Hunters in Crosshairs of Urban Hunting Law

New law goes into effect on Sept. 1

The Texas Legislature is taking aim at bird hunters this season, passing new legislation to put them farther away from people in urban areas as they hunt doves.

The new law, SB 1742, is in response to frustrated homeowners like Kevin Stewart of Frisco.

"If there's a bird around here, they shoot at it," said Steward. "It's just the constant, 'Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz.' It's that loud sound."

The shotgun blasts aren’t just too loud, they’re too close, according to Stewart.

"We've actually had the back of our fence, many times, pelted, as well as our windows in the back here,"said Stewart. "We just pray for the best and hope we don't keep getting hit."

The hunting landscape is changing across the state.Areas once known as rural have become populated, urban communities. Existing laws have allowed the hunters to continue to hunt unchecked -- anywhere from 150 to 300 feet away from populated areas on designated acreage.

The new law moves them farther away from potentially injuring someone. Now, hunters will need to be 1,000 feet away from schools, hospitals and day care centers. Additionally, they will need to be at least 600 feet away from residential, multi-family housing, according to Sgt. Adam Henderson with the Frisco Police Department.

Frisco's Police Chief Todd Renshaw, State Sen. Florence Shapiro and Rep. Ken Paxton worked to craft the new legislation after receiving annual complaints about the danger presented by urban hunting.

Police say they will be working to educate Hunters about the new law and do not plan to be heavy-handed initially with enforcement.The important thing, according to officers, is that the law preserves safety and the right of hunters to pursue their passion. For Stewart, it may also preserve his right to enjoy his backyard this fall without fear of himself, his family or pets being being struck by birdshot.

"It's nice. It's Texas. You want to be able to enjoy the outside and when you have people with guns around you firing in your direction, you really can't enjoy it that much," said Stewart.

The new law takes effect Sept. 1, at the start of dove hunting season.

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