The state’s largest association dedicated to whitetail and mule deer, the Texas Deer Association (TDA), has announced its opposition to legislation which would change deer release regulations that have been in place for more than 80 years, and put the lives of thousands of deer at risk.

The two bills — HB 2433 and SB 1412 — were introduced into the Texas 83rd Legislative Session by the Texas Wildlife Association and call for changing the so-called ‘10-Day Rule’ on releasing breeder deer to a 60-day period that would mandate moving deer during the hottest, deadliest time of the year.

“Moving deer during July and August in Texas is simply not good for the animals. There will be a lot of deaths,” says certified wildlife biologist Bob Zaiglin, who is Department Chair and coordinator for the Wildlife Management program at Southwest Texas Junior College and co-author of the Texas Wildlife Model. He explains deer are already under severe physical stress in high heat and forcing movement during that time would result in a increase in mortality rates.

“The TWA has accomplished many positive goals on behalf of Texas wildlife and our hunting heritage and we’ve proudly supported them in almost every endeavor,” says Gilbert Adams, president of the Texas Deer Association. “However, changes to current legislation can always have unintended consequences. These particular pieces of legislation, regardless of any perceived good intentions, will be harmful to our state’s wildlife resource and our economy.”

The current 10-Day statute in Texas has guided release dates for whitetail deer since 1933. Hunting and breeding industries were developed around this statute and now provide nearly one billion dollars annually for the Texas economy. The current Texas Parks & Wildlife Code also seems to have evolved in the late 1990’s from the original 1933 law to address only breeder deer.

“I don’t believe anyone intentionally wants to see deer suffer and die, so I believe these bills are simply misguided. The deer industry has worked with whitetail and mule deer for many years and over time we have developed the best practices for releases at the time of year best suited for animal survival in the pasture,” adds Adams.

The TDA is the only non-profit organization solely committed to improving the quality of Texas deer herds through better habitat practices, modern harvest strategies and use of superior deer to enhance the deer herds. As a part of its public education efforts, the TDA produces a full-color bimonthly publication, Tracks Magazine, which updates TDA members on current industry news, deer genetics and game management issues.

Logo courtesy Meng & Company

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