Question: “First of all, to all the high fence owners or deer breeders, I know they mark their whitetail deer with ear tags. So lets say that a deer escaped the high fence or breeder pen and comes to a hunter’s feeder, a hunter looking through the scope notices that the animal has some kind of tag, can you legally shoot the deer if it comes on your property? Is shooting deer with ear tags in Texas legal?”
Answer: First, let me say that it is illegal to catch a wild deer in Texas to put a tag in its ear, or do anything else to it for that matter. So all legally ear tagged deer will belong to someone. The State approves and permits deer breeders and they will be the ones tagging deer. Whitetail deer breeders are required to tag every deer in their pens with a tag and unique number and tattoo that same number in the deer’s ear.
Deer breeders commonly release animals from their pens or sell them to other landowners. However, it is also common for deer to get out of breeder pens and high fenced areas. High fences, or game fences, are deer retardant, not deer proof like many think. It is optional if the breeder or landowner wants to keep the tags in deer that he has released from pens into a high fence pasture or ranch. In Texas once a deer is liberated or escapes from a breeder pen, it is no longer considered personal property.
If a deer comes on a person’s land, buck or doe, with a tag in it’s ear it is legal game during the deer hunting season based on the county bag limits. This is because once the deer is outside the breeding pen no one technically owns it anymore.
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