Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Regulations Committee Meeting

November 17, 1999

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744


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        8                BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on 

        9     the 17th day of November 1999, there came on 

       10     to be heard matters under the regulatory 

       11     authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission 

       12     of Texas, in the commission hearing room of 

       13     the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters 

       14     complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas, 

       15     beginning at 2:35 p.m. to wit:

       16     
              APPEARANCES:
       17     THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
              
       18          REGULATIONS COMMITTEE:
                   CHAIR:     Lee M. Bass
       19                     Dick Heath (absent)
                              Ernest Angelo, Jr. 
       20                     John Avila, Jr.
                              Carol E. Dinkins
       21                     Alvin L. Henry (absent)
                              Katharine Armstrong Idsal
       22                     Nolan Ryan
                              Mark E. Watson, Jr.
       23     
                                   
       24     
              THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:
       25     Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director



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        1                    NOVEMBER 17, 1999

        2              AFTERNOON SESSION:  2:35 p.m.

        3                        * * * * *

        4                  REGULATIONS COMMITTEE

        5                        * * * * *

        6     AGENDA ITEM NO. 1:  BRIEFING - CHAIRMAN'S 

        7     CHARGES.

        8                CHAIRMAN BASS:  This will reconvene 

        9     the public session of today's committee 

       10     meetings.  Before moving into the Regulations 

       11     Committee, I will note for the record that the 

       12     Chairman's charges to the committees over the 

       13     remainder of this biennium have been 

       14     distributed to the Commission and be part of 

       15     the public -- submitted as part of the public 

       16     record today.  They're available to all who I 

       17     think can probably read them faster than I can 

       18     read them to you.  So I will save you that 

       19     endeavor.  And we will be working from those 

       20     with staff going forward from here and look 

       21     forward to any feedback or comment that staff 

       22     or Commission Members may have in that 

       23     department. 

       24          Regulations committee, we'll convene that 

       25     at this time.  And first order of business 



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        1     would be the approval of the committee minutes 

        2     from the previous meeting which have been 

        3     distributed.  Are there any comments in that 

        4     regard?  Chair would entertain a motion.

        5                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  So moved.

        6                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I have a motion by 

        7     Commissioner Watson.  Second?

        8                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Second.

        9                CHAIRMAN BASS:  All in favor.  Any 

       10     opposed?  Thank you very much.

       11          (Motion passed unanimously.)

       12     AGENDA ITEM NO. 5:  BRIEFING - STATUS OF LOCAL 

       13     PARKS GRANTS SCOPING.

       14                CHAIRMAN BASS:  We're going to go 

       15     out of sequence.  First we'd like to do Item 5 

       16     which is a briefing item, status of local 

       17     parks grants scoping process.  Would you -- 

       18     Mr. Hogsett, please.

       19                MR. HOGSETT:  Yes.  Thank you, 

       20     Mr. Chairman.

       21                CHAIRMAN BASS:  The floor is yours.

       22                MR. HOGSETT:  I appreciate you 

       23     taking me out of order.  Mr. Sansom has asked 

       24     me to give you --

       25                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I didn't say you 



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                                                           4


        1     were out of order.  I said you're out of 

        2     sequence.

        3                (Laughter.)

        4                CHAIRMAN BASS:  If I said you were 

        5     out of order, I meant to say you're out of 

        6     sequence.  When you're out of order, I'll let 

        7     you know that, too.

        8                MR. HOGSETT:  Now where was I?  

        9     Mr. Sansom asked me to give you a briefing 

       10     today of the process that we're going through 

       11     right now of updating the rules for the grant 

       12     administrations under the Texas Recreation and 

       13     Parks Account program.  You'll probably recall 

       14     in the last session of the legislature, the 

       15     legislature passed House Bill 2108 that I'm 

       16     going to give you a little more information 

       17     about in a second.  They also increased the 

       18     appropriations available for the next two 

       19     years by appropriating the unexpended interest 

       20     that's being earned on the Texas Recreation 

       21     and Parks Account in the amount of additional 

       22     $5 million a year. 

       23          We're currently going through the process 

       24     of doing scoping meetings around the state.  

       25     We've done six.  I have one to do tomorrow in 



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        1     Lubbock, which will be the final one.  We've 

        2     gotten a lot of good public input, and I just 

        3     kind of wanted to give you an opportunity to 

        4     know where we are in the process with the 

        5     anticipation of coming back to you in January 

        6     with a set of rules, draft rules, for your 

        7     consideration. 

        8          As a beginning, I'll remind you of the 

        9     three grant programs that are administered 

       10     using the Texas Recreation and Parks Account.  

       11     We have the outdoor parks grant program, the 

       12     50 percent match that you're probably most 

       13     familiar with.  It's been around in one form 

       14     or another, either federally funded or state 

       15     funded, since 1965.  It's the largest single 

       16     amount of the amount of money that's 

       17     appropriated to us. 

       18          In 1994, we began giving indoor 

       19     recreation grants to local governments.  Those 

       20     are also 50 percent match projects.  Also, in 

       21     1994, we began a program that we call the 

       22     Community Outdoor Outreach Program. 

       23          By way of refreshing your memory, I'll 

       24     show you some of the kinds of facilities and 

       25     projects that are eligible under these two 



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        1     grant programs.  Outdoor program, everything 

        2     from land acquisition to active sports and 

        3     play fields to very passive and open space 

        4     preservation projects are eligible. 

        5          The Indoor Recreation grants, again to 

        6     local governments at a 50 percent match, 

        7     everything from things such as gymnasiums and 

        8     athletic fields, to nature centers, to arts 

        9     and crafts facilities, things that you would 

       10     think of in a typical urban recreation center 

       11     or a rural -- more rural setting in a nature 

       12     interpretive center. 

       13          The Community Outdoor Outreach grants are 

       14     different in that they do not require a match 

       15     currently, and they are program-type grants as 

       16     opposed to construction grants.  The idea is 

       17     to make available to populations which have 

       18     traditionally been underserved by things that 

       19     Parks and Wildlife does, make those 

       20     opportunities available to these special 

       21     populations or to these persons who have not 

       22     traditionally had the opportunity to 

       23     participate.  By giving program grants to 

       24     either political subdivisions or non-profits 

       25     to do such things as bring kids to state parks 



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        1     from the inner city.  We've done fishing 

        2     derbies.  We've done many kinds of nature 

        3     outdoor interpretation projects, most of which 

        4     have been done on Parks and Wildlife 

        5     facilities, and many of which have utilized 

        6     our staff.  And we've also done some things 

        7     related to historical and cultural 

        8     interpretation.

        9          Again, these are programmatic grants, 

       10     which is the primary difference between these 

       11     and the other two grant programs.  And all of 

       12     the activities have to be related back to the 

       13     mission of the department to be eligible. 

       14          As I said earlier, in the last session of 

       15     the legislature, House Bill 2108 was passed.  

       16     It's the first significant change to the Texas 

       17     Recreation and Parks Account since it was 

       18     created back in 1993.  And in addition, the 

       19     legislature, as I said earlier, has 

       20     appropriated to us an additional $5 million 

       21     for each of the next two years.  And this 

       22     chart will give you a rundown on current 

       23     programs, i.e., fiscal year 1993 through 1999.  

       24     And then the column on the right will be an 

       25     indication of the amount of money available 



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        1     for the programs beginning in fiscal year 

        2     2000, and again, that same amount in fiscal 

        3     year 2001. 

        4          The Outdoor Program remains the same.  An 

        5     increase in the Indoor Recreation Grant 

        6     Program of a million.  A significant increase 

        7     in percentage of the Community Outdoor 

        8     Outreach Program by the increase of a million. 

        9     A regional parks initiative at a million 

       10     dollars a year.  And finally the facility 

       11     transfer initiative that Mr. Dabney told you 

       12     about this morning at a total of $2 million a 

       13     year. 

       14          So bottom line as we've increased from 15 

       15     and half million to $20 and half million for 

       16     each of the next two fiscal years.

       17          The changes that House Bill 2108 made in 

       18     the Parks and Wildlife code, it set up the 

       19     facility transfers program.  And I won't go 

       20     into any more detail than what you heard this 

       21     morning, but it will be a grant program to 

       22     provide incentive to possibly have someone 

       23     else operate and maintain some of our 

       24     facilities. 

       25          The Community Outdoor Outreach Program 



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        1     since its beginning in 1994, has only been in 

        2     terms of legal authority, been contained in a 

        3     rider to the annual Appropriations Bill that 

        4     the legislature writes for our agency.  So one 

        5     of the things that we're very pleased about is 

        6     that as a result of House Bill 2108, the 

        7     Community Outdoor Outreach Program is actually 

        8     in the laws.  It will be in Chapter 24 of the 

        9     Parks and Wildlife Code, and we feel that 

       10     gives it much more prominence and legitimacy.  

       11     It also defines eligibility, political 

       12     subdivisions, and non-political, non-profit 

       13     groups are eligible to apply for those grants.  

       14     And it specifies what these grants will be for 

       15     programs.  Again, the difference being 

       16     programmatic as opposed to the bricks and 

       17     mortar of the other two grant programs. 

       18          It codifies our authority to capture the 

       19     administrative costs, the costs associated 

       20     with our staff, the travel related to site 

       21     visits, contracting, et cetera.  That has not 

       22     previously been in the code, and it now is. 

       23          I'll tell you that it's -- all of our 

       24     administrative costs come out of the interest 

       25     on the Texas Recreation and Parks Account.  



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        1     None of the money comes out of any of the 

        2     grants that we would give, but instead from 

        3     the interest.  And it, as a matter of a 

        4     housekeeping measure -- and this is something 

        5     that we, as staff, requested and we're pleased 

        6     the legislature did -- when previously when 

        7     you were acquiring land using the Texas 

        8     Recreation and Parks Account, you were 

        9     required to have two appraisals which we 

       10     really saw no need for.  It was expensive.  It 

       11     was burdensome on local governments.  So the 

       12     legislature has now changed that requirement 

       13     from two appraisals to one.

       14          The regional park concept grew out of the 

       15     study that Texas A&M University did before the 

       16     last session of the legislature.  One of the 

       17     things that they recognized in that assessment 

       18     of the parks and recreation needs in Texas was 

       19     that there are very large, great needs in 

       20     particularly the urban areas of the state for 

       21     projects that would do large intensive 

       22     use-type facilities and/or water related and 

       23     conservation projects.  The idea was that 

       24     through public and private cooperative efforts 

       25     and public agency interactions with other 



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        1     public agencies that they could together do 

        2     things and provide for the needs in the future 

        3     of the urban areas in ways that individual 

        4     sponsors can't.

        5          So one of the things that the legislature 

        6     did with House Bill 2108 is set aside the 

        7     ability for us to be able to do regional 

        8     parks.  The problem is, unfortunately, we only 

        9     received a million dollars a year for the next 

       10     two years, but at least the initiative is in 

       11     the act.  Maybe if we have some very 

       12     successful projects with that million dollars 

       13     a year, possibly the legislature will, you 

       14     know, see the need or importance of maybe 

       15     raising that in the future. 

       16          This is probably the area of the law that 

       17     we have the least guidance in terms of the 

       18     legislature, and really the most flexibility 

       19     in how we use the funds. 

       20          As I told you, we're doing public 

       21     hearings around the state.  Some of -- I will 

       22     tell you that there have been no very 

       23     significant items of concern come up.  In 

       24     general, the feedback has been positive.  Keep 

       25     doing what you're doing.  You may want to make 



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        1     some minor changes in your administrative 

        2     procedures.  But in general, most of the 

        3     discussion has been about the new money.  With 

        4     more money, we're hearing an awful lot of 

        5     folks say that the current Commission adopted 

        6     cap on indoor recreation projects of 500,000 

        7     is probably too low.  Most suggestions of 

        8     raising that range from anywhere 600, 700, 

        9     750,000 dollars in that neighborhood.

       10                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  That's per an 

       11     individual project?

       12                MR. HOGSETT:  Correct.  Correct.  

       13     Currently you can only submit an application 

       14     for a half million dollars in match.  Most 

       15     recreation centers are much, much more 

       16     expensive than a million dollar project. 

       17          They also are saying consistently that we 

       18     should raise the amount of money available for 

       19     a Community Outdoor Outreach programming 

       20     project.  Currently that's 30,000, and the 

       21     most popular figure that we're hearing is 

       22     50,000. 

       23                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Any comments on the 

       24     outdoor park, which is also capital?

       25                MR. HOGSETT:  No.  Everybody seems 



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        1     to be pretty satisfied with half million 

        2     dollars on that program.

        3                MR. SANSOM:  Actually, it was just 

        4     the opposite.  There's some downward -- 

        5     there's some interest in lower funding.  

        6     Right?

        7                MR. HOGSETT:  Um --

        8                MR. SANSOM:  I mean, in other 

        9     words, what's your next point?

       10                MR. HOGSETT:  About half of the 

       11     people that we're hearing from, though, say 

       12     that they're concerned about smaller 

       13     communities' and smaller projects' ability to 

       14     compete in our current scoring system.  An 

       15     example, a small community only wants to build 

       16     one ball field.  It's the only grant 

       17     application that they would ever make to us.  

       18     They are able to scrape together, you know, 

       19     $100,000 in contributions for their 50 percent 

       20     match.  Well, lots of folks feel that under 

       21     our current scoring system that a project like 

       22     that is probably not going to be competitive.  

       23     And there is some truth in that.  Larger 

       24     projects right now are doing better than 

       25     smaller projects. 



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        1          On the other hand, it's certainly not 

        2     true that small communities don't compete 

        3     well.  I think as you saw in the last review 

        4     that we did in August, more than half of the 

        5     projects in the proposed funding list were 

        6     smaller communities. 

        7          So this is something that it would mean 

        8     if we do this it -- if you do this, you would 

        9     set aside some money for smaller projects to 

       10     compete without having to compete with the 

       11     larger ones.  The downside to that, obviously, 

       12     is that you further dilute the big pool that 

       13     you have.  We'll see how that comes out in 

       14     terms of the actual numbers we're getting from 

       15     questionnaires. 

       16          The regional park initiative, it's really 

       17     raised more questions than it has given us 

       18     information.  People don't exactly know what 

       19     it is and how it should work.  And honestly, I 

       20     don't think we do yet either.  We've got some 

       21     real work to do in that regard. 

       22                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  That's the 

       23     same criteria as matching funds and --

       24                MR. HOGSETT:  Yes, yes.  We are 

       25     consistently hearing, though, that with only a 



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        1     million dollars available for each of the next 

        2     two years, that probably we ought to rather 

        3     than write an elaborate set of rules and do an 

        4     elaborate scoring system, that we should maybe 

        5     do some pilot projects, go through something 

        6     like a request for proposal process, and maybe 

        7     even the staff should proactively promote some 

        8     projects around the state.

        9                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  And that's not 

       10     only a new park, that could be an existing 

       11     urban park that they're doing the same thing 

       12     we're doing where they're doing land 

       13     acquisition to expand the park so it is in 

       14     fact a larger urban park.

       15                MR. HOGSETT:  Yes, yes.  A couple 

       16     of the types of projects that we've heard 

       17     initiatives raised about are multiple 

       18     jurisdictional trail projects where there's 

       19     greenbelt linkage between two or three 

       20     communities.  Another example is what's called 

       21     the Trinity River Corridor Project in Fort 

       22     Worth, all the communities between those two 

       23     cities. 

       24          Again, they've said don't -- pretty 

       25     consistently they request that we don't 



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        1     initiate, at least at this point, a real 

        2     elaborate review -- criteria and review 

        3     system.  But hopefully if we do a few pilot 

        4     projects that they will be significant enough 

        5     and will bring the kind of recognition to the 

        6     need for the program and to the success of the 

        7     program, possibly the legislature will see fit 

        8     to increase the amount of money in the next 

        9     session. 

       10          A couple of other rather minor, but 

       11     something we've heard consistently, issues, 

       12     many of the sponsors would like to have the 

       13     ability to access the application process 

       14     online through the Internet.  And we're -- I'm 

       15     very receptive to that.  We're working on that 

       16     already. 

       17          And we're hearing consistently that we 

       18     should speed up the process of reimbursing 

       19     people.  As they do the work, it's a 

       20     reimbursement process.  And that we try to 

       21     speed up the process between the time that you 

       22     approve a project and the sponsor has all of 

       23     the needed materials where we can contract 

       24     with them.  And I'm very sensitive and 

       25     understanding of those, and we're going to 



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        1     work real hard on that.

        2          The schedule, as I said -- I don't know 

        3     what happened to that -- we did -- we've done 

        4     six hearings thus far, and six hearings with 

        5     230 plus people in attendance.  We're going to 

        6     do one tomorrow in the Panhandle, and that 

        7     will be our final one.  Each one of those 

        8     public hearings is also being followed up with 

        9     a questionnaire.  And also we're going to do 

       10     some selective sending of some questionnaires 

       11     to folks that we don't feel like were 

       12     represented in these meetings.  That will give 

       13     us the quantitative information that we will 

       14     need to come back and put together a package 

       15     of recommendations to bring back to you.

       16          We'll do our draft in-house proposal and 

       17     review it with the executive director, post in 

       18     the Texas Register in early December.  That 

       19     will be another opportunity for public input 

       20     and comment.  And then we propose to bring 

       21     back to you for your consideration a set of 

       22     draft rules in the January meeting.  That's 

       23     essentially where we are.

       24                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I have one 

       25     question.  On the new program, the Community 



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        1     Outdoor Outreach Program, this slide terms it 

        2     programming for underserved populations.  Does 

        3     that have a legal definition, or what -- how 

        4     do we go about defining eligibility 

        5     vis-a-vis --

        6                MR. HOGSETT:  House Bill 2108 and 

        7     the changes it made in the Parks and Wildlife 

        8     Code are so new that I'm going to hedge a 

        9     little and say I believe that the Code says 

       10     that it will -- defines it as low-income 

       11     minority, physically, mentally challenged, but 

       12     I'm not 100 percent sure, to be honest with 

       13     you, without going back and looking.  But that 

       14     is what we would propose in terms of 

       15     rulemaking, though, that we identify what 

       16     those criteria are and what you have to do to 

       17     meet those criteria.

       18                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Your understanding 

       19     is, there is a statutory definition of what 

       20     segment of the population is underserved.

       21                MR. HOGSETT:  I don't believe so, 

       22     no.

       23                MR. SANSOM:  I don't think so.

       24                MR. HOGSETT:  But I think -- I 

       25     would think that it would be important for us 



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                                                          19


        1     to define some of that.

        2                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yeah.  I just 

        3     didn't know whether it had a legislative 

        4     meaning that might be -- might or might not be 

        5     different than groups out there that don't use 

        6     Parks and Wildlife things are therefore 

        7     underserved.  It could be a broader population 

        8     that -- or potential customers of ours that 

        9     are legally eligible for this particular plan, 

       10     but that would be something I would be 

       11     interested in getting a handle on a little bit 

       12     more.

       13                MR. HOGSETT:  We will do that as 

       14     part of the draft rule process. 

       15                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  It's not 

       16     people who want to use equestrian trails, 

       17     that's what you're saying, or birders 

       18     versus --

       19                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Birders versus, you 

       20     know --

       21                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Low income.

       22                CHAIRMAN BASS:  -- urban kids of 

       23     every walk of life that are as unengaged as 

       24     some that are economically --

       25                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Got ya.



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                                                          20


        1                CHAIRMAN BASS:  -- defined.  My 

        2     personal vice would be to make it as broad as 

        3     possible of those who -- work towards as  

        4     large a group of potential customers as we can 

        5     rather than try to segment it that only 

        6     certain socioeconomic groups might be 

        7     targeted.

        8                MR. HOGSETT:  Which, in my view, 

        9     the projects that we've already done in the 

       10     last couple of years without having a 

       11     legislative guidance at all, are much closer 

       12     to what you're talking about than having a 

       13     segmented segment of the population being 

       14     targeted for funds.  We've done just a wide 

       15     variety of different types of groups, 

       16     different types of projects, not just kids, 

       17     adults, you know, across the board. 

       18                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  You said that 

       19     this was going to be primarily for programs.  

       20     Is there any flexibility there if, say, you 

       21     needed to improve an existing room and turn it 

       22     into a classroom to facilitate an educational 

       23     program at a park?

       24                MR. HOGSETT:  Probably not.

       25                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Probably not.  



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                                                          21


        1     Okay. 

        2                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Then you are 

        3     back down to that small project that we don't 

        4     have the vehicle for.  We need to look at 

        5     that.

        6                CHAIRMAN BASS:  These are really 

        7     operating dollars.

        8                MR. HOGSETT:  Operations and 

        9     equipment.

       10                MR. SANSOM:  Could buy canoes or 

       11     sleeping bags or camping gear or shotguns.

       12                MR. HOGSETT:  And we've had -- in 

       13     the past we've had several projects that have 

       14     done that kind of thing.

       15                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Okay.  Any other 

       16     questions?  Thank you very much.  Good job.

       17                MR. HOGSETT:  Thank you.

       18                MR. SANSOM:  Good job.

       19     AGENDA ITEM NO. 2:  BRIEFING - ISSUES FOR 

       20     STATEWIDE PARKS, HUNTING AND FISHING 

       21     REGULATIONS FOR 2000-2001.

       22                 CHAIRMAN BASS:  All right.  Let's 

       23     go back to our sequence of Item 2, another 

       24     briefing item, issues for statewide parks, 

       25     hunting and fishing regulations for 2000-2001, 



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                                                          22


        1     believe it or not.

        2                MR. KURZAWSKI:  Good afternoon, 

        3     Commissioners.  My name is Ken Kurzawski of 

        4     the inland fisheries division.  And today I'm 

        5     here to report to you on our fall public 

        6     meetings, which I had the responsibility for 

        7     coordinating our efforts this year.  Our goal 

        8     for these meetings was to solicit public input 

        9     on all department programs, as we've been 

       10     trying to do the last few years, just not on 

       11     our hunting and fishing regulations.  So we 

       12     were hoping to get some good attendance at the 

       13     meeting and hear a variety of issues. 

       14          We had four meetings scheduled this fall.  

       15     We held meetings in Grapevine, San Antonio, 

       16     Corpus Christi and Beaumont.  I'll give you 

       17     just a quick summary on each meeting and 

       18     highlight the major issues that we heard at 

       19     those meetings.  These major issues will be 

       20     addressed later by staff from the relevant 

       21     divisions except for the reciprocal license 

       22     issue, which I'll address later.

       23          First meeting we had at Grapevine at Bass 

       24     Proshops.  We had an attendance of 110 people.  

       25     Thirty-five persons commented.  The major 



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                                                          23


        1     issues we heard there were on the Hueco Tanks 

        2     climbing access and on the Lake Fork 

        3     tournament exemptions. 

        4                Next meeting at San Antonio, we had 

        5     24 persons with 22 commenting.  Once again, we 

        6     heard a little bit on the Hueco Tanks climbing 

        7     access, also heard about the use of crossbows 

        8     and locking devices in archery seasons, and 

        9     sort of a variety of topics, including 

       10     wildlife in urban areas.  And also we heard a 

       11     little bit on equestrian use of state parks, 

       12     which we usually hear in the San Antonio area. 

       13          I also would like to thank Commissioner 

       14     Watson for showing up at the San Antonio 

       15     meeting.  We enjoyed having him there for 

       16     that. 

       17          Next, at Corpus Christi, we had our 

       18     lowest turnout, 16 persons, had 10 persons 

       19     comment.  Some of the topics there were park 

       20     funding acquisition and then regulations of 

       21     speckled trout fishing guides and also on sea 

       22     turtles. 

       23          We ended up at Beaumont, had a good 

       24     turnout there of 80 persons, with 30 persons 

       25     making comments.  The major issues there dealt 



.

                                                          24


        1     with the senior fishing license and reciprocal 

        2     license agreements and the Keith Lake boat 

        3     ramp. 

        4          Overall, we had 240 people show up at 

        5     these meetings, and I think we heard a variety 

        6     of topics, just not on hunting and fishing 

        7     regulations.  So in that regard, they were 

        8     successful.

        9          The one issue I would like to touch on 

       10     briefing is that dealing with reciprocal 

       11     fishing licenses that, if you recall, we made 

       12     some recent changes to those agreements.  

       13     Effective October 1st, we no longer offered 

       14     license exemptions to seniors from Louisiana, 

       15     Oklahoma and Kansas.  This change was in 

       16     response to complaints we received since 1965 

       17     when the $6 special resident license became 

       18     required of those turning 65 years of age.  

       19     Now the seniors are upset about these recent 

       20     changes primarily because now with the no more 

       21     reciprocal license agreements, they have to 

       22     pay to fish in Louisiana and Oklahoma.  And 

       23     down in Beaumont, it was mainly people who 

       24     were fishing over in Louisiana.

       25                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  How much do 



.

                                                          25


        1     they have to pay there?

        2                MR. KURZAWSKI:  I believe the 

        3     license -- an annual license is $31 for 

        4     freshwater, and I think a saltwater would be 

        5     30 -- an additional $30 plus that, and then 

        6     there are some three-day licenses that they 

        7     could purchase also.

        8                MR. SANSOM:  For seniors?

        9                MR. KURZAWSKI:  Yes.  Well, that 

       10     would be any non-residents.  At this time, 

       11     Louisiana doesn't have any special licenses 

       12     for seniors.  We are investigating some of the 

       13     possible alternatives.  We have talked to 

       14     Louisiana, and they're in the process of 

       15     looking at their whole licensing structure, 

       16     and there might be some possibilities we could 

       17     work on a reduced license for seniors on both 

       18     sides. 

       19          And I guess one thing I would like to 

       20     note that the Commission does have the 

       21     authority to waive or lower fees for 

       22     nonresidents over 65 years of age.  We 

       23     wouldn't necessarily have to go back to the 

       24     legislature for that authority.

       25                MR. SANSOM:  I think it's important 



.

                                                          26


        1     that we go back and reflect on why this 

        2     happened.  It happened because we were getting 

        3     complaints because we charge our senior 

        4     citizens a discounted fee, and there were 

        5     citizens coming into Texas from other states 

        6     who were fishing free.  So you had an angler, 

        7     an older angler from Texas who was paying in 

        8     Texas, and an angler from Louisiana or 

        9     Arkansas or some other place, who was not.  

       10     And there generated just as many complaints as 

       11     this did.

       12                MR. KURZAWSKI:  It was combined to 

       13     those three states, Kansas, Oklahoma and 

       14     Louisiana since 1965.

       15                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  And now we 

       16     just have reciprocal agreements.  Do we match 

       17     them?

       18                MR. SANSOM:  Well, we --

       19                MR. KURZAWSKI:  Excuse me, 

       20     Commissioner, I didn't hear your question.

       21                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  So what did we 

       22     do?

       23                MR. SANSOM:  We no longer allowed 

       24     senior citizens from other states to fish 

       25     free.



.

                                                          27


        1                MR. KURZAWSKI:  Right.  For those 

        2     three states we did away with the reciprocal 

        3     agreements.  The only really reciprocal 

        4     agreement we have remaining is with Louisiana 

        5     on the border waters where people can fish 

        6     both sides, at say Toledo Bend, on whatever 

        7     license you're carrying from either Texas, 

        8     Louisiana.

        9                MR. SANSOM:  So now when a Texas 

       10     citizen goes into a state where it's free, 

       11     they have to pay.

       12                MR. KURZAWSKI:  As I said, we're 

       13     going to continue to look at this issue and 

       14     continue our discussions with some of the 

       15     neighboring states to see what any ideas we 

       16     can come up with there.  I would be happy to 

       17     answer any questions on this issue or any of 

       18     the public meetings that you have.  Thank you.

       19                MR. SANSOM:  Good job, Ken.  Ken 

       20     arranged for this entire scoping process to 

       21     occur and organized the logistics, which were 

       22     extensive, and he did a very good job.

       23                MR. KURZAWSKI:  Thank you.  Is 

       24     Larry going to go next?

       25                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I commend you that 



.

                                                          28


        1     your lowest attendance was 16 persons.  The 

        2     first public meeting I went to as a 

        3     commissioner, I was one of two people there 

        4     that wasn't wearing a badge or other Parks and 

        5     Wildlife --

        6                MR. KURZAWSKI:  Well, even with 

        7     Corpus Christi being at 16, the last one we 

        8     had there had zero.  So that's a pretty good 

        9     increase from zero.

       10                MR. MCKINNEY:  Don't even mention 

       11     that one.

       12                CHAIRMAN BASS:  You must have just 

       13     stirred up some controversy down there to make 

       14     it look good.

       15                MR. MCKINNEY:  We didn't go on 

       16     Friday night, which is football night.

       17          Mr. Chairman, Larry McKinney, for the 

       18     record, senior director of aquatic resources.  

       19     I just have a couple of quick issues to bring 

       20     forward because you will be hearing briefings 

       21     on these items tomorrow, but because they do 

       22     contemplate rulemaking process, going to bring 

       23     them to your attention very quickly this 

       24     afternoon.

       25          One set of -- one area in regards to our 



.

                                                          29


        1     seagrass conservation work we're doing down in 

        2     the middle coast, that work, task force has 

        3     completed its initial phase of work and has a 

        4     proposal before us, and Dr. Bill Harvey will 

        5     brief you on that tomorrow, but in order to 

        6     implement the plans that are coming forward, 

        7     we do contemplate designating a couple of 

        8     areas as scientific areas.  Chapter 81, 

        9     Subchapter F of our Parks and Wildlife Code 

       10     provides the authority of the department to do 

       11     these types -- to designate these types of 

       12     areas.  We've done it in the past for our 

       13     coastal preserves, for example, so we could 

       14     develop management plans in conjunction with 

       15     other agencies.

       16          We would contemplate that process here, 

       17     and I think Dr. Harvey will explain it more 

       18     fully tomorrow, to enable us to, for example, 

       19     put our signage out, to put signs out to mark 

       20     areas, to protect those signs from vandalism, 

       21     those types of things.  So he will cover that, 

       22     but it would be something we would contemplate 

       23     bringing before you-all in your January 

       24     meeting for consideration.  So I certainly 

       25     would answer any questions, but you'll hear 



.

                                                          30


        1     the briefing tomorrow.

        2                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Could be public 

        3     comment on the proposal prior to January?

        4                MR. MCKINNEY:  No.  It would be -- 

        5     well, we're having our task force -- is that 

        6     what you mean?  I'm sorry.

        7                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I mean areas that 

        8     we're proposing to --

        9                MR. MCKINNEY:  Oh, we'll put them 

       10     out as rules, there will be public comment 

       11     and --

       12                CHAIRMAN BASS:  As of January or 

       13     before?

       14                MR. MCKINNEY:  Before.  We would be 

       15     doing that probably before.  It would be a 

       16     normal rulemaking process as we would go 

       17     through for (inaudible).  The second area is, 

       18     and again we will brief you on this tomorrow, 

       19     but this is in developing an aquatic 

       20     vegetation management plan for the state of 

       21     Texas as allowed under House Bill 3079, a 

       22     section of that 11.082 basically states that 

       23     the department shall develop and by rule adopt 

       24     a state aquatic vegetation management plan 

       25     following the generally accepted principles of 



.

                                                          31


        1     integrated fish management. 

        2          So we are beginning to work on that 

        3     management plan.  We will give you a briefing 

        4     on it tomorrow, but it would have to be 

        5     adopted by rule.  One area that we're 

        6     exploring, and we've done this in other 

        7     situations, is adoption by reference because 

        8     of the guidelines, and we will explore if 

        9     that's a possibility.  But we anticipate that 

       10     coming before you in May for consideration.  

       11     So we will have a bit of time to development 

       12     it, but we would probably go that direction if 

       13     it were allowable under law. 

       14                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Could you explain 

       15     the distinction of adopting by rule versus 

       16     reference.

       17                MR. MCKINNEY:  I would think that 

       18     once we develop the state plan, which could be 

       19     quite extensive, that rather than, say, 

       20     publishing this entire plan in the Texas 

       21     Register and having to keep it that way, that 

       22     we would have a simply rule that basically 

       23     says the statewide management plan is adopted 

       24     by reference has titled under this document, 

       25     and we would keep that document here so we 



.

                                                          32


        1     wouldn't have to put that in the Register and 

        2     update it in that way.  It would just be a 

        3     shorter way of coming at it, if in fact we can 

        4     do that, and we'll just have to get an 

        5     interpretation as to whether or not we can. 

        6          We would still have a process any time we 

        7     wanted to amend that plan, a public process to 

        8     go through, but it wouldn't necessarily have 

        9     to be a rulemaking process every time that we 

       10     want to perhaps make a change.  Again, we'll 

       11     just have to see if that is allowable, and I 

       12     do not know yet, but that would be our plan.  

       13     That's -- those are the two, and we will talk 

       14     to you about them tomorrow.

       15                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.

       16                MR. DUROCHER:  Mr. Chairman, 

       17     Commissioners, I'm Phil Durocher with the 

       18     inland fishery division.  I'm going to be 

       19     talking a little bit, spend a few minutes 

       20     going over one primary issue that we heard 

       21     about in the scoping process and begin to look 

       22     at potential regulation changes for the year 

       23     2000-2001 that have been brought to us by the 

       24     staff. 

       25          First of all, I would like to echo Andy's 



.

                                                          33


        1     comments and recognize Ken for the job he did 

        2     on the scoping meeting.  But I want you to 

        3     know that we still want him in inland 

        4     fisheries.  He does a good job for us. 

        5          The comments that we had at the meeting, 

        6     primarily the meeting in Grapevine were from 

        7     people in opposition to the six tournaments 

        8     plan to study the slot limit exemptions.  If 

        9     you've been reading your mail and reading your 

       10     newspaper, you know inland fisheries is 

       11     involved in a study at Lake Fork, a slot limit 

       12     exception study.  The status of that study is 

       13     so far we've had one tournament that was held 

       14     on October the 9th and 10th.  The results of 

       15     the study are listed here.  I'm not going to 

       16     read them off for you, but this is 

       17     basically -- the results of the biological 

       18     part of that study. 

       19          We're also studying the social and 

       20     economic impacts of allowing these type of 

       21     exempted tournaments.  I want to stress to 

       22     you, though, that this is -- to remember that 

       23     these are results of the first tournament, but 

       24     this is only one part of the study.  Our plans 

       25     are to do six tournaments.  So we're going to 



.

                                                          34


        1     look at the average of all six and not just 

        2     deal with this one.  

        3                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  What was the 

        4     reason for the postponement?

        5                MR. DUROCHER:  They didn't have 

        6     enough people registered.  We -- for us to get 

        7     the type of data we need, we estimated we 

        8     needed at least 75 entries, which were boats 

        9     or team entries, and they just -- they didn't 

       10     make it for this last tournament.  I don't 

       11     know what the reasons were.  I think it had a 

       12     lot to do with the controversy there and 

       13     people not wanting to be involved.  But I 

       14     spoke to the people today, and they're in the 

       15     process of trying to schedule another 

       16     tournament probably for mid-January sometime.  

       17     And we're hopeful that we can get through 

       18     this.

       19                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  This study 

       20     was really mandated by the legislature, was it 

       21     not?

       22                MR. DUROCHER:  By several 

       23     legislators.  Right.

       24                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Not 

       25     officially by the legislature itself.



.

                                                          35


        1                MR. DUROCHER:  No, sir.  This is 

        2     not a new issue.  As Andy knows, we've been 

        3     dealing with this issue for nine to ten years.  

        4     It came up once before, and at that time, the 

        5     staff decided not to pursue it, not because of 

        6     biological concerns.  We felt like if it was 

        7     controlled and done right that it would not 

        8     have a biological impact, but we were 

        9     concerned about the conflicts between 

       10     tournament anglers and anglers, which is 

       11     exactly what we're seeing.

       12                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I'm having a 

       13     little hard time urging the opposition that 

       14     maybe don't want this to happen, because if 

       15     they're so sure it's a bad deal, why wouldn't 

       16     they want the scientific study to be made to 

       17     prove it somehow or another the mitigations 

       18     are bad or something?  Because they seem to be 

       19     fighting against themselves really.

       20                MR. SANSOM:  Well, they are to a 

       21     great extent.  And Phil and I have discussed 

       22     it with the members involved, and it's our 

       23     determination to continue to do the studies in 

       24     the face of that opposition because I think it 

       25     will give us the answers we need once and for 



.

                                                          36


        1     all, and we haven't been successful in 

        2     convincing these folks that --

        3                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  The more they 

        4     interfere with the process, the most likely 

        5     they are to get (inaudible) anything else.

        6                MR. SANSOM:  And that's a good 

        7     insight.

        8                MR. DUROCHER:  Very good.  You 

        9     know, most of the opposition is based on a 

       10     fairness issue.  You know, they say why should 

       11     one group of people be able to do something 

       12     that everybody else can't do.  That's not 

       13     something new for this agency.

       14                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  That's really 

       15     not the issue, though.  We're not saying that 

       16     should be allowed, we're saying let's find out 

       17     what happens if they were.

       18                MR. DUROCHER:  We haven't made a 

       19     recommendation.  We're studying the issue.

       20                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  How many fish 

       21     were caught?

       22                MR. DUROCHER:  How many fish were 

       23     brought into the weigh-in?

       24                MR. KURZAWSKI:  A little over 300.

       25                MR. DUROCHER:  300 or so fish.  And 



.

                                                          37


        1     the mortality of those fish was estimated 

        2     around 39 percent.  And that's -- that seemed 

        3     rather high to us when we looked at it, but 

        4     from looking at the data from studies that 

        5     were done all over the country with the water 

        6     temperature that was there, that number fell 

        7     within the range of some of the findings that 

        8     other people had.  So it really wasn't that 

        9     unexpected.

       10          Now, these are the potential regulation 

       11     changes that were brought to us by the staff 

       12     at our annual meeting we have in August.  

       13     These are the ones that we've looked at and 

       14     decided that we may possibly bring these 

       15     forward to you in January.  We plan to do some 

       16     more scoping and meeting with people in the 

       17     area before we bring these proposals to you in 

       18     January. 

       19          The first one deals with a statewide 

       20     regulation for spotted and Guadalupe bass.  

       21     We're processing to remove the 12-inch length 

       22     limit on those species, but retain the five 

       23     fish bag.  And our goal here is to allow 

       24     harvest, additional harvest of spotted and 

       25     Guadalupe bass. 



.

                                                          38


        1          What we're finding is in most areas, very 

        2     few of these fish actually grow past 12 

        3     inches.  And they're actually competing 

        4     because they grow as adults, they're actually 

        5     competing with other species.  So it may be 

        6     another opportunity to allow some harvest here 

        7     and not affect the populations.

        8          The second one deals with harvest 

        9     regulations for largemouth bass on individual 

       10     reservoirs.  What we're probably going to 

       11     bring to you is three reservoirs -- is changes 

       12     on three reservoirs and three state park lakes 

       13     for more restrictive regulations.  An our goal 

       14     here is, of course, to maintain and improve 

       15     angling quality. 

       16          Let me just say that most of these came 

       17     to us from the public.  They asked us to help 

       18     them to improve the fishing on those places, 

       19     but we're going to go back and scope it to 

       20     make sure that the people are for what 

       21     we're -- most of the people are for what we're 

       22     asking. 

       23          At Lake Jacksonville, Cleburne State Park 

       24     and Meridian State Park, we're asking to raise 

       25     the length limit from the current 14-inch 



.

                                                          39


        1     minimum to an 18-inch minimum.  And the bag 

        2     limit would remain the same. 

        3          On Lake Austin and Town Lake here in 

        4     Austin in Travis County and Buescher State 

        5     Park near Bastrop, we're proposing to change 

        6     the limit on largemouth bass from the current 

        7     14-inch minimum to a 14 to 21-inch slot limit, 

        8     with a five-fish daily bag only one bass over 

        9     21 inches or greater.  These populations we 

       10     feel like have the potential to be something 

       11     special, and there's -- because of 

       12     restrictions that are here on how people can 

       13     fish, there's an opportunity here to do 

       14     something. 

       15          On Town Lake, we've been looking at this 

       16     for several years, and we feel like we have 

       17     the opportunity now because several weeks ago 

       18     the city lifted the restriction on consumption 

       19     of fish because of high chloridane levels.  We 

       20     weren't going to propose a slot limit because 

       21     we thought maybe this would be perceived as an 

       22     attempt to get people to eat fish which they 

       23     should be eating.  But now that that ban has 

       24     been lifted, we feel like we have an 

       25     opportunity to do something here, and these 



.

                                                          40


        1     people can keep the smaller fish and we'll be 

        2     protecting the larger ones. 

        3          There's also another small one that's in 

        4     your book.  It deals with description of a 

        5     community fishing lake in San Angelo.  And we 

        6     believe we can handle that one just by 

        7     changing the wording in the outdoor annual, so 

        8     we're not going to actually make a regulation 

        9     change. 

       10          And that's all the proposals that we're 

       11     going to have that we know of now that we'll 

       12     bring to you in January.

       13                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Are there any of 

       14     these that you see as potentially being great 

       15     deal of controversy?

       16                MR. DUROCHER:  No, sir.  Not at 

       17     this time.  Like I said, most of these came 

       18     from anglers in those area, but we are going 

       19     to go back in those areas and --

       20                CHAIRMAN BASS:  And find out which 

       21     one it is later.

       22                MR. DUROCHER:  We'll tell you about 

       23     it in January.

       24                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thanks, Phil.

       25                MR. DUROCHER:  Thank you.



.

                                                          41


        1                CHAIRMAN BASS:  As the Executive 

        2     Director points out, we're making a reg change 

        3     in Austin, so there will be some comment at 

        4     that one.  We should have our next meeting in 

        5     Waco.

        6                MR. OSBURN:  Good afternoon, 

        7     Mr. Chairman.  I'm Hal Osburn, division 

        8     director of coastal fisheries.  Before I brief 

        9     you on some of our proposals for the 

       10     statewide, I wanted to update you on our 

       11     shrimp management initiative.  This is a 

       12     process that we started in earnest nearly a 

       13     year ago, consists of an in-depth look at the 

       14     scientific data that we have collected and 

       15     others around the country, also a very 

       16     extensive outreach effort with all the 

       17     affected stake holders.  We hope that this 

       18     process will give us some insights to 

       19     recommending some shrimp rule changes to you 

       20     by next summer. 

       21          And I wanted to note that it has been a 

       22     very massive undertaking, and most of the work 

       23     has actually fallen on the shoulders of my 

       24     ecosystem leaders, eight of them along the 

       25     coast.  And as a follow-up to our meeting 



.

                                                          42


        1     yesterday, I asked a number of them to stay 

        2     over, and some of them are in the audience 

        3     today, and I want to acknowledge their hard 

        4     work. 

        5          The coastal fisheries division is always 

        6     conducting scoping, and we have combined that 

        7     effort with the department wide scoping 

        8     efforts that were held in October/November, 

        9     and developed some -- a number of comments 

       10     from folks.  This is a list of those that got 

       11     some of the top priorities.  We are obviously 

       12     concerned about the shrimp over harvest that 

       13     was noted, the sea turtle protection, those 

       14     two items will be addressed in our shrimp rule 

       15     review.  The shark conservation will be an 

       16     item that we will be actually briefing you on 

       17     in January as part of the statewide.  And we 

       18     will be conducting additional scientific 

       19     review and scoping efforts on the trophy trout 

       20     and fishing guide issues this next year.

       21          Let me move on to the items that we have 

       22     been investigating for the statewide hunting 

       23     and fishing proclamation this next year.  

       24     First is the question of whether to provide 

       25     consistency with new rules in federal waters 



.

                                                          43


        1     that have been established by the National 

        2     Marine Fishery Service.  Certainly, there are 

        3     benefits to consistency.  You can get a 

        4     conservation effort.  You can get enhanced law 

        5     enforcement, better angler cooperation.  But 

        6     there's also the issue of determining whether 

        7     the Texas Fishery Management Strategy is 

        8     adhered to in adopting those rules. 

        9          Federal rules have been changed recently 

       10     on sharks.  They formally had an unlimited bag 

       11     limit and no size limit.  They have changed 

       12     that to a one Atlantic sharpnose per person 

       13     and one other pelagic shark over four and a 

       14     half feet per vessel.  I have to tell you that 

       15     the federal reference to vessel probably 

       16     precludes us from having strict compatibility 

       17     because in Texas, we do have a substantial 

       18     shore-based fishery, and we want our rules to 

       19     provide for that. 

       20          Since 1989, Texas has had the most 

       21     restrictive bag limits and gear restrictions 

       22     on the harvest of sharks applied to both sport 

       23     and commercial fisheries than any other gulf 

       24     state or federal waters.  We do think, though, 

       25     that the commercial longline fishery that has 



.

                                                          44


        1     been prosecuted in federal waters, that is 

        2     what led actually the federal government to 

        3     enact more strict regulations on the shark.  

        4     That overfishing has reduced the populations 

        5     to the point that we will need to look at 

        6     reducing our bag limits, imposing a size limit 

        7     and cooperating with that conservation effort 

        8     in state waters.  Actually, we're just glad to 

        9     see them finally cooperating with our 

       10     conservation effort in federal waters. 

       11          Commercial long-lining in federal waters 

       12     also has had an effect through bycatch on our 

       13     billfish populations, and they -- one of the 

       14     outcomes of that was their recommendation in 

       15     federal waters for changes in the billfish 

       16     size limits, to increase those.  We 

       17     consistently have matched those and will 

       18     likely recommend those to you for our sport 

       19     anglers in January. 

       20          There also have been some differences in 

       21     the state and federal rules on the king and 

       22     Spanish mackerel.  There's still not 

       23     finalization of those rules, and we would not 

       24     recommend any changes until we actually see 

       25     exactly what's going to happen at the federal 



.

                                                          45


        1     level, because it's not always something you 

        2     can -- you can guess. 

        3          It's also true for the red snapper 

        4     fishery.  That fishery continues to go -- a 

        5     great deal of instability.  The National 

        6     Marine Fishery Service has been provided a 

        7     recommendation from the Gulf Council, they're 

        8     considering a recreational fishing season of 

        9     only six and a half months.  It would go from 

       10     mid-April to the end of October.  That season 

       11     would have very serious consequences for the 

       12     Texas fishery, as it's historically been 

       13     fished.  We will continue to work with the 

       14     federal entities and the industry in trying to 

       15     find an equitable solution to this situation.

       16                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Hal, what do you 

       17     think the odds of some kind of a resolution 

       18     coming out of that is?

       19                MR. OSBURN:  I think in the 

       20     short --

       21                CHAIRMAN BASS:  The winter fishing 

       22     season is what really impacts the party boats, 

       23     isn't it?

       24                MR. OSBURN:  Yes, it is.  About 70 

       25     percent of the red snapper harvest off Texas 



.

                                                          46


        1     is by our party boats who've been in business 

        2     for numbers of decades here.  I have to tell 

        3     you that in the short term, I don't think 

        4     there is a real good chance of a resolution of 

        5     that.  Certainly there was a process that's 

        6     been gone through with the federal entities, 

        7     and they certainly know the Texas position.  

        8     There is a box that the fishermen in the Gulf 

        9     of Mexico have been put in, the fishery 

       10     managers as well, have been put in a very 

       11     small box and told to decide, you know, really 

       12     kind of who gets pushed out of the lifeboat.  

       13     And at this point, the Texas headboat winter 

       14     fishery has been pushed out of the lifeboat. 

       15          I think their course of action as they've 

       16     indicated to me is judicial.  And at the 

       17     federal level, fishery management level, I 

       18     don't hold out a lot of hope that there's 

       19     going to be any salvation for them in the 

       20     short term.

       21                CHAIRMAN BASS:  How many headboats 

       22     are there really operating, or how many 

       23     operators?

       24                MR. OSBURN:  We have about 24 

       25     headboats in Texas.  And that fishery has 



.

                                                          47


        1     stayed stable, actually declines a little bit, 

        2     but if you go back to the 1970s and look at 

        3     some of when the department started sampling 

        4     those headboats, we see virtually the same 

        5     numbers of fish coming off those headboats, 

        6     snappers, as we do now.  Their size is much 

        7     greater, but they have been a long-term 

        8     stable, steady fishery providing access for, 

        9     you know, at $30 a head for people that have 

       10     no other access to Gulf of Mexico fishing, you 

       11     know, as opposed to $600, $700 charter boat.

       12                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  So what are 

       13     the federal regulators worried about?

       14                MR. OSBURN:  They have determined 

       15     that a reduction in fishing mortality is 

       16     needed on the red snapper.  We do not contest 

       17     that.  We contest the fact that the deep 

       18     waters off of Texas preclude you achieving 

       19     your goal when our fishermen are throwing back 

       20     red snapper and they're still dying because 

       21     you bringing them up from such deep waters.  

       22     We think that the Texas fishery should be 

       23     managed differently than the shallow waters 

       24     off of Florida and Alabama.  And we don't 

       25     think they're achieving their goal, but on 



.

                                                          48


        1     paper they're achieving their goal with 

        2     restricting the season to six and a half 

        3     months and raising the size limit.  And we -- 

        4     it's just a dilemma that fishery managers have 

        5     not resolved among themselves yet.

        6                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  So your view 

        7     is that there's a different problem than the 

        8     one they're attacking.

        9                MR. OSBURN:  Yes.

       10                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Or the way 

       11     they're attacking it.

       12                MR. OSBURN:  Right.  And we think 

       13     if you're going to achieve your goal of 

       14     recovering red snapper that you have to do it 

       15     in the water not just on paper.  And also, the 

       16     problem is those historical participants that 

       17     help build this fishery shouldn't have to go 

       18     out of business while we're trying to figure 

       19     out how to calculate numbers.  I think we have 

       20     a responsibility to grandfather them in to the 

       21     fishery as we've done with all of our limited 

       22     entry systems.  There is limited entry 

       23     proposed for the four higher fishery in the 

       24     Gulf of Mexico, and we can accept that.  But 

       25     we want those historical participants to not 



.

                                                          49


        1     be sacrificed to some statistical and legal 

        2     arguments.

        3                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Out of the 24 boats 

        4     that are operating, are they more or less 24 

        5     different owners, or is there an entity that 

        6     has 10 boats, or what's the nature of the --

        7                MR. OSBURN:  I probably have some 

        8     staff here that can answer that question 

        9     better.  I think that two or three boats is 

       10     the most that I know of an owner having.  You 

       11     know, some of them have a couple, two to 

       12     three, like the Wharf Cat Scat Cat down in 

       13     Port Aransas.

       14                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Those 24 boats, do 

       15     they operate pretty much all up and down the 

       16     coast?

       17                MR. OSBURN:  There are boats from 

       18     Galveston, Freeport, Port Aransas and South 

       19     Padre and Port Isabel are the main sites.  But 

       20     yeah, they're up and down the coast.  And they 

       21     have served, you know, historically that 

       22     winter Texan coming down and the locals trying 

       23     to have some winter fishery that the Texas 

       24     weather provides for.  And we think that if 

       25     they were going to make seasonal changes, that 



.

                                                          50


        1     they needed to have allowed for that.  And we 

        2     just kind of got out voted in terms of numbers 

        3     of charter boats in the Florida/Alabama area 

        4     that didn't really have a winter fishery and 

        5     have a small boat fishery don't fish in the 

        6     winter, and sort of the self-preservation, 

        7     they went for the summer fishery.  And --

        8          But we'll continue to work with them.  

        9     We've got some avenues, but I'm not going to 

       10     tell you that it's going to be pretty.

       11                CHAIRMAN BASS:  We'll expect to 

       12     read articles and letters about it in the 

       13     coming months.

       14                MR. OSBURN:  Yes.  Let me 

       15     desperately try to move beyond federal waters 

       16     issues here.  In our limited entry for our 

       17     Texas commercial finfish fishery which was 

       18     enacted by Senate Bill 1303.  This last 

       19     session, we did get new authority.  We will be 

       20     coming to you in January with the details of 

       21     this new program.  It will involve changes to 

       22     three separate proclamations. 

       23          This management program will be very 

       24     similar to that for the shrimp fishery and for 

       25     the crab fishery, which are already 



.

                                                          51


        1     established, including the very important 

        2     element of license buyback.  The legislature 

        3     set the license fee at $300, and that includes 

        4     $60 which will go into a license buyback fund. 

        5          Rule changes will also be necessary to 

        6     set numbers allowed in buoy marking 

        7     requirements for trotlines and the crab traps 

        8     for bait within that fishery. 

        9          And in conclusion, let me just note that 

       10     the industry members commercial fishermen that 

       11     worked with us as partners in developing this 

       12     legislation continue to work with us and help 

       13     us on the implementation phase, and I want to 

       14     thank them. 

       15          And that concludes my briefing.  I would 

       16     be glad to answer any questions.

       17                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir.  

       18     State parks.

       19                MR. DABNEY:  Walt Dabney, state 

       20     park director.  When you were talking about 

       21     your next meeting at Waco, I don't guess you 

       22     meant at Hueco Tanks.  Accommodations would be 

       23     a little rusty out there. 

       24          The three issues I'm going to talk to you 

       25     about, two of them are from the scoping 



.

                                                          52


        1     process, one of the came up at the last 

        2     Commission meeting.  The two in the scoping 

        3     process, one little longer than the other, are 

        4     Hueco Tanks and the climbing issue.  And I 

        5     know Phil was glad to have us in the audience 

        6     to take some flak on climbing when he was 

        7     taking flak on the fishing. 

        8          But horse use, and that will be a very 

        9     short one.  And then Palo Duro and some 

       10     flooding problems we've had out there that 

       11     came up in the last Commission meeting.  We 

       12     told you at that time that Dan Patton and I 

       13     were going to go out and look at that, and we 

       14     did, and I wanted to bring you up to speed 

       15     about that. 

       16          Hueco Tanks, fascinating place, and one 

       17     of my hot issues.  In six months of being 

       18     here, I think I've been there four times now.  

       19     And Commissioner Watson got to listen to three 

       20     or four of the folks in San Antonio.  There 

       21     were quite a few more in Dallas the other 

       22     night. 

       23          This issue -- the problem with Hueco 

       24     Tanks and as it relates to climbing is folks 

       25     will try to draw a comparison between Hueco 



.

                                                          53


        1     Tanks and other places where climbing occurs, 

        2     like Enchanted Rock or Mineral Wells or 

        3     Yosemite, or wherever else.  It's a very, very 

        4     different situation.  The climbing is great.  

        5     It's great in all those places, but the 

        6     problem here is you are starting your climb in 

        7     a major world-class archeological site.  And 

        8     Dr. Dolman just handed me December issue of 

        9     Scientific American with Hueco Tanks in it.  

       10     And some of the technology, some of the things 

       11     we found just recently that I'll show you in 

       12     this. 

       13          But why Hueco Tanks?  Hueco Tanks is out 

       14     west of -- or, I'm sorry, east of El Paso.  

       15     It's out in the desert.  Huecos are in fact 

       16     natural depressions in the rock tanks, if you 

       17     will, that water collected, and it collected 

       18     in rather large amounts.  It was used we know 

       19     at least from 9000 BC by Native American 

       20     people as a water source, and that's why in 

       21     this great desert they came to this place.  So 

       22     for 11,000 years, they have been coming there 

       23     continuously.

       24          The place was an El Paso County Park.  It 

       25     was heavily hammered.  We picked it up in I 



.

                                                          54


        1     think 1969 and in poor condition at least from 

        2     erosion and some other things.  The 

        3     legislature in essence told us pretty clearly 

        4     what they wanted us to do with that, as is 

        5     depicted, in improving, preserving restoring, 

        6     protecting the land and property and the park/ 

        7     and it was a mess, and it -- there are places 

        8     that still exhibit the graffiti, and certainly 

        9     erosion problems that are out there now. 

       10          But in the '90s, you started to see a 

       11     phenomena that while it started maybe in the 

       12     outdoors moved inside into climbing gyms and 

       13     became in essence a gymnastic sport, sport 

       14     climbing, with artificial holds and that kind 

       15     of thing.  Hueco Tanks was discovered to be an 

       16     outdoor setting where this was truly a 

       17     world-class opportunity to do what is called 

       18     boldering or sport climbing.  People literally 

       19     came from all over the world. 

       20          And as I'll show you in a minute, where 

       21     they were doing their climbing, we know a lot 

       22     more now than we did certainly when we got the 

       23     place, and even than we did a couple of years 

       24     ago.  These two gentlemen from no telling 

       25     where walking in, the thing on the guy's back 



.

                                                          55


        1     on the left of the screen is a crash pad.  

        2     He's going to go into the base of one of these 

        3     and roll the mattress out, and they're going 

        4     to climb above that and hopefully when they 

        5     peel off from not making the climb, they will 

        6     hit the pad and not the rocks and the ground 

        7     below.  But they would haul in all their stuff 

        8     for the day, including maybe their dog, and 

        9     they would begin to tie him to a tree if we 

       10     were lucky, or turn him loose if we're not, 

       11     and of course dug around wherever. 

       12          Where it was digging and where these 

       13     folks were climbing, we've since found, and 

       14     we're not even through yet, there are 273 

       15     known rock art sites.  That doesn't mean 

       16     individual panels.  That's areas where rock 

       17     art is that we know, and we have not done a 

       18     complete assessment yet.  There could be 

       19     multiple panels in each of these sites.  164 

       20     rock shelters where people actually lived; 334 

       21     bedrock mortars, and I have seen them this 

       22     deep where obviously for many, many years 

       23     people sat there with a pestle of antler or 

       24     whatever and ground their stuff enough to 

       25     deepen those; 11 water control structures 



.

                                                          56


        1     where they actually made improvements to 

        2     enhance the ability of the place to hold water 

        3     for drinking and farming and that kind of 

        4     thing; at least one farming village site; at 

        5     least nine burial sites where people are 

        6     buried right out there.  We cannot even 

        7     disclose where those are legally.  And surface 

        8     artifacts everywhere.  You cannot walk through 

        9     there without seeing pottery shards, and that 

       10     kind of thing. 

       11          Well, it's also, as I said, a great 

       12     bouldering area.  The white material that you 

       13     see on that rock is not naturally occurring or 

       14     oxidation.  It's climbing chalk.  It's used to 

       15     keep your hands dry.  And you can see just on 

       16     those two boulders which are above a natural 

       17     rock shelter, there are many roots.  So people 

       18     would stand there literally watching each 

       19     other climbing up this rock, trying to make 

       20     each individual climb, walking through the 

       21     rock shelters and around the base of each one 

       22     of these.  If you needed to go to the bathroom 

       23     and went and dug a hole somewhere behind a 

       24     tree or in a rock shelter, you are digging in 

       25     an archeological midden without a doubt. 



.

                                                          57


        1          The 45 degree wall, again the chalk you 

        2     see on it, is literally a wall that lays back 

        3     like so, and you're doing your climbing route 

        4     up that.  Where that person is standing, that 

        5     bolder at one time was level with the ground, 

        6     and all of the material that was in there 

        7     because of erosion now because the vegetation 

        8     was denuded is washed out.  That's a bedrock 

        9     mortar or several of them in the foreground  

       10     there where people actually sat on that rock 

       11     century -- for centuries and worked their 

       12     evening meal. 

       13          What are we talking about washing away?  

       14     Well, here's another site where climbing 

       15     activity occurred.  The site was denuded, and 

       16     at least two feet of the materials have washed 

       17     out of there, including any artifacts that 

       18     were in there at the time. 

       19          Some of the technology that's reflected 

       20     in this magazine, we've gone back in, not 

       21     extensively yet and certainly not completely, 

       22     and filmed rock art sites that -- looking at 

       23     the site at the picture on the left, the one 

       24     on the right is the same picture.  The 

       25     photograph was taken and enhanced with a 



.

                                                          58


        1     computer, and you can see a whole lot more 

        2     information.  Those are the same site.  And if 

        3     you walk up to the one on the left, even if 

        4     you're a well intentioned climber and say I'm 

        5     not climbing where there's any rock are, the 

        6     reality is there's -- there may be fascinating 

        7     stuff underneath.

        8          This article points out that this is the 

        9     largest collection, known collection, and 

       10     that's just with what we know right now, of 

       11     masks, painted masks in North America in Hueco 

       12     Tanks. 

       13          Another site up on the right you see -- 

       14     you don't see it very clearly.  Enhanced in 

       15     the lower left, it's very clear there's all 

       16     kind of rock art up there. 

       17          What does it look like?  The red dots 

       18     that you can see, again, the rocky part is in 

       19     the middle, the red dots are the known rock 

       20     art panels.  We just did an archeological 

       21     survey, and we did not survey the rocky area.  

       22     The area in below is basically the base of all 

       23     these boulders, rock shelters and that kind of 

       24     thing.  All of that is archeological deposits. 

       25          When you lay the rock art sites on top of 



.

                                                          59


        1     the archeological deposits, you can't start 

        2     climbing in here without standing right in the 

        3     middle of no telling what, with deposits that 

        4     at least three feet that are mostly in tact, 

        5     with the archeological records still mostly in 

        6     place with at least four tribes that claim a 

        7     historic tie to this location here.  It is not 

        8     like comparing this place to Enchanted Rock or 

        9     anyplace else.  We have got to air it toward 

       10     protecting the resource.  And that is 

       11     unpopular with the things that are in the 

       12     current climbing plan.  And of course, the 

       13     more we know, the more important that that's 

       14     going to be. 

       15          We have a public use plan.  There is a 

       16     promise to review that at the end of the year.  

       17     And this will continue to be controversial.  

       18     Folks do not like the fact that there are 

       19     restrictions on climbing in this place.  But I 

       20     do like -- and if people refer to this as a 

       21     museum, and the reality is, you are in fact 

       22     starting your climb standing on the exhibit 

       23     cases in Hueco Tanks, and that's just a fact.  

       24     You can look at what we just showed you up 

       25     there on the maps. 



.

                                                          60


        1          Currently there is a reservation system.  

        2     There are limited numbers.  We will be going 

        3     back out in the next two weeks with a draft 

        4     plan to folks who have exhibited an interest 

        5     in this process up to now, and we will be 

        6     asking for their input.  The campground is now 

        7     very limited.  The place closes -- the back 

        8     country closes basically at dark or a little 

        9     before.  If you're staying in the campground, 

       10     you're with a guided group.  You are with a -- 

       11     or we furnish a guide.  There are very few 

       12     people that are doing that.  We propose that 

       13     this place just be when it's time to go home, 

       14     it's time to go home, and this be like a 

       15     museum in fact, and you do, and there's no 

       16     after hours use of the place. 

       17          We had prohibited pets and bicycles 

       18     entirely.  If you come in with a pet or 

       19     bicycle now, we're going to propose that you 

       20     can keep that in the developed area along the 

       21     road, whatever it is.  You can ride your bike 

       22     certainly on any of the designated roads, but 

       23     you can't take the pet in the back country, 

       24     and you cannot take your bicycle in the back 

       25     country on these trials.



.

                                                          61


        1          We're going to require an activity fee.  

        2     What has happened and we can show you in the 

        3     numbers is somebody calls up and says, "I want 

        4     to go climbing on December the 10th and 

        5     there's ten of us," and out of 50 reservation 

        6     slots for north mountain.  Well, they show up 

        7     and there's two of them, and they probably may 

        8     well have known that all along.  But that's 

        9     just eight folks that could not make a 

       10     reservation, and there was no down side to it.  

       11     So we're proposing, okay, you can make that 

       12     ten reservations, but you're going to pay for 

       13     that day up front, unrefundable.  And we think 

       14     that will help us get a handle on this so that 

       15     we're not excluding people. 

       16          This place is open to climbing still.  

       17     It's also open to other uses for people to 

       18     come in, but it's not if you as a climber book 

       19     up all the spots and then no one show up, 

       20     because we've had to turn people away. 

       21          We need to close two additional areas 

       22     that are just so sensitive either for burials 

       23     or you can't climb in there because of the 

       24     rock art, and we can't protect it or you can't 

       25     climb it in a way that will not damage the 



.

                                                          62


        1     resource.  Folks the other day in Grapevine 

        2     and San Antonio said, well, you ought to go 

        3     mark these places so we know where they are.  

        4     You saw what that map looks like.  It would 

        5     turn into a sea of signs.  You would change 

        6     the whole character of the place.  You 

        7     couldn't mark all these sites.  We don't even 

        8     know where they all are now. 

        9          This is Enchanted Rock.  We have very 

       10     good relationships with the climbers there.  

       11     We're doing lots of climbing there and Mineral 

       12     Wells and other places where it makes sense.  

       13     We need to put some limits and maintain some 

       14     limits and air towards protection of the 

       15     resource at Hueco Tanks. 

       16                MR. SANSOM:  Members, the comment 

       17     at the hearing was overwhelmingly opposed to 

       18     the philosophy that you just heard.  We 

       19     informed them that we do intend to protect the 

       20     resource, but the scoping process there was no 

       21     one there who said we like what you're doing 

       22     here. 

       23                MR. DABNEY:  There were a couple in 

       24     San Antonio, rock art people, that did.  But 

       25     the climbers are very vocal and they show up 



.

                                                          63


        1     and they've got a good communication, and that 

        2     will continue.  You'll get some mail.  I 

        3     certainly will get some mail.  And we don't 

        4     see how we have another choice.  You cannot 

        5     protect this site. 

        6          One other thing we are doing is putting 

        7     in a trail system, which will really help 

        8     protect the area, but it's so difficult.  If 

        9     you remember that slide, we had the trail laid 

       10     out.  We did the archeological survey.  We 

       11     just had it marked.  We had our trails going 

       12     through places that you just can't put the 

       13     trail.  We're having to move some of that.  So 

       14     we've got to be very careful there. 

       15          Horse use that came up especially in San 

       16     Antonio.

       17                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  I went to 

       18     Hueco Tanks this time last year, and it was 

       19     really nice weather.  There were quite a few 

       20     climbers there.  And it wasn't just the rock 

       21     art that looked to be imperiled by the 

       22     climbing but also the vegetation because they 

       23     lay those pads on that very fragile 

       24     vegetation.  And I think we need to make sure 

       25     that we're protecting that as well as the 



.

                                                          64


        1     archeological features. 

        2          But I think the climbers need to be aware 

        3     that that is not locally significant or 

        4     statewide significant, but that really is 

        5     quite a remarkable site.  And I think 

        6     destroying those, you know, incredibly long 

        7     history that you have at that site for 

        8     enjoyment by the rock-climbers is not a good 

        9     trade-off for future generations.  And I think 

       10     we need to be very vigorous in protecting 

       11     that, because it's just -- you know, I saw the 

       12     briefing last year when we put the plan into 

       13     effect, but I did not realize what the place 

       14     was like, and the park superintendent spent I 

       15     guess half a day with us.  It was quite a lot 

       16     of time.  And we walked a long way in Hueco 

       17     Tanks.  And when you see how remote the area 

       18     is, you really have a better sense of why we 

       19     have no idea, so many places where the art 

       20     could be.  And I really think that we have a 

       21     very strong responsibility to protect that 

       22     area.

       23          And if we get criticism for it, I think 

       24     we just have to respond that we appreciate 

       25     that, you know, they have an immediate desire 



.

                                                          65


        1     to use it, but that we have a 

        2     multigenerational need to protect that area.

        3                MR. SANSOM:  It's important for us 

        4     to know, Commissioner, that we committed 

        5     ourselves to allow a review of the plan with 

        6     proposed revisions, and the proposed revisions 

        7     that Walt has laid out for you would actually 

        8     strengthen it.

        9                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  They looked 

       10     like good revisions.

       11                MR. SANSOM:  It will strengthen the 

       12     plan with respect to protection.

       13                MR. DABNEY:  What you have here is 

       14     you have science in the bank.  This technology 

       15     right here we didn't even know a year ago.  

       16     And we didn't know a lot of those places 

       17     existed that were even cataloged in the '30s.  

       18     You go back in there now and the stuff is just 

       19     everywhere.  So what will we know in another 

       20     ten years?

       21                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  I think we 

       22     need to point out continually that under the 

       23     archeological code here in Texas and under the 

       24     National Historic Preservation Act and under 

       25     the mandate from the legislature for that 



.

                                                          66


        1     part, we have a lot of responsibilities that 

        2     go far beyond the rock climbers.  And I think 

        3     you need to keep emphasizing that when you 

        4     issue the revisions for the plans because I 

        5     think protection of that area, you know, ought 

        6     to be within the framework of existing laws to 

        7     project artifacts like that.  You know, I 

        8     imagine that if that park came into the system 

        9     today that (inaudible).

       10                MR. DABNEY:  You're exactly right.  

       11     That map, the composite map, we're adding to 

       12     this letter that's going out to everybody.  

       13     Because in fairness to climbers, I had a 

       14     number of climbers came up after this thing 

       15     and looked at those maps and said, "We didn't 

       16     have a clue.  We don't want to hurt that stuff 

       17     either."  And so climbers are not insensitive, 

       18     they're just, "We didn't know."

       19                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Let me ask this:  

       20     It's obviously somewhat of a unique site from 

       21     an archaeological point of view.  From a 

       22     rock-climber's point of view, the natural 

       23     features that they find attractive to climb, 

       24     how unique is it?  And I say that not just in 

       25     the realm of what's a public access place to 



.

                                                          67


        1     go climb, but just in terms of the geological 

        2     feature.

        3                MR. DABNEY:  This is a bouldering 

        4     area, and it's probably one of the best in the 

        5     world.  I mean -- and that's the conflict.  It 

        6     truly is an outstanding place, but --

        7                MR. SANSOM:  They come in the 

        8     winter, as well.

        9                CHAIRMAN BASS:  See, what I'm 

       10     wondering is in the 97 percent Texas that's 

       11     private land, are there other places that from 

       12     a climbers point of view, would be as 

       13     attractive?

       14                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  The ones I 

       15     talk to say no.  Is that right?

       16                CHAIRMAN BASS:  How would they 

       17     know?  They don't know what's on --

       18                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  But that's 

       19     almost a unique geological feature.

       20          (Simultaneous discussion.)

       21                MR. DABNEY:  It's a very unique 

       22     feature geologically.  I would assume, 

       23     Chairman, that there are a lot of good places 

       24     on private lands to climb.  And these are 

       25     unroped climbs.  These are gymnastic moves.  I 



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        1     mean, a full climb maybe the height of this 

        2     wall here as opposed to a roped climb.  And so 

        3     I can't answer you because I don't know 

        4     either.

        5                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yeah.  I guess 

        6     where I'm kind of going with that is there any 

        7     other -- might there be places that have the 

        8     recreational potential without the 

        9     archaeological dilemma that we could either 

       10     help identify, do a public/private venture 

       11     with somebody that we lease it from them and 

       12     we operate it.  We help show them how to 

       13     operate it as a private entity and they get, 

       14     you know, a lot more revenue per acre than 

       15     they're getting for whatever agricultural use 

       16     they're doing, or whatever, and try to --

       17                MR. DABNEY:  I'd love to find such 

       18     a place.

       19                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I wouldn't know 

       20     what to look for because it's never occurred 

       21     to me to climb that wall, but apparently -- 

       22     but I just wonder if that might long-term be 

       23     some kind of a solution because, you know, 

       24     there's an awful lot of land out there that 

       25     doesn't produce very much revenue per section, 



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        1     much less per acre, that if we could get 

        2     identified some place -- and these people are 

        3     obviously willing to travel a long way.  So if 

        4     we could identify some place that we could 

        5     work something out or help a private landowner 

        6     realize that he has an unexplored resource 

        7     that he could do without us.  It doesn't look 

        8     like these guys want very much.  They just 

        9     want access, and they'll pay -- how much a day 

       10     did you say it is to climb?

       11                MR. DABNEY:  Well, I mean it's 

       12     going to cost -- 4, $4 a person to come in 

       13     there.

       14                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Walt, how many 

       15     climbing sites are there?

       16                MR. DABNEY:  I'm sorry?

       17                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  How many 

       18     climbing sites?

       19                MR. DABNEY:  Sites? 

       20                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Yeah.  

       21     Climbing, you know.

       22                MR. DABNEY:  Thousands.  You just 

       23     go out there and look at this place, you 

       24     just -- there's guidebooks.  There is a thick 

       25     guidebook.  I should have brought it in here.



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        1                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Climb here, 

        2     climb there.

        3                MR. DABNEY:  Climbing Guide to 

        4     Hueco Tanks.

        5                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  But the 

        6     highest of which is no more than what?

        7                MR. DABNEY:  Well, there are roped 

        8     climbs on the west mountain primarily.

        9                CHAIRMAN BASS:  But that isn't what 

       10     they really come for.  They come for a 14-foot 

       11     climb on an 87-degree diagonal.

       12                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  You can build 

       13     it.

       14                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Well, I don't 

       15     understand why you're letting people climb on 

       16     it when you don't know what they're climbing 

       17     on.  I mean, do we have an obligation to let 

       18     people go in there?  And it looks like to me 

       19     you ought to just close it down until you can 

       20     figure out how to let them use it.

       21                MR. DABNEY:  That's an excellent 

       22     question, sir.  I think, as somebody said, if 

       23     we got this park today and climbing were not 

       24     established, I would be a strong proponent, as 

       25     I think Andy would, of saying, "You climb 



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        1     somewhere else.  This is not the place."  We 

        2     inherited something that truly was, in fact --

        3                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  It doesn't 

        4     look like to me we can get people any more 

        5     angry than they already are. 

        6                MR. DABNEY:  That could be.

        7                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  You haven't 

        8     heard all of them yet.

        9                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  We got 90 

       10     percent of the letters now, what's another 10 

       11     percent?

       12                MR. SANSOM:  And we have shut it 

       13     down twice, which is the only state park where 

       14     that's the case.  We completely closed it 

       15     twice in this decade.

       16                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I think we 

       17     need to do what Carol is saying and appeal to 

       18     their -- in addition to being tough about it, 

       19     I think we need to try to appeal to their 

       20     reasonableness, the ones that have it, and 

       21     particularly with things like this magazine 

       22     article and other things we've been hearing 

       23     about the scientific ability to enhance the 

       24     art so that places that obviously no one, 

       25     other than -- even an expert wouldn't have 



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        1     known there was something there.  If these 

        2     people are exposed to those facts, I would 

        3     have to think that most of them would 

        4     recognize the legitimacy of the concerns.  

        5     There's going to be some that won't anyway. 

        6          I know the first ones that I talked to 

        7     about it were avid climbers and felt like the 

        8     Parks and Wildlife Department was being unfair 

        9     and restricting it and that they downplayed 

       10     the archaeological features, and not the ones 

       11     that are obvious artwork, but the other 

       12     aspects of it.  And so I'm not sure how much 

       13     they could be convinced by the more recent 

       14     studies of what's out there, but they ought to 

       15     at least be exposed to it as much as we can.

       16                MR. DABNEY:  The impression I got 

       17     from the reaction of some of these people, 

       18     they didn't have those maps before.  Those 

       19     maps are graphic.  And I mean, they know by 

       20     looking, they've stood right in the middle of 

       21     some those -- a lot of those places 

       22     themselves.

       23                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I think we 

       24     can probably reduce some of the animosity 

       25     anyway.



.

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        1                MR. DABNEY:  We're also writing -- 

        2     staff is preparing an article.  We're going to 

        3     be putting it out.  It's these latest 

        4     findings.  We need to do better getting our 

        5     message out to other folks so that the 

        6     understanding is --

        7                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Exactly 

        8     what's there.

        9                MR. DABNEY:  Yes, sir.

       10                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Well, I 

       11     think it's several things.  I really think 

       12     that it's important to educate the climbers 

       13     about the other aspects of that resource 

       14     because it is an incredibly unique area.  But 

       15     I think we also need to make sure that those 

       16     who would support the work of the department 

       17     in trying to protect that archeological 

       18     resource are aware of what's out there and 

       19     know that they need to speak up in favor of 

       20     the restrictions that you're putting on them 

       21     because of the (inaudible).

       22                MR. DABNEY:  I will tell you that 

       23     this is an area where we and the THC are very 

       24     closely working together and they are very 

       25     supportive of this.  And were we to move 



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                                                          74


        1     backwards, they would be all over us 

        2     appropriately so.

        3                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Yes.  But 

        4     I'm saying that those among their particular 

        5     constituency would be well-advised to educate 

        6     themselves about Hueco Tanks and weigh in with 

        7     this department about the importance of 

        8     protecting that resource.  I just -- I never 

        9     understood what Hueco Tanks was until we 

       10     started looking at that plan, and after that 

       11     hearing, but I still couldn't fathom what it 

       12     was.  And I've always lived in Texas, and I 

       13     was not aware that that was out there.

       14                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I never knew 

       15     it was there, either.

       16                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  And you live 

       17     closer to it.

       18                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I live close 

       19     to it.  That's right.

       20                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  But I think 

       21     some public education on Hueco Tanks would be 

       22     a very important thing to gather support for 

       23     what you're going to need to do to protect 

       24     that area.

       25                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  It's tragic 



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                                                          75


        1     to see some of those 1930s pictures of what 

        2     was there, so much of which is already gone.  

        3     It's been ruined.  You know, it's just a huge 

        4     amount of it has been already been badly 

        5     messed up, not necessarily by the 

        6     rock-climbers but just by people in general.

        7                MR. DABNEY:  By unsupervised use.  

        8     The equestrian, just one thing quickly, is we 

        9     are working with horse users everywhere it's 

       10     possible.  We've got 15 parks that have 

       11     opportunities, and 12 of those have overnight 

       12     good accommodations in many cases with 

       13     horse -- separated horse camps and corrals and 

       14     that kind of thing, and over 200 miles of 

       15     trials. 

       16          The last issue has to do with flooding, 

       17     and specifically at Palo Duro.  Dan and I went 

       18     out there and looked ourselves and had the 

       19     opportunity of having a one-inch rain event, 

       20     one inch.  I've got actually some pictures 

       21     that we saw of that.

       22          What we've got here is a situation at 

       23     Palo Duro, I think it's flooded three times 

       24     since I've been here in six months, where we 

       25     have I truly do believe a visitor safety 



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                                                          76


        1     issue, recurrent damage to facilities, the 

        2     staff impact -- and I'll show you some 

        3     examples of what I'm talking about -- 

        4     interruption of our revenue stream and 

        5     certainly a local economic concern.  This is 

        6     one of the campsites with what came through 

        7     the picnic table.  And the safety concern is 

        8     if you're putting people in their tents in a 

        9     sleeping bad in the middle of night and we got 

       10     some event like this coming through, with the 

       11     kind of deposits of this, you might not even 

       12     mind them.  Now, that hasn't happened before, 

       13     but there is no reason why it couldn't happen.  

       14     This is one of the roads, and you're digging 

       15     down with that huge front-end loader down 

       16     three or four feet just to get the road open 

       17     again.

       18          When Dan and I were there, it rained one 

       19     inch.  It put water this high in two of the 

       20     bathrooms we went in, this high, one inch.  

       21     And closed four out of six river crossing, I 

       22     think.  This is one of the bathrooms from not 

       23     the one-inch event, but one of those -- this 

       24     bathroom and two of the campgrounds are still 

       25     closed.  We propose to leave them closed, and 



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                                                          77


        1     that's going to be the issue because people 

        2     locally are going to be pressured.  We need to 

        3     go back in and look at this.

        4          You see where the waterline is on the 

        5     urinal and that door there.  It's just 

        6     demoralizing to the staff to go back in and 

        7     put these things back together.  You have wall 

        8     heaters and everything that are ruined 

        9     virtually every time the water comes into 

       10     this.  If you've got wallboard in that, you're 

       11     just rotting it out.  You've got to literally 

       12     pull the drains out and flush them because 

       13     they're packed solid with sand.  I mean, so 

       14     you're just literally shut down.  It happens 

       15     time and again.

       16          So we need to go back in there and look 

       17     at Palo Duro.  We've talked to local officials 

       18     there.  We told them what our problems are, 

       19     and in some cases we're going to be bring them 

       20     down in there to look, but we've got to do 

       21     something different at Palo Duro, probably 

       22     someday move the campsites out of that area, 

       23     but certainly we're not going to open those 

       24     hazardous ones again for now. 

       25          And those are the three issues that I had 



.

                                                          78


        1     today.

        2                MR. GRAHAM:  Mr. Chairman, Members 

        3     of the Committee, I'm Gary Graham, director of 

        4     the wildlife division, and I'm accompanied up 

        5     here with Dr. Jerry Cooke, director of the 

        6     upland wildlife ecology program.  And we're 

        7     going to discuss the proposals for the 

        8     wildlife division on regulation changes for 

        9     this upcoming year. 

       10          We also conduct scoping meetings whenever 

       11     there are issues that come up, and we had a 

       12     scoping meeting at the Canyon of the Eagles in 

       13     Burnet in mid-October, and fortunately, 

       14     Commissioners Watson and Armstrong were there, 

       15     and there were some very interesting issues 

       16     discusses there.  And I would just summarize 

       17     to say they included inconsistencies in the 

       18     way we handle some of our deer permits, 

       19     included some communication issues that we're 

       20     going to address, and they included some of 

       21     the questions on the opening and closing dates 

       22     of the season. 

       23          And Dr. Cooke is going to address some of 

       24     those seasonality issues as well.  Part of the 

       25     reason that he will do that is in response to 



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                                                          79


        1     your request in April to address the opening 

        2     dates of the deer season in response to the 

        3     proposal that we had from the Doss Wildlife 

        4     Management Association.  So with that intro, 

        5     I'll ask Jerry to present the wildlife 

        6     division presentation.

        7                DR. COOKE:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman 

        8     and Members.  My name is Jerry Cooke, program 

        9     director for upland wildlife ecology in the 

       10     wildlife division.  And as Gary pointed out, 

       11     my briefing is going to be twofold.  Part is 

       12     going to be reviewing the opening and closing 

       13     dates for white-tailed deer on a statewide 

       14     basis, going from ecological region to 

       15     ecological region.  And following that, we'll 

       16     deal with the biological and legal issues that 

       17     we'll be addressing with proposals in January. 

       18          In reviewing the opening/closing dates, 

       19     essentially there's one major biological 

       20     issue.  Our definition of a buck deer is a 

       21     deer having a hardener antler protruding 

       22     through the skin.  An antlerless deer is 

       23     otherwise.  So the earliest possible opening 

       24     dates can't be before the shed of velvet if 

       25     you're going to have a buck hunt.  And it 



.

                                                          80


        1     shouldn't be significantly longer beyond 

        2     antler cast for the same reason.  Although, 

        3     harvest intensity is also an overriding factor 

        4     in these things.

        5          In dealing with ecological regions, we're 

        6     only going to be addressing nine major 

        7     (inaudible) from this map.  So all the area in 

        8     Edwards Plateau will be lumped together, South 

        9     Texas, et cetera. 

       10          In looking at population and harvest 

       11     figures, the graph on the top is the density 

       12     of white-tailed deer by ecological region 

       13     statewide based on our white-tailed deer 

       14     survey.  The graph below is the hunter kill 

       15     per thousand acres by ecological region  based 

       16     on our hunter survey.  As you see, they're 

       17     essentially the same graph.

       18                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Per thousand 

       19     acres.

       20                DR. COOKE:  Per thousand acres.  

       21     I'm sorry if I misspoke that.  In looking at 

       22     hunter intensity, on the bottom graph, you'll 

       23     see that hunters in the Piny Woods spend more 

       24     time afield than any other ecological region 

       25     in Texas.  And they're the highest hunter 



.

                                                          81


        1     density in the state is found in the gulf 

        2     prairies and marshes, which doesn't really 

        3     balance out with the way you normally think of 

        4     distribution of hunting in Texas.  However, 

        5     this has ameliorated a great deal, and I'll 

        6     show you further along the importance of our 

        7     technical guidance program in effects. 

        8          For instance, the graph at the top is the 

        9     percentage of yearlings that are found in the 

       10     buck harvest.  The gulf coast prairies and 

       11     marshes has among the smallest percentage of 

       12     yearlings in their harvest.  And I think this 

       13     is also reflective of the fact that it has 

       14     probably the highest density of cooperative 

       15     landowner groups.  The technical guidance 

       16     program in that district is highly 

       17     significant.  And obviously, the education of 

       18     hunters and those landowners have a tremendous 

       19     impact on that harvest.

       20                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Jerry, what's the 

       21     significance of the percentage of yearlings in 

       22     the harvest?

       23                DR. COOKE:  It normally is 

       24     reflective of how heavily you're harvesting a 

       25     deer herd.  If you, for instance, in the Piny 



.

                                                          82


        1     Woods, parts of the Pineywoods where you would 

        2     expect anywhere from 40 to 50 percent of the 

        3     buck harvest to be made up of yearlings, your 

        4     cropping in that population very, very, very 

        5     close.  And it means that that population is 

        6     independent on the previous year's fawn crop 

        7     to even have a hunt.  And you're getting 

        8     pretty dangerously close to the opportunity of 

        9     passing that statutory definition of 

       10     depletion. 

       11          So when you have a very small percentage  

       12     of yearlings in the harvest, then you're 

       13     harvesting mature animals, and you have a good 

       14     stable age structure from it.

       15                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Using it as an 

       16     indicator.

       17                DR. COOKE:  As an indicator only of 

       18     harvest intensity.  It's one of our criteria 

       19     for choosing a one-buck limit in a county.

       20                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  How much 

       21     sampling do we do to get these numbers?

       22                DR. COOKE:  We do age structure 

       23     collections annually, not in every county, but 

       24     we do that annually.  And we do a lot of 

       25     antler measurements along with that.  We don't 



.

                                                          83


        1     take weights every year.  We normally do body 

        2     weights every three to five years depending.  

        3     And it's kind of a staggered arrangement, but 

        4     a lot.  For instance, in a group of counties, 

        5     you may take as many as a hundred ages to 

        6     stabilize a sample.  That's what we kind of 

        7     aim for. 

        8          This graph is from the Kerry deer pens to 

        9     illustrate a relationship that's pretty 

       10     important in the ultimate performance of buck 

       11     deer.  While these animals were grouped by the 

       12     number of points that they had as yearlings, 

       13     they could have as easily been grouped by 

       14     their weights.  The most important part about 

       15     this graph is to show that these categories 

       16     stayed distinct.  All the significant change 

       17     in those animals' weights and growth occur in 

       18     the first 18 months of their life.  And so the 

       19     population relationship to habitat then is 

       20     very critical to the ultimate performance of 

       21     that buck herd. 

       22          This data is supported by other data 

       23     sets, as well, but this is a pen set that was 

       24     readily available. 

       25          That map is a distribution of entries for 



.

                                                          84


        1     Texas big game awards in 1998.  Obviously the 

        2     darker counties are in South Texas, but there 

        3     are a good distribution of entries statewide.  

        4     In fact, it's considerably better distributed 

        5     than that.  We get the game award entries from 

        6     throughout the white-tailed deer range. 

        7          Basically, where populations and habitats 

        8     are drawn together in a good relationship 

        9     quality animals result.  And I wanted to give 

       10     you have that background on harvest and 

       11     populations before we go into the next segment 

       12     which is going to be dealing with breeding 

       13     dates as they relate to the season openers.  

       14     In each of these graphs, the numbers are very 

       15     small on the bottom, so I added three lines to 

       16     give you a gauge for interpreting these 

       17     breeding dates.

       18          The yellow line is the opening of the 

       19     archery season in each ecological region.  The 

       20     white line is the opening of the general 

       21     season.  And the red line is the close of the 

       22     general season.  So you can see the 

       23     relationship of breeding to these dates. 

       24          The earliest breeding in Texas takes 

       25     place in the gulf prairies and marshes where I 



.

                                                          85


        1     discussed earlier that our technical guidance 

        2     program has been very effective at 

        3     ameliorating harvest.

        4          The two different curves represent the 

        5     two different portions, the Northern and the 

        6     Southern portion.  And you'll see these 

        7     throughout these ecological regions.  They 

        8     were clustered based on the behavior of these 

        9     animals as we studied them.

       10          The next in the consequence of breeding 

       11     chronologies is in the Post Oak Prairie -- 

       12     excuse me -- the Post Oak Savanna where 8 

       13     percent of our Texas big game awards animals 

       14     come from.  In looking at yearling weights 

       15     through time, we have seen an increase in 

       16     yearling weights through time, showing an 

       17     improved relationship between habitats and 

       18     populations. 

       19          The Edwards Plateau that shows the 

       20     gradient here between the eastern and the 

       21     western plateau is the next earliest breeding 

       22     dates.  Almost throughout our data yearling, 

       23     buck weights are flat.  They're stable about 

       24     70 to 74 pounds.  Almost no change through 

       25     time, which shows that essentially we're in a 



.

                                                          86


        1     very overpopulated condition there and have 

        2     been for a very long time. 

        3          In the Pineywoods, which is the next in 

        4     the sequence, 16 percent of Texas big game 

        5     award entries come from this ecological 

        6     region.  And it has shown also, though 

        7     somewhat cyclic, an increase in yearling 

        8     weights.  I use these three to show that while 

        9     some are earlier and some are later, basically 

       10     the relationship is population to habitat.  

       11     And it's even clearer in looking at the last 

       12     one of these graphs. 

       13          This shows South Texas which has the 

       14     latest breeding season in Texas.  A 

       15     significant fraction of the overall hunt -- 

       16     hunt in those counties take place before 

       17     significant breeding takes place.  And despite 

       18     the fact that we have a higher minimum Boone 

       19     and Crockett score for entry, entries from 

       20     this area represent over 32 percent of big 

       21     game awards annually. 

       22          So in summary, the major points of our 

       23     evaluation is this:  Over half of Texas has a 

       24     one-buck limit.  We have that -- that limit 

       25     because of the intensity of harvest on those 



.

                                                          87


        1     populations, and changing the season length 

        2     could influence that in terms of increasing 

        3     harvest.  We would be concerned about that.  

        4     We have an MLD program that allows us to be 

        5     flexible on properties where good management 

        6     is occurring, and greater flexibility is 

        7     required.  Extending season later with a later 

        8     closing date, where you're shifting 

        9     significant harvest later in the season is 

       10     going to be confounded by antler cast.  You'll 

       11     have buck deer taken that were intended to be 

       12     taken as antlerless deer. 

       13          No place that we have evaluated in Texas 

       14     has the opening date had an influence over 

       15     animal performance.  And based on the biology 

       16     and population dynamics that we've evaluated, 

       17     we have no real recommendation for changing 

       18     opening or closing dates anywhere in Texas.  

       19     So before I move on to the specific proposals 

       20     that we'll be working toward January, do you 

       21     have any questions over this part of the 

       22     briefing?

       23                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Jerry, tell me 

       24     again the purpose of going through this 

       25     exercise and how it relates to the meeting or 



.

                                                          88


        1     by the lands advisory committee.

        2                DR. COOKE:  The -- there was some 

        3     concern amongst people, particularly the Doss 

        4     Wildlife Management Association who wanted to 

        5     ship their season later, because they were 

        6     concerned that large deer were being taken in 

        7     the hunt before they had an opportunity to 

        8     breed, and they felt that this could have a 

        9     significant genetic impact on the overall 

       10     populations performance.  That was their 

       11     concern behind their proposal earlier. 

       12          We feel that there are other factors that 

       13     may be involved in performance of deer, and 

       14     it's basically habitat population related.  So 

       15     rather than look at only those few counties 

       16     that were involved in that proposal, we 

       17     thought it would be easier for the Commission 

       18     to understand if we placed it in a statewide 

       19     context.  And by showing that there are 

       20     earlier breeding dates, there are much later 

       21     breeding dates, the relationship that they 

       22     felt was part of their concern isn't reflected 

       23     anywhere else in this state in the way that 

       24     they indicated.  So basically what we wanted 

       25     to bring to you is a discussion of that 



.

                                                          89


        1     argument a little more complete than you 

        2     normally would hear in a hearing setting with 

        3     people walking to the mic.

        4                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  It wasn't 

        5     reflected in their area either.  Correct?

        6                DR. COOKE:  Correct.

        7                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.

        8                DR. COOKE:  Thank you, sir.  I 

        9     would like to move now to some of the 

       10     proposals that our staff are working on.

       11                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Just so I'm sure I 

       12     understand, basically what you're illustrating 

       13     here does not relate to the issues that 

       14     Dr. Graham was referring to that came out of 

       15     the meeting.

       16                DR. COOKE:  Of the MLD?

       17                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Right.

       18                DR. COOKE:  No, not at all.

       19                MR. GRAHAM:  This was just in 

       20     response to your request in April to follow it 

       21     up.

       22                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.

       23                DR. COOKE:  Thank you. 

       24                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Excuse me.  

       25     Do we communicate that information back to 



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        1     those people in the Doss area specifically?

        2                DR. COOKE:  Routinely.

        3                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Without any 

        4     difficulty.

        5                DR. COOKE:  In fact, Commissioner 

        6     Watson was available and met with a group of 

        7     them in Chairman Turner's office to discuss 

        8     these issues.  And we essentially covered the 

        9     same points, but not at this detail.

       10                MR. GRAHAM:  We do have a formal 

       11     request from Representative Turner to 

       12     re-examine that issue on behalf of -- he's 

       13     requesting that on behalf of the Doss Wildlife 

       14     Management Association.

       15                DR. COOKE:  Which I will get to in 

       16     more detail in just a minute.  The first 

       17     proposal that our staff is bringing forward is 

       18     to add eight new counties to the Eastern wild 

       19     turkey spring season.  This counties would be 

       20     Kent, Franklin, Hunt, Morris, Panola, Rains, 

       21     Shelby and Titus Counties.  They're the yellow 

       22     counties on the map, and the map is intended 

       23     to show the relationship to the currently open 

       24     counties.  This would be a standard season as 

       25     we have in all the other counties in East 



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        1     Texas. 

        2          We propose four doe days for three more 

        3     counties, which would extend that compartment 

        4     to the north.  They would be Cass, Marion and 

        5     Harrison Counties.  The four doe days would 

        6     open on Thanksgiving day and close the 

        7     following Sunday. 

        8          In the southeastern portion of the 

        9     Pineywoods, we have a compartment that allows 

       10     23 doe days.  Depending on the year, that 

       11     doesn't always include Thanksgiving holidays.  

       12     So to clarify our intent here, we would 

       13     like -- rather than say 23 consecutive days, 

       14     simply say we close on the Sunday following 

       15     Thanksgiving from beginning on the opening 

       16     day.  And we would also like the add three 

       17     counties to that compartment, which would be 

       18     San Jacinto, Trinity and Walker Counties. 

       19     There would be no other change in the season 

       20     or bag limit. 

       21          In those original 11 counties that had 

       22     the 23 doe days, our staff would recommend 

       23     that we allow a muzzleloader season, special 

       24     muzzleloader season as it is elsewhere in the 

       25     state, which would be for nine consecutive 



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        1     days following the closing of the general 

        2     season, and it would have the same bag limit 

        3     as is elsewhere in those counties.  

        4          We also had during our scoping process a 

        5     question about including some of the counties 

        6     in the Northern Edwards Plateau that are 

        7     either sex counties, possibly extending the 

        8     muzzleloader season of that.  We're going to 

        9     be reviewing that and seeing if that's 

       10     appropriate in those counties. 

       11                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Explain to me how 

       12     that bag limit works in relation to the bag 

       13     limit of the general season.

       14                DR. COOKE:  It's the same.  In 

       15     other words, if you have two bucks and two 

       16     does allowed in a county during that 

       17     muzzleloader season, they could take two 

       18     antlerless deer and two spikes.  So basically 

       19     it's the same as the bag limit in the county 

       20     except the only bucks that could be taken were 

       21     spike deer.

       22                CHAIRMAN BASS:  So it --

       23                DR. COOKE:  And if you recall, the 

       24     reason we included spikes in that is it's 

       25     almost impossible to have an antlerless only 



.

                                                          93


        1     hunt and not take some spikes.  So it's not 

        2     necessary to encourage the harvest of those 

        3     buck, but to allow them to be used if they are 

        4     taken.

        5          Some other issues that's come up through 

        6     our scoping process, as you probably know from 

        7     your mail and certainly from my mail, there 

        8     remains some very strong feelings about 

        9     drawlock devices among archers and the concern 

       10     over the possibility of allowing crossbows 

       11     during their archery-only season.  We have no 

       12     proposal at this time, but it's again to alert 

       13     you of that issue that it has been ongoing.

       14          We have a very recent issue that has 

       15     come --

       16                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Pardon me.  In that 

       17     regard, is there an active effort by -- to 

       18     allow crossbows in the archery-only season, or 

       19     only a fear of traditionalists that will be 

       20     allowed.

       21                DR. COOKE:  Fear, is my sense of 

       22     it.

       23                CHAIRMAN BASS:  There's not a group 

       24     out there at this point lobbying for further 

       25     liberalization?



.

                                                          94


        1                DR. COOKE:  Not that I'm aware of.  

        2     Not that I'm aware of.

        3                CHAIRMAN BASS:  But there is a 

        4     group lobbying to repeal what we did last 

        5     year.

        6                DR. COOKE:  Yes.  A very recent 

        7     issue that has come up is the request to 

        8     consider Edwards Plateau counties for the 

        9     South Texas season and bag, which would be a 

       10     five-deer bag, no more than three bucks.  As I 

       11     said, it's been a very recent issue.  We have 

       12     not fully explored this at all, and we had not 

       13     identified specific counties that this would 

       14     be considered, but if you don't object, we'll 

       15     be working toward the possibility of including 

       16     some of those counties in the January 

       17     proposal. 

       18          In Dimmit, Uvalde, and Zavala Counties, 

       19     the state owned riverbeds are closed for the 

       20     hunting of game animals, game birds and fur 

       21     bearers.  All those rivers, as they extend 

       22     further to the coast and those counties are 

       23     closed statutorily as sanctuaries.  The 

       24     original closure of these riverbeds was in 

       25     response to a depleted Rio Grande turkey 



.

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        1     resource.  And at that time, closing off of 

        2     all of those different forms of hunting was 

        3     thought necessary to protect that Rio Grande 

        4     resource. 

        5          We do not feel at this time that we have 

        6     the biological justification to maintain that 

        7     closure, particularly since it has been 

        8     statutorily addressed in other counties.  And 

        9     that may be the more appropriate way for 

       10     dealing with this.  So we will be proposing to 

       11     delete that closure and reopen that season on 

       12     those river bottoms, unless you have an 

       13     objection to that.

       14                CHAIRMAN BASS:  So to the west or 

       15     upstream, the river bottoms are open?

       16                DR. COOKE:  No.  They essentially 

       17     start in those counties.  Those are the 

       18     headwaters of those rivers.

       19                CHAIRMAN BASS:  But downstream from 

       20     those counties they are closed by statute.

       21                DR. COOKE:  Yes, exactly.  

       22     Beginning in LaSalle County, it's a sanctuary 

       23     all the way to the gulf.

       24                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Basically we're 

       25     talking about Nueces, is that what we're 



.

                                                          96


        1     talking --

        2                DR. COOKE:  Nueces and Frio, 

        3     primarily those.

        4                CHAIRMAN BASS:  By -- if we were to 

        5     eliminate the closure, are we going to open an 

        6     issue of public hunting corridors through 

        7     private lands?

        8                DR. COOKE:  Yes.  And that was 

        9     basically the cause of the depletion of the 

       10     Rio Grande resource initially.

       11                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Is that also the 

       12     cause of the statutory closing down the 

       13     stream?

       14                DR. COOKE:  Probably.  Possibly, if 

       15     not probably.

       16                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  How long has 

       17     that been in effect?

       18                DR. COOKE:  Since the late '60s.

       19                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Who is asking us to 

       20     do this?

       21                DR. COOKE:  We're asking ourselves 

       22     to do this because basically our authority as 

       23     a department and as a Commission is to be 

       24     based on resource issues.  And when we -- and 

       25     we're specifically obligated to prevent 



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        1     depletion or waste.  If there's a resource 

        2     available and the harvest of it would be 

        3     appropriate for that population, then we 

        4     should be considering making that available.  

        5     Particularly since this is a sunset cycle, if 

        6     it is going to be a statutory issue, it would 

        7     be appropriate to be pointed out as such.

        8                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Currently do 

        9     adjoining landowners know that it's closed and 

       10     are they by practice not violating that 

       11     closure?

       12                DR. COOKE:  Yes.

       13                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Have you got 

       14     any feedback from the private landowners about 

       15     opening this?

       16                DR. COOKE:  No.  We're discussing 

       17     it with you now. 

       18                CHAIRMAN BASS:  They're discussing 

       19     it with us before --

       20                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Well, I 

       21     thought maybe somebody had --

       22                DR. COOKE:  As a basic rule, while 

       23     we talk generally about possibilities of 

       24     change, we don't talk about specific changes 

       25     until the Commission gives us permission to 



.

                                                          98


        1     publish.

        2                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  I understand 

        3     that.  I thought perhaps somebody had brought 

        4     it up to you, or --

        5                DR. COOKE:  It's basically an 

        6     internal issue.  Our legal staff and our own 

        7     staff have brought up the concern because it's 

        8     our obligation to point out to you issues that 

        9     could lose if it were ever brought to court.

       10                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  What you're 

       11     saying is that if somebody went in there and 

       12     violated the law, they could challenge the law 

       13     or the rule.

       14                DR. COOKE:  Yes.  And it has been 

       15     in the past on a number of occasions. 

       16                MR. SANSOM:  You just can't hunt 

       17     there.

       18                DR. COOKE:  You can actually -- you 

       19     can drive those river bottoms and fish.  It's 

       20     open to fishing and there are fishing holes 

       21     along that, but essentially any form of 

       22     hunting has been excluded, including dove 

       23     hunting, squirrel hunting, whatever.

       24                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  But if we 

       25     change this, it will be open where there's no 



.

                                                          99


        1     trespass laws problem, there's no hunting 

        2     problems, restrictions.

        3                DR. COOKE:  I'm not sure I 

        4     understand your question.

        5                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Right now 

        6     there's no trespass restrictions there if they 

        7     travel the riverbed.

        8                DR. COOKE:  That's correct.

        9                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Then what 

       10     you're saying is then they would be allowed to 

       11     hunt in there, too.

       12                DR. COOKE:  Hunt in there as well, 

       13     correct. 

       14                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  And that would 

       15     be defined by what the natural riverbank is? 

       16                DR. COOKE:  Well, the definition of 

       17     state owned riverbed varies from river to 

       18     river.  And I would hesitate to really 

       19     specifically go into it.  I think in this 

       20     particular, it's cutbank to cutbank.

       21                CHAIRMAN BASS:  There are some 

       22     places that's somewhat of an enforcement 

       23     problem in that if somebody come out of a 

       24     creek or a riverbed with a game animal if it's 

       25     open, they can always say, I killed it in a 



.

                                                         100


        1     riverbed.  If it's closed, whether they killed 

        2     it in a riverbed or used the riverbed as that 

        3     conduit and poach, so to speak, that's 

        4     irrelevant because they're breaking -- it's an 

        5     illegal --

        6                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  The game laws.

        7                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Breaking the game 

        8     law no matter where they do it.

        9                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  I want to be 

       10     sure I understand.  We're talking about 

       11     allowing hunting on state owned riverbeds, 

       12     which by legal definition is cutbank to 

       13     cutbank, or whatever it is for each river.  

       14     Currently people are allowed with a valid 

       15     fishing license to go up the river and fish, 

       16     you know, to be on private property, your own 

       17     private property over there or whatever, no 

       18     problem, you mind your business, you can fish.  

       19     That same person can now take a rifle along 

       20     with his fishing poles and fish that or hunt 

       21     those riverbeds.

       22                DR. COOKE:  That's correct.

       23                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  He can do 

       24     that in any other stream bed in the state now.

       25                DR. COOKE:  That's correct.  This 



.

                                                         101


        1     is basically the only state owned -- that's 

        2     the real issue.

        3                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  That's the 

        4     point right there.

        5                DR. COOKE:  The real issue is that 

        6     this is the only state owned riverbeds in the 

        7     state of Texas that is -- that has -- that is 

        8     closed that has not been closed statutorily.

        9                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  So whether 

       10     it's a good idea or not, it's an exception 

       11     that needs to be changed.

       12                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  You're talking 

       13     about two rivers.

       14                DR. COOKE:  Well, basically three 

       15     rivers.  Two Nueces and one Frio. 

       16                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Well, that 

       17     question becomes where it's not closed in 

       18     other parts of the state, do people actually 

       19     go out and do that, i.e., hunt on private 

       20     property?

       21                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  They do. 

       22                DR. COOKE:  Well, hunting on 

       23     private property is a trespass issue, and you 

       24     can't confuse that.

       25          (Simultaneous discussion.)



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                                                         102


        1                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  But you know 

        2     what I'm saying.  They are hunting on private 

        3     property.

        4                DR. COOKE:  Yes, I do.

        5                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  It's a big 

        6     issue in the Panhandle.

        7                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  They're 

        8     hunting on state property that intersects with 

        9     the private property.  The distinction is 

       10     whether there's a biological basis for that.  

       11     We don't have the authority here to decide 

       12     that it's not a good idea.

       13                MR. SANSOM:  The issue of the 

       14     authority relates to the fact that when this 

       15     area was closed, as Dr. Cooke said in the 

       16     beginning, the issue of the resource was an 

       17     issue with Rio Grande turkey.  Our authority 

       18     becomes far less clear when there is no 

       19     resource issue.

       20                DR. COOKE:  Thank you.  Correct.

       21                MR. SANSOM:  Your welcome.

       22                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  So do you 

       23     need some -- do we need to do something with 

       24     that motion, or we just don't object to it or 

       25     what?



.

                                                         103


        1                MR. SANSOM:  Well, what he's asking 

        2     you to do is to reflect on whether or not you 

        3     want this to go out as an issue for the 

        4     public.  He is proposing to go out and hold 

        5     public hearings and provide -- you know, 

        6     provide the public with the opportunity to 

        7     comment on taking this closure and removing it 

        8     because there is no longer any biological 

        9     justification for doing it.

       10                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  We can expect 

       11     to hear a lot of controversy.

       12                MR. SANSOM:  It will be 

       13     controversial.

       14                DR. COOKE:  It will be 

       15     controversial.

       16                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  But that's no 

       17     reason to avoid doing it.

       18                CHAIRMAN BASS:  And I guess to 

       19     follow his point Dr. Cooke raises is that 

       20     these are the only riverbeds that are closed 

       21     by our authority as opposed to closed by 

       22     legislative authority.

       23                DR. COOKE:  Correct. 

       24                CHAIRMAN BASS:  If this does 

       25     generate discussion and controversy amongst 



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                                                         104


        1     the public, it will be done so in the context 

        2     of the department's sunset and perhaps our 

        3     authority or the legislative's -- legislative 

        4     directive might be further delineated, 

        5     refined, directed, et cetera.

        6                DR. COOKE:  Essentially the 

        7     legislature could either not act, close it by 

        8     statute as a sanctuary or provide the 

        9     Commission with authority to maintain the 

       10     closure.

       11                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Maintain it here 

       12     and elsewhere without -- with due to concerns 

       13     other than Rio Grande turkey.

       14                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  If we don't do 

       15     anything, just leave it as it is, what's the 

       16     chances of it coming up in sunset?

       17                MR. SANSOM:  It's not an issue of 

       18     coming up in sunset.  It's an issue of whether 

       19     or not someone might challenge it from a legal 

       20     standpoint.

       21                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Why would 

       22     somebody challenge it at this point in time 

       23     and they haven't since the '60s?

       24                MR. SANSOM:  I mean, that's a good 

       25     question.



.

                                                         105


        1                DR. COOKE:  They have twice.  They 

        2     have twice since the '60s.  One in district 

        3     court and one in county court.

        4                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  What years were 

        5     those, do you know?

        6                DR. COOKE:  I'm sorry.  I would 

        7     have to look the years up.

        8                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Are they 

        9     recent?

       10                DR. COOKE:  We essentially won the 

       11     district issue at the time because it was 

       12     immediately after closure and we had resource 

       13     support for it.  The late other one was a 

       14     county court issue and we lost essentially 

       15     that one calling into question if you're 

       16     allowing hunting on both sides of the river, 

       17     why would you close it in the middle, you 

       18     know.  So the farther away you get from the 

       19     resource issue, the higher the probability of 

       20     losing it, and if you lose it, you could lose 

       21     that section of the proclamation.

       22                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Well, but I 

       23     don't think that it's an issue of whether 

       24     we're concerned if somebody else is going to 

       25     challenge our authority.  I think we need to 



.

                                                         106


        1     be comfortable that we're appropriately 

        2     exercising these rights (inaudible).

        3                DR. COOKE:  Which is why we bring 

        4     up the issue.

        5                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  This is kind 

        6     of -- the river bottom usage is a battle all 

        7     over the country.  In several of the western 

        8     states are changing their laws to fit the way 

        9     our law is.

       10                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  But it is 

       11     within the purview of the legislature and 

       12     not --

       13          (Simultaneous discussion.)

       14                DR. COOKE:  Correct.

       15                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I think we 

       16     should pursue it even though it's going to be 

       17     uncomfortable.

       18                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  I agree.

       19                DR. COOKE:  Similarly, in Henderson 

       20     County, we have an area that's marked by the 

       21     black line, and inside of that little 

       22     compartment, hunting is only allowed by 

       23     shotgun and archery equipment only.  And the 

       24     origins of this restriction vanishes into the 

       25     mist of time because we really have no real 



.

                                                         107


        1     understanding why this came about or what 

        2     support it was.  If in fact it was for safety 

        3     issues, that is more appropriate for the 

        4     Commission's Court of that county to address, 

        5     which is covered in the local government code.  

        6     We know of no resource issues for this 

        7     closure.  So similarly, we would propose to 

        8     delete that to allow to be addressed by the 

        9     more appropriate authorities.

       10                CHAIRMAN BASS:  You may find out 

       11     for us where --

       12          (Simultaneous discussion.)

       13                DR. COOKE:  I can almost guarantee 

       14     you we'll find out where it came from.

       15                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  If we're going 

       16     to do the other one, we might as well do that 

       17     one, too, right?

       18                DR. COOKE:  As Gary pointed out, we 

       19     bring this last issue back to you at the 

       20     request of Chairman Turner, and it's the Doss 

       21     Wildlife Management Association's request to 

       22     shift its season essentially a week or so from 

       23     the first Saturday in November to the Saturday 

       24     nearest November the 15th.  This was in the 

       25     last regulatory cycle, and at the time your 



.

                                                         108


        1     ruling essentially was it represented an 

        2     unnecessary restriction on the flexibility of 

        3     private landowners.  And of more concern was 

        4     the fact that less than one percent of the 

        5     effected landowners commented, and of those 

        6     who commented, the opinion of absolutely 

        7     divided 50/50. 

        8                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Okay.  Now, on that 

        9     one I go back to my opinion that the reason 

       10     for a management coop such as the Doss is so 

       11     that they can unify and on their own take 

       12     positions that are within the framework we 

       13     give them, but if they want to be more -- be 

       14     less restrictive, or excuse me, more 

       15     restrictive they can.  They certainly -- the 

       16     Doss can open early.

       17                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Are you going 

       18     to recommend this?

       19                DR. COOKE:  No.  As I said -- well, 

       20     let me nail my last slide here.  My last slide 

       21     essentially is this:  These are the issues 

       22     that we have seen and heard that we are asking 

       23     your advise on working toward in January.  If 

       24     there are other issues that you have heard of 

       25     that we have not, that you would like for us 



.

                                                         109


        1     to work toward in January, than we shall.  If 

        2     there is any of these that we've brought 

        3     before you now that you do not want us to 

        4     pursue, now would be a very good time for you 

        5     to tell us that.

        6                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Well, you 

        7     know, I've had obviously a little more 

        8     exposure to this, this specific thing than 

        9     some other people may have had, and I agree 

       10     with the Chairman.  You know, I just don't 

       11     think we ought to go and start cutting up 

       12     different parts of the state just because, you 

       13     know, a coop thinks that they want us to set 

       14     the rules that they ought to be setting for 

       15     their own members.  If they can't -- if they 

       16     can't police their own membership, you know, I 

       17     don't think we ought to have to do it for 

       18     them.

       19                DR. COOKE:  I think in our earlier 

       20     guidance from the Commission was this:  If a 

       21     county or group of counties wish to do 

       22     something experimental with their seasons that 

       23     has very broad support, then certainly that 

       24     would be appropriate.  This particular one 

       25     wouldn't really qualify in that respect. 



.

                                                         110


        1                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  One 

        2     flexibility they don't have with the current 

        3     regulations is to go a week later in the 

        4     season to make up for what they cut off the 

        5     front end.  Is that right?

        6                DR. COOKE:  Well, they do through 

        7     the MLD program, but basically not other than 

        8     that.  And they also have a muzzleloader 

        9     season in those counties.  Again, as I said --

       10                CHAIRMAN BASS:  And they're also 

       11     getting into antlers are off if they're --

       12                DR. COOKE:  Right.  Exactly.

       13                CHAIRMAN BASS:  In that area, I 

       14     understand antlers do drop about the time of 

       15     the regular season.

       16                DR. COOKE:  If you have a very dry 

       17     year, they can drop as early as Christmas.  I 

       18     have seen that.  But routinely, normally 

       19     they'll maintain them pretty well through the 

       20     end of the season.

       21                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Like maybe this 

       22     year.

       23                DR. COOKE:  This year comes to 

       24     mind.  But as I said, the meeting that 

       25     Commissioner Watson was with us at, we assured 



.

                                                         111


        1     Chairman Turner that we would bring this back 

        2     before you.  Two of these counties are in his 

        3     district.  We've done so and await your 

        4     instruction.

        5                CHAIRMAN BASS:  All right.  And I 

        6     would think, unless there's further comment 

        7     from the Commission, the sentiment is to stick 

        8     with the position that we took in our last 

        9     regulatory cycle concerning the Doss request, 

       10     which is to deny it.

       11                DR. COOKE:  Thank you.

       12                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Mr. 

       13     Chairman, I thought that they were very 

       14     powerful in their appeal to the Commission 

       15     when they were here, and I appreciated their 

       16     preparation.  But the way it came out after 

       17     listening to them, they simply had not built 

       18     the base of support that I think was necessary 

       19     for us to make the change like this.  And when 

       20     I see something split 50/50 like that, and you 

       21     have a, you know, a populous here that well 

       22     knows how to communicate their feelings on 

       23     something like that, I think you should leave 

       24     it alone.  If they really are -- continue to 

       25     be committed to this course of action, I would 



.

                                                         112


        1     urge that you respond to them that the 

        2     Commission would have to see a lot more 

        3     support for that, at least this commissioner 

        4     would than what we saw in the last go around.

        5                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Chairman concurs.  

        6     Well put.  Okay. 

        7                MR. GRAHAM:  Do we have specific 

        8     directions to go forward with all those 

        9     proposals, excluding the Doss proposal?

       10                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  The archery 

       11     one?

       12                MR. GRAHAM:  That was not a 

       13     specific proposal.

       14                CHAIRMAN BASS:  The archery one was 

       15     just to notify us that there is still 

       16     discussion and controversy in that realm, but 

       17     no proposed changed.

       18                MR. GRAHAM:  Right.

       19                CHAIRMAN BASS:  But you are going 

       20     to -- some more considering expansion of the 

       21     South Texas deer regs to portions of the 

       22     Edwards Plateau, the riverbed issue we talked 

       23     about, Henderson County we talked about going 

       24     forward with as well, the Doss, we, I think, 

       25     would like to not go forward with until such 



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        1     time in the future that there is substantially 

        2     more widespread public support demonstrated 

        3     for us to consider that.  So as we would say, 

        4     the ball is in their court on that one, not 

        5     ours.

        6          Anything else you seek guidance on?

        7                DR. COOKE:  No.  I think the 

        8     others -- the others are basically biological 

        9     issues, and we pretty well worked those, but 

       10     we will complete them for January. 

       11                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Okay.  I assume 

       12     that you're going to keep your seat and do the 

       13     scientific breeder regs for us.

       14                DR. COOKE:  I guess I could.

       15                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Mr. 

       16     Chairman, the slides organized this way in the 

       17     notebook were enormously helpful on this 

       18     presentation because I can't see some of that 

       19     stuff up on the screens, and also we can make 

       20     notes on it.  It's really helpful and we 

       21     appreciate it. 

       22                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I think (inaudible) 

       23     good format we appreciate it.  It saves me 

       24     having to ask the magic egg to go backtrack 

       25     when there's something that neglected to --



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        1     AGENDA ITEM NO. 3:  ACTION - SCIENTIFIC 

        2     BREEDER REGULATIONS.

        3                MR. GRAHAM:  With respect to the 

        4     next presentation, the scientific breeder, as 

        5     I said before, we take the opportunity to go 

        6     through a scoping type of process whenever 

        7     some issue emerges.  And this one is a good 

        8     example of how successful that process can be  

        9     because Jerry and David Sinclair and law 

       10     enforcement visited with some of these folks 

       11     who were concerned about how the scientific 

       12     breeder process is working.  And through those 

       13     meetings, we were able to develop these 

       14     recommendations that have had by end from the 

       15     effected constituents.

       16                DR. COOKE:  Specifically, besides 

       17     the scoping meetings that we had, after our 

       18     meeting in August when you approved 

       19     publication of these proposals, we mailed a 

       20     copy of the proposal to every single permit 

       21     holder in the state.  So we got the broadest 

       22     possible response from that group. 

       23          Basically, as I mentioned before, we have 

       24     about 275 facilities distributed pretty well 

       25     throughout the deer range in Texas.  And our 



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        1     proposals are fairly straightforward.  We 

        2     would propose an alternative marking method to 

        3     the unique number as we have been previously 

        4     issuing them.  Again, this is at their 

        5     request, those who wish to continue with our 

        6     unique number, certainly can. 

        7          We would defer tattooing until the 

        8     animals are actually leaving the facility.  

        9     This would minimize the handling of animals 

       10     and would address the welfare concerns for 

       11     those animals.  And we would delay the 

       12     requirement that all deer in the pen be ear 

       13     tagged with a statutory required ear tag until 

       14     March the 1st, which is just before reporting 

       15     time.

       16          On the purchase and transport permits, we 

       17     would rescind the requirement for a fax return 

       18     before the permit is activated.  We would 

       19     allow the permits to remain valid until they 

       20     are actually used instead of lapsing and 

       21     essentially going out of effect with the 

       22     scientific breeder permit cycle.  And we would 

       23     allow a amendments either before transport or 

       24     after actual delivery, as long as they report 

       25     it back to us within 48 hours by fax. 



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        1          We would also clarify based on some of 

        2     the comments that we've had some of the 

        3     language about when ear tags have to be 

        4     changed.  I think that really should be up to 

        5     the two breeders to decide.  Also to clarify 

        6     the requirement for both the seller and the 

        7     receiver to sign the permit.  It just needs to 

        8     be in their files, not necessarily before the 

        9     transaction takes place. 

       10          There were some concern about requiring 

       11     the exact number of fawns to be reported 

       12     November 1, primarily because some of these 

       13     pen facilities are solid brush.  But I think 

       14     after discussing with law enforcement, we can 

       15     use reasonable enforcement approaches to this.  

       16     If they report 40 deer November 1 and they got 

       17     80 deer later, that could be a problem.  A 

       18     few, one way or another shouldn't matter. 

       19          Also, to allow the temporary transfer of 

       20     adult animals between breeding facilities for 

       21     breeding purposed or fawns between facilities 

       22     or to a nonfacility for nursing purposes and 

       23     allow these transfers to take place based on a 

       24     receipt system rather than an actual transfer 

       25     of ownership. 



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        1          There was some concern about the 

        2     requirement to marking vehicles and trailers 

        3     where deer are possessed during transport.  

        4     One compromise that was offered by one of the 

        5     breeders themselves is instead of using an 

        6     arbitrary letter designation like TDB, which 

        7     we had in our proposal, why not just put their 

        8     TX number which their permit number on it.  

        9     That way a warden could check it on the fly to 

       10     see if the permits were in place and avoid 

       11     stopping the individuals that were certainly 

       12     complying in every other way with the law.  

       13     And we would propose that amendment to the 

       14     proposal, that instead of using an arbitrary 

       15     designation of letters to use the actual TX 

       16     number of whoever is transporting the animals. 

       17          By policy, we would be inspecting 

       18     facilities and records at reasonable times.  

       19     And we're also, just as a matter of 

       20     information to you, we're going to be 

       21     reviewing all of our form that's used in 

       22     reporting this program because there's 

       23     significant ways we can simplify those and 

       24     still have the enforceability that we require. 

       25          This is the suggested motion that would 



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        1     be required tomorrow.  At this time we're 

        2     asking this committee to forward this proposal 

        3     to the full Commission for consideration and 

        4     adoption tomorrow.  Sir?

        5                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  What kind of 

        6     expense do you see from the department to 

        7     administer all this stuff?  I mean, is this 

        8     something you've got a handle on yet, or is it 

        9     too soon?  And I don't mean the things you're 

       10     talking about changing but the overall 

       11     program.

       12                DR. COOKE:  The overall program, 

       13     basically --

       14                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I guess the 

       15     question --

       16                DR. COOKE:  This may be available 

       17     for consent agenda, also.  I'm sorry.

       18                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  The question 

       19     would be really are the fees in line with what 

       20     it's costing?

       21                DR. COOKE:  I believe that are, 

       22     sir.  We have a permit fee which is an 

       23     application fee for the permit itself.  

       24     There's a $25 fee for purchase permits, a $25 

       25     fee for transport permits.  These fees 



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        1     essentially, just the increase alone for the 

        2     purchase and transport permits essentially 

        3     funds our database of the entire system.  And 

        4     the other permit fees are essentially used by 

        5     law enforcement for inspections of themselves.  

        6     I don't have a good handle on what the law 

        7     enforcement cost of that would be.

        8                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Even these 

        9     simplifications are pretty complicated.

       10                DR. COOKE:  No.  I understand it 

       11     from -- and Mr. Sansom and I have discussed 

       12     this.  At times it seems like at times there 

       13     are fine tweaks, and they are fine tweaks to a 

       14     certain extent.  The breeders understand their 

       15     program very well and so do our law 

       16     enforcement entities.  And these are 

       17     essentially allowing these people to do 

       18     business in a better way which is a better 

       19     welfare issue for the animals that are 

       20     involved while law enforcement still maintains 

       21     their enforceability of our only real concern 

       22     of these are breeder deer and these are wild 

       23     deer but they just look a lot alike.

       24                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  What kind of 

       25     violation rate do we have so far? 



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        1                DR. COOKE:  If David Sinclair is 

        2     here.

        3                MR. SINCLAIR:  I'm David Sinclair 

        4     with the law enforcement division.  There 

        5     haven't been that many cases.  Several 

        6     investigations, but I guess over the last 13 

        7     months, there has only been three cases filed.  

        8     And those are still pending.  Well, the most 

        9     recent I think has been disposed of and it 

       10     involved (inaudible) where deer where brought 

       11     out of Oklahoma illegally and went to the 

       12     state court and I think it's been handled by 

       13     now. 

       14                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I guess one 

       15     other question.  What are we going to do with 

       16     all the data that we're getting from these 

       17     facilities?

       18                DR. COOKE:  We do very little with 

       19     it, to be very frank with you.  As far as 

       20     applicability to some of the kinds of research 

       21     that we do, it would be minimal importance in 

       22     that respect.  Basically the permit exists 

       23     because of a statutory allowing of the permit 

       24     to allow these kinds of activities to take 

       25     place which date way back into the '30s as far 



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        1     as game breeders were concerned.

        2                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  How would it 

        3     effect the enforcement aspects of it if some 

        4     of the reporting aspects were changed or 

        5     eliminated?  I mean, is that -- it seems to me 

        6     like a lot of data that I'm just wondering 

        7     what the purpose of collecting it is.

        8                DR. COOKE:  The main purpose of 

        9     collecting the information from them is to 

       10     identify when animals have been trapped in the 

       11     wild and brought into those facilities, which 

       12     is a specific prohibition of the statutes 

       13     themselves.  And that's the main concern. 

       14          I've said it before that if every single 

       15     deer in every breeder facility in the state of 

       16     Texas were turned loose tomorrow, it would not 

       17     be a resource issue in this state.  So 

       18     essentially we're following --

       19                MR. SANSOM:  Unless they all for 

       20     some reason perished tomorrow, it would not.

       21                DR. COOKE:  It would not make any 

       22     difference.  So basically what we're doing 

       23     here is trying to follow our statutory 

       24     obligation of keeping the wild deer wild, and 

       25     wild --



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                                                         122


        1                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Because it's 

        2     really a law enforcement almost entirely.

        3                DR. COOKE:  Exactly.

        4                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I move 

        5     approval of the recommendation to be carried 

        6     to tomorrow's meeting.

        7                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion for approval 

        8     to put it on the consent agenda for tomorrow.  

        9     Second?

       10                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Second.

       11                CHAIRMAN BASS:  All in favor?  Any 

       12     opposed?  Thank you.

       13          (Motion passed unanimously.)

       14     AGENDA ITEM NO. 4:  BRIEFING - COMMERCIAL 

       15     NONGAME PERMITS.

       16                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Okay.  Our last 

       17     item is a briefing on commercial nongame 

       18     permits.

       19                MR. HERRON:  Thank you.  My name is 

       20     John Herron.  I'm the program director for the 

       21     wildlife diversity program.  And we will now 

       22     seamlessly transition from deer breeding into 

       23     nongame breeding and sale.  I'm pleased to be 

       24     here to brief the Commission.  And what we'll 

       25     be doing is giving you a follow-up on the 



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        1     nongame permitting regulations that the 

        2     Commission passed last year.  At that time 

        3     when we passed these regulations, the 

        4     Commission requested that staff provide y'all 

        5     with an update about one year after those 

        6     regulations became in effect, and that's why 

        7     we're here today. 

        8          Just to quickly review what the 

        9     requirements of those permitting regulations 

       10     are, when we created these regulations, we 

       11     made it applicable to a list of about 200 

       12     nongame species, species that we knew were 


       13     already in commercial trade.  So this does not 

       14     apply to all species.  But in short, basically 

       15     anybody who sells any one of those listed 

       16     species who possesses more than ten specimens 

       17     of a species or who possesses 25 or more in 

       18     aggregate must have this new permit, one of 

       19     two different permits, and must also file an 

       20     annual report with the department. 

       21          The regulation itself was approved by the 

       22     Commission in June and became effective 

       23     January 1st of this year which allowed staff 

       24     some time to get the brand new permitting 

       25     system implemented.  At the same time, at the 



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        1     Commission's request, we created a nongame 

        2     permit regulation advisory committee made up 

        3     of effected participants to help us implement 

        4     the procedures as well as reporting 

        5     requirements.  With this regulation becoming 

        6     effective January 1st, permits have been 

        7     available from all TPWD offices since then and 

        8     since late February from all vendors in the 

        9     state.  Those are collection permits.  Dealer 

       10     permits can only be acquired by applying 

       11     directory to the department, but the 

       12     collection permits can be bought through any 

       13     he point-of-sale vendor. 

       14          When we presented this to the Commission, 

       15     these were the results we told you we were 

       16     expecting, and I'm pleased to say that in our 

       17     implementation here things seem to be 

       18     functioning quite well, and we believe we are 

       19     realizing these benefits.  Most importantly 

       20     our concern was to get a database to get a 

       21     better understanding of what the extent of 

       22     commercial use was of these nongame species.  

       23     And I'll be covering some of those preliminary 

       24     results with you shortly. 

       25          Based on that, just as Jerry was talking 



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                                                         125


        1     about with deer, and just as y'all have been 

        2     talking about with hunting, we want to make 

        3     sure that any use of these nongame species is 

        4     sustainable and that harvest and commercial 

        5     use is well within the limits that these wild 

        6     populations can withstand, as well as these 

        7     regulations that put us more in consistency 

        8     with other commercial regulations the 

        9     department has.  And certainly as we said 

       10     then, we expect to be back to the Commission 

       11     sometime in the future to adjust these 

       12     regulations based on what results we learn 

       13     both through this reporting period and 

       14     subsequent ones.

       15          To date, the department has issued 549 

       16     collection permits.  415 of these were issued 

       17     in the last license year.  We've also issued 

       18     186 nongame dealer permits, and 128 of these 

       19     were issued in the FY '99 licensing year. 

       20          Annual reports, we just got in our first 

       21     set of annual reports.  They were due 

       22     September 15th.  And so far 49 percent of 

       23     those individuals with collector permits have 

       24     filled their annual reports, and 82 percent of 

       25     dealers have submitted their annual reports.  



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        1     We've already followed up the reminder letter 

        2     in early October reminding those permittees 

        3     that their annual reports were due, and they 

        4     continue to trickle in.  And actually, we're 

        5     not displeased with compliance at this point.  

        6     Considering this was the first year of a 

        7     permit cycle, we think the compliance rates we 

        8     have with annual reports is not bad, but we 

        9     are continuing to work with it, and we're 

       10     currently working with licensing to find a way 

       11     to flag those individuals who have not 

       12     submitted their annual reports so that they 

       13     cannot buy an additional permit until such 

       14     time as we have their report. 

       15          Just another quick look at the 

       16     preliminary results.  This list of species up 

       17     here are those that have been most commonly 

       18     reported in trade.  I thought you might be 

       19     interested in those results.  Black-tailed 

       20     prairie dog right now is number one.  We had 

       21     reports indicating -- of course, these are 

       22     preliminary results and not complete -- 

       23     indicating that over 8000 prairie dogs were 

       24     sold in the state last year; sliders, about 

       25     4,000; rattlesnakes about 1900; spinney soft 



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                                                         127


        1     shell turtles, about 9,000; and round-tailed 

        2     horned lizards, 237; the side-blotched lizard 

        3     which I skipped, about 5,000; and gray-banded 

        4     king snakes, a species a lot of people have 

        5     been asking us about, we had 675 reported in 

        6     possession, 370-some reported in trade that 

        7     were basically new species.  But the 

        8     interesting thing is only about 19 of those 

        9     were taken from the wild.  The vast majority 

       10     of these species -- this species appear to be 

       11     coming from captive bred individuals.  So we 

       12     are gathering some data.  We are learning 

       13     quite a bit about this. 

       14          One other item I'd mention, and this 

       15     concerns the round-tail horned lizard.  

       16     Interestingly enough, that's not on our list 

       17     of reportable species, and it's been reported 

       18     anyway.  And we have had just within the past 

       19     couple of weeks several individuals contacting 

       20     the department expressing concern about the 

       21     round-tail horned lizard.  I've had several 

       22     calls from California where apparently these 

       23     items are showing up in pet stores from Texas 

       24     dealers.  And we've had several contacts from 

       25     Texas citizens now expressing concern and 



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                                                         128


        1     asking us basically to prohibit the sale of 

        2     this species.

        3                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  What is it 

        4     exactly?

        5                MR. HERRON:  It's very much like 

        6     the Texas horned lizard.  I mean it's a horny 

        7     toad.  It's just a western species found in 

        8     the western Panhandle, Trans Pecos area.  We 

        9     have the Texas horned lizard listed as a 

       10     threatened species.  You cannot sell it.  You 

       11     cannot possess it.  And I think everybody here 

       12     remembers it used to be a very common pet.  

       13     But the round-tailed horned lizard is more 

       14     abundant, is not considered to be in jeopardy, 

       15     and as a result, it can be bought and sold as 

       16     a pet. 

       17          And so just so you know, there is some 

       18     concern being expressed about that species.  

       19     We are now aware of it.  It was very opportune 

       20     that we were just getting some data at the 

       21     same time these questions came in.  And staff 

       22     is taking a look at the situation, and we'll 

       23     keep it in consideration.  I don't think we're 

       24     necessarily ready to recommend a prohibition 

       25     on sale.  The whole point was to get data, but 



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                                                         129


        1     we may be back to the Commission when we 

        2     revise these regulations to make sure we 

        3     include that on the list of species being 

        4     affected.

        5                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  How many 

        6     varieties in Texas are there of the prairie 

        7     dogs?

        8                MR. HERRON:  Prairie dogs, the only 

        9     prairie dog we have is the black-tailed 

       10     prairie dog.

       11                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  So anybody 

       12     that's concerned about them being rare is not 

       13     thinking straight.  Is that right?

       14                MR. HERRON:  Well, we have had some 

       15     disagreements with other people about their 

       16     relative rarity.  Certainly it's clear that 

       17     we're probably down to 5 percent or so over 

       18     what we historically had.  Nonetheless, it's a 

       19     fairly abundant species.

       20                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Midland 

       21     County has got many, many times --

       22                MR. HERRON:  Y'all have quite a 

       23     bit.  It's interesting, that 8,000 that we 

       24     have reported is more than we expected.  With 

       25     some of the other species reported numbers, 



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                                                         130


        1     like, rattlesnakes is actually quite a bit 

        2     less than we expected.  But that's to be 

        3     expected through the reporting process, and 

        4     we'll see how data comes in in subsequent 

        5     years.

        6                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  What is a 

        7     red-eared slider?

        8                MR. HERRON:  Red-eared slider, it's 

        9     a common aquatic turtle.  It used to be very 

       10     common as a pet.  They're about that big when 

       11     you buy them, but they grow to be about four 

       12     to eight inches in length.  We're not too sure 

       13     if some of them are being sold as pets, but 

       14     it's also commonly sold as a food species in 

       15     Asian food markets.

       16                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Oh, good.

       17                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Right along 

       18     with rattlesnakes.

       19                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I guess we don't 

       20     have worry about that being part of the German 

       21     fare. 

       22          I saw an article recently talking about 

       23     the prairie dog and it's viewed by some to get 

       24     it listed as a threatened or endangered 

       25     species.  It said the population is down to 



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                                                         131


        1     only 10 million.

        2                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I can believe 

        3     it.

        4                MR. HERRON:  And we are working -- 

        5     I mean, we do have a responsibility to make 

        6     sure the prairie dog is preserved, and we are 

        7     currently working with several states to make 

        8     sure that there are management provisions put 

        9     in.  But I think as Andy will tell you, we do 

       10     not feel it warrants being listed, but it is 

       11     something we certainly need to make sure we 

       12     don't want to lose it, but we think there's 

       13     still a lot of latitude here still possible.

       14                CHAIRMAN BASS:  How many varieties 

       15     of horned lizard are there in Texas other than 

       16     the --

       17                MR. HERRON:  I'm not too sure how 

       18     many there are in Texas.  Certainly the two 

       19     species, possibly a third.  I think there's 

       20     maybe --

       21                MR. GRAHAM:  There's at least 

       22     three.

       23                MR. HERRON:  Yeah.  I think there's 

       24     maybe five species total nationwide.

       25                CHAIRMAN BASS:  And only one of 



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        1     which is on the state list.

        2                MR. HERRON:  Yes, sir.  The Texas 

        3     horned lizard, the one that basically occurred 

        4     through the eastern two-thirds of the state.

        5                MR. GRAHAM:  The one that's on the 

        6     conservation license plate.

        7                CHAIRMAN BASS:  The TCU one.

        8                MR. HERRON:  Just to wrap up in 

        9     terms of future considerations, we are 

       10     continuing discussions on these regulations 

       11     reporting with our advisory committee.  We've 

       12     had them meet about six times in the past 

       13     year.  We are working to simplify reporting 

       14     forms.  Users report had a few glitches, a 

       15     little bit of confusion about using the forms.  

       16     That's an administrative matter we will be 

       17     taking care of that on our own. 

       18          One comment we have had as we do come 

       19     forward and revise these regulations, we've 

       20     been asked -- we changed the names of these 

       21     permits.  It seems to confuse people that a 

       22     collection permit isn't just for collection, 

       23     and a dealer's permit means something more 

       24     than just sale.  And so that is something I 

       25     think we will be recommending to you to make 



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                                                         133


        1     the terminology a little more understandable.

        2          And as I reported in the take and 

        3     harvest, one thing we may be changing as well 

        4     is, for example, rattlesnakes, we had about -- 

        5     I think I said about 8,000, 9,000 reported.  

        6     We expect -- have suspected previously maybe 

        7     20-some thousand are actually sold.  And one 

        8     of our problems with rattlesnakes may be that 

        9     we do not require a dealer to buy from a 

       10     permitted individual.  And so what may be 

       11     happening here is we're missing some of this 

       12     rattlesnake harvest because we don't require 

       13     that, and that's another thing we'll be 

       14     looking at and possibly coming back to you 

       15     with some recommendations on. 

       16          With that, I'd happy to answer any 

       17     questions you might have.

       18                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  You had a 

       19     large number of people that were unhappy with 

       20     the idea, has that subsided or not?

       21                MR. HERRON:  Well, I think many of 

       22     the people that I worked with still wish this 

       23     regulation would go away.  I think most of 

       24     them understand the need.  And I think as we 

       25     get more complete annual reports come in and 



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                                                         134


        1     release some of this information, I think 

        2     people will find it interesting and better 

        3     understand why we needed this information.  

        4     And as some people complained, for example, 

        5     what the gray-banded king snake, they said, 

        6     "We don't think you should regulate it.  Most 

        7     of the ones we deal with are captive bred."  

        8     Well, preliminary indications would indicate 

        9     those people were right.  Most of the ones 

       10     we're getting appear to be captive.  But 

       11     although we haven't had a chance to verify the 

       12     validity of some of our data yet, but based on 

       13     what's being reported, it would certainly seem 

       14     that that was the right indication. 

       15          So I think it has quieted down.  And I 

       16     think for the most part we will be probably 

       17     promoting this more next year.  We really have 

       18     not done a lot in letting pet stores know they 

       19     have to have this permit, and that's something 

       20     we'll be working on this next 12 months is to 

       21     get the word out better.  We're just happy 

       22     right now just to get the system in place and 

       23     kind of get the kinks out.  And now we'll be 

       24     working in trying to get the word out better, 

       25     and I expect we'll see more permits next year 



.

                                                         135


        1     as more people begin to comply with the 

        2     regulation.

        3                MR. SANSOM:  Brief summary, the 

        4     response has been pretty good, and we have 

        5     some data now that we didn't have before we 

        6     put this program together.  A few malcontents, 

        7     but basically everybody is complying and we 

        8     feel like these guys are doing a good job.

        9                MR. HERRON:  Yes, sir.  Thank you.

       10                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Other business?  

       11     There being none, we stand adjourned.  Thank 

       12     you.

       13                        * * * * *

       14             REGULATIONS COMMITTEE ADJOURNED

       15                        * * * * *

       16     

       17     

       18     

       19     

       20     

       21     

       22     

       23     

       24     

       25     



.

                                                         136


        1                 REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE

        2                            

        3     COUNTY OF TRAVIS     X

        4     THE STATE OF TEXAS   X

        5          I, Rachelle Latino, certified shorthand 

        6     reporter for the State of Texas, do hereby 

        7     certify that the above and foregoing 135 pages 

        8     constitutes a full, true and correct 

        9     transcript of the minutes of the Texas Parks 

       10     and Wildlife Commission on November 17, 1999, 

       11     in the commission hearing room of the Texas 

       12     Parks and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, 

       13     Travis County, Texas.

       14          I further certify that a stenographic 

       15     record was made by me at the time of the 

       16     public meeting and said stenographic notes 

       17     were thereafter reduced to computerized 

       18     transcription under my direction and control.

       19          Witness my hand this, the 10th day of 

       20     January 2000.

       21     

       22     
                                                        
       23                     Rachelle Latino
                              Certified Shorthand Reporter
       24                     State of Texas
                              Certificate No. 6771
       25                     Expires: 12-31-01




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