Hunters will be allowed to use as many as two dogs only to trail a wounded deer in 12 additional counties in East Texas during the 2013-14 deer season under a rule change approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
The rule change does not legalize the use of dogs to hunt, pursue or take deer. That practice remains illegal statewide in Texas. Hunters are allowed to use as many as two dogs only for the purpose of trailing a wounded deer in all but 10 Texas counties. Counties where the practice of trailing wounded deer with dogs remains prohibited include: Angelina, Hardin, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby and Tyler.
The new rule will lift the prohibition in Harris, Harrison, Houston, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Panola, Polk, Rusk, San Jacinto, Trinity and Walker counties.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department adopted rules prohibiting the use of dogs to trail wounded deer in 34 East Texas counties in 1990. The rulemaking was necessary because the department determined that dogs were being used unlawfully to hunt deer, which was causing depletion of the resource, according to a news release.
By 2000 TPWD determined that the practice of using dogs to hunt deer had declined to the point of being nonexistent in some of those counties and removed the prohibition in 10.