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Field Collecting/Observing Sightings of herps in the wild, where-tos and how-tos, as well as photos of herps in their native environment.

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Old 04-11-2007, 07:08 PM   #1
crotalusadamanteus
Texas to outlaw field herping from roads

Was sent this by a friend, and wanted to pass it on. If you're of a mind to help out, it's much needed.
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All,

We are under attack here in Texas with three different legislative actions. Two by the state government and one by TPWD. This email concerns Texas HB 2414. This will ban hunting from a public road in Texas. This effects hobbyists, as well as, professional herpetologists. Please find contact info for the Committee that approved this bill for a vote below. We need you and everyone you know to write, call and email to change the language in this bill. Please pass this alert along. A copy of the bill, contact info and a sample letter are included in this email. It is best if you can write a personal letter so they won't get copies of the same letter over and over.


A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to hunting from public roads or rights-of-way.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS :
SECTION 1. Section 62.001, Parks and Wildlife Code, is
amended by adding Subdivision (3) to read as follows:

(3) "Public road or right-of-way" means a public
street, alley, road, right-of-way, or other public way, including a
berm, ditch, or shoulder.

SECTION 2. Subchapter A, Chapter 62, Parks and Wildlife
code, is amended by adding Section 62.0031 to read as follows:

Sec. 62.0031. HUNTING FROM PUBLIC ROAD OR RIGHT-OF-WAY
PROHIBITED. A person may not hunt a game animal, wild fowl, or bird
when the person is on a public road or right-of-way.


SECTION 3. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
Act takes effect September 1, 2007 .

The language above, in bold, was amended to say "Birds and Wild Animals excluding Raptors caught for educational purposes." Thus this includes herps.

Here is the committees contact info:

Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R)
Chairman
Room CAP GW.12
P.O. Box 2910
Austin , TX 78768

(512) 463-0536
(512) 463-1449 Fax

**e-MAIL:
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members...vey.hilderbran
125 Lehmann Dr
Kerrville , TX 78028

(830) 257-2333
(830) 792-4289 Fax
Crockett, Sutton, Schliecher, Real, Kerr, Kimble, Menard, Mason, Llano, San Saba, McCulloch, Concho, Coleman, Runnels, Callahan

Rep. Edmund Kuempel (R)

Vice Chair
Room CAP 3N.06
P.O. Box 2910
Austin , TX 78768

(512) 463-0602
(512) 480-0391 Fax

**e-MAIL:
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members...edmund.kuempel
523 E. Donegan #102
Seguin , TX 78155

(830) 379-8732
Wilson, Guadalupe, Gonzales

Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D)
Budget & Oversight Chair
Room EXT E1.504
P.O. Box 2910
Austin , TX 78768

(512) 463-0506
(512) 463-7864 Fax

**e-MAIL:
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members...p=dawnna.dukes

Travis (part)

Rep. Mark Homer (D)
Member
Room EXT E2.408
P.O. Box 2910
Austin , TX 78768

(512) 463-0650
(512) 463-0575 Fax

**e-MAIL:
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members...rep=mark.homer
1849 Lamar
Paris , TX 75460

(903) 784-0977
Lamar, Delta, Hopkins , Franklin , Titus, Red River

Rep. Donna Howard (D)
Member
Room EXT E2.812
P.O. Box 2910
Austin , TX 78768

(512) 463-0631
(512) 463-0901 Fax

**e-MAIL:
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members...p=Donna.Howard

Travis (part)

Rep. Mike O'Day
(R)
Member
Room EXT E1.208
P.O. Box 2910
Austin , TX 78768

(512) 463-0707
(800) 878-6826 Fax

**e-MAIL:
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members...&rep=mike.oday
P. O. Box 2358
Pearland , TX 77588


(281) 997-8071
(281) 997-3686 Fax
Brazoria (part), Matagorda

Rep. Larry Phillips (R)
Member
Room EXT E2.604
P.O. Box 2910
Austin , TX 78768
(512) 463-0297
(512) 463-1561 Fax

**e-MAIL: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members...larry.phillips
421 North Crockett
Sherman , TX 75090
(903) 891-7297
(903) 870-0066 Fax

SAMPLE LETTER BY TROY HIBBITTS


Dear Legislator,

I am writing today to express my reservations in regards to HB 2414, “BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to hunting from public roads or rights-of-way”. Upon first reading, this bill seems perfectly reasonable – it is inappropriate and unsafe for persons to hunt WITH A FIREARM from a public roadway or right-of-way. However, a the committee hearings on 3/27/07 a motion was made to amend the phrase “game animal, wild fowl, or bird” to read “wildlife”. I understand that the "amended" version of this bill has been finalized in committee (exact language has not been reported). This bill, if written to read "wildlife" instead of game animal would make illegal the pursuit for live capture of a variety of native reptiles and amphibians, because Texas Parks & Wildlife Code current defines hunt very broadly to be simply “the pursuit with the intent to capture or kill”. Therefore, the simple act of driving down the roadway, stopping safely off the road, and picking up a snake would be illegal under the proposed legislation, if this bill passes the Senate.

Each year, hundreds of reptile enthusiasts visit the Trans-Pecos, bringing significant economic benefit to small towns such as Sanderson and Study Butte. I have personally spoken to hotel owners in some of these towns (for example, Roy Engeldorf of the Outback Hotel in Sanderson and Louise Hammer of Wildhorse Station in Study Butte) and they assure me that most of their summer (or "off season" business is composed of reptile enthusiasts such as myself. Were this bill to pass, many of these businesses would suffer financial hardship during an already stressful "off season", because most of these reptile enthusiasts would no longer come to West Texas.

“Road-cruising” in search of snakes (e.g. driving slowly down a back country road at night or in the morning or late afternoon hours in search of snakes basking on the roadway) is a time-honored method cited by many authors as the best way to make observations or captures of snakes and other reptiles. Both major Peterson’s series field guides suggest this method to search for reptiles and amphibians. Furthermore, the roadways of Texas are one of the few places that a reptile or amphibian enthusiast can view or capture these animals in Texas, owing to the fact that most of the state consists of inaccessible private land holdings. In addition, the legislation in question would also prohibit hiking along right-of-ways and searching under roadside rocks for reptiles or amphibians hiding underneath.

Furthermore, much of our understanding of the distribution of Texas reptiles & amphibians comes from road-collected and road-salvaged (found dead on road) specimens. The Texas Natural History Collection (at UT), the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collection (at A&M), and the UTA Collection of Vertebrates (at UT Arlington) possess significant numbers of specimens salvaged from or collected from Texas roadways, and every year, our understanding of the distrubution of these species is enhanced by the collection of specimens from Texas Roadways. Were this law to pass, researchers in Texas would find it far more difficult to monitor changes in reptile and amphibian distribution and diversity in Texas. In fact, TPWD's "citizen science" program monitoring Texas Horned Lizards would be negatively impacted, as one method that TPWD encourages to be used to monitor horned lizards is to travel public roadways as a "transect" and to count these lizards.

Reptile and Amphibian enthusiast in Texas would support a sensible law prohibiting hunting with a firearm along public roadways and right of ways, however this law does not discriminate between dangerous "hunting with a gun or bow" from the harmless pursuit of reptiles & amphibians. If this bill is to be passed, please consider amending HB 2414 to include a subsection that would read “it shall be legal to pursue or capture reptiles and amphibians from public roadways or right-of-ways in Texas by hand or non-lethal device such as “snake hooks”, “tongs”, or “lizard noose”, with or without the aid of artificial lighting device.”

Your Name
Your Address

Please write, call and email and pass this on.

Thank you for your business,

Ocotillo Herpetofauna & Invertebrates
Michael E. Welker: Owner
3105 Eads Place
El Paso, Texas 79935
(915) 595-8831 office
(352) 256-4000 mobile
(915) 595-6432 fax
OHI2007@elp.rr.com
 
Old 04-11-2007, 08:08 PM   #2
Jungle Gems
Thank you for bringing this to everyone's attention. I would not have known about it were it not for this thread.
 
Old 04-11-2007, 08:33 PM   #3
kmurphy
Just wondering if they define hunting? Often that means with a firearm and is aimed at the safety aspect of discharging a gun on a public roadway. Is it certain that they are including unarmed herpers in this bill? Or is that assumed?
 
Old 04-11-2007, 08:41 PM   #4
crotalusadamanteus
I believe discharging a weapon from a road is already illegal in most states. They do define it, I'll have to find it again. Their definition basically means collecting of any sort, except for educational purposes. I'll see if i can find it again. got lucky last time.
 
Old 05-31-2007, 12:52 PM   #5
maxrr
This has just gotten much worse...2414 and 1309 have been attached as "riders" to a bill, HB 12, that has already passed the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's signature...
 

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