http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcon...e/stories/032709dnmetburbhunting.3ba237b.html Texas bills would put distance between hunters, homes <h5 class="vitstorydate">06:45 AM CDT on Friday, March 27, 2009</h5> By ELIZABETH LANGTON / The Dallas Morning News email@example.com Two Collin County lawmakers have filed identical bills in the Legislature that would increase the buffer zone between hunting grounds and residential areas. Also Online 09/07/2008: Dallas-area residents surprised by legal hunting in city limits Most cities forbid discharging firearms within city limits, but a 2005 law added an exception for hunters on large tracts at least 150 feet from homes or occupied buildings. And each year since the law changed, frantic callers have flooded North Texas 911 lines on the opening day of dove hunting season with complaints about noise and the proximity of hunters to their homes. Frisco Police Chief Todd Renshaw said he knew of no related injuries, but in some cases shotgun pellets rained down on homes and businesses. And to him that means hunters are simply too close. "You had a set of facts down in South Texas where the law made sense there," he said. "But it didn't make sense in an urban setting. "I'm a hunter. I hunt dove. But there are places in Frisco where I have hunted that I don't any more, because it's just too close to civilization." The proposed law would increase the buffer between hunting land and occupied buildings from 150 feet to 1,000 feet. The buffer would stretch to 1,500 feet for schools, day care sites, residential subdivisions, apartment complexes, parks and outdoor recreation areas. The law would apply to all types of game hunting, but the September-October dove season is the primary concern in North Texas. Alice Tripp, legislative director of the Texas State Rifle Association, worked on the proposal with Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, and Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney. The bills have been referred to committees in both the House and Senate, but no hearings have been scheduled. Tripp said she expects hunters to complain but considers the new distances a reasonable compromise. OMFG! Who side is she on? "No one wanted to gut the intention of the original bill," she said. "They simply wanted an increased buffer so people wouldn't be rained down upon with shotgun pellets." None of the hunters who lobbied for the 2005 law would be affected by the changes, Tripp said. But some suburban fields would become ineligible for hunting. "There would still be hunting land in Frisco; it would just be smaller," Renshaw said. When legislators passed the 2005 law, they intended to prevent growing cities from using firearms ordinances to prohibit hunting on large tracts annexed after 1981 – typically expansive rural farms and ranches with long hunting traditions. The annexation of a third-generation rancher's 3,000-acre spread into Fort Worth's city limits prompted the action, Tripp said. "We found the same situation all over Texas," she said. "Cities had annexed large tracts of land where years passed without any development. The only thing that had changed was that the city had an ordinance that prohibited discharging firearms." Fort Worth hunting outfitter Cory Anderson fears losing one of his prime dove hunting tracts adjacent to the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing in far north Fort Worth. "I understand the concerns if they have a bunch of hunters without supervision," he said. "But I control where they hunt. I'm responsible for it more than the hunter is." Advocates say hunters following the law pose no threat to people nearby because the current law accounts for how far the ammunition can travel. But Renshaw said it seems insufficient for situations such as a day-care playground. "They might have been 150 feet from the building, but they weren't 150 feet away from the children playing in the backyard," he said. "It just doesn't make sense for hunters to be that close." Renshaw tried to get the law changed in 2007 but found little interest from legislators. This year, dozens of people contacted their representatives about the situation. The changes have a broad base of support from police chiefs across the state, Renshaw said, and so far no vocal opposition. "It looks like a slam dunk, but you can always have a curveball thrown at you," he said. HUNTING IN CITIES Senate Bill 1742 and House Bill 3766 would increase the buffer between hunting land and occupied areas: •For hunting with shotguns, air guns, BB guns or bows and arrows, tracts must be 10 acres or larger. •For hunting with rifles and pistols, tracts must be 50 acres or larger. •Tracts must be at least 1,000 feet from a residence or occupied building on another property. •They must be at least 1,500 feet from an occupied school, day care, nursing home or adult day care on another property. •Tracts must also be at least 1,500 feet from the property lines of public tracts used for outdoor recreation, residential subdivisions or multifamily residential complexes. •Weapons must be fired in such a way that the projectiles would not cross the boundary of the tract. SOURCE: Texas Legislature If these bills become law, almost all of the areas we hunt/shoot in North Texas can be shutdown, and from what I gather cities are foaming at the mouth to do just that. In fact many already have the law in place, and as soon as these bills become law, the new buffers automatically shut them down. The increase in buffer space is staggering. Moving from 150 feet to 1000/1500. While the 10/50 Acre minimum is still there, it become moot since buffer zones require properties to be far larger. a 150 foot buffer comprises 1.6 Acres a 1000 foot buffer comprises 72 Acres a 1500 foot buffer compirses 162 Acres This is 50X - 100X increase in buffer space! For example, My land is 2700 x 1500, for around 90 acres. I can hunt shoot anything anywhere as nobody is within 150 feet. But with the new 1000 foot buffer, If neighbor puts a home within 500 feet of the property line, I could lose 1/2 my shooting area, another neghbor on the other side, and I can no longer shoot at all. If neighbor decides to run day care, I cannot shoot as that now becomes 1500 feet from the property line, NOT the day care building. Obviously there are factors such as shape of property and where exactly the house is, but anyone can do the math. Find your favorite place to hunt/shoot, and see what is within 1000 feet of it. YOu will be surprised. Then look and ask what happens if someone opens a day care, then it becomes 1500 feet from THEIR property line, not the dwelling. And remember, in rural areas "Day Care" can be just a simple person's home. It does not have to be professional, zone big business. Bye-Bye APG, Tom Bean, Jacobs Plain, Sanger Subguns, Mickey's Lease, etc. All those Dove hunting areas in DFW area. Even Tiger Valley is not safe. Here is the text of the bill: By: Paxton H.B. No. 3766 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to municipal regulation of the discharge of firearms and certain other weapons. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Section 229.002, Local Government Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 229.002. REGULATION OF DISCHARGE OF WEAPON. A municipality may not apply a regulation relating to the discharge of firearms or other weapons in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the municipality or in an area annexed by the municipality after September 1, 1981, if the firearm or other weapon is: (1) a shotgun, air rifle or pistol, BB gun, or bow and arrow discharged: (A) on a tract of land of 10 acres or more and more than: (i) 1,000  feet from an [a residence or] occupied building, including a residence, located on another property; and (ii) 1,500 feet from: (a)an occupied building that is a school, day-care facility, nursing home facility, or adult day-care facility located on another property; (b)the property line of a public tract of land used for outdoor recreation; (c)the property line of a residential subdivision; and (d)the property line of a multifamily residential complex; and (B) in a manner not reasonably expected to cause a projectile to cross the boundary of the tract; or (2) a center fire or rim fire rifle or pistol of any caliber discharged: (A) on a tract of land of 50 acres or more and more than: (i) 1,000  feet from an [a residence or] occupied building, including a residence, located on another property; and (ii) 1,500 feet from: (a)an occupied building that is a school, day-care facility, nursing home facility, or adult day-care facility located on another property; (b)the property line of a public tract of land used for outdoor recreation; (c)the property line of a residential subdivision; and (d)the property line of a multifamily residential complex; and (B) in a manner not reasonably expected to cause a projectile to cross the boundary of the tract. SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2009.