State of Texas and Local Central Appraisal Districts
Wildlife Management Valuation of Your Property
Under Texas Tax Code 1-d-1 (Sec. 23.51), property can continued to be appraised as open space land for tax purposes while being maintained for wildlife management use. Wildlife Management Valuation of a property allows a landowner to maintain and care for the land and wildlife with an ag-type exemption, without all the requirements of an agricultural tax exemption.
This 1-d-1 open space exemption can be maintained without the livestock fencing, vetting, and reporting requirements to meet agricultural valuation criteria. The Wildlife Management Valuation tends to be less time consuming and less expensive than typical agricultural production operations; and this may appeal to retiring ranchers and farmers, new, rural landowners, and landowners interested in nature tourism.
There are no further deductions for Wildlife Management Valuation outside what deductions are already provided through the agricultural exemption. It should be noted that a ag-exempt production operation may lose its sales tax exemption status under Wildlife Management Valuation exemption.
Requirements for Wildlife Management Valuation
In generally, there are four requirements for obtaining a wildlife valuation on land:
- Land must already be qualified for the Chapter 23, Subchapter D (1-d-1) Agricultural Appraisal at the time the owner changes use to wildlife management.
- Timber land may not qualify for wildlife management if it is appraised under Chapter 23, Subchapter E. Check with your local appraisal district for more details.
- Land must be used to propagate a breeding, migrating, or wintering population of indigenous wild animals
- The wildlife propagated on the land must be for human use: food, medicine, or recreation. This can be as simple as the owner’s passive enjoyment in owning and managing the land, which qualifies as recreational use
- The owner must perform 3 of 7 wildlife management activities:
- Habitat Control
- Erosion Control
- Predator Control
- Providing Supplemental Supplies of Water
- Providing Supplemental Supplies of Food
- Providing Shelter
- Making Census Counts to Determine Population
- The local appraisal district may require a Wildlife Management Plan to be submitted for each tract of land where the valuation is sought.
- The plan should be consistent with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) regional management plans for which the property is located. Landowners may create their own plans, or may obtain assistance in creating the plan from TPWD, NRCS, or another qualified wildlife biologist.
- TPWD also provides a form for a wildlife management plan that will be acceptable to appraisal districts (PWD-885).
- Consult with your tax and legal adviser prior to making decisions about your landowner rights and taxes.
- Applications must be submitted to the county appraisal district by May 1st of each year.
- Locally, each county has laws specific to wildlife management valuation of land. For example, appraisal districts vary on minimum land size for valuation and on wildlife management reporting to the district. Check with your local central appraisal district for all regulations and details.
- The State of Texas maintains a list of appraisal districts for each county and their contact information: