David Sierra isn't quite sure why the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department stopped allowing hunting in Dallas County. He's not even sure when. He's only been the agency's director of Region 5, which includes Dallas, for 21 years, after all. He does know that, come September 29, you'll be able to hunt in Dallas County for the first time in a very, very long time.
Earlier this year, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission voted to allow bow hunting here, as well as in Collin and Rockwall counties, where the practice was ended in 1976 after agricultural development all but pushed out deer habitat.
Habitats in all three counties are too sporadic for TPWD to perform a census of the deer populations, Sierra said, but their numbers have been increasing in recent years.
"I think it's just the land is being allowed to recover some," Sierra said. "Habitat has improved in those areas where there is habitat. In some places, it helps that cattle have been removed ... Mostly, it's just the population has been simmering they finally got a toehold."
With the increase in deer has come an increase in requests to hunt them and, Sierra said, "we really saw nothing wrong with them doing that."
All the standard hunting rules apply in Dallas County. The season lasts from September 29 to November 2, and the bag limit is two. It's allowed only on private property "with lawful archery equipment and crossbows only," so no prowling with shotguns through the Trinity bottoms.
There's also the idea that development will inevitably eliminate deer from Dallas and surrounding areas, so it makes sense give sportsmen the opportunity while it still exists.
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