The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is taking public comment on reauthorizing the practice of using tracking dogs to trail wounded deer, which has been prohibited in a dozen eastern counties for more than 20 years.
A series of public meetings is slated to provide details of the proposal and give the public an opportunity to comment. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is expected to take action on the proposal at its Aug. 22.
The agency 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, according to the release. TPWD believes the prohibition could be lifted in an additional 12 counties, including Harris, Harrison, Houston, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Panola, Polk, Rusk, San Jacinto, Trinity and Walker.
Details about the proposal, along with an opportunity to provide public comment, can be found online. Comment also may be made in writing to Robert Macdonald, TPWD Regulations Coordinator, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744, in person at any of the following public hearings or at the TPWD annual public hearing at 2 p.m. Aug. 21 at the above address.
All meetings are set to begin at 6 p.m.
- July 30 in Woodville at the Woodville Elementary School Community Room, 306 Kirby Drive.
- July 31 in Lufkin at the Angelina County Courthouse District Courtroom, 215 East Lufkin Avenue.
- Aug. 1 in Hemphill at the Sabine County Courthouse District Courtroom, 201 Main Street.
At the conclusion of each public hearing, wildlife officials will conduct a brief presentation on deer management and regulations in the Pineywoods ecoregion. TPWD staff will present information related to regulations and data collection and take questions regarding deer management, deer hunting and regulations.