Texas Park and Wildlife Department is considering a rule change regarding hunting, specifically with suppressors.
The proposed amendment to §65.11, concerning Lawful Means, would allow the use of firearm silencers to hunt alligators, game animals and game birds. Under current rule, the use of sound-suppressing devices to hunt alligators, game animals or game birds is unlawful. The department has determined that there is no resource- or enforcement-related reason to prohibit the use of firearm silencers for the take of alligators, game animals or game birds, and therefore proposes to eliminate the current prohibition. The department notes that if the proposed is adopted, it will not relieve any person of the obligation to otherwise comply with any applicable state, federal, or local law governing the possession or use of firearm silencers. The proposed amendment also alters §65.11(3) to include additional counties to the applicability of the provisions governing the use of crossbows. This change is necessary to ensure consistency with the changes to §65.42 discussed elsewhere in this preamble.
Why? Well, first consider their own wording: “The department has determined there is no resource- or enforcement-related reason to prohibit the use….” So on the one hand, I like this because they see no sound reason to keep a rule around, so they’re going to discard it. This is how things should work! Simplification. Enhancing freedom. Enabling choice. Plus, it also frees up the department and those bound to enforce the rules from work that serves no gain, thus enabling them to focus on work that matters.
But to me, this hits closer to home.
On this last deer hunting trip, Daughter got her ears rung pretty bad. Yes I know, I should have had hearing protection on her — I do know better, but I often don’t while hunting so I can hear what’s going on around me. Plus, the muzzle is out the blind window and due to the structure of things it usually works out ok. But this past one? Not so much. I regret it and do feel awful for it. But this is the trade-off that we have to deal with: to hear the game, but then to not hear the gunshot. I do have electronic muffs, but while they work great for me on the range, I find in the woods, not so much. Different dynamic.
But if we could have suppressors? What a world of difference it would make!
I can legally own a suppressor here in Texas, but I can’t use it for deer or game hunting. I could use it to take exotic deer, I have gone on hog hunts with suppressed rifles. And so why if we can take those with it, why can’t we take game animals? What’s the difference? Apparently none, and it’s great to see TPWD recognizing that and moving on the item.
So what to do?
Well, right now we wait. TPWD will have their meeting on January 25, 2012. After that we’ll know more about how to proceed. It will be a matter of public comment, and you’ll want to be sure to add your comment in favor of suppressor use.