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Attorney In TPWD Lawsuit Hopes To Permanently Change State’s Authority Concerning Deer

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Whitetail Deer in Texas Hill Country

Right now in Texas, deer and all other free-roaming animals are considered common property for all Texans to enjoy and the state manages and regulates that wildlife on behalf of the people.  But a lawsuit filed by two Texas deer breeders seeks to limit the Texas Parks &Wildlife’s rule-making authority.  The lawsuit was filed in response to the agency’s restrictions concerning chronic wasting disease (CWD).

CWD was found in deer at a Texas breeding ranch this past summer. 

The state rushed to implement rules that would stop the movement of genetically-bred deer in an effort to control the spread of the disease in the wild.   But deer breeders allege this unfairly targeted their business and hurt the overall price of deer at auction.

Deer breeders Ken Bailey and Brad Peterson are being represented by Austin attorney Jennifer Riggs.

“That’s our primary concern here, the needless slaughter of captive deer and the fact that they are targeting captive deer, you know captive deer only present about five percent of the population,” Riggs said.

Riggs said their lawsuit seeks to block Texas Parks & Wildlife’s CWD restrictions on deer breeders and to completely change how the state categorizes deer.  

“The regulation of captive bred deer is different than the regulation of wild deer.  There is statutory provisions involved and there are different legal considerations involved because captive bred deer are private property,” Riggs explained.

Texas Parks & Wildlife says the new regulations will continue to help ensure that the disease has not also infected deer in the wild.