Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) is a Texas state agency that oversees and protects wildlife and their habitats. In addition, the agency is responsible for managing the state's parks and historical areas. Its mission is to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.[1]

The agency maintains its headquarters at 4200 Smith School Road in Austin.[2][3][4]


In 1895, the Texas Legislature created the Fish and Oyster Commission to regulate fishing. The legislature added the Game Department to the commission in 1907. The Legislature created the State Parks Board as a separate entity in 1923. In 1963, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was formed through merger of the State Parks Board and the Game and Fish Commission.[5]

In 1983, the Texas legislature passed the Wildlife Conservation Act, giving the department the authority for managing fish and wildlife resources in all Texas counties. The department operates 95 state parks and historic sites, 51 wildlife management areas, eight fish hatcheries, and numerous field offices statewide. On January 1, 2008 and September 1, 2019, TPWD transferred management of several historic sites to the Texas Historical Commission. [6]


The agency employs more than 3,500 permanent employees, and 300 interns every summer, from every field of study. Intern programs vary but are typically 12 weeks long and go from May until August.[7]

Game wardens and Park Police Officers undergo a 30-week course at TPWD's Texas Game Warden Training Center in rural Hamilton County, Texas.[8]


The department is made up of 12 divisions:[9]

  • Coastal Fisheries
  • Communications
  • Financial Resources
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Infrastructure
  • Inland Fisheries
  • Law Enforcement - Game wardens primarily enforce the provisions of the TPW Code but are fully empowered peace officers with statewide jurisdiction and may make arrests for any offense.[10]
  • Legal
  • State Parks - includes Park Police Officers
  • Support Resources
  • Wildlife


TPWD publishes Texas Parks and Wildlife, a monthly magazine available both in print and online editions. The magazine features articles and full-color photos on topics such as birding, boating, camping, fishing, hunting, state parks, travel, wildlife, and environmental issues. Texas Parks and Wildlife has been in publication since 1942.[11]

Television Series

Texas Parks & Wildlife is a weekly, half-hour television series aired on Texas PBS stations, as well as on a number of other PBS stations around the country. Viewers can stream episodes on the PBS website and on the TPWD YouTube channel.

Originally titled Made in Texas, the series began production in 1985 as a magazine style show, with three or four different segments each week. For several years, the show focused on one topic each week, documentary style. In 1991, the name of the series changed to Texas Parks & Wildlife and reverted to its original magazine format.[12]

Radio Series

Passport to Texas is a daily series broadcast on radio stations throughout Texas. The series includes 90 second radio spots on topics, including wildlife, state parks, and outdoor activities.[13]


Under the Texas Sky features outdoor experiences of both everyday people and experts from inside and outside TPWD. [14]

Reality Series: Lone Star Law

Beginning in June 2016 TPWD Game Wardens were featured in a new reality television series on Animal Planet, Lone Star Law.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

Founded in 1991, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is the nonprofit funding partner of TPWD. Overseen by a board of trustees and administered by full- and part-time staff members, the foundation has raised over $100 million since its inception to ensure all Texans can enjoy, explore, and be inspired by the wild things and wild places in Texas.[15]

Texas Game Warden Line of Duty Deaths

Since the establishment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Division, 18 officers have died in the line of duty, including officers from the Texas Game and Fish Commission and the Texas Game, Fish, and Oyster Commission, which merged into the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.[16][17][18]

  • Joe Williams
  • Harry Raymond
  • Dawson Richard Murchison
  • R.W. Wynne
  • Gus Engeling
  • Claude Keller
  • J.D. Murphree
  • Joe Evans
  • Lloyd Gustin
  • Ronnie Germany
  • James Daughtrey
  • Barry Decker
  • Bruce Hill
  • Mike Pauling
  • Wes Wagstaff
  • Justin Hurst
  • Teyran (Ty) Patterson
  • George Harold Whatley, Jr.

See also


  1. http://tpwd.texas.gov/about/mission-philosophy Retrieved on March 5, 2016.
  2. "Directions to TPWD Headquarters." Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  3. "Directions to TPWD Headquarters." Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Retrieved on July 6, 2010.
  4. "City of Austin Development Map Viewer." City of Austin. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  5. http://tpwd.texas.gov/about/history Accessed on March 5, 2016.
  6. https://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20190812c&nrtype=all&nrspan=2019&nrsearch= Retrieved on August 31, 2019.
  7. "TPWD Activities and History". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2006-09-11.
  8. "Career Opportunities — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department". tpwd.texas.gov.
  9. "Administration and Divisions — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department". tpwd.texas.gov.
  10. "PARKS AND WILDLIFE CODE CHAPTER 11. PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT". www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us.
  11. http://www.tpwmagazine.com/about/Retrieved%5B%5D on March 5, 2016.
  12. http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/tv/tvabout.phtml Retrieved on March 5, 2016.
  13. http://passporttotexas.org/about/ Retrieved on March 5, 2016.
  14. https://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/utts/about/ Retrieved on August 31, 2019.
  15. http://www.tpwf.org/who-we-are/about-us/ Retrieved on March 5, 2016.
  16. "Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Law Enforcement Division, TX". The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP).
  17. "Texas Game and Fish Commission, TX". The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP).
  18. "Texas Game, Fish, and Oyster Commission, TX". The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP).
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