Presenter: Jerry Cooke

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Action
Permits to Trap, Transport, and Transplant game Animals and Game Birds (Triple T Permits)
November 2002

I. Discussion: Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter E, requires the commission to adopt rules for the trapping, transport, and transplantation of game animals and game birds. At the August meeting the Commission authorized staff to publish proposed changes to the Triple T permit regulations. The proposed new section would suspend the issuance of permits authorizing the trap and transplant of white-tailed deer and mule deer until the department and the Texas Animal Health Commission are able to characterize the threat potential with respect to Chronic Wasting Disease that such releases would present to deer populations. The proposal appeared in the September 27, 2002, issue of the Texas Register (27 TexReg 9140). Staff will provide a summary of public comment concerning the proposal at the time of the meeting.

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

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts 31 TAC §65.102, concerning Permits to Trap, Transport, and Transplant Game Animals and Game Birds, with changes to the proposed text as published in the September 27, 2002, issue of the Texas Register (27 TexReg 9140).”

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rule
  2. Exhibit B – Fiscal Note (Available upon request)

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit A

Triple T Proclamation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new §65.102, concerning Permits to Trap, Transport, and Transplant Game Animals and Game Birds (Triple T permits). The new section would narrow the effect of the subchapter by excluding white-tailed deer and mule deer from applicability. The new rule may be necessary because of concerns related to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which has been detected in free-ranging deer populations in other states and Canada. Because CWD has not yet been exhaustively studied, the peculiarities of its transmission, infection rate, incubation period, and potential for transmission to other species are not definitively known. Although no deer have tested positive for CWD in Texas, the department cannot categorically discount the presence of the disease in the state. Although the department acted in February to curtail the importation of deer into the state and has worked closely with the Texas Animal Health Commission to develop and implement monitoring protocols to detect the disease, at the commission’s August meeting there was a prolonged discussion of the practice of trapping and transplanting deer and the potential for the spread of CWD by way of trapping and transplanting. In 2001, the department issued 95 Triple T permits, authorizing the transplantation of 4,348 deer. Any one of those deer conceivably could have been in contact with a CWD-positive deer prior to being trapped and transplanted and could thus be a vector for introducing the disease to additional areas of the state. Consequently, the commission directed staff to publish and seek public comment on a proposal to suspend issuance of Triple T permits.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the new section as proposed is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to the department or other units of state or local government.

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rule as proposed will be the protection of native deer from communicable diseases, thus ensuring the public of continued enjoyment of the resource and the protection of the state’s $2.5 billion per year hunting industry.

(B) There will be economic costs to persons required to comply with the rule as proposed, and effects for small businesses or microbusinesses engaged in commercial trapping activities. Under 31 TAC §65.115, the department requires the disclosure of financial information related to trap and transplant activities. Of 95 persons permitted in 2001, the highest reported trap and transplant cost was $577 per deer. The average cost per deer trapped and transplanted was $204 and the median cost was $162. The department concludes, based on the data submitted from the regulated community, that deer generally are and can be trapped and transplanted for somewhere between $150 - $200. These figures represent only the reported gross cost of trapping and transplanting. The department has no data from which to estimate the actual profit to those persons or businesses conducting trap and transplant activities.

Triple T permits can be issued to the owner or agent of the trap site, the owner or agent of the release site, or the person doing the trapping, but in most cases permits are acquired by the owner or authorized agent of the release site (the person who desires to obtain the deer), who then contracts with a trapper to capture and transport the deer. Department records indicate that the total number of deer trapped in 2001 was 4,348, and the largest number of deer trapped by a single individual in 2001 was 1,361. Using the average value of $204 per deer trapped and the upper value of 1,361 deer trapped (by a single person) last year, the department estimates that the economic loss to the largest trapping business in the state, using 2001 data, would be $277,644 gross dollars. This is the gross revenue lost by the individual or business, not the profit lost.

The department is unable to predict the demand for permits for current and subsequent years, but believes that the number of transplanted deer will not decrease, given that in the years since 1993 there have been only three years when less than 4,000 deer were moved. Therefore, using 4,000 as a rough baseline for demand, the total gross revenue loss if trapping were to be prohibited would be $856,000 to the persons and businesses trapping and transplanting deer. Again, this is the total revenue that would be lost to those persons or businesses that trap and transplant deer. Net revenue cannot be determined at this time.

Additionally, any revenue associated with the marketing of hunting opportunity that is dependent upon trapped and transplanted animals would be lost as well. That figure also cannot be quantified at this time, but is a minuscule component of the state’s estimated $2.5 billion per year hunting industry.

(C) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Employment Commission as required by Government Code, §2001.022, as this agency has determined that the 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 amendments and new section.

4. Request for Public Comments.

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

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment is proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §43.061, which requires the commission to adopt rules for the content of wildlife stocking plans, certification of wildlife trappers, and the trapping, transporting, and transplanting of game animals and game birds under the subchapter, and §43.0611, which requires the commission to adopt rules for fees, applications, and activities, including limitations on the times of the activities, relating to permits for trapping, transporting, or transplanting white-tailed deer

The amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 43, Subchapter E.

§65.102. Limitation of Applicability. Until this section is repealed, no permits to trap, transport, and transplant white-tailed deer or mule deer shall be issued by the department.

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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