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TPWD News Release — Nov. 5, 2009

Texas Joining Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

AUSTIN, Texas — Game law violators in Texas could face additional consequences for their actions under an interstate agreement recognizing suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses in other states.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a regulation for Texas to join 31 other states currently participating in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact is an agreement that unresolved hunting and fishing violations in one state can affect a person’s hunting or fishing privileges in other participating states. Any person whose license privileges or rights are suspended in a member state could also be denied future purchase of a license in Texas until they have satisfied suspension in the other state. If a person’s hunting, fishing, or trapping rights are suspended in Texas, they may also be suspended in member states as well.

"This cooperative interstate effort will enhance Texas game wardens’ ability to protect and manage our wildlife resources," said Maj. David Sinclair, chief of fisheries and wildlife enforcement with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "If a person plans to hunt, fish, or trap in Texas and they have a license suspension in another state, this compact allows us to deny them a license. The same will hold true for a Texan with a suspended license looking to hunt or fish elsewhere."

The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact also establishes a process whereby wildlife law violations by a non-resident from a member state are handled as if the person were a resident, meaning they can be served a ticket rather than being arrested, booked, and bonded. This process is a convenience for hunters, fishermen, and trappers of member states, and increases efficiency of game wardens by allowing more time for enforcement duties rather than violator processing procedures.

The concept of a wildlife violator compact was first advanced in the early 1980s by member states in the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Law enforcement administrators and wildlife commissioners from several states began discussing the idea of a compact based on the format of the existing Drivers License Compact and Non-Resident Violator Compact, both of these related to motor vehicle operator licensing and enforcement.

In 1985 draft compacts were developed independently in Colorado and Nevada. Subsequently, these drafts were merged and the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact was created.

In 1989, compact legislation was passed into law in Colorado, Nevada and Oregon. These three states formed the nucleus of the Compact.

TPWD will be developing policies and procedures, but no timeline has been set for formally joining the Compact.