Interest in using noise suppressors on firearms has exploded over the past few years as shooters have become more aware of hearing damage caused by firearms, efforts to reduce noise complaints associated with shooting and some hunters' fascination with technology and the "coolness" factor of suppressors.
A firearm sound suppressor, basically a baffle-filled cylinder threaded on the end of a firearm's barrel, reduces but does not eliminate the muzzle blast when that gun is fired. It does not impact the loud crack of a projectile traveling faster than the speed of sound, approximately 1,100 feet per second, but does, to varying degrees, reduce overall noise level.
Texas is one of 39 states allowing possession of a firearms suppressor. Current Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regulations allow suppressors to be used when hunting non-game animals such as feral hogs but prohibit their use when hunting game animals such as white-tailed deer, Maj. Scott Vaca of TPWD's law enforcement division told the TPW Commission regulations committee during a Wednesday briefing on proposed rules changes.
The agency received requests to remove the prohibition of using suppressors when hunting game animals, and wildlife division staff said there is no biological reason to prohibit use of the noise-reducing devices.
If the TPW Commission approves the change, use of suppressors by Texans hunting deer, squirrels or other game animals is not likely to be high because of the cost (several hundred dollars or more) of the devices and the regulatory hassles associated with obtaining one.
Leads nation in sales
While Texas allows possession and use of firearms sound suppressors, the devices are heavily regulated under federal firearms laws. To legally purchase a suppressor, which are termed "silencers" by federal statutes, a person must do business with a dealer licensed by federal authorities to handle the devices, meet strict application requirements for a permit to possess the device and pay a $200 transfer tax.
Texas annually leads the nation in sales of firearms suppressors. In 2010, according to a National Shooting Sports Foundation report, about 3,600 of the approximately 22,200 federal transfer tax fees for "silencers" were paid by Texans.
Galveston County this autumn would see its first general deer hunting season in decades if the commission approves a wildlife division proposal.
While Galveston County doesn't have a large deer population, it does hold some thriving deer herds in isolated pockets of habitat, said Alan Cain, TPWD whitetail deer program leader. Allowing a general deer season (an archery season and general deer season with a four-deer - two-bucks, two-does -bag limit) would not have a negative impact on those herds, offers some additional hunting opportunity to Texans and gives landowners an additional tool to address urban deer issues.
.....well, since I live in Galveston County in an "urban" area I guess that I can now not feel guilty about feeding the deer in my back yard this summer and fall! In the last month or so I have had both an eight and ten point buck as well as a pile of doe in the back yard. And I live right in the middle of town!!
Gonna have to get a supressor so I don't pizz off the neighbor lady with her "WWF" stickers and all though!! 8)