Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00am, May 25, 2005

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Item
No.
Subject Public Hearing
Agenda Item No.
  Approval of Previous Committee Meeting minutes.  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. 2005-2006 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
Staff: Vernon Bevill
Committee Only
3. Chapter 58 Oysters and Shrimp Review - Permission to Publish
Staff: Jerry Cooke
Committee Only
4. Proposed 2005-2006 Oyster Fishery Proclamation - Permission to Publish
Staff: Robin Riechers
Committee Only
5. State Park Operational Rules - Regulation of Dumping - Permission to Publish
Staff: Walt Dabney
Committee Only
6. Nine-Mile Hole Conservation Regulation - Permission to Publish
Staff: Robin Riechers
Committee Only
7. Chapter 65 White-tailed Deer Permit Rules
Staff: Clayton Wolf
4
8. Other Business  

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Vernon Bevill

Regulations Committee
2005–2006 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
May 2005

I. Executive Summary: This item apprises the Committee of anticipated and potential changes to migratory game bird regulations as a result of staff recommendations and the federal regulatory process.

II. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) frameworks is delegated to the Commission under Chapter 64, Subchapter C, Parks and Wildlife Code. Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.022 authorizes the Executive Director, after notification of the Chairman, to engage in rulemaking. At present, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has not issued the annual regulatory frameworks for migratory game birds. Typically, the Service issues the preliminary early-season (dove, teal, etc) frameworks in late June and the preliminary late-season (waterfowl) frameworks in early August. The Service typically issues the final early-season frameworks in early August and the final late-season frameworks in late September. Since the current regulations reflect the Commission's policy to provide the most liberal harvest provisions permissible under the federal frameworks, staff recommends retaining those provisions (adjusted for calendar shift) should the Service frameworks remain unchanged from last year. Should the Service issue frameworks that alter any existing options or offer new options for hunter opportunity, the department will adopt the most liberal provisions possible, while affording needed protection to the resource.

Attachments - 2

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed 2005-2006 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation

Commission Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Proposed 2005–2006 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§65.310, 65.314, 65.315, 65.318, and 65.319-65.321, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation.

The amendment to §65.310, concerning Means, Methods, and Special Requirements, would reinstate specific language from federal regulations delineating the means and methods that are lawful and unlawful for the take of migratory game birds. Prior to 1997, the Texas regulation governing means, methods, and manners for the take of migratory game birds was a verbatim repetition of the federal rules located at 50 CFR §20.21. The federal rules consist of a list of lawful means, methods, and manners and a list of unlawful means, methods, and manners. In 1997 the department initiated an effort to reduce the overall volume of regulations. As part of that effort, the department decided to reduce regulatory volume in the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation, in part, by removing the lengthy list of unlawful means, methods, and manners from the rules and replacing that list with a proviso that all means, methods, and manners other than those listed as lawful were unlawful. In general, this approach has worked well over the intervening years; however, there have been cases where confusion has arisen and the department’s Law Enforcement Division has determined that reinstatement of the original wording is necessary.

The amendment to §65.314, concerning Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species, would alter the zone boundaries of the South Zone and the Special Whitewing Dove Area (SWDA) and renaming the South Zone the Southeast Zone. The current SWDA boundary no longer serves a useful purpose because whitewing density and distribution have increased, meaning whitewing populations in South Texas no longer need the protection of a restricted hunting area or season. Since the inception of the SWDA in 1984, whitewings have expanded their breeding range throughout Texas, with the highest densities located in urban areas of the South Texas Plains south and west of San Antonio. Since 1994, more whitewings have been counted annually in the expansion area than in their historic range. Whitewings now dominate the bag of most hunters in the vicinity of the larger towns (i.e., San Antonio, Hondo, Uvalde, Sabinal, and Brackettville) in the Central Zone, where the hunting season opens September 1. However, equally high densities occur further south and east in Pearsall, Falfurrias, Kingsville, Three Rivers, Freer, and George West, where hunters don’t have access to them until after September 20, by which time most whitewings have migrated out of the area. Therefore, the department has made a formal proposal to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), through the Central Flyway Council, to enlarge the SWDA by expanding it eastward to Interstate Highway 37, which would roughly double its size. Nesting studies conducted in the 1980s by the department indicate that the vast majority of white-winged doves have finished nesting and fledged their young by September 1, whereas for mourning doves, approximately 4% of nests were initiated after September 1, 6% of the seasonal eggs and nestlings were present after September 1, and 89% of nestlings have been fledged by that time. The impact of the proposed boundary change on mourning dove populations is expected to be minimal, since significantly large numbers of mourning doves inhabit urban areas where ordinances prohibit the discharge of firearms, and because the hunting season, although it would begin earlier and nearer September 1, will be restricted to half-days on weekends for the first two weeks of September (the current season structure for the Special Whitewing Season). Additionally, the department proposes to reduce the bag limit for mourning doves in the SWDA from 5 to 3 during the Special Whitewing Season in order to reduce potential negative impacts on mourning dove populations. The proposal must be approved by the Service before it can be implemented.

The amendment to §65.315, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits - Early Season Species, adjusts the season dates for early-season species of migratory game birds to account for calendar-shift (an annual adjustment to ensure that seasons open on the correct day of the week). Additionally, the department proposes to increase the aggregate bag limit while reducing the bag limit for mourning doves in the Special Whitewing Dove Area from 10 to 12 during the Special Whitewing Season. The increase in the aggregate bag limit will effectively be an increase in the whitewing dove bag limit, since the mourning dove component of the whitewing bag limit is being reduced. The mourning dove component of the aggregate bag limit is being reduced in order to minimize potential negative impacts on mourning dove populations as a result of enlarging the size of the area. Additionally, the proposed amendment would implement a 16-day teal season. The proposal must be approved by the Service before it can be implemented.

The amendment to §65.318, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits - Late Season Species, adjusts the season dates for late-season species of migratory game birds to account for calendar-shift, with the exceptions of the proposed South Zone duck season and the white-fronted goose seasons. The department last year implemented an exploratory season for ducks in the South Zone to see if hunters would respond favorably to an increased opportunity for the take of early arrivals. Surveys indicate, however, a strong hunter preference for a later opener for the first split. Therefore, the department is proposing a later opener for the first split in the South Zone. The seasons for white-fronted geese in previous years have been 86 days long. However, recent declines in the mid-continent white-fronted goose populations are a cause for concern. The estimated in population in 1999 was 980,000. That population in 2004 had declined to 650,000. This decline is not of a magnitude or even close to a magnitude to threaten depletion of the resource, as the population is well within limits for recuperative potential; however, the department is concerned and chooses to employ a cautious approach. Therefore, the department is proposing a reduction in season length to 72 days. The proposed amendment also sets forth conditional bag limits for ducks, coots, and mergansers. The current and proposed bag limits for these species reflect the continuing concerns of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over breeding populations of canvasback and pintail ducks. For the last two years, the Service has not authorized full-season hunting opportunity for those two species, electing to require states to impose a truncated season-within-a-season instead

The amendment to §65.319, concerning Extended Falconry Season—Early Season Species, adjusts season dates for the take of early-season species of migratory game birds by means of falconry to reflect calendar shift.

The amendment to §65.320, concerning Extended Falconry Season—Late Season Species, adjusts season dates for the take of late-season species of migratory game birds by means of falconry, also to reflect calendar shift.

The amendment to §65.321, concerning Special Management Provisions, also adjusts dates for the take of light geese during the special conservation season to account for calendar shift.

The amendments are generally necessary to implement commission policy to provide the greatest hunter opportunity possible, consistent with hunter preference for season starting dates and segment lengths, under frameworks issued by the Service. The Service has not issued regulatory frameworks for the 2005-2006 hunting seasons for migratory game birds; thus, the department cautions that the proposed regulations are tentative and may change significantly, depending on federal actions. However, it is the policy of the commission to adopt the most liberal provisions possible, consistent with hunter preference, under the frameworks in order to provide maximum hunter opportunity.


2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, Wildlife Division regulations coordinator, has determined that for the first five years that the amendments as proposed are in effect, there will be no additional fiscal implications to state or local governments of enforcing or administering the amendments.


3. Public Benefit-Cost Note.

Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years the amendments are in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rules as proposed will be the department's discharge of its statutory obligation to manage and conserve the state's populations of migratory game birds, as well as the implementation of commission policy to maximize recreational opportunity for the citizenry.

(B) There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses or microbusinesses and no additional economic costs to persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

(C) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce Commission as required by Government Code, §2001.022, as the department has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.


4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Vernon Bevill, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4578 or 1-800-792-1112.


5. Statutory Authority.

The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, which authorizes the Commission and the Executive Director to provide the open season and means, methods, and devices for the hunting and possessing of migratory game birds.

The amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64.


§65.310. Means, Methods, and Special Requirements.

(a) The following means and methods are lawful, subject to control of subsection (b) of this section, in the taking of migratory game birds:

(1) dogs, artificial decoys, manual or mouth-operated birdcalls, lawful archery equipment (except crossbows), legal shotguns, and by means of falconry;

(2) positions in the open or from a blind or other place of concealment except a sinkbox;

(3) taking from floating craft (other than a sinkbox), provided that at the time of take:

(A) any motion by the craft is the result of manual propulsion or natural current or wind, and not by sail or motive power; and

(B) any sails are furled and any motor is completely shut off;

(4) taking on or over unbaited areas;

(5) taking by the use of power boats, sailboats, or other craft when used solely as a means of picking up dead or injured birds; and

(6) taking by means of falconry, but the hunting is limited to persons holding valid falconry permits issued under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 49.

(b) Paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs may take migratory game birds from a stationary motor vehicle or motor-driven land conveyance.

(c) Except as specifically provided in §65.321 of this title (relating to Special Management Provisions), the following means and methods are unlawful in the taking of migratory game birds:

(1) trap, snare, net, crossbow, fish hook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance;

(2) any firearm other than a legal shotgun;

(3) from, or by means, aid, or use of a sinkbox, motor-driven conveyance, motor vehicle, or aircraft of any kind;

(4) by the use of recorded or electrically amplified birdcalls or sounds;

(5) by the use of live birds as decoys;

(6) by the means or aid of motor-driven land, water, or air conveyance or sailboat used for the purpose of or resulting in the concentrating, driving, rallying, or stirring up of any migratory game bird; and

(7) by the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area, where a

person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been

baited. However, nothing in this paragraph prohibits:

(A) the taking of any migratory game bird, including waterfowl,

coots, and cranes, on or over the following lands or areas that are not otherwise baited areas:

(i) standing crops or flooded standing crops (including aquatics);

(ii) standing, flooded, or manipulated natural vegetation; flooded harvested croplands; or lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting,

post-harvest manipulation or normal soil stabilization practice;

(ii) from a blind (or any other place of concealment) camouflaged with natural vegetation;

(iii) from a blind (or any other place of concealment) camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, as long as such camouflaging does not result in the exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of

grain or other feed; or

(iv) standing or flooded standing agricultural crops where grain is inadvertently scattered solely as a result of a hunter entering or exiting a hunting area, placing decoys, or retrieving downed birds.

(B) the taking of any migratory game bird, except waterfowl, coots and cranes, on or over lands or areas that are not otherwise baited areas, and where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered solely as the result of manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed on the land where grown, or solely as the result of a normal agricultural operation.

[(a) It is unlawful to hunt migratory game birds by any means or method other than as authorized in this section.]

[(1) Lawful means: lawful archery equipment (except crossbows), legal shotguns, and falconry.]

[(2) Lawful methods: It is lawful to hunt:]

[(A) with dogs, artificial decoys, manual or mouth-operated birdcalls;]

[(B) in the open or from a blind or other place of concealment except a sinkbox; including but not limited to:]

[(i) blinds camouflaged with natural vegetation; and]

[(ii) blinds camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, as long as such camouflaging does not result in the exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of grain or other feed;]

[(C) from floating craft (other than a sinkbox), provided that at the time of hunting:]

[(i) any motion by the craft is the result of manual propulsion or natural current or wind, and not by sail or motive power; and]

[(ii) any sails are furled and any motor is completely shut off;]

[(D) on or over unbaited areas, including:]

[(i) standing crops or flooded standing crops; and]

[(ii) flooded harvested cropland.]

[(E) by the use of power boats, sailboats, or other craft when used solely as a means of picking up dead or injured birds;]

[(F) from any stationary motor vehicle or motor-driven land conveyance, provided the hunter is missing at least one leg or is a paraplegic;]

[(G) on or over standing, flooded, or manipulated natural vegetation;]

[(H) on or over lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as a result of a normal agricultural practice or pre-harvest manipulation of an agricultural crop, except that waterfowl and cranes may not be hunted where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered as the result of:]

[(i) pre-harvest manipulation of an agricultural crop; or]

[(ii) livestock feeding;]

[(I) on or over normal soil stabilization practice; and]

[(J) on or over crops where grain has been inadvertently scattered as a result of a hunter entering or exiting a hunting area, placing decoys, or retrieving downed birds.]

[(b) No person may possess shotgun shells containing any shot material, or loose shot for muzzleloading firearms, other than nontoxic shot while hunting waterfowl anywhere in Texas, including the shooting of privately owned banded pen-reared mallards on licensed private bird hunting areas.]

[(c) Nothing in this subchapter applies to persons taking birds pursuant to valid collection or depredation permits when operating within the terms of such permits.]

[(d) Except for migratory birds processed at a cold storage or processing facility, or doves, one fully-feathered wing or the head must remain attached on dressed migratory game birds while the birds are being transported between the place where taken and the personal residence of the possessor.]

[(e) No person may place or direct the placement of bait on or adjacent to an area for the purpose of causing, inducing, or allowing any person to take or attempt to take any migratory game bird by the aid of baiting on or over the baited area.]

§65.314. Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species.

(a) Rails: statewide.

(b) Mourning and white-winged doves.

(1) North Zone: That portion of the state north of a line beginning at the International Bridge south of Fort Hancock; thence north along FM 1088 to State Highway 20; thence west along State Highway 20 to State Highway 148; thence north along State Highway 148 to Interstate Highway 10 at Fort Hancock; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to Interstate Highway 20; thence northeast along Interstate Highway 20 to Interstate Highway 30 at Fort Worth; thence northeast along Interstate Highway 30 to the Texas-Arkansas state line.

(2) Central Zone: That portion of the state between the North Zone and the Southeast [South] Zone.

(3) Southeast [South] Zone: That portion of the state within the area circumscribed by line beginning at Interstate Highway 10 at the Louisiana border, thence west along I-10 to State Loop 1604 east of San Antonio, thence south and west along Loop 1604 to Interstate Highway 37, thence south and east along I-37 to its junction with State Highway 358, thence south and east along State Highway 358 to its junction with Park Road 22, thence south and east along Park Road 22 to the Kleberg-Nueces county line, thence east along the county line to the Gulf of Mexico, thence north and east along the Gulf of Mexico to Sabine Pass, and thence north along the Texas-Louisiana border through Sabine Lake and the Sabine River to I-10. [That portion of the state south of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to State Loop 1604; thence following Loop 1604 south and east to Interstate Highway 10; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to the Texas-Louisiana State Line.]

(4) Special white-winged dove area: That portion of the state within the area circumscribed by a line beginning at the Del Rio/Ciudad Acuña International Bridge southwest of Del Rio, thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio, thence proceeding east along U.S. 90 to State Loop 1604 west of San Antonio, thence south and east along Loop 1604 to Interstate Highway 37, thence south and east along I-37 to its junction with State Highway 358, thence south and east along State Highway 358 to its junction with Park Road 22, thence south and east along Park Road 22 to the Kleberg-Nueces county line, thence east along the county line to the Gulf of Mexico, thence east and south along the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico to the Rio Grande River; and thence west and north along the Rio Grande River to the International Bridge south of Del Rio. [That portion of the state south and west of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to United States Highway 83 at Uvalde; thence south along U.S. Highway 83 to State Highway 44; thence east along State Highway 44 to State Highway 16 at Freer; thence south along State Highway 16 to State Highway 285 at Hebbronville; thence east along State Highway 285 to FM 1017; thence southeast along FM 1017 to State Highway 186 at Linn; thence east along State Highway 186 to the Mansfield Channel at Port Mansfield; thence east along the Mansfield Channel to the Gulf of Mexico.]

(c) Gallinules (Moorhen or common gallinule and purple gallinule): statewide.

(d) Teal ducks (blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon): statewide.

(e) Woodcock: statewide.

(f) Wilson's (Common) snipe: statewide.

§65.315 Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits—Early Season.

(a) Rails.

(1) Dates: September 10 - 25, 2005 and October 29 - December 21, 2005 [September 11 - 26, 2004 and October 30 - December 22, 2004].

(2) Daily bag and possession limits:

(A) king and clapper rails: 15 in the aggregate per day; 30 in the aggregate in possession.

(B) sora and Virginia rails: 25 in the aggregate per day; 25 in the aggregate in possession.

(b) Dove seasons.

(1) North Zone.

(A) Dates: September 1 - October 30, 2005 [September 1 - October 30, 2004.]

(B) Daily bag limit: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day;

(C) Possession limit: 30 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, including no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

(2) Central Zone.

(A) Dates: September 1 - October 30, 2005 and December 26, 2005 - January 4, 2006 [September 1 - October 31, 2004 and December 26, 2004 - January 3, 2005].

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

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

(3) Southeast [South] Zone.

(A) Dates: Except in the special white-winged dove area as defined in §65.314 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species), September 23 - November 10, 2005 and December 26, 2005 - January 15, 2006 [September 24 - November 10, 2004 and December 26, 2004 - January 16, 2005].

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

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

(4) Special white-winged dove area.

(A) Dates: September 3, 4, 10, and 11, 2005 [September 4, 5, 11, and 12, 2004].

(i) Daily bag limit: 12 [10] white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, in the aggregate to include no more than three [five] mourning doves and two white-tipped doves per day;

(ii) Possession limit: 24 [20] white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate to include no more than six [10] mourning doves and four white-tipped doves in possession.

(B) Dates: September 23 - November 10, 2005 and December 26, 2005 - January 11, 2006 [September 24 - November 10, 2004 and December 26, 2004 - January 12, 2005].

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

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

(c) Gallinules.

(1) Dates: September 10 - 25, 2005 and October 29 - December 21, 2005 [September 11 - 26, 2004 and October 30 - December 22, 2004].

(2) Daily bag and possession limits: 15 in the aggregate per day; 30 in the aggregate in possession.

(d) September teal-only season.

(1) Dates: September 10 - 25, 2005 [September 18 - 26, 2004].

(2) Daily bag and possession limits: four in the aggregate per day; eight in the aggregate in possession.

(e) Red-billed pigeons, and band-tailed pigeons. No open season.

(f) Shorebirds. No open season.

(g) Woodcock: December 18, 2005 - January 31, 2006 [December 18, 2004 - January 31, 2005]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(h) Wilson's snipe (Common snipe): October 29, 2005 - February 12, 2006[October 30, 2004 - February 13, 2005]. The daily bag limit is eight. The possession limit is 16.

§65.318. Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits—Late Season. Except as specifically provided in this section, the possession limit for all species listed in this section shall be twice the daily bag limit.

(1) Ducks, mergansers, and coots. The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may include no more than five mallards or Mexican mallards (Mexican duck), only two of which may be hens, three scaup, one mottled duck, one canvasback, one pintail, two redheads, and two wood ducks. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, which may include no more than one hooded merganser. Canvasback and pintail may be taken only during the restricted seasons provided for those species.

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: September 26-October 3, 2005, and October 29-January 24, 2006 [September 27-October 4, 2004, and October 30-January 25, 2005]. The open season for pintail and canvasback begins December 17, 2005 and runs through January 24, 2006 [December 18, 2004 and runs through January 25, 2005].

(B) North Zone: November 5-27, 2005 and December 10-January 29, 2006 [November 6-28, 2004 and December 11-January 30, 2005]. The open season for pintail and canvasback begins December 22, 2004 and runs through January 29, 2006 [December 23, 2004 and runs through January 30, 2005].

(C) South Zone: October 29-November 27, 2004 and December 10, 2004-January 22, 2006 [September 27-October 3, 2004, and November 13, 2004-January 18, 2005]. The open season for pintail and canvasback begins December 15, 2004 and runs through January 22, 2006 [December 11, 2004 and runs through January 18, 2005].

(2) Geese.

(A) Western Zone.

(i) Light geese: November 5, 2005-February 7, 2006 [October 30, 2004-February 1, 2005]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

(ii) Dark geese: November 5, 2005-February 7, 2006 [October 30, 2004-February 1, 2005]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is four, which may not include more than three Canada geese or more than one white-fronted goose.

(B) Eastern Zone.

(i) Light geese: October 29, 2005-January 29, 2006 [November 6, 2004-January 30, 2005]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

(ii) Dark geese: November 19, 2005-January 29, 2006 [November 6, 2004-January 30, 2005]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is five, no more than three of which may be Canada geese and no more than two of which may be two white-fronted geese.

(3) Sandhill cranes. A free permit is required of any person to hunt sandhill cranes in areas where an open season is provided under this proclamation. Permits will be issued on an impartial basis with no limitation on the number of permits that may be issued.

(A) Zone A: November 5, 2005 - February 5, 2006 [November 6, 2004 - February 1, 2005]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(B) Zone B: November 26, 2005 - February 5, 2006 [November 27, 2004 - February 1, 2005]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

(C) Zone C: December 17, 2004 - January 22, 2005 [December 18, 2004 - January 16, 2005]. The daily bag limit is two. The possession limit is four.

(4) Special Youth-Only Season. There shall be a special youth-only duck season during which the hunting, taking, and possession of ducks, mergansers, and coots is restricted to licensed hunters 15 years of age and younger accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older, except for persons hunting by means of falconry under the provisions of §65.320 of this chapter (relating to Extended Falconry Season—Late Season Species). Bag and possession limits in any given zone during the season established by this paragraph shall be as provided for that zone by paragraph (1) of this section, except that pintail ducks and canvasback ducks may be taken. The bag limit for pintail ducks is one per day and the bag limit for canvasback ducks is one per day. The possession limit is two. Season dates are as follows:

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 22-23, 2005 [October 23-24, 2004];

(B) North Zone: October 29-30, 2005 [October 30-31, 2004]; and

(C) South Zone: October 22-23, 2005 [October 30-31, 2004].

§65.319. Extended Falconry Season—Early Season Species.

(a) It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the following Extended Falconry Seasons:

(1) mourning doves and white-winged doves: November 19 - December 25, 2005[November 19 - December 25, 2004].

(2) rails and gallinules: December 22, 2005 - January 27, 2006[December 23, 2004 - January 28, 2005].

(3) woodcock: November 24 - December 17, 2005 and February 1 - March 10, 2006[November 24 - December 17, 2004 and February 1 - March 9, 2005].

(b) The daily bag and possession limits for migratory game birds under this section shall not exceed three and six birds respectively, singly or in the aggregate.

§65.320. Extended Falconry Season—Late Season Species.

It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the following Extended Falconry Seasons.

(1) Ducks, coots, and mergansers:

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

(B) North Duck Zone: January 30- February 13, 2006 [January 31- February 21, 2005];

(C) South Duck Zone: January 23-February 7, 2006 [January 19-February 9, 2005].

(2) The daily bag and possession limits for migratory game birds under this section shall not exceed three and six birds, respectively, singly or in the aggregate.

§65.321. Special Management Provisions.

The provisions of paragraphs (1)-(3) of this section apply only to the hunting of light geese. All provisions of this subchapter continue in effect unless specifically provided otherwise in this section; however, where this section conflicts with the provisions of this subchapter, this section prevails.

(1) Means and methods. In addition to the means and methods authorized in §65.310(a) of this title (relating to Means , Methods, and Special Requirements), the following means and methods are lawful during the time periods set forth in paragraph (4) of this section:

(A) shotguns capable of holding more than three shells; and

(B) electronic calling devices.

(2) Possession. During the time periods set forth in paragraph (4) of this section:

(A) there shall be no bag or possession limits; and

(B) the provisions of §65.312 of this title (relating to Possession of Migratory Game Birds) do not apply; and

(C) a person may give, leave, receive, or possess legally taken light geese or their parts, provided the birds are accompanied by a wildlife resource document from the person who killed the birds. The wildlife resource document is not required if the possessor lawfully killed the birds; the birds are transferred at the personal residence of the donor or donee; or the possessor also possesses a valid hunting license, a valid waterfowl stamp, and is HIP certified. The wildlife resource document shall accompany the birds until the birds reach their final destination, and must contain the following information:

(i) the name, signature, address, and hunting license number of the person who killed the birds;

(ii) the name of the person receiving the birds;

(iii) the number and species of birds or parts;

(iv) the date the birds were killed; and

(v) the location where the birds were killed (e.g., name of ranch; area; lake, bay, or stream; county).

(3) Shooting hours. During the time periods set forth in paragraph (4) of this section, shooting hours are from one half-hour before sunrise until one half-hour after sunset.

(4) Special Light Goose Conservation Period.

(A) From January 30, 2006-March 26, 2006 [January 31, 2005 through March 27, 2005], the take of light geese is lawful in Eastern Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species).

(B) From February 8-March 26, 2006 [February 2-March 27, 2005], the take of light geese is lawful in the Western Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species).

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Jerry Cooke

Regulations Committee
Chapter 58 Oysters and Shrimp Preview
Permission to Publish
May 2005

I. Executive Summary: Section 2001.039 of the Texas Government Code requires state agencies to review each rule under its jurisdiction at least once every four years.

A state agency's review of a rule must include an assessment of whether the reasons for initially adopting the rule continue to exist. Under the requirements of this statute, this agency must now review Chapter 58, Oysters and Shrimp, Subchapters B, C, and D of Title 31, of the Texas Administrative Code.

With Commission approval, the agency will publish a Notice of Intent to Review for public comment in the Texas Register.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Notice of Intent to Review – Chapter 58

Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

Notice of Intent to Review

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department files this notice of intention to review Texas Administrative Code Title 31, Part II, as follows:

Chapter 58: Oysters and Shrimp

Subchapter B. Statewide Shrimp Fishery Proclamation

§58.101. Application

§58.102. Definitions

§58.103. Shrimp Management Plan

§58.104. Penalty and Responsibility for Violation

§58.130. Shrimp License Buyback Program

§58.150. Sale, Purchase, and Handling of Shrimp—General Rules

§58.160. Taking or Attempting To Take Shrimp (Shrimping)—General Rules

§58.161. Shrimping in Outside Waters

§58.162. Shrimping in Inside Waters—General Rules

§58.163. Shrimping in Inside Waters—Commercial Bay Shrimping

§58.164. Shrimping Inside Waters—Commercial Bait Shrimping

§58.165. Non-commercial (Recreational) Shrimping


Subchapter C. Statewide Crab Fishery Proclamation

§58.201. Crab License Management Program

§58.202. Definitions

§58.203. Licensing

§58.204. License Expiration

§58.205. Display of License

§58.206. Issuance and Renewal of Commercial Crab Fisherman's License

§58.207. License Transfer

§58.208. Limit on Number of Licenses Held; Designated License Holder

§58.209. License Suspension and Revocation

§58.210. License Buyback Program


Subchapter D. Finfish Fishery Proclamation

§58.301. Delegation of Authority

§58.302. Display of License

§58.303. License Transfer

§58.304. License Buyback Program


This review is pursuant to the Texas Government Code, §2001.039.

The Department will accept comments for 30 days following the publication of this notice in the Texas Register as to whether the reasons for adopting the sections under review continue to exist and to determine whether the rules reflect current legal, policy, and procedural considerations. Consideration of publication of amendments or repeals resulting from this rules review is scheduled for the Parks and Wildlife Commission on August 24, 2005.

Any questions or written comments pertaining to this notice of intention to review should be directed to Gene McCarty, Chief of Staff, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX, 78744. Any proposed changes to rules as a result of the review will be published in the Proposed Rules Section of the Texas Register and will be open for an additional 30-day public comment period prior to final adoption or repeal by the commission.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Robin Riechers

Regulations Committee
Proposed 2005–2006 Oyster Fishery Proclamation
May 2005

I. Executive Summary: Currently Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, Section 76.001 defines terms for measuring oyster take by using a box measurement. This definition discusses the measurements in terms of barrels and boxes of oysters. While this works adequately in terms of actual measurements it is not the language used within the fishery, and thus can lead to confusion and difficulties in certain aspects of enforcing the current regulations. The first part of this action defines the term “sack,” which is commonly used by fishermen, so that it will have a legal context within the statutory units, and so that it will be standardized as a measurement. This definition will promote efficiency within fishery by making limits more understandable and allow for more effective enforcement. The second part of this action reduces the commercial daily bag limit to preserve and stabilize the economic value of oysters taken during the open season. However, this change will only accomplish this management goal if the number of boats within the fishery does not increase.

II. Discussion: Responsibility for adopting rules covering the taking, attempting to take, possession, purchase, and sale of oyster resources in the salt waters of Texas is set forth in Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 76 Oysters. This item proposes amendments to 31 TAC Chapter 58, Subchapter A (Statewide Oyster Fishery), §58.11 Definitions and §58.22 Commercial Fishing.

Currently, PWC §76.001 defines a “barrel” and “box” for the purposes of measuring take in the oyster fishery. However, neither of these terms reflects the way oysters are packaged on vessels or purchased at the dock. The purpose of defining a “sack” for measuring take is to place statutory volumes in a context understandable to fishermen by using their own terminology and standardizing it as a measurement. This action is intended to make it easier for fishermen to comply with limits and for Game Wardens to enforce them. This also makes the definition consistent with the one used in the Health and Safety Code, § 436.103.(b), as it relates to the “sack” tax currently collected in the oyster industry.

Following extensive discussions with our Oyster Advisory Committee, staff proposes to reduce the daily limit of oysters from 50 barrels (150 sacks) of culled oysters to 90 sacks and convert 2 barrels of unculled oysters in possession to 6 sacks to reflect the changed units. The purpose of this action is to promote efficiency in utilizing oyster resources by providing a more stable price structure for oysters taken throughout the duration of the open season. This proposal will lengthen the productive part (in terms of sacks per vessel landed) of the season and maintain a higher average price throughout the season. This should create overall economic benefits for the industry. However, reducing the amount of oysters taken by an individual boat will not accomplish this management goal if the fishery responds by simply increasing the number of boats taking oysters. Therefore, this action is being proposed in concert with a legislative initiative by industry to limit the number of Commercial Oyster Boat Licenses that may be issued in Texas waters.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Oyster Fishery Proclamation

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

Oyster Fishery Proclamation

§58.11 Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in the subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(1) - (12) No change.

(13) Sack of oysters – A volume of oysters equivalent to a box that weighs no more than 110 pounds including the sack.

§58.22 Commercial Fishing

(a) - (b) No change.

(c) Possession Limits. It is unlawful while taking or attempting to take oysters for pay or the purpose of sale, barter, or exchange or any other commercial purpose to have on board any licensed commercial oyster boat:

(1) more than 50 barrels90 sacks of culled oysters of legal size; or

(2) more than two barrels6 sacks of unculled oysters while on the reef.

(d) No change.


Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Walt Dabney

Regulations Committee
State Park Operational Rules – Regulations of Dumping
Permission to Publish
May 2005

I. Executive Summary: This item presents a proposed change to state park operational rules to prohibit persons from using visitation privileges to dispose of waste material in state parks.

II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §13.101, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is authorized to promulgate regulations governing the health, safety, and protection of persons and property in state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, or forts under the control of the department, including public water within state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, and forts. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §13.102, the Commission is authorized to promulgate regulations governing abusive, disruptive, or destructive conduct of persons, the activities of park users, and conduct that endangers the health or safety of park users or their property.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed Rule

Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit A

State Park Rules of Conduct
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) proposes amendments to §§59.131 and 59.134, concerning State Park Operational Rules. The amendment to §59.131, concerning Definitions, would add a definition for the term ‘garbage,’ which is necessary to provide a precise, unambiguous meaning for purposes of informing park visitors of inappropriate or unlawful conduct and, if necessary, for enforcing the terms of the amendment to §59.134, which would prohibit the disposal of garbage on state parks except under certain circumstances.

The amendment to §59.134, concerning Rules of Conduct in Parks, would prohibit the dumping of garbage in state parks, except for garbage generated during park visitation or garbage that could reasonably be expected to accumulate during a days’ travel. TPWD has noted the increasing frequency of the practice of using park visitation privileges to dispose of everything from household waste to construction debris in disposal facilities on state parks. Persons engaging in such conduct have discovered that it is less expensive to pay for entry to a park and dispose of garbage in remote or unsupervised areas than it is to pay to dump garbage in a landfill or other such facility. Such dumping on state parks creates unsightly and noisome detractions from recreational enjoyment and could pose health hazards to park visitors and employees (due to hazardous materials such as carcinogens, asbestos, medical waste, etc.). In any case, the practice creates an unnecessary and avoidable burden for TPWD in the form of additional time and expense in disposing of garbage that was not generated as a consequence of park visitation or travel. Therefore, TPWD proposes to delineate the specific circumstances under which garbage may be lawfully deposited in state parks.


2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be fiscal implications to state government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules. TPWD expects that there will be reduced costs to the department of paying for the removal of garbage; however, the department is unable to quantify the cost savings. There will be fiscal no fiscal implications to units of local government 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 rule as proposed will be the ability of the department to increase the aesthetic appearance of parks for the enjoyment of park visitors and lessen potential threats to the health and safety of park visitors caused by the opportunistic dumping of waste in state parks.

(B) There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

(C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rule as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rule.


4. Request for Public Comment.

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


5. Statutory Authority.

The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Department, § 13.101, which authorizes the commission to promulgate regulations governing the health, safety, and protection of persons and property in state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, or forts under the control of the department, including public water within state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, and forts, and under §13.102, which authorizes the commission to promulgate regulations governing the conservation, preservation, and use of state property whether natural features or constructed facilities; the abusive, disruptive, or destructive conduct of persons, the activities of park users, and conduct which endangers the health or safety of park users or their property.


The proposed new rule and amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 13.


§59.131. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(1) All-terrain vehicle—Any motor vehicle having a saddle for the use of the rider, designed to propel itself with three or four tires in contact with the ground.

(2) Arms and firearms—Any device from which shot, a projectile, arrow, or bolt is fired by the force of an explosion, compressed air, gas, or mechanical device. To include, but not limited to, rifle, shotgun, handgun, air rifle, pellet gun, longbow, cross bow, sling shot, blow gun, or dart gun.

(3) Artifacts—Objects used or modified by humans, including, but not limited to, arrow points, dart points, stone, bone, or shell implements or any other prehistoric or historic objects.

(4) Boat—A vessel not more than 65 feet in length, measured from end to end over the deck, excluding sheer, and manufactured or used primarily for noncommercial use.

(5) Cultural features—Include, but are not limited to, state archeological landmarks, archeological sites, historic sites and structures, pictographs and petrogryphs.

(6) Department—The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

(7) Director—The executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or his designee.

(8) Garbage—trash, refuse, rubbish, household waste, medical waste, rubble, spoil, construction debris, yard clippings, offal, or any other similarly useless, noxious, or offensive material.

(9)[(8)] Motorcycle—A two-wheeled vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine to include motor bikes, mini-bikes, and trail bikes.

(10)[(9)] Night—Any time from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.

(11)[(10)] Person—Natural persons, firms, partnerships, corporations, clubs, and all associations or combinations of persons acting individually, or by an agent, servant, or employee.

(12)[(11)] Plant life—All plants including trees, dead or downed wood, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, grass, sedge, fern, moss, lichen, fungus, or any other member of the plant family.

(13)[(12)] Public place—Any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access. In the state park system areas that are not considered a public place are cabins, screened shelters, recreation halls, group barracks, lodges, tents, campers, trailers, motor homes, or any vehicle(s) that are used as camping equipment.

(14)[(13)] Public nudity—To disrobe or appear nude in public. Females are considered to be disrobed when their breasts below the top of the areola are exposed except when nursing a baby.

(15)[(14)] State park—A park, park site, historical park, natural area, recreational area or fishing pier, administered, operated, or managed by the department.

(16)[(15)] Unattended pet—A pet that is unaccompanied or not under immediate control. Pets tied or secured outside of camping equipment or buildings are not considered under immediate control.

(17)[(16)] Wildlife—Any wild animal, bird, amphibian, reptile, fish, shellfish, aquatic life, or invertebrate.

69.134. Rules of Conduct in Parks.

(a)-(ee) (No change.)

(ff) Garbage.

(1) It is an offense for any person to discard, deposit, or dump garbage in a state park, except for:

(A) garbage generated inside the park during the course of park visitation; or

(B) an amount of garbage consistent with what ordinarily would accumulate in a vehicle in the course of a day’s travel.

(2) It is an offense for any person to dispose of garbage except in a receptacle provided for that use or as may otherwise be specifically authorized by department personnel.

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenter: Robin Riechers

Regulations Committee
Reestablishment of the Nine-mile Hole Scientific Area
Permission to Publish
May 2005

I. Executive Summary: This action is to reinstate the Nine-Mile Hole State Scientific Area.

II. Discussion: During the recently completed review of 31 TAC Chapter 57, the state scientific area status in Redfish Bay was renewed, while the designation of the Nine-Mile Hole area as a state scientific area was not renewed. There was a difference in treatment for the two areas because the remoteness of Nine-Mile Hole made the logistics of studies in the area both difficult and expensive. Also, enforcing the rules governing the state scientific area status of the Nine-Mile Hole area must face these same logistic problems. These considerations led staff to allow Nine-Mile Hole designation to expire during the review.

Since that time, conservation groups have approached the department with plans to initiate and fund new research in Nine-Mile Hole if the rules for the scientific area could be reinstated. This action proposes to reinstate the state scientific area designation for Nine-Mile Hole.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Nine-Mile Hole State Scientific Area

Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit A

Title 31 Natural Resources and Conservation
Part 2 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Chapter 57 Fisheries
Subchapter K Scientific Areas

§57.920 Nine-Mile Hole State Scientific Area

(a) Purpose: The Nine-Mile Hole State Scientific Area is established for the purpose of education, scientific research, and preservation of flora and fauna of scientific or educational value.

(b) Term: JulyOctober 1, 20005 through June 30, 200510.

(c) Boundaries:

(1) N 27 10.451; W 097 25.82 (North boundary of Nine-Mile Hole)

(2) N 27 04.587; W 097 25.28 (Padre Island National Seashore Boundary)

(3) N 27 06.109; W 097 25.21(Padre Island National Seashore Boundary)

(4) N 27 08.835; W 097 26.29 (Roloff Channel Entrance)

(5) N 27 06.109; W 097 26.49 (201 Channel Entrance)

(6) N 27 05.132; W 097 25.90 (Nine-Mile Hole Channel Entrance)

(d) No person may:

(1) operate any airboat, jet-boat or any propeller-driven vessel within the boundaries of the Nine-Mile Hole State Scientific Area, except:

(A) in the event of an emergency which threatens human health and safety and which necessitates immediate entrance to or exit from the area;

(B) electric trolling motors;

(C) within ingress and egress lanes marked by the department;

(D) for law enforcement activities; or

(E) as provided in Parks and Wildlife Code §81.504.

(2) move, remove, deface, alter, or destroy any sign, depth marker or other informational signage placed by the department within, or to delineate boundaries, of the Nine-Mile Hole State Scientific Area.

(e) The penalty for violation of this section is prescribed by Parks and Wildlife Code, §13.112.


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