By Kathi Bliss
Development brings with it new challenges and problems – a lesson that some Lockhart residents and police officers are learning all too well with the beginning of dove season this month.
After the annexation of several properties surrounding Lockhart over the last year, a number of areas which were once suitable for dove hunting are now located within the city limits. Confusion about the city’s hunting regulations has some hunters, along with neighbors of the properties in question, scratching their heads.
“Within the city limits, there are certain restrictions on what firearms can and cannot be used,” said Police Chief Mike Lummus on Tuesday. “For the most part, the rules are pretty straightforward, but with the annexation, I understand why there is some confusion.”
According to the Lockhart Police Department and to city ordinance, the discharge of shotguns, pistols, air rifles, BB guns or bows is allowed within the city limits, provided the weapon is being used on a tract of property 10 acres or larger. Center and rim-fire weapons can only be used on properties 50 acres or larger.
In addition, projectiles may not cross property lines, and hunters discharging firearms must be at least 300 feet away from any given property line. Firearms may not be used on any property that is adjacent to developed land or a residence.
“Each person must register with the police department on a yearly basis for each tract of land that will be hunted,” said LPD Capt. John Roescher. “Registration is a matter of signing off that you have the consent of the landowner and have read and understand the ordinances governing discharging a firearm in the city.”
Although it may be allowed, firing weapons on certain tracts of property may not be advisable. Despite the 300-foot regulations on property lines, projectiles fired from both shotguns and rifles have the potential to travel much farther, increasing the possibility of striking a home, animal, nearby resident or passing car.
Violation of ordinances monitoring the use of firearms within the city limits are punishable by fines of up to $500.
For additional information on the laws regarding firearms, contact the Lockhart Police Department at (512) 398-4401.