Dry weather and depleted lakes and rivers from the drought have led to a decrease in hunting and fishing license sales.
If the drought persists, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department may have to take more extreme measures and temporarily shut down two of the state’s eight fish hatcheries, TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith told the House Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee.
Revenue from fishing licenses dropped about $1.1 million, or 30 percent, and hunting license revenue declined $976,000, or 5 percent.
The drought has stressed out wildlife, with more complaints of bears showing up in Del Rio, mountain lions in El Paso, and feral hogs in the suburbs, Smith said. The bobwhite quail population has declined significantly and the number of pronghorn antelope in the Alpine-Marfa region has gone down by an estimated 85 percent to 90 percent.
Last year’s wildfires also hit TPWD with about $10 million in damages in the Bastrop and Possum Kingdom state parks.