Presenter: Vernon Beville

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Update
Migratory Gamebird Proclamation – Early Season
May 2003

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.

Exhibit A - Proposed Migratory Bird Proclamation


Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

2003-2004 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission proposes amendments to §§65.315, 65.318, and 65.319-65.321, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation. 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. 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 to reflect calendar shift. 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, also to reflect calendar shift. The amendment to §65.321, concerning Special Management Provisions, establishes dates and special regulations for the take of light geese during the special conservation season. The amendments are necessary to implement commission policy to provide the greatest hunter opportunity possible under frameworks issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The Service has not issued regulatory frameworks for the 2003-2004 hunting seasons for migratory game birds; thus, the department cautions that the proposed regulations are tentative. However, it is the policy of the commission to adopt 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 or microbusinesses. There are no additional economic costs to 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.

§65.315. Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits—Early Season (a) Rails.

(1) Dates: September 20 - 28, 2003 [September 14 - 29, 2002] and October 25 - December 24, 2003 [October 26 - December 18, 2002].

(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 - October 30, 2003 [September 1 - October 30, 2002].

(B) Daily bag limit: 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: 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 30, 2003 [September 1 - October 29, 2002] and December 26, 2003 – January 4, 2004 [December 26, 2002 - January 5, 2003].

(B) Daily bag limit: 12 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 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 20 - November 5, 2003 [September 20 - November 3, 2002], and December 20, 2003 - January 11, 2004 [December 21, 2002 - January 14, 2003].

(B) Daily bag limit: 12 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 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 6, 7, 13, and 14, 2003 [September 7, 8, 14, and 15, 2002].

(i) 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;

(ii) 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.

(B) Dates: September 20 - November 5, 2003 and December 20, 2003 - January 7, 2004 [September 20 - November 3, 2002 and December 21, 2002 - January 10, 2003].

(i) Daily bag limit: 12 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, in the aggregate to include no more than two white-tipped doves per day;

(ii) Possession limit: 24 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate to include no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

(c) Gallinules.

(1) Dates: September 20 - 28, 2003 [September 14 - 29, 2002] and October 25 - December 24, 2003 [October 26 - December 18, 2002].

(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 20 - 28, 2003 [September 14 - 22, 2002].

(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) Woodcock: December 18, 2003 - January 31, 2004 [December 18, 2002 - January 31, 2003]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(h) Common snipe (Wilson's snipe or jacksnipe): October 18, 2003 - February 1, 2004 [October 19, 2002 - February 2, 2003]. The daily bag limit is eight. The possession limit is 16.

§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, 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. There is no open season for canvasback.

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: September 29-October 6, 2003, and October 25, 2003 - January 21, 2004 [September 23-September 29, 2002, and October 26, 2002 - January 22, 2003]. The open season for pintail begins December 11, 2003 [December 12, 2002] and runs through January 18, 2004 [January 19, 2003].

(B) North Zone: November 8-9, 2003 [November 9-10, 2002] and November 15, 2003 - January 25, 2004 [November 16, 2002 - January 26, 2003]. The open season for pintail begins December 18, 2003 [December 19, 2002] and runs through January 25, 2004 [January 26, 2003].

(C) South Zone: November 1 – November 30, 2003, and December 6, 2003 - January 18, 2004 [November 2 - December 1, 2002, and December 7, 2002 - January 19, 2003]. The open season for pintail begins December 11, 2003 [December 12, 2002] and runs through January 18, 2004 [January 19, 2003].

(2) Geese.

(A) Western Zone.

(i) Light geese: October 25, 2003 - February 8, 2004 [October 26, 2002 - February 9, 2003]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

(ii) Dark geese: October 25, 2003 - February 8, 2004 [October 26, 2002 - February 9, 2003]. 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. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

(I) In that portion of the Eastern Zone lying north of IH 10: October 25, 2003 - January 25, 2004 [October 26, 2002 - January 26, 2003].

(II) In that portion of the Eastern Zone that is both south of IH 10 and east of IH 35: October 25, 2003 - January 18, 2004 [October 26, 2002 - January 19, 2003].

(ii) Dark geese:

(I) White-fronted geese: October 25, 2003 - January 18, 2004 [October 26, 2002 - January 19, 2003].

(II) Canada geese and brant: October 25, 2003 - January 18, 2004 [October 26, 2002 - January 19, 2003].

(III) The daily bag limit for dark geese is three, no more than two white-fronted geese or no more than two Canada geese.

(3) 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.

(A) Zone A: November 8, 2003 - February 8, 2004 [November 9, 2002 - February 9, 2003]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(B) Zone B: November 29, 2003 - February 8, 2004 [November 30, 2002 - February 9, 2003]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(C) Zone C: December 20, 2003 - January 18, 2004 [December 21, 2002 - January 19, 2003]. The daily bag limit is two. The possession limit is four.

(4) 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, except that pintail ducks may be taken. The bag limit for pintail ducks is one per day. The possession limit is two. Season dates are as follows:

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 18-19, 2003 [October 19-20, 2002];

(B) North Zone: October 25-26, 2003 [October 26-27, 2002]; and

(C) South Zone: October 25-26, 2003 [October 26-27, 2002].

§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, 2003 [November 19 - December 25, 2002].

(2) rails and gallinules: December 19, 2003 - January 24, 2004 [December 19, 2002 - January 24, 2003].

(3) woodcock: November 24 - December 17, 2003 and January 31 - March 9, 2004 [November 24 - December 17, 2002 and February 1 - March 10, 2003].

(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. 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) Ducks, coots, and mergansers:

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

(B) North Duck Zone: January 26 - February 16, 2004 [January 27 - February 17, 2003];

(B) South Duck Zone: January 19 - February 9, 2004 [January 20 - February 10, 2003].

(2) 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 (4) 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 (4) 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 (4) of this section, shooting hours are from one half-hour before sunrise until one half-hour after sunset.

(4) Special Light Goose Conservation Period.

(A) From January 26, 2004 through March 28, 2004 [January 27, 2003 through March 30, 2003], the take of light geese is lawful in that portion of the Eastern Zone lying north of IH 10.

(B) From January 19, 2004 through March 28, 2004 [January 20, 2003 through March 30, 2003], the take of light geese is lawful in that portion of the Eastern Zone that is both south of IH 10 and east of IH 35.

(C) From February 9, 2004 through March 28, 2004 [February 10, 2003 through March 30, 2003], 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


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