Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 am, April 5, 2000

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Item
No.
Subject Public Hearing
Agenda Item No.
  Approval of the Committee Minutes from the previous meeting.  
  Summary of Minutes  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. 2000-2001 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Staff: Phil Durocher, Hal Osburn, Jerry Cooke
3
3. Proposed Finfish License Limitation Program
Staff: Paul Hammerschmidt
4
4. Shrimp Regulatory Review Initiatives
Staff: Hal Osburn
Committee Only
5. Public Lands Proclamation
Staff: Herb Kothmann
6
6. Triple T Program (Transportation & Importation)
Staff: Jerry Cooke
Committee Only
7. Proposed Exotic Species Rules
Staff: Joedy Gray
Committee Only
8. 2000-2001 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
Staff: Vernon Bevill
Committee Only
9. Other Business  

Summary of Minutes
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Regulations Committee
January 19, 2000

BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 19th day of January 2000, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the commission hearing room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas, beginning at 10:17 a.m., to wit:

I. APPEARANCES:
THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION - REGULATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIR: Lee M. Bass

Carol E. Dinkins Dick W. Heath (absent)
Nolan Ryan Ernest Angelo, Jr.
John Avila, Jr.
Alvin L. Henry
Katherine Armstrong
Idsal Mark E. Watson, Jr.

II. THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:

Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director

III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Chairman Lee Bass entertained a motion by Commissioner Angelo to accept the minutes of the November 17, 1999 meeting of the Regulations Committee. The motion to approve the minutes was seconded by Commissioner Idsal.

IV. THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WERE PRESENTED FOR COMMITTEE ACTION:

1. BRIEFING - CHAIRMAN'S CHARGES

Presenter: Andrew Sansom

Mr. Sansom briefed the Commission on the status of the Sunset review process. Some staff from the Sunset Commission were in attendance at the meeting after having recently completed a trip through the Trans-Pecos. The agency's first meeting with the Sunset Commission is scheduled for February 3rd. At that meeting, Mr. Sansom will present issues in the self-evaluation report and take any questions or comments from the Sunset Commission. A public meeting to examine the recommendations of the Sunset Commission is scheduled for May 18th. Mr. Sansom invited the TPW Commissioners to assist at these meetings. Commissioners Bass and Watson had follow-up questions to clarify the meeting dates.

2. ACTION - 1999-2000 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation

Presenters: Larry McKinney, Hal Osburn, Phil Durocher, Paul Hammerschmidt, Gary Graham, Jerry Cooke, and Herb Kothmann

Chairman Bass introduced Dr. Larry McKinney, Senior Director for Aquatic Resources, who in turn introduced Mr. Hal Osburn, Director Coastal Fisheries Division. Dr. McKinney briefed the Commission on the status of the shrimp fishery buyback program. He indicated that approximately 15% of the number of original shrimp licenses had been retired. However, no commercial crab or finfish licenses have been retired since these programs are relatively new. Chairman Bass asked if there were a way to measure the reduction in effort as a result of the retirement of those licenses. Dr. McKinney referred the question to Mr. Osburn. Mr. Osburn responded that any license represents potential effort and that potential is removed when the licenses are retired. He also indicated that staff realized from the outset that the first portion of the buyback program would include speculators. Consequently, although exact effort reduction is difficult to calculate, Mr. Osburn estimated it to be about 10% overall.

Dr. McKinney added that since the buyback fund was currently at low levels, the timeframe for a significant reduction of commercial licenses would be several years. He offered that creating a temporary increase in the cost of a recreational saltwater stamp that would be dedicated to commercial license buyback would be an option to accelerate the process. He indicated that commercial fishermen were already paying into the buyback fund. Dr. McKinney, via slide presentations, discussed projected license reduction given various scenarios of saltwater stamp fee increases. He also emphasized that the fee increase should be clearly defined as temporary. He set forth a proposed fee increase of $1, $2, or $3. He expressed concern about the added cost to the super combo license would exceed the $49 mark. Dr. McKinney reviewed several time-line scenarios, which depended upon the amount charged, and whether only shrimp licenses or all commercial licenses would be paid for out of the new fund. Chairman Bass asked Dr. McKinney for clarification of the possible $3 charge. Dr. McKinney indicated the charge would be on combo licenses and on the salt water stamp only, but not the general resident fishing license. Mr. Sansom noted that the extra charge on the saltwater stamp might move people to buying the combo license. Commissioner Idsal asked if combo money already went to the buyback fund. Dr. McKinney stated it did not. Commissioner Idsal commented that that license might be an appropriate source of some buyback funds.

Commissioner Angelo asked for additional clarification of Dr. McKinney's table shown on the slides. Dr. McKinney explained that the sequence of years and dollars took into account an estimated inflation rate of 10% per year. Hence the sequential increase in costs each year to meet the buyback goal of 50% of the licenses. Commissioner Watson and Angelo discussed the number of years to reach the target. Dr. McKinney stated that the 54 years on the table would be the time frame at the present rate of buyback. Also, the agency would be creating value in the licenses by virtue of their ultimate scarcity and we should attempt to buy back as many licenses as possible before the value exceeds the funds. Mr. Sansom and Commissioner Angelo confirmed the concept. Dr. McKinney stated that a strategy should be developed to maintain some flexibility as to which type of license was purchased at any particular time.

Commissioner Ryan asked what the going price of a shrimp license was currently. Dr. McKinney responded it was about $6,000. Chairman Bass asked how much money the agency has spent to date. Mr. Osburn responded it has been about $2.5 million. Commissioner Ryan asked how much money was in the buyback funds and Mr. Osburn stated there was $150 - $ 200 thousand. A grant of $1.3 million was given to the agency, which allowed two buyback periods per year. Current balances only allow for one period per year. A discussion ensued about alternate funds from environmental litigation settlements and private donations have also been used. Chairman Bass stated that the agency could not budget for future funds of this nature.

Dr. McKinney indicated that the agency has legislative authority to pursue continued buybacks, but the appropriations authority is not there. Mr. Osburn added that the Coastal Fisheries Division's shrimp rule review process plus accelerated license buyback are complementary tools to achieve the goal of reduced fishing effort. Neither by themselves can accomplish the task. The potential new rules, which will encourage ecological responsibility, in concert with the buyback program will give every shrimp fisherman an option to stay in the fishery or move out.

Chairman Bass asked how many saltwater stamps were sold per year. Mr. Osburn responded in was about 500,000. Chairman Bass asked how much was taken from each commercial shrimp license. Mr. Osburn indicated it was $25. Chairman Bass commented that there was some symmetry to sports fishermen putting in dollars along side of the commercial people, and that the benefit flows both ways. Mr. Osburn noted that a Texas A&M survey indicated high ratings from fishermen who felt they were getting good value from the saltwater stamp. Commissioner Angelo asked the cost of a saltwater stamp. Mr. Osburn responded it was $7. Dr. McKinney reiterated that there was benefit to both groups and that it can be demonstrated.

Chairman Bass encouraged staff to take the proposal for scoping to get comments for the public sector. He asked when staff would have the scoping results to the Commission. Dr. McKinney indicated the subject would be raised during the scheduled public hearings, and concluded his presentation.

Chair next recognized Phil Durocher, Director of the Inland Fisheries Division, to present the freshwater fishing regulation proposals. Mr. Durocher stated that all of proposed regulations changes for 2000-2001 concerned black basses. The first would remove the current 12-inch minimum length limit for spotted and Guadalupe bass. Most populations contain few individuals that are larger than 12 inches. The five fish bag limit should adequately protect most populations. For largemouth bass, Lake Jacksonville, and lakes in Cleburne State and Meridian State Parks, are proposed to have their limits changed from the current 14-inch length limit to an 18-inch minimum length limit. A scoping meeting was held in Jacksonville to give the public an opportunity to comment on the change for Lake Jacksonville. Only two persons attended and both were in favor of the proposal. The objective at all these lakes is to improve angling quality. Three lakes were proposed for changes in the current 14-inch limit to a 14- to 21-inch slot length limit. The lakes are Buescher State Park Lake, Town Lake, and Lake Austin. All three lakes have high quality bass fisheries that staff wishes to further protect from overharvest. We have encountered some opposition to these proposals especially concerning Lake Austin. Most of those opposing the changes are bass club members. At a scoping meeting in Austin, all seven people that offered comments were opposed to the regulation change.

Staff will take their comments under consideration and requested the Commission allow this proposal to be taken to public hearing for additional public input. Mr. Durocher also updated the Commission on the status of the exempted tournaments on Lake Fork. A second tournament has not been scheduled to due to lawsuit threats. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for early February, and this issue should be resolved by the next Commission meeting. Mr. Durocher also commented that the Commission has no authority to regulate tournaments. In 1993, a bill was introduced to create a no-cost permit for the purposes of collecting information on tournaments, but the bill was defeated due to opposition from some bass tournament organizations. Commissioner Avila inquired about the details of the lawsuit. Mr. Durocher said it was directed at the department's authority to issue a permit for the tournaments. Mr. Sansom added that the plaintiffs asked to meet with us prior to the hearing and that could produce an agreement. Commissioner Watson inquired about the number of public hearings that will be held. There was some further discussion about the tournament study and the need for solid data to make an informed decision on this issue.

Next, Mr. Osburn, Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division, presented proposed regulation changes concerning salt water. These proposals included increases in size limits of billfish to be consistent with existing rules in federal waters. Mr. Osburn added that although billfish are a recreational species, their numbers have been impacted by bycatch on commercial long lines, which are allowed in federal waters. Chairman Bass noted that the bycatch impact from long lines on billfish has been significant. Mr. Osburn agreed, and mentioned it was a problem from New Jersey into Texas. Chairman Bass asked if there was an effort to do anything about the long line bycatch. Mr. Osburn responded that there is a proposed federal rule that would seasonally ban pelagic long lines in certain portions of the Gulf. He added that a bill introduced by Senator Breaux of Louisiana, would also ban long lines in the same areas, and included a buyback strategy to buy out the long liners. Chairman Bass asked if the industry was mostly U.S. or foreign based. Mr. Osburn indicated it was mostly U.S. and out of Florida, although there were about a dozen boats operating out of Texas. Chairman Bass asked if saving the fish in U.S. waters only deferred harvest until they moved into Canadian or Mexican waters. Mr. Osburn concurred that movement of billfish into Mexico was a concern, but as long as they had a sanctuary from long lining, the species would benefit. Chairman Bass asked what the long lines were targeting and how healthy those populations were. Mr. Osburn responded the targeted species were primarily tuna, swordfish, and sharks. He segued into the next proposed regulation change. This change would reduce the bag limit of sharks in Texas waters from 5 in aggregate to 1; establish a minimum size limit of 24 inches; and set the commercial season for shark to be concurrent with that in federal waters. Mr. Osburn reviewed shark data with the Commission, and indicated that staff felt conservation measures were warranted. He also mentioned that, although the proposed rules were not the same as those in federal waters, they offered a good measure of conservation while still providing a shore-based recreational fishery in Texas.

Chairman Bass noted that when Texas first implemented shark regulations, the issue of shark finning was heated due to the Asian market and demand. He asked if the commercial value was still the same. Mr. Osburn related that there was still considerable demand for shark fin and that it is used ceremonially in Japan. However, federal rules have changed whereby fishermen must retain the shark carcass in proportion to the number of fins on board. Nevertheless, the demand for shark products remains high. Mr. Osburn closed his presentation.

Chairman Bass recognized Gary Graham, Director of the Wildlife Division, who introduced Jerry Cooke, Director of the Upland Wildlife Ecology Program. Mr. Cooke enumerated the proposed changes affecting the wildlife portion of the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation, beginning with the opening of an Eastern turkey season in additional counties in East Texas. Mr. Cooke then presented a change to the regulation that currently establishes 23 'doe days' in certain counties, explaining that an alteration of the wording would ensure that the popular Thanksgiving weekend would always be open for either-sex hunting. Chairman Bass asked if the minimum number of days would remain at 23. Mr. Cooke replied in the affirmative. Mr. Cooke then addressed a proposal to open a nine-day muzzleloader season in certain East Texas counties. Chairman Bass inquired about hunting pressure in that portion of the state. Mr. Cooke responded, and then presented a proposal to increase the bag limit, implement a special late season, and close the muzzleloader season in a number of counties in the Edwards Plateau. Chairman Bass inquired as to the demand for muzzleloader stamps. Mr. Cooke responded that the department sold approximately 1,000 stamps during the previous license year. Commissioner Ryan asked if the two-buck bag limit included spike bucks. Mr. Cooke replied in the affirmative. He then addressed the proposal to alter regulations involving wildlife management plans and the Managed Lands Deer permit system, the proposal to liberalize restrictions on lawful means in Henderson County, and mentioned that staff was looking into potential changes to the regulations governing the trapping, transporting, and transplanting of game animals and game birds. Commissioner Angelo asked if staff was contemplating any changes to mule deer regulations. Mr. Cooke responded that no changes to mule deer regulations were being proposed. Commissioner Angelo then stated that he had heard some concerns about the brevity of mule deer seasons in the southern Panhandle, and asked if it would be possible to lengthen those seasons. Mr. Cooke replied that if the Commission so desired, the matter could be included in the proposal and taken to public comment. Chairman Bass then asked about the proposal to increase the bag limit in certain Edwards Plateau counties, specifically, the staff's rationale for restricting the bag increase to the doe segment of the population. Mr. Cooke responded that at the present time, the doe population in the affected counties was the most pressing concern, but that under the MLD program, landowners could still have a three-buck bag limit.

Chairman Bass then entered a motion to publish the proposed 2000-2001 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Avila and passed without opposition.

3. ACTION - Proposed Finfish License Limitation Program

Presenter - Paul Hammerschmidt

Paul Hammerschmidt, Program Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division, presented regulation proposals that would fulfill the legislative mandate to implement a license management program for the commercial finfish fishery in Texas. The authority to do this was granted to the Commission by the 76th Legislature under Senate Bill 1303. Mr. Hammerschmidt reviewed various elements and provisions of the bill. He then related to the Commissioners the fundamentals of a new Finfish Fishery Proclamation, which sets forth the administrative details of the license management program, including delegation of authority to the Executive Director, display of license provisions, transferability options, and license buyback program framework. He then presented costs of the new Finfish Fisherman's License and transfer fees as $300 for residents and $1,200 for non-residents.

Mr. Hammerschmidt finally reviewed changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation that were directly related to implementation of the license management program. These proposals include specific marking requirements for commercial trotlines and crab traps being used by commercial finfish fishermen to catch crabs as bait. He indicated that these proposals would be rolled into the overall Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation prior to being published in the Texas Register. Mr. Hammerschmidt read staff's recommendation to the Commissioners that the proposed rules be sent to the Texas Register and to public hearings for public comment. Chairman Bass asked if there was any reason to expect anything other than broad-based support from the industry. Mr. Hammerschmidt indicated he did not expect any opposition. Mr. Osburn noted that it is not unlikely that someone may come forth claiming they were left out of the 2-year process, but a Review Board would be created to handle any appeals case. Commissioner Angelo moved the motion be accepted. Commissioner Henry seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

4. ACTION - 2000-2001 Public Lands Proclamation

Presenters - Gary Graham and Herb Kothmann

The Chairman recognized Gary Graham, Director of the Wildlife Division, who introduced Herb Kothmann, Director of Public Hunts. Mr. Kothmann addressed the proposed changes to the Public Lands Proclamation for 2000-2001, consisting of changes to the minimum age required for persons to supervise the hunting activities of minors, the establishment of an antlerless deer permit for use on lands jointly managed by the department and the U.S. Forest Service, a waiver of certain fees for holders of Annual Public Hunting permits who wish to enter public hunting lands for nonconsumptive use, the prohibition of unauthorized distribution or removal of soil, gravel, or rock from public lands, and the authorization of certain permit holders to access public waters via public lands. Mr. Kothmann then presented the candidate sites for public hunting opportunity on units of the state park system for 2000-2001. Chairman Bass entertained a motion by Commissioner Henry to authorize staff to publish the proposed 2000-2001 Public Lands Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment, and to accept public comment on the candidate sites for public hunts on units of the state park system. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Idsal and passed without opposition.

V. OTHER BUSINESS: None.

VI. ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Chairman Bass adjourned the January 19, 2000 meeting of the Regulations Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at 11:40 a.m.


Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Andrew Sansom

Regulations Committee
Briefing
Chairman's Charges
April 2000

(This item will be an oral presentation.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenters: Phil Durocher, Hal Osburn, Jerry Cooke

Regulations Committee
Action
2000-2001 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
April 2000

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 3.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Paul Hammerschmidt

Regulations Committee
Action
Proposed Finfish License Limitation Program
April 2000

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 4.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Hal Osburn

Regulations Committee
Briefing
Status of Shrimp Management Initiative
April 2000

I. Discussion: Mr. Hal Osburn, Coastal Fisheries Division will brief the Committee on the status of the Division’s shrimp management initiative, and will review current trends in shrimp populations and the fishery. As a result of findings, staff will seek Commission guidance regarding the level of conservative management needed to address staff’s biological concerns. Mr. Osburn will also summarize comments regarding the possible implementation of a surcharge on the Saltwater Stamp proposed to accelerate the Agency’s commercial license buy back program.


Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Herb Kothmann

Regulations Committee
Action
Amendment to the Public Lands Proclamation
Establishment of an Open Season on Public Lands 2000-2001
Proposed Hunting Activities on State Parks
April 2000

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 6.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenter: Jerry Cooke

Regulations Committee
Briefing
Deer Management Update
April 2000

I. Discussion: Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter E, requires the Commission to adopt regulations governing the trapping, transporting, and transplanting of game animals and game birds to allow adjustments in game populations for better wildlife management. Under the current regulations, persons may obtain a permit (popularly called the ‘Triple T’ permit) for these activities, provided the applicant has supplied to the department a wildlife stocking plan, a justification for the proposed activity, and proof that the proposed activity will not be detrimental to wildlife populations at the trap site, the release site, or on adjacent properties. Staff has become concerned that certain practices are occurring that, while technically meeting the criteria established by rule, do not comport with legislative intent, which was to foster better wildlife management. Staff strives to accommodate the wide variety of management approaches on private land because the economic benefits to landowners translate into better protection of habitats needed by all species; however, it is difficult to endorse management practices whose short-term benefits may lead to negative impacts over a greater length of time.


Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter: Joedy Gray

Regulations Committee
Action
Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants
April 2000

I. Discussion: Staff is proposing amendments to sections §§57.111, 57.113, 57.116, 57.118, 57.119, 57.123, 57.131 and 57.132. The proposed amendments are intended to simplify the permitting and reporting procedures.

Proposed amendments to will correct the scientific name for several species of penaeid shrimps referred to throughout the rules. Amendments to section §§57.113 and 57.118 will provide permits for removal of prohibited plant species from public waters and allow operators of wastewater treatment facilities to possess permitted exotic species for water treatment purposes. Amendments to §57.123 will require annual reports to be submitted to the department by permittees that import, transport, transfer or sell triploid grass carp.

II. Recommendation: Staff recommends the Regulations Committee adopt the following motion:

"The Regulations Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes staff to publish the proposed amendments in the Texas Register for public comment."

Attachment – 1

1. Exhibit A – Proposed Exotic Species Regulation Change (Available Upon Request)


Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Presenter: Vernon Bevill

Regulations Committee
Action
2000-2001 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
April 2000

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. Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.022 authorizes the Executive Director, after notification of the Chairman, to engage in rulemaking.

At present, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has not issued the annual regulatory frameworks for migratory game birds. Since the current regulations reflect the Commission's policy to provide the most liberal harvest provisions permissible under the federal frameworks, staff recommends retaining those provisions (adjusted for calendar shift) should the Service frameworks remain unchanged from last year. Should the Service issue frameworks that alter any existing options or offer new options for hunter opportunity, the department will adopt the most liberal provisions possible, while affording needed protection to the resource.

II. Recommendation: Staff recommends the Regulations Committee adopt the following motion:

"The Regulations Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes staff to publish proposed amendments to 31 TAC §§65.314, 65.315, and 65.317-§65.320, concerning migratory game bird regulations, in the Texas Register for public comment."

Attachment – 1

1. Exhibit A – Proposed Migratory Bird Proclamation


Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit A

2000-2001 Migratory Gamebird Proclamation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission proposes amendments to §§65.314, 65.315, and 65.317 - 65.320, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation. The amendment to §65.314, concerning Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species, creates additional recreational opportunity by opening the previously closed mid- and lower-Gulf coasts to sandhill crane hunting. The amendment to §65.315, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits - Early Season Species, adjusts the season dates for early-season species of migratory game birds to account for calendar-shift. The amendment to §65.317, concerning Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species, creates a new Central Goose Zone in order to allow the dark goose season in north-central Texas to run its full length prior to the opening of the special conservation season for light geese. . The amendment to §65.118, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits - Late Season Species, adjusts the season dates for late-season species of migratory game birds to account for calendar-shift. The amendment to §65.319, concerning Extended Falconry Season—Early Season Species, adjusts season dates for the take of early-season species of migratory game birds by means of falconry. The amendment to §65.320, concerning Extended Falconry Season—Late Season Species, adjusts season dates for the take of late-season species of migratory game birds by means of falconry. The amendments are necessary to implement commission policy to provide maximum hunter opportunity possible under frameworks issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The Service has not issued regulatory frameworks for the 1999-2000 hunting seasons for migratory game birds; however, the department intends to follow commission policy in adopting the most liberal provisions possible under the frameworks in order to provide maximum hunter opportunity.

2. Fiscal Note.

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

3. Public Benefit-Cost Note.

Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years the amendments 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 the implementation of commission policy to maximize recreational opportunity for the citizenry.

(B) There will be no effect on small businesses or microbusinesses. 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 the department 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 Comment.

Comments on the proposed rules may 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, 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.

§65.314. Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species.

(a)-(d) (No change.)

(e) Sandhill cranes.

(1)-(2) (No change.)

(3) Zone C: the remainder of the state, except for the closed areas specified in paragraph (4) of this subsection.

(4) closed areas:

(A) that portion of the state lying east and north of a line 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 U.S. Highway 290 East in Austin, thence east along U.S. Highway 290 to its junction with Interstate Loop 610 in Harris County, thence south and east along Interstate Loop 610 to its junction with Interstate Highway 45 in Houston, thence south on Interstate Highway 45 to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, and thence north and east along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico to the Texas-Louisiana state line.

(B) that portion of the state lying within the boundaries of a line beginning at the Kleberg-Nueces county line and the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, thence west along the county line to Park Road 22 in Nueces County, thence north and west along Park Road 22 to its junction with State Highway 358 in Corpus Christi, thence west and north along State Highway 358 to its junction with State Highway 286, thence north along State Highway 286 to its junction with Interstate Highway 37, thence east along Interstate Highway 37 to its junction with U.S. Highway 181, thence north and west along U.S. Highway 181 to its junction with U.S. Highway 77 in Sinton, thence north and east along U.S. Highway 77 to its junction with U.S. Highway 87 in Victoria, thence south and east along U.S. Highway 87 to its junction with State Highway 35 at Port Lavaca, thence north and east along State Highway 35 to the south end of the Lavaca Bay Causeway, thence south and east along the shore of Lavaca Bay to its junction with the Port Lavaca Ship Channel, thence south and east along the Lavaca Bay Ship Channel to the Gulf of Mexico, and thence south and west along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico to the Kleberg-Nueces county line. [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].

(f)-(g) (No change.)

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

(a) Rails.

(1) Dates: September 9-24, 2000 and October 28 - December 20, 2000[11 -26, 1999, and October 23 - December 15, 1999].

(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.

(1) North Zone.

(A) Dates: September 1 - October 30, 2000 [September 1 - October 30, 1999].

(B) Daily bag limit: 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 four white-tipped doves in possession.

(2) Central Zone.

(A) Dates: September 1-October 17, 2000[September 1-October 17, 1999], and December 26, 2000- January 7, 2001[December 26, 1999 - January 7, 2000.]

(B) Daily bag limit: 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 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 22 - November 5, 2000, and December 26, 2000- January 9,2001[September 24-November7, 1999, and December 26, 1999-January 9, 2000]. In the special white-winged dove area, the mourning dove season is September 22 - November5, 2000, and December 26, 2000-January 5, 2001[September 24-November 7, 1999, and December 26, 1999-January 5, 2000].

(B) Daily bag limit: 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 four white-tipped doves in possession.

(4) Special white-winged dove area.

(A) Dates: September 2, 3, 9, and 10, 2000[September 4, 5, 11, and 12, 1999].

(B) Daily bag limit: 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.

(c) Gallinules.

(1) Dates: September 9-24, 2000, and October 28-December 20, 2000[September 11-26, 1999, and October 23, 1999-December 15, 1999].

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

(d) September teal-only season.

(1) Dates: September 9-24, 2000[September 11-26, 1999].

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

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

(f) Shorebirds. No open season.

(g) 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 11, 2000- February 11, 2001[November 13, 1999-February 13, 2000].

(2) Zone B: December 2- February 4, 2001[December 4, 1999-February 13, 2000].

1. Zone C: January 6, 2000-February 11, 2000[January 8, 1999-February 13, 2000].

(4) The season is closed in the areas specified in §65.314(e)(4) of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species).

(h) Woodcock: December 18, 2000- January 31, 2001[December 18, 1999-January 31, 2000]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(i) Common snipe (Wilson's snipe or jacksnipe): October 21, 2000-February 4, 2001[October 17, 1999-January 31, 2000.] The daily bag limit is eight. The possession limit is 16.

§65.317. Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species.

(a) Ducks, mergansers, and coots.

(1) -(3) (No change.)

(b) Geese.

(1) Western Zone: that portion of Texas lying west of a line from the international toll bridge at Laredo, thence northward following 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 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 [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) Central Zone: 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) [(2)] Eastern Zone: that portion of Texas lying east of a line from the international toll bridge at Laredo, thence northward following IH 35 and 35W to the Texas-Oklahoma state line [the remainder of the state].

§65.318: Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits—Late Season. Except as specifically provided in this section, the possession limit for all species listed in this section shall be twice 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, three scaup, one mottled duck, one pintail, 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 21-24, 2000, and October 28, 2000-January 21, 2001 [October 23-26, 1999 , and October 30, 1999-January 23, 2000].

(B) North Zone: October 28-29, 2000, and November 11, 2000-January 21, 2001 [October 30-31, 1999 , and November 13, 1999-January 23, 2000].

(C) South Zone: October 28-November 26, 2000, and December 9, 2000-January 21, 2001 [October 30-November 28, 1999, and December 11, 1999-January 23, 2000].

(2) Geese.

(A) Western and Central Zones [Zone].

(i) Light geese: October 28, 2000-February 11, 2001 [October 30, 1999-February 13, 2000]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

(ii) Dark geese: October 28, 2000-February 11, 2001 [October 30, 1999-February 13, 2000]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is five, which may not include more than one white-fronted goose.

(B) Eastern Zone.

(i) Light geese: October 28, 2000-February 11, 2001 [October 30, 1999-February 13, 2000]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

(ii) Dark geese:

(I) White-fronted geese: October 28, 2000-January 21, 2001 [October 30, 1999-January 23, 2000]. The daily bag limit for white-fronted geese is two.

(II) Canada geese and brant: October 28, 2000-January 31, 2001 [October 30, 1999-February 1, 2000]. The daily bag limit is one Canada goose or one brant, except during the period from January 24-February 1, when the bag limit is three in the aggregate.

(3) 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, except for persons hunting by means of falconry under the provisions of §65.320 of this chapter (relating to Extended Falconry Season—Late Season Species). 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 14, 2000 [October 16, 1999];

(B) North Zone: October 21, 2000 [October 23, 1999]; and

(C) South Zone: October 21, 2000 [October 23, 1999].

§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-December 25, 2000 [November 9-December 25, 1999]; and

(2) rails and gallinules: December 21, 2000-January 26, 2001[December 16, 1999-January 21, 2000].

(3) woodcock: November 24-December 17, 2000 and February 1-March 10, 2001 [November 24-December 17, 1999, and February 1-March 9, 2000].

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

(a) Ducks, coots, and mergansers:

(1) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 14, 2000 [October 16, 1999]; and

(2) Remainder of the state: October 21, 2000 and January 22-February 6, 2001 [October 23, 1999, and January 24 - February 8, 2000].

(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


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