Presenter: John Herron

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Action
Raptor Proclamation
January 1998

I. Discussion: Chapter 49 of the Parks and Wildlife Code governs the take, capture, and possession of raptors in this state. The passage of House Bill 2542 by the Seventy-fifth Texas Legislature enacted amendments to Chapter 49 which necessitate rulemaking by the department in order to reconcile the current regulations with legislative intent. At the same time, staff seeks to incorporate suggestions made by the Falconry Advisory Board pursuant to Parks and Wildlife Code, §49.016. The changes would eliminate reporting requirements for educational display of raptors; allow the purchase and sale of captive-bred raptors; institute a nonresident trapping permit; and set open seasons and bag limits for hunting game birds (except migratory game birds, which are subject to federal management frameworks) and game animals by means of falconry.

At the November 1997, meeting of the Regulations Committee, staff was given permission to publish the proposed Raptor Proclamation in the Texas Register) for public comment. The proposed Raptor Proclamation was published in the December 19, 1997, issue of the Texas Register (22 TexReg 12427). Staff has received, analyzed and responded to public comment on the proposed Raptor Proclamation, and a synopsis will be available at the time of the hearing..

II. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the proposed repeal of 31 TAC §§65.262, 65.263, 65.264, 65.265, 65.267, 65.268, and 65.276, and proposed new 31 TAC §§65.262-65.265, 65.267, 65.268, 65.276, and 65.277, concerning regulations for the take, capture, and possession of raptors in this state, with changes to the proposed text as published in the December 19, 1997, issue of the Texas Register (22 TexReg 12427)."

Attachments - 3

1. Exhibit A - Proposed Raptor Proclamation
2. Exhibit B - Proposed Fee for Raptor Trapping Permit
3. Exhibit C - Fiscal Note

(Exhibit C is available upon request.)


Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit A

Proposed Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes the repeal of §§65.262, 65.263, 65.264, 65.265, 65.267, 65.268, and 65.276, and new §§65.262, 65.263, 65.264, 65.265, 65.267, 65.276, and 65.277, concerning regulations for the take, capture, and possession of raptors. The repeals and new sections are necessary to implement statutory provisions enacted by the 75th Texas Legislature in House Bill 2542. The new sections will function to eliminate numerical restrictions and reporting requirements for educational display of raptors; allow the purchase and sale of captive-bred raptors; institute a nonresident trapping permit; and set open seasons and bag limits for hunting game birds (except migratory game birds, which are subject to federal management frameworks) and game animals by means of falconry.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, Wildlife Division regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the repeals and new sections as proposed are in effect, there will be no additional fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the repeals and new sections.

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years the repeals and new sections are in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the repeals and new sections as proposed will be the elimination of unnecessary regulatory presence and an increased opportunity for citizens to utilize the wildlife resources of the state.

(B) There will be no effect on small businesses. There is an additional economic cost to persons required to comply with the repeals and new sections as proposed, due to the introduction of the $300 nonresident trapping permit. However, because nonresidents have never been permitted to trap raptors in Texas, the department has no historical data from which to estimate the number of persons who might be affected.

(C) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Employment Commission as required by Government Code, §2001.022, as this agency has determined that the repeals and new sections as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed repeals and new sections.

4. Request for Public Comments.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Rosie Roegner, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4491 or 1-800-792-4410.

5. Statutory Authority.

The repeals and new sections are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 49, which provides the commission with authority to promulgate regulations governing the take, capture, propagation, and possession of raptors in this state.

The proposed new sections affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 49.

§65.261. Applicability. This subchapter applies to all raptors indigenous to state of Texas.

§65.262. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms shall have the meanings assigned by Parks and Wildlife Code.

Captive bred - Raptors, including eggs hatched in captivity, from parents that mated or otherwise reproduced in captivity.

Educational display - Activities conducted for the purposes of encouraging management and conservation of raptors or furthering awareness and understanding among the general public of the biology of protected wildlife.

Eyas - a young raptor taken from the nest or still in the nest.

Holding - Retaining in captivity.

Imping - the use of a feather to replace a broken feather of a raptor.

Mew - an indoor facility for keeping a raptor.

Raptor - A live migratory bird of the Order Falconiformes or the Order Strigiformes.

Passage bird - An raptor less than one year of age that has left the nest.

Release to the wild - Release of wildlife to an area where it is capable of leaving at will.

Take - To trap or capture, or attempt to trap or capture, a wild raptor.

Weathering area - Outdoor facilities providing a raptor protection from the environment.

§65.263. General Provisions.

(a) No person shall take or possess a raptor in this state unless that person possesses valid state and federal permits to do so.

(b) Public display of raptors shall be:

(1) for educational purposes only; and

(2) shall be performed only by general or master permit holders. [;

[(3) and shall not exceed five presentations per year.]

(c) General and master permittees may not sponsor more than three apprentices at one time.

§65.264. Applications and Permits.

(a) All permit applications shall be made using forms supplied by the department and shall be submitted with a copy of the applicant’s federal falconry permit, or a copy of the completed application for the federal falconry permit.

(b) No permit shall be issued until the applicant has passed, with a minimum score of 80, a supervised, department-administered falconry examination.

(c) When the requirements of subsections (a) and (b) of this section have been met, and the department has received the applicable fees from the applicant, the department shall forward the application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for concurrence and final processing prior to the issuance of a state permit.

(d) No state permits shall be issued until the applicant's facilities have passed an inspection conducted by a department representative.

(e) Permits may be issued for any period of time not exceeding three years from date of issuance and shall expire on June 30.

(f) The requirements of subsections (b)-(e) do not apply to applications for a nonresident trapping permit. [A non-resident in possession of a raptor while hunting in this state must have on their person:

[(1) a copy of their federal falconry permit;

[(2) proof of licensure in another state; and

[(3) a five-day non-resident permit.]

§65.265. Permit Classes: Restrictions. A person who is not a resident of this state may not hold any permit issued under this subchapter other than a nonresident trapping permit [five-day non-resident permit].

(1) Apprentice class permittees:

(A) may possess only one of the following: American kestrel (Falco sparverius), red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), or red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus). Any red-tailed hawk or red-shouldered hawk in possession must have been captured as a passage bird; and

(B) may not replace a raptor more than once during any 12-month period.

(2) General class permittees:

(A) may not possess more than two raptors; and

(B) may not replace more than two raptors during any 12-month period.

(3) Master class permittees:

(A) may not possess more than three raptors; and

(B) may not replace more than three raptors during any 12-month period.

(4) Raptor propagator:

(A) Qualifications. An applicant for a raptor propagator permit must:

(i) be a resident of Texas;

(ii) be 18 years of age or older; and

(iii) have at least five years of experience in the practice of falconry at the apprentice level, or its equivalent.

(B) Restrictions. Raptor propagators may not possess or breed species of raptors listed as endangered unless the propagator can document proof of seven years' experience caring for and handling raptors.

(5) Nonresident trapping permittees:

(A) Qualifications: An applicant for a nonresident trapping permit must possess a license, issued by their state of residence, equivalent to the Texas general or master falconer license.

(B) Restrictions: A nonresident shall not trap more than one raptor per year in this state.

§65.266. General Facility Standards.

(a) Permit holders shall comply with the applicable facilities and equipment standards of this subchapter in addition to any specific requirements stated in their permits. All facilities and equipment are subject to inspection by the department.

(b) Permit holders shall provide facilities appropriately sized, constructed, and maintained so as to provide a safe environment for raptors held under a permit issued under the authority of this subchapter. The primary consideration for raptor housing facilities, whether indoors (mews) or outdoors (weathering area), is protection from the elements, predators and undue disturbance.

(1) Clean water shall be available at all times except when medical circumstances require the temporary denial of water.

(2) Veterinary care shall be available to all raptors.

(c) Permittees shall maintain facilities that meet the following standards.

(1) Indoor facility standards.

(A) In any facility housing more than one raptor, the raptors shall be tethered or separated by partitions.

(B) Each raptor in possession must be provided with a minimum of 32 square feet and the area must be large enough to allow the raptor to fully extend its wings.

(C) There shall be at least one window, protected on the inside by vertical bars spaced narrower than the width of the raptor's body, and a secure door that can be easily closed.

(D) The floor of the mew shall permit easy cleaning and shall be well drained.

(E) Adequate perches shall be provided.

(2) Outdoor facility (weathering area) standards.

(A) Weathering areas shall be fenced and covered with netting or roofed to protect the raptors from disturbance and attack by predators.

(B) The enclosed area shall be large enough to insure that raptors cannot strike the fence when flying from a perch.

(C) A weathering facility shall provide each raptor with adequate protection from excessive sun, wind, and inclement weather.

(3) Only one facility is required if it meets the requirements for both indoor and outdoor facilities.

(d) Permittees shall have at least one each of the following items:

(1) gauntlet glove;

(2) one pair of alymeri jesses or similar type constructed of pliable, high-quality leather or suitable synthetic material to be used when any raptor is flown free (traditional one piece jesses may not be used at any time);

(3) hood;

(4) a strong swivel of acceptable falconry design per raptor;

(5) a reliable scale or balance suitable for weighing a raptor, graduated to increments of not more than 1/2 ounce (15 grams);

(6) a flexible, weather-resistant leash per raptor;

(7) a bath container, two to six inches deep and wider than the length of the raptor, for drinking and bathing for each raptor; and

(8) one portable perch for each raptor.

(e) A raptor may be held in temporary facilities not to exceed 30 days. Temporary facilities shall be provided with an adequate perch and protected from extreme temperatures and excessive disturbances. The provisions of this subsection include authorization to transport a raptor to and from a temporary facility.

(f) Another general or master falconer may care for the raptors of a permit holder for up to 30 days if written authorization from the permit holder accompanies the raptors when they are transferred.

(g) Feathers that are molted and feathers from raptors that die in captivity may be retained and exchanged by permit holders only for imping purposes.

§65.267. Reports.

[(a)] Permittees shall submit to the department a legible copy of any federal form or report submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the same time such paperwork is forwarded to that agency.

[(b) Permittees conducting a public display of raptors possessed under this subchapter shall notify the department in writing within ten days of such display.]

[§65.268. Permit Fees.

[(a) Fees for original permits are:

[(1) apprentice falconry permit (original) - $50;

[(2) general falconry permit - $100;

[(3) master falconry permit - $150; and

[(4) raptor propagator permit - $50;

(5) nonresident permit - $20.]

[(b) A renewal fee of $50 must accompany each application for renewal of a resident permit.]

§65.269. Trapping Seasons and Collecting Areas.

(a) The trapping season for raptors begins September 15 and ends December 31. The season for taking eyasses begins May 1 and ends June 30. A marked raptor may be retrapped at any time.

(b) Except as expressly authorized in writing by the department, raptors shall not be trapped at any time in Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Presidio, or Terrell counties.

(c) No eggs may be taken from raptor nests.

(d) Eyasses shall be taken only by a general or master falconer. No person shall take more than two eyasses during the season for taking eyasses.

(e) Only American kestrels (Falco sparverius) and great-horned owls (Bubo virginianus) may be taken when over one year old.

(f) Any raptor other than an endangered species taken under a federal depredation (or special purpose depredation) permit may be used for falconry by a general or master falconer. Endangered species taken under a depredation permit shall not be released to the wild without prior department approval of the release site.

(g) Nonresidents in possession of a valid Nonresident Trapping Permit may trap raptors from the wild according to the terms of the permit.

§65.270. Marking.

(a) No gyrfalcon, peregrine falcon, or Harris hawk may be acquired under a permit issued pursuant to this subchapter unless the person acquiring the raptor first obtains a numbered nonreusable marker supplied by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The marker must be attached to the raptor immediately upon acquisition.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to alter, counterfeit, or deface a marker, except that a permit holder may remove the rear tab on markers and smooth an imperfect surface, provided the integrity of the marker and numbering are not affected.

§65.271. Transfers and Sale.

(a) A general or master permit holder may transfer raptors to [exchange raptors with] another general or master permit holder.[, provided:

[(1) the exchange involves raptors that each receiver may legally hold; and

[(2) there is no consideration or remuneration involved.]

(b) Not more than one out-of-state transfer [or exchange] of a wild-trapped raptor may be made during any 12-month period by a permit holder.

(c) A general or master permit holder may buy raptors from any legal source and may sell captive-bred raptors to another general or master permit holder in this state and to persons outside the state who are authorized under federal and state law to purchase raptors.

§65.272. Change of Address. The department shall be notified within 14 days of any change of address of a permit holder within the state.

§65.273. Temporary Relocation Out of State. A permit holder who temporarily relocates to another state may maintain a Texas falconry permit provided a permanent residence is maintained by the permittee in the State of Texas. A falconry permit may be reissued for one two-year period for any permit holder temporarily residing out of state. A permit holder who has remained out of state for a period longer than two years will be presumed to have established permanent residence in another state and a Texas falconry permit will not be reissued.

§65.274. Permanent Relocation to Texas. A person holding a valid falconry permit issued by another state and who is establishing residence in Texas must apply to the department for a Texas falconry permit within 10 days of bringing permitted raptors to the state. The department shall determine permit issuance based on previous licensed experience obtained in other states.

§65.275. Special Provisions. Raptors possessed prior to January 15, 1975 and their progeny may be retained and shall not be part of the number of raptors authorized by a permit.

§65.276. Open Seasons and Bag Limits. There shall be an open season during which game animals and game birds except for migratory birds may be taken by means of falconry.

(1) Open season: September 1-August 31.

(2) Daily bag and possession limits:

(A) game animals: as specified for individual counties in Subchapter A of this chapter;

(B) game birds other than migratory birds: one per day, either sex, per raptor, and the possession limit is two per day, either sex, per raptor.

§65.277. Violations and Penalties.

(a) Any violation of Parks and Wildlife Code, a regulation of the commission, or provision of a permit shall be cause for the department, at its discretion, to deny further permit issuance.

(b) Penalties for a violation of this chapter are as provided by Parks and Wildlife Code, §49.017.

This agency hereby certifies the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency's authority to adopt.

Issued in Austin, Texas on

William D. Harvey, Ph.D.
Regulatory Coordinator
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
1-800-792-1112, extension 4642 or
512-389-4642


Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit B

Proposed Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §53.8, concerning fees schedules. The amendment to §53.8 is necessary to implement the fee for the newly created nonresident raptor trapping permit. The amendment will function to impose fees for nonresidents wishing to trap raptors in this state.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, Wildlife Division regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the proposed amendment is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendment.

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

Mr. Macdonald has also determined that for each of the first five years the amendment as proposed is in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rule as proposed will be the increased opportunity for persons to benefit from the wildlife resources of the state.

(B) There will be no effect on small businesses. There are additional economic costs to persons required to comply with the rule as proposed; specifically, a $300 fee for nonresidents to trap raptors in this state.

(C) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce Commission as required by Government Code, §2001.022, as this agency has determined that the rule as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rule.

4. Request for Public Comments.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Robert Macdonald, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4775 or 1-800-792-1112.

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment is proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §49.014, which provides the commission with authority to establish a fee for the nonresident trapping permit.

The amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 49 and 31.

§53.8. Miscellaneous Wildlife Licenses and Permits.

(a)-(b) (No change.)

(c) Falconry permits. The following permit fee amounts are effective for the license year beginning September 1, 1995, and thereafter:

(1) apprentice falconer's (type 121) - $50;

(2) general falconer's (type 122) - $100;

(3) master falconer's (type 123) - $150;

(4) falconer's renewal (type 124) - $50; and

(5) nonresident trapper's [5-day falconer's] (type 125) - $300 [$20].

(d)-(e) (No change.)

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency's authority to adopt.

Issued in Austin, Texas on

William D. Harvey, Ph.D.
Regulatory Coordinator
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
1-800-792-1112, extension 4642 or 512-389-4642


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