deerThe Texas Parks and Wildlife Code consists of all of the laws and rules that are designed to protect and maintain wildlife and public parks in the state of Texas. A person engaged in an activity governed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code must have a license. A game warden has the right to inspect any license, permit, tag, or document issued by the department and required by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code of a person if that person is engaged in such activity. A game warden has the right to inspect any device that may be used to hunt or catch a wildlife resource. They may also inspect any wildlife resource in a person’s possession or the contents of any container or receptacle used to store or conceal a wildlife resource.  In short, make sure all licenses are purchased prior to fishing or hunting.  They may be inspected at any time. While hunting, fishing or trapping, persons 17 years of age or older must carry on their person a driver’s license or personal identification certificate issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Non-residents must carry similar documents issued by the agency in their state or country of residence that is authorized to issue driver’s licenses or personal identification certificates.

For all wildlife resources taken for personal consumption and for which there is a possession limit, the possession limit shall not apply after the wildlife resource has reached the possessor’s permanent residence and is finally processed. Special documents are required for the transfer and importation of wildlife resources. Waste of game is a Class C misdemeanor if a person while hunting kills or wounds a game bird or game animal and intentionally or knowingly fails to make a reasonable effort to retrieve the animal or bird and include it in the person’s daily or seasonal bag limit. It is an offense if a person intentionally takes or possesses a game bird, game animal, or fish and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly, or with criminal negligence, fails to keep the edible portions of the bird, animal, or fish in an edible condition. It is a Class A misdemeanor to fail to retrieve or to keep in an edible condition a whitetail or mule deer, pronghorn antelope, or desert bighorn sheep hunted without landowner consent; from a vehicle, boat, or aircraft; on a public road; at night; or with the aid of a light.

No person may pursue a wounded wildlife resource across a property line without the consent of landowner of the property where the wildlife resource has fled. Under the trespass provisions of the Penal Code, a person on a property without the permission of the landowner is subject to arrest. Harassment of Hunters, Trappers, or Anglers Sportsmen’s Rights Act) is punishable by a fine of $200 to $2000 and/or 180 days in jail.

It is unlawful to take, attempt to take, or possess wildlife resources within a protected length limit, in greater numbers, by other means, or at any time or place, other than as indicated within this guide, to discharge a firearm on or across a public road, or to store, transport, or abandon an unsecured loaded firearm in a place where children can obtain unsupervised access to the firearm. A person under age 17 who has lawful access to a firearm may hunt with the firearm if the youth has successfully completed the hunter education course, or is accompanied by a licensed hunter age 17 or older who has complied with the hunter education requirement, if applicable.

There are many laws that govern wildlife in the state of Texas. It is imperative to learn all of the rules and laws before you fish or hunt.  It will save you legal complications and money in the long run. Recreational hunting and fishing licenses and stamp endorsements are available at approximately 1,700 locations throughout the state in addition to TPWD offices and parks. These locations include sporting goods stores, gun shops, department stores, discount stores, bait and tackle shops, grocery stores, and many other types of stores. Some commercial hunting and fishing licenses are available ONLY at the Austin Headquarters and Law Enforcement Offices. For added convenience, most recreational licenses may be purchased by phone or through the Internet.

Source: “Texas Statutes – PARKS AND WILDLIFE CODE.” Texas Statutes – PARKS AND WILDLIFE CODE. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.

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