Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00am, Nov. 5, 2003

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Item No. Subject Public Hearing Agenda Item No.
  Approval of the Committee Minutes from the previous meeting  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. Legislative Update (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
3. Crab Trap Fishery Closure
Staff: Robin Riechers
5
4. Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation – Pheasant, Archery
Staff: Mike Berger
7
5. Statewide Fur-Bearing Animal Proclamation
Staff: Mike Berger
8
6. Preview 2004-2005 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Staff: Mike Berger/Ken Kurzawski/Paul Hammerschmidt
Committee Only
7. State Park Operational Rules Proclamation
Staff: Walt Dabney
Committee Only
6. Other Business  

Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenters: Mike Berger
Ken Kurzawski
Paul Hammerschmict

Regulations Committee
Briefing
2004-2005 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation Potential Changes
November 2003

I. Executive Summary: This item apprises the committee of potential changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation for the 2004-2005 season and the results of a survey of lesser prairie chicken hunters and landowners.

II. 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. The potential changes are based upon statutory requirements and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable. The potential changes are intended increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state.

Attachments – 1
1. Exhibit A – Potential Changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation


Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit A

Potential Wildlife Regulation Proposals 2004-2005

White-tailed Deer

1. Modify late youth-only season to allow the take of buck deer and to eliminate permit requirements for antlerless deer in counties where either-sex hunting is allowed during the general season.

2. Create a four-day doe season in six East Texas counties where the current antlerless harvest is by permit only.

Turkey

1. Open new spring season for Eastern turkey in Hardin and Liberty counties.

2. Expand current season for Eastern turkey in Montgomery and Tyler counties to include entire county.

3. Lengthen current spring season for Eastern turkey from 14 days to 30 days, opening on April 1 rather than the Monday closest to April 14.

Potential Freshwater Fishing Regulation Proposals – 2004-2005

Community Fishing Lakes (Statewide) - Harvest regulations for community fishing lakes would be changed for catfish by removing the length limit and retaining the five fish daily bag limit, and for largemouth bass, allowing anglers to retain only one bass of any size.

Lake O’ the Pines and Pat Mayse Reservoir - Current special harvest regulations for white bass and white x striped bass hybrids would be changed to the statewide regulations for both species (10-inch minimum length limit and 25 fish daily bag limit for white bass and an 18-inch minimum length limit and five fish daily bag for white x striped bass hybrids).

Additionally, the boundary definitions for each reservoir would be changed to exclude tailrace waters as this was done to facilitate enforcement of the special regulations.

Lake Murvaul - Create a reservoir definition for Lake Murvaul to include tail waters, which is needed to facilitate enforcement of the special harvest regulations for largemouth bass.

Lake Pflugerville - Implement an 18-inch minimum length limit and five fish daily bag for largemouth bass and restrict angling methods to pole and line angling only on this new reservoir that is scheduled to open to angling in 2005.

San Augustine City Lake - Change harvest regulations for largemouth bass to a 14-18 inch slot length limit. The five fish daily bag would be retained.

Potential Saltwater Fishing Regulation Proposals – 2004-2005.

1. Modify saltwater perch trap rules to incorporate degradable panels identical to those required in crab traps. Justification: perch traps when lost are very similar to crab traps in that they continue to fish. This is a conservation measure that was overlooked when degradable panels were implemented in the crab fishery.

2. Include a definition of a "star trap" as legal gear to capture crabs in Texas. These devices are currently being sold and used by recreational crabbers, yet we do not have a definition to make them officially legal. Their impact is no more than any currently legal hand-operated crab catching device.


Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter: Walt Dabney

Regulations Committee
Briefing
State Park Operational Rules
November 2003

I. Executive Summary: This item apprises the committee of proposed changes to State Park Rules of Conduct. The proposed amendment would prohibit the feeding of wildlife by park visitors and make nonsubstantive, housekeeping-type changes.

II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 13, the Commission is authorized to promulgate regulations governing the health, safety, and protection of persons and property in state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, or forts under the control of the department, including public water within state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, and forts. Under current regulations, the practice of feeding wildlife is not prohibited by rule. Parks Division staff has determined that the feeding of wildlife by park visitors potentially interferes with the department’s duty to ensure the health and safety of park visitors, as animals that lose their natural fear of humans become bold or aggressive and can behave unpredictably. The proposed rule located at Exhibit A would prohibit the feeding of wildlife unless specific authorization has been given to do so. The rule also includes nonsubstantive housekeeping-type changes.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed Amendment

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

State Park Operational Rules
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §59.134, concerning Rules of Conduct in Parks. The amendment would prohibit the feeding of wildlife resources on state parks except as specifically authorized by park management. The rule is necessary for several reasons. First, wild animals are inherently dangerous, no matter how innocuous they may seem. Wild animals that become habituated to humans, and especially those wild animals that learn to associate humans with food, lose their natural fear and in some cases can behave aggressively. In addition to their potential to inflict physical harm, wild animals also have the potential to carry and transmit disease. Therefore, the rule is primarily intended to reduce threats to human health and safety. Secondly, wild animals should live in natural systems. Supplemental feeding, however well intended it may be, is an unnatural interference in the natural balance between animals and their habitat and can, if unchecked, lead to population problems and habitat degradation. Additionally, people have been known to offer a variety of foodstuffs to wild animals, some of which may be unhealthy or injurious; the proposed rule is therefore also intended to protect the well-being of wildlife resources on state parks. The proposed rule also corrects a misspelling in subsection (e)(3), removes the word ‘saddle’ where the term ‘saddle horse’ appears, which is necessary because park rules relating to equines apply to all equines irrespective of use, and would redesignate subsection (v)(2)(A) and (B) as (v)(3) and (4) for purposes of clarity.

2. Fiscal Note.

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

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed will be the increased protection of the health and safety of park visitors and wildlife.

(B) The rule will have no economic effects on small businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply with the rule.

(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 rule 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 rule.

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Wes Masur, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-8001 (e-mail: wes.masur@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment and new sections are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §13.101, which authorizes the commission to promulgate regulations governing the health, safety, and protection of persons and property in state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, or forts under the control of the department, including public water within state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, and forts.

The amendment and new sections affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 13.

§59.134. Rules of Conduct in Parks.

(a) –(d) (No change.)
(e) Animals. It is an offense to:

(1) bring into or possess within a state park a pet or other domesticated animal, unless the animal is secured by a leash not exceeding six feet in length, or confined in a vehicle, or to permit an animal to enter into or remain in a unit of the state park unless so secured;

(2) permit a pet or other animal to remain unattended or create a disturbance or hazard within a state park;

(3) permit an animal (except a trained assistance animal accompanying a person with a disability) to enter into or remain in any building or enclosure designated for public use including, but not limited to, a restaurant, snack bar, cabin, lodge room, restroom [restore], park store, shelter, refectory building, amphitheater, administration building, or railroad coach; disability) to enter into or remain in any building or enclosure designated for public use including, but not limited to, a restaurant, snack bar, cabin, lodge room, restroom [restore], park store, shelter, refectory building, amphitheater, administration building, or railroad coach;

(4) permit a pet animal in the water of a designated swimming area or to permit a pet animal (except a trained assistance animal accompanying a person with a disability) within the land or beach area adjacent to the water of a designated swimming area;

(5) bring into, permit to range, or release into a state park a wild animal, pet, fowl, or livestock, except as authorized in this chapter or a permit or by law;

(6) possess a noisy, vicious, or dangerous animal, or one which is disturbing to other persons, in a state park;

(7) ride, drive, lead, or keep a [saddle] horse, except in designated areas;

(8) ride a [saddle] horse in a manner that is dangerous to a person or animal;

(9) allow a [saddle] horse to stand unattended or insecurely tied; and

(10) hitch a [saddle] horse to a tree, shrub, or structure in any manner that may cause damage.

(f) – (u) (No change.)
(v) Peace and quiet. It is an offense to:

(1) disturb other persons in sleeping quarters or in campgrounds between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.; and

(2) cause, create, or contribute to any noise which is broadcast, or caused to be broadcast, into sleeping quarters or campgrounds, or which emits sound beyond the person's immediate campsite, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., whether by shouting or singing, by using a radio, phonograph, television, or musical instrument, or by operating mechanical or electronic equipment:

(3)[(A)] use electronic equipment, including electrical speakers, at a volume which emits sound beyond the immediate individual camp or picnic site at any time without specific permission of the director;

(4)[(B)] create a disturbance by causing excessive noise by any means.

(w) – (aa) (No change.)
(bb) Wildlife. It is an offense to:

(1) harm, harass, disturb, trap, confine, catch, possess, or remove any wildlife, or portions of wildlife from a unit of the state park system, except by a permit issued by the director or as provided by the Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 62, Subchapter D; [and]

(2) release any fish into the waters of any state park, except as authorized by the Parks and Wildlife Code; or

(3) feed or offer food to any wildlife, or to leave food unsecured in a manner that makes the food available to wildlife, unless specifically authorized by the department.

(cc) – (ee) (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


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