Presenter: Jerry Cooke

Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Action
Managed Lands Deer Permits
November 2000

I. Discussion: Under the current provisions of the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation, white-tailed deer on properties receiving Level 2 or Level 3 Managed Lands Deer permits may be hunted until the last day of January. However, many counties in the Hill Country and South Texas enjoy a 14-day special late season that extends into February, which results in patchwork of closing dates, depending on whether a property is in the MLD program or not. In order to eliminate potential confusion, staff proposes to extend the period of validity for Level 2 and Level 3 MLD permits so as to create a uniform closure of white-tailed deer seasons in the affected regions of the state. The proposed changes were published in September 22, 2000, issue of the Texas Register (25 TexReg 9420). To date, staff has received no public comment on the proposed amendment.

II. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts an amendment to 31 TAC §65.26, concerning Managed Lands Deer Permits, with changes to the proposed text (located at Exhibit A) as published in the September 22, 2000, issue of the Texas Register (25 TexReg 9420)."

Attachments - 2

1. Exhibit A - Proposed Regulations
2. Exhibit B - Fiscal Note (Available upon request)


Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit A

MLD Regulations
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §65.26, concerning Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Permits. The amendment would adjust the period of validity for Managed Lands Deer periods to be concurrent with the length of existing open general seasons and would clarify that antlerless deer harvested during the archery-only season must be tagged with an MLD antlerless tag. The amendment is necessary because: the current rule creates closing dates on MLD properties that are earlier, in some cases, than the closing dates for non-MLD properties, which confuses landowners and hunters.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the amendment as proposed is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the amendment.

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the amendment as proposed will be regulatory uniformity, which will enhance enforcement and reduce confusion.

(B) There will be no effect on small businesses or microbusinesses. There is no additional economic cost to persons required to comply with the amendment as proposed.

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

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

4. Request for Public Comments.

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

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment is proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, Uniform Wildlife Regulatory Act (Wildlife Conservation Act of 1983), which provides the commission with authority to establish wildlife resource regulations for this state.

The amendment affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

§65.26. Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Permits.

(a) MLD permits may be issued only to a landowner who has a current WMP in accordance with §65.25 of this title (relating to Wildlife Management Plan.

(b) An applicant may request the issuance of any type of MLD listed in this section.

(1) Level 1. Level 1 MLD permits authorize only the take of antlerless white-tailed or antlerless mule deer. A Level 1 MLD permit is valid [only] during any [the general] open season in the county for which it is issued, and the bag limit for antlerless deer in that county applies.

(2) Level 2.

(A) Level 2 MLD permits authorize the take of buck and antlerless white-tailed deer as specified by the permit. A Level 2 MLD:

(i) antlerless permit is valid from the Saturday closest to September 30 through the last Sunday in January and during any open season on the property for which it is issued;

(ii) buck permit is valid from the opening day of the general open season in the county for which it is issued through the last Sunday in January and during any open season on the property for which it is issued.

(B) On all tracts of land for which Level 2 MLD permits have been issued:

(i) the bag limit shall be five deer, no more than three bucks, regardless of the county bag limit; and

(ii) the provisions of §65.42(b)(7) of this title (relating to Archery-Only Open Season), §65.42(b)(8) of this title (relating to Muzzleloader-Only Open Season), and the stamp requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapters I and Q, do not apply.

(C) By acceptance of Level 2 MLD permits a landowner agrees to accomplish at least two habitat management recommendations contained in the WMP within three years of permit issuance, and agrees to maintain the habitat management practices for as long as Level 2 permits are accepted thereafter. A landowner who fails to accomplish at least two habitat management recommendations of the WMP within three years is not eligible for Level 2 permits the following year, but is eligible for Level 1 MLD permits or may choose to cease accepting MLD permits.

(3) Level 3. Level 3 MLD permits authorize the take of buck and antlerless white-tailed deer as specified by the permit. A Level 3 MLD permit is valid from the Saturday nearest September 30 through the last Sunday in January and during any open season on the property for which it is issued. On all tracts of land for which Level 3 MLD permits have been issued:

(A) the bag limit shall be five deer, no more than three bucks, regardless of the county bag limit; and

(B) the provisions of §65.42(b)(7) of this title (relating to Archery-Only Open Season), §65.42(b)(8) of this title (relating to Muzzleloader-Only Open Season), and the stamp requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapters I and Q, do not apply.

(C) By acceptance of Level 3 MLD permits a landowner agrees to accomplish at least four habitat management recommendations contained in the WMP within three years of permit issuance, and agrees to maintain the habitat management practices for as long as Level 3 permits are accepted thereafter. A landowner who fails to accomplish at least four habitat management recommendations of the WMP within three years is not eligible for Level 3 permits the following year, but may be eligible for other levels of MLD permits or may choose to cease accepting MLD permits.

(c) The number of MLD permits distributed to a hunter shall be at the discretion of the landowner.

(d) Except for deer taken under an Antlerless and Spike-Buck Control Permit, all deer harvested by MLD permit must immediately be tagged with the appropriate MLD permit and either an appropriate tag from the hunting license of the person who killed the deer or a valid bonus tag.

(e) If a landowner in possession of MLD permits does not wish to abide by the harvest quota or habitat management practices specified by the WMP, the landowner must return all MLD permits to the department by the Saturday closest to September 30.

(f) In the event that unforeseeable developments such as floods, droughts, or other natural disasters make the attainment of recommended habitat management practices impractical or impossible, the department may, on a case-by-case basis, waive the requirements of this section.

(g) The department reserves the right to deny further issuance of MLD permits to a landowner who exceeds the harvest quota specified by the WMP or who does not otherwise abide by the WMP. A property for which the department denies further permit issuance under this subsection is ineligible to receive MLD permits for a period of three years from the date of denial.

(h) Administratively complete applications received by the department before August 15 of each year shall be approved or denied by October 1 of the same year.

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

Issued in Austin, Texas, on


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