Legislation Reclassifying Elk as ‘Exotic’
Here is the legislation that changed Texas’ native elk from treasured, protected game animals to vermin that are shot on sight at all state-managed lands in far-West Texas. The legislative declaration that elk are not native is scientifically incorrect and meaningless.
This legislation was introduced under the normal “radar,” declaring an “emergency,” thereby avoiding the three required readings intended to give notice to the public. It was passed before word got around.
TPWD says the law mandates its elk removals. It does not — removals are agency policy.
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Open Records Request
Efforts to change the legislative mistake fall victim to turf guarding between exotic wildlife ranchers, TPWD and Texas Health Commission. Conservation organizations, landowner rights groups and elk and wildlife advocates avert their eyes, fearing that speaking up for Texas’ elk might offend the agencies.
As a result, Texas elk hunters and wildlife enthusiasts must travel out-of-state to find costly hunting and viewing opportunities. Landowners lose a potential revenue stream from hunts and nature tourism; and, land appreciation.