Tompkins: 'Silencers' on firearms could get loud response
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Included in the package are proposals to open a deer season in Galveston County; close a long irrelevant pheasant season in three southeast Texas counties; impose gear tag requirements on throwlines and minnow traps used in freshwater; and change the re-dating requirements for gear tags used on passive fishing gear such as trotlines and throwlines from 30 days to 10 days. Current Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regulations allow suppressors to be used when hunting non-game animals such as feral hogs but prohibit their use when hunting game animals such as white-tailed deer, Maj. Scott Vaca of TPWD's law enforcement division told the TPW Commission regulations committee during a Wednesday briefing on proposed rules changes. To legally purchase a suppressor, which are termed "silencers" by federal statutes, a person must do business with a dealer licensed by federal authorities to handle the devices, meet strict application requirements for a permit to possess the device and pay a $200 transfer tax. Allowing a general deer season (an archery season and general deer season with a four-deer - two-bucks, two-does -bag limit) would not have a negative impact on those herds, offers some additional hunting opportunity to Texans and gives landowners an additional tool to address urban deer issues. Adding the gear tag requirement for the devices is needed, TPWD officials said, because the devices, particularly throwlines (most commonly called limb lines - single lines with five or fewer hooks and attached at one end to a permanent fixture such as a tree limb overhanging the water) often are abandoned by their owners and continue catching and killing fish and wildlife. Because the abandoned throwlines are, under current law, considered private property and are not in violation of any regulation, they can not be removed, even by law enforcement officers.