Hunting

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Aransas National Wildlife Refuge offers rifle and archery hunting opportunities to the public through an online lottery system.


2018 Hunt Information


Aransas National Wildlife Refuge offers public hunting opportunities for white-tailed deer and feral hogs. These hunts are self-guided and in a remote area with limited vehicle access allowed. Archery and firearm hunt applications and permits are processed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Public Drawn Hunt System. All refuge hunters are selected by lottery. Up to 4 people can apply together on one application.

Applications and permits are issued through Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Public Drawn Hunts website.

2018 Hunt Dates:

Archery: September 29-October 7 (scouting September 22-23, September 28)
Rifle 1: November 3-7 (scouting November 3)
Rifle 2: November 24-28 (scouting November 24)
Rifle 3: December 8-12 (scouting December 8)

Hunt Regulations:

2018 Archery Regulations (PDF)
2018 Rifle Regulations (PDF)

Hunt Maps

2018 Archery Hunt Map (PDF w/ QR Code for Avenza Maps)
2018 Rifle Hunt Map (PDF)


Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I enter the refuge?
Hunters must enter the refuge through the main entrance on FM 2040. The GPS coordinates for the refuge’s main entrance are: 28.313449,-96.804022. Turn right towards the Visitor Center, then continue straight (past the maintenance area) to the hunt check station. There is only one entrance to the refuge hunt area.

Do I need to check in and out of the hunt area?
Yes. Each hunter will need to pick up a Self-Clearing Check-in Permit DAILY during the hunt. Click HERE to see a sample permit (PDF). Hunters must fill out and drop the top portion of the permit in the IN box as they enter the hunt area, and fill out and drop the bottom portion in the OUT box as they leave the hunt area at the completion of each day.

What are the legal shooting hours?
The legal shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Is the entire refuge open for hunting?
No; the hunt area is approximately 36,000 acres for archery and 19,000 acres for rifle hunts. Hunts are conducted in a portion of the refuge that is closed to the public.

How many permits are given for my hunt/ how many people will be at my hunt?
For the archery hunt, a total of 300 permits are available. For each firearm hunt, a total of 100 permits are available.

Can I cancel my permit after I’ve paid?
No, once the permit has been paid for it cannot be canceled, refunded or transferred to another person.

Do you have a standby drawing for permits right before the hunt begins?

We may have a standby drawing if all permits are not sold.  Call for more information.

What if I lose my permit/forget to bring it?
Hunters will need to show a copy of the permit on an electronic device if they do not have it printed.

Someone in my hunting party can’t go. Can we take someone else in his/her place?
No. If someone is unable to go, the permit cannot be cancelled, refunded or transferred to another person.

Will the refuge issue us tags for our game?
No; the hunter will need to use his or her own tags from his or her own hunting license.

What is the weather/terrain/vegetation like?
Weather: The weather this time of year can be unpredictable. Be prepared for warm or cold days, and possible rain.
Terrain: The terrain on the refuge is relatively flat, but can be rugged and difficult to traverse, especially after rains.
Vegetation: The refuge contains several different habitats, including coastal prairie and running live oak thickets. The vegetation can be very thick and difficult to walk through.
The refuge does use prescribed burns to manage the vegetation on our prairies, so areas may have been burned prior to your hunt.

Are mosquitoes, ticks, or snakes a problem on the refuge?

Mosquitoes and chiggers are prevalent in the area; bug spray is recommended, and many hunters also use Thermacell devices. Ticks are also found throughout the refuge. There are many species of snake on the refuge, including the venomous western diamondback rattlesnake and the venomous cottonmouth (also coral snakes and copperheads, though not as common). Most snakes encountered on the refuge are relatively harmless and will leave people alone. However, we recommend hunters watch their footing and/or use snake shields or snake boots.

Can I take someone hunting with me who does not have a permit?
No, only individuals with a permit are allowed in the hunt units during the hunt. You may bring one person to help you during scouting. Exceptions may be made for non-hunting youth ONLY for educational purposes.  Contact the refuge for specific permissions.

Can I have someone without a permit help me bring my harvested game out of the refuge?
No, only individuals with a permit are allowed in the hunting units.

What if I can’t make the scouting period?
In order to get a feel for the refuge habitat, you are welcome to visit the public area (auto tour and trails) during normal refuge hours, as long as the entrance fee is paid and all refuge rules are abided by (visitors must stay on designated trails). However, the hunt area is in a closed area of the refuge and you will not be able to access that portion of the refuge outside of scout and hunt periods.

Can I bring someone with me to help me scout?
You may bring one non-permitted helper/observer into the Hunt Units during the scouting period only.

Can I set up equipment during the scouting period in preparation for my hunt?
Yes, you can set up on the designated scouting day before your hunt.

Can I use a drone to help me scout?
No; because lands within the National Wildlife Refuge System are considered ecologically sensitive, operating drones or any unmanned aircraft without special permits on or over refuge land is illegal.

Can I set up a game camera?
Yes, you may set up game cameras, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not responsible for loss, theft, or damage.  Game cameras must be removed at the end of the hunt period.

Can I camp on the refuge?
No, camping is not allowed on the refuge.

Where are the closest hotels/motels?

The cities with the closest hotels are Port Lavaca and Rockport.
*Because we are a government entity, we cannot endorse specific hotels in these areas. Hunters will need to do their own research.*

Where is there camping/ an RV campground nearby?

The closest camping/RV sites near the refuge are Hopper’s Landing near Austwell (361-286-3331) and Austwell City Park (361-286-3523). Goose Island State Park in Rockport also allows camping.  Other camping/RV sites may be available in Port Lavaca or Rockport.

Can I stay on the refuge/on the road just outside the refuge?

No, camping on the refuge or on the county road is not allowed.

Can I carry my handgun with me?
Yes.  However, persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuges must comply with all provisions of state and local law.

How do I know what area I can hunt in?
Hunters are not assigned to a hunt unit or any particular area; each hunter can choose to hunt anywhere within the open units.  Again, we suggest coming during the scouting period so that you know where you want to go and are not disturbing other hunters.

Can I quarter my kill and take it out in pieces?
Hunters must field dress harvested game in the Hunt Area. A meat cooler is available for dressed game at the Refuge Hunt Check Station. Space is limited; please be respectful of other hunters. Harvest may NOT be processed in the field; facilities are available at Check Station for processing game.

Is there a place provided where we can hang our game to clean and skin it?

Yes, we do have a processing area provided for hunters to use. However, game must be field dressed in the Hunt Area.

Where can I park my vehicle during the hunt?
Parking is available along the side of any open road.

I’m disabled; is there a way I can use motorized transport to help me with the hunt?
For a disabled person to use motor transport, the hunter will need to contact the refuge and apply for a special use permit at least 2 weeks before their scheduled hunt. 

If I need help getting my game out of the hunt unit, what can I do?
Hunters should plan on being able to do everything themselves, without the help of refuge staff.

Will I be able to purchase any equipment or food at the hunt check station?
Please plan to bring everything that you need. The nearest convenience store is in Tivoli, approximately 15 miles from the refuge.

What is a typical success rate?
In 2017, the archery hunt was canceled due to Hurricane Harvey.  For the rifle hunts, the following animals were harvested (100 permits available for each hunt; approximately 85 purchased):  
Rifle 1 - 10 bucks, 3 does, 6 hogs
Rifle 2 - 8 bucks (one 8 pt, two 6 pt, one 3 pt, 4 spikes), 3 does, 14 hogs
Rifle 3 - 6 bucks (two 10 pt, two 4 pt, 2 spikes), 6 does, 20 hogs