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Old 12-14-2020, 10:46 AM   #1
donpablo
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Question Unused Public

If you use Base Map you know they do a weekly contest where you try and guess a spot within designated public land. Well this week they did Javelina in far West Texas. Not knowing any better, they put the marker on land owned by the state that is not huntable. Looking at the designated area it hit me that Texas has millions of acres with prime hunting habitat that is just sitting there unused (by hunters at least). I know there was some talk a while back about an org that is supposed to advocate for more public hunting land but I can't help but feel like we need one specifically for Texas. Anyone know if something like that has been put together yet?
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Old 12-14-2020, 12:31 PM   #2
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If you use Base Map you know they do a weekly contest where you try and guess a spot within designated public land. Well this week they did Javelina in far West Texas. Not knowing any better, they put the marker on land owned by the state that is not huntable. Looking at the designated area it hit me that Texas has millions of acres with prime hunting habitat that is just sitting there unused (by hunters at least). I know there was some talk a while back about an org that is supposed to advocate for more public hunting land but I can't help but feel like we need one specifically for Texas. Anyone know if something like that has been put together yet?
I know there's a bunch down in South Texas, part of Laguna Atascosa that hasn't been opened up yet. Was told they were waiting on someone to do a hunt plan, not sure what that consist of.

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Old 12-14-2020, 04:32 PM   #3
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I know there's a bunch down in South Texas, part of Laguna Atascosa that hasn't been opened up yet. Was told they were waiting on someone to do a hunt plan, not sure what that consist of.

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Some of that should be opening up next season as it was on the list for the GAO act that was passed recently.

To the OP, youíre correct about there being more public land that isnít utilized by hunting. Thereís several properties in west Texas that could be prime hunting opportunities for MD, aoudad, upland, waterfowl, and possibly even an extra bighorn tag. They would need to be drawn permits besides the wingshooting though.
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Old 12-14-2020, 09:20 PM   #4
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Some of that should be opening up next season as it was on the list for the GAO act that was passed recently.

To the OP, youíre correct about there being more public land that isnít utilized by hunting. Thereís several properties in west Texas that could be prime hunting opportunities for MD, aoudad, upland, waterfowl, and possibly even an extra bighorn tag. They would need to be drawn permits besides the wingshooting though.
I donít know why it couldnít be APH? Run like Meredith.
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Old 12-14-2020, 09:31 PM   #5
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I donít know why it couldnít be APH? Run like Meredith.
Because TPW does not make money off of places like Meredith. Then they screw up the places they do take over. In the form of, places that anyone used to be able to hunt, whenever they wanted, once TPW takes over, good luck every getting to hunt that place again. But TPW will collect lots of money every year, with people buy tickets trying to get on the place.

Any public land that is not currently open to hunting, that could be, it would be much better if some Federal agency opened that land for hunting, than TPW. Their drawings suck.
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Old 12-14-2020, 11:43 PM   #6
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Because TPW does not make money off of places like Meredith. Then they screw up the places they do take over. In the form of, places that anyone used to be able to hunt, whenever they wanted, once TPW takes over, good luck every getting to hunt that place again. But TPW will collect lots of money every year, with people buy tickets trying to get on the place.

Any public land that is not currently open to hunting, that could be, it would be much better if some Federal agency opened that land for hunting, than TPW. Their drawings suck.

Totally Agree!!

I'm curious if anyone knows the breakout of state funding that goes to TPWD from state collected taxes vs from hunters & anglers tags/permits & park goers
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Old 12-15-2020, 12:03 AM   #7
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I donít know why it couldnít be APH? Run like Meredith.
Is an APH required for Meredith? I thought it was just open public hunting like LBJ. Maybe I'm wrong? I've never been but have been thinking about checking it out.

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Old 12-15-2020, 05:17 AM   #8
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TTT we have a lot of public hunting land but could use more I’d like to see more land open for general hunting abd not just drawn hunts. With the public land groups on fb there’s a lot of ppl that could be writing the governer.
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Old 12-15-2020, 05:40 AM   #9
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If you use Base Map you know they do a weekly contest where you try and guess a spot within designated public land. Well this week they did Javelina in far West Texas. Not knowing any better, they put the marker on land owned by the state that is not huntable. Looking at the designated area it hit me that Texas has millions of acres with prime hunting habitat that is just sitting there unused (by hunters at least). I know there was some talk a while back about an org that is supposed to advocate for more public hunting land but I can't help but feel like we need one specifically for Texas. Anyone know if something like that has been put together yet?
To answer your question, RMEF, TRCP (Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership), and BHA (Back Country Hunters and Anglers) do a lot to open up access to the tracts of land. RMEF and BHA have done a fair bit of work in western mountain states to open up that land, as that is where most of it is, originating from when the railroads were first built.

TRCP is going to be your best bet for an organization in Texas that would work to open up that land. I wouldn't bother with BHA at this point, they seem to have all but gone away in Texas.

Also, OnX and TRCP/BHA every year put out a report of the locked up public lands. What you end up finding out is very wealthy people purchase land around these locked up sections, specifically so they can have sole access to it, or share it with one or two land owners. Out west, lots of these chunks of public land touch at the corners. In theory, a guy could go to the corner of hte property, and "hop" across to the next chunk. Well the landowners who don't want the public to access these properties have gotten laws passed so that the public cannot "corner hop" on these chunks to gain access to landlocked land.
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Old 12-15-2020, 08:19 AM   #10
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Because TPW does not make money off of places like Meredith. Then they screw up the places they do take over. In the form of, places that anyone used to be able to hunt, whenever they wanted, once TPW takes over, good luck every getting to hunt that place again. But TPW will collect lots of money every year, with people buy tickets trying to get on the place.

Any public land that is not currently open to hunting, that could be, it would be much better if some Federal agency opened that land for hunting, than TPW. Their drawings suck.
I hear what you're saying. There's always a downside when TPWD takes over public land. But some access through TPWD would be better than no access. I agree though. There's no reason they couldn't put up a sign with rules/regs regarding access and just let people get after it. You wouldn't even need a federal agency involved. You see it done that way out west all the time. Almost no maintenance required. No personnel other than the game wardens that are already out there.

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Is an APH required for Meredith? I thought it was just open public hunting like LBJ. Maybe I'm wrong? I've never been but have been thinking about checking it out.

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No sir. Meredith isn't under APH. I just mentioned that because that's the ideal public set up. Go out there when you want hunt what's in season. Almost no red tape/extra regs.

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Originally Posted by WItoTX View Post
To answer your question, RMEF, TRCP (Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership), and BHA (Back Country Hunters and Anglers) do a lot to open up access to the tracts of land. RMEF and BHA have done a fair bit of work in western mountain states to open up that land, as that is where most of it is, originating from when the railroads were first built.

TRCP is going to be your best bet for an organization in Texas that would work to open up that land. I wouldn't bother with BHA at this point, they seem to have all but gone away in Texas.

Also, OnX and TRCP/BHA every year put out a report of the locked up public lands. What you end up finding out is very wealthy people purchase land around these locked up sections, specifically so they can have sole access to it, or share it with one or two land owners. Out west, lots of these chunks of public land touch at the corners. In theory, a guy could go to the corner of hte property, and "hop" across to the next chunk. Well the landowners who don't want the public to access these properties have gotten laws passed so that the public cannot "corner hop" on these chunks to gain access to landlocked land.
Gonna look into TRCP. It's ridiculous the huge tracts of state owned land down there. Prime muley, javelina, aoudad, blue quail, predator habitat.
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Old 12-15-2020, 08:37 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by RifleBowPistol View Post
Because TPW does not make money off of places like Meredith. Then they screw up the places they do take over. In the form of, places that anyone used to be able to hunt, whenever they wanted, once TPW takes over, good luck every getting to hunt that place again. But TPW will collect lots of money every year, with people buy tickets trying to get on the place.

Any public land that is not currently open to hunting, that could be, it would be much better if some Federal agency opened that land for hunting, than TPW. Their drawings suck.
Tpwd doesnít ďtake overĒ anything. The feds choose to put their properties into the tpwd drawing. To make it easier on them. Also, they still make the rules and decide on means methods and seasons.
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Old 12-15-2020, 08:44 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=donpablo;15328282]I hear what you're saying. There's always a downside when TPWD takes over public land. But some access through TPWD would be better than no access. I agree though. There's no reason they couldn't put up a sign with rules/regs regarding access and just let people get after it. You wouldn't even need a federal agency involved. You see it done that way out west all the time. Almost no maintenance required. No personnel other than the game wardens that are already out there.

Itís a quality vs quantity debate really. Both needed but Hard to balance.
Also you canít have public hunting land without at least 1 or two employees depending on size. Boundaryís donít mark themselves, trash from the ďconservationistĒ hunters and other users Dosent pick itself up. Signs that have been shot up or stolen donít replace themselves. Mowing and other maintenance that people complain about not happening.
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Old 12-15-2020, 10:43 AM   #13
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[quote=Etxnoodler;15328383]
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I hear what you're saying. There's always a downside when TPWD takes over public land. But some access through TPWD would be better than no access. I agree though. There's no reason they couldn't put up a sign with rules/regs regarding access and just let people get after it. You wouldn't even need a federal agency involved. You see it done that way out west all the time. Almost no maintenance required. No personnel other than the game wardens that are already out there.

It’s a quality vs quantity debate really. Both needed but Hard to balance.
Also you can’t have public hunting land without at least 1 or two employees depending on size. Boundary’s don’t mark themselves, trash from the “conservationist” hunters and other users Dosent pick itself up. Signs that have been shot up or stolen don’t replace themselves. Mowing and other maintenance that people complain about not happening.
Almost being the key word. Sure there is some infrastructure and maintenance that would be necessary but would it really be that much? People who want mowing can take their happy butts out there and do it. I recently hunted Colorado and have seen tracts like what I'm suggesting. There's a fence. There's signs. That's about it. The less you have to involve TPWD, the better. I hate to be negative but from what I've seen they tend to over regulate. Look at Twin Buttes. Before TPWD took over you could hunt out there year round (non-game for example). Now TPWD says TBR is safe for non-hunting use during hunting season but it should be closed to hunting outside of hunting season for the safety of non-hunting users.
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Old 12-15-2020, 04:31 PM   #14
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I know some of the state land is owned by universities.
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Old 12-15-2020, 04:53 PM   #15
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Looking at OnX there are a lot of tracts from 15-200 acres or larger around me listed as state of Tx. It would be nice if I could at least explore these places
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Old 12-15-2020, 06:58 PM   #16
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Looking at OnX there are a lot of tracts from 15-200 acres or larger around me listed as state of Tx. It would be nice if I could at least explore these places
I agree. As state residents we should be able to.
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Old 12-22-2020, 12:24 AM   #17
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Because TPW does not make money off of places like Meredith. Then they screw up the places they do take over. In the form of, places that anyone used to be able to hunt, whenever they wanted, once TPW takes over, good luck every getting to hunt that place again. But TPW will collect lots of money every year, with people buy tickets trying to get on the place.

Any public land that is not currently open to hunting, that could be, it would be much better if some Federal agency opened that land for hunting, than TPW. Their drawings suck.
Agree
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Old 12-22-2020, 01:36 AM   #18
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In


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Old 12-22-2020, 02:09 AM   #19
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Do they still have homestead laws on the books, if so why can,t just go to state government land and build a little house kinda hidden ,think I,ll look into it, I know the land would be out west somewhere, Davis mountains sounds good to me
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Old 12-22-2020, 04:50 AM   #20
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Do they still have homestead laws on the books, if so why can,t just go to state government land and build a little house kinda hidden ,think I,ll look into it, I know the land would be out west somewhere, Davis mountains sounds good to me
I think they do in Alaska

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Old 01-11-2021, 11:40 AM   #21
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TRCP is going to be your best bet for an organization in Texas that would work to open up that land. I wouldn't bother with BHA at this point, they seem to have all but gone away in Texas.
Totally agree with working with TRCP to open up land opportunities, but I will say that Texas definitely has an active BHA chapter. They didn't do much in 2020 because of COVID, but had numerous events in 2019 and plan to continue doing things in the future as well. https://www.backcountryhunters.org/texas
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:31 AM   #22
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Don't look NWR maps... the amount of federal refuge land that can't be accessed is unreal to me
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:54 AM   #23
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Let’s organize and lobby
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:12 PM   #24
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Letís organize and lobby
Using the vast amounts of power available to them, big tech has outlawed lobbying by anyone with a conservative goal.
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:28 PM   #25
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very interesting read, have learned alot...
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:44 PM   #26
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Totally agree with working with TRCP to open up land opportunities, but I will say that Texas definitely has an active BHA chapter. They didn't do much in 2020 because of COVID, but had numerous events in 2019 and plan to continue doing things in the future as well. https://www.backcountryhunters.org/texas
Yeah, and I attended most events in 2019 in the Houston area. It was mostly getting together and having beers, talking about guns and hunting. It's fun, but it's not advancing the ball.

When BHA tells me "the don't want to expend their political capital" re-opening up public land in March, April and May of 2020, I am sorry but BHA is dead to me.

FWIW, I am a life member of BHA.
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Old 01-17-2021, 01:32 AM   #27
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Well I would be interested in helping out if y'all get something organized or going. No reason Texas can't operate like Western states with available land to hunt.
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:23 AM   #28
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Do state biologists even want us hunting?
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Old 01-26-2021, 03:57 PM   #29
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I don’t know why it couldn’t be APH? Run like Meredith.
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Old 01-27-2021, 08:00 PM   #30
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I agree. As state residents we should be able to.
I was watching The Hunting Public channel on youtube and the guys had gone to oklahoma. One of them ended up killing a great buck on a track that was like 50-100 acres that most folks were overlooking because it was so small.
lots of those tracks in Tx if On X is accurate
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Old 01-27-2021, 08:41 PM   #31
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I was watching The Hunting Public channel on youtube and the guys had gone to oklahoma. One of them ended up killing a great buck on a track that was like 50-100 acres that most folks were overlooking because it was so small.
lots of those tracks in Tx if On X is accurate
With access and ability to hunt deer now? Everytime I see those small places it is like for dove and rabbits. Are you saying a lot of small acres currently not permissible to hunt?
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Old 01-28-2021, 10:58 AM   #32
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With access and ability to hunt deer now? Everytime I see those small places it is like for dove and rabbits. Are you saying a lot of small acres currently not permissible to hunt?
A lot of small plots and some huge ones too. Use Base Map or OnX and look out west. It'll blow your mind when you see how much land the state owns that Texans aren't allowed to hunt.
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:12 AM   #33
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I donít know why it couldnít be APH? Run like Meredith.
Deer densities in a lot of those areas are very low. I share your frustration I wish it was just like Meredith with just an APH needed but then I think about what it would do to the already low game numbers and I donít see it being a good thing. I honestly wish theyíd just open them all up to small game, bird, and exotic sheep hunting, then mule deer by draw. To me that would be the most realistic and conservation minded approach. This is just my opinion though.
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Old 01-28-2021, 07:05 PM   #34
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Deer densities in a lot of those areas are very low. I share your frustration I wish it was just like Meredith with just an APH needed but then I think about what it would do to the already low game numbers and I donít see it being a good thing. I honestly wish theyíd just open them all up to small game, bird, and exotic sheep hunting, then mule deer by draw. To me that would be the most realistic and conservation minded approach. This is just my opinion though.
True. There are a lot of aoudad out there damaging mule deer habitat.
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Old 01-28-2021, 07:17 PM   #35
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A lot of small plots and some huge ones too. Use Base Map or OnX and look out west. It'll blow your mind when you see how much land the state owns that Texans aren't allowed to hunt.
Can you do a screenshot for those of us without that app?
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Old 01-28-2021, 07:37 PM   #36
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Can you do a screenshot for those of us without that app?
Idk why but it wonít let me upload the screenshot. You can get the app for free and the upgrade to Pro is pretty cheap compared to onX.

Learn more about how GearDrop works here: http://www.basemap.com/geardrop/

Download the app here: https://basemap.onelink.me/Hi3Y/d59c3d14
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Old 01-29-2021, 12:27 AM   #37
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As many hunters in this state it seems we should be able to get a coalition together and get hunting access. I feel like we have been failed by hunting organizations in the state that aren't doing anything for hunting but all their focus and advertising is on high fence deer and high end feeders/blinds.

I would join up and help if there was a charge to get most of the state land opened for hunting
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Old 01-31-2021, 08:34 AM   #38
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Idk why but it wonít let me upload the screenshot. You can get the app for free and the upgrade to Pro is pretty cheap compared to onX.

Learn more about how GearDrop works here: http://www.basemap.com/geardrop/

Download the app here: https://basemap.onelink.me/Hi3Y/d59c3d14
Thank ya
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Old 02-07-2021, 10:48 PM   #39
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Getting them to open up some of the government-owned land would be great, but there are other ways to add to our public hunting lands. Many states have a system that allows private lands to be available for public hunting. They don't all call the program the same thing but "block managment" seems to a common term for this program. I assume the landowner leases their property to the state or gets some type of tax break. Each landowner can pick how to run the hunting operations, "walk-in," "by written permission only," "no pheasant hunting," "bow-only," etc. I've seen it in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and the Dakotas - just some signs on the fence and maybe a designated parking area. This isn't just small game, either, most of them seem to allow deer hunting, too.

Add a few bucks to our license or APH and get some landowners signed up, I'd be more than willing to pay more for that. The state game and fish dept runs the program and has maps, etc online, but I don't think there's really that much for them to do other than secure the lease, provide signs and maps. Would probably add a little more work for the game warden compared to if the place was a private lease, but the state doesn't seem to take on that much more work/responsibility from what I can tell. I've hunted on these in Wyoming and Montana, and during bowseason I saw a lot more game than other hunters.

Other states are doing it, why can't Texas?

In many parts of Texas, there is practically no public big-game hunting land. Adding one 2000 acre tract to the block management would be a huge improvement. Make it bow-only to help lower the harvest and preserve the resources, if necessary.

Last edited by rattler03; 02-07-2021 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:08 PM   #40
Etxnoodler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rattler03 View Post
Getting them to open up some of the government-owned land would be great, but there are other ways to add to our public hunting lands. Many states have a system that allows private lands to be available for public hunting. They don't all call the program the same thing but "block managment" seems to a common term for this program. I assume the landowner leases their property to the state or gets some type of tax break. Each landowner can pick how to run the hunting operations, "walk-in," "by written permission only," "no pheasant hunting," "bow-only," etc. I've seen it in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and the Dakotas - just some signs on the fence and maybe a designated parking area. This isn't just small game, either, most of them seem to allow deer hunting, too.

Add a few bucks to our license or APH and get some landowners signed up, I'd be more than willing to pay more for that. The state game and fish dept runs the program and has maps, etc online, but I don't think there's really that much for them to do other than secure the lease, provide signs and maps. Would probably add a little more work for the game warden compared to if the place was a private lease, but the state doesn't seem to take on that much more work/responsibility from what I can tell. I've hunted on these in Wyoming and Montana, and during bowseason I saw a lot more game than other hunters.

Other states are doing it, why can't Texas?

In many parts of Texas, there is practically no public big-game hunting land. Adding one 2000 acre tract to the block management would be a huge improvement. Make it bow-only to help lower the harvest and preserve the resources, if necessary.
Texas does do this with the APH program. Problem is people can get way more leasing to individuals than the state. There used to be a ton. Of leased land in east Texas. It gets smaller and smaller each year as they lease to clubs instead.
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:26 PM   #41
rattler03
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Hunt In: archer, val verde & hays counties
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Texas does do this with the APH program. Problem is people can get way more leasing to individuals than the state. There used to be a ton. Of leased land in east Texas. It gets smaller and smaller each year as they lease to clubs instead.
Right, that's why they need to start paying a competitive rate. There are private leases in these other states, but they still manage to enroll properties in their programs.

If TPWD could add a few properties I believe most public land hunters would gladly pay more. They could also increase the cost of out-of-state tags which are a lot less than most western states. I honestly don't think there's much of an appetite for this at TPWD, which is sad.
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Old 02-25-2021, 03:58 AM   #42
Djr715
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I did some research about this land a few weeks back, but haven't had time to post this until now.

The majority of the state owned land (approx 2.1 million acres) in West Texas part of the Permanent University Fund (PUF). This land was set aside in by the Texas constitution in 1876 U.T./T.A.M.U. systems.

This land is managed by the U.T. Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) with the goal of maximizing revenue from both subsurface (oil, gas, minerals) and surface activities (grazing, wind, solar, etc).

Not 100% sure on this, but from what I've read, it appears that whoever has the grazing rights also retains the hunting rights.

The largest contiguous chunk of land is 490,226 acres in Hudspeth County along the NM border. There are only 4 different families/companies leasing the grazing rights on this piece of land.

The path to opening up this chunk of land seems relatively simple:
  1. TPWD liaise with UTIMCO
  2. UTIMCO re-negotiates a lower price with grazing lease holders to give up hunting rights while continuing to maintain roads.
  3. TPWD Biologists conduct surveys to come up with harvest quoatas
  4. TPWD sells permits and pays UTIMCO the deficit between old grazing rights fee and new (lower) grazing rights fee.
    1. TPWD would likely have to create a new hunt category and charge higher than $3 to cover the deficit.
  5. Hunt

It honestly seems like a very straightforward process and something that could get done by next season (maybe even this season) if both TPWD and UTIMCO were motivated.

But... I am fully aware this is a pipe dream. I cannot begin to fathom the mountains of red tape and bureaucratic BS that would impede such an undertaking.
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:22 AM   #43
Djr715
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The Texas General Land Office manages a lot of the state owned land in West Texas. I know it's less acreage than the PUF/UTIMCO, but it's still a lot.

Most of the land they manage is part of the Permanent School Fund (same thing as the Permanent University Fund, but for public K-12 schools).

From BaseMap, it appears that they manage mostly smaller tracts of 1k-2k. The biggest I could find is a little over 12k acres.
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:40 AM   #44
Djr715
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rattler03 View Post
They could also increase the cost of out-of-state tags which are a lot less than most western states. I honestly don't think there's much of an appetite for this at TPWD, which is sad.
Not charging NR's more to apply for drawn hunts is ridiculous.

The most glaring example of this the Desert Bighorn draw. Letting NR's enter for $10 is one of the most asinine things I've ever seen.
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