Presenter: Vernon Bevill

Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Action
1998-99 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
June 1998

I. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) frameworks is delegated to the Commission under Chapter 64, Subchapter C, Parks and Wildlife Code. Staff presented the proposed proclamation to the Regulations Committee at the April 1998 meeting and was authorized to publish the proposed rules in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposal appeared in the May 1, 1998, issue of the Texas Register (23 TexReg 4217). A summary of public comment will be presented at the time of the hearing.

At present, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has not issued the annual regulatory frameworks for migratory game birds. Since the proposal located at Exhibit A reflects the Commission's policy to provide the most liberal harvest provisions permissible under the federal frameworks, staff recommends retaining those provisions should the Service frameworks remain unchanged from last year. Should the Service issue frameworks that are more restrictive than the department’s proposal, the department will adopt the restrictions under the ‘federal-mandate’ provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act. In the event the Service issues frameworks that are less restrictive, staff recommends the Commission adopt, on a contingency basis, all federal changes that would result in increased hunter opportunity.

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the proposed amendments to 31 TAC §§65.309, 65.312-65.316, and 65.319, concerning migratory game bird regulations, with changes to the proposed text as published in the May 1, 1998, issue of the Texas Register (23 TexReg 4217)."

Attachments - 3

1. Exhibit A - Proposed Migratory Bird Proclamation
2. Exhibit B - Summary of Public Comments
3. Exhibit C - (Available upon request.)


Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit A

Proposed Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§65.309 and 65.312-65.320, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation. The amendment to §65.309, concerning Definitions, adds a definition of Harvest Information Program (HIP), modifies the definition of nontoxic shot to eliminate unnecessary verbiage, and numbers the definitions to conform with the new Texas Register style sheet. The amendment of §65.312 makes the documentation requirement for migratory game birds the same as all other game birds except turkey and is necessary to insure the integrity of established bag and possession limits. The amendment of §65.313 eliminates redundant wording already in statute, makes HIP requirements conform to those in federal regulations, and authorizes the executive director to engage in rulemaking after notifying the chairman of the commission. The amendment to §65.314, concerning Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species, adds three species of migratory game birds (sandhill cranes, woodcock, and snipe) from §65.317, concerning Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species, to place species with similar hunting regulations in the same section. The amendment to §65.315, concerning Open Seasons and Bag Limits-Early Season, adjusts season dates to provide for optimum hunter opportunity, delays the opening of teal season and the first segment of the rail and gallinule season by one week, clarifies the bag composition for doves as adopted by the commission in 1997, and relocates the season dates for sandhill cranes, woodcock, and snipe from §65.318, concerning Open Seasons and Bag Limits-Late Season Species, to consolidate provisions for those species in a single section with similar provisions for other species. The amendment to §65.316, concerning Closed Areas, eliminates the white-winged dove sanctuary areas, which are no longer necessary for the management of that species. The amendment to §65.317, concerning Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species, has been described earlier. The amendment to §65.318, concerning Open Seasons and Bag Limits-Late Season, adjusts season dates to provide for optimum hunter opportunity and moves the season dates for sandhill cranes, woodcock, and snipe to another section for the reasons described earlier. The amendments to §65.319 and §65.320, concerning Extended Falconry Seasons for Early Season Species and Late Season Species, respectively, adjusts season dates to provide for optimum hunter opportunity and removes provisions for sandhill cranes, woodcock, and snipe for relocation to another section.

Final adoption of any regulation involving migratory game-bird resources is contingent upon regulatory frameworks issued by the Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The commission's policy is to adopt the most liberal regulations possible under those federal frameworks.

2. Fiscal Note.

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

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rules as proposed will be the department's discharge of its statutory obligation to manage and conserve the state's populations of migratory game birds, as well as implementation of commission policy to maximize recreational opportunity for the citizenry.

(B) There will be no effect on small businesses. There are no additional economic costs to persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

(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 rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

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

4. Request for Public Comments.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Vernon Bevill, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4578 or 1-800-792-1112.

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, Subchapter C, which authorizes the Commission and the Executive Director to provide the open season and means, methods, and devices for the hunting and possessing of migratory game birds.

The amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, Subchapter C.

§65.309. 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 in Subchapter A of this chapter (relating to Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation).

(1) Baited area - Any area where shelled, shucked, or unshucked corn, wheat, or other grain, salt, or other feed capable of luring, attracting, or enticing such birds is directly or indirectly placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered; and the area shall remain a baited area for ten days following complete removal of all such corn, wheat, or other grain, salt or other feed.

(2) Baiting - The placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of shelled, shucked, or unshucked corn, wheat, or other grain, salt, or other feed so as to constitute for migratory game birds a lure, attraction, or enticement to, on, or over areas when hunters are attempting to take such birds.

(3) Dark geese - Canada, white-fronted, and all other geese except light geese.

(4) Harvest Information Program (HIP) - A mandatory certification process for all persons who hunt or intend to hunt migratory game birds. To be certified, a person must answer a series of questions about their migratory game-bird hunting habits.

(5) Legal shotgun - A shotgun not larger than 10 gauge, fired from the shoulder, and incapable of holding more than three shells. (Guns capable of holding more than three shells must be plugged with a one-piece filler which is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so the gun's total capacity does not exceed three shells.)

(6) Light geese - Snow, blue, and Ross' geese.

(7) Nontoxic shot - Any shot [shot-type that does not cause sickness and death when ingested by migratory birds as determined by criteria established under Code of Federal Regulations, Title 50, Chapter 1, § 20.134. The only nontoxic shot currently] approved by the director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service[, is steel shot (including copper, nickel, or zinc coated steel shot), bismuth-tin shot, or tungsten-iron shot].

(8) Personal residence - One's principal or ordinary home or dwelling place. The term does not include a temporary or transient place of residence or dwelling such as a hunting club, or any club house, cabin, tent, or trailer house used as a hunting club, or any hotel, motel, or rooming house used during a hunting, pleasure, or business trip.

(9) Sinkbox - Any type of low floating device having a depression which affords the hunter a means of concealing himself below the surface of water.

(10) Wildlife resource - For the purposes of this subchapter, wildlife resource includes all migratory birds.

§65.312. Possession of Migratory Game Birds.

(a) For all migratory birds taken for which there is a possession limit, the possession limit shall apply until the birds have reached the personal residence of the possessor and are finally processed.

(b) A person may give, leave, receive, or possess any species of legally taken migratory game birds, or parts of birds, that are protected by a bag or possession limit, if the birds are accompanied by a wildlife resource document from the person who killed the birds. For example, a wildlife resource document is required if the birds are being transported by another person for the hunter, or if the birds have been left for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment, or taxidermy services. The wildlife resource document is not required of a person who lawfully killed the birds to possess the birds, or if the birds are transferred at the personal residence of the donor or donee. If the birds have been finally processed at a cold storage or processing facility and a person transports more than a legal possession limit, then a wildlife resource document must accompany the birds in excess of the possession limit until they reach the permanent residence of the possessor. Except as provided in this subsection, a wildlife resource [The] document shall accompany the birds until the birds reach their final destination and must contain the following information:

(1) the name, signature, address, and hunting license number of the person who killed the birds;

(2) the name of the person receiving the birds;

(3) the number and species of birds or parts;

(4) the date the birds were killed; and

(5) the location where the birds were killed (e.g., name of ranch; area; lake, bay, or stream; county).

(c) No person may:

(1) take or have in possession more than the bag and possession limits of each species of migratory game birds except as provided in this section;

(2) possess migratory game birds on the opening day of the season in excess of the applicable daily bag limit;

(3) possess more than one daily bag limit of freshly killed migratory game birds while in the field or while returning from the field to one's hunting camp, automobile or other motor driven land conveyance, aircraft, temporary lodging facility, personal residence, or cold storage or processing facility; or

(4) possess freshly killed migratory game birds during the closed season.

§65.313. General Rules.

(a) No person shall hunt migratory game birds except during the open season as provided herein, or at any time except during the hours as provided herein. All dates are inclusive.

[(b) No person shall kill or wound a migratory game bird without making a reasonable effort to retrieve it.]

[(c) Every migratory game bird wounded by hunting and retrieved by the hunter shall be immediately killed and become a part of the daily bag limit.]

(b)[(d)] Shooting hours for migratory game birds are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except during the special white-winged dove season. In the special white-winged dove zone during [During] the special white-winged dove season, shooting hours are from noon to sunset.

(c) No person shall hunt migratory game birds in this state unless that person is certified in the Harvest Information Program.

(d) The executive director may, after notifying the Chairman of the Commission, authorize any rulemaking necessary to modify the provisions of this subchapter.

§65.314. Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species.

(a) Rails: statewide.

(b) Mourning and white-winged doves.

(1) North Zone: That portion of the state north of a line beginning at the International Bridge south of Fort Hancock; thence north along FM 1088 to State Highway 20; thence west along State Highway 20 to State Highway 148; thence north along State Highway 148 to Interstate Highway 10 at Fort Hancock; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to Interstate Highway 20; thence northeast along Interstate Highway 20 to Interstate Highway 30 at Fort Worth; thence northeast along Interstate Highway 30 to the Texas-Arkansas state line.

(2) Central Zone: That portion of the state between the North Zone and the South Zone.

(3) South Zone: That portion of the state south of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to Interstate Highway 10 at San Antonio; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to the Texas-Louisiana State Line.

(4)[(c)] [White-wi nged doves.] Special white-winged dove area: That portion of the state south and west of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to United States Highway 83 at Uvalde; thence south along U.S. Highway 83 to State Highway 44; thence east along State Highway 44 to State Highway 16 at Freer; thence south along State Highway 16 to State Highway 285 at Hebbronville; thence east along State Highway 285 to FM 1017; thence southeast along FM 1017 to State Highway 186 at Linn; thence east along State Highway 186 to the Mansfield Channel at Port Mansfield; thence east along the Mansfield Channel to the Gulf of Mexico.

(d) Gallinules (Moorhen or common gallinule and purple gallinule): statewide.

(e) Teal ducks (blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon): statewide.

(f) Sandhill cranes.

(1) Zone A: that portion of Texas lying west of a line beginning at the international toll bridge at Laredo, thence northeast along U.S. Highway 81 to its junction with Interstate Highway 35 in Laredo, thence north along Interstate Highway 35 to its junction with Interstate Highway 10 in San Antonio, thence northwest along Interstate Highway 10 to its junction with U.S. Highway 83 at Junction, thence north along U.S. Highway 83 to its junction with U.S. Highway 62, 16 miles north of Childress, thence east along U.S. Highway 62 to the Texas-Oklahoma state line.

(2) Zone B: That portion of Texas lying within boundaries beginning at the junction of Interstate Highway 35 and the Texas-Oklahoma state line, thence south along Interstate Highway 35 (following Interstate Highway 35 West through Fort Worth) to its junction with Interstate Highway 10 in San Antonio thence northwest along Interstate Highway 10 to its junction with U.S. Highway 83 in Junction, thence north along U.S. Highway 83 to its junction with U.S. Highway 62, 16 miles north of Childress, thence east along U.S. Highway 62 to the Texas-Oklahoma state line, thence eastward along the Texas-Oklahoma state line to Interstate Highway 35.

(3) Zone C: that portion of Texas lying within boundaries beginning at the international toll bridge at Brownsville, thence north and east along U.S. Highway 77 to its junction with U.S. Highway 87 at Victoria, thence eastward along U.S. Highway 87 to its junction with Farm Road 616 at Placedo, thence north and east along Farm Road 616 to its junction with State Highway 35, thence north and east along State Highway 35 to its junction with State Highway 6 at Alvin, thence west and north along State Highway 6 to its junction with U.S. Highway 290, thence westward along U.S. Highway 290 to its junction with Interstate Highway 35 at Austin, thence south along Interstate Highway 35 to its junction with U.S. Highway 81 in Laredo, thence southwest along U.S. Highway 81 to the international toll bridge in Laredo, thence south and east along the U.S.-Mexico international boundary to its junction with the U.S. Highway 77 international toll bridge at Brownsville.

(g) Woodcock: statewide.

(h) Common snipe: statewide.

§65.315. Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits - Early Season.

(a) Rails.

(1) Dates: September 19-27, 1998 [13-21, 1997], and November 7, 1998 [1997] -January 6, 1999 [7, 1998].

(2) Daily bag and possession limits:

(A) king and clapper rails: 15 in the aggregate per day; 30 in the aggregate in possession.

(B) sora and Virginia rails: 25 in the aggregate per day; 25 in the aggregate in possession.

(b) Dove seasons [Mourning doves].

(1) North Zone.

(A) Dates: September 1-October 30, 1998 [1997].

(B) Daily bag limit [and possession limits: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate including no more than six white-winged doves and two white-tipped doves per day; Special provision: the provisions of subparagraph (B) of this paragraph are replaced by the following provisions. Daily bag and possession limits]: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day;

(C) Possession limit: [30 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate including no more than 12 white-winged doves and four white-tipped doves in possession] 30 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, including no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

(2) Central Zone.

(A) Dates: September 1-October 18, 1998 [19, 1997], and December 26, 1998 [1997]-January 6, 1999 [5, 1998].

(B) Daily bag limit [and possession limits: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate including no more than six white-winged doves and two white-tipped doves per day; Special provision: the provisions of subparagraph (B) of this paragraph are replaced by the following provisions. Daily bag and possession limits]: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day;

(C) Possession limit: [30 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate including no more than 12 white-winged doves and four white-tipped doves in possession] 30 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, including no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

(3) South Zone.

(A) Dates: Except in the special white-winged dove area as defined in §65.314 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species), September 25 [20]-November 8, 1998 [7, 1997], and December 26, 1998 [1997]-January 9, 1999 [5, 1998]. In the special white-winged dove area, the mourning dove season is September 25 [20]-November 8, 1998 [3, 1997], and December 26, 1998 [1997]-January 5, 1999 [1998].

(B) Daily bag limit [and possession limits: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate including no more than six white-winged doves and two white-tipped doves per day; Special provision: the provisions of subparagraph (B) of this paragraph are replaced by the following provisions. Daily bag and possession limits]: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day;

(C) Possession limit: [30 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate including no more than 12 white-winged doves and four white-tipped doves in possession] 30 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, including no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

(4)[(c)] Special white-winged dove area (See §65.314(c).) [White-winged doves].

(A)[(1)] Dates: September 5, 6, 12, and 13, 1998 [6, 7, 13, and 14, 1997].

(B)[(2)] Daily bag limit [and possession limits]: 10 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, in the aggregate to include no more than five mourning doves and two white-tipped doves per day;

(C) Possession limit: 20 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate to include no more than 10 mourning doves and four white-tipped doves in possession.

(d) Gallinules.

(1) Dates: September 19-27, 1998 [13-21, 1997], and November 7, 1998 [8, 1997]-January 6, 1999 [7, 1998].

(2) Daily bag and possession limits: 15 in the aggregate per day; 30 in the aggregate in possession.

(e) Teal ducks.

(1) Dates: September 19-27, 1998 [13-21, 1997].

(2) Daily bag and possession limits: four in the aggregate per day; eight in the aggregate in possession.

(f) Red-billed pigeons, and band-tailed pigeons. No open season.

(g) Shorebirds. No open season.

(h) Sandhill cranes. A free permit is required of any person to hunt sandhill cranes in areas where an open season is provided under this proclamation. Permits will be issued on an impartial basis with no limitation on the number of permits that may be issued. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(1) Zone A: November 7, 1998-February 7, 1999.

(2) Zone B: November 28, 1998-February 7, 1999.

(3) Zone C: January 2, 1999-February 7, 1999.

(i) Woodcock: December 18, 1998-January 31, 1999. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(j) Common snipe (Wilson's snipe or jacksnipe): October 17, 1998-January 31, 1999. The daily bag limit is eight. The possession limit is 16.

§65.316. Closed Areas.

[(a)] The season is closed on migratory game birds on public roads and highways, or rights-of-way of public roads and highways, the state-owned riverbeds in Dimmit, Uvalde and Zavala Counties, including but not limited to the Nueces and Frio rivers, and state wildlife preserves and sanctuaries unless an open season is otherwise provided. The open season for the taking of migratory game birds on any federal wildlife refuge shall be in accordance with the special hunting regulations duly adopted and published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

[(b) The White-Winged Dove Sanctuary Area designated as Sanctuary A is closed to all dove hunting only during the Special White-Winged Dove Season in even-numbered years, and is that area of Texas south of a line extending north from the International Bridge at Brownsville along State Highway 415 to U.S. 281; thence north and west along U.S. 281 to FM 1015 and south along FM 1015 to the International Bridge near Progreso; and that area of Texas south of a line extending north along U.S. 281 from the International Bridge at Hidalgo; thence north along Spur 115 to FM 1016; thence west and north along FM 1016 to U.S. 83 at Mission; thence west along U.S. 83 to Loop 374; thence west along Loop 374 to FM 2062; thence south along FM 2062 to the entrance of Bentsen State Park; and thence along the east boundary of Bentsen State Park to the Rio Grande; and that area of Texas south of a line extending north from the Rio Grande at Los Ebanos along FM 886 to U.S. 83; thence west along U.S. 83 to FM 755 at Rio Grande City; and thence south along FM 755 to the Rio Grande.]

[(c) The area designated as Sanctuary B is closed to all dove hunting only during the Special White-Winged Dove Season in odd-numbered years, and is that area of Texas west and south of a line extending north along FM 1015 from the International Bridge near Progreso to U.S. 281, and west along U.S. 281 to the International Bridge at Hidalgo; and that area of Texas south of a line extending north from the Rio Grande along the east and north boundaries of Bentsen State Park to its junction with FM 2062; thence along FM 2062 to Loop 374; thence west along Loop 374 to U.S. 83; thence west along U.S. 83 to FM 886; and thence south along FM 886 to the Rio Grande at Los Ebanos; and that area of Texas south of a line extending north from the Rio Grande at Rio Grande City along FM 755 to U.S. 83; thence west along U.S. 83 to first junction of FM 2098; thence north and west along FM 2098 to the Rio Grande.]

§65.317. Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species.

(a) Ducks, mergansers, and coots.

(1) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: that portion of Texas lying west of a line from the international toll bridge at Del Rio, thence northward following U.S. Highway 277 to Abilene, State Highway 351 and State Highway 6 to Albany, and U.S. Highway 283 from Albany to Vernon, thence eastward along U.S. Highway 183 to the Texas-Oklahoma state line.

(2) North Zone: that portion of Texas not in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit but north of a line from the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to Interstate Highway 10 at San Antonio; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to the Texas-Louisiana State Line.

(3) South Zone: the remainder of the state.

(b) Geese.

(1) Western Zone: that portion of Texas lying west of a line from the international toll bridge at Laredo, thence northward following IH 35 and 35W to Fort Worth, thence northwest along U.S. Highways 81 and 287 to Bowie, thence northward along U.S. Highway 81 to the Texas-Oklahoma state line.

(2) Eastern Zone: the remainder of the state.

[(c) Sandhill cranes.]

[(1) Zone A: that portion of Texas lying west of a line beginning at the international toll bridge at Laredo, thence northeast along U.S. Highway 81 to its junction with Interstate Highway 35 in Laredo, thence north along Interstate Highway 35 to its junction with Interstate Highway 10 in San Antonio, thence northwest along Interstate Highway 10 to its junction with U.S. Highway 83 at Junction, thence north along U.S. Highway 83 to its junction with U.S. Highway 62, 16 miles north of Childress, thence east along U.S. Highway 62 to the Texas-Oklahoma state line.]

[(2) Zone B: That portion of Texas lying within boundaries beginning at the junction of Interstate Highway 35 and the Texas-Oklahoma state line, thence south along Interstate Highway 35 (following Interstate Highway 35 West through Fort Worth) to its junction with Interstate Highway 10 in San Antonio thence northwest along Interstate Highway 10 to its junction with U.S. Highway 83 in Junction, thence north along U.S. Highway 83 to its junction with U.S. Highway 62, 16 miles north of Childress, thence east along U.S. Highway 62 to the Texas-Oklahoma state line, thence eastward along the Texas-Oklahoma state line to Interstate Highway 35.]

[(3) Zone C: that portion of Texas lying within boundaries beginning at the international toll bridge at Brownsville, thence north and east along U.S. Highway 77 to its junction with U.S. Highway 87 at Victoria, thence eastward along U.S. Highway 87 to its junction with Farm Road 616 at Placedo, thence north and east along Farm Road 616 to its junction with State Highway 35, thence north and east along State Highway 35 to its junction with State Highway 6 at Alvin, thence west and north along State Highway 6 to its junction with U.S. Highway 290, thence westward along U.S. Highway 290 to its junction with Interstate Highway 35 at Austin, thence south along Interstate Highway 35 to its junction with U.S. Highway 81 in Laredo, thence southwest along U.S. Highway 81 to the international toll bridge in Laredo, thence south and east along the U.S.-Mexico international boundary to its junction with the U.S. Highway 77 international toll bridge at Brownsville.]

[(d) Woodcock: statewide.]

[(e) Common snipe (Wilson's snipe or jacksnipe): statewide.]

§65.318. Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits - Late Season. The possession limit for all species listed in this section shall be twice the daily bag limit, except for light geese. The possession limit for light geese shall be four times the daily bag limit.

(1) Ducks, mergansers, and coots. The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may include no more than five mallards or Mexican mallards (Mexican duck), only two of which may be hens, one mottled duck, three pintails, two redheads, one canvasback, and two wood ducks. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, which may include no more than one hooded merganser.

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 10-13, 1998 [11-14, 1997], and October 17, 1998 [18, 1997]-January 17, 1999 [18, 1998].

(B) North Zone: October 24 [25]-November 1, 1998 [2, 1997], and November 14, 1998 [15, 1997]-January 17, 1999 [18, 1998].

(C) South Zone: October 24 [25]-November 29, 1998 [30, 1997], and December 12, 1998 [13, 1997]-January 17, 1999 [18, 1998].

(2) Geese.

(A) Western Zone.

(i) Light geese: October 31, 1998 [November 1, 1997]-February 14, 1999 [15, 1998]. The daily bag limit for light geese is ten.

(ii) Dark geese: October 31, 1998 [November 1, 1997]-February 14, 1999 [15, 1998]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is five, which may not include more than four Canada geese and one white-fronted goose.

(B) Eastern Zone.

(i) Light geese: November 7, 1998 [1, 1997]-February 21, 1999 [15, 1998]. The daily bag limit for light geese is ten.

(ii) Dark geese: October 24, 1998 - January 17, 1999 [November 1, 1997-January 25, 1998]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is two, which may not include more than one Canada goose and one white-fronted goose. [During the period January 19-25, 1998, the daily bag limit is one Canada goose and one white-fronted goose, or two Canada geese.]

[(3) Sandhill cranes. A special permit, issued free of charge by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744, is required of any person to hunt, shoot, or kill sandhill cranes in areas where an open season is provided under this proclamation. Permits will be issued on an impartial basis with no limitation on the number of permits that may be issued. The daily bag limit is three. ]

[(A) Zone A: November 8, 1997-February 8, 1998.]

[(B) Zone B: November 29, 1997-February 8, 1998.]

[(C) Zone C: January 3, 1998-February 8, 1998.]

[(4) Woodcock: December 18, 1997-January 31, 1998. The daily bag limit is three.]

[(5) Common snipe (Wilson's snipe or jacksnipe): October 25, 1997-February 8, 1998. The daily bag limit is eight.]

(3)[(6)] Special Youth-Only Season. There shall be a special youth-only duck season during which the hunting, taking, and possession of ducks, mergansers, and coots is restricted to licensed hunters 15 years of age and younger accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older. Bag and possession limits in any given zone during the season established by this paragraph shall be as provided for that zone by paragraph (1) of this section. Season dates are as follows:

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 3, 1998 [4, 1997];

(B) North Zone: October 17, 1998 [18, 1997]; and

(C) South Zone: October 17, 1998 [18, 1997].

§65.319. Extended Falconry Season - Early Season Species.

(a) It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the following Extended Falconry Seasons:

(1) mourning doves and white-winged doves: November 9 [8]-December 25, 1998 [24, 1997]; and

(2) rails and gallinules: October 1 [2]-November 6, 1998 [7, 1997].

(3) woodcock: November 24-December 17, 1998, and February 1-March 10, 1999.

(b) The daily bag and possession limits for migratory game birds under this section shall not exceed three and six birds respectively, singly or in the aggregate.

§65.320. Extended Falconry Season - Late Season Species.

(a) It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the following Extended Falconry Seasons.[: ]

[(1)] Ducks [ducks], coots, and mergansers:

(1)[(A)] High Plains Mallard Management Unit: no extended falconry season; and

(2)[(B)] Remainder of the state: January 18 [19, 1998]-February 9, 1999. [10, 1998; and]

[(2) woodcock: November 24-December 17, 1997, and February 1, 1998-March 10, 1998.]

(b) The daily bag and possession limits for migratory game birds under this section shall not exceed three and six birds, respectively, singly or in the aggregate.

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


Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit B

Summary of Public Comments to Date
4/30/98

Telephone calls:

David Smith, 6/6/97. Pleasanton. Prefers first Friday after Sept. 20 to open dove season in South Zone because outfitters, like himself, lose money because of short (2 day) weekend. Clients can get off on Friday but not Monday to go hunting. Preferred 1997 season to open on Sept. 26 (Fri.) instead of Sat. Sept. 20.

Carl Steffen, 6/26/97. Bowie/Red River counties. Landowner wants a Dec. - Jan. winter dove season segment in the North Zone because more doves in January than parts of October.

Robert Hammonds, 7/7/97. Coleman Co. Dove hunt organizer wants dove season to open on Labor Day weekend because of lost revenue. This year with season opening Mon. Sept. 1 he has to pay landowner to keep hunters off the lease until the weekend when his hunters can participate. Wants season to open Saturday, Sept. 5, 1998.

Randy Stacy, 7/16/97. Karnes City, Three Rivers. Outfitter wants South Zone dove season to open on Friday nearest Sept. 20 or first Friday after Sept. 20 rather than Saturday because of lost revenue in booking 3 day weekend hunt.

Jimmy Purvits, 7/30/97. Zavala Co. Sells commercial hunts and wants season in South Zone to open earlier than Sept. 20 because the doves leave before the season begins.

Lance Rhodes, 8/16/97. Karnes City ‘Lonesome Dove Fest.’ Wants the 1998 dove season in the South Zone to open on Friday, Sept. 25 instead of Sunday, Sept. 20 because their event is timed with opening weekend of dove hunt to attract hunters.

Chuck Ramsey, 9/4/97. Pearsall. South Zone dove season opens (Sept. 20) too late. Doves are gone.

Between July 23-August 29, 1997, our telephone bank received 27 calls regarding the Monday, Sept. 1, Labor Day opening and why the season wasn’t opening Saturday, Aug. 30.

William Wiser, 10/30/97. Giddings. Wants the mourning dove season in the Central Zone to extend longer into October, prefers a 70 day season with 12 bird daily bag limit.

Laroy Barnebey, 1/22/98. Rockport. Aransas County Commissioner would like the South Zone dove season opener moved to Sept. 10 because cold fronts move doves out before Sept. 20.

Calvin Bentsen, 3/24/98. McAllen. Wants the area south of U.S. Expressway 83 to the Rio Grande from Brownsville to Laredo closed to whitewing hunting during the Special Whitewing Season for 5 years to see if whitewing populations respond.

Steve Wilson, 3/24/98. Hondo. Wants the South Zone to consistently open on Sept. 20 regardless of the day of the week, rather than the first weekend after Sept. 20.

Bob Hillegeist, 3/27/98. Hondo. Wants the South Zone to open on Sept. 18 but would settle for Sunday Sept. 20 instead of Friday, Sept. 25, because of loss revenue to motels, etc.

Lee Blocker, 4/6/97. Frio County. Wants the South Zone to open on Sept. 25 instead of Sept. 20.

Letters:

None to date.

Internet:

Brian Hall. 8/26/97. Wants the dove season in North and Central Zones to open on a Saturday but would rather the season open on Sept. 1 than delay to the first Saturday after Sept. 1.

Walter L. Caldwell, 8/11/97. Wants the dove season in the Central Zone to open on Saturday, Aug. 20.

Roland Kalina, 12/29/97. Wants the winter dove season to end earlier because it interferes with deer hunters.
Public Hearings:

Migratory Advisory Board:

4/7/98. Prefer the longer season and smaller bag option (70 days/12 daily bag limit) for mourning dove than the current rules (60 days/15 daily bag limit).

 


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