Nature

Texas Hill Country Animals, Critters, Creatures, and Wildlife

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The Texas Hill Country is for the birds, literally. Since Texas is so large, it’s inevitable that we also have an abundance of wildlife. Several of them are native only to the Lone Star State. For example, if you want to see the green kingfisher in flight, The Texas Hill country is the only place in the USA where you can actually view one, or should we say, hundreds.

Green Kingfisher

green kingfisher

Photo: www.tringa.org

This part of the country is notorious for magnificent bird watching. There are numerous guides and clubs to join where you can spend hours being mesmerized by the unique fowl of this particular area. See these amazing specimens of pure nature in your own leisure without clubs and tours. Regardless of how you come, you’ll be in awe with the sounds and sights of these beauties. Songbirds fill our trees in beautiful harmony and the skies are bursting in color with the most gorgeous of feathered friends. It is something everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.

Guadalupe Bass

guadalupe bass

Photo: toshbrown.com

Another critter unique to Texas, which is not found anywhere else on earth, is the Guadalupe Bass. Although it’s called a “bass,” it’s actually is a member of the sunfish family. This species is generally greenish in color and lives in small streams. At its largest, the Guadalupe Bass weighs in at three and one half pounds.

It makes its home in the San Antonio, Guadalupe, Colorado, and Brazos Rivers. As a matter of fact, the official state fish is the Guadalupe Bass. It was chosen to represent the state because it is truly different from any other species of bass, or for that matter fish in general. It’s very distinctive, exclusive, and beautiful.

Whitetail Deer

whitetail deer

Photo: Courtesy of Whispering Water Ranch Resort

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to our whitetail deer. To date our state has a larger population of this beauty more than in the entire world. This stunning species of deer can be spotted frolicking in the wide open spaces to watch or photograph.

If you have your mind set on another type of shooting, the white deer season opens the first day of October to the last day of February. Texas whitetail deer-hunting ranches have consistently produced trophy whitetail bucks in a traditional environment and using only existing native genetics. Many Texas outfitters and hunting guides object to breeding, shooting pens, trucked-in deer, introduction of out-of-state deer, and ear tags, which provides a more natural and enjoyable whitetail hunting experience. The Texas state record for whitetail buck horn mass is a whopping 48-1/8 inches! Besides the white tail, the Texas Hill Country has well over one hundred different species of other deer, each more beautiful than the next.

Bighorn Sheep

bighorn sheep

Photo: circleranchtx.com

Just 50 years ago, bighorn sheep had all but disappeared from the Texas Hill Country and other parts of our state where they once flourished.

Now, there are so many, they’re being hunted. A recent helicopter survey in August of 2015 counted at least 850 of these amazing animals, and most likely 1,000 total because they were out of sight during this flight time.

Oddly enough, the sheep’s growing numbers are reflected by the 12 bighorn hunting permits issued statewide this year, the most since efforts to rebuild the population began in 1954. Hunting permits are based on the count of older rams, which are not considered crucial to the herd. As in years past, most of this season’s permits will be for sheep hunts on privately owned land.

Landowners get the permits, then sell them and use the proceeds to improve bighorn and other wildlife habitat on their acreage. The sale of one of those permits helped pay for 80 miles of pipe that provides water for bighorn and other wildlife. Another permit went to the Texas Bighorn Society, which auctioned it for $105,000.The remaining permits are offered by lottery to thousands of hunters paying $10 a ticket for a shot at the head-butting beasts. To anyone unfamiliar with the Texas bighorn sheep restoration program and big-game hunting, there’s been an increased price tag for the right to hunt these magnificent animals. Desert bighorns were once prominent in remote mountains of West Texas, but have been relocated to the Texas Hill Country.

Horny Toad

horny toad animals

Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

We have our share of reptiles and arachnids as well. There are at least 120 species and subspecies of snakes found all around Texas, including the hill country. They are very beneficial to us humans, as are other reptiles. There are 16 poisonous snakes everyone should avoid. three species of copperheads -banded and  one  cottonmouth; 11 kinds of rattlesnakes (canebrake, western massasauga, desert massasauga, western pigmy, western diamondback, timber, banded rock, mottled rock, northern black tailed, and of course the dreaded Texas coral snake. Also noteworthy are the horned lizards also called horned toads or if you happen to be a native Texan, we call them horny toads.

Many other fur-bearing creatures of the Hill Country include three different types of foxes, minks, and muskrats. Large families of nutria, skunks of all types, and weasels. Squirrels of all kinds, shapes, sizes, and colors are everywhere. Many other furry friends, too numerous to list can be seem wandering around this beautiful part of the Lone Star State.

You’ll not be able to control your laughter as you watch them and their antics. These charming little critters can be quite comical. There are many badgers in the area, otters, chipmunks, and raccoons. The wonderfully majestic antelope and big horn sheep are a must see. One could be practically hypnotized for an entire day watching them perform their everyday tasks.

This beautiful part of our great state has nature at its best. No matter what type of wildlife you are in search of, The Texas Hill Country always has the best. We are a sight to behold when it comes to the most wonderful sightseeing.