NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Another new rule pertaining to dogs and hunting didn't require state legislative approval, but rather the blessings of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
It is now legal in 12 additional counties to use dogs to track wounded deer. However, the age old practice remains against the law in 10 Deep East Texas counties.
Images of deer hunting with dogs can be found all over the Internet. While legal throughout much of the Deep South, the practice has been illegal in the state of Texas since 1990, mainly due to property right issues.
"The practice of running deer with dogs it's hard to refrain and isolate those dogs to one particular area so they end up crossing over," said Capt. Shawn Phillips of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Exceptions are made across Texas when it comes to tracking wounded deer.
"They will be able to trail a legitimately wounded deer with a dog on leash," Phillips said. "There will be twelve counties that will be added to that regulation. There will still be 10 counties where it will be illegal to do that."
Those counties are right here in Deep East Texas. They are Angelina, Hardin, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, and Tyler counties - places where some hunters can't give up old habits.
"It was a tradition, I guess, that was engrained in the culture," Phillips said.
But other hunters say that old culture has gone away. They think deep east Texas hunters can responsibly follow the updated rules.
"I am in favor of trailing wounded deer with dogs mainly because I have three young boys," said Clay Oliver, a hunter. They're learning to hunt, and I knew at some point they were going to be making poor shots and I thought it was important for me to teach them we do everything within our power to recover that animal. It is our duty to recover that animal."
If that thought spreads among hunters the restriction in Deep East Texas may eventually be lifted.
These are the 12 counties where hunting a wounded deer with a dog is now allowed: Harris, Harrison, Houston, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Panola, Polk, Rusk, San Jacinto, Trinity and Walker.