Meeting held over proposed state law change

A meeting was held on Thursday evening bringing the Sweetwater Jaycees, the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses together in an effort to stop the proposed state law change by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regarding the use of noxious substances to collect non-game wildlife, which includes the gassing of rattlesnakes.According to Dennis Cumbie, the goal of the meeting was to get public awareness of the issue. Residents are being urged right now to call their local representatives, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Governor's office to share their feelings against the matter.Cumbie, a Sweetwater Jaycee, stated that in the 50+ years that the Jaycees have hunted the rattlesnakes, there has been nothing heard in regards to the harm of other animals. He added that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has offered no direct studies of damage.One citing has noted spiders, but Cumbie shared that the location was cited within caves around the San Antonio area, in which local hunters do not partake in hunting in that particular area.Should the measure pass, he said that hunters would not be as likely to participate in hunting, which would have a profound effect on the annual World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-Up and the number of snakes that are caught.One of the most important aspects in catching the snakes is the venom, in which Cumbie noted that almost 90% of the venom is used to create anti-venom. If the proposed law passed, there could either be a shortage of anti-venom or none available.Citizens can already voice their concern on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, where a survey is available. By entering their name and county, concerned residents can select whether they agree or disagree with the proposed legislation.To partake in the survey, visit public hearing conducted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be held on Friday, January 17 at 10 a.m. at the Sweetwater campus of TSTC (Texas State Technical College) West Texas. Cumbie hopes that residents will come out in a display of community support.