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FALL HUNTING IN THE BRAZOS BASIN

Fall is coming, and that means hunting season is soon to begin. While you may have a favorite hunting spot you like to return to year after year, did you know that hunting is also allowed on Texas rivers and on a limited basis at Brazos River Authority lakes?

Hunting on or around water brings its own set of challenges and requires extra safety precautions. As Texans gear up to participate in the annual ritual, here are a few tips to help make your next onwater hunting trip safe and enjoyable:

• File a float plan. Let someone know where you’re going and for how long.
• Make sure to dress appropriately for the conditions, particularly if you will be wading into water. Listen to your body: You may be at risk of hypothermia if you are shivering, feel numb in your extremities or repeatedly stumble. People who suffer from hypothermia are more likely to make poor decisions. Don’t fall into that trap — get warm.
• Check the weather before you head out.
• Don’t drink and boat. Alcohol impairs reaction time, decision making and promotes cold injuries by accelerating heat loss.
• Just as you would if you weren’t hunting, always wear a lifejacket when you’re in a boat and bring required floatation devices.
• Know your boat’s weight limit. Avoid overloading the boat with equipment and passengers.
• Avoid wearing waders while onboard. If you happen to fall overboard with waders on, they can make a rescue difficult by filling up with water and weighing you down.
• Stow firearms with its safety on and the muzzle pointed outboard.
• Establish a safe zone-of-fire with a safe backstop or background.
• Wear your hunter orange. Hunters are required to wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange materials. This includes orange headwear and at least 144 square inches of orange on both your chest and back.
• Do not drop trash or debris, including gun casings, into the water.
• While wading in the river, move slowly so you can feel your way along. Shallow areas can quickly become deep areas with little transition.
• Remain seated or kneeling in the boat, especially when shooting. Standing in a boat can make the boat unsteady.

Hunting is only allowed on Authority lakes at specifically designated for waterfowl blinds, target ranges, or bow hunting. Each August, the Authority holds a drawing for several waterfowl blind sites at Possum Kingdom, Granbury and Limestone lakes. For more information on the upcoming Authority drawings, click here.

The beds of the Brazos and its tributaries are open to hunting as public streams, however, be aware of state laws apply. For more information on these regulations, click here.

You may also face restrictions on hunting by county and city governments. If you plan to hunt in or near a city, you should check with local officials about hunting ordinances. For more about restrictions on hunting in specific counties, click here or check with county officials.

To learn more about Texas hunting, including information about hunting licenses and seasons, go to www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/annual.