Hunting javelina in Texas is an affordable experience that will reward you with great times in the field, happy moments at camp and memories to last a lifetime. A javelina hunt is affordable, so it’s something you might consider doing more than once. If you’re like me, you’ll have so much fun you’ll want to go back and re-experience those exciting stalks.
Listed below are the “logistics” for planning a javelina hunt of your own. The information includes costs, transportation suggestions, essential equipment and gear, and other tips and recommendations to make your javelina hunt a success.
The hunt I experienced cost about $1,500 per person — for everything. Here’s a rough breakdown of the expenses. Remember, prices will vary with time and other factors, so your hunt could end up costing more or less.
- Hunting guide fee, in our case it was fee $650 for a 2.5 day hunt.
- Guide tip (bring cash from the ATM: $100 – $200 is typical for tipping at the end of the hunt — based on your satisfaction & service)
- Texas Type 157 Non-Resident 5-Day Special Hunting license (about $50). It can be purchased over the counter in Texas if you have time. Otherwise, I recommend purchasing it ahead of time online and have it mailed to you. It takes about one to two weeks to arrive. For more information go to: http://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/licenses/hunting-licenses-and-permits To purchase the license go to: https://www.txfgsales.com/
- Roundtrip airfare: $350
- Rental car & gas: $300 (in our case this expense was divided between three hunters, so about $95 each)
- Food & incidentals: $100
Planning / Travel / Transportation
In Texas, hunting seasons for javelina very depending upon the county, especially in the northern and southern regions. For more information, go to this online resource: http://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/regs/animal_listing or consult your hunting guide. February is the month we went to Texas and the hunting and weather were extremely favorable.
If possible, plan your hunt six months to a year ahead. Start by choosing a reputable hunting guide. In our case, we chose Wayne Wiemers of Alamito Hunting and Guide Service (432) 556-6133 out of Marfa, Texas. Once I set a date with Wayne for a six-man, 2.5 day hunt, it was time to get five other buddies onboard. Remember that some guides will want a certain number of hunters in the party for a discounted group rate, and will likely charge more for only one or two hunters. I wanted the best bargain I could find, with multiple hunting days, and one that included lodging, so I picked the six-man option (more guys means the guide earns more, so more perks can be included). Probably the hardest part of this kind of hunt is getting enough of your friends to commit and send in their deposit to the guide. Once that has been accomplished, and the right number of guys are locked in, things get easier and there is lots to look forward to.
If you’re flying to Texas:
Choose an air carrier that allows 1 or 2 free checked bags (in our case Southwest Airlines allowed two checked bags for free) which saved us from extra fees, since archery and hunting equipment must be checked. It cannot be included with carry-on luggage.
For the traditional archer, a take-down bow is ideal for this kind of out-of-state hunt. My take-down recurve fit inside my large suitcase, nested in with clothing, hunting pack, etc. Personally, I prefer a plain suitcase over luggage made specifically for archery equipment. Such luggage often suggests what’s inside, and cries out “valuable hunting equipment contained within.” It could catch the eye of someone who’d love to walk off with your prized bow and sell it for profit on Ebay. Instead I like a plan old suitcase that “flies” under the radar.
Arrows need to be checked too, so invest in durable arrow tube or make one out of PVC pipe.
We flew from northern California to El Paso — since it’s the closest major airport to Marfa, and then rented a car to make the final three-hour drive to the hunting ranch. Remember to select a car that will accommodate the number of hunters traveling and all their luggage. A 4WD probably isn’t necessary, so save money by avoiding this upgrade. Most of the roads we traversed were paved or flat and graveled, so a 2WD Toyota Rav-4 was ample for three of us. When it’s time for actual hunting, your guide most likely will drive you around in their 4WD vehicles.
Gear / Equipment
Recurves, longbows or compounds are excellent choices for javelina. Personally, I feel peccary are the perfect quarry for traditional archery equipment because you can sneak well within bow range (10 – 20 yards) and sometimes closer when the wind is in your favor! You also will likely have opportunity to make multiple stalks on the same herd, and take numerous shots, so put your stick-bow skills to the test! No long-range 40 – 60 yard shooting required! On this hunt, I used a 62-inch Stalker Wolverine recurve (a take-down model made by South Cox). Some folks might consider a 62” bow a bit long and awkward to manage, but that wasn’t the case for the areas we hunted. The peccary tended to be in open spaces, dotted with mesquite trees, catclaw acacia scrub and sometimes thigh-high grass. When hunting cottontail rabbits in thicker brush however, a shorter bow of 52 – 58 inches, would have been handier weaving in and out of thickets and taking shots in close quarters, but I managed just fine. I prefer a longer, more forgiving and accurate bow over maneuverability.
Cut on contact broadheads are advised for traditional bow hunting, and I recommend bringing twice the number you’d normally take on a hunt. If your experience is like mine, when you stalk into a herd of javelina, you’ll likely be taking numerous shots … and dulling blades in a hurry in the sandy, rocky soil if you miss. Save broadhead re-sharpening for after the hunt if you can, and thread fresh heads on in a jiffy — if you use ’em. Otherwise, a file can help put a rough edge back on a wooden arrow’s glued on head). If you use screw-on heads, I suggest carrying a few extra sharp ones in small plastic container
in your hunting pack. It makes it easy to have a fresh arrow ready to go after a miss.
Judo points are essential for stump shooting and I always keep one on an arrow in my hunting quiver. When it’s time to hunt rabbits, grab more judos! You’ll want at least three judo-tipped arrows ready to go since you’ll be taking multiple shots as the rabbits move around you. Otherwise, you’ll be slowed down retrieving the one judo-equipped arrow each time. In the photo above (arranged from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock) are some of the small game heads I like to use.
Wind detector powder is essential. Javelina have a keen sense of smell so don’t let the breeze blow your stalk. I find it helpful to attach the wind detector to my belt with a DIY lanyard (stretchy line or thin bungee from REI, the hardware store, etc) for easy one hand usage.
Quality binoculars are always helpful when hunting. We were glassing distances of 50 to 1,000 yards, so 8 x 42 or 10 x 42 optics work just fine for javelina spotting.
I hunt with Lowa Renegade GXT boots, which performed well in Texas. There were times stalking close to javelina however, when I wished my boots were quieter on the rocky, gravely surfaces. Wearing something like the Sneek Boots by Sneek EZ https://sneektec.com/ would be helpful and I might bring some next time.
Sun screen with a high SPF rating should be used on exposed skin. It only takes an hour in the Texas sun to get a nasty sunburn.
- Camo or wool plaid tops work fine. Javelina do not have keen eyesight, so a Ghillie suit isn’t required, though wearing something that helps you blend in is helpful.
- Merino wool base layers are great for the early mornings and late afternoons when the temperature can drop. Check the online 5-day weather forecast ahead of time to determine how much worm clothing is needed.
- Merino wool gloves, especially one to wear on your bow hand can make the chilly morning hunt more pleasant.
- A boonie hat for neck, face and ear sun protection is ideal.
- Rain gear? It’s usually not needed but prior to departure for Texas it’s best to check with the hunting guide and/or online 5-day weather forecast.
Make it Happen!
As you can see, bowhunting javelina in Texas isn’t all that complicated. In fact, it’s well worth the effort — not just for the memories, but for the thrill of sneaking within yards of your quarry with a stick and string. I hope you’ll give it a try!