Rockport is one of many hunting hotspots in Texas. The area is especially well known for great waterfowl hunting but it also offers great whitetail deer hunts, turkeys and a few lesser known opportunities like doves and wild hogs. Adhering to the regulations and hunting safely is essential on both public and private land in the area. Archery, rifle and shotgun hunts are all very normal in the area.
Where to go – The Aransas National Wildlife area has a limited draw hunt that is well worth the lottery application. The hunt has an archery and rifle season for deer in an unpressured, isolated area that grows some big bucks. If you want a great public land hunt, this is the one. Otherwise, leases on local farms and blocks of state and federally owned land will reveal excellent opportunities. The bag limit is 5 deer with no more than 3 bucks.
Seasons – The archery season runs from September 28 to November 1 and it serves as the longest season opportunity. The late muzzleloader season is also a great opportunity in January running from the 6th to the 19th. This season is long and the weather is much cooler which is ideal for meat preservation. The general season for rifle is plenty long however and it begins on November 2 and ends on January 19. The main advantage for archery and muzzleloaders is the ability to hunt in areas where rifles are not allowed. You will also find a special late season from January 6 to February 2 and a youth only season in late October and coinciding with the special late season in January as well.
Where to go – Turkey hunts utilize close range tools like bows and shotguns. Turkeys stick to the woods where they roost and often strut into fields for feed during the day. Looking for these local wooded roost zones and feed fields is critical. You are less likely to encounter turkeys in big open areas and march lowlands. Hit the timber and do some serious scouting to determine where the turkeys are moving. They are very habitual and are likely to repeat behavior. You can harvest four turkeys in a season but only one eastern variety. Pay close attention to ensure you are following the regulations and bag limits.
Seasons – Texas has a spring season in the Rio Grande South region and a Fall season in the general south region where Rockport is located. The archery season runs September 28 to November 1 and the youth only season is split between October 26-27 and January 20-February 2. The general fall season runs November 2 to January 19.
Where to go – The Aransas Bay is large and you will find ample waterfowl opportunities. Several outfitters have established blind systems with limited access but you can always setup a temporary blind on the water or use a boat blind. Boats make a big difference here and having one specifically for shallow water is ideal. Taking the hunt to land or smaller bodies of water like ponds is also effective. Geese congregate on golf courses and farm fields and the many ponds in the area hold ducks throughout the season. Jump shooting is always fun when you have access to a legal hunting area.
Seasons – The youth season opens on October 26-27 and the general waterfowl season for the Southern Zone November 2 to December 1. There is a short break and it reopens on December 14, lasting all the way through January 26.
South Texas in general is a hunting paradise with a wide variety of unique opportunities. Sandhill Cranes are a major draw here and few other places even have a hunting season for cranes let alone the opportunity to harvest multiples. Javelina and hogs are also great and hog hunts happen year-round with very few restrictions. In fact, you may find land owners willing to trade access for deer if you harvest hogs to help protect farmland. Doves are also present in good numbers and you can harvest 15 daily in the southern zone with no more than 2 white-tipped in that bag. Throw in the 15 daily limit for quail and upland hunters can stay very busy around here. Small game is abundant as well and hunting rabbits, squirrels, Wilson snipes and a variety of lesser pursued game opens a ton of different hunting options in the area.