Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

You Can Now Hunt With a Silencer in Texas

Photo Courtesy of Flickr user boboroshi/Creative Commons

Silencers make hunting easier on the ears, but some control control groups worry about safety.

Earlier this month we told you about a proposed rule change that would allow hunters to use silencers when going after game, birds and even alligators. Today the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) announced it has adopted that rule, so Texans can now hunt in relative silence. (Provided they submit an application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), pay $200 and get a criminal background check.)

“These devices are already legal for hunting exotic animals, including feral hogs, and there is no resource or enforcement-related reason to prohibit these devices for hunting alligators, game animals or game birds,” Scott Vaca, TPWD Assistant Chief of Wildlife Enforcement, said in a statement.

Opponents of the rule change had argued that a bullet is exactly the sort of thing that people should able to hear.

“I think there should be concerns across the spectrum, from people who are engaging in legitimate hunting activity and who are not able to hear the report of rifle fire from a hunter, or hunters who are not in their group and who don’t have that warning,”  Ladd Everitt, a spokesperson with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told StateImpact Texas earlier. 

More from the Parks and Wildlife:

“The regulation change does not relieve any person of the obligation to comply with applicable federal, state, or local law governing the possession or use of firearm silencers. Firearms silencers are regulated under the National Firearms Act. They are legal for individuals to possess and use for lawful purposes in 39 states, including Texas. However, a prospective user must go through an application process administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which requires a Federal tax payment of $200 and a thorough criminal background check.”

Read our earlier story on hunting with silencers here.


  • Jim

    At one time in this country, full automatic firearms and silencers were againts Federal law. I guess the NRA have bought more politicans than I thought.

    • blah

      You are not very smart.

    • Hardday

      Your not informed and your stupid.

      • blah

        Automatic weapons have never been against the law, they have however been highly regulated starting with the National Firearms Act of 1934 (I believe this was in response to gangsters with “Tommy guns” etc.) Silencers and other weapons were hit with this same ban Act. Anyone can still own any of these items after paying a $200 tax stamp and passing a sort of background check.

        You’re an IDIOT.

        • WilliamDahl

          NFA34 was *supposedly* in response to the gangsters who were making a lot of money from Prohibition. The only problem with this rationale is that Prohibition was over before GCA34 was enacted. As such, it is shown that their *excuse* for NFA34 is a total lie and it was just a way to start taking away our 2nd Amendment rights and turning us into sheeple.

          The government declared war on the citizens with NFA34 (and continued it with GCA68). The citizens should have risen up at that point and tossed out the legislators at that point and started a new government. They didn’t have the foresight and as such, we are left with people who think that it is perfectly acceptable to violate the Constitution and infringe upon our 2nd Amendment guaranteed rights.

          • Johnobody

            Oh. Yeah. That THING in 1968 was actually called the National Firearm Owners’ Protection Act. It was supposed to allow an owner of a piece of hardware that is legal in one jurisdiction (silencer in Indiana) through a jurisdiction in which the hardware is illegal, such as Illinois, to a jurisdiction where it’s legal, like Missouri. Unfortunately, all it did was curtail automatic weapon production for the civilian market without providing a single PROTECTION that it promised.

        • Johnobody

          There’s some recent talk of removing the $200 tax stamp from silencers. As the background check isn’t any more extensive than a NICS check, I don’t see any purpose for the $200 cost anyway. It certainly would be nice to decimate a pack of coyotes or feral swine before they knew what was hitting them or what direction to run (some would inevitabley run toward the shooter).

      • Guest

        You’re uneducated and have poor grammar

        • Razorc195

          Grammar and education were not the topics of discussion of this blog.

      • SABodo1

        You’re….When attacking a stupid liberal, at least use proper English. It pisses them off.

      • Grammer Check

        Are you sure “your” not the stupid one?

    • WilliamDahl

      Actually, at one time in this country (before the leftists ruined it), you could purchase fully automatic firearms and silencers without ANY government paperwork (as the Founding Fathers intended when they said “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”). EVERY gun “law” that came after the 2nd Amendment is blatantly unconstitutional since it violates the “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED” clause of the 2nd Amendment and as such we have the moral duty to ignore them. Any law enforcement officer that tries to enforce these unconstitutional restrictions on our natural born rights as free men to bear arms is an enemy of the Constitution and should be treated like any other traitor. Or at least how we USED to treat traitors.

      • William Allen

        Stop bending the constitution to fit your agenda. Douche bag

        • WilliamDahl

          Try reading the Constitution, Federalist Papers, and the letters between the Founding Fathers instead of just believing what your leftist masters tell you to think and you’ll see that what I say is true.

      • Johnnie Paul

        It’s a tax, not an infringement on the 2nd amendment per-se. $200 is a minor price to pay and people buying such things SHOULD be background checked. JMHO though.

        • Johnobody

          They’re running the same NICS check that they run for the purchase of a single barrel shotgun and the same automated fingerprint analysis that they run for my explosives license. It doesn’t take a year (even though they hold onto it that long before approving the transfer). The tax is just a tax. Calling it a surcharge for research being done is a flagrant lie. I don’t see a silencer on a gun being anywhere close to the danger a trained professional can create by carelessly treating his or her task with consumer grade pyrotechnics. The professional grade pyrotechnics and demolition grade explosives require absolute focus and constant redundant checks to avoid loss of life. Making a gun fire such that it doesn’t cause hearing damage should be heralded as a good thing. Aside from that, what logic you’re using to criticize this movement escapes me. Perhaps logic has just simply escaped.

      • Teddy Quirk

        dude police got killed a ton by mobsters when automatic firearms were allowed. the reason they got banned is because police killing were at an all time high. once fully automatic firearms were regulated and the mobs were shit on, police deaths dropped significantly. I’m okay with firearm laws on fully automatic and silencers today, despite being pro guns. gotta protect the police. but if you come after our semi automatics, damn right ill take up arms.

    • Johnobody

      No. Neither have ever been illegal. There is a law that doesn’t allow any new automatic weapons to be sold to civilians, but the automatic weapons that existed before a certain date in 1986 are legal for transfer through appropriate legal channels. There are about 175000 of these in existence and NONE of them has ever been used in a crime of any sort. The production and sale of silencers never stopped. The National Firearms Act put a transfer tax of $200 on each one. This has been the law since 1934. If you want to discuss things that are or were ever illegal and the NRA’s influence on them, do a bit of research and keep it in mind that 1/3 of homes in the U.S. posses one or more firearms. That means that the politicians that the NRA owns are also looking out for the old couple who have a double barrel shotgun to defend against a home invasion because the neighborhood changed a lot in the last 50 years. Those who are endorsed by the NRA are not bought by them. Their points of view align. There is a difference that shouldn’t be overlooked.

  • JC

    Jim, at one time in our country it was legal for citizens to have any piece of artillery which the government might possess. The point of a well armed citizenry is to prohibit the growing of a government which will use military force against it’s own people. Our forefathers saw this is what allowed the United States to win independence from Great Britain, and that it might be needed again in the future.

    • Dong-Je Lee

      Adding on to that, if someone poses the question of “civilians can’t get big guns like governments can, so it’s useless to have guns in the first place, obviating the need for a 2nd amendment,” whether because they have an agenda or simply because they are curious, this post may drive the counterargument home: https://db.tt/tKjJ0RqI. It’s a dropbox link so there’s no need to fire up your anti virus programs – which are usually unnecessary and cause computer bloat; just use MSE.

      The basic point is that tanks and raptors and unmanned drones and gun batteries can’t “stand on streetcorners and enforce no-assembly edicts … [or] kick down your door at 3am to search your house for contraband materiels [sic] or anti-social propaganda…. [They are] useless for maintaining a police state. Police are needed to maintain a police state.”

      It’s a lot harder for an oppressive force to do any oppressing if they don’t know who has the means to end their life amongst the people they are trying to subjugate.

  • It is about time. Your car is required to have a muffler because it is to loud. A gun however is required to be loud enough to damage your hearing. Also, I think anyone against silencers has never seen one fired outside of a movie. In the movie it is a quiet wisp. In real life they are still loud just not damaging to your hearing. It is a safety device. Nothing more. 

    • WilliamDahl

      I don’t believe that we should be *required* to have silencers, but I do not think that we should have to pay extra money to the government and get permission just because we want to voluntarily decrease the noise that we generate with our firearms. Besides, the silencers do not truly *silence* the firearms, they just reduce the noise to the point where it is not *as* harmful to our hearing. If you have a supersonic round, it is still going to be making quite a bit of noise and even a subsonic round is not *that* quiet.

  • Johann

    This is NUTS!  As a hunter for over 50 years (I’m 71), this is the most nutty rule passed by the Parks & Wildlife.  Of course, you know that all those members on the board are “city slickers” and really don’t give a damn about rural folks!

    • blah

      What are you talking about?

  • Brad the Gun Guy

    Silencers have never been illegal.  They do require additional background checks and registration much like full auto or short barrel rifles.  In many countries they do not even have background checks to purchase them.  Unlike machine guns they were not put under NFA registration to keep gangsters from using them.  In fact the odd part about this change is that the reason silencers were restricted to begin with was to make it harder to poach game animals.

    • Johnobody

      That “additional” background check is a sham. So is the waiting period. Finger prints? Whatever. Uncle Sam has gotten my fingerprints enough times already. Technology has caught up already. For my $200, I want some faster service. I know, for saying that, my next 4473 is going to come back delayed. That’s BATF humor for you.

  • ZincChloride

    Finally! It’s about time TPWD stopped listening to the hypocritical left and allow common sense in hunting. Jim you’re an idiot by the way. Almost everything the Marx followers believe in is anti-American and against one’s personal liberty and freedom. If the left’s ideologies actually worked then why the democrat controlled cities and states have the highest crime and poverty rates?

  • Randel

    at one time there was an amendment what was it??? oh yea The Second
    Amendment A well
    regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of
    the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed ……   thats pretty straight to the point…lets see it says you have the right to bear arms,….. sorry I dont see in there where it said except full auto or cannon or…

  • Wayne Snyder

    Is there a listing of states that allow usage of silencers?

    • Dong-Je Lee

      Google is your homie, guy.

  • Joele

    I think the freedom to own a silencer or a fully automatic weapon is something that has been lost or restricted for far too long. Background check, understandable, but I don’t think there should be a $200 handout for the government to approve someone of owning one of either.

    • WilliamDahl

      If you believe that a background check is acceptable, then you are well down that slippery slope that will eventually lead to firearm registration and confiscation.

      • Mikeb

        Everyone convicted of treason lately had a background check and got a security clearance…. Something to think about…. But still a good idea…

      • Johnobody

        Yeah. That guy who shot up the church in South Carolina purchased his gun at a shop. The shop conducted the NICS check. The FBI employee who conducted the check SAW the drug indictment that should have caused the purchase to be denied, but let it go through anyway. A Person, employed by the government, failed in his or her job and lives were lost. The rules were written. They just weren’t followed. No. We don’t need one more law. We need to pay attention to the ones we have. We need to not get stupid about them. We need to pay attention to them. A felon who attempts to buy a gun should be charged with the associated crimes instead of being told “Sorry, Charlie. Try your luck at the flea market(where the dealers are probably running the NICS checks via cell phone).

  • Johnobody

    Here in Ohio, I think silencer hunting was just allowed to become fact through silence on the matter. Nobody addressed it in a law, so it didn’t have to be made legal. I thought that was actually the way laws were supposed to work. If there was a reason to prohibit something, do so. If there is no compelling reason, leave it be. A silencer helps undo some of the damage done by ecological terrorists (those who have purposely introduced invasive species into our local ecosystem). It’s a good tool with many reasons to use it. Those who are now up in arms don’t understand why it’s important and how much damage (in dollars) these animals do every growing season.

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