Texas Court Rules in Favor of Hunters, Wild Deer

Texas Court Decision Reaffirms Public Ownership of Wildlife in Peterson v. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department et al.

The Texas chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers participates in supporting TPWD with an important win to retain public ownership of wildlife

On June 28, 2019, the Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, affirmed the lower court’s decision in the Peterson v. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department dispute concerning the private ownership of captive deer.

The dispute between a commercial deer breeder and TPWD was over the ownership of captive-bred whitetail deer. The breeder wished to establish that breeder deer are private property, therefore invalidating the agency’s requirement to test the captive deer population for chronic wasting disease. The appellate court upheld a lower court decision in favor of TPWD, reaffirming the public ownership of wildlife as well as TPWD’s authority to require testing for CWD.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers joined several conservation organizations, including the Boone and Crockett Club, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Wildlife Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Texas Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association and the Texas Wildlife Association, in an amicus brief in support of TPWD. The brief can be read here. 

“The state’s authority to regulate wildlife on behalf of its citizens, as reaffirmed on several occasions by the United States Supreme Court, is commonly referred to as the Public Trust Doctrine” said Michael Panasci, Texas BHA chapter chair. “This premise is one of the central tenets of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and BHA was proud to help assist the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with this case. BHA will continue to be highly active in protecting our hunting heritage in the state of Texas, and we applaud the Texas Court of Appeals decision.”

About BHA

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters. With chapters in 45 states, two Canadian provinces and one territory, BHA members have identified access to public lands and waters as the priority issue for North American hunters and anglers, given that lack of access is cited by sportsmen and women as the No. 1 reason why we stop pursuing our passions. BHA works to enhance public access by:

  • Defending Stream Access
  • Advocating for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
  • Working to Enhance Access to Public Land

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

About Michael Panasci


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