Presenter: Ron George, Hal Osburn, Phil Durocher

Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Action
2003-2004 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamations
April 2003

I. DISCUSSION: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking wildlife resources is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61. Proposed changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation are a result of proposals advanced by staff and suggestions from the public. The proposed changes increase recreational opportunity, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state. The Regulations Committee at its January 2003 meeting authorized staff to publish the proposed 2003-2004 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation and the proposed fishing guide fees in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed rules appeared in the February 28, 2003, issue of the Texas Register (28 TexReg 1807). A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be available to the Commission at the time of the hearing.

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the 2003-2004 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation (located at Exhibit A), and amendments to 31 TAC §53.7, concerning Business Licenses and Permits, with changes to the proposal as published in the February 28, 2003, issue of the Texas Register (28 TexReg 1807)."

Exhibit A – Proposed 2003-2004 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Exhibit B – Proposed Fishing Guide Fees
Exhibit C – Fiscal Note (Available Upon Request)


Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife department proposes amendments to 65.3, 65.10, 65.25-65.27, 65.29, 65.42, 65.56, 65.60, 65.62, 65.71, and 65.72, concerning the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation.

The amendment to §65.3, concerning Definitions, adds a definition of ‘deer population data’ to specifically delineate the analytical components used to make deer population assessments, and defines the terms ‘fishing guide’ and ‘fishing guide deck hand’. The amendment to §65.3 is necessary because an amendment to §65.25 is eliminating the term ‘census data’ and replacing it with ‘population data,’ a term that is more inclusive than the term it replaces. The proposed amendment defines ‘population data’ as ‘the results derived from deer population surveys and/or from systematic data analysis of density or herd health indicators, such as browse surveys or other scientifically acceptable data, that function as direct or indirect indicators of population density.’ The amendment is also necessary because the department is implementing bag limits for fishing guide parties, and therefore the terms must be defined for enforcement purposes. Because of that, the department believes it is necessary to provide a definition to prevent confusion or misunderstanding.

The amendment to §65.10, concerning Possession of Wildlife Resources, would establish a convention for lawful proof-of-sex documentation for deer from which the head has been removed for department-sanctioned diagnostic purposes. Under current rules, the headless carcass of a deer must be accompanied by a taxidermist’s receipt or landowner affidavit attesting to the sex of the carcass. The amendment is necessary because the department is sampling harvested deer for chronic wasting disease (necessitating the removal of the head) and there is a need for a department receipt in order to eliminate potential confusion and inconvenience for hunters. The amendment would also implement a non-retroactive, mandatory tagging requirement for desert bighorn sheep skulls found in the wild. The amendment is necessary in order to make Texas law consistent with bighorn sheep regulations in other states, which are designed to prevent the traffic in illegally taken bighorn sheep.

The amendment to §65.25, concerning Wildlife Management Plan (WMP), would replace the term ‘census data’ with the term ‘population data.’ Currently, the content of wildlife management plans conditions the issuance of Managed Lands Deer permits at least partially on the inclusion of ‘deer census data,’ which has proved to be problematic in that a census, strictly speaking, is a count or tally. However, in creating a meaningful management plan, a raw number representing the deer population is not by itself as useful or relevant as when augmented by additional, indirect indices that can assist in revealing how a population is actually functioning within a system.

The amendment to §65.26, concerning Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Permits, comports terminology to be consistent with changes made to §65.25 and alters language to eliminate a terminology conflict in subsection (d). The current language indicates that it could be possible to kill a single deer under the authority of two permits, which isn’t the case.

The amendment to §65.27, concerning Antlerless and Spike-buck Control Permits, would allow additional field personnel to approve permit issuance and implement a deadline for permit applications to be received by the department in order to guarantee permit issuance for the year requested. The amendment is necessary to increase efficiency and decrease turnaround times for application approval, and to address workload problems associated with high volumes of last-minute applications.

The amendment to §65.29, concerning Bonus Tag, adds language to clarify that bonus tags may be used to exceed the statewide bag limit. The amendment is necessary to avoid hunter confusion.

The amendment to §65.42, concerning Deer, consists of several actions. Current harvest regulations in Harris County allow a hunter to take three deer, no more than one of which may be a buck and no more than two of which may be antlerless. The proposed amendment would increase the bag limit to four deer (no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless) and establish "doe days" for Harris County. The deer range in Harris County is mostly in the northern part of the county, which is part of the Pineywoods Ecological Region. The deer season for Harris County should be consistent with adjoining Pineywoods counties to the north and east. A more liberal bag limit would also help address deer problems caused by human development and isolation of the deer herd. The proposed amendment would add a muzzleloader season to Harris (contingent upon adoption of the proposal to increase the bag limit), San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties. The proposal would allow additional hunting opportunity in these counties and standardize the regulations with adjoining counties that have similar harvest restrictions, habitat, and herd characteristics.

The amendment to §65.56, concerning Lesser Prairie Chicken: Open Seasons, Bag, and Possession Limits, would close the season on lesser prairie chicken statewide. Current harvest surveys indicated only 200 lesser prairie chickens are harvested annually in Texas. Staff attributes the decline in lesser prairie chicken numbers primarily to habitat loss. However, there is currently a multi-state effort to manage the remaining lesser prairie chickens and Texas, having the most remaining chickens, is the logical source for any stocking efforts in other states. Saving the remaining chickens for brood stock is thought to be the best use of this resource.

The amendment to §65.60, concerning Pheasant, would close the season in Wharton, Fort Bend, Brazoria, and Matagorda counties, and lengthen the season in 37 Panhandle counties from 16 to 30 days while reducing the bag limit by one cock. The season closure is necessary because department surveys indicate that pheasant in the affected counties no longer exist in huntable numbers. The amendment affecting Panhandle counties, which originated via a petition for rulemaking, is intended to provide greater hunter opportunity and the department has determined that it could be implemented without causing depletion of the resource.

The amendment to §65.62, concerning Quail: Open Seasons, Bag, and Possession Limits, would implement an open season for Mearn’s quail and would limit the daily bag of Mearn’s quail to no more than two per day as part of an aggregate quail bag. A two-bird daily bag limit on Mearn’s quail would provide limited hunting opportunities for persons interested in taking all four species of Texas’ native quail species. The proposed amendment would also ensure that the Mearn’s quail taken by accident during quail season would not be an offense.

The amendment to §65.71, concerning Reservoir Boundaries, adds a delineation of the boundaries of Toledo Bend reservoir. The amendment is necessary to clearly set forth the geographical area to which bag and possession limits apply with respect to Toledo Bend Reservoir.

The amendment to §65.72, concerning Fish, consists of several actions.

The amendment would change harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Lost Creek Lake in Jack County from the current 16-inch minimum length limit, five fish daily bag limit to the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit and five fish daily bag. Decreasing the minimum length limit to 14 inches will increase the opportunity for angler harvest and possibly utilization. Evaluation indicated that an increase in overall yield will result. Tournament anglers will appreciate the change since it will make it the same as an adjoining lake, which they often use in combination for tournaments. The change will also make enforcement easier for TPWD game wardens.

The amendment changes harvest regulations for largemouth bass at Lake Waxahachie in Ellis County from the current 14 -18-inch slot length-limit, five fish daily bag limit, to the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit. The five fish daily bag limit would be retained. Because angling activity for largemouth bass at Lake Waxahachie is primarily during fishing tournaments, and few of the fish captured during these tournaments are retained following weigh-in, it is unlikely that exploitation will increase. However, availability of 14-18 inch fish for legal possession will increase the numbers of fish that anglers may retain for weigh-in.

The amendment changes harvest regulations for white bass on Lakes Buchanan, Canyon, Conroe, Georgetown, Inks, Limestone, Livingston, Lyndon B. Johnson, Marble Falls, Palestine, Somerville, and Travis Reservoirs, and a section of the Trinity River from the current 12-inch minimum length limit and a 25-fish daily bag limit to the statewide 10-inch minimum length limit and 25 fish daily bag. Decreasing the minimum length limit to 10 inches will increase the opportunity for angler harvest and possibly increase utilization of the fishery. The change will reduce angler confusion and make enforcement easier for TPWD game wardens.

The amendment nonsubstantively changes certain lists of counties to reformat the list in alphabetical order. The change is necessary to present the information in more user-friendly fashion.

The amendment would impose a 25-inch maximum length limit for spotted seatrout (except that one fish of greater than 25 inches could be retained per day), which is necessary to better distribute the harvest of larger trout amongst more anglers over a greater period of time. The amendment is necessary because department data indicates that the proportion of fish greater than 25 inches has declined, while fishing pressure on seatrout populations has increased. The proposed amendment will protect those fish greater than 25 inches and increase overall spawning stock populations.

The amendment would establish an aggregate bag limit for guided fishing parties equal to the number of licensed anglers, less the fishing guide and deck hand, multiplied by the personal bag limit for each species. The amendment is necessary to ensure equitable distribution of opportunity to all users of the resource. Department data indicates that guided fishing parties catch far more fish per person than is the case for unguided anglers.

2. Fiscal Note.

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

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be the dispensation of the agency’s statutory duty to protect and conserve the wildlife resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission’s policy to maximize recreational opportunity within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

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

(C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

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

4. Request for Public Comments.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone (area code 512) or e-mail to Robert Macdonald (Wildlife 389-4775; e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us), Ken Kurzawski (Inland Fisheries 389-4591; e-mail: ken.kurzawski@tpwd.state.tx.us), Paul Hammerschmidt (Coastal Fisheries 389-4650; e-mail: paul.hammerschmidt@tpwd.state.tx.us), David Sinclair (Wildlife Enforcement 389-4854; e-mail: david.sinclair@tpwd.state.tx.us), or Larry Young (Fisheries Enforcement 389-4628; e-mail: larry.young@tpwd.state.tx.us), Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4775 or 1-800-792-1112.

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendments are proposed under the authority of 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 proposed new rule and amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

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

(1) – (15) (No change.)

(16) Deer population data - Results derived from deer population surveys and/or from systematic data analysis of density or herd health indicators, such as browse surveys or other scientifically acceptable data, that function as direct or indirect indicators of population density

(17)[(16)] Dip net—A mesh bag suspended from a frame attached to a handle.

(18)[(17)] Final processing—the cleaning of a dead wildlife resource for cooking or storage purposes.

(19)[(18)] Fish—

(A) Game fish—Blue catfish, blue marlin, broadbill swordfish, brown trout, channel catfish, cobia, crappie (black and white), flathead catfish, Guadalupe bass, king mackerel, largemouth bass, longbill spearfish, pickerel, red drum, rainbow trout, sailfish, sauger, sharks, smallmouth bass, snook, Spanish mackerel, spotted bass, spotted seatrout, striped bass, tarpon, wahoo, walleye, white bass, white marlin, yellow bass, and hybrids or subspecies of the species listed in this subparagraph.

(B) Non-game fish—All species not listed as game fish, except endangered and threatened fish, which are defined and regulated under separate proclamations.

(20)[(19)] Fishing—Taking or attempting to take aquatic animal life by any means.

(21)[(20)] Fish length—That straight-line measurement (while the fish is lying on its side) from the tip of the snout (jaw closed) to the extreme tip of the tail when the tail is squeezed together or rotated to produce the maximum overall length.

(22)[(21)] Fish species names—The names of fishes are those prescribed by the American Fisheries Society in the most recent edition of "A List of Common and Scientific Names of Fishes of The United States and Canada."

(23) Fishing guide—a person who operates a boat for compensation to accompany or to transport a person or persons engaged in fishing in the water of this state.

(24) Fishing guide deck hand—a person in the employ of a fishing guide who assists in operating a boat for compensation to accompany or to transport a person or persons engaged in fishing in the water of this state.

(25)[(22)] Fully automatic firearm—Any firearm that is capable of firing more than one cartridge in succession by a single function of the trigger.

(26)[(23)] Gaff—Any hand-held pole with a hook attached directly to the pole.

(27)[(24)] Gear tag—A tag constructed of material as durable as the device to which it is attached. The gear tag must be legible, contain the name and address of the person using the device, and, except for saltwater trotlines and crab traps, the date the device was set out.

(28)[(25)] Gig—Any hand-held shaft with single or multiple points.

(29)[(26)] Jug line—A fishing line with five or less hooks tied to a free-floating device.

(30)[(27)] Lawful archery equipment—Longbow, recurved bow, and compound bow.

(31)[(28)] License year—The period of time for which an annual hunting or fishing license is valid.

(32)[(29)] Muzzleloader—Any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle.

(33)[(30)] Natural bait—A whole or cut-up portion of a fish or shellfish or a whole or cut-up portion of plant material in its natural state, provided that none of these may be altered beyond cutting into portions.

(34)[(31)] Permanent residence—One's principal or ordinary home or dwelling place. This does not include a temporary abode or dwelling such as a hunting/fishing club, or any club house, cabin, tent, or trailer house used as a hunting/fishing club, or any hotel, motel, or rooming house used during a hunting, fishing, pleasure, or business trip.

(35)[(32)] Pole and line—A line with hook, attached to a pole. This gear includes rod and reel.

(36)[(33)] Possession limit—The maximum number of a wildlife resource that may be lawfully possessed at one time.

(37)[(34)] Purse seine (net)—A net with flotation on the corkline adequate to support the net in open water without touching bottom, with a rope or wire cable strung through rings attached along the bottom edge to close the bottom of the net.

(38)[(35)] Sail line—A type of trotline with one end of the main line fixed on the shore, the other end of the main line attached to a wind-powered floating device or sail.

(39)[(36)] Sand Pump—A self-contained, hand-held, hand-operated suction device used to remove and capture Callianassid ghost shrimp (Callichirus islagrande, formerly Callianassa islagrande) from their burrows.

(40)[(37)] Seine—A section of non-metallic mesh webbing, the top edge buoyed upwards by a floatline and the bottom edge weighted.

(41)[(38)] Silencer or sound-suppressing device—Any device that reduces the normal noise level created when the firearm is discharged or fired.

(42)[(39)] Spear—Any shaft with single or multiple points, barbed or barbless, which may be propelled by any means, but does not include arrows.

(43)[(40)] Spear gun—Any hand-operated device designed and used for propelling a spear, but does not include the crossbow.

(44)[(41)] Spike-buck deer—A buck deer with no antler having more than one point.

(45)[(42)] Throwline—A fishing line with five or less hooks and with one end attached to a permanent fixture. Components of a throwline may also include swivels, snaps, rubber and rigid support structures.

(46)[(43)] Trap—A rigid device of various designs and dimensions used to entrap aquatic life.

(47)[(44)] Trawl—A bag-shaped net which is dragged along the bottom or through the water to catch aquatic life.

(48)[(45)] Trotline—A nonmetallic main fishing line with more than five hooks attached and with each end attached to a fixture.

(49)[(46)] Umbrella net—A non-metallic mesh net that is suspended horizontally in the water by multiple lines attached to a rigid frame.

(50)[(47)] Upper-limb disability—A permanent loss of the use of fingers, hand or arm in a manner that renders a person incapable of using a longbow, compound bow or recurved bow.

(51)[(48)] Wildlife resources—All game animals, game birds, and aquatic animal life.

(52)[(49)] Wounded deer—A deer leaving a blood trail.

§65.10. Possession of Wildlife Resources.

(a) – (b) (No change.)

(c) In lieu of proof of sex, the person who killed the wildlife resource may:

(1) obtain a receipt from a taxidermist or a signed statement from the landowner, containing the following information:

(A)[(1)] the name of person who killed the wildlife resource;

(B)[(2)] the date the wildlife resource was killed;

(C)[(3)] one of the following, as applicable:

(i)[(A)] whether the deer was antlered or antlerless;

(ii)[(B)] the sex of the antelope;

(iii)[(C)] the sex of the turkey and whether a beard was attached; or

(iv)[(D)] the sex of the pheasant; or

(2) if the deer is to be tested by the department for chronic wasting disease, obtain a department-issued receipt (PWD 905).

(d) – (e) (No change.)

(f) The identification requirements for desert bighorn sheep skulls are as follows.

(1) No person may possess the skull of a desert bighorn ram in this state unless:

(A) one horn has been marked with a department identification plug by a department representative; or

(B) the person also possesses evidence of lawful take in the state or country where the ram was killed.

(2) A person may possess the skull and horns of a desert bighorn ram found dead in the wild, provided:

(A) the person did not cause or participate in the death of the ram;

(B) the person notifies a department biologist or game warden within 48 hours of discovering the dead ram and arranges for marking with a department identification plug by a department representative; and

(C) the landowner on whose property the skull was found signs an affidavit prior to the time the skull is marked that attests the place and date that the person discovered the ram.

(3) Individual horns may be possessed without any identification or documentation.

(4) This subsection does not apply to skulls possessed before the effective date of the subsection.

§65.25. Wildlife Management Plan (WMP).

(a) An approved WMP, specifying a harvest quota for antlerless deer or both buck and antlerless deer, is required for the issuance of Managed Lands Deer Permits and Antlerless/Spike-Buck Deer Control Permits.

(b) MLD permit issuance shall be determined by the WMP as follows.

(1) Level 1 MLD permits shall be issued to a landowner whose WMP includes current deer population [census] data.

(2) Level 2 MLD permits shall be issued to a landowner whose WMP includes:

(A) deer population [census] data for both the current year and the immediately preceding year;

(B) deer harvest data from the immediately preceding year; and

(C) at least two recommended habitat management practices.

(3) Level 3 MLD permits shall be issued to a landowner whose WMP includes:

(A) deer population [census] data for the current year and the immediately preceding two years;

(B) deer harvest data from the immediately preceding two years; and

(C) at least four recommended habitat management practices.

(c) A WMP is not valid unless it is:

(1) consistent with Parks and Wildlife Code, §§61.053 and 61.056; and

(2) signed by a Wildlife Division biologist or technician. A WMP is valid for one year following the date of such signature.

§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). In the case that a landowner is otherwise in fulfillment of the provisions of §65.25 of this title but does not have current population [survey] data, the department may conditionally authorize partial issuance of MLD permits, not to exceed 30 per cent of the total MLD permits to be issued for that property during the affected license year, with the balance of MLD permits to be issued upon submission of the required population [survey] data.

(b) – (c) (No change.)

(d) Except for deer taken under an Antlerless and Spike-Buck Control permit, all deer harvested on a property for which MLD permits have been issued [by MLD permit] must immediately be tagged with an appropriate tag (i.e., buck tag for buck deer, antlerless tag for antlerless deer) from the hunting license of the person who killed the deer or a valid bonus tag. If an appropriate MLD permit is not attached immediately at the time of kill, the person who killed the deer shall immediately take the carcass to a location on the property where an appropriate MLD tag shall be attached.

(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.

§65.27. Antlerless and Spike-buck Deer Control Permits (control permits). Control permits shall be issued only to control overpopulation of white-tailed deer and may be issued only to a landowner who has a current WMP issued in accordance with §65.25 of this title (relating to Wildlife Management Plan) that specifies a harvest quota of more than 20 antlerless deer. The WMP for permits issued under this section must be signed by a Wildlife Division employee assigned to write wildlife management plans [biologist classified CS VI or higher].

(1) Control permits shall be issued only after the landowner has provided the names, addresses and hunting license numbers of all persons who will be hunting under the authority of the permits. The maximum number of designated hunters allowed on one application for control permits shall not exceed one-tenth the number of deer recommended for harvest by the WMP. Additional designated hunters may not be added after permits have been issued.

(2) Control permits shall not be issued solely as a means to manipulate the sex ratio of a deer herd.

(3) No WMP shall authorize the take of more than 300 deer per designated hunter.

(4) Control permits shall be valid from the Saturday closest to September 30 through the last day of any open white-tailed deer season in the county for which the permits were issued.

(5) Deer harvested under the authority of control permits shall not be part of a hunter's annual bag limit.

(6) Applications must be received prior to December 10 in order to result in permit issuance for the current year.

(7) A report form provided by the department shall be submitted to the department by the landowner not later than February 14 following the use of the permits. The report must specify the sex and date of kill for each deer harvested under a control permit.

§65.29. Bonus Tag.

(a) A person may take one white-tailed deer per bonus tag during an open white-tailed deer season in any county, irrespective of the county and statewide bag limits [bag limit], provided that person possesses a valid bonus tag on their person and one of the following:

(1) an appropriate, valid MLD permit (i.e., MLD buck permit [tag] for a buck deer or MLD antlerless permit [tag] for an antlerless deer);

(2) a valid LAMPS permit (valid for antlerless only); or

(3) a valid Special Permit issued by the department for a public hunt, in which case the bonus tag is valid:

(A) only at the location specified on the permit;

(B) only during the date and time specified on the permit; and

(C) only for the sex of deer (buck or antlerless) specified on the permit.

(b) No person may:

(1) purchase more than five bonus tags per license year;

(2) use a bonus tag on more than one animal; or

(3) buy, sell, or otherwise exchange a bonus tag for remuneration or considerations of any kind; however, a bonus tag may be given to another person.

(c) A person who kills a deer shall immediately attach a properly executed bonus tag to the deer.

§65.42. Deer.

(a) (No change.)

(b) White-tailed deer. The open seasons and annual bag limits for white-tailed deer shall be as follows. No person may take more than two bucks, in the aggregate, from the counties listed in paragraphs (1), (2), and (6) of this subsection.

(1) – (5) (No change.)

(6) In Angelina, Chambers, Hardin, Harris, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Newton, Orange, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, and Walker counties, there is a general open season.

(A) Open season: first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January.

(B) Bag limit: four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless.

(C) From opening day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving, antlerless deer may be taken without antlerless deer permits unless MLD, LAMPS, or Wildlife Management Area permits have been issued for the tract of land. On National Forest, Corps of Engineers, Sabine River Authority, and Trinity River Authority lands, the take of antlerless deer shall be by permit only. If MLD or LAMPS permits have been issued, they must be attached to all antlerless deer harvested on the tract of land. From the Monday following Thanksgiving, antlerless deer may be taken only by MLD antlerless permits or LAMPS permits. On tracts of land for which LAMPS permits have been issued, no LAMPS permit is required for the harvest of antlerless deer during the archery-only or muzzleloader-only open season.

(7) – (8) (No change.)

(9) Muzzleloader-only open seasons, and bag and possession limits shall be as follows.

(A) In Brewster, Culberson, Jeff Davis, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, and Upton (that portion located both south of U.S. Highway 67 and east of state highway 349) counties, there is an open season during which only antlerless and spike-buck deer may be taken only with a muzzleloader.

(i) Open Season: from the first Saturday following the closing of the general open season for nine consecutive days.

(ii) Bag limit: four antlerless or spike-buck deer in the aggregate, no more than two spike bucks.

(B) In Angelina, Chambers, Hardin, Harris, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Newton, Orange, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, [and] Tyler, and Walker counties, there is an open season during which only antlerless and spike-buck deer may be taken only with a muzzleloader.

(i) Open Season: from the first Saturday following the closing of the general open season for nine consecutive days.

(ii) Bag limit: four antlerless or spike-buck deer in the aggregate, no more than two spike bucks and no more than two antlerless.

(C) No permit is required to hunt antlerless deer unless MLD permits have been issued for the property.

(10) (No change.)

(c) (No change.)

§65.56. Lesser Prairie Chicken: Open Seasons, Bag, and Possession Limits. There is no open season for lesser prairie chicken.

[(a) In Cochran, Hemphill, Hockley, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Terry, Wheeler, and Yoakum counties, there is an open season on prairie chicken, during which prairie chicken may be taken only by permit.]

[(1) Open season: Third Saturday in October for two consecutive days.]

[(2) Daily bag limit: Two prairie chickens.]

[(3) Possession limit: Four prairie chickens.]

[(b) In all other counties, there is no open season on prairie chicken.]

[(c) It is unlawful to hunt prairie chicken by any means other than shotgun.]

§65.60. Pheasant: Open Seasons, Bag, and Possession Limits.

(a) In Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Floyd, Gray, Hale, Hall, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hockley, Hutchinson, Lamb, Lipscomb, Lubbock, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, Wheeler, and Wilbarger counties, there is an open season for pheasants.

(1) Open season: First [Second] Saturday of December for 30 [16] consecutive days.

(2) Daily Bag limit: Two [Three] cock pheasants.

(3) Possession limit: Four [Six] cock pheasants.

(b) In [Brazoria,] Chambers, [Fort Bend], Jefferson, Liberty, [Matagorda,] and [Wharton] counties, there is an open season for pheasants.

(1) Open season: Saturday nearest November 1 through the last Sunday in February.

(2) Daily bag limit: Three cock pheasants.

(3) Possession limit: Six cock pheasants.

(c) In all other counties, there is no open season on pheasants.

(d) It is unlawful to hunt pheasant with the aid of a cable, chain, rope, or other device connected to or between a moving object or objects.

§65.62. Quail: Opens Seasons, Bag, and Possession limits.

(a) In all counties there is an open season for quail beginning the Saturday closest to October 28 through the last Sunday in February.

(b) Daily bag limit: 15 quail, including no more than two Mearns’quail.

(c) Possession limit: 45 quail, including no more than six Mearns’quail.

[(d) There is no open season on Mearns' quail (commonly called fool's quail).]

§65.71. Reservoir Boundaries. Reservoir boundaries for daily bag, possession, and length limits.

(1) – (18) (No change.)

(19) Toledo Bend Reservoir in Newton, Sabine, and Shelby counties comprises all impounded waters of the Sabine River from the Toledo Bend Reservoir Dam to the U.S. Highway 84 bridge.

§65.72. Fish.

(a) (No change.)

(b) Bag, possession, and length limits.

(1) The possession limit does not apply to fish in the possession of or stored by a person who has an invoice or sales ticket showing the name and address of the seller, number of fish by species, date of the sale, and other information required on a sales ticket or invoice.

(2) There are no bag, possession, or length limits on game or non-game fish, except as provided in these rules.

(A) Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit on game and non-game fish except as provided in these rules.

(B) Statewide daily bag and length limits shall be as follows:

Species Daily Bag Minimum Length (Inches) Maximum Length (Inches)
Amberjack, greater. 1 32 No limit
Bass: Largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and Guadalupe bass. 5 (in any combination)    
Largemouth and Smallmouth bass.   14 No limit
Bass, striped, its hybrids, and subspecies. 5 (in any combination) 18 No limit
Bass, white 25 10 No limit
Catfish: channel and blue catfish, their hybrids, and subspecies. 25 (in any combination) 12 No limit
Catfish, flathead. 5 18 No limit
Catfish, gafftopsail. No limit 14 No limit
Cobia. 2 37 No limit
Crappie: white and black crappie, their hybrids, and subspecies. 25 (in any combination) 10 No limit
Drum, black. 5 14 30
Drum, red. 3* 20 28*
*Special Regulation: During a license year, one red drum over the stated maximum length limit may be retained when affixed with a properly executed Red Drum Tag, a properly executed Exempt Red Drum Tag or with a properly executed Duplicate Exempt Red Drum Tag and one red drum over the stated maximum length limit may be retained when affixed with a properly executed Bonus Red Drum Tag. Any fish retained under authority of a Red Drum Tag, an Exempt Red Drum Tag, a Duplicate Exempt Red Drum Tag, or a Bonus Red Drum Tag may be retained in addition to the daily bag and possession limit as stated in this section.
Flounder: all species, their hybrids, and subspecies. 10* 14 No limit
*Special Regulation: The daily bag and possession limit for the holder of a valid Commercial Finfish Fisherman's license is 60 flounder, except on board a licensed commercial shrimp boat.
Grouper, goliath. 0    
Mackerel, king. 2 27 No limit
Mackerel, Spanish. 15 14 No limit
Marlin, blue. No limit 131 No limit
Marlin, white. No limit 86 No limit
Mullet: all species, their hybrids, and subspecies. No limit No limit *
*Special regulation: During the period October through January, no mullet more than 12 inches in length may be taken from public waters or possessed on board a vessel.
Sailfish No limit 84 No limit
Saugeye 3 18 No limit
Seatrout, spotted. 10 15 25* [No limit]
*Special Regulation: One spotted seatrout greater than 25 inches may be retained per day.
Shark: all species, their hybrids, and subspecies. 1 24 No limit
Sheepshead. 5 12 No limit
Snapper, lane. No limit 8 No limit
Snapper, red. 4 15 No limit
Snapper, vermilion. No limit 10 No limit
Snook. 1 24 28
Tarpon. 0   Catch and release only*.
*Special Regulation: One tarpon 80 inches in length or larger may be retained during a license year when affixed with a properly executed Tarpon Tag.
Trout: rainbow and brown trout, their hybrids, and subspecies. 5 (in any combination) No limit No limit
Walleye. 5* No limit No limit
*Special regulation: Two walleye of less than 16 inches may be retained per day.

(C) Exceptions to statewide daily bag, possession, and length limits shall be as follows:

(i) The following is a figure:

Location (County) Daily Bag Minimum Length (Inches) Special Regulation
Bass: largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and Guadalupe bass, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 5 (in any combination) 14  
In all waters in the Lost Maples State Natural Area (Bandera) 0 No Limit Catch and release only.
Bass: largemouth and smallmouth      
Lake Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine and Shelby). 8 (in any combination) 14 Possession Limit is 10.
Bass: largemouth.      
Conroe (Montgomery and Walker), Fort Phantom Hill (Jones), Granbury (Hood), [Lost Creek (Jack),] Possum Kingdom (Palo Pinto, Stephens, Young), Proctor (Comanche), and Ratcliff (Houston). 5 16  
Lakes Aquilla (Hill) , Bellwood (Smith), Braunig (Bexar), Bright (Williamson), Brushy Creek (Williamson), Bryan (Brazos), Calaveras (Bexar), Casa Blanca (Webb), Cleburne State Park (Johnson), Cooper (Delta and Hopkins), Fairfield (Freestone), Gilmer (Upshur), Jacksonville (Cherokee), Meridian State Park (Bosque), Old Mount Pleasant City (Titus), Rusk State Park (Cherokee), San Augustine City (San Augustine), and Welsh (Titus) [Lakes Brushy Creek (Williamson), Fairfield (Freestone), Jacksonville (Cherokee), Cleburne State Park (Johnson), Meridian State Park (Bosque), San Augustine City (San Augustine), Calaveras (Bexar), Bright (Williamson), Cooper (Delta and Hopkins), Aquilla (Hill), Bellwood (Smith), Casa Blanca (Webb), Old Mount Pleasant City (Titus), Rusk State Park (Cherokee), Welsh (Titus), Braunig (Bexar), Bryan (Brazos), and Gilmer (Upshur)]. 5 18  
Nelson Park Lake (Taylor) and Buck Lake (Kimble). 0 No Limit Catch and release and only.
Lakes Alan Henry (Garza) and O.H. Ivie (Coleman, Concho, and Runnels). 5 No Limit It is unlawful to retain more than two bass of less than 18 inches in length.
Purtis Creek State Park Lake (Henderson and Van Zandt), and Raven (Walker). 0 No Limit Catch and release only except that any bass 21 inches or greater in length may be retained in a live well or other aerated holding device and immediately transported to the Purtis Creek or Huntsville State Park, or Gibbons Creek weigh stations. After weighing, the bass must be released immediately back into the lake or donated to the ShareLunker Program.
Lakes Bridgeport (Jack and Wise), Burke-Crenshaw (Harris), Caddo (Marion and Harrison), Davy Crockett (Fannin) , Grapevine (Denton and Tarrant), Georgetown (Williamson), Madisonville (Madison), and Sweetwater (Nolan) [Lakes Waxahachie (Ellis), Bridgeport (Jack and Wise), Georgetown (Williamson), Caddo (Marion and Harrison), Burke-Crenshaw (Harris), Grapevine (Denton and Tarrant), Davy Crockett (Fannin) , Sweetwater (Nolan), and Madisonville (Madison).] 5 14-18 Inch Slot Limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 18 inches in length.
Lakes Athens (Henderson), Bastrop (Bastrop), Buescher State Park (Bastrop), Houston County (Houston), Joe Pool (Dallas, Ellis, and Tarrant), Mill Creek (Van Zandt), Murvaul (Panola), Nacogdoches (Nacogdoches), Pinkston (Shelby), Timpson (Shelby), Town (Travis), and Walter E. Long (Travis)[Lakes Bastrop (Bastrop), Buescher State Park (Bastrop), Town (Travis) Houston County (Houston), Nacogdoches (Nacogdoches), Mill Creek (Van Zandt), Joe Pool (Dallas, Ellis, and Tarrant), Walter E. Long (Travis), Timpson (Shelby), and Athens (Henderson), Murvaul (Panola), and Pinkston (Shelby).] 5 14-21 Inch Slot Limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 21 inches in length. No more than 1 bass 21 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lakes Fayette County (Fayette), Gibbons Creek Reservoir (Grimes), Monticello (Titus), and Ray Roberts (Cooke, Denton, and Grayson). 5 14-24 Inch Slot Limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 24 inches in length. No more than 1 bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lake Fork (Wood, Rains and Hopkins) 5 16-24 Inch Slot Limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 16 and 24 inches in length. No more than 1 bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Bass: smallmouth.      
Lakes O. H. Ivie (Coleman, Concho, and Runnels), Alan Henry (Garza), and Devil's River (Val Verde) from State Highway 163 bridge crossing near Juno downstream to Dolan Falls. 3 18  
Lake Meredith (Hutchinson, Moore, and Potter). 3 12-15 Inch Slot Limit It is unlawful to retain smallmouth bass between 12 and 15 inches in length.
Bass: spotted      
Lake Alan Henry (Garza) 3 18  
Lake Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine and Shelby). 8 12 Possession Limit is 10.
Bass: striped, its hybrids, and subspecies.      
Lake Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine and Shelby). 5 No Limit No more than 2 striped bass 30 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 10 (in any combination) No Limit No more than 2 striped or hybrid striped bass 20 inches or greater in length may be retained each day. Striped or hybrid striped bass caught and placed on a stringer, in a live well or any other holding device become part of the daily bag limit and may not be released. Possession limit is 10.
Red River (Grayson) from Denison Dam downstream to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson). 5 (in any combination) No Limit Striped bass caught and placed on a stringer, in a live well or any other holding device become part of the daily bag limit and may not be released.
Lake Possum Kingdom (Palo Pinto, Stephens, Young) and Trinity River (Polk and San Jacinto) from the Lake Livingston dam downstream to the F.M. Road 3278 bridge. 2 (in any combination) 18  
Bass: striped and white bass, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Lake Pat Mayse (Lamar) and Lake O'the Pines (Camp, Marion, Morris, and Upshur) 25 (in any combination) 10 No more than 5 striped, white, or hybrid striped bass 18 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Bass: white      
[Lakes Conroe, Livingston, Limestone, Palestine, Somerville, Buchanan, Canyon, Georgetown, Inks, Lyndon B. Johnson, Marble Falls, and Travis.] [25] [12]  
Lakes Texoma (Cooke and Grayson) and Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby). 25 No Limit  
Catfish: channel and blue catfish, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Lake Livingston (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker). 50 (in any combination) 12 Possession limit is 50. The holder of a commercial fishing license may not retain channel or blue catfish less than 14 inches in length.
Trinity River (Polk and San Jacinto) from the Lake Livingston dam downstream to the F.M. Road 3278 bridge. 10 (in any combination) 12 No more than 2 channel or blue catfish 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 15 (in any combination) 12  
Community fishing lakes, Bellwood (Smith), Dixieland (Cameron), and Tankersley (Titus). 5 (in any combination) 12  
Catfish: flathead      
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson) and the Red River (Grayson) from Denison Dam to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson). 5 20  
Crappie: black and white crappie, their hybrids and subspecies.      
Lake Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby). 50 (in any combination) 10 Possession limit is 50. From December 1, through the last day in February, there is no minimum length limit. All crappie caught during this period must be retained.
Lake Fork (Wood, Rains, and Hopkins) and Lake O'The Pines (Camp, Harrison, Marion, Morris, and Upshur). 25 (in any combination) 10 From December 1, through the last day in February, there is no minimum length limit. All crappie caught during this period must be retained.
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 37 (in any combination) 10 Possession limit is 50.
Drum, red.      
Lakes Braunig and Calaveras (Bexar), Coleto Creek Reservoir (Goliad and Victoria), Colorado City (Mitchell), Fairfield (Freestone), Nasworthy (Tom Green), and Tradinghouse Creek (McLennan). 3 20 No maximum length limit.
Shad: gizzard and threadfin shad.      
The Trinity River below Lake Livingston in Polk and San Jacinto Counties. 500 (in any combination) No Limit Possession Limit 1,000 in any combination.
Trout: Rainbow and brown trout, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Guadalupe River (Comal) from the second bridge crossing on the River Road upstream to the easternmost bridge crossing on F.M. Road 306. 1 18  
Walleye.      
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 5 18  

(ii) Bag and possession limits for black drum and sheepshead do not apply to the holder of a valid Commercial Finfish Fisherman's License.

(iii) Fish caught in federal waters in compliance with a federal fishery management plan may be landed in Texas.

(iv)The bag limit for a guided fishing party is equal to the total number of persons in the boat licensed to fish or otherwise exempt from holding a license minus each fishing guide and fishing guide deckhand multiplied by the bag limit for each species harvested.

(c) (No change.)

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


Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit B

Fishing Guide Fees
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §53.7, concerning Business Licenses and Permits. The amendment increases the fee for a fishing guide license from $75 to $200. The amendment is necessary because the department has determined that the licensing fee for fishing guides is underpriced with respect to the impact of fishing guides on fisheries resources. The amendment also eliminates a reference to an effective date that is no longer necessary.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, Wildlife Division regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the proposed amendment is in effect, there will be fiscal implications to the department. The department estimates that sales of fishing guide licenses will generate additional revenues of $230, 425. There will be no fiscal implications to local governments or other units of state government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendment.

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the amendment as proposed will be additional fiscal resources available to the department for the conservation and management of the state's freshwater and saltwater fisheries.

(B) There will be minimal adverse economic effects on small businesses, microbusinesses, and persons required to comply with the amendment as proposed. Persons working as fishing guides will have to spend an additional $125 for annual licensure, which is not believed to be burdensome even to the person who infrequently or occasionally guides fishermen in exchange for pay or compensation.

(C) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce 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 real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed amendment.

4. Request for Public Comments.

Comments on the proposed amendment may be submitted to Robin Riechers, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4645 or 1-800-792-1112.

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment is proposed under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §47.004, which authorizes the commission to establish the fee for a fishing guide license and to adopt rules governing the issuance and use of a fishing guide license.

The amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 47.

§53.7. Business Licenses and Permits. Fish, bait, and shrimp licenses and tags.

(1) Licenses.

(A) retail fish dealer's — $84;

(B) retail fish dealer's truck — $156;

(C) wholesale fish dealer's — $750;

(D) wholesale fish dealer's truck — $510;

(E) bait dealer's — individual — $36;

(F) bait dealer-place of business/building — $36;

(G) bait dealer-place of business/motor vehicle — $36;

(H) bait shrimp dealer's — $204;

(I) finfish import — $90; and

(J) fishing guide – $200[$75].

(2) License transfers.

(A) retail fish dealer's license transfer — $10;

(B) retail fish dealer's truck license transfer — $10;

(C) wholesale fish dealer's license transfer — $10;

(D) wholesale fish dealer's truck license transfer — $10;

(E) bait dealer's license transfer — $10;

(F) bait dealer's-place of business/building license transfer — $10;

(G) bait dealer's-place of business/motor vehicle license transfer — $10;

(H) bait shrimp dealer's license transfer — $10;

(I) finfish import license transfer — $10.

(3) The fee for the saltwater trotline tag shall be $3.00.

[(4) The provisions of this section take effect September 1, 2002.]

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

Issued in Austin, Texas on


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