Wildlife Exemption Requirements in Texas

Understanding the Requirements for a Wildlife Tax Valuation

A wildlife tax valuation, commonly referred to as a wildlife exemption in Texas, allows property owners to maintain an agriculture tax rate on their rural property while managing for native plants and animals. The majority of landowners are not familiar with the requirements for the tax valuation or developing wildlife management objectives to reach property-based goals, but we are here to help.

In Texas, to apply for property tax appraisal on lands maintained under an open spaced lands as authorized by Section 1-d-1 of the Texas Constitution, including appraisal of agricultural lands, timber lands, or land used for wildlife management, a property owner must file the proper documentation with the County Appraisal District on or before April 30 in the tax year that a wildlife exemption is desired.

Only properties that currently maintain an agriculture tax valuation or timber lands valuation may convert to appraisal based on wildlife management. Texas landowners that apply for wildlife management appraisal must provide an open space land application and a wildlife management plan to the county appraisal district.

Minimum Acreage Requirements for Wildlife Tax Exemption

Landowners often ask, “Is there a minimum acreage requirement for a wildlife tax valuation?” Correct answers include both “yes” and “no.” It depends. There is no minimum acreage requirement for lands that have not changed in size since the prior tax year, but yes there is a minimum tract size for properties that have changed in size (increase or decrease) the previous calendar year. The minimum acreage size for a wildlife exemption varies county by county across Texas.

It is also important to point out that tracts of land that are adjacent and under the same ownership qualify as a single tract of land. In addition, for properties that have been reduced in acreage since the previous tax year, the minimum acreage requirements range from 18 to 50 acres, for the most part increasing in size from east to west across Texas. If you’re not sure whether or not you meet the wildlife exemption requirements for your part of Texas, just contact us and we will be happy to get back with you with an answer.