An influx of new roads means that poaching is on the rise across southern and western Texas.
The oil boom that is helping to bring lower gas prices across the country also has a more sinister side effect. The ever-expanding road network means easier access for poachers. This in turn requires more hours of work for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens. Doug Seamands, Chief of Region One for Texas Parks and Wildlife said:
Tracking down poachers has been very time consuming for our game wardens this year.
Ironically, cheaper gas also makes it cheaper to poach, as long as you do not get caught. The favorited technique of shining, spotlighting deer with a vehicle's headlights at night or with a powerful spotlight, is much easer now with all of the new roads.
In an area where the deer have long enjoyed the natural protection of the remote landscape, hunters now have to adapt to new patterns. New drilling and well activity tends to cause wildlife to move out of the immediate area until things settle down again. The increased traffic on the area roads also keeps the larger bucks skittish.
Hunters need to remember that oil means big revenues for the area ranches. Hunting lease dollars do not speak as loud as they used to. Still, with some patience and perseverance, you can still hunt for some of the larger bucks around.
Legal hunters have a big part to plan in addressing the poaching problems. Report any suspicious activity to your area game warden. If you witness a violation in progress anywhere in the state of Texas, call the Operation Game Thief hotline at (800) 792-4263.
Finally, remember that the most important part of ending poaching activities is education. Always share your passion for hunting with others and actively encourage sound conservation practices that guarantee better hunting for years to come.