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Gassing as a Means to Collect Rattlesnakes

Frequently Asked Questions

Update: This issue is still under review. In December, 2014, TPWD convened a snake harvest working group to delve into this issue. The recommendations from this group will be presented to TPWD leadership in September, 2015. For more information, contact John Davis at john.davis@tpwd.texas.gov.

Why is TPWD scoping this issue?
Gassing is an indiscriminate means of take. TPWD is concerned about the impact of gassing on wildlife and habitat, particularly on non-target organisms, including federally-endangered karst (cave-dwelling) invertebrates that inhabit caves and crevices along with rattlesnakes.
Does this mean that commercial rattlesnake collection and roundups will be outlawed? Is TPWD trying to shut down rattlesnake roundups?
  • No. TPWD is simply scoping the impacts of this particular means of collection.
  • Many rattlesnake events currently discourage the collection of snakes by gassing, and several organizers have expressed a desire to work cooperatively with TPWD and snake collectors to promote safe and effective collection practices.
Doesn't gassing control rattlesnake populations? Won't we be overrun by rattlesnakes if gassing is banned?
There are no studies suggesting that rattlesnakes will become overabundant in the absence of this means of collection.
How will venom suppliers obtain sufficient quantities of venom for research and antivenin production if gassing is banned?
Most rattlesnake venom used in medical research and the production of antivenin is produced by laboratories that maintain captive colonies of rattlesnakes and do not rely on venom obtained from gassed snakes.
What is Texas Parks and Wildlife's position regarding public input on this issue?
  • TPWD believes strongly in public review and input on important decisions, including nongame regulations.
  • We are working hard to gather input about this issue, to listen and be responsive, to answer questions and provide information. We have contacted (and continue to correspond with) elected officials, nongame permit holders, and key stakeholder groups about the issue. Since 2010, TPWD staff has met with stakeholders, surveyed nongame permit holders, and continues to correspond with interested parties about this issue.
  • We are committed to a process that will allow all parties to ask questions, voice opinions and fully understand the issue, and we believe our current approach achieves this.

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