Presenter: Robin Riechers
Ken Kurzawski
Mike Berger

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Action
2005–2006 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
April 2005

I. Executive Summary: This item presents proposed changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation for the 2005-2006 season. The changes include:

Wildlife
White-tailed Deer
Mule Deer
Turkey
Quail
Lesser Prairie Chicken
Inland Fisheries
Coastal Fisheries

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. Proposed changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation are a result of proposals advanced by staff, suggestions from the public, and recommendations from commission-appointed advisory groups. 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 2005 meeting authorized staff to publish the proposed 2005-2006 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed rules appeared in the February 25, 2005 issue of the Texas Register (30 TexReg 1028). A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be available to the Commission at the time of the hearing.

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the 2005-2006 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation (located at Exhibit A) with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 25, 2005, issue of the Texas Register (30 TexReg 1028)."

Attachments - 2

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed 2005-2006 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

Proposed Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes the repeal of §65.42, amendments to §§65.1, 65.3, 65.10, 65.11, 65.19, 65.24-65.26, 65.56, 65.62, 65.64, 65.72, and 65.82, and new 65.34 and 65.42, concerning the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation.

The amendment to §65.1, concerning Application, adds a new subsection (c) to specify that the season lengths and bag limits created by the subchapter do not apply to special drawn hunts conducted by the department on units of public lands. Hunting regulations on public hunting lands are established pursuant to Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 81.

The amendment to §65.3, concerning Definitions, adds a definition of the term ‘unbranched antler.’ The new definition is necessary because the proposed amendment to §65.42 includes alterations to the special antler restrictions currently in effect in Austin, Colorado, Fayette, Lavaca, Lee, and Washington counties that would allow an additional buck deer to be taken in those counties, provided the buck has an unbranched antler. The term should be legally defined so as to create an unambiguous standard for enforcement purposes. The proposed amendment also would alter the definition of “fishing guide” match changes to the statutory definition made by legislation enacted in 2003, which is necessary to prevent conflicts with statutory provisions.

The amendment to §65.10, concerning Possession of Wildlife Resources, makes the provisions of subsection (b), which exempts persons under certain circumstances from the tagging requirements relative to deer, applicable to mule deer taken by Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP). The amendment is necessary because proposed new §65.34 creates a Managed Lands Deer Permit for mule deer and the department intends to make the tagging rules for mule deer the same as those already in existence for white-tailed deer. The department in April of 2004 adopted rules to eliminate ‘double tagging’ (under previous rules, deer taken on MLDP properties were required to be tagged with both an MLDP tag and a license tag). The proposed amendment would require but a single tag to be attached to mule deer taken on MLDP properties. The proposed amendment also clarifies the provisions of subsection (f), which establishes the conditions under which persons may possess wildlife resources in excess of bag limits or that were taken by other persons. The amendment changes subsection (f) to clarify that if a person in possession of a wildlife resource is the person who took the wildlife resource, that person does need to possess a wildlife resource document, provided the person is in compliance with all other applicable laws. The amendment also alters the provisions of subsection (h)(4) to insert the effective date of the section. At the time the rule was promulgated, the department did not know exactly when the provision would take effect, which is known now and is being added in the interests of being as informative as possible.

The amendment to §65.11, concerning Lawful Means, would add a provision to prohibit the take or attempted take of wildlife resources by anyone not personally present at the location where the take or attempted take occurs. The department has become aware of recent adaptations of firearms and computer systems that would make it technologically possible for persons to take wildlife resources by use of electromechanical interfaces while not being physically present at the location where the wildlife resources are taken. The amendment is necessary because there is no way for the department to verify compliance with hunting license laws if the participating party is not physically present when and where a wildlife resource is hunted. The amendment also would alter the wording of provisions regarding the use of vehicles to hunt desert bighorn sheep. The current rule prohibits the use of a motorized conveyance to locate or hunt desert bighorn sheep. The proposed amendment would remove that prohibition, and is necessary because the department has determined that given the extremely remote and inaccessible areas that are a characteristic of desert bighorn sheep habitat, it is unrealistic to expect sheep to be located and hunted without the use of motorized vehicles. At the time the rule was promulgated, the hunting of desert bighorn sheep took place primarily on department lands where sheep had been stocked, and the department at that time sought an extremely conservative harvest regime. Populations have flourished to the extent that desert bighorn sheep are now found in many places, although they can be hunted only by permit.

The amendment to §65.19, concerning Hunting Deer with Dogs, would remove Hunt and Washington counties from the list of counties where it is unlawful to use dogs to track wounded deer. The department has determined that the practice of hunting deer with dogs (i.e., the use of dogs to hunt deer, rather than track wounded deer), which originally prompted a ban on the use of dogs in some counties, has declined in the named counties to the point that the regulation is no longer required.

The amendment to §65.24, concerning Permits, would create an appeal process for department decisions concerning the issuance of Managed Lands Deer Permits and Antlerless and Spike-buck Control Permits. The proposal is the result of a recommendation by the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee (WTDAC), a group of deer managers, hunters, and department personnel appointed by the Chairman of the Parks and Wildlife Commission to study issues involving white-tailed deer and make recommendations. The intent of the proposed amendment is to create a process to allow persons who have been denied issuance of permits to appeal the decision to a panel of senior TPWD managers. The process as proposed would allow the department to reverse such decisions upon further review, and would require the department to report annually to the WTDAC on the number and disposition of appeals.

The amendment to §65.25, concerning Wildlife Management Plan (WMP), would create a set of criteria for wildlife management plans that address lesser prairie chicken. Long-term data indicate a declining population trend for lesser prairie chicken, not only in Texas but also throughout much of their historic range. There is an ongoing multi-state effort to manage the remaining lesser prairie chickens, and the department wishes to begin collecting additional data to assist in that effort. The proposed amendment is necessary to do that. The proposed amendment would require a habitat evaluation, five habitat management practices, and population and harvest data for each property where lesser prairie chicken are to be hunted. By conditioning the hunting of lesser prairie chicken on landowner agreement to manage habitat and harvest, the department is assured that harvest will not exceed biologically acceptable levels. By collecting valuable biological information on a property-by-property basis, the department will be much better able to assist in formulating a strategy for habitat protection and restoration.

The amendment to §65.25 also would create a set of criteria for wildlife management plans that address quail. The department wishes to encourage landowners and land managers to manage quail habitat more effectively. The proposed amendment is necessary to do that. By agreeing to perform data collection and habitat management practices and by accepting a harvest recommendation, landowners with an approved management plan for quail would be allowed to give hunters a bag limit of double the current daily bag limit (30 quail per day), if they so chose. By collecting valuable biological information on a property-by-property basis, the department will be much better able to assist in formulating a long-term strategy for better quail management. Research indicates that hunting mortality is not a major factor in the expansion or contraction of quail populations at the statewide scale. In fact, research indicates that a reduction in the bag limit of 50% would affect only 11% of the quail populations statewide. Therefore, properties hunting under a harvest recommendation based on the concept of sustainable yield (i.e., irrespective of individual bag limits) should not experience a reduction in quail populations below their annual recuperative potential, provided the required habitat management practices are conducted.

The amendment to §65.26, concerning Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Permits, would amend the title of the section to reflect that the section affects only white-tailed deer, remove all references to mule deer, and would make several nonsubstantive grammatical changes throughout the section for consistency and simplification. The amendment is necessary to make the section agree with proposed new §65.34, which would create a separate section addressing MLDPs for mule deer.

Proposed new §65.34, concerning Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)—Mule Deer, would create an MLDP program for mule deer. In general, the new section will function by creating an incentive-based, habitat-focused permit program to facilitate the management goals of landowners and land managers by providing increased harvest flexibility under department-established harvest quotas. Specifically, the new section will function by: requiring an approved wildlife management plan (WMP) for permit issuance; establishing the minimum content of a WMP in terms of landowner-supplied data and habitat improvement practices; specifying the period of validity for permits and requirements for their use; providing for the waiver of regulatory requirements in the event of extenuating circumstances such as droughts and floods; establishing the conditions under which the department may exercise the right to cease issuing permits to individuals; and specifying an annual deadline for permit applications.

Proposed new §65.42, concerning Deer, is largely identical to the current section; therefore this discussion addresses changes that alter or are different from the provisions of the current rule. In general, the new section contemplates an effort to simplify regulations governing deer, but also is intended to increase hunter opportunity and manage wildlife resources more effectively in areas where biological data indicate the need for population reduction or control. The current rule reflects many years of amendments that have resulted in a structure that is unwieldy and difficult to navigate. To that end, the section is being restructured to accommodate the changes being made.

The new section would eliminate aggregate bag limits in counties with one- and two-buck bag limits. The department in 1989 implemented what is popularly referred to as the ‘aggregate bag limit’ rule, which designated a number of one-buck counties, primarily in the eastern third of the state, from which, in the aggregate, a hunter could take no more than one buck. For example, if a hunter took a buck in Nacogdoches County (one-buck bag limit), that hunter could not take another buck in any other county affected by the aggregate bag limit rule. At the time, the department’s intent was to prevent the overharvest of buck deer in regions of the state where populations were low or hunting pressure was high with respect to abundance. In 1999, in an effort to increase hunter opportunity, the department separated the aggregate one-buck counties into two zones divided by Interstate Highway 35, allowing a hunter to harvest a buck from each zone. Harvest and population data from counties on either side of the I-35 dividing line, counties which by their proximity to each other were the likeliest to incur greater buck harvest, indicates no significant deviation from historical trends over the period from 1999 to the present. The department therefore proposes to eliminate the aggregate bag limit, meaning that a hunter could take the statewide personal bag limit of three bucks by taking one buck in each of three one-buck counties. A similar provision applied to counties with a two-buck bag limit (i.e., a hunter could take one buck in two two-buck counties, or two bucks in a single two-buck county, but could not take a third buck in another two-buck county). The department’s concern in this case was that hunters would focus on taking a third buck, which could lead to an unwanted decline in doe harvest. Analysis of harvest data indicates that this concern may not be as pressing as originally thought; therefore, the aggregate two-buck bag limit is proposed for elimination as well.

The proposed new section also would alter the current ‘doe-day’ (time periods when it is lawful to take antlerless deer without a permit) rules. Currently there are five ‘doe day’ packages: 4, 9, 16, 23, or 23-plus days (the 23-plus package allows the take of does until the Sunday following Thanksgiving, which means the package length varies from year to year). The proposed new section would eliminate the 9- and 23-day ‘doe day’ packages and increase ‘doe days’ in many counties, including the introduction of ‘doe days’ in some counties where the take of antlerless deer currently is by permit only.

Under current rules the take of antlerless deer in Bowie, Camp, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Grayson, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, Red River, Titus, Upshur, and Wood counties is by permit only (i.e., there are no ‘doe days’). The proposed new section would implement four ‘doe days’ to take place from Thanksgiving Day to the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day. The proposed change is necessary to control increasing deer numbers and has the additional benefit of increasing hunter opportunity. Over the past ten years, deer populations in the affected counties have increased. Analysis of herd composition data in the affected counties shows a decreasing trend in the number of does per buck; however, the ratio remains unacceptably high, at approximately 4-5 does per buck (the target ratio is 1-2 does per buck). Hunter numbers in the affected counties have dropped considerably during the same time period, to about three-quarters of the total reported in 1993. These trends indicate that additional harvest is necessary to stabilize herd growth and protect habitat. The additional ‘doe days’ will allow the remaining hunters to more effectively manage population size and sex ratio.

The proposed new section also would increase the number of ‘doe days’ in Cass, Harrison, Marion, Nacogdoches, Panola, Sabine, San Augustine, and Shelby counties from four to 16. The new section is necessary because department data indicate that deer populations in the affected counties remain above desired densities, sex ratios are becoming increasingly skewed, and, due to uncharacteristically wet and warm winters, fawn recruitment has increased significantly, which means that habitat degradation is imminent if deer populations are maintained at current levels. In addition, harvest has decreased slightly, which is additive to the potential problem. By increasing the antlerless harvest, the department intends to limit additional population growth in order to bring the deer population into equilibrium with habitat, provide additional hunter opportunity, and deflect some harvest pressure away from the younger age classes of the buck segment of the population in order to eventually bring sex ratios back to a biologically sound proportion.

The proposed new section would implement full-season, either-sex hunting in a number of counties in the Panhandle and northern Rolling Plains regions that currently have either 16 or 23-plus ‘doe days’ (a variable doe-day structure designed to ensure that Thanksgiving weekend is always included). Armstrong, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Crosby, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Hall, Hansford, Hutchinson, Jones, Knox, Ochiltree, Randall, Stonewall, and Swisher counties currently have 16 ‘doe days.’ Childress, Collingsworth, Cottle, Dickens, Donley, Garza, Gray, Haskell, Hemphill, Kent, King, Lipscomb, Motley, Roberts, Scurry, and Wheeler counties currently have 23-plus ‘doe days.’ The proposed new section is necessary because although distribution and population densities vary in these counties, the data from the majority of counties indicate a moderate to significant upward trend in deer populations over the last 13 years. Harvest data indicate a conservative harvest of antlerless deer in these counties. Given the population growth and historically moderate hunting pressure, the department anticipates that full-season either-sex hunting will provide additional hunter opportunity and enable more effective management of antlerless deer for habitat conservation while resulting in neither depletion nor waste.

The proposed new section also would increase the number of ‘doe days’ in Hardeman, Wichita, and Wilbarger counties from 16 to 23-plus. The change is necessary because survey results indicate that deer populations in those counties have increased over the past ten years. These counties had six ‘doe days’ from 1996 to 1999 and 16 ‘doe days’ from 2000 to the present. Due to the fact that populations are increasing, the department believes that additional antlerless opportunity is required to allow managers to effectively manage antlerless deer populations, which should reduce potential negative habitat impacts.

The proposed new section also would increase the number of ‘doe days’ in Denton and Tarrant counties from nine to 16. The change is necessary because data indicate that the deer populations in these counties have increased significantly over the past ten years. These counties have had nine ‘doe days’ since 1996, but due to fragmented habitat patterns and relatively low hunter effort, the harvest of antlerless deer has been insufficient to prevent overpopulation and resultant habitat degradation. By increasing the number of ‘doe days,’ the department hopes to give land managers additional flexibility to deal with population growth where it is a problem, and to create additional hunter opportunity.

The proposed new section also would increase the number of ‘doe days’ in Cooke, Hill, and Johnson counties from nine to 23-plus days. The new section is necessary because survey data indicate a significant upward population trend since 1996, during which time these counties had nine ‘doe days.’ The department has determined that, given the increase in deer populations, the current number of ‘doe days’ is insufficient to prevent habitat degradation in those counties and must be increased. Prior to 1996, these counties had two ‘doe-days.’ In the decade that these counties had nine ‘doe days,’ the estimated harvest did increase, but has remained below acceptable levels. Hunter densities have remained low to moderate and are expected to remain stable; thus, an increase in the antlerless harvest is desirable for population control/habitat management, with the additional benefit of providing additional hunter opportunity.

The proposed new section also would alter the ‘doe day’ structure in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Goliad (south of U.S. Highway 59), Jackson (south of U.S. Highway 59), Matagorda, Victoria (south of U.S. Highway 59), and Wharton (south of U.S. Highway 59) counties. These counties currently have a fixed-length ‘doe day’ season of 23 days. The proposed new section would implement 23-plus ‘doe days’ to make rules governing antlerless harvest consistent with those in a number of adjoining counties to the east. The new section is intended only to reduce regulatory complexity and will not result in depletion or waste of the resource.

In addition to the changes involving ‘doe days’ the proposed new section would alter regulations governing the take of buck deer in Austin, Colorado, Fayette, Lavaca, Lee, and Washington counties, and potentially expand those altered rules to include Bastrop, Brazoria, Caldwell, De Witt, Fort Bend, Goliad, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Jackson, Karnes, Matagorda, Victoria, Waller, Wilson, and Wharton counties. Hunting pressure in the Post Oak Savannah ecological region has been excessive for more than 30 years. Hunter-harvest survey data collected by the department indicates that this area has some of the highest hunter densities in the state. In 1971, the department instituted a one-buck bag limit in an effort to reduce pressure on the buck segment of the population. Although the one-buck bag limit successfully redistributed hunting pressure, it did little to reduce overall buck harvest. Department data indicate that prior to 2002, 80% of the buck harvest in these counties was comprised of bucks younger than 3.5 years of age. In response to requests from concerned landowners and hunters in the area, the department in 2002 implemented what at the time were called ‘experimental’ antler restrictions, which defined a legal buck as a buck with at least one unbranched antler (typically a spike buck), a buck with at least six antler points on one side, or a buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater. The rules were designed to protect the majority of bucks in the younger cohorts until those deer could reach a level of physical maturity. After three years under the experimental rules, the department’s intensive survey effort indicates that the percentage of harvested bucks younger than 3.5 years of age had dropped from 80% to 29% and the percentage of harvested bucks 3.5 years of age and older increased from 20% to 71%. Additionally, after a first-year decline of 38%, buck harvest increased by 71% in the second year of the experimental rules. These data also show a decline in the harvest of spike bucks and an increase in the harvest of bucks with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater, which means that one effect of maintaining a one-buck limit under the antler restrictions is that hunting pressure is deflected from the spike-buck segment of the population, which is undesirable. Therefore, the proposed new section would implement a two-buck bag limit, one of which must have at least one unbranched antler, and redefine a legal buck as a buck having an inside spread of 13 inches or greater or at least one unbranched antler. The six-points-or-better criterion would be eliminated, as department data clearly indicate that the 13-inch-or-better standard is sufficient by itself to protect younger bucks. Eliminating the 6-points-or-better criterion will simplify the regulation, while resulting in a negligible decline in mature-buck harvest. By adding a second buck to the bag while requiring at least one buck to have an unbranched antler, the department intends to encourage the harvest of spike bucks which department research has indicated are less likely to develop into lawful bucks.

The amendment to §65.56, concerning Lesser Prairie Chicken: Open Seasons, Bag, and Possession Limits, would allow the hunting of lesser prairie chicken only on properties for which the department has approved a wildlife management plan that contains specific provisions for lesser prairie chicken conservation. Long-term data indicate a declining population trend for lesser prairie chicken, not only in Texas but also throughout much of their historic range. Current hunter-harvest surveys indicated that fewer than 200 lesser prairie chickens are harvested annually in Texas. Staff attributes the decline in lesser prairie chicken numbers primarily to habitat loss, not hunting. Nonetheless, because there is an ongoing multi-state effort to manage the remaining lesser prairie chickens, the implementation of an extremely conservative hunting regime is necessary. The proposed amendment would also eliminate the lesser prairie chicken hunting permit. The permit was implemented to allow the department to survey prairie chicken hunters. With the implementation of hunting under management plans, the department would no longer need to survey hunters to determine harvest numbers, as that information will now be supplied by the landowner as part of the management plan.

The amendment to §65.62, concerning Quail: Open Seasons, Bag, and Possession Limits, would allow for twice the statewide daily bag limit and twice the statewide possession limit on properties operating under a department-approved wildlife management plan that specifically addresses quail. The rationale for the proposed amendment is contained in the discussion of the proposed amendment to §65.25 earlier in this preamble.

The amendment to §65.64, concerning Turkey, consists of several actions intended to create regulatory simplification by standardizing turkey seasons, bag limits, and bag composition where possible without resulting in depletion or waste.

The proposed amendment would alter the fall season for Rio Grande turkey in Archer, Bandera, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Burnet, Clay, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Denton, Erath, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzales, Hamilton, Hays, Hill, Hood, Jack, Johnson, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Lampasas, Llano, McLennan, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Real, Somervell, Stephens, Travis, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson, Wise, and Young by changing the bag composition from ‘gobblers or bearded hens’ to ‘either sex.’ The amendment is necessary to simplify and standardize turkey regulations. Current rates of fall hen harvest in the Rolling Plains and western Edwards Plateau have not negatively affected turkey population density. Therefore, fall hen harvest in the Cross Timbers and eastern Edwards Plateau should not negatively affect the population, assuming harvest rates (as a percentage of fall hen population) do not exceed that of the Rolling Plains and/or Edwards Plateau (approximately 3.4% of the hen population). Most of the turkey populations in east-central Texas are located on large ranches with suitable riparian corridors. Harvest in these counties should be very similar to the harvest in counties that currently enjoy either-sex bag composition.

The proposed amendment would create a standard turkey regulation north of Hwy. 90 and a standard turkey regulation south of Hwy. 90 in Kinney, Medina, Uvalde, and Val Verde counties. Under current regulations, Kinney, Uvalde, and Val Verde counties have an either-sex bag composition for turkey, while in Medina County the bag composition is gobblers or bearded hens. The northern portions of these counties are part of the Edwards Plateau ecoregion, while their southern portions are part of the South Texas Brush Country ecoregion. Because of this difference, the northern portion of these counties have a deer season that runs two weeks shorter than in the southern portion of these counties. For law enforcement simplicity and reduction of landowner and hunter confusion, the department has used U.S. Highway 90 as a dividing line. In attempting to standardize regulations, the proposed amendment must accommodate the department’s long-standing policy of maintaining concurrent deer and turkey seasons. In order to both preserve the concurrency of deer-season length and standardize turkey regulations, it is therefore necessary for the portion of these counties north of Hwy. 90 to retain the either-sex bag composition, while shifting the bag composition south of Hwy. 90 to gobblers or bearded hens to be consistent with the bag composition in the remainder of south Texas that has the same deer season. In Medina County, the bag composition north of Hwy. 90 would shift from gobblers or bearded hens to either-sex. By any other arrangement, the department would be creating a regulatory ‘island’ of four counties with a different set of regulations from all surrounding counties, which the department is anxious to avoid in order to prevent confusion. The proposed amendment would not result in depletion or waste of the resource. Properly managed fall turkey seasons for the most part result in the removal of surplus birds from the population, birds that would probably be lost to other causes. Thus, mortality due to hunting is compensatory and is not in addition to mortality from natural causes.

The proposed amendment would also affect spring seasons for Rio Grande turkey. Currently there are 140 counties with a spring season for Rio Grande turkey. With the exception of Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Guadalupe, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Milam, and Victoria counties, where the bag limit is restricted to one gobbler, the bag limit in those 140 counties is identical: four turkeys, gobblers only. The only variation among the seasons in the 140 counties is when opening day occurs. In Archer, Armstrong, Bandera, Baylor, Bell, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Brewster, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Carson, Childress, Clay, Coke, Coleman, Collingsworth, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Dawson, Denton, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Ellis, Erath, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Hill, Hood, Howard, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Jeff Davis, Johnson, Jones, Kendall, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Knox, Lampasas, Lipscomb, Llano, Lynn, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Pecos, Potter, Randall, Reagan, Real, Roberts, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Williamson, Wise, and Young counties, the spring turkey season begins the first Saturday in April and runs for 37 consecutive days. In Aransas, Atascosa, Bee, Bexar, Brooks, Calhoun, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Goliad, Gonzales, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kenedy, Kinney, Kleberg, LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Uvalde, Webb, Willacy, Wilson, and Zavala counties the spring turkey season begins the last Saturday in March and likewise runs for 37 consecutive days. The proposed amendment would simplify regulations while still maintaining the agency’s statutory duty to prevent depletion or waste of the resource by creating a single season for all counties with a four-turkey bag limit, to run from the Saturday closest to April 1 for 44 consecutive days. The proposed season is extremely unlikely to exert a negative effect on turkey populations, as the harvest is limited to male birds and the timing of the season is calculated according to breeding chronologies to ensure that the overwhelming majority of hens have been bred before the season opens.

The amendment also would open a fall season in Tarrant County and both spring and fall seasons in Cameron and Zapata counties. Most of the suitable turkey habitat in Tarrant, Cameron, and Zapata counties is located on large ranches with suitable riparian corridors. Harvest in these counties during the spring and fall seasons should be very similar to harvest in surrounding counties.

In Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Guadalupe, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Milam, and Victoria counties, the spring season currently begins the first Saturday in April and runs for 37 consecutive days. The proposed amendment would replace that season with one to begin April 1 and end April 30. The bag limit would remain at one gobbler. Since the spring season is limited to only male birds (gobblers) there is little potential harm to turkey production, since the harvest will not affect bred hens.

The proposed amendment also would implement spring youth-only seasons for Rio Grande turkey to take place the weekends immediately preceding and following the open season, during which Rio Grande turkey could be hunted only by persons younger than 16 years of age. The change is necessary to continue to advance longstanding department policy to encourage and foster youth in the sport of hunting by creating mentoring opportunities. The proposed amendment will not result in depletion or waste, since hunter success and overall harvest resulting from youth-only hunting is expected to be statistically insignificant.

The amendment to §65.72, concerning Fish, would change the harvest regulations for red drum on Lake Nasworthy (Tom Green County) from the current 20-inch

minimum length limit and daily bag limit of 3 fish, to no length and no bag limit. The change is necessary because the power plant on Lake Nasworthy is being closed. Without the power plant’s discharge of warm water during the winter months, red drum will have little chance of survival; thus, the department would like to provide the additional harvest opportunity to anglers.

The amendment also changes the rules for channel catfish and blue catfish on the North Concho and South Concho rivers in Tom Green County. The change would implement a five-fish daily bag limit (in any combination), with no minimum length limit. Legal devices would be restricted to pole and line angling only. The amendment would affect the North Concho from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam and the South Concho from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam. The amendment is necessary to reduce confusion as to the boundaries for areas to which special regulations apply and to allow increased opportunity for harvest and use of other gear types on portions of the South Concho River.

The amendment also eliminates the minimum length limit for spotted bass on Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Panola, Sabine, and Shelby counties). Toledo Bend Reservoir lies in both Texas and Louisiana. The change is intended to create a standard regulation to facilitate enforcement and reduce angler confusion in both states.

The amendment to §65.82, concerning Other Aquatic Life, would establish a closed season from November 1 - April 30 of the following year for taking live, shell-bearing mollusks (or their shells), starfish, or sea urchins within an area bounded by the bay and pass sides of South Padre Island from the East end of the north jetty at Brazos Santiago Pass to the West end of West Marisol drive in the town of South Padre Island, out 1,000 yards from the mean high-tide line, and bounded to the south by the centerline of the Brazos Santiago Pass. A study conducted on the harvest of shell-bearing organisms in the lower Laguna Madre identified the November-May period as the most critical due to the extensive sand/mud flat that is exposed by winter low tides, coupled with easy access by large numbers of fishery participants. This area is biologically diverse due to its proximity to the shallow lower Laguna Madre and the deep water of Brazos Santiago Pass and the Gulf of Mexico. The area is utilized by some species of invertebrates at varying stages of their life histories during movement to or from the Gulf of Mexico. Shell-bearing mollusks in this area produce shells that are utilized by the thinstripe hermit (the species most often taken by fishery participants—79% of individuals harvested during the study period), which are subsequently transported to deeper water for use by deep water species of hermit crabs such as the flat claw hermit and giant hermit. Some of the most sought-after and easily located shells in this area are the reproducing mollusks, which can be conspicuously exposed during low tide. Harvest of organisms at reproductive aggregations or during reproduction can exacerbate the effects that harvest exerts on a population. The amendment provides needed protection during a critical biological time.

The amendment also implements an aggregate bag limit of 15 living univalve snails (all species), to include no more than two of each of the following species: lightning whelk, horse conch, Florida fighting conch, pear whelk, banded tulip, Florida rocksnail. Research indicates that fishery participants harvest an average of 31 organisms per day, of which 20% (6.2 individuals) are live, shell-bearing mollusks. The proposed bag limit represents slightly more than twice the average take of live, shell-bearing mollusks. The proposed bag limit is expected to have a minimal impact on the average fishery participant, but would limit those intending to take large numbers of live organisms. The individual species listed are highly desired by fishery participants and easy to locate due to their habitat preference and/or reproductive habits thus making them more vulnerable to harvest.


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. The economic impact of hunting and fishing in Texas, particularly in rural areas of the state, is significant. The Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-related Recreation, conducted annually since 1955 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, estimates that approximately $3.5 billion was spent by hunters and anglers in Texas in 2001, the last year for which survey data is available. Of that total, nearly $1.5 billion was spent on food, lodging, transportation, and fuel; $1.3 billion was spent on equipment; and $366 million was spent on licenses, permits, and fees paid to landowners for hunting rights. From these data it is readily apparent that hunting and fishing represent a significant economic impact to many individuals and types of businesses in the state.

(C) Typically, the department’s annual changes to the regulations governing recreational fish and wildlife use are characterized by minor alterations, usually affecting bag limits, bag composition, season lengths, or provisions affecting licenses or permits. In assessing the effect of the proposed repeal, amendments and new sections on small businesses, microbusinesses, and persons required to comply, the department has made the assumption that the majority of economic influence exerted by fish and wildlife regulations is a function of the presence or absence of opportunity, which is directly tied to the biological parameters (availability, viability, surplus, etc.) that determine whether or not the commission is able to provide an open season under the requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

In order to assess these impacts, the department compared the results of the 2001 Fish and Wildlife Service survey with previous survey results. A comparison employing a 90 percent confidence interval around survey estimates from 1991 to 2001 reveals that economic activity (in adjusted dollars) surrounding hunting and angling has remained statistically stable during that time, the notable exception being an approximately 46% increase in travel expenses related to hunting. This comparison, when viewed against the backdrop of continual but slight changes to regulations, would seem to indicate that minor fluctuations in the regulations do not, in and of themselves, result in significant economic impacts to any type of business. While this comparison indicates little or no change at the macro (statewide level) there could be minor changes at the micro (local) level.

(D) 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.

(E) 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 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), Jerry Cooke (Coastal Fisheries 389-4492; e-mail: jerry.cooke@tpwd.state.tx.us), David Sinclair (Wildlife Enforcement 389-4854; e-mail: david.sinclair@tpwd.state.tx.us), or Bill Robinson (Fisheries Enforcement 389-4628; e-mail: bill.robinson@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 repeal, amendments and new sections are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The proposed repeal, amendments, and new rules affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.


§65.1. Application.

(a) This subchapter applies to all of the wildlife resources of Texas, except as otherwise provided for in this chapter.

(b) This chapter also applies to aquatic life caught in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and landed in this state.

(c) The provisions of this subchapter that specify seasons and bag limits for game animals and game birds do not apply to special drawn hunts conducted under the provisions of Subchapter H of this chapter (relating to Wildlife Management Area and Public Hunting Lands Proclamation).

§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) Agent—A person authorized by a landowner to act on behalf of the landowner. For the purposes of this chapter, the use of the term "landowner" also includes the landowner's agent.

(2) Annual bag limit—The quantity of a species of a wildlife resource that may be taken from September 1 of one year to August 31 of the following year.

(3) Antlerless deer—A deer having no hardened antler protruding through the skin.

(4) Antler point—A projection that extends at least one inch from the edge of a main beam or another tine. The tip of a main beam is also a point.

(5) Artificial lure—Any lure (including flies) with hook or hooks attached that is man-made and is used as a bait while fishing.

(6) Bait—Something used to lure any wildlife resource.

(7) Baited area—Any area where minerals, vegetative material or any other food substances are placed so as to lure a wildlife resource to, on, or over that area.

(8) Bearded hen—A female turkey possessing a clearly visible beard protruding through the feathers of the breast.

(9) Buck deer—A deer having a hardened antler protruding through the skin.

(10) Cast net—A net which can be hand-thrown over an area.

(11) Coastal waters boundary—All public waters east and south of the following boundary are considered coastal waters: Beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Brownsville, thence northward along U.S. Highway 77 to the junction of Paredes Lines Road (F.M. Road 1847) in Brownsville, thence northward along F.M. Road 1847 to the junction of F.M. Road 106 east of Rio Hondo, thence westward along F.M. Road 106 to the junction of F.M. Road 508 in Rio Hondo, thence northward along F.M. Road 508 to the junction of F.M. Road 1420, thence northward along F.M. Road 1420 to the junction of State Highway 186 east of Raymondville, thence westward along State Highway 186 to the junction of U.S. Highway 77 near Raymondville, thence northward along U.S. Highway 77 to the junction of the Aransas River south of Woodsboro, thence eastward along the south shore of the Aransas River to the junction of the Aransas River Road at the Bonnie View boat ramp; thence northward along the Aransas River Road to the junction of F.M. Road 629; thence northward along F.M. Road 629 to the junction of F.M. Road 136; thence eastward along F.M. Road 136 to the junction of F.M. Road 2678; then northward along F.M. Road 2678 to the junction of F.M. Road 774 in Refugio, thence eastward along F.M. Road 774 to the junction of State Highway 35 south of Tivoli, thence northward along State Highway 35 to the junction of State Highway 185 between Bloomington and Seadrift, thence northwestward along State Highway 185 to the junction of F.M. Road 616 in Bloomington, thence northeastward along F.M. Road 616 to the junction of State Highway 35 east of Blessing, thence southward along State Highway 35 to the junction of F.M. Road 521 north of Palacios, thence northeastward along F.M. Road 521 to the junction of State Highway 36 south of Brazoria, thence southward along State Highway 36 to the junction of F.M. Road 2004, thence northward along F.M. Road 2004 to the junction of Interstate Highway 45 between Dickinson and La Marque, thence northwestward along Interstate Highway 45 to the junction of Interstate Highway 610 in Houston, thence east and northward along Interstate Highway 610 to the junction of Interstate Highway 10 in Houston, thence eastward along Interstate Highway 10 to the junction of State Highway 73 in Winnie, thence eastward along State Highway 73 to the junction of U.S. Highway 287 in Port Arthur, thence northwestward along U.S. Highway 287 to the junction of Interstate Highway 10 in Beaumont, thence eastward along Interstate Highway 10 to the Louisiana State Line. The waters of Spindletop Bayou inland from the concrete dam at Russels Landing on Spindletop Bayou in Jefferson County; public waters north of the dam on Lake Anahuac in Chambers County; the waters of Taylor Bayou and Big Hill Bayou inland from the saltwater locks on Taylor Bayou in Jefferson County; Lakeview City Park Lake, West Guth Park Pond, and Waldron Park Pond in Nueces County; Galveston County Reservoir and Galveston State Park ponds #1-7 in Galveston County; Lake Burke-Crenshaw and Lake Nassau in Harris County; Fort Brown Resaca, Resaca de la Guerra, Resaca de la Palma, Resaca de los Cuates, Resaca de los Fresnos, Resaca Rancho Viejo, and Town Resaca in Cameron County; and Little Chocolate Bayou Park Ponds #1 and #2 in Calhoun County are not considered coastal waters for purposes of this subchapter.

(12) Community fishing lake—All public impoundments 75 acres or smaller located totally within an incorporated city limits or a public park, and all impoundments of any size lying totally within the boundaries of a state park.

(13) Crab line—A baited line with no hook attached.

(14) Daily bag limit—The quantity of a species of a wildlife resource that may be lawfully taken in one day.

(15) Day—A 24-hour period of time that begins at midnight and ends at midnight.

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

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

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

(21) 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) 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, accompanies, assists, or transports [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) Folding panel trap—a metallic or non-metallic mesh trap, the side panels hinged to fold flat when not in use, and suspended in the water by multiple lines.

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

(27) Gaff—Any hand-held pole with a hook attached directly to the pole.

(28) 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.

(29) Gig—Any hand-held shaft with single or multiple points.

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

(31) Lawful archery equipment—Longbow, recurved bow, and compound bow.

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

(33) Muzzleloader—Any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle.

(34) 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.

(35) 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.

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

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

(38) 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.

(39) 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.

(40) 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.

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

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

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

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

(45) Spike-buck deer—A buck deer with no antler having more than one point.

(46) 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.

(47) Trap—A rigid device of various designs and dimensions used to entrap aquatic life.

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

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

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

(51) Unbranched antler—An antler having no more than one antler point.

(52)[(51)] 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.

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

(54)[(53)] Wounded deer—A deer leaving a blood trail.

§65.10. Possession of Wildlife Resources.

(a) For all wildlife resources taken for personal consumption and for which there is a possession limit, the possession limit shall not apply after the wildlife resource has reached the possessor's permanent residence and is finally processed.

(b) A person who lawfully takes a deer is exempt from the tagging requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.018 if the deer is taken:

(1) under the provisions of §65.26 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer [(MLD)] Permits (MLDP)—White-tailed Deer);

(2) under the provisions of §65.34 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)—Mule Deer);

(3)[(2)] under the provisions of §65.28 of this title (relating to Landowner Assisted Management Permits (LAMPS));

(4)[(3)] by special permit under the provisions of Subchapter H of this chapter (relating to Public Lands Proclamation);

(5)[(4)] on department-leased lands under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0272;

(6)[(5)] by special antlerless permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for use on USFS lands that are part of the department's public hunting program; or

(7)[(6)] under the provisions of §65.27 of this title (relating to Antlerless and Spike-Buck Deer Control Permits).

(c) A person who kills a bird or animal under circumstances that require the bird or animal to be tagged with a tag from the person's hunting license shall immediately attach a properly executed tag to the bird or animal.

(d) Proof of sex must remain with certain wildlife resources until the wildlife resource reaches either the possessor's permanent residence or a cold storage/processing facility and is finally processed. Proof of sex is as follows:

(1) turkey (in a county where the bag composition is restricted to gobblers and/or bearded hens):

(A) male turkey:

(i) one leg, including the spur, attached to the bird; or

(ii) the bird, accompanied by a patch of skin with breast feathers and beard attached.

(B) female turkey taken during the fall season: the bird, accompanied by a patch of skin with breast feathers and beard attached.

(2) deer:

(A) buck: the head, with antlers still attached;

(B) antlerless: the head;

(3) antelope: the unskinned head; and

(4) pheasant: one leg, including the spur, attached to the bird or the entire plumage attached to the bird.

(e) 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) the name of person who killed the wildlife resource;

(B) the date the wildlife resource was killed;

(C) one of the following, as applicable:

(i) whether the deer was antlered or antlerless;

(ii) the sex of the antelope;

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

(iv) 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).

(f) A person may give, leave, receive, or possess any species of legally taken wildlife resource, or a part of the resource, that is required to have a tag or permit attached or is protected by a bag or possession limit, if the wildlife resource is accompanied by a wildlife resource document from the person who killed or caught the wildlife resource. A wildlife resource may be possessed without a WRD by the person who took the wildlife resource, provided the person is in compliance with all other applicable provisions of this subchapter and the Parks and Wildlife Code.

(1) For deer, turkey, or antelope, a properly executed wildlife resource document shall accompany the wildlife resource until it reaches either the possessor's permanent residence or a cold storage/processing facility and is finally processed.

(2) For all other wildlife resources, a properly executed wildlife resource document shall accompany the wildlife resource until it reaches the possessor's permanent residence and is finally processed.

(3) The wildlife resource document must contain the following information:

(A) the name, signature, address, and hunting or fishing license number, as required, of the person who killed or caught the wildlife resource;

(B) the name of the person receiving the wildlife resource;

(C) a description of the wildlife resource (number and type of species or parts);

(D) the date the wildlife resource was killed or caught; and

(E) the location where the wildlife resource was killed or caught (name of ranch; area; lake, bay or stream; and county).

(g) It is a defense to prosecution if the person receiving the wildlife resource does not exceed any possession limit or possesses a wildlife resource or a part of a wildlife resource that is required to be tagged if the wildlife resource or part of the wildlife resource is tagged.

(h) 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 prior to July 11, 2004 [before the effective date of the subsection].

§65.11. Lawful Means. It is unlawful to hunt any of the wildlife resources of this state except by the means authorized by this section and as provided in §65.19 of this title (relating to Hunting Deer with Dogs).

(1) Firearms.

(A) It is lawful to hunt game animals and game birds with any legal firearm, including muzzleloading weapons, except as specifically restricted in this section.

(B) Special muzzleloader-only deer seasons are restricted to muzzleloading firearms only.

(C) It is unlawful to use rimfire ammunition to hunt deer, antelope, or desert bighorn sheep.

(D) It is unlawful to hunt game animals or game birds with a fully automatic firearm or any firearm equipped with a silencer or sound-suppressing device.

(2) Archery.

(A) A person may hunt by means of lawful archery equipment during any open season; however, no person shall hunt deer by lawful archery equipment or crossbow during a special muzzleloader-only deer season.

(B) Arrows that are treated with poisons or drugs, or that contain explosives are not lawful devices for hunting any species of wildlife resource in this state.

(C) While hunting turkey and all game animals other than squirrels by means of longbow, compound bow, or recurved bow:

(i) the bow must have a minimum peak draw weight of 40 pounds at the time of hunting; and

(ii) the arrow must be equipped with a broadhead hunting point at least 7/8-inch in width upon impact, with a minimum of two cutting edges. A mechanical broadhead must begin to open upon impact and when open must be a minimum of 7/8-inch in width.

(D) It is unlawful to hunt deer or turkey with a broadhead hunting point while in possession of a firearm during an archery-only season.

(E) Special archery-only seasons are restricted to lawful archery equipment only, except as provided in paragraph (3) of this section.

(3) Crossbow. Crossbows are lawful during any general open season. A person having an upper-limb disability may use a crossbow to hunt deer and turkey during an archery-only season, provided the person has in their immediate possession a physician's statement certifying the extent of the disability. When hunting turkey and all game animals other than squirrels by means of crossbow:

(A) the crossbow must have a minimum of 125 pounds of pull;

(B) the crossbow must have a mechanical safety;

(C) the crossbow stock must be not less than 25 inches in length; and

(D) the bolt must conform with paragraphs (2)(B) and (2)(C)(ii) of this section.

(4) Falconry. It is lawful to hunt any game bird or game animal by means of falconry under the provisions of Subchapter K of this chapter (relating to Raptor Proclamation).

(5) Special Provisions [Provision].

(A) Desert bighorn sheep. Except as provided in this paragraph, no motorized conveyance of any type shall be used to [locate,] herd or [,] harass[, or hunt] desert bighorn sheep. [Any person who qualifies for handicapped parking privileges under Transportation Code, Chapter 681 may possess a loaded firearm in or on a motor vehicle while hunting desert bighorn sheep and may hunt desert bighorn sheep from a motor vehicle, provided the motor vehicle is not in motion and the engine is not running.]

(B) Hunting by remote control. It is an offense for any person to hunt a wildlife resource by the means listed in this section if that person is not physically present and personally operating the means of take at the location where the hunting occurs during the time that the hunting occurs.

§65.19. Hunting Deer With Dogs.

(a) It is unlawful to use a dog or dogs in hunting, pursuing, or taking deer in all counties.

(b) It is lawful to use not more than two dogs in trailing a wounded deer in all counties, except in Angelina, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Houston, [Hunt,] Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler, and Walker[, and Washington] counties, where dogs shall not be used to trail wounded deer.

§65.24. Permits.

(a) Permits shall be issued only to the landowner.

(b) No person may hunt white-tailed deer, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, or antelope when permits are required unless that person has received from the landowner and has in possession a valid permit issued by the department.

(c) When permits are required to hunt or possess the wildlife resources listed in subsection (b) of this section, it is unlawful to:

(1) use a permit more than once;

(2) use a permit on a tract of land other than the tract for which the permit was issued;

(3) falsify or fail to fully complete any information required by a permit application; or

(4) possess the wildlife resource without attaching a valid, properly executed permit, which shall remain attached until the wildlife resource reaches its final destination.

(d) No state-issued permit is required to hunt antlerless white-tailed deer on a National Wildlife Refuge.

(e) An applicant for a permit issued under §65.26 of this title (relating Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)), §65.27 of this title (relating to Antlerless and Spike Buck Control Permits (control permits)), or §65.34 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)—Mule Deer) may appeal a decision by the department to deny issuance of those permits.

(1) An applicant seeking to appeal a decision of the department under this subsection shall contact the department within ten working days of being notified by the department of permit denial.

(2) The department shall resolve the appeal and notify the applicant of the results within ten working days of receiving a request for an appeal.

(3) The appeal shall be presented to an appeals panel. The appeals panel shall consist of the following:

(A) the Director of the Wildlife Division;

(B) the Regional Director with jurisdiction;

(C) the Big Game Program Director; and

(D) the White-tailed Deer or Mule Deer program leader, as appropriate.

(4) The decision of the appeals panel is final.

(5) The department shall report on an annual basis to the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee the number and disposition of all appeals under this subsection that involve white-tailed deer.

65.25. Wildlife Management Plan (WMP).

(a) Deer.

(1) 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.

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

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

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

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

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

(iii) [(C)] at least two recommended habitat management practices.

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

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

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

(iii) [(C)] at least four recommended habitat management practices.

(3) [(c)] A WMP is not valid unless it is:

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

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

(b) Lesser Prairie Chicken. No person may hunt a lesser prairie chicken in this state except on a property for which the department has approved a WMP as set forth under this subsection that contains a recommended harvest for lesser prairie chicken.

(1) The WMP required by this subsection shall include:

(A) a lesser prairie chicken population estimate for the current year (April breeding-ground counts);

(B) accurate harvest data from the property for the initial hunting season and each season thereafter that the landowner seeks to hunt lesser prairie chicken on the property;

(C) a biological evaluation of the quality of existing prairie chicken habitat and the potential for enhancing existing habitat or creating additional habitat;

(D) at least five department-recommended habitat management practices designed to increase, enhance, or connect lesser prairie chicken habitat; and

(E) a recommended harvest not to exceed five percent of the estimated lesser prairie chicken population on the property.

(2) The landowner agrees, by signing the WMP, to perform data collection for the purposes of meeting the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) A WMP under this subsection is not valid unless it has been signed by a department employee authorized to approve management plans. A WMP under this subsection is valid for one year following such signature. The department may refuse to approve a WMP if the landowner has not complied with the provisions of this subsection.

(4) The department may authorize a recommended harvest in the absence of population or harvest data only for the year 2005; thereafter, a property must meet the requirements of subparagraph (1) of this subsection.

(5) The bag and possession limits for the harvest of lesser prairie chicken shall be as provided in §65.56 of this title (relating to Lesser Prairie Chicken: Open Seasons, Bag, and Possession Limits).

(6) No person may possess a harvested lesser prairie chicken anywhere other than the property on which the lesser prairie chicken was harvested unless that person also possesses a completed, department-supplied affidavit signed by the landowner of the property where the person harvested the lesser prairie chicken.

(c) Quail. No person may exceed the bag or possession limits established in §65.62(b) and (c) of this title (relating to Quail: Open Seasons, Bag, and Possession Limits) unless the quail are taken on a property for which the department has approved a WMP specifically addressing quail as provided in this subsection.

(1) A WMP under this subsection shall include:

(A) a quail population estimate for the current year;

(B) accurate harvest data from the property for the initial hunting season and each season thereafter that the landowner seeks to hunt quail on the property;

(C) a biological evaluation of the quality of existing quail habitat and the potential for enhancing existing habitat or creating additional habitat; and

(D) at least five department-recommended habitat management practices designed to increase, enhance, or connect quail habitat.

(2) The landowner agrees, by signing the WMP, to perform data collection for the purposes of meeting the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) A WMP under this subsection is not valid unless it has been signed by a department employee authorized to approve management plans. A WMP under this subsection is valid for one year following such signature. The department may refuse to approve a WMP if the landowner has not complied with the provisions of this subsection.

(4) A person in possession of more than 45 quail anywhere other than the property on which the quail were harvested shall also possess a completed, department-supplied affidavit signed by the landowner of the property where the person harvested the quail.

65.26. Managed Lands Deer [(MLD)] Permits (MLDP)—White-tailed Deer.

(a) MLDPs for white-tailed deer [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 data, the department may conditionally authorize partial issuance of MLDPs [MLD Permits], not to exceed 30 per cent of the total MLDPs [MLD Permits] to be issued for that property during the affected license year, with the balance of MLDPs [MLD Permits] to be issued upon submission of the required population data.

(b) An applicant may request the issuance of any type of MLDP [MLD Permit] listed in this section.

(1) Level 1. Level 1 MLDPs [MLD Permits] authorize only the take of antlerless white-tailed [or antlerless mule] deer. A Level 1 permit [MLD Permit] is valid during any open deer season in the county for which it is issued and the provisions of §65.42(b)(8) of this title (relating to Archery-Only Open Season), §65.42(b)(9) of this title (relating to Muzzleloader-Only Open Season), and the stamp requirement of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter I apply. There is no bag limit for antlerless deer on properties for which Level 1 [Level I] permits have been issued; however, the county and statewide bag limits for buck deer apply.

(2) Level 2.

(A) Level 2 MLDPs [MLD Permits] authorize the take of buck or antlerless white-tailed deer as specified by the permit.

(i) A Level 2 antlerless permit is valid from the Saturday closest to September 30 through the last day in February on the property for which it is issued;

(ii) A Level 2 buck permit is valid:

(I) for spike bucks taken by any lawful means, for all bucks taken by means of lawful archery equipment, and for any buck taken by a hunter 16 years of age or younger during a youth-only open deer season: from the Saturday closest to September 30 through the last day in February on the property for which it is issued; and

(II) for any buck, irrespective of means: from the opening day of the general open deer season in the county for which it is issued through the last day in February on the property for which it is issued.

(B) On all tracts of land for which Level 2 permits [MLD Permits] have been issued there is no bag limit for buck or antlerless deer and the provisions of §65.42(b)(8) of this title (relating to Archery-Only Open Season), §65.42(b)(9) of this title (relating to Muzzleloader-Only Open Season), and the stamp requirement of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter I do not apply.

(C) By acceptance of Level 2 permits [MLD Permits] a landowner agrees to accomplish at least two habitat management recommendations contained in the WMP within three years of permit issuance, and agrees to maintain the habitat management practices for as long as Level 2 permits are accepted thereafter. A landowner who fails to accomplish at least two habitat management recommendations of the WMP within three years is not eligible for Level 2 permits the following year, but is eligible for Level 1 MLDPs [MLD Permits] or may choose to cease accepting MLDPs [MLD Permits].

(3) Level 3. Level 3 MLDPs [MLD Permits] authorize the take of buck and antlerless white-tailed deer as specified by the permit. A Level 3 permit [MLD Permit] is valid from the Saturday nearest September 30 through the last day in February on the property for which it is issued. On all tracts of land for which Level 3 permits [MLD Permits] have been issued:

(A) there is no bag limit for buck or antlerless deer and the provisions of §65.42(b)(8) of this title, §65.42(b)(9) of this title, and the stamp requirement of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter I do not apply.

(B) By acceptance of Level 3 permits [MLD Permits] a landowner agrees to accomplish at least four habitat management recommendations contained in the WMP within three years of permit issuance, and agrees to maintain the habitat management practices for as long as Level 3 permits are accepted thereafter. A landowner who fails to accomplish at least four habitat management recommendations of the WMP within three years is not eligible for Level 3 permits the following year, but may be eligible for other levels of MLDPs [MLD Permits] or may choose to cease accepting MLDPs [MLD Permits].

(c) The number of MLDPs [MLD Permits] distributed to a hunter shall be at the discretion of the landowner.

(d) A deer killed under the authority of an MLDP [a MLD Permit] must be tagged with an MLDP [a MLD Permit] immediately by the person who killed the deer or the person who killed the deer shall immediately take the carcass by the most direct route to a tagging station (location where permits are maintained on the permitted property) where an appropriate MLDP [MLD Permit]shall be attached.

(e) If a landowner in possession of MLDPs [MLD Permits] does not wish to abide by the harvest quota or habitat management practices specified by the WMP, the landowner must return all MLDPs [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 issuance of MLDPs [MLD Permits]:

(1) for one year for a property upon which the harvest quota specified by the WMP has been exceeded; and

(2) for three years for a property that otherwise is not in compliance with the WMP.

(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.

§65.34. Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP) – Mule Deer.

(a) MLDPs for mule deer may be issued only to a landowner who has a current wildlife management plan (WMP) in accordance with subsection (b) of this section that specifies a harvest quota for both buck and antlerless mule deer or antlerless mule deer only. 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 authorized to write wildlife management plans. A WMP is valid for one year following the date of such signature.

(b) MLDP issuance for mule deer shall be determined by the WMP as follows. MLDPs shall be issued to a landowner whose WMP includes:

(1) deer population data for both the current year and the two immediately preceding years;

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

(3) at least three recommended habitat improvements.

(c) An MLDP issued under this section permits the take of antlerless and/or buck mule deer, as specified on the permit. An MLDP issued under this paragraph is valid:

(1) only on the property for which it is issued (as described in the WMP); and

(2) from the first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January.

(d) There is no bag limit for antlerless deer on properties for which antlerless permits have been issued.

(e) There is no bag limit for buck deer on properties for which buck permits have been issued.

(f) The provisions of §65.42(c)(5) of this title (relating to Archery-Only Open Season) and the stamp requirement of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter I, do not apply on properties for which both buck and antlerless permits have been issued.

(g) Except as provided in this subsection, all deer harvested by MLDP must immediately be tagged with an appropriate MLDP. If an appropriate MLDP 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 MLDP shall be attached.

(h) If a landowner in possession of MLDPs does not wish to abide by the harvest quota or habitat management practices specified by the WMP, the landowner must return all MLDPs to the department no later than one day prior to the date that the permits are valid under subsection (c) of this section.

(i) In the event that unforeseeable developments such as floods, droughts, or other natural disasters make the attainment of recommended habitat management

practices or harvest goals impractical or impossible, the department may, on a case-by-case basis, waive the requirements of this section.

(j) The department reserves the right to deny further issuance of MLDPs 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 MLDPs for a period of three years from the date of denial.

(k) MLDP requests received by the department before August 15 of each year shall be approved or denied by November 1 of the same year.


The repeal is proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The proposed repeal affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.


The amendments and new section are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The proposed amendments and new section affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

§65.42. Deer.

(a) No person may exceed the annual bag limit of five white-tailed deer (no more than three bucks) and two mule deer (no more than one buck), except as provided by:

(1) §65.26 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP) -–White-tailed Deer);

(2) §65.34 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)—Mule Deer);

(3) §65.27 of this title (relating to Antlerless and Spike-Buck Deer Control Permits);

(4) §65.28 of this title (relating to Landowner Assisted Management Permits (LAMPS));

(5) special permits under the provisions of Subchapter H of this chapter (relating to Public Lands Proclamation); or

(6) special antlerless permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for use on USFS lands that are part of the department's public hunting program.

(b) White-tailed deer. The open seasons and annual bag limits for white-tailed deer shall be as follows.

(1) In Aransas, Atascosa, Bee, Brooks, Calhoun, Cameron, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kinney (south of U.S. Highway 90), Kleberg, LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina (south of U.S. Highway 90), Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Uvalde (south of U.S. Highway 90), Val Verde (that southeastern portion located both south of U.S. Highway 90 and east of Spur 239), Webb, Willacy, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a general open season.

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

(B) Bag limit: five deer, no more than three bucks.

(C) Special Late General Season. In the counties listed in this paragraph there is a special late general season for the take of antlerless and spike-buck deer only.

(i) Open season: 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the third Sunday in January.

(ii) Bag limit: five antlerless or spike-buck deer in the aggregate, no more than three of which may be spike bucks.

(D) No permit is required to hunt antlerless deer unless MLDP antlerless permits have been issued for the tract of land.

(2) In Bandera, Bexar, Blanco, Brown, Burnet, Coke, Coleman, Comal (west of Interstate 35), Concho, Crockett, Edwards, Gillespie, Glasscock, Hays (west of Interstate 35), Howard, Irion, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney (north of U.S. Highway 90), Llano, Mason, McCulloch, Medina (north of U.S. Highway 90), Menard, Mills, Mitchell, Nolan, Real, Reagan, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Sterling, Sutton, Tom Green, Travis (west of Interstate 35), Uvalde (north of U.S. Highway 90) and Val Verde (north of U.S. Highway 90; and that portion located both south of U.S. 90 and west of Spur 239) counties, there is a general open season.

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

(B) Bag limit: five deer, no more than two bucks.

(C) Special Late General Season. In the counties listed in this paragraph there is a special late general season for the take of antlerless and spike-buck deer only.

(i) Open season: 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the first Sunday in January.

(ii) Bag limit: five antlerless or spike-buck deer in the aggregate, no more than two of which may be spike bucks.

(D) No permit is required to hunt antlerless deer unless MLDP antlerless permits have been issued for the tract of land.

(3) In Brewster, Culberson, Jeff Davis, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, and Upton (that southeastern portion located both south of U.S. Highway 67 and east of State Highway 349) 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.

(C) No permit is required to hunt antlerless deer unless MLDP antlerless permits have been issued for the tract of land.

(4) 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 MLDP antlerless, LAMPS, or USFS antlerless permits have been issued for the tract of land. On USFS, Corps of Engineers, Sabine River Authority, and Trinity River Authority lands, the take of antlerless deer shall be by permit only. If USFS antlerless, MLDP antlerless, 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 USFS antlerless, MLDP antlerless, 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.

(5) In Austin, Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, De Witt, Fayette, Goliad (north of U.S. Highway 59), Gonzales, Guadalupe, Jackson (north of U.S. Highway 59), Karnes, Lavaca, Lee, Victoria (north of U.S. Highway 59), Waller, Wilson, Washington and Wharton (north of U.S. Highway 59) counties, there is a general open season.

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

(B) The provisions of this clause do not apply on properties for which Level 2 or Level 3 MLDPs have been issued. In the counties listed in this paragraph, a legal buck is a buck deer having:

(i) at least one unbranched antler; or

(ii) an inside spread of 13 inches or greater.

(C) Buck bag limit: two bucks, to include no more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater.

(D) Antlerless bag limit: two, by MLDP antlerless permit only.

(6) In Brazoria, Fort Bend, Goliad (south of U.S. Highway 59), Jackson (south if U.S. Highway 59), Matagorda, Victoria (south of U.S. Highway 59), and Wharton (south of U.S. Highway 59) counties, there is a general open season.

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

(B) The provisions of this clause do not apply on properties for which Level 2 or Level 3 MLDPs have been issued. In the counties listed in this paragraph, a legal buck is a buck deer having:

(i) at least one unbranched antler; or

(ii) an inside spread of 13 inches or greater.

(C) Buck bag limit: two bucks, to include no more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater.

(D) Antlerless bag limit: two.

(E) From opening day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day, antlerless deer may be taken without antlerless deer permits unless MLDP antlerless permits have been issued for the tract of land. If MLDP antlerless 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 MLDP antlerless permit.

(7) In Archer, Armstrong, Baylor, Bell (west of IH 35), Borden, Bosque, Briscoe, Callahan, Carson, Childress, Clay, Collingsworth, Comanche, Coryell, Cottle, Crosby, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Erath, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Hansford, Haskell, Hemphill, Hood, Hutchinson, Jack, Jones, Kent, King, Knox, Lampasas, Lipscomb, McLennan, Montague, Motley, Ochiltree, Palo Pinto, Parker, Randall, Roberts, Scurry, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Stonewall, Swisher, Taylor, Throckmorton, Wheeler, Williamson (west of IH 35), Wise, and Young counties, there is a general open season.

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

(B) Bag limit: three deer, no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless.

(C) No permit is required to hunt antlerless deer unless MLDP antlerless permits have been issued for the tract of land.

(8) In Cooke, Hardeman, Hill, Johnson, Wichita, and Wilbarger counties, there is a general open season.

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

(B) Bag limit: three deer, no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless.

(C) From opening day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day, antlerless deer may be taken without antlerless deer permits unless MLDP antlerless permits have been issued for the tract of land. If MLDP antlerless 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 MLDP antlerless permit.

(9) In Cass, Denton, Harrison, Marion, Nacogdoches, Panola, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, and Tarrant counties, there is a general open season.

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

(B) Bag limit: three deer, no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless.

(C) During the first 16 days of the general season, antlerless deer may be taken without antlerless deer permits unless MLDP, LAMPS, or USFS antlerless permits have been issued for the tract of land. On USFS, Corps of Engineers, and Sabine River Authority lands, the take of antlerless deer shall be by permit only. If USFS antlerless, MLDP antlerless, or LAMPS permits have been issued, they must be attached to all antlerless deer harvested on the tract of land. After the first 16 days of the general season, antlerless deer may be taken only by USFS antlerless, MLDP antlerless, or LAMPS permits.

(10) In Bowie, Brazos, Burleson, Camp, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Hopkins, Houston, Lamar, Madison, Milam, Morris, Red River, Robertson, Rusk, Titus, Upshur, and Wood counties, there is a general open season.

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

(B) Bag limit: three deer, no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless.

(C) From Thanksgiving Day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day, antlerless deer may be taken without antlerless deer permits unless MLDP antlerless or LAMPS permits have been issued for the tract of land. On USFS, Corps of Engineers, and Sabine River Authority lands, the take of antlerless deer shall be by permit only. If USFS antlerless, MLDP antlerless, or LAMPS permits have been issued, they must be attached to all antlerless deer harvested on the tract of land. From the first Saturday in November through the day before Thanksgiving Day, and from the Monday immediately following Thanksgiving Day through the first Sunday in January, antlerless deer may be taken only by USFS antlerless, MLDP antlerless, or LAMPS permits.

(D) Special regulation. In Grayson County:

(i) lawful means are restricted to lawful archery equipment and crossbows only, including MLDP properties; and

(ii) antlerless deer shall be taken by MLDP only, except on the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.

(11) In Anderson, Bell (east of Interstate 35), Comal (east of Interstate 35), Crane, Ector, Ellis, Falls, Freestone, Hays (east of Interstate 35), Henderson, Hunt, Kaufman, Leon, Limestone, Loving, Midland, Navarro, Rains, Smith, Travis (east of Interstate 35), Upton (that portion located north of U.S. Highway 67; and that area located both south of U.S. Highway 67 and west of state highway 349), Van Zandt, Ward, and Williamson (east of Interstate 35) counties, there is a general open season.

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

(B) Bag limit: one buck, no more than two antlerless. Antlerless deer may be taken only by MLDP antlerless or LAMPS permits.

(12) In Dallam, Hartley, Moore, Oldham, Potter, and Sherman Counties, there is a general open season.

(A) Open season: Saturday before Thanksgiving for 16 consecutive days.

(B) Bag limit: one buck, no more than two antlerless. Antlerless deer may be taken only by MLDP antlerless permit.

(13) In Andrews, Bailey, Castro, Cochran, Collin, Dallas, Dawson, Deaf Smith, El Paso, Gaines, Galveston, Hale, Hockley, Hudspeth, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Parmer, Rockwall, Terry, Winkler, and Yoakum counties, there is no general open season.

(14) Archery-only open seasons. In all counties where there is a general open season for white-tailed deer, there is an archery-only open season during which either sex of white-tailed deer may be taken as provided for in §65.11(2) and (3) of this title (relating to Means and Methods).

(A) Open season: the Saturday closest to September 30 for 30 consecutive days.

(B) Bag limit: the bag limit in any given county is as provided for that county during the general open season.

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

(15) 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, 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 MLDP permits have been issued for the property.

(16) Special Youth-Only Seasons. There shall be special youth-only general hunting seasons in all counties where there is a general open season for white-tailed deer.

(A) early open season: the Saturday and Sunday immediately before the first Saturday in November.

(B) late open season: the third weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in January.

(C) Bag limits, provisions for the take of antlerless deer, and special requirements in the individual counties listed in paragraphs (1)-(11) of this subsection shall be as specified for the first two days of the general open season in those counties, except as provided in subparagraph (D) of this paragraph.

(D) Provisions for the take of antlerless deer in the individual counties listed in paragraph (10) of this subsection shall be as specified in those counties for the period of time from Thanksgiving Day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day.

(E) Licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt deer by any lawful means during the seasons established by subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph, except in Grayson County, where legal means are restricted to crossbow and lawful archery equipment.

(F) A licensed hunter 16 years of age or younger may hunt any deer on any property (including MLDP properties) during the seasons established by subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph.

(G) The stamp requirement of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter I, does not apply during the seasons established by this paragraph.

(c) Mule deer. The open seasons and annual bag limits for mule deer shall be as follows.

(1) In Armstrong, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Childress, Coke, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Kent, King, Lipscomb, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Scurry, Stonewall, and Swisher counties, there is a general open season.

(A) Open season: Saturday before Thanksgiving for 16 consecutive days.

(B) Bag limit: two deer, no more than one buck.

(C) Antlerless deer may be taken only by Antlerless Mule Deer or MLD Permits.

(2) In Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Ector, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties, there is a general open season.

(A) Open season: last Saturday in November for 16 consecutive days.

(B) Bag limit: two deer, no more than one buck.

(C) Antlerless deer may be taken only by Antlerless Mule Deer or MLD Permits.

(3) In Andrews (west of U.S. Highway 385), Bailey, Cochran, Hockley, Lamb, Terry, and Yoakum counties, there is a general open season.

(A) Open season: Saturday before Thanksgiving for nine consecutive days.

(B) Bag limit: two deer, no more than one buck.

(C) Antlerless deer may be taken by permit only.

(4) In all other counties, there is no general open season for mule deer.

(5) Archery-only open seasons and bag and possession limits shall be as follows. During an archery-only open season, deer may be taken only as provided for in §65.11(2) and (3) of this title (relating to Means and Methods). No antlerless permit is required unless MLD antlerless permits have been issued for the property.

(A) In Armstrong, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Childress, Coke, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Ector, El Paso, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hudspeth, Hutchinson, Jeff Davis, Kent, King, Lipscomb, Loving, Midland, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Potter, Presidio, Randall, Reagan, Reeves, Roberts, Scurry, Stonewall, Swisher, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties, there is an open season.

(i) Open season: from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 30 consecutive days.

(ii) Bag limit: one buck deer.

(B) In Brewster, Pecos, and Terrell counties, there is an open season.

(i) Open season: from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 30 consecutive days.

(ii) Bag limit: two deer, no more than one buck.

(C) In all other counties, there is no archery-only open season for mule deer.

§65.56. Lesser Prairie Chicken: Open Seasons, Bag, and Possession Limits.

(a) There is no open season for lesser prairie chicken except on properties for which the department has approved a wildlife management plan that contains a component specifically addressing the management of lesser prairie chicken. [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 lesser prairie chickens.

(3) Possession limit: Four lesser prairie chickens.

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

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

§65.62. Quail: Open 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.

(c) Possession limit: 45 quail.

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

(e) On all properties for which the department has approved a WMP under the provisions of §65.11(c) of this title, relating to Wildlife Management Plan (WMP), the daily bag limit shall be 30 quail and the possession limit shall be 90 quail.

§65.64. Turkey.

(a) The annual bag limit for Rio Grande and Eastern turkey, in the aggregate, is four, no more than one of which may be an Eastern turkey.

(b) Rio Grande Turkey. The open seasons and bag limits for Rio Grande turkey shall be as follows.

(1) Fall seasons and bag limits:

[(A) In Archer, Bandera, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Bosque, Burnet, Clay, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Denton, Erath, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzales, Hamilton, Hays, Hill, Hood, Jack, Johnson, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Lampasas, Llano, McLennan, Medina (only north of U.S. Highway 90) Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Real, Somervell, Stephens, Travis, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson, Wise, and Young counties, there sis a fall general open season.]

[(i) Open season: first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January.]

[(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, gobblers or bearded hens.]

(A) [(B)] In Aransas, Atascosa, Bee, Calhoun, Cameron, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kinney (south of U.S. Highway 90), LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina (south of U.S. Highway 90), Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Uvalde (south of U.S. Highway 90), Val Verde (in that southeastern portion located both south of U.S. Highway 90 and east of Spur 239), Webb, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a fall general open season.

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

(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, gobblers or bearded hens.

[(C) In Kinney (south of U.S. Highway 90) and Uvalde (south of U.S. Highway 90), and Val Verde (in that southeastern portion located both south of U.S. Highway 90 and east of Spur 239) counties, there is a fall general open season.]

[(i) Open season: first Saturday in November through the third Sunday in January.]

[(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, either sex.]

(B)[(D)] In Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Willacy counties, there is a fall general open season.

(i) Open season: first Saturday in November through the last Sunday in February.

(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, either sex.

(C) [(E)] In Archer, Armstrong, Bandera, Baylor, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Carson, Childress, Clay, Coke, Coleman, Collingsworth, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Dawson, Denton, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Erath, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Hill, Hood, Howard, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kendall, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney (north of U.S. Highway 90), Knox, Lipscomb, Lampasas, Llano, Lynn, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, Medina (north of U.S. Highway 90), Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Pecos, Potter, Randall, Reagan, Real, Roberts, Runnels, Sutton, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Uvalde (north of U.S. Highway 90), Ward, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Williamson, Wilson, Wise, [and] Val Verde (that portion located north of U.S. Highway 90; and that portion located both south of U.S. 90 and west of Spur 239) , and Young counties, there is a fall general open season.

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

(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, either sex.

(2) Archery-only season and bag limits. In all counties where there is a general fall season for turkey there is an open season during which turkey may be taken only as provided for in §65.11(2) and (3) of this title (relating to Means and Methods).

(A) Open season: from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 30 consecutive days.

(B) Bag limit: in any given county, the annual bag limit is as provided by this section for the fall general season in that county.

(3) Spring season and bag limits.

(A) In Archer, Armstrong, Aransas, Atascosa, Bandera, Baylor, Bell, Bee, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Brooks, Brewster, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Calhoun, Cameron, Carson, Childress, Clay, Coke, Coleman, Collingsworth, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Dawson, Denton, Dickens, Dimmit, Donley, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Ellis, Erath, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Frio, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Howard, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kendall, Kenedy, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney, Kleberg, Knox, Lampasas, LaSalle, Lipscomb, Live Oak, Llano, Lynn, Martin, Mason, Maverick, McCulloch, McLennan, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Nolan, Nueces, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Pecos, Potter, Randall, Reagan, Real, Refugio, Roberts, Runnels, San Saba, San Patricio, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Somervell, Starr, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, Webb, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Wise, [and] Young, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a spring general open season.

(i) Open season: Saturday closest to April 1 for 44 consecutive days [first Saturday in April for 37 consecutive days].

(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, gobblers only.

(B) In Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, De Witt, Fayette, Guadalupe, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Milam, and Victoria counties, there is a spring general open season.

(i) Open season: from April 1 through April 30 [first Saturday in April for 37 consecutive days].

(ii) Bag limit: one turkey, gobblers only.

[(C) In Aransas, Atascosa, Bee, Bexar, Brooks, Calhoun, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Goliad, Gonzales, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kenedy, Kinney, Kleberg, LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Uvalde, Webb, Willacy, Wilson, and Zavala counties, there is a spring general open season.]

[(i) Open season: last Saturday in March for 37 consecutive days.]

[(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, gobblers only.]

(4) Special Youth-Only Seasons [Season]. Only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt during the seasons established by this subsection.

(A) There shall be a special youth-only fall general hunting season in all counties where there is a fall general open season.

(i) open season : the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately preceding the first Saturday in November, and the third weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in January.

(ii) bag limit: as specified for individual counties in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(B) There shall be special youth-only spring general open hunting seasons for Rio Grande turkey in the counties listed in paragraph (3)(A) of this section.

(i) open seasons: the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately preceding the first Saturday in April and the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately following the close of the general open spring season.

(ii) bag limit: as specified for individual counties in paragraph (3)(A)(ii) of this subsection.

[(B) Only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt during the season established by this subsection.]

(c) Eastern turkey. The open seasons and bag limits for Eastern turkey shall be as follows. In Angelina, Bowie, Brazoria, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Fort Bend, Franklin, Grayson, Gregg, Hardin, Harrison, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Jasper, Lamar, Liberty, Marion, Matagorda, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Rains, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Walker, Wharton, and Wood counties, there is a spring season during which both Rio Grande and Eastern turkey may be lawfully hunted.

(1) Open season: from April 1 for 30 consecutive days.

(2) Bag limit (both species combined): one turkey, gobbler only.

(3) In the counties listed in this subsection:

(A) it is unlawful to hunt turkey by any means other than a shotgun, lawful archery equipment, or crossbows;

(B) it is unlawful for any person to take or attempt to take turkeys by the aid of baiting, or on or over a baited area; and

(C) all turkeys harvested during the open season must be registered at designated check stations within 24 hours of the time of kill. Harvested turkeys may be field dressed but must otherwise remain intact.

(d) In all counties not listed in subsection (b) or (c) of this section, the season is closed for hunting turkey.


The amendment and new section are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The proposed amendment and new section affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.


§65.72. Fish.

(a) General rules.

(1) There are no public waters closed to the taking and retaining of fish, except as provided in this subchapter.

(2) Game fish may be taken only by pole and line, except as provided in this subchapter.

(3) It is unlawful:

(A) to take or attempt to take, or possess fish within a protected length limit, in greater numbers, by other means, or at any time or place, other than as permitted under this subchapter;

(B) while fishing on or in public waters to have in possession fish in excess of the daily bag limit or fish within a protected length limit as established for those waters;

(C) to land by boat or person any fish within a protected length limit, or in excess of the daily bag limit or possession limit established for those fish;

(D) to use game fish or any part thereof as bait;

(E) to possess a finfish of any species, except broadbill swordfish, shark or king mackerel, taken from public water that has the head or tail removed until such person finally lands the catch on the mainland, a peninsula, or barrier island not including jetties or piers and does not transport the catch by boat;

(F) to use airboats or jet-driven devices to pursue and harass or harry fish; or

(G) to release into the public waters of this state a fish with a device or substance implanted or attached that is designed, constructed or adapted to produce an audible, visual, or electronic signal used to monitor, track, follow, or in any manner aid in the location of the released fish.

(4) Finfish tags: Prohibited Acts.

(A) No person may purchase or use more finfish (red drum or tarpon) tags during a license year than the number and type authorized by the commission, excluding duplicate tags issued under Parks and Wildlife Code, §46.006.

(B) It is unlawful to:

(i) use the same finfish tag for the purpose of tagging more than one finfish;

(ii) use a finfish tag in the name of another person;

(iii) use a tag on a finfish for which another tag is specifically required;

(iv) catch and retain a finfish required to be tagged and fail to immediately attach and secure a tag, with the day and month of catch cut out, to the finfish at the narrowest part of the finfish tail, just ahead of the tail fin;

(v) have in possession both a Red Drum Tag and a Duplicate Red Drum Tag issued to the same license or salt water stamp holder;

(vi) have in possession both a Red Drum Tag or a Duplicate Red Drum Tag and a Bonus Red Drum Tag issued to the same license or salt water stamp holder;

(vii) have in possession both an Exempt Red Drum Tag and a Duplicate Exempt Red Drum Tag issued to the same license holder; or

(viii) have in possession both an Exempt Red Drum Tag or a Duplicate Exempt Red Drum Tag and a Bonus Red Drum Tag issued to the same holder.

(5) Commercial fishing seasons.

(A) The commercial seasons for finfish species listed in this paragraph and caught in Texas waters shall run concurrently with commercial seasons established for the same species caught in federal waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

(B) The commercial fishing season in the EEZ will be set by the National Marine Fisheries Service for:

(i) red snapper under guidelines established by the Fishery Management Plan for Reef Fish Resources for the Gulf of Mexico;

(ii) king mackerel under guidelines established by the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; and

(iii) sharks (all species, their hybrids and subspecies) under guidelines established by the Fishery Management Plan for Highly Migratory Species).

(C) When federal and/or state waters are closed, it will be unlawful to:

(i) purchase, barter, trade or sell finfish species listed in this paragraph landed in this state;

(ii) transfer at sea finfish species listed in this paragraph caught or possessed in the waters of this state; and

(iii) possess finfish species listed in this paragraph in excess of the current recreational bag or possession limit in or on the waters of this state.

(6) In Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Ector, El Paso, Jeff Davis, Hudspeth, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties, the only fishes that may be used or possessed for bait while fishing are common carp, fathead minnows, gizzard and threadfin shad, sunfish (Lepomis), goldfish, golden shiners, Mexican tetra, Rio Grande cichlid, and silversides (Atherinidae family).

(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*
*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 with spotted bass) 14 Possession Limit is 10.
Bass: largemouth.
Conroe (Montgomery and Walker), Fort Phantom Hill (Jones), Granbury (Hood), 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), Pflugerville (Travis), Rusk State Park (Cherokee), and Welsh (Titus) 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), San Augustine City (San Augustine), and Sweetwater (Nolan) 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). 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 (in any combination with largemouth bass) No Limit [12] Possession Limit is 10.
Bass: striped and white bass, their 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: white
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
North Concho River (Tom Green) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam, South Concho River (Tom Green) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam 5 (in any combination) No limit
Community fishing lakes 5 (in any combination) No limit
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.
Nasworthy (Tom Green) No Limit No 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) Devices, means and methods.

(1) In fresh water only, it is unlawful to fish with more than 100 hooks on all devices combined.

(2) Game [In community fishing lakes, Lake Pflugerville (Travis County), and in sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of state parks, game] and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line only in:

(A) community fishing lakes;

(B) sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of state parks;

(C) Lake Pflugerville (Travis County);

(D) the North Concho River (Tom Green County) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam; and

(E) the South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam.

(3) It is unlawful to take, attempt to take, or possess fish caught in public waters of this state by any device, means, or method other than as authorized in this subsection.

(4) In salt water only, it is unlawful to fish with any device that is marked with a buoy made of a plastic bottle(s) of any color or size.

(5) Device restrictions.

(A) Cast net. It is unlawful to use a cast net exceeding 14 feet in diameter.

(i) Only non-game fish may be taken with a cast net.

(ii) In salt water, non-game fish may be taken for bait purposes only.

(B) Dip net.

(i) It is unlawful to use a dip net except:

(I) to aid in the landing of fish caught on other legal devices; and

(II) to take non-game fish.

(ii) In salt water, non-game fish may be taken for bait purposes only.

(C) Gaff.

(i) It is unlawful to use a gaff except to aid in landing fish caught by other legal devices, means or methods.

(ii) Fish landed with a gaff may not be below the minimum, above the maximum, or within a protected length limit.

(D) Gig. Only non-game fish may be taken with a gig.

(E) Jugline. For use in fresh water only. Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish may be taken with a jugline. It is unlawful to use a jugline:

(i) with invalid gear tags. Gear tags must be attached within six inches of the free-floating device, are valid for 30 days after the date set out, and must include the number of the permit to sell non-game fish taken from freshwater, if applicable;

(ii) for commercial purposes that is not marked with an orange free-floating device;

(iii) for non-commercial purposes that is not marked with a white free-floating device;

(iv) in Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

(F) Lawful archery equipment. Only non-game fish may be taken with lawful archery equipment or crossbow.

(G) Minnow trap (fresh water and salt water).

(i) Only non-game fish may be taken with a minnow trap.

(ii) It is unlawful to use a minnow trap that exceeds 24 inches in length or with a throat larger than one by three inches.

(H) Perch traps. For use in salt water only.

(i) Perch traps may be used only for taking non-game fish.

(ii) It is unlawful to fish a perch trap that:

(I) exceeds 18 cubic feet in volume;

(II) is not equipped with a degradable panel. A trap shall be considered to have a degradable panel if one of the following methods is used in construction of the trap:

(-a-) the trap lid tie-down strap is secured to the trap by a loop of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand # 530) or sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand # 390). The trap lid must be secured so that when the twine degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed; or

(-b-) the trap lid tie-down strap is secured to the trap by a loop of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. The trap lid must be secured so that when the wire degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed; or

(-c-) the trap contains at least one sidewall, not including the bottom panel, with a rectangular opening no smaller than 3 inches by 6 inches. Any obstruction placed in this opening may not be secured in any manner except:

(-1-) it may be laced, sewn, or otherwise obstructed by a single length of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand # 530) or sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand # 390) knotted only at each end and not tied or looped more than once around a single mesh bar. When the twine degrades, the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed; or

(-2-) it may be laced, sewn, or otherwise obstructed by a single length of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. When the wire degrades, the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed; or

(-3-) the obstruction may be loosely hinged at the bottom of the opening by no more than two untreated steel hog rings and secured at the top of the obstruction in no more than one place by a single length of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand # 530), sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand # 390), or by a single length of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. When the twine or wire degrades, the obstruction will hinge downward and the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed.

(III) that is not marked with a floating visible orange buoy not less than six inches in height and six inches in width. The buoy must have a gear tag attached. Gear tags are valid for 30 days after date set out.

(I) Pole and line.

(i) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line. It is unlawful to take or attempt to take fish with one or more hooks attached to a line or artificial lure used in a manner to foul-hook a fish (snagging or jerking). A fish is foul-hooked when caught by a hook in an area other than the fish's mouth.

(ii) Game and nongame fish may be taken by pole and line. It is unlawful to take fish with a hand-operated device held underwater except that a spear gun and spear may be used to take nongame fish.

(iii) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line, except that in the Guadalupe River in Comal County from the second bridge crossing on River Road upstream to the easternmost bridge crossing on F.M. Road 306, rainbow and brown trout may not be retained when taken by any method except artificial lures. Artificial lures cannot contain or have attached either whole or portions, living or dead, of organisms such as fish, crayfish, insects (grubs, larvae, or adults), or worms, or any other animal or vegetable material, or synthetic scented materials. This does not prohibit the use of artificial lures that contain components of hair or feathers. It is an offense to possess rainbow and brown trout while fishing with any other device in that part of the Guadalupe River defined in this paragraph.

(J) Purse seine (net).

(i) Purse seines may be used only for taking menhaden, only from that portion of the Gulf of Mexico within the jurisdiction of this state extending from one-half mile offshore to nine nautical miles offshore, and only during the period of time beginning the third Monday in April through the first day in November each year.

(ii) Purse seines used for taking menhaden may not be used within one mile of any jetty or pass.

(iii) The purse seine, not including the bag, shall not be less than three-fourths inch square mesh.

(K) Sail line. For use in salt water only.

(i) Non-game fish, red drum, spotted seatrout, and sharks may be taken with a sail line.

(ii) Line length shall not exceed 1,800 feet from the reel to the sail.

(iii) The sail and most shoreward float must be a highly visible orange or red color. All other floats must be yellow.

(iv) No float on the line may be more than 200 feet from the sail.

(v) A weight of not less than one ounce shall be attached to the line not less than four feet or more than six feet shoreward of the last shoreward float.

(vi) Reflectors of not less than two square inches shall be affixed to the sail and floats and shall be visible from all directions for sail lines operated from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

(vii) There is no hook spacing requirement for sail lines.

(viii) No more than one sail line may be used per fisherman.

(ix) Sail lines may not be used by the holder of a commercial fishing license.

(x) Sail lines must be attended at all times the line is fishing.

(xi) Sail lines may not have more than 30 hooks and no hook may be placed more than 200 feet from the sail.

(L) Seine.

(i) Only non-game fish may be taken with a seine.

(ii) It is unlawful to use a seine:

(I) which is not manually operated.

(II) with mesh exceeding 1/2-inch square.

(III) that exceeds 20 feet in length.

(iii) In salt water, non-game fish may be taken by seine for bait purposes only.

(M) Shad trawl. For use in fresh water only.

(i) Only non-game fish may be taken with a shad trawl.

(ii) It is unlawful to use a shad trawl longer than six feet or with a mouth larger than 36 inches in diameter.

(iii) A shad trawl may be equipped with a funnel or throat and must be towed by boat or by hand.

(N) Spear. Only non-game fish may be taken with a spear.

(O) Spear gun. Only non-game fish may be taken with spear gun.

(P) Throwline. For use in fresh water only.

(i) Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish may be taken with a throwline.

(ii) It is unlawful to use a throwline in Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

(Q) Trotline.

(i) Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish may be taken by trotline.

(ii) It is unlawful to use a trotline:

(I) with a mainline length exceeding 600 feet;

(II) with invalid gear tags. Gear tags must be attached within three feet of the first hook at each end of the trotline and are valid for 30 days after date set out, except on saltwater trotlines, a gear tag is not required to be dated;

(III) with hook interval less than three horizontal feet;

(IV) with metallic stakes; or

(V) with the main fishing line and attached hooks and stagings above the water's surface.

(iii) In fresh water, it is unlawful to use a trotline:

(I) with more than 50 hooks;

(II) in Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Fayette County Reservoir in Fayette County, Pinkston Reservoir in Shelby County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

(iv) In salt water:

(I) it is unlawful to use a trotline:

(-a-) in or on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico within the jurisdiction of this state;

(-b-) from which red drum, sharks or spotted seatrout caught on the trotline are retained or possessed;

(-c-) placed closer than 50 feet from any other trotline, or set within 200 feet of the edge of the Intracoastal Waterway or its tributary channels. No trotline may be fished with the main fishing line and attached hooks and stagings above the water's surface;

(-d-) baited with other than natural bait, except sail lines;

(-e-) with hooks other than circle-type hook with point curved in and having a gap (distance from point to shank) of no more than one-half inch, and with the diameter of the circle not less than five-eighths inch. Sail lines are excluded from the restrictions imposed by this clause; or

(-f-) in Aransas County in Little Bay and the water area of Aransas Bay within one-half mile of a line from Hail Point on the Lamar Peninsula, then direct to the eastern end of Goose Island, then along the southern shore of Goose Island, then along the causeway between Lamar Peninsula and Live Oak Peninsula, then along the eastern shoreline of the Live Oak Peninsula past the town of Fulton, past Nine-Mile Point, past the town of Rockport to a point at the east end of Talley Island, including that part of Copano Bay within 1,000 feet of the causeway between Lamar Peninsula and Live Oak Peninsula.

(II) No trotline or trotline components, including lines and hooks, but excluding poles, may be left in or on coastal waters between the hours of 1 p.m. on Friday through 1:00 p.m. on Sunday of each week, except that attended sail lines are excluded from the restrictions imposed by this clause. Under the authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.206(b), in the event small craft advisories or higher marine weather advisories issued by the National Weather Service are in place at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, trotlines may remain in the water until 6:00 p.m. on Friday. If small craft advisories are in place at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, trotlines may remain in the water until Saturday. When small craft advisories are lifted by 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, trotlines must be removed by 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. When small craft advisories are lifted by 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, trotlines must be removed by 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. When small craft advisories or higher marine weather advisories are still in place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, trotlines may remain in the water through 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. It is a violation to tend, bait, or harvest fish or any other aquatic life from trotlines during the period that trotline removal requirements are suspended under this provision for adverse weather conditions. For purposes of enforcement, the geographic area customarily covered by marine weather advisories will be delineated by department policy.

(III) It is unlawful to fish for commercial purposes with:

(-a-) more than 20 trotlines at one time;

(-b-) any trotline that is not marked with yellow flagging attached to stakes or with a floating yellow buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width attached to end fixtures;

(-c-) any trotline that is not marked with yellow flagging attached to stakes or with a yellow buoy bearing the commercial finfish fisherman's license plate number in letters of a contrasting color at least two inches high attached to end fixtures;

(-d-) any trotline that is marked with yellow flagging or with a buoy bearing a commercial finfish fisherman's license plate number other than the commercial finfish fisherman's license plate number displayed on the finfish fishing boat;

(IV) It is unlawful to fish for non-commercial purposes with:

(-a-) more than 1 trotline at any time; or

(-b-) any trotline that is not marked with a floating yellow buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width, bearing a two-inch wide stripe of contrasting color, attached to end fixtures.

(R) Umbrella net.

(i) Only non-game fish may be taken with an umbrella net.

(ii) It is unlawful to use an umbrella net with the area within the frame exceeding 16 square feet.

§65.82. Other Aquatic Life.

(a) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly take, kill, or disturb sea turtles or sea turtle eggs in or from the waters of the State of Texas.

(b) There is no open season on porpoises, dolphins (mammals), and whales.

(c) It is unlawful for any person to take or kill shell-bearing mollusks, hermit crabs, starfish, or sea urchins from November 1 through April 30 within the following boundary: the bay and pass sides of South Padre Island from the east end of the north jetty at Brazos Santiago Pass to the west end of West Marisol drive in the town of South Padre Island, out 1,000 yards from the mean high-tide line, and bounded to the south by the centerline of the Brazos Santiago Pass.

(d) It is unlawful for any person to take, kill, or possess more than 15 univalve snails (all species), to include no more than two of each of the following species: lightening whelk, horse conch, Florida fighting conch, pear whelk, banded tulip, and Florida rocksnail.

(e) [(c)]Any other aquatic life (except threatened and endangered species) not addressed in this subchapter may be taken only by hand or with the devices defined as lawful for taking fish, crabs, oysters, or shrimp in places and at times as provided by proclamations of the Parks and Wildlife Commission and the Parks and Wildlife Code.

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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