Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 am, April 4, 2001

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Item
No.
Subject Public Hearing
Agenda Item No.
  Approval of the Committee Minutes from the previous meeting.  
  Summary of Minutes  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation 2001-2002
Staff: Paul Hammerschmidt, Phil Durocher, Gary Graham
2
3. Legislative Regulations Review
Staff: Robert MacDonald
3
4. Petition for Rulemaking (Special Bag Limits for White-Tailed Deer Taken by Archery)
Staff: Jerry Cooke
4
5. Scientific Breeder Proclamation
Staff: Jerry Cooke
7
6. Largemouth Bass Virus
Staff: Phil Durocher
Committee Only
7. Amendments to the Public Lands Proclamation and Proposed Hunting Activities on State Parks
Staff: Herb Kothmann
5
8. Crab and Oyster Update
Staff: Hal Osburn
Committee Only
9. 2001-2002 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
Staff: Vernon Bevill
Committee Only
10. White-tailed Deer Permit Programs
Staff: Gary Graham
Committee Only
11. Other Business  

Summary of Minutes
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Regulations Committee
January 24, 2001

BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 24th day of January 2001, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the Commission hearing room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas beginning at 2:57 p.m., to wit:

I. COMMISSION ATTENDANCE

Chair: Lee Bass
Richard Heath
Alvin L. Henry
Carol Dinkins
Katharine Armstrong Idsal
John Avila, Jr.
Ernest Angelo, Jr.
Mark E. Watson

II. THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WERE PRESENTED FOR COMMITTEE ACTION:

1. BRIEFING – CHAIRMAN’S CHARGES

Presenter: Andrew Sansom

Mr. Sansom, Executive Director of Texas Parks and Wildlife briefed the Committee on the status of the Chairman’s Charges. He reviewed the progress of the different commercial fishing license buyback efforts, and the status of issuance of the new commercial finfish fisherman’s license. Mr. Sansom reported on his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee where he had requested reinstatement of the Entrepreneurial Rider so the agency would have authority; to spend funds accrued from increased license fees on the commercial license buyback activities.

2. ACTION – Exotic Species Rules

Presenters: Phil Durocher and Joedy Gray

The chair recognized Mr. Phil Durocher, Director Inland Fisheries Division. Mr. Durocher reviewed the regulatory process whereby the agency is legislatively mandated to provide a list of harmful exotic organisms. Since new, potentially harmful exotic organisms will occur periodically, the Commission can expect his staff asking their approval to add to the prohibited list. Mr. Durocher then introduced Mr. Joedy Gray, staff support specialist for the Inland Fisheries Division.

Mr. Gray presented the following proposals: First add the channeled applesnail to the list of prohibited species. This species has caused significant damage to rice fields in Hawaii and Southeast Asia. A reproducing population has been discovered in the American Canal south of Houston. The second proposal would be to allow permitted fish farmers to possess black carp provided they are certified triploid. These fish eat snails and other mollusks that may be disease vectors in fish hatchery situations.

Chairman Bass asked Mr. Gray to explain the difference between grass carp and black carp. Mr. Gray responded that black carp ate snails while grass carp ate predominantly vegetation.

Commissioner Idsal asked if the grass carp were also triploid. Mr. Gray responded that they were. He then stated staff’s recommendation requesting the Committee to forward the proposed amendments to the full Commission for adoption, and to put the item on the Consent Agenda. Chairman Bass called for a motion. Commissioner Henry moved, and the motion was seconded (seconding Commissioner was not identifiable). Chairman Bass called for a vote. Motion passed unanimously.

3. ACTION – Legislative Regulations Review

Presenters: Gene McCarty, Suzy Whittenton, Walt Dabney, and Robert Sweeney

Chairman Bass called for the next item on the agenda and introduced Mr. Gene McCarty, Chief of Staff of Texas Parks and Wildlife. Mr. McCarty briefed the Committee on the regulatory review process. He indicated that the current chapters that have been reviewed and are up for proposal include Chapter 53, Finance; Chapter 59, Parks, and Chapter 69, Resource Protection. Mr. McCarty then introduced Suzy Whittenton, Chief Financial Officer – and Senior Director Of Administrative Resources. Ms. Whittenton outlined the review of Chapter 53, Finance, and detailed the various changes recommended. These changes include: 1) update of provisions to reflect new license point-of-sale system, 2) standardize license requirements for reciprocal license agreements with Louisiana, 3) clarify eligibility requirements for special resident hunting and fishing licenses, 4) add and/or remove references to certain license, permit and transfer fees to reflect current statutory authorization, 5) allow greater latitude in investing the Lifetime License Endowment Fund, consistent with Commission approved investment policy, 6) allow non-game and endangered species stamps to be sold under current provisions applicable to other stamps and decals, 7) allow the Executive Director to name a designee to act on his or her behalf in matters concerning release and sale of customer information and admission fees at the Freshwater Fisheries Center, 8) allow the department to reduce or waive admission fees for the Freshwater Fisheries Center in order to enhance visitation, 9) clean-up various provisions to clarify intent, remove redundant or outdated language, and make general non-substantive edits, and 10) revise Subchapter B. Stamps to clarify distinction between selling price of collectors edition stamp packages and that of individual stamps.

Ms. Whittenton introduced Mr. Walt Dabney, Director State Parks. Mr. Dabney presented proposed changes to Chapter 59. These included 1) adding language which would allow the Department to make modifications to historic structures as the modifications relate to health, safety and/or ADA needs, 2) changes to 59.103 removes automatic right of renewal for concessionaires, and creates a specific selection and evaluation process of bidding concessionaires, 3) changes to 59.104 require the department to establish long-term contracts with major concessionaires, and provides for a two-year contract with minor concessionaires, 4) adding an option to extend a major contrat, and provide the agency with the ability to collect franchise fees, to assess a penalty on delinquent concessionaires, or to waive or postpone payment of franchise fees. Mr. Dabney related during the public hearing process staff received 16 comments requesting the activity of hang gliding be added to the list or permitted activities in state parks. He indicated the commentors specifically mentioned Enchanted Rock and Elephant Mountain state parks. Mr. Dabney noted staff did not recommend this activity be listed because of the safety issue at Enchanted Rock, and disturbance of the recovering big horn sheep population at Elephant Mountain.

Commissioner Idsal asked where people go now to enjoy hang gliding. Mr. Dabney responded that there were several places in the state, most of which were probably on private land. Chairman Bass mentioned Chinati was a possibility, although it was a long way away.

Mr. Dabney continued his presentation regarding some minor language changes in the chapter including 1) removing the term “rock art” and adding the words “petroglyph” or “pictograph” which are proper archeological terms, and 2) removes the term “sustainability” from references to cultural systems.

Robert Sweeney attorney for the Resource Protection Division took the dais and gave his presentation regarding review and readoption ofChapter 69. Mr. Sweeney noted Subchapters G, H, and I are proposed for readoption with minor changes to correct non-substantive errors such as erroneous cross-references and typographical errors. Subchapters A, B, D, E, F and K are proposed to be readopted without changes. Proposed changes to Subchapter C include 1) ability for the department to refuse a permit to an individual finally convicted of violating a wildlife law, and 2) requiring a permittee to release wildlife as soon as it is capable of surviving in the wild. Changes to Subchapter J include 1) require applicant for a scientific collecting permit to document compliance with the Federal Animal Welfare Act, and 2) to require cages for smaller raptors to be smaller than previously required. Mr. Sweeney read the staff request for the Committee to forward the proposal for readoption of chapters 53, 59, and 69, with the changes noted, to the Full Commission for adoption, and to put the proposal on the consent agenda.

Chairman Bass called for a motion. Commissioner Angelo moved, and Commissioner Heath seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

4. ACTION – Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation

Presenters: Paul Hammerschmidt, Ken Kurzawski, and Jerry Cooke

Chairman Bass introduced the next agenda item. Paul Hammerschmidt, program director for the Coastal Fisheries Division presented proposed changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation pertaining to saltwater fishing. The proposals included 1) increasing the daily bag limit for Spanish mackerel from 7 fish to 15 fish per person per day, and 2) changing the color of floats on crab traps used by commercial finfish fishermen from yellow to white. The color yellow was inadvertently applied to these crab trap floats, and was intended to be white.

Next Ken Kurzawski, regulations coordinator for Inland Fisheries presented the regulatory issues concerning freshwater fishing. The first proposal is to change the 14-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass on Lake Sweetwater to a 14-18 inch slot length limit. The goal is to improve upon the already good quality angling in the reservoir. Mr. Kurzawski then reviewed some of the elements of bass population structure in relation to the use of length limits. The next proposal would increase the slot limit for largemouth bass on Pinkston Reservoir from 14-18 to 14-21 inches and allow only one bass of greater than 21 inches to be retained per day. This reservoir has demonstrated potential to produce trophy bass and this regulation change would enhance that. For O. H. Ivie Reservoir, the proposal is to eliminate the minimum length restrictions on largemouth bass and allow anglers to harvest five largemouth bass of any size with the restriction that only two bass of less than 18 inches to be retained per day. Allowing anglers to harvest some slow growing largemouth bass below 18 inches should reduce the abundance of bass in this size range, increase growth rates, and maintain the high quality angling. Next, staff proposes to simplify smallmouth bass regulations on seven reservoirs (Belton, Cisco, Greenbelt, Oak Creek, Stillhouse Hollow, White River, and Whitney) by decreasing minimum length restrictions from 18 inches to 14 inches and increasing daily bag limit from three fish to five fish. No benefits to these populations were detected under the 18-inch minimum. Finally, trotlines, juglines, and throwlines will be prohibited on two reservoirs in Fannin County to help standardize regulations with the U.S. Forest Service that manages the two reservoirs. The goal is to improve catfish angling by restricting the use of these high harvest fishing methods on these two reservoirs. Most comments received so far on these proposals have been favorable. Commissioner Angelo asked for clarification on how long the 18-inch limit had been in effect for smallmouth bass. Mr. Kurzawski replied since 1994. Commissioner Bass noted that regulations that were not working have been changed which he remarked was a sign of active management.

Finally, Dr. Jerry Cooke, Game Branch Chief of the Wildlife Division presented proposed changes to the wildlife portion of the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation. Dr. Cooke also indicated that the proposed changes would be presented to the Hunting Advisory Committee and the Private Lands Advisory Committee. Dr. Cooke noted the first proposal was the result of a petition, which suggested quail season open one week earlier than usual. Although staff feels this would have neither positive nor negative biological impact on quail populations, it is recommended to get broader public comment. Chairman Bass indicated the proposal would generate comments. Dr. Cooke responded that most comments he has received on this issue indicate that quail season opens too early as it is. Commissioner Angelo commented the primary reason for the earlier opening was to prevent quail season and deer season from opening on the same weekend. Chairman Bass directed as staff went forward with this proposal, it was clearly stated that this was not necessarily the position of the Department, but a topic for discussion.

Dr. Cooke continued his presentation on proposed rule changes which include 1) changing the requirement to have a “beard attached” to a turkey, to the requirement to have “one leg with spur attached or a patch of skin with breast feathers attached to the skin accompanying the turkey.” Chairman Bass asked what the skin with feathers accomplished. Dr. Cooke responded that sometimes young male turkeys do not have a well-developed spur, and breast feathers will positively identify the sex of the bird; 2) establish a standard spring eastern wild turkey season in Houston, Rusk, Smith, Upshur and Wood Counties increasing the number of counties that have an eastern turkey season to 37; 3) establish a javelina season in Archer County to be October 1 through the end of February; 4) establish a period in which ADCPs are valid which would be the Saturday nearest September 30th through the last day of any open season on the property; 6) require individuals using muzzle loaders on U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Corps of Engineer, Trinity River Authority, or Sabine River Authority lands to have an MLD permit for their hunts; 7) provide a LAMPS permit program for Fannin, Hunt, and Rains County. This adds one doe to the bag and provides for a 14-day antlerless and spike-buck season; 8) change the bag in 12 counties from South Texas to a 5-deer, no more than 3 buck bag and provide a antlerless and spike-buck late season; 9) change the opening date of the general season for white-tailed deer and turkey in counties of south Texas to the first Saturday in November to establish a more uniform statewide opening date; 10) change the MLD permit rules to ensure landowners and hunters are equally protected from risk if they are not in violation. This provision would require a landowner, who allows hunting on MLD property, to issue permits to hunters, and maintain a daily log of permit issuance and use.

Chairman Bass asked for clarification of current rules regarding hunting on MLD property. Dr. Cooke supplied the clarification. Commissioner Watson asked for clarification of the log requirement and how it compared with the current log system. Dr. Cooke supplied the explanation. Commissioner Bass asked what the penalty would be for violating this provision. Dr. Cooke called on Jim Robertson, Director of Law Enforcement. Mr. Robertson explained the violation would be a Class C misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500. Chairman Bass noted a meeting of the task force will be held in February where staff could receive additional input.

Dr. Cooke continued his presentation. Proposal 11) suggests implementing an experimental program whereby the agency would create two one-buck compartments, one east of I-35, and one west of I-35. Through this program, a hunter could take one buck in each of the two compartments. Chairman Bass asked if entire counties would be incorporated into these two compartments. Dr. Cooke responded in the affirmative and explained that counties bisected by I-35 and having a 1-buck bag limit would fall in the east compartment; 12) expand the youth-only season for deer and turkey to include all weekends in October and the three weekends following the second weekend in January. Dr. Cooke indicated there was concern on the part of some field staff that over harvest may result in those parts of Texas where the populations are not strong and/or hunting pressure is intense. He also indicated there might be some public opposition from archers to this expansion. Dr. Cooke then presented data demonstrating the correlation of deer harvest with the opening of youth-only season.

Chairman Bass asked if this proposal would increase the number of weekends to as many as 7. Dr. Cooke replied it could result in up to 7, and that if the Commission approved one additional weekend, it would have to be one of those during October through January. Commissioner Angelo stated that the Commission could pick any one of the possible weekends. Chairman Bass responded it could be any or all. Commissioner Watson noted that there can’t be too many hunt weekends for youth and that he was in favor of anything the Commission could do to help the youth.

Dr. Cooke raised the issue of migratory changes that were laid out at the November meeting, and stated there would not be a discussion at this time unless the Chairman wished it so. Chairman Bass noted the earlier discussion was to add days to the front of dove season, but that comments he had received indicated the extra days were welcome, but preferred them to be added to the end of the late season. Commissioner Idsal asked why dove and late seasons weren’t more closely correlated with public school Christmas vacation. Dr. Cooke clarified the proposal was only for the South zone. General discussion among the Commissioners occurred regarding proposals of the November meeting. Chairman Bass noted that the November proposal was to take to the public for comment a change from the 60 days/15 bag to a 70 day/12 bag provision, take the extra 10 days and add them on the front end of the season. Mr. Sansom agreed and added that it was his understanding that the Chairman wanted to expand the proposal to include all of the state as a discussion item. Dr. Cooke then read the staff recommendation for the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation to be published in the Texas Register for public comment. Chairman Bass called for a motion. Commissioner Angelo moved and Commissioner Idsal seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

5. ACTION – Amendments to the Public Lands Proclamation and Proposed Hunting Activities on State Parks

Presenter: Herb Kothmann

Chairman Bass called for the next agenda item. Mr. Herb Kothmann, Director of Public Hunts presented proposed changes to the 2001-2002 Public Lands Proclamation. These included 1) update of the application section to clarify the units of public hunting lands to which the rules apply; 2) standardize the access permit requirement on public hunting lands requiring all supervising adults to possess a valid access permit; 3) allow the Department to retain application fees submitted with invalid applications for special permit; 4) waive the requirement for issuance of a regular permit to individuals who already possess the annual public hunting permit; 5) clarify that preference points of a selected applicant will not be reinstated if, due to an error in processing applications, an applicant is awarded a public hunt other than that for which the individual applied, and agrees to accept the hunt; 6) require all participants in public hunts conducted by regular permit must comply with check-in and check-out requirements; 7) establish a minimum age requirement for participation in public hunts by special permit. Mr. Kothmann explained that there has been an increasing number of very young children who apply and are selected in the public hunt drawings. In order to promote safety of all participants, staff proposes to require youth under age 17 to possess documentation of hunter education training either in the form of full certification or a certificate of successful completion of the course. The proposed documentation requirements would in effect establish a minimum age of 9 years.

Chairman Bass asked for clarification regarding youth hunting certification. Mr. Kothmann provided the information. Commissioner Angelo asked if staff was concerned about deception on the part of the applicant, or for safety reasons. Mr. Kothmann responded the proposal was primarily one for safety of all involved. Commissioner Heath asked if the very young were physically on site. Mr. Kothmann responded in the affirmative. Chairman Bass asked if this was just for deer hunts. Mr. Kothmann replied it was for all big game. Chairman Bass indicated he would prefer a set age for the applicant rather than requiring the secondary hunter education certificate. A lengthy discussion ensued regarding the appropriate age that should be considered. Chairman Bass called on Mr. David Langford of the TWA to recount his experience regarding youth hunts. Mr. Langford responded that the situations were slightly different, but TWA requires either of the two certifications for liability purposes, and they have a minimum age of 9 years for their program. Further discussion ensued. Chairman Bass proposed that staff use 8-years of age or older as the cutoff for application. He then asked if all were comfortable with that age. All Committee members indicated they were.

Mr. Kothmann then presented proposals for the 2001 and 2002 public hunts on state parks. These proposals included addition of two sites, Cooper Lake State Park and the South Sulphur Unit and the reintroduction of Dinosaur Valley State park for a total of 45 state parks. Mr. Kothmann read the staff recommendation to include the proposals as modified in the Texas Register for public comment, and to solicit public comments concerning hunting activities within the state park system as noted.

Vice-Chair Dinkins noted that the dates of the state park hunts were not presented. Mr. Kothmann stated that the dates were being developed concurrently with the meeting. He indicated the complexity of fine-tuning dates to resolve potential overlaps in state parks within the same geographical area. Vice-Chair Dinkins emphasized her concern about multiple parks within the same geographic area being closed for hunting on the same dates, especially during the week after Christmas. Mr. Kothmann then provided a draft of the proposed hunt date schedule for each to Vice-chair Dinkins who commented that it appeared to be much improved over prior years' schedules.

Chairman Bass asked for a motion. Commissioner Watson moved and Commissioner Angelo seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

6. Briefing – Seventy-seventh Legislature Overview

Presenter: Andrew Sansom

Chairman Bass introduced Mr. Sansom who gave an overview of the status of the 77th Legislature relative to the Department. He indicated he had a two-fold purpose for the presentation: one is to provide an overview of the agency’s principal objectives, and two is to solicit feed back from the Commission regarding the best way to provide they information during the session. Mr. Sansom commented that the biggest issue was certainly the successful passage of the agency’s sunset bill. The second was the appropriations process. The appropriations objectives include 1) an additional $8 million/year for maintenance program; 2) and additional $5 million for operation of state parks; 3) restoration of the entrepreneurial rider (rider 17) where the Department could spend money it generates over and above the appropriations. He noted two examples where this would have been useful - - - one was for shrimp license buybacks, and the other was for state park needs. He added there were a couple of other riders, and he would provide the members with copies if they wished.

Mr. Sansom reported that the $5 million appropriated by the 76th Legislature was viewed by the LBB as a one-time expenditure. It will be necessary to recapture that money mainly from the standpoint of increased operating costs, increased salaries and other costs incurred since that time. He also noted that at the Finance Committee hearing, a number of constituencies that represent various state parks, hatcheries and wildlife management areas, etc. would be going to the Legislature asking for specific line items for those communities.

Mr. Sansom proceeded to present the issue of providing Legislative information to the Commission members. He asked for guidance as to the best approach and format. A lengthy discussion ensued regarding this issue. Chairman Bass suggested a brief summary of bills with a short synopsis, ID number, and sponsor name. Then Commissioners could dig more deeply into any bill they wished. Commissioner Angelo agreed. Commissioner Henry stated he would be particularly interested in bills affecting the Department’s budget. Commissioner Idsal asked for some sort of Legislative alert being faxed to each Commissioner. Vice-Chair Dinkins suggested it be done electronically. Chairman Bass recommended staff proceed as discussed.

7. Action – Endangered, Threatened and Protected Native Plant Regulations

Presenter: John Herron

Chairman Bass called for the next agenda item. Mr. John Herron, Branch Chief of Wildlife Diversity presented proposed changes to the Endangered, Threatened, and Endangered Plant regulations. These included 1) removing from the threatened plant list the McKittrick pennyroyal and adding the Pecos sunflower; 2) removing the Lloyd’s hedgehog cactus and adding the Zapata bladderpod to the endangered plant list.

Commissioner Angelo asked who conducts the research on these plants. Mr. Herron indicated that the state and federal people rely on each other in regards to threatened and endangered plants.

Vice-Chair Dinkins moved approval of the proposals and inclusion on the consent agenda. Commissioner Watson Seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

8. Other Business

Chairman Bass brought back the issue of the specialty license plate. He noted the plate did not clearly indicate it was for Parks and Wildlife. Having the verbiage “Parks and Wildlife” would help identify the specialty plate with the Department, but there may not be enough space. Lydia Saldana, Director of the Communications Division reported that there was a limit on space on the plate, but that the phrase “Keep Texas Wild” rated very high among those people tested. Commissioner Heath recommended “Parks and Wildlife”.

III. ADJOURNMENT: Chairman Bass adjourned the meeting.


Committee Agenda Item No. 1

Regulations Committee
Briefing
Chairman's Charges
April 2001

(This item will be an oral presentation.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenters: Paul Hammerschmidt, Phil Durocher, Gary Graham

Regulations Committee
Action
Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation 2001-2002
April 2001

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 2.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Robert MacDonald

Regulations Committee
Action
Legislative Regulations Review
April 2001

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Jerry Cooke

Regulations Committee
Action
Petition for Rulemaking
(Special Bag Limits for White-tailed Deer Taken by Archery)
April 2001

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Jerry Cooke

Regulations Committee
Action
Scientific Breeder Proclamation
April 2001

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 7.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenter: Phil Durocher

Regulations Committee
Action
Largemouth Bass Virus
April 2001

I. Discussion: Staff will brief the Committee on the status of the Largemouth Bass Virus in Texas. After a brief history of the virus in both Texas and the rest of the U.S., staff will present the results of a recent survey of 49 Texas lakes. The impacts of the virus on fish population and what's being done around the nation to address this issue will also be discussed.


Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter: Herb Kothmann

Regulations Committee
Action
Amendment to the Public Lands Proclamation
Establishment of an Open Season on Public Lands 2001-2002
Proposed Hunting Activities on State Parks
April 2001

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 5.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Presenter: Hal Osburn

Regulations Committee
Action
Crab and Oyster Update
April 2001

I. Discussion: Staff will brief the Regulations Committee on the status and update on the oyster lease fishery, including aspects of the recent Attorney General Opinion and State Auditors Report. The need for changes in the lease terms, conditions, and fees will be explained. The Department is working with the oyster advisory committee in seeking legislative guidance on these issues. A pending appropriations bill rider in the Senate does address oyster leases.

The commercial crab fishery will also be reviewed, including current overfishing trends and the problem of ghost fishing by abandoned crab traps. Senate Bill 1410, filed by Buster Brown, provides new authority and guidance to the Commission regarding the development of an abandoned trap removal program.


Committee Agenda Item No. 9
Presenter: Vernon Bevill

Regulations Committee
Action
2001-2002 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
April 2001

I. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) frameworks is delegated to the Commission under Chapter 64, Subchapter C, Parks and Wildlife Code. Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.022 authorizes the Executive Director, after notification of the Chairman, to engage in rulemaking. At present, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has not issued the annual regulatory frameworks for migratory game birds. Since the current regulations reflect the Commission's policy to provide the most liberal harvest provisions permissible under the federal frameworks, staff recommends retaining those provisions (adjusted for calendar shift) should the Service frameworks remain unchanged from last year. Should the Service issue frameworks that alter any existing options or offer new options for hunter opportunity, the department will adopt the most liberal provisions possible, while affording needed protection to the resource.

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

"The Regulations Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes staff to publish proposed amendments to 31 TAC §§65.314, 65.315, and 65.317-65.321, concerning migratory game bird regulations, in the Texas Register for public comment."

Attachments - 1
1. Exhibit A - Proposed Migratory Bird Proclamation


Commission Agenda Item No. 9
Exhibit A

2001-2002 Migratory Gamebird Proclamation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission proposes amendments to §§65.314, 65.315, and 65.317 - 65.321, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation. The amendment to §65.314, concerning Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species, creates additional recreational opportunity by opening parts of the previously closed mid- and lower-Gulf coasts to sandhill crane hunting. The area would be included in the current Zone C; however, the daily bag limit would be reduced from three to two birds. The amendment would also adjust the eastern boundary of Zone B to match the boundary of the Goose Zone to minimize impacts of potential changes to the Light Goose Conservation Season later this year by the federal government. The amendment to §65.315, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits - Early Season Species, adjusts the season dates for early-season species of migratory game birds to account for calendar-shift and would replace the current 60-day, 15-bird per day season with a 70-day, 12-bird per day season. The amendment to §65.117, concerning Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species, would alter the boundary of the North Duck Zone to create additional hunting opportunity in southeast Texas. The amendment to §65.118, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits - Late Season Species, adjusts the season dates for late-season species of migratory game birds to account for calendar-shift. The amendment to §65.319, concerning Extended Falconry Season—Early Season Species, adjusts season dates for the take of early-season species of migratory game birds by means of falconry. The amendment to §65.320, concerning Extended Falconry Season—Late Season Species, adjusts season dates for the take of late-season species of migratory game birds by means of falconry. The amendment to §65.321, concerning Special Management Provisions, adjust the dates for the Special Snow Goose Conservation Period to account for calendar shift. The amendments are necessary to implement commission policy to provide maximum hunter opportunity possible under frameworks issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The Service has not issued regulatory frameworks for the 2001-2002 hunting seasons for migratory game birds; however, the department intends to follow commission policy in adopting the most liberal provisions possible under the frameworks in order to provide maximum hunter opportunity.

2. Fiscal Note.

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

3. Public Benefit-Cost Note.

Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years the amendments are in effect:

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

(B) There will be no effect on small businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

(C) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce Commission as required by Government Code, §2001.022, as the department has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

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

4. Request for Public Comment.

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

5. Statutory Authority.

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

The amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64.

§65.314. Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species

(a) Rails: statewide.

(b) Mourning and white-winged doves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Sandhill cranes.

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

(2) Zone B: that portion of Texas lying within boundaries beginning at the junction of U.S. Highway 81 [Interstate Highway 35] and the Texas-Oklahoma state line, thence southeast [south] along U.S. Highway 81 [Interstate Highway 35 (following Interstate Highway 35 West through Fort Worth)] to its junction with U.S. Highway 287 in Montague County, thence southeast along U.S. Highway 287 to its junction with Interstate Highway 35W following Interstate Highway 35 West through Fort Worth, thencr southwest along Interstate Highway 35 to its junction with Interstate Highway 10 in San Antonio, thence northwest along Interstate Highway 10 to its junction with U.S. Highway 83 in Junction, thence north along U.S. Highway 83 to its junction with U.S. Highway 62, 16 miles north of Childress, thence east along U.S. Highway 62 to the Texas-Oklahoma state line, thence south along the Texas-Oklahoma state line to the south bank of the Red River, thence eastward along the vegetation line on the south bank of the Red River to U.S. Highway 81 [eastward along the Texas-Oklahoma state line to Interstate Highway 35].

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

(4) closed areas:

(A) that portion of the state lying east and north of a line beginning at the junction of Interstate Highway 35 and the Texas-Oklahoma state line, thence south along Interstate Highway 35 (following Interstate Highway 35 West through Fort Worth) to its junction with U.S. Highway 290 East in Austin, thence east along U.S. Highway 290 to its junction with Interstate Loop 610 in Harris County, thence south and east along Interstate Loop 610 to its junction with Interstate Highway 45 in Houston, thence south on Interstate Highway 45 to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, and thence north and east along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico to the Texas-Louisiana state line.

(B) that portion of the state lying within the boundaries of a line beginning at the Kleberg-Nueces county line and the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, thence west along the county line to Park Road 22 in Nueces County, thence north and west along Park Road 22 to its junction with State Highway 358 in Corpus Christi, thence west and north along State Highway 358 to its junction with State Highway 286, thence north along State Highway 286 to its junction with Interstate Highway 37, thence east along Interstate Highway 37 to its junction with U.S. Highway 181, thence north and west along U.S. Highway 181 to its junction with U.S. Highway 77 in Sinton, thence north and east along U.S. Highway 77 to its junction with U.S. Highway 87 in Victoria, thence south and east along U.S. Highway 87 to its junction with State Highway 35 at Port Lavaca, thence north and east along State Highway 35 to the south end of the Lavaca Bay Causeway, thence south and east along the shore of Lavaca Bay to its junction with the Port Lavaca Ship Channel, thence south and east along the Lavaca Bay Ship Channel to the Gulf of Mexico, and thence south and west along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico to the Kleberg-Nueces county line. [that portion of Texas lying within boundaries beginning at the international toll bridge at Brownsville, thence north and east along U.S. Highway 77 to its junction with U.S. Highway 87 at Victoria, thence eastward along U.S. Highway 87 to its junction with Farm Road 616 at Placedo, thence north and east along Farm Road 616 to its junction with State Highway 35, thence north and east along State Highway 35 to its junction with State Highway 6 at Alvin, thence west and north along State Highway 6 to its junction with U.S. Highway 290, thence westward along U.S. Highway 290 to its junction with Interstate Highway 35 at Austin, thence south along Interstate Highway 35 to its junction with U.S. Highway 81 in Laredo, thence southwest along U.S. Highway 81 to the international toll bridge in Laredo, thence south and east along the U.S.-Mexico international boundary to its junction with the U.S. Highway 77 international toll bridge at Brownsville].

(f) Woodcock: statewide.

(g) Common snipe: statewide.

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

(a) Rails.

(1) Dates: September 15-30, 2001 [September 15-30, 2000] and October 27-December 19, 2001 [October 28 - December 20, 2000].

(2) Daily bag and possession limits:

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

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

(b) Dove seasons.

(1) North Zone.

(A) Dates: September 1-November 9, 2001 [September 1 - October 30, 2000].

(B) Daily bag limit: 12 [15] mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day;

(C) Possession limit: 24 [30] mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, including no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

(2) Central Zone.

(A) Dates: September 1-October 28, 2001 [September 1-October 17, 2000], and December 26, 2001-January 6, 2002 [December 26, 2000- January 7, 2001].

(B) Daily bag limit: 12 [15] mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day;

(C) Possession limit: 24 [30] mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, including no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

(3) South Zone.

(A) Dates: Except in the special white-winged dove area as defined in §65.314 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species), September 21-November 4, 2001 [September 22 - November 5, 2000], and December 15, 2001-January 8, 2002 [December 26, 2000- January 9, 2001. In the special white-winged dove area, the mourning dove season is September 22 - November 5, 2000, and December 26, 2000-January 5, 2001].

(B) Daily bag limit: 12 [15] mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day;

(C) Possession limit: 24 [30] mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, including no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

(4) Special white-winged dove area.

(A) Dates: September 1, 2, 8, and 9, 2001 [September 2, 3, 9, and 10, 2000].

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

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

(c) Gallinules.

(1) Dates: September 15-30, 2000, and October 28-December 20, 2000.

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

(d) September teal-only season.

(1) Dates: September 15-30, 2001 [September 15-30, 2000].

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

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

(f) Shorebirds. No open season.

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

(1) Zone A: November 10, 2001-February 10, 2002[November 11, 2000- February 11, 2001]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(2) Zone B: December 1, 2001-February 10, 2002[December 2, 2000- February 11, 2001]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(3) Zone C: December 29, 2001-February 3, 2002 [December 30 -February 4, 2001]. The daily bag limit is two. The possession limit is four.

(h) Woodcock: December 18, 2001- January 31, 2002 [December 18, 2000- January 31, 2001]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(i) Common snipe (Wilson's snipe or jacksnipe): October 20, 2001-February 3, 2002[October 21, 2000-February 4, 2001]. The daily bag limit is eight. The possession limit is 16.

§65.317. Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species.

(a) Ducks, mergansers, and coots.

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

(2) North Zone: that portion of Texas not in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit but north of a line from the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to Interstate Highway 10 at San Antonio; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to Interstate Highway 45 at Houston; thence southeast along Interstate Highway 45 to Texas State Highway 342, thence south along Texas State Highway 342 to the Gulf of Mexico [the Texas-Louisiana State Line].

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

(b) Geese.

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

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

§65.318. Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits—Late Season. Except as specifically provided in this section, the possession limit for all species listed in this section shall be twice the daily bag limit.

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

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 20-21, 2001[21-23, 2000], and October 27, 2001-January 20, 2002[October 28, 2000-January 21, 2001].

(B) North Zone: October 27-28, 2001[28-29, 2000], and November 10, 2001-January 20, 2002[November 11, 2000-January 21, 2001].

(C) South Zone: October 27-November 25, 2001[October 28-November 26, 2000], and December 8, 2001-January 20, 2002[December 9, 2000-January 21, 2001].

(2) Geese.

(A) Western Zone.

(i) Light geese: October 27, 2001-February 10, 2002[October 28, 2000-February 11, 2001]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

(ii) Dark geese: October 27, 2001-February 10, 2002[October 28, 2000-February 11, 2001]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is five, which may not include more than one white-fronted goose.

(B) Eastern Zone.

(i) Light geese: October 27, 2001-January 20, 2002[October 28, 2000-January 21, 2001]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

(ii) Dark geese:

(I) White-fronted geese: October 27, 2001-January 20, 2002[October 28, 2000-January 21, 2001]. The daily bag limit for white-fronted geese is two.

(II) Canada geese and brant: October 27, 2001-January 20, 2002[October 28, 2000-January 21, 2001]. The daily bag limit is one Canada goose or one brant.

(3) Special Youth-Only Season. There shall be a special youth-only duck season during which the hunting, taking, and possession of ducks, mergansers, and coots is restricted to licensed hunters 15 years of age and younger accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older, except for persons hunting by means of falconry under the provisions of §65.320 of this chapter (relating to Extended Falconry Season—Late Season Species). Bag and possession limits in any given zone during the season established by this paragraph shall be as provided for that zone by paragraph (1) of this section. Season dates are as follows:

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 13-14, 2001[October 14-15, 2000];

(B) North Zone: October 20-21, 2001[October 21-22, 2000]; and

(C) South Zone: October 20-21, 2001[October 21-22, 2000].

§65.319. Extended Falconry Season—Early Season Species.

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

(1) mourning doves and white-winged doves: November 19-December 25, 2001 [November 9-December 25, 2000]; and

(2) rails and gallinules: December 20, 2001-January 25, 2002 [December 21, 2000-January 26, 2001].

(3) woodcock: November 24-December 17, 2001 and February 1-March 10, 2002. [November 24-December 17, 2000 and February 1-March 10, 2001].

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

§65.320. Extended Falconry Season—Late Season Species.

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

(1) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: no extended season; and

(2) Remainder of the state: January 21-February 4, 2002 [January 22-February 5, 2001].

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

§65.321. Special Management Provisions. The provisions of paragraphs (1)-(3) of this section apply only to the hunting of light geese. All provisions of this subchapter continue in effect unless specifically provided otherwise in this section; however, where this section conflicts with the provisions of this subchapter, this section prevails.

(1) Means and methods. In addition to the means and methods authorized in §65.310(a) of this title (relating to Means , Methods, and Special Requirements), the following means and methods are lawful during the time periods set forth in paragraph (5) of this section:

(A) shotguns capable of holding more than three shells; and

(B) electronic calling devices.

(2) Possession. During the time periods set forth in paragraph (5) of this section:

(A) there shall be no bag or possession limits; and

(B) the provisions of §65.312 of this title (relating to Possession of Migratory Game Birds) do not apply; and

(C) a person may give, leave, receive, or possess legally taken light geese or their parts, provided the birds are accompanied by a wildlife resource document from the person who killed the birds. The wildlife resource document is not required if the possessor lawfully killed the birds; the birds are transferred at the personal residence of the donor or donee; or the possessor also possesses a valid hunting license, a valid waterfowl stamp, and is HIP certified. The wildlife resource document shall accompany the birds until the birds reach their final destination, and must contain the following information:

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

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

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

(iv) the date the birds were killed; and

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

(3) Shooting hours. During the time periods set forth in paragraph (5) of this section, shooting hours are from one half-hour before sunrise until one half-hour after sunset.

(4) Early closures. The open season for the following species of migratory birds are closed until further notice as of sunset on the dates indicated:

(A) sandhill crane:

(i) Zones A and B [Zone A]: February 10, 2002 [February 11, 2001];

(ii) Zone [Zones B] and C: January 20, 2002 [January 21, 2002]; and

(B) light geese: Eastern Zone: January 20, 2002 [January 21, 20021].

(5) Special Light Goose Conservation Period.

(A) From January 21, 2002 [January 22, 2001] through March 31, 2002 [April 1, 2001], the take of light geese is lawful in the Eastern Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species).

(B) From February 12, 2002 [February 12, 2001] through March 31, 2002 [April 1, 2001], the take of light geese is lawful in the Western Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species).

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency's authority to adopt.

Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Committee Agenda Item No. 10
Presenter: Gary Graham

Regulations Committee
Action
White-tailed Deer Permit Programs
April 2001

I. Discussion: Wildlife Division staff will provide a brief history and status of the white-tailed deer permit programs in Texas. The presentation will include a description, use, and the number of users for each.


Top of Page
Back to Top
Back to Top