The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved opening a hunting season for deer in Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and Galveston counties as part of changes to the 2012-13 Statewide Hunting Proclamation.
Under the new regulations, the current season structure in Grayson County will be altered to allow full-season, either-sex whitetail harvest. The amended Grayson County archery-only deer season structure will also be implemented in Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall counties. In addition, the Commission approved implementing the current Harris County season structure in Galveston County.
The deer season in Collin and Rockwall counties has been closed since 1976 after agricultural development had virtually eliminated deer habitat. Since that time, agriculture has been gradually displaced by the extensive urban, suburban, and exurban growth of the Metroplex, which has resulted in highly fragmented habitat and minimal populations of white-tailed deer, mostly in riparian areas surrounding lakes and streams.
The Commission also adopted rules permitting the use of firearm silencers for the take of alligators, game animals or game birds.
"These devices are already legal for hunting exotic animals, including feral hogs, and there is no resource- or enforcement-related reason to prohibit these devices for hunting alligators, game animals or game birds," said Scott Vaca, TPWD Assistant Chief of Wildlife Enforcement.
The regulation change does not relieve any person of the obligation to comply with applicable federal, state, or local law governing the possession or use of firearm silencers. Firearms silencers are regulated under the National Firearms Act. They are legal for individuals to possess and use for lawful purposes in 39 states, including Texas. However, a prospective user must go through an application process administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which requires a Federal tax payment of $200 and a thorough criminal background check.
The Commission has also decided to close the pheasant hunting season in all counties along the upper Texas coast. In 1976 the department stocked pheasant in seven counties along the upper coast in an effort to create hunting opportunity. By 2002, surveys indicated no pheasant populations in four of those counties, and the seasons in those counties were closed. Surveys now indicate that there are no pheasants remaining in Chambers, Jefferson, or Liberty counties, either.