like the .243 Winchester or a larger caliber on your hunt. Keep in mind as your planning that your ammunition will not need to be very heavy considering how lightweight Javelina are.