Rural Property Rights
Dog-deer hunting rights have seriously eroded in Alabama. Of the 67 counties in the state, 35 have completely or partially banned dog-deer hunting. U.S. National Forest Service land in 13 Alabama counties is also closed to dog-deer hunting. Of the counties that still allow dog-deer hunting, five have established regulations to govern hunting clubs. The clubs can be placed on probation or have their dog-deer hunting permits revoked by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) for violation of state hunting regulations or if the number of public complaints becomes excessive. An ADCNR spokesman said that violations of hunting regulations and the number of public complaints have been noticeably reduced in the five counties that adopted permit requirements for dog-hunting clubs.
Arkansas has 19 deer management zones. Dog-deer hunting is allowed in 12 of these zones, the others are closed to dog-deer hunting. Ozark National Forest has prohibited deer hunting with dogs. Dog-deer hunting is legal in the Ouachita National Forest except in the Wildlife Management Areas.
FloridaIn 2005, the Florida Wildlife Commission required registration for deer dogs and the tracts of land where they hunt for private landowners and deer hunting clubs. Registration is not required for hunting deer with dogs on public land, such as the Ocala National Forest. Each deer dog must have the registration number on their collar, and hunters with dogs must have permits. The Florida Wildlife Commission officials said that dog trespassing complaints have fallen significantly following the registration requirement.
All national forest land in Georgia is closed to dog-deer hunting. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources implemented a permit system for deer-dogging on private land in 2003. Their permit system requires the following:
For purposes of deer hunting regulation, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fish (LDWF) divided the state into eight zones. In five zones, dog-deer hunting is allowed during seasons that do not coincide with still-hunting for deer. In the remaining three zones, dog-deer hunting is not permitted. The LDWF retains the final legal authority to establish or amend all dog-hunting regulations.
Eighteen counties in South Carolina are closed to dog-deer hunting. The rest of the state is open for dog-deer hunting. In recent years, land owners, lease holders, and still hunters have become increasingly active in seeking relief from unwanted dogs on their land during deer season. In 2008 a series of stakeholder meetings was held around the state to hear both sides of the story. During the stakeholder meetings, permit systems similar to the one used in Georgia was discussed. No effective legislation has yet been passed to remedy the problem. Some landowners in South Carolina have taken steps toward an outright ban on dog-deer hunting in their state. See the details at: http://www.banscdeerdogging.com/
Dog-deer hunting is not allowed in Tennessee.
Early settlers in eastern Texas traditionally hunted deer using dogs. The tradition had been established in the southeastern states before settlers came to Texas. After several decades of unrestricted hunting and widespread habitat loss, deer were virtually extirpated from eastern Texas. In an effort to protect the limited resource, deer hunting using dogs was prohibited in 1925, but special laws allowed the practice to continue in some counties. By 1983, hunting deer with dogs was permitted by special law in 10 counties of eastern Texas. However, passage of the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1983 by the 68th Texas Legislature placed all wildlife resources under the regulatory responsibility of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and repealed special laws permitting hunting deer with dogs. In 1984, opposition to closing deer hunting using dogs and strong public sentiment against dog hunting prompted the TPWD Commission to conduct a 2-year study of the effects of hunting deer with dogs. The regulation that permitted hunting deer with dogs remained unchanged pending the conclusion of the study. The study (Spencer 1986) documented that hunting deer with dogs was a volatile social and political issue with associated negative impacts on biological aspects of deer management. As a result of the 1984 study, the TPWD Commission reduced the season for hunting deer with dogs during the 1986-1987 hunting season to the last half of the regular deer season in the 10-county area where the practice was legal. This response was an effort to reduce the tension between landowners and sportsmen using dogs and to retain the traditional method of deer hunting with dogs.
Once again, public pressure to close deer hunting with dogs in eastern Texas and hunter pressure to allow use of dogs for the entire regular deer hunting season precipitated another investigation by the TPWD Commission. In 1989 a study was conducted to evaluate any changes that had occurred during the interim in sociological and biological aspects of hunting deer with dogs. The objectives of this study were to determine landowner and sportsmen attitudes toward hunting deer with dogs and to determine the magnitude and distribution of dog-hunting. As a result of these investigations, the TPWD Commission voted to prohibit hunting deer using dogs beginning with the 1990-91 season.
Campo, J.J. and G.E. Spencer. 1991. Regulatory response to deer hunting with dogs in eastern Texas. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast. Assoc. Game and Fish Comm. 45:235-240. (first two paragraphs of paper, quoted verbatim above)
(The 10 counties are Hardin, Harrison, Jasper, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Sabine, San Jacinto, and Tyler.)