How Can I Use My Handgun for Hunting in TX in Texas, TX

Can I Use My Handgun for Hunting in TX?

Pistols are lightweight and accurate, which makes this type of handheld gun a popular choice for self-defense and home defense. Because of these appealing characteristics, it’s understandable to wonder if you can use a pistol to hunt in Texas. The answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no. Here’s what you need to know, brought to you by the firearms education professionals from LTC Austin, the experts who provide the highest-quality Austin license to carry online course available. 

Game Animals & Nonmigratory Game Birds

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s listed guidelines and regulations regarding hunting, any firearm that’s legal in Texas can be used for hunting. This specifically applies to game animals and nonmigratory game birds. The major game animals in the Lone Star State include:

• White-tailed deer and mule deer
• Gray/cat squirrels and red/fox squirrels
• Desert bighorn sheep
• Pronghorn antelope
• Alligators

What this means is that you can legally use a pistol to hunt animals that are classified as game. Also, you’ll have to be mindful of the birds you hunt. However, if you’re an experienced hunter or you hunt with someone who is, you should be able to identify nonmigratory game birds or reach a point where you’re able to do so with accuracy.


There are some exceptions to keep in mind if you have plans to use a pistol or other more convenient gun to hunt in Texas. For instance, fully automatic firearms cannot be used for hunting. Shotguns are also considered a legal firearm for hunting, but only for spring Eastern turkey season.

Magazine Capacity

There’s no limit on how many shells or cartridges a legal firearm used for hunting purposes, including a pistol, may hold. This applies to game animals and birds but not to migratory game birds (e.g., mallards, woodcocks, grey geese, coots, etc.).


Commonly called “silencers,” suppressors can be legally used in Texas when hunting. Just be aware that any local, state, and federal laws specific to the use of silencers also apply.


The only pistols you can use for muzzleloader deer seasons in Texas are ones that are classified this way. This applies to any firearm loaded through the muzzle only. Currently, 90 counties in Texas have muzzleloader deer seasons.

Why Pistols May Be Used for Hunting

Generally, it’s better to use a proper hunting rifle with the right accessories for hunting. As for why you may wish to use a pistol when you go hunting, one possible reason is for times when your target game animal or nonmigratory bird isn’t killed. This can be beneficial for safety reasons. After all, it can be dangerous to handle an animal or bird that’s still actively fighting and moving as you approach it.

Keep Legal Means & Methods in Mind

Regardless of what type of gun you prefer to use when hunting in Texas, it’s important to be aware of what’s legal with hunting in general in this state. For instance, you can legally hunt from a motor vehicle, including one that floats on water. It’s also legal to use decoys, hunting dogs, and calling devices while hunting in Texas.

It’s important for gun owners to be thoroughly familiar with the laws that apply to the use of guns for hunting in their jurisdictions. If you’d like to know more about the local laws about gun use in your area, reach out to experienced professionals for guidance. When they need information on firearms safety, training, or CHL online classes, gun owners trust the expertise of the pros from LTC Austin. If you have questions about any aspect of gun ownership in Texas, give us a call today at 512-766-3039.