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Posted by lbenton on May 09, 2003 at 15:09:09:
In Reply to: One of the few Operation RockCut Graduates..? posted by smorefun on May 09, 2003 at 14:36:54:
The whole debate has nothing to do with what part of the road You drive your car on while spotlighting. The only distinction is public verse private property there.
If you pay close attention to chapter 62 that is the source of all that is debated about road hunting.
Look closely at § 62.003, § 62.004, § 62.005, § 62.007, § 62.0125 and § 62.013
004 and 005 are pretty easy to steer clear of, since they only apply to game. And easiest way to violate these statutes seems to having a firearm accessible while spotlighting.
007 defines the right to search. By law they are actually prohibited from executing a search for any non-game species. So if you have they find a snake and say “You are hunting illegally” you have grounds to get the case dismissed. The evidence would be based on an unlawful search. This is your biggest get off the hook card if you are in a jam. I have no sympathy for anybody who pleads guilty for road hunting reptiles in Texas because of this statute. MEMORIZE THIS ONE, PRINT IT OUT, KEEP IT AND USE IT.
003 is the sticky one. I have my opinions, and many people have a different opinion. I think looking at the intent of the law, as well as the specific wording of the law you can argue that reptiles are not covered here. The debate is the legal definition of “Animal”. I wish they had worded it better, but hey, they did not. And we have to put up with it. TP&W has defined “Animal” as a terrestrial vertebrate. However, nowhere in the regs and statutes will you find this defined. So it is up to a court of law to define it. To date that has not officially happened. Most people either plead guilty at the JP level (unforgivable). Or it gets thrown out prior to trial by the state when appealed (what happened to all my cased from operation RockCut in ’94). I have my case numbers at home if anybody wants to pull the public records. Short answer, the law is too vague. Now I feel like the established definition of “Wildlife” applies to reptiles (see § 68.001 and § 67.001). Even alligators get their own chapter to define them and their regulations § 65.xxx.
013 tells us about the penalties, anybody who takes the chance should be aware of these. It looks like they have been upgraded since the last time I looked them up. It used to be a Class C Misdemeanor on 1st offense, and a Class B on the second. Now it is a Class A on the first and a jail felony on the second. The stakes have been raised people.
That leaves me with 0125, ANY PERSON WHO INTERFERS WITH A LEGAL HUNTER COMMITS AN OFFENCE. This will be my favorite place to play 007 right to search card, and any 003 where the defendant is found not guilty.
Go forth, well armed with knowledge, and take a camcorder or tape recorder to keep it from being one word against another. Make them play by the rules they claim to enforce.