Criminal law in Texas is always interesting.

This legislative session gave us some new fish and wildlife criminal law that makes me once again think: “Only in Texas.”


As you can tell from the picture above (of my son several years ago in Glen Rose), I had no idea that catching fish by hand (“noodling”) was illegal.  But apparently, had a Park Ranger seen us, we would have had an awful lot of explaining to do and possibly gotten a Class C Misdemeanor (up to a $500.00 fine)for violating that particular law.  However, now we can hand fish to our heart’s content, as long as you have a license.

Because the change is so new, you can’t find it online yet, so here is a link to the criminal law bill.


Contrary to noodling, I thought cock-fighting was already illegal.  However, prior to September 1, there was not an actual criminal law on the books that was exactly on point.

The new law makes it a State Jail Felony (6-24 months in jail and up to a $10,000.00 fine) to cause a cock fight, participate in the earnings of a cock fight, operate a facility for a cock fight, use or permit another to use your property for a cock fight, or have anything to do with cock fighting weapons.  It is now a Class A Misdemeanor (up to one year in jail a fine up to $4,000.00) to own or train a fighting cock and it is even a crime (Class C Misedmeanor) to be a spectator at a cock fight.

Here is a link to the criminal law bill.


This one was called the “Pork Chopper Bill” but it also applies to coyotes as well as feral hogs.  While it was already legal to kill hogs and coyotes on your land and even kill them from a helicopter, now you can essentially sell admission to hunters to do the same.  There’s already a company ready to help.  Vertex Heliservices offers an aerial hunting safety course, Texas landowner programs, and a host of other “aerial predator control” services.

Here is a link to the criminal law bill.


It is now a against the law to lie about the size of your latest catch.  At least if you are in a tournament that is.  I thought part of the whole point of fishing was to exaggerate.

But now, any and all fisherman, in a competition, need to be completely honest.  You can’t use or supply a fish that wasn’t caught by the participant in the tournament (no frozen fish from Sam’s).  You can’t alter the length or weight of the fish after it’s caught (no fish stretching).  You can’t break any of the Parks and Wildlife rules during the tounrnament (no cutting corners).  Doing any of those things could result in a Class A Misdemeanor or even a Third Degree Felony (if the purse is worth $10,000.00 or more).  Not only that, but you could even be charged under the new law if you knew about someone doing any of those things and didn’t turn them in.

Once again, here is a link to the criminal law bill.