Hunting applications are now being accepted for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s drawn hunt permits program.

Lucky winners in the draw will have a shot at almost 10,000 available permits in 61 hunt categories statewide in 2022, including a broad swathe of national wildlife areas in the Rio Grande Valley.

Archery, rifle and shotguns are allowed during certain hunts here in the Valley. Cost of the application ranges from $3 to $10, with winners then paying $80 for regular four-day hunts on the national wildlife refuges next year.

The TPWD drawn hunts are the only feasible big-game hunting opportunities for many Texas residents who cannot afford the cost of leasing private land.

The first application deadlines are in August. Aug. 1 is the deadline for the alligator hunt categories, pronghorn and private lands dove hunts, and Aug. 15 is the deadline for archery deer, general exotic and javelina. Application deadlines are the 1st and 15th of the month from Aug. 1 to Nov. 1.

Here in the Valley, drawn hunt opportunities for archery and rifle and shotgun are available for the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, including the Bahia Grande Unit.

Areas of the Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR open to hunt in the draw are La Sal del Rey, Tecolote, East Lake and Teniente.

The hunts at the Valley wildlife refuges have bag limits of unlimited nilgai and unlimited feral hogs, both of which are invasive species. Anywhere between 16 and 50 permits will be issued per site, depending on location.

The permits are for drawn hunts on both public and private lands throughout Texas. Among the statewide offerings available through the online system are hunts for white-tailed and mule deer, pronghorn, turkey, alligator, dove and guided packages for exotic species and bighorn sheep.

“These drawings include selections for U.S. Forest Service Antlerless Deer Permits, both adult and youth hunts, 18 e-Postcard Selections for hunters using the $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit, and hunts conducted on nine national wildlife refuges in Texas,” said Kelly Edmiston, TPWD public hunting program coordinator.

Drawn hunt opportunities can be viewed online on the TPWD website by category or by area via an interactive map. All applications, fee payments and permit issuance are handled electronically.

To participate, applicants will need internet access, an email address and a credit or debit card. The customer ID number from the applicant’s hunting or fishing license is the most effective way to access the system.

For questions, contact [email protected] via email or call 512-389-4505 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.