SABINE COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - It is hunting season for various game across Texas, and in some cases, hunting dogs can be used. But experts say there can be problems if those dogs go onto someone else’s property.
“A good hunting dog, it’s going to stay after the prey until it just loses all scent and loses track of it,” Sabine County Extension Agent Ronald Barlow said. “It doesn’t stop to read posted no trespassing signs. It doesn’t understand property boundaries. It leaves dog hunters in the quandary of being able to get their dogs back but also respecting property owners’ rights and law enforcement.”
Barlow says if conflicts do arise between landowners and hunters who use dogs, he tries to help mediate the situations.
“It takes a lot of compromise,” he said. “It takes a lot of corporation for everyone to get along, and they don’t always understand the other side.”
“In East Texas, the biggest thing we see is trespassing with hunting with dogs, specifically for hog hunting,” Texas Game Warden Captain Heath Bragg said.
Bragg says asking for permission is key.
“If a dog goes onto another person’s property that does not give the dog owner the right to go onto that person’s property,” he said. “We’ve had numerous cases where those have been filed as criminal trespassing or hunting without landowner consent.”
Sabine County resident Albert Welch hunts with dogs.
“The guy that owns the dogs, he should go talk to the landowner, explain to him what happened and ask for his permission to go get his dogs,” Welch said. “Mostly, the landowner will give you that permission. Sometimes we can’t get ahold of somebody then we try to find who we can get ahold of. "
“I just ask hunters to respect those folks’ property,” Barlow said. “Do your best to try to contact that landowner and ask permission before you go in there. If you’re a property owner and a dog came onto your property and you caught it. Put it on chain, contact the dog owner instead of daring them to come onto your property to get their dog. We just all need to be respectful of each other so we can all keep doing what we enjoy doing.”
Barlow says most hunting dogs have tracking or identification collars. He says some can appear skinny after running a hunt but to return those dogs to the owners to be fed.
Click here for a link to maps of Texas Public Hunting Lands as well as information about public hunting in Texas.