Gassing As a Means to Collect Nongame Wildlife
Frequently Asked Questions
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is considering rules that would prohibit the intentional use of gasoline and other substances ("gassing") to take or capture nongame wildlife, particularly rattlesnakes.
- Why is TPWD considering a ban on gassing?
- Gassing is an indiscriminate means of take. The Department 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. The proposed regulatory changes would serve to restrict means of take only and would not prohibit collection by legal means. TPWD is working cooperatively with roundup organizers to ensure that a ban on gassing would not adversely impact rattlesnake-oriented community events.
- Many rattlesnake roundups 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 data to suggest that rattlesnakes will become overabundant in the absence of gassing.
- 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 is produced by laboratories that maintain captive colonies of rattlesnakes and do not rely on venom obtained from gassed snakes. Current supplies of captive produced, lab certified venom far exceed demand.
- What is Texas Parks and Wildlife's position regarding public input on this proposal?
- The Department believes strongly in public review and input on important decisions, including nongame regulations.
- We are working hard to inform people about a potential prohibition, to listen and be responsive, to answer questions and provide information. We are contacting elected officials, nongame permit holders, and key stakeholder groups about the issue. Department staff met with stakeholders in early October and letters were sent to 40 stakeholders and other interested parties. Additional meetings are planned.
- 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.