Category Archives: Wildlife crimes

Is it Legal to Hunt and Kill Nuisance Animals in Texas?

For hunting enthusiasts, Texas is a great place to be, with several “no closed season” options for hunters. But does it include hunting and killing nuisance animals?

When owning land in Texas, it’s natural that you’ll come across nuisance animals. These are pesky critters and creatures that can wreak havoc on your land or are simply an irritation. So what can you legally do about the problem? Is killing or removing a nuisance animal a wildlife crime? Let’s find out what Texas law says in this helpful guide.

What Are “Nuisance Animals”?

Simply put, nuisance animals depredate or pose a threat to human health or safety. They may create a hazard for motorists or put housepets at risk. They may also trespass on property, make messes by tipping over garbage cans or destroy a lawn or garden.

There are many types of nuisance animals, including:

  • Raccoons
  • Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Bobcat
  • Otter
  • Skunks
  • Badgers
  • Beavers
  • Mink
  • Muskrat

Texas Law on Fur-Bearing Nuisance Animals

According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, landowners or their agents may take nuisance fur-bearing animals in any number by any means and at any time on that person’s land. There’s no need for a hunting or trapping license.

If you’d prefer to capture and relocate the animal instead of killing it, you can do so. To capture and relocate, you need to get authorization from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the owner of the property where the release will occur. 

You’ll also need to submit a monthly report on the number and kind of nuisance animals that you captured. Include the number, the location of the release site, and your name and address.

It’s important to know that no one except licensed trappers can take these animals or their pelts during their lawful open season and possession periods. It’s a crime (a Class C misdemeanor) to transport or sell live foxes, coyotes, or raccoons in Texas. It’s also a crime to take fur-bearing animals on land owned by someone else without that person’s consent. 

Why Is Knowing Texas Wildlife Law Important?

As a landowner, getting rid of nuisance animals is important. It will help keep your land pristine and help you avoid certain risks that these animals present. Knowing Texas wildlife law will help you do it safely and in the best interest of everyone. It will also protect you from potential legal issues.

If you kill and hunt nuisance animals incorrectly, you could run afoul of Texas hunting, fishing or wildlife laws. The consequences of a violation can be costly, including fines, loss of hunting licenses and even jail time.

Get Legal Assistance for Wildlife Crimes

Texas has an abundance of nuisance animals, and it can be difficult to know all the intricacies of wildlife law. The Fort Worth lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP. have extensive experience defending people against wildlife crimes, including those involving nuisance animals. If you have been accused of a wildlife crime or want to learn more, call us today at 817-678-6771  or send us a message for a confidential consultation.

Common Wildlife Crimes in Texas

In Texas, wildlife and the land that our animals call home are highly protected. Many laws and regulations exist for hunting, fishing and other activities. Unfortunately, wildlife crimes are still quite common in our state. Here, we dive into the basics of these crimes, including common violations and consequences.

Common Wildlife Crimes in Texas

Many wildlife crimes are committed throughout our state each year. In some cases, these crimes are committed willingly. In other cases, these crimes are committed by individuals who simply don’t know Texas law.

Some examples of common wildlife crimes include:

  • Hunting or fishing without a license or permit
  • Lying about your information to obtain a license or permit
  • Hunting endangered species
  • Purposeful destruction of wildlife
  • Trespassing on private property to hunt or fish
  • Illegal use of a motor vehicle while hunting or fishing
  • Hunting or possession of out-of-season wildlife
  • Failure to tag game properly
  • Weapons violations

What Are the Consequences of a Wildlife Crime?

Wildlife crimes are taken seriously in Texas. There are various consequences you may be subject to if you are found guilty of a violation. For example, you may be subject to a fine or may need to pay restitution to the state.

Depending on the severity of the wildlife violation, this could cost you thousands of dollars. You may also have your fishing or hunting licenses permanently revoked.

In other severe cases, jail time isn’t off the table. For example, a felony charge may result in a fine of up to $10,000 and two years in jail.

The best way to prevent a violation is to increase your knowledge of Texas law. For example, you can check out the Texas Parks & Wildlife resources for information on the specific regulations involving wildlife.

Accused of a Wildlife Crime? Consider an Attorney.

If you’ve been accused of a wildlife crime by a game warden, conservation officer, or someone from the Department of Natural Resources, you’ll need the help of a skilled attorney. An attorney can help protect your rights in court and, in some cases, may be able to minimize the consequences.

Reach Out to Lee & Wood, LP Today

Have you been accused of a wildlife crime in Texas? We can help you. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have years of experience working with clients just like you. To discuss your case with a qualified attorney, give us a call at 817-678-6771 or send us a message.

Is Fishing Without a License a Crime in Texas?

Is fishing without a license a crime in Texas? It’s a common question. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department publishes the many fishing rules and penalties that apply to residents and nonresidents fishing in Texas, and many sections of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Code pertain to fishing.

Under the Code, it is unlawful to fish on public water from private land without a fishing license. Fishing licenses are required of anyone who fishes in public waters in Texas, with some exceptions.

Penalties for Fishing Without a License in Texas

While fishing licenses are generally required, the penalties for fishing violations are sometimes minor. In most cases, people caught fishing without a license are fined less than $500. In those cases, it usually makes more sense to pay the fine than to hire a lawyer to fight the charges. However, it is important to pay the fine or resolve the issue. Failure to pay a fine can be considered a misdemeanor.

But, not all fishing violations are minor. The penalties can be steep when people fish for commercial purposes without a license, or when they fish rare and protected species of fish. Class B misdemeanors can lead to up to six months in jail, Class A misdemeanors can lead to up to a year in jail, and felonies can lead to up to two years in jail. Fines can also mount into the thousands of dollars.

Exceptions to the Fishing License Requirement

In some cases, you may not need a license to go fishing in Texas:

  • People under the age of 17 do not need a fishing license. The law encourages kids and teens to learn to fish at no cost.
  • Visitors to Texas State Parks can fish without a license. However, they must be within the boundary of the state park, and not all Texas parks are state parks.
  • People with intellectual disabilities may fish without a license. Fishing must be part of medically approved therapy, and the person must be accompanied by staff and carry authorization. People with intellectual disabilities can also fish under the supervision of licensed anglers who are family members or who have permission from their families to take them fishing. To do this, a doctor’s note is required.
  • People fishing on private land do not need a license. No license is required when fishing from a stock tank or other private body of water. However, if you are transporting the fish, you should carry documentation about where they came from. It is also unlawful to fish from private land into public waters without a license.

Get Legal Help After a Fishing Violation

If you have been accused of a fishing violation, call 817-678-6771 or send us a message for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP.  We have extensive experience defending people against wildlife crimes, including fishing violations.