Some of this may be reiteration, but....
In defense of the great state of Texas, our laws are not any stranger or stricter than mnay states in the US. There are plenty of states whose laws are much more strict.
The problems we have in Texas are twofold:
1. There is very little public land. There are few areas in the eastern part of the state that are accessible and allow herping, but most of the state does not. So in most of the state, where can herpers herp? On the roads or the shoulders. By comparison, if you live in CA or AZ there are vast tracks of accessible herping land.
2. "Hunting" from roads or with artificial lights is prohibited. This is true in most states. What differs from state to state is the interpretation of this law in its application to road cruising. The problem is that Texas has varied over time in its interpretation of whether road cruising for herps is "hunting" and whether your car headlights count as artificial lights. They certainly do if it is a deer you are trying to shoot. Currently, herping on the road is considered hunting and prohibited. Many of us have been watching this go back and forth over the last 30+ years and frankly, it is getting better. At least we are having substantive conversations about it with the powers that be.
We also have more historical baggage when it comes to road cruising than many other states. A lot of states have rules that prohibit hunting from roads, but don't enforce them for road cruising because they don't perceive road cruising as a significant issue. In TX, it is.
Think of herping like fishing. You need license to go out and try to fish, even if you fail to catch anything. You need a license to try and catch fish
. Herping should be seen in the same light. We are no different than catch and release fishermen (except we aren't lazy SOB's who cut a line because we are too frickin' lazy to make the effort to get the hook out!!!.....but I digress
Things will improve as long as herpers are willing to follow the laws that exist and support the system trying to improve them (buying licenses and R&A stamps).
And I might point out that the statement earlier that you can move an animal off the road with a hunting license/R&A stamp is incorrect. You cannot move an animal off the road, even if it is in danger of being killed. Not even for a photo, not even to save its life. It is a stupid law, but it is there because "hunting from the road" is illegal.
And one last important point, your hunting licenses/R&A stamp does not
give you the right to hunt on any
roadside/ROW in Texas. There are many ROWs that are part of protected lands. You can't hunt ROWs in state parks, for example. Nor can you hunt ROWs in federal lands where hunting is prohibited. I was once ticketed for looking at frogs at night in a roadside ditch next to a public road because that public road was on an easement through a NWR which it bordered. Even though one side of the road was private land, the whole road and its right of ways were "in the refuge".