Presenter: Jerry Cooke

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Action
Permits to Trap, Transport and Transplant
Game Animals and Game Birds
August 2000

I. Discussion: Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter E, requires the commission to adopt rules for the trapping, transport, and transplantation of game animals and game birds. As a result of recommendations made by an advisory group composed of staff and members of the regulated community, staff presented proposed changes to the Triple T program to the Regulations Committee at its June 2000 meeting. The committee authorized staff to publish the proposed amendments in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed rules appeared in the July 28, 2000, issue of the Texas Register (25 TexReg 7117). Staff will present a summary of public comment at the time of the meeting.

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to 31 TAC §§65.101, 65.103, 65.105, 65.111, 65.115, and 65.117, and new 65.116, concerning Permits to Trap, Transport, and Transplant Game Animals and Game Birds, with changes to the proposed text (located at Exhibit A) as published in the April 28, 2000, issue of the Texas Register (25 TexReg 3700)."

Attachments - 2

1. Exhibit A – Proposed Triple T Regulations
2. Exhibit B – Fiscal Note (available upon request)


Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit A

Triple T Proclamation
Proposed Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§65.101, 65.103, 65.105, 65.111, 65.115, and 65.117, and new 65.116, concerning Permits to Trap, Transport, and Transplant Game Animals and Game Birds. Generally, the amendments eliminate provisions that duplicate the statutory language of Parks and Wildlife Code and are therefore redundant. The amendment to §65.101, concerning Definitions, adds language to specify that words and terms not defined in regulation are defined by statute, removes definitions that are redundant of Parks and Wildlife Code, and creates a definition for 'permittee,' to underscore the distinction that any person who performs an activity under the terms of a permit is considered to be a permittee. The amendment to §65.103, concerning Trap, Transport, and Transplant Permit, specifies that the content of a stocking plan shall be the same as that required for wildlife management plan as defined in the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation, establishes a minimum deer-to-acreage-ratio for the purpose of waiving release site inspections, implements a time limit for department review of permit applications, and stipulates the conditions under which buck deer must have their antlers removed for transport. The amendment to §65.115, concerning Notification, Recordkeeping, and Reporting Requirements, establishes a timeframe for notification of the department prior to the transport of deer, implements a requirement for permittees to maintain a daily log of permitted activities, requires permittees to disclose the financial particulars of permitted activities, and specifies procedures for the disposition of mortalities. New §65.116, concerning Nuisance Squirrels, simply relocates the provisions of 65.103(g) in a new section for clarity's sake. The amendment to §65.117, concerning Prohibited Acts, implements an identification requirement for trailers and vehicles used to transport deer.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the amendments and new section as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to the department or other units of state or local government.

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

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

  1. The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rules as proposed will be a reduction in administrative complications for persons engaged in the trapping, transporting, and transplanting of game animals and game birds, and a concomitant improvement in the department’s ability to effectively and efficiently administer it’s regulatory oversight duties.

(B) There will be a minimal economic cost to persons required to comply with the rule as proposed, primarily associated with the costs of marking trailers and vehicles. There will be minimal adverse effects for small businesses or microbusinesses.

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

4. Request for Public Comments.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Jerry Cooke, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389- 4774 or 1-800-792-1112.

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §43.061, which requires the commission to adopt rules for the content of wildlife stocking plans, certification of wildlife trappers, and the trapping, transporting, and transplanting of game animals and game birds under the subchapter, and §43.0611, which requires the commission to adopt rules for fees, applications, and activities, including limitations on the times of the activities, relating to permits for trapping, transporting, or transplanting white-tailed deer

The amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 43, Subchapter E.

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

(1) Amendment—A specific alteration or revision of currently permitted activities, the effect of which does not constitute, as determined by the department, a new trapping, transporting and transplanting operation.

(2) Certified Wildlife Trapper—An individual who receives a department-issued permit pursuant to this section [and agrees by signature, subject to applicable penalties, to abide by all conditions listed on the permit].

[(3) Department—The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or any authorized employee thereof.]

[(4) Game Animal—An animal listed in Parks and Wildlife Code, §63.001.]

[(5) Game Bird—A bird listed in Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.001.]

(3)[(6)] Natural Habitat—The type of site where a game animal or game bird normally occurs and existing game populations are not dependent on manufactured feed or feeding devices for sustenance.

(4)[(7)] Nuisance Squirrel—A squirrel that is causing damage to personal property.

(5)[(8)] Overpopulation—A condition where the habitat is being detrimentally affected by high animal densities, or where such condition is imminent.

(6) Permittee - any person authorized by a permit to perform activities governed by this subchapter.

(7)[(9)] Release Site—The specific destination of game animals or game birds to be relocated pursuant to a permit issued under this subchapter.

(8)[10] Stocking Policy—The policy governing stocking activities made or authorized by the department as specified in §§52.101-52.105, 52.201, 52.202, 52.301 and 52.401 of this title (relating to Stocking Policy).

(9)[(11)] Trap Site—The specific source of game animals or game birds to be relocated pursuant to a permit issued under this subchapter.

[(12) Trap, Transport and Transplant Permit—A permit issued by the department that authorizes an individual to relocate game animals or game birds for wildlife management purposes.]

[(13) Trapping Period—A timeframe designated by the department, but not to exceed one year, during which the trapping, transporting, and transplanting of a specific game animal or game bird by individuals will be allowed.]

[(14) Urban White-Tailed Deer Removal Permit—A permit issued by the department that authorizes an individual to relocate white-tailed deer from areas where human health and safety concerns preclude adequate harvest of deer.]

[(15) Wildlife Management Purposes—Factors including, but not limited to, propagation, distribution, population reduction or enhancement, sex-ratio manipulation and genetic enhancement with respect to the relocation of game animals or game birds.]

[(16) Wildlife Stocking Plan—A document prepared by an applicant for a permit authorized through this subchapter that fulfills criteria and conditions specified on the permit application and justifies permit issuance.]

§65.103. Trap, Transport, and Transplant Permit.

(a) [The department may issue permits to individuals to trap, transport, and transplant game animals or game birds for the purposes of wildlife management.]

[(b) Permits to trap, transport, and transplant game animals and game birds may be issued only when the application is accompanied by an approved wildlife stocking plan for both the trap and release sites.]

[(c)] For the purposes of this subchapter, the content [The contents] of a wildlife stocking plan shall be the same as that required for a wildlife management plan under the provisions of §65.25 of this title (relating to Wildlife Management Plan). No inspection by the department of a release site is required if the release will not exceed a ratio of one white-tailed deer per 200 acres at the release site; however, when the accumulated releases on a tract result in a ratio of one deer to 200 acres, no further releases shall take place unless a site inspection has been performed by the department. [include, but are not limited to:]

[(1) complete land ownership information;]

[(2) description of the land tract;]

[(3) location of the land tract;]

[(4) estimates of game animal or game bird densities on the tract;]

[(5) management practices conducted on the tract; and]

[(6) justification for the proposed activity.]

(b) Applications received by the department between April 1 and August 15 in a calendar year shall be approved or denied within 45 days of receipt.

(c)[(d)] The department may deny a permit application if the department determines that:

(1) the removal of game animals or game birds from the trap site may be detrimental to existing populations or systems;

(2) the removal of game animals or game birds may detrimentally affect the population status on neighboring properties;

(3) the release of game animals or game birds at the release site may be detrimental to existing populations or systems;

(4) the release site is outside of the suitable range of the game animal or game bird;

(5) the applicant has misrepresented information on the application or associated wildlife stocking plan; or

(6) the activity identified in the permit application does not comply with the provisions of the department's stocking policy.

(d) A buck deer transported under the provisions of this subchapter shall have its antlers removed prior to transport, unless:

(1) the transport takes place between February 10 and March 31 of a calendar year; or

(2) the trap site and the release site are owned by the same person.

(e) The department may establish trapping periods, based on biological criteria, when the trapping, transporting, and transplanting of game animals and game birds under this section by individuals will be permitted.

(f) The department may, at its discretion, require the applicant to supply additional information concerning the proposed trapping, transporting, and transplanting activity when deemed necessary to carry out the purposes of this subchapter.

[(g) No permit or report is required for a landowner or his/her agent to live trap, transport, and release nuisance squirrels if:]

[(1) local ordinances prohibit the use of means and methods provided by §65.11 of this title (relating to Means and Methods);]

[(2) written permission from the owner of the property where squirrels are to be released:]

[(A) has been obtained prior to transport and release; and]

[(B) is carried while transporting squirrels;]

[(3) trapping devices are:]

[(A) designed to not inflict physical injury to trapped squirrels; and]

[(B) labeled with the owner's name, street address, city, and telephone number;]

[(4) reasonable precautions are made to assure the humane treatment of trapped squirrels; and]

[(5) trapped squirrels are released no later than 24 hours after capture.]

§65.105. Urban White-tailed Deer Removal Permit.

(a) [The department may issue urban white-tailed deer removal permits to individuals for the trapping, transporting, and transplanting of white-tailed deer.]

[(b)] Urban white-tailed deer removal permits may only be issued when the applicant shows, to the department's satisfaction, that:

(1) an overpopulation of deer exists at the trap site;

(2) hunting is inadequate, because of human health and safety concerns, to reduce the overpopulation;

(3) the release site identified by the applicant consists of natural habitat;

(4) the addition of white-tailed deer to the release site will not result in immediate overpopulation; and

(5) the transplanted deer will be subject to lawful hunting.

(b)[(c)]The department may establish trapping periods, based on biological criteria, when the trapping, transporting and transplanting of white-tailed deer under this section by private individuals will be permitted.

(c)[(d)] The department may, at its discretion, require the applicant to supply additional information concerning the proposed trapping, transporting, and transplanting activity when deemed necessary to carry out the purposes of this subchapter.

§65.111. Permit Conditions and Period of Validity.

(a) [The permittee is responsible for all activities conducted under a permit issued under the authority of this subchapter].

[(b) In the absence of the permittee, at least one person and/or company listed on the permit must be present during permitted activities].

[(c) Activities authorized through permits under this subchapter must be conducted at no direct cost to the state.] A permittee may distribute the cost of permitted activities by entering into cost-sharing agreements with other parties involved, but such cost-sharing arrangements shall not violate the provisions of §65.117 of this title (relating to Prohibited Acts).

[(d) The permittee shall notify the local game warden at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of permitted trapping activities.]

(b)[(e)] If it is determined by the department that any condition listed on the permit has been violated, the department may suspend the permit after notifying the supervisory permittee that a violation has occurred. The supervisory permittee shall have 14 days from the date of such notice to request a hearing pursuant to Chapter 51, Subchapter B [§§51.21-51.57] of this title (relating to Practice and Procedure in Contested Cases).

(c) [(f)] Permits issued pursuant to this subchapter shall expire at the end of the specified trapping period for that species. The maximum period of validity for a permit issued under this subchapter shall not exceed one year.

(d) [(g)] Unattended trapping equipment and devices at trap sites within incorporated areas shall be labeled with the owner's name, complete address, and telephone number; the date of trap site establishment; and the date the trap site was last visited.

(e) [(h)] Unattended trap sites that may pose a human health and safety hazard shall be clearly marked as such.

§65.115. Notification, Recordkeeping, and Reporting Requirements. [Reports.]

(a) No person shall trap, transport, or release deer under a permit authorized by this subchapter unless that person has notified the department not less than 24 hours nor more than 48 hours prior to the trapping, transport, or release of deer. Notification shall be by fax or telephone contact with the Law Enforcement Communications Center in Austin, and shall consist of:

(1) in the case of trapping or transport, the supervisory permittee’s name, permit number, and the date(s) that the trapping or transport will occur; and

(2) in the case of release, the date, time, and specific location of the release.

(b) A supervisory permittee shall maintain, keep current, and furnish upon request by a game warden a daily log containing:

(1) the number of game animals or game birds trapped;

(2) the sex of game animals or game birds trapped;

(3) the locations where game animals or game birds were trapped and released;

(4) the dates when trapping occurred;

(5) the trapping methods used; and

(6) any mortality incurred during the permitted activity and the disposition of carcasses.

(c) The supervisory permittee shall file a report on a form provided by the department not later than 30 days following the expiration date of the permit. The report shall include [identify], at a minimum:

(1) the number of game animals or game birds trapped;

(2) the sex of game animals or game birds trapped;

(3) the locations where game animals or game birds were trapped and released;

(4) the dates when trapping occurred;

(5) the trapping methods used; [and]

(6) any mortality incurred during the permitted activity and the disposition of carcasses; and

(7) a complete disclosure of all considerations and/or payments made or received by any parties for an activity governed by this subchapter, including the particulars of any cost-sharing arrangement between such parties.

(d) The report required by subsection (c) of this section shall be dated and signed by:

(1) the supervisory permittee;

(2) the landowner of the trap site or a full-time employee of the landowner who is authorized to act on the landowner's behalf; and

(3) the landowner of the release site or a full-time employee of the landowner who is authorized to act on the landowner's behalf.

(e) A permittee shall, within ten days of the mortality of any game animal or game bird during any activity under a permit issued under this subchapter, complete and forward to the department a department-issued or department-approved disposition receipt form accounting for each game animal or game bird disposed of under the provisions of this section. All game animals or game birds that die as a result or in the course of activities conducted under a permit issued under authority of this subchapter shall be kept in an edible condition and disposed of by one of the following methods:

(1) documented donation to charitable organizations, public hospitals, orphanages, or indigent persons;

(2) documented transfer or donation to other persons authorized to receive such specimens under a license or permit issued by the department; or

(3) special disposition as prescribed in writing by the department.

§65.116. Nuisance Squirrels. No permit or report is required for a landowner or his/her agent to live trap, transport, and release nuisance squirrels if:

(1) local ordinances prohibit the use of means and methods provided by §65.11 of this title (relating to Means and Methods);

(2) written permission from the owner of the property where squirrels are to be released:

(A) has been obtained prior to transport and release; and

(B) is carried while transporting squirrels;

(3) trapping devices are:

(A) designed to not inflict physical injury to trapped squirrels; and

(B) labeled with the owner's name, street address, city, and telephone number;

(4) reasonable precautions are made to assure the humane treatment of trapped squirrels; and

(5) trapped squirrels are released no later than 24 hours after capture.

§65.117. Prohibited Acts.

(a) A person commits [It is] an offense if that person:

(1) traps game birds or game animals [are trapped]at any location other than the trap site(s) specified on the permit;

(2) releases game birds or game animals [are released] at any location other than the release site(s) specified on the permit;

(3) [the permittee] violates any of the conditions listed on the permit;

(4) [the permittee] does not take reasonable precautions to maximize the humane treatment of and to minimize the stress on trapped game animals or game birds;

(5) [the permittee] does not take reasonable precautions to minimize human health and safety risks during all aspects of permitted trapping, transporting, and transplanting operations; or

(6) sells, barters, or otherwise exchanges or accepts anything of value for a game animal or game bird obtained under a permit issued under this subchapter [game animals or game birds obtained under a permit issued under this subchapter are sold, bartered, or otherwise exchanged for anything of value].

(b) Game animals or game birds being transported under a permit authorized by this subchapter shall not be removed from the transport vehicle prior to arrival at the release site unless such removal is immediately necessary to maintain the health of the game animals or game birds. If such removal is necessary, transport activities must resume within 24 hours.

(c) Except as provided by Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, or §65.610(i) of this title (relating to Transport of Deer and Transport Permit), no person may possess, transport, or cause the transportation of deer in a trailer or vehicle unless the trailer or vehicle exhibits an applicable inscription, as specified in this subsection, on the rear surface of the trailer or vehicle. The inscription shall read from left to right and shall be plainly visible at all times while possessing or transporting deer upon a public roadway. The inscription shall be attached to or painted on the trailer or vehicle in block, capital letters, each of which shall be of no less than six inches in height and three inches in width, in a color that contrasts with the color of the trailer or vehicle. The inscription shall be "TTT".

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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