Texas is a massive state with some famous regions for hunting big bucks. Rockport does not often produce record breaking whitetails but the region has excellent habitat and opportunities for public and private land hunting. Whitetail hunters can also find bucks with serious mass here. The abundance of waterfowl habitat makes Rockport a focal point for serious duck hunters as well. You can work the islands and bays and get away from other hunters more easily than in other areas with limited water resources.
Waterfowl Hunting the Gulf
If you love chasing waterfowl, the gulf waters near Rockport are a dream with rich habitat. You can spend every day of the season running sunrise and sunset hunts while seeing birds moving around the area. Use a good blind and a few decoys and your chances of shooting a limit is good. Pass shooting and jump shooting are also possible while using natural cover and high frequency travel areas. The islands have shallow zones that are perfect for feeding waterfowl and hunting over these areas is a great approach.
The waters around Rockport have great Teal hunting. You will also find excellent numbers of pintails, widgeons, redheads, scaup and buffleheads. Hunting the bay and island zones is very productive but don’t overlook the inland hunting opportunities. Look for flooded timber, marshes and ponds to produce. You can do well in many of these areas without a boat as well.
A duck hunting boat does provide an advantage however. Even a kayak with a blind cover can open a ton of water access in the bay. Boats with a shallow draft are the best as they can reach those shallow marsh zones where the ducks really concentrate. Kayak hunters can do especially well in hard to reach places.
Deer Hunting Public and Private Lands
Rockport really flies under the radar for quality deer hunting. It’s known as a fishing destination but the deer hunting can really be fantastic. The local golf courses, public land areas and private ranches are all loaded with deer. Do some scouting to find areas with good populations and consider tackling the archery or rifle seasons to bag a nice buck or a doe for the freezer.
One of the best deer hunting opportunities around Rockport is the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge has rifle and archery seasons with a limited entry draw system. Draw this tag and you essentially have a massive wildlife refuge to hunt large deer with very little competition. It’s one amazing deer hunting opportunity and really is one of the better draw hunts in the state.
The archery season runs from September 29-October 7 and three separate rifle seasons follow with dates in November and December. The rifle seasons run on a 4-5 day hunting window. The seasons are spread out which means the deer do not act like pressured animals. Each season has a day or two of designated scouting days as well. Bring your glass and use these days to track down the bigger deer and ideal areas to hunt.
The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge also offers hog hunts. If you draw a deer tag, targeting hogs after harvesting a deer a good move. Like everywhere in Texas, controlling hog populations is an important management process and you can harvest hogs alongside your deer.
Hogs and javelina are present in many areas around Rockport and simply knocking on doors can yield opportunities to hunt ranches, golf courses and other areas where hogs are causing damage. In some cases, you might exchange with landowners by offering to harvest hogs for the opportunity hunt deer on the property as well. This arrangement is not uncommon and it works to benefit both the hunter and the landowner.
Rockport does have a healthy turkey population and you will find some areas to chase these magnificent birds. Hunting turkey and deer in the same areas is not uncommon as they often overlap in habitat zones. Hunters pursue turkeys with both archery equipment and shotguns depending on preference and the season.
The other hunt that is not well known but offers a great event, especially with bird dogs is the dove population. Dove hunting around Rockport is productive, especially with access to some of the larger ranch properties in the area. Doves are fun because you can hunt over dogs or chase them without dogs. Locate a covey, approach slowly and prepare to shoot when they bust loose. It’s an exciting event and the meat is delicious.