Presenter: Mike Berger
Amos Cooper
Monique Slaughter

Commission Agenda Item No. 15
Action
Alligator Proclamation
August 2003

I. Discussion: Chapter 65 of the Parks and Wildlife Code authorizes the Commission to regulate the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, exportation, importation, sale, and offering for sale of alligators, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator that the commission considers necessary to manage the species. In the process of reviewing the Alligator Proclamation, staff has become aware of several issues. Under current regulations, out-of-state alligator farmers who trans-ship live alligators through Texas to out-of-state destinations are required to purchase and possess an alligator import permit whenever they move alligators through this state, although they transact no business here and the alligators never leave the confines of their transport. Staff recommends that such instances be exempted from the import permit requirement, provided that the alligators enter the state only for the purpose of being transported out-of-state and are accompanied by documentation that they are lawfully possessed. Staff additionally proposes to prohibit the feeding of free-ranging alligators, which encourages alligators to associate humans with food and causes them to lose their natural fear of humans. Other changes are either minor substantive changes or housekeeping-type changes, as noted in the proposed text located at Exhibit A. The proposed regulations were published in the July 25, 2003, issue of the Texas Register (28 TexReg 5821) for public comment. Staff will provide a summary of public comment at the time of the meeting.

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

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department adopts the repeal of §65.357 and §65.365, amendments to §§65.352-65.354, 65.356, 65.359, 65.360-65.364, and new §§65.357, 65.365, and 65.366, concerning the Alligator Proclamation, with changes to the proposed text as published in the July 25, 2003, issue of the Texas Register (28 TexReg 5821).”

Attachment – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rules

Commission Agenda Item No. 15
Exhibit A

Alligator Proclamation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes the repeal of §65.357 and §65.365, amendments to §65.352-65.354, 65.356, 65.359, 65.360, and 65.361-65.364, and new §§65.357, 65.365, and 65.366, concerning the Alligator Proclamation. The amendment to §65.352, concerning Definitions, consists of the addition of a definition of ‘consumer,’ which is necessary to delineate that class of persons who are end-users of alligators and to whom no documentation or licensing requirements apply; and of ‘skull length,’ which is necessary for determining the threshold for permanent marking requirements. The amendment also revises the definition for ‘processed alligator part,’ replacing it with the term ‘processed product.’ Further, the amendment alters the definition of ‘alligator’ to eliminate reference to alligator eggs. The amendment is necessary to avoid semantic complication in other provisions caused by the cumbersome nature of the current definition. The amendment also alters the definition of ‘harpoon or gig,’ which has been simplified to eliminate confusing terminology by consolidating this class of hand-held, thrown devices under the single definition of ‘gig.’ The amendment is necessary to remove antiquated language that serves no edifying purpose. Further, the amendment adds a nonsubstantive change that imports two definitions from §65.357, concerning Sale of Alligators. The amendment is necessary to place all definitions in a single section for ease of use and administrative simplicity. Finally, the amendment eliminates the definition of ‘shed.’ The amendment is necessary because the term is no longer used in the subchapter.

The amendment to §65.353, concerning General Provisions, allows for persons to enter the state with live, legally documented alligators for purposes of shipment outside the state. The amendment is necessary because alligator farmers in other states use airports in Texas to ship alligators out of the state, and such activities were never intended to be subject to the intent of the subchapter. The amendment also stipulates notification requirements and requires that alligators brought into the state for shipment to other destinations be humanely treated.

The amendment to §65.354, concerning Hunting, renames the section ‘Hunting and Tagging’ and eliminates subsection (a). The change is nonsubstantive, in that the license requirement contained in subsection (a) duplicates statutory requirements and is therefore unnecessary. The amendment is necessary to eliminate repetitive language. The amendment also replaces a current hide-tag requirement (that hunters have in possession at least one unused hide tag while hunting), with a requirement that hunters possess at least one unused hide tag per taking device. The amendment is necessary to prevent the take of alligators in excess of the number of hide tags in possession by a hunter. The amendment also requires hide tags to be attached within ten inches of the tip of an alligator’s tail, rather than through a medial scute. The change does not alter the impact of the current requirement, but does clear up confusion for hunters unfamiliar with precise anatomical terminology.

The amendment to §65.356, concerning Means and Methods, clarifies existing requirements designed to prevent the hunting of alligators at night. The amendment also would specifically prohibit the setting of baited lines between sunset and one-half hour before sunrise, and is necessary to control night hunting, which is difficult to regulate effectively. Finally, the amendment requires a float to be attached to lines on all hand-held taking devices. The amendment is necessary to enhance the ability of hunters using hand-held devices to track and locate alligators once they are caught.

New §65.357, concerning Purchase and Sale of Alligators, reorganizes the current rules by importing provisions previously located in other sections to create a single section to address what each class of permittee may and may not do with respect to the purchase and sale of alligators. The new section for the most part does not substantively alter the rules currently in effect; however, there are changes that differ slightly from the existing rules. The new section stipulates that a wholesale dealer’s permit is required for anyone to purchase alligators for the purpose of resale, replaces the term ‘restaurant’ with the term ‘vendor,’ and requires a separate retail dealer permit for each place of business. The new rule is necessary primarily to create a more user-friendly and intuitive organizational structure, but is also necessary to prevent persons from evading the permit and documentation requirements of the subchapter by engaging in second-hand transactions. This portion of the new rule is intended to create an absolute standard to prevent the unregulated sale of alligators and their parts.

The amendment to §65.359, concerning Possession, alters subsection (a) to make it applicable to persons who might for whatever reasons possess an alligator that was actually taken by someone else, and creates a documentation option for persons possessing alligators under circumstances that make the hide tag impractical or impossible. The changes are necessary to address various scenarios under which persons other than hunters and dealers could possess alligators. Finally, the amendment requires all individual alligator skulls (i.e., skulls not accompanied by the alligator from which it came) of greater than nine inches length to be permanently marked. The change is necessary to create a documentation trail for wild-caught alligators, ensuring that skulls come from legally taken alligators. As a general rule, alligators harvested at alligator farms are in age classes that do not exceed a skull-length of greater than ten inches; therefore, alligator skulls greater than ten inches are virtually assured to have been taken from the wild.

The amendment to §65.360, concerning Report Requirements, makes nonsubstantive changes to correct references to department documents, extends the deadline for the return of egg collection reports, and requires permittees to notify the department when hide tags are lost, destroyed, stolen, or mutilated. The amendment is necessary, respectively, to allow more time for egg collectors to compile and submit their reports and to accurately account for the disposition of all nest stamps issued by the department.

The amendment to §65.361, concerning Alligator Farm Facility Requirements, requires hide tag applications to be submitted 15 days prior to the harvest of alligators, except for non-harvest mortalities. The amendment is necessary for the department to accurately track harvest numbers.

The amendment to §65.362, concerning Importation and Exportation, eliminates the requirement that an export permit be purchased for each instance of importation and replaces it with an export permit valid for a maximum of one year if purchased September 1. The amendment also creates a notification requirement for each instance of importation. Further, the amendment also acknowledges the change to another section that would allow live alligators from out-of-state to be temporarily transported in or through the state en route to other destination. Finally, the amendment creates a $4.00 export fee for each live alligator exported from the state that is not accompanied by a valid, department-issued hide tag. The amendment is necessary to make the section comport with the provisions of other sections, to reduce the administrative costs to the department, and to create an incentive for live alligators to be sold in Texas and exported only when a Texas buyer cannot be found.

The amendment to §65.363, concerning Alligator Control, adds a new subsection (a) to explicitly acknowledge the department’s authority to contract for the removal of nuisance alligators. The amendment is necessary because although the authority can be inferred from the context of the section, there is no clear statement stating so.

The amendment to §65.364, concerning Exceptions, prohibits the feeding of free-ranging alligators (except for hunters), and requires that persons who kill an alligator in self-defense notify the department immediately, rather than within 24 hours. The amendment is necessary to stop the practice of alligator feeding in non-farm environments, which causes alligators to lose their natural fear of humans and encourages them to understand human activity as a possible food source and to assist law enforcement investigations by narrowing the timeframe for reporting such mortalities inflicted in self-defense situations.

New §65.365, concerning Management Tag, provides for a reduced-price hide tag to be issued to landowners to encourage the harvest of sub-adult alligators, and establishes a fee of $5.00 per tag. The amendment is necessary to encourage selective harvest of size classes in proportion to their occurrence in the wild.

New §65.366, concerning Violations and Penalties, contains the provisions of former §65.365, which was repealed to create more space within the subchapter for new sections.

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 fiscal implications to state government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules. The department expects to sell approximately 300 of the newly created management hide tags at $5.00 per tag, which will result in approximately $1,500 per year in additional revenue to the department. The rules as proposed will not result in fiscal implications for units of local government.

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 better organized regulations, more efficient administration of the department’s statutory duty, and an increased quality of protection for alligator resources in the state.

(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 filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce Commission as required by the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will have no impact on 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 be submitted to Robert Macdonald, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4775 or 1-800-792-1112 extension 4775 (e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

The repeals, amendments, and new sections are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 65, which provides the Commission with authority to regulate the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, exportation, importation, sale, and offering for sale of alligators, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator that the commission considers necessary to manage this species, and provide for permit application forms, fees, and procedures; the periods of time when it is lawful to take, possess, sell, or purchase alligators, alligator hides, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator; limits, size, means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take or possess alligators, alligator hides, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator; and control of nuisance alligators.

The proposed repeals, amendments, and new sections affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 65.

§65.357. Sale of Alligators.

§65.365. Violations and Penalties.

The amendments and new sections are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 65, which provides the Commission with authority to regulate the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, exportation, importation, sale, and offering for sale of alligators, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator that the commission considers necessary to manage this species, and provide for permit application forms, fees, and procedures; the periods of time when it is lawful to take, possess, sell, or purchase alligators, alligator hides, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator; limits, size, means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take or possess alligators, alligator hides, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator; and control of nuisance alligators.

The proposed amendments and new sections affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 65.

§65.352. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms shall have the meanings assigned in Subchapter A of this chapter (relating to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation) and in the Parks and Wildlife Code.

(1) Alligator—For the purposes of this subchapter, alligator means any American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), living or dead, or any part of an alligator[, including their eggs].

(2) Control hunter—A person authorized by the department to take nuisance alligators.

(3) Consumer – A person who purchases alligators, alligator parts, or products made from alligators for personal use or consumption and who does not sell, resell, trade, or barter the alligators, alligator parts, or products made from alligators in exchange for anything of value.

(4) Egg collection—To remove or possess alligator eggs from wild nests.

(5) [(4)] Egg collector—A person authorized by the department to collect, possess, or transport alligator eggs.

(6) [(5)] Farm—A premises where alligators are bred or raised under department-sanctioned conditions.

(7) [(6)] Farmer—A person holding an alligator farming permit.

(8) [(7)] Gig [Harpoon or gig]—A pole or staff [less than ten feet long,] equipped with at least one of the following: [either six or fewer]

(A) immovable prongs;

(B) [or] two or more spring-loaded grasping arms; or

(C) a detachable head.

(9) [(8)] Hatchling alligator—Any alligator less than 12 inches in length.

(10) [(9)] Nuisance alligator—An alligator that is depredating or a threat to human health or safety.

(11) [(10)] Processed product [or manufactured alligator part]—Any alligator part (and its resulting products) that has been treated to prevent decomposition and/or packaged for sale. Alligator meat is a processed product only if it has been processed and packaged in compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal rules regarding food processing.

(12) [(11)] Propagation—The holding of live alligators [animals] for production of offspring.

(13) [(12)] Retail dealer—A person who operates a place of business (mobile or permanent) for resale of alligators to the consumer only, except as provided in §65.357 of this title (relating to Purchase and Sale of Alligators) [A person who buys processed or manufactured alligator parts from an alligator buyer, farmer, or from a legal out-of-state source for resale to the consumer only].

[(13) Shed—An enclosed structure used to house alligators.]

(14) Wholesale dealer—A person who operates a place of business (mobile or permanent) for the purpose of buying nonliving alligators for resale, canning, preserving, processing, or handling for shipment or sale. [An alligator buyer who buys nonliving alligators for the purpose of selling, canning, preserving, processing, or handling for shipment or sale.]

(15) Skull length – the distance from the anterior edge of the premaxilla to the posterior edge of the parietal, measured along the mid-line of the skull.

§65.353. General Provisions.

(a) Except as provided in this subchapter, no[No] person may possess an untagged alligator hide or undocumented alligator part.

(b) [Except as provided in this subchapter, no person may possess the raw or salted hide of an alligator at any time. Raw or salted hides that are tagged and legally documented may be transported by common carrier or possessed for tanning or taxidermy.]

[(c)] No person may possess a live alligator without possessing a valid alligator farming permit, except:

(1) as provided in this subchapter or by the Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C; or

(2) a common carrier or person transporting legally documented live alligators for purposes of shipping the alligators to a final destination that is outside this state.

(c) Any person transporting live alligators shall take reasonable precautions to maximize the humane treatment of and minimize stress to the alligators being transported.

[(d) All persons to whom hide tags have been issued shall notify the department in writing within 15 days in the event that any tags are lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed. The department will not replace tags so reported.]

§65.354. Hunting and Tagging.

(a) [License. No person shall hunt or take alligators without possessing a valid alligator hunting license.]

[(b) Tags.]

[(1)] Landowners may obtain hide tags from the department by submitting an application form (PWD 369).

(b) [(2)] Hunters shall obtain hide tags from the landowner.

(c) [(3)] While taking alligators, an [An] alligator hunter must physically possess at least one valid, unused alligator hide tag per taking device in use by the hunter and during each attempted take of an alligator [while taking alligators].

(d)[(4)] Any alligator removed from a taking device must immediately be killed and permanently tagged . The tag shall be placed within ten inches of the tip [through a medial scute in the last six inches] of the alligator's tail.

§65.356. Means and Methods.

(a) Legal devices for taking alligators in the wild are as follows:

(1) hook and line (line set);

(2) [harpoon or] gig;

(3) lawful archery equipment and barbed arrow; and

(4) hand-held snare with integral locking mechanism.

(b) [Alligators caught on legal taking devices may be killed by firearms, axes, or hatchets.]

[(c)] Hook-bearing lines may not be set prior to the general open season and shall be removed no later than sunset of the last day of the open season.

(c) [(d)] An alligator hunter shall set no more than one line per unused hide tag in possession.

(d) [(e)] Alligator hunters shall inspect their line sets daily, and shall remove and immediately tag all captured alligators.

(e) [(f)] From sunset to one-half hour before sunrise:

(1) no person shall set any baited line capable of taking an alligator;

(2) no person shall [Alligator hunters shall neither] remove alligators from line sets; and

(3) no person shall [nor] use any taking device other than line sets [from sunset to one-half hour before sunrise].

(f) [(g)] All taking devices shall be used only on the tracts of land or water specified for the hide tags. All line sets shall be secured at one end on the tract of land or water specified for the hide tags.

(g) [(h)] Each baited line shall be labeled with a plainly visible, permanent, and legibly marked gear tag that contains:

(1) the full name and current address of the alligator hunter who set the line; [it]

(2) the alligator hunting license number of the person who set the line; and

(3) a valid hide tag number assigned to the hunter who set the line.

(h) [(i)] A line of at least 300-pound test shall be securely attached to all taking devices being used to hunt alligators. Except as provided in this subsection, hook-bearing [Hook-bearing] lines must be attached to a stationary object capable of maintaining a portion of the line above water when an alligator is caught on the line. A line attached to an arrow, snare, or gig must have a float attached when used to take alligators. The float shall be no less than six inches by six inches by eight inches, or, if the float is spherical, no less than eight inches in diameter.

§65.357. Purchase and Sale of Alligators.

(a) Sale by hunter. Alligators taken under an alligator hunting license in this state may be sold only to a person possessing either a valid wholesale alligator dealer permit or a valid alligator farmer permit.

(b) Sale by control hunter.

(1) A control hunter may possess a dead alligator indefinitely, but may sell the alligator only to a farmer or wholesale dealer. While in possession of a dead alligator taken under a control contract, a control hunter shall maintain possession of the contract under which the alligator was taken and a copy of the Nuisance Alligator Hide Tag Report (PWD 305). The control hunter shall present the contract upon request of a department employee acting within the scope of official duties.

(2) A control hunter may temporarily possess a live nuisance alligator, but must sell the alligator to a licensed alligator farmer within 14 days from the time the alligator is first captured.

(c) Purchase and sale by retail dealer.

(1) A retail dealer may purchase an alligator only from a valid wholesale dealer.

(2) Except as provided in this subchapter, no person may purchase an alligator from a wholesale dealer for the purpose of resale without possessing either a valid retail dealer's permit or a valid wholesale dealer’s permit.

(3) Except as provided in this subchapter, no person may sell processed alligator parts such as skulls, feet, or teeth unless that person possesses a valid retail dealer permit.

(4) A person possessing a valid retail dealer permit may sell legally obtained and documented processed alligators only to consumers.

(5) A retail dealer permit is not required of a:

(A) person selling processed products so long as alligator hide is the only alligator part used (e.g., footwear, belts, wallets, luggage, etc.); or

(B) vendor that sells alligator ready for immediate consumption in individual portion servings; or

(C) person selling alligator meat processed and packaged in accordance with applicable local, state and federal laws governing the processing of food for sale to the public.

(6) A retail dealer permit is required for each place of business, mobile or permanent, where activities that require a retail dealer permit are conducted.

(d) Purchase and sale by wholesale dealer.

(1) A person possessing a wholesale dealer permit may sell:

(A) legally obtained and documented processed alligators to anyone; and

(B) legally obtained and documented unprocessed alligators only to another wholesale dealer or to an alligator farmer.

(2) A wholesale dealer may purchase legally taken alligators from any alligator hunter, dealer, farmer, import permit holder, or control hunter.

(e) Purchase and sale by farmer.

(1) A farmer may purchase:

(A) live or dead alligators from a farmer, wholesale dealer, hunter, or control hunter; and

(B) alligator eggs from an egg collector.

(2) A farmer may sell:

(A) live alligators to another farmer or to the holder of a permit issued under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C; and

(B) lawfully documented, unprocessed, dead alligators only to a wholesale dealer or another farmer.

(3) It is an offense for any alligator farmer to:

(A) transport or receive a live alligator unless a game warden at the point of origin (if in Texas) and the destination (if in Texas) are notified at least 24 hours prior to transport; or

(B) transport live alligators for exhibition purposes unless authorized by a permit issued under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C.

§65.359. Possession.

(a) A consumer may possess processed alligators and processed alligator meat products without permit or documentation requirements.

(b) [(a)] Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, all [All] alligators or alligator parts possessed, sold, purchased, exported, or imported shall be accompanied by evidence of lawful take and/or possession. Depending on the applicability of paragraphs (1)-(3) of this subsection, evidence of lawful take shall consist of:

(1) an applicable license or permit number and hide tag issued by the state or country of origin, which shall be firmly attached to an alligator hide. If the alligator hide is boxed or otherwise packaged for transport, the hide must be tagged, but the license or permit may be retained by the person in possession of the alligator, provided it is kept available for inspection by an authorized employee of the department;

(2) a document, tag, or label [(tag or label)] for each alligator part, except for the hide, that specifies the:

(A) place of origin;

(B) name and address of the seller;

(C) applicable license or permit number that is required by the state or country of origin;

(D) hide tag number of the alligator from which the part originated;

(E) Import Permit number, if imported into Texas; and

(F)[(E)] date of shipment, if imported into Texas; or

(3) a document, tag, or label [(tag or label)] affixed to the outside of any package or container of alligators. The label must specify the [, specifying the]:

(A) contents; [and]

(B) hide tag number of the alligator from which the parts originated; and

(C) any applicable license or permit numbers.

(c) [(b)] Meat products finally processed and packaged by a farmer or wholesale dealer must be accompanied by an invoice or bill of sale that:

(1) specifies the amount of packaged alligator meat by weight; and

(2) identifies the farmer or wholesale dealer from which the packaged meat originated.

(d) [(c)] The documents required in this subsection must accompany individual alligator parts after sale.

(e) An individual skull not accompanied by the hide and/or parts of the alligator from which it originated shall be legibly marked with the hide tag number of the alligator from which it originated. The marking shall be in indelible ink on the lower jaw. The provisions of this subsection apply only to skulls of nine inches or greater in length when measured as described in §65.352(16) of this title (relating to Definitions).

§65.360. Report Requirements.

(a) An alligator Hide Tag Report (PWD-304) shall be completed by an alligator hunter immediately upon harvest and shall be submitted to the department within seven days [or control hunter immediately after taking each alligator and submitted to the landowner within 24 hours of take. The landowner shall forward the completed form to the department no later than the seventh day following the date of take]. A dealer or person possessing the alligator hide shall retain a copy of the PWD-304 until the hide is shipped or sold out of state, at which time the copy shall be forwarded to the department.

(b) A Nuisance Alligator Hide Tag Report (PWD-305) shall be completed by a nuisance alligator hunter immediately upon take and shall be submitted to the department within seven days. A dealer or person possessing the alligator hide shall retain a copy of the PWD-304 until the hide is shipped or sold out of state, at which time the copy shall be forwarded to the department.

(c) A person receiving hide tags from the department shall file an annual report (PWD 370) accounting for all tags by October 10 following the end of the open season for which tags were issued. Unused tags shall be returned with this report.

(d)[(c)] A wholesale dealer shall file reports (PWD 306) by October 31 and by the last day of every third month thereafter detailing purchase and sale transactions during the license year. A wholesale dealer shall retain a copy of each PWD-306[PWD-360] so filed for a minimum of two years and shall produce such records upon demand by the department.

(e)[(d)] A retail dealer shall retain records of all purchases from wholesale dealers for a minimum of two years.

(f)[(e)] An alligator import permit holder shall report all import activities during a reporting period within 30 days following permit period termination.

(g)[(f)] A farmer shall submit quarterly reports (PWD-371) within 15 days of the end of each quarterly period (February, May, August, and November).

(h)[(g)] An alligator egg collector shall submit an annual report and return all unused nest stamps by August 31 of each year [August 15].

(i) All persons to whom hide tags have been issued shall notify the department in writing within 15 days in the event that any tags are lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed. The department will not replace tags so reported.

§65.361. Alligator Farm Facility Requirements.

(a) A first-time applicant for an alligator farmer's permit must, prior to permit issuance, show evidence of the following during a facility inspection by the department:

(1) adequate barriers to prevent escape or entry by alligators;

(2) a reliable source of clean, fresh water;

(3) provision for protection from the cold, either available denning space or an enclosed, controlled-temperature environment;

(4) pooled water sufficient to allow complete submersion of alligators and dry ground sufficient to permit alligators to completely exit from the water.

(b) Alligator farmers possessing alligator eggs outside an alligator nest shall house such eggs in identifiable original clutch groups in an incubation facility approved by the department.

(c) Complete written records of all alligator stock shall be kept, including shipping tickets, invoices, and bills of lading.

(d) Farmers may collect eggs from nests of captive alligators inside alligator farms at any time, provided each clutch is accompanied by a captive nest stamp provided by the department. Nesting activity of captive alligators shall be recorded on a daily basis. An annual summary of nesting activity (PWD-371A) shall be submitted to the department by September 15 of each year.

(e) Farmers possessing alligator eggs collected from the wild shall complete and submit an annual report (PWD-371A) to the department by September 30 of each year.

(f) The department reserves the right to deny permits to:

(1) any incubation facility with less than a 70% hatching success over any period of two consecutive years; or

(2) any farm facility with less than a 70% hatchling survival (hatch-to-harvest) over any period of two consecutive years.

(g) All facilities, alligator stock, and records are subject to examination by department personnel prior to permitting and thereafter during farm operation.

(h) No alligator eggs collected or obtained under authority of this subchapter may be shipped out of state.

(i) Applications for hide tags (PWD 372) shall be submitted to the department 15 days prior to harvest of alligators, except for non-harvest mortalities, in which case the permittee shall notify a game warden before skinning operations begin.

§65.362. Importation and Exportation.

(a) No alligator may be imported into this state unless the importer possesses a valid alligator import permit. This subsection does not apply to alligators not taken or originating in Texas that are shipped by common carrier or accompanied by documentation of lawful possession from outside of this state to a destination within this state for immediate shipment outside the state.

(b) An [A separate] import permit is required for [each] shipment of alligators into this state. No person shall import an alligator under a permit authorized by this subchapter unless that person has notified the department not less than 24 hours or more than 48 hours prior to each instance of importation. Notification shall be by fax or telephone contact with the Law Enforcement Communications Center in Austin.

(c) In the case of alligators taken in another state under a sport hunting license, no import permit is required.

(d) Legally tagged and documented alligators and alligator parts may be exported from this state by all categories of license and permit holders.

(e) Except as provided in this subchapter, no [No] live alligators shall be exported from Texas without specific departmental authorization. No person shall export an alligator under this subsection unless an alligator export fee of $4.00 per alligator has been paid to the department, except for alligators accompanied by a valid department-issued hide tag.

§65.363. Alligator Control.

(a) The department may contract with a qualified individual for the removal of nuisance alligators.

(b)[(a)] Complaints concerning alligators shall be investigated by the department prior to approval for removal by a control hunter.

(c)[(b)] Control hunters may take alligators only by means or methods specified by the department at the time of authorization for take.

(d)[(c)] Control hunters may take alligators approved for removal at any time.

§65.364. Exceptions.

(a) It is an offense for any person to intentionally feed a free-ranging alligator, except for a licensed alligator hunter or control hunter engaged at the time in the activity of hunting alligators. This paragraph does not apply to federal, state, or local government employees in the performance of official duties.

(b) This subchapter shall not prohibit a person from killing an alligator in immediate defense of his or her life or the lives of others, or to protect livestock or other domestic animals from imminent injury or death. Alligators killed under this provision shall be reported immediately [within 24 hours] to the department.

§65.365. Management Tag – Applicability and Fee. The department may issue management tags to landowners with a department-approved alligator management plan specifying a harvest quota of sub-adult alligators. The fee for management tags is $5.00 per tag. All provisions of this subchapter pertaining to tags and tagging also apply to management tags.

§65.366. Violations and Penalties. Unless specifically exempted by another provision of the Parks and Wildlife Code, it is an offense for any person to violate a provision of this subchapter. Penalties for a violation of this subchapter are as prescribed by Parks and Wildlife Code, §65.008.

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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