Presenter: Vernon Bevill

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Briefing
1998-1999 Migrtory Game Bird Proclamation
Late Season Provisions
August 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 late-season provisions 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). The Commission at its June meeting adopted the portions of the proposal related to early-season provisions and general provisions. At this time, staff seeks adoption of the remaining sections concerning late-season species. A summary of public comment will presented at the time of the hearing.

At present, the Service has not issued the annual regulatory frameworks for late-season species of migratory game birds, but will have done so by the second week of August. At the time of the public hearing staff will inform the Commission of any federal provisions that would affect the proposed regulations located at Exhibit A.

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 §§65.317, 65. 318 and 65.320, concerning migratory game bird regulations for late-season species, with changes to the proposed text as published in the May 1, 1998, issue of the Texas Register (23 TexReg 4217)."

Attachments - 2

1. Exhibit A - Proposed Migratory Bird Proclamation
2. Exhibit B - (Available upon request.)


Commission Agenda Item No. 7
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. ADOPTED 6/4/98

§65.312. ADOPTED 6/4/98

§65.313. ADOPTED 6/4/98

§65.315. ADOPTED 6/4/98

§65.316. ADOPTED 6/4/98

§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. ADOPTED 6/4/98

§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


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