Presenters: Ken Kurzawski
Mike Berger
Larry McKinney

Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Action
2007-2008 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
April 5, 2007

I. Executive Summary: This item apprises the committee of proposed changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation for the 2007-2008 seasons. The changes would:

II. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking wildlife resources is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61. The potential changes are based upon statutory requirements, Commission policy, and suggestions from the regulated community, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable. The changes are intended to increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state. The Regulations Committee at its January 2007 meeting authorized staff to publish the proposed 2007-2008 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed rules appeared in the March 2, 2007, issue of the Texas Register (32 TexReg 1026). A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be presented at the time of the hearing.

III. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the commission adopt the proposed motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to §§65.3, 65.9, 65.10, 65.25, 65.34, 65.42, 65.44, 65.64, 65.72, and 65.82, concerning the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the March 2, 2007, issue of the Texas Register (32 TexReg 1026)."

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rules

Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

2007–2008 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes amendments to §§65.3, 65.9, 65.10, 65.25, 65.34, 65.42, 65.44, 65.64, 65.72, and 65.82, concerning the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation.

The proposed amendment to §65.3, concerning Definitions, would clarify terminology for the definitions of ‘coastal waters boundary’ and ‘final processing,’ and add definitions of ‘circle hook,’ ‘charter vessel,’ and ‘headboat.’ The current definition of the boundaries of the state’s coastal waters in every instance refers to ‘coastal water,’ except for a single reference to ‘saltwater.’ To avoid confusion, the term should be consistent throughout the rule, so the reference to saltwater is being replaced. The current definition of ‘final processing’ does not reflect a statutory provision (Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.001(5)) that applies only to deer and antelope, giving the impression that the current definition applies to all wildlife resources. To prevent confusion, the proposed amendment would add the statutory definition for deer and antelope.

The proposed addition of definitions for ‘circle hook,’ ‘charter vessel,’ and ‘headboat’ defines those terms for the purposes of compliance with and enforcement of the proposed amendment to §65.72 to alter rules affecting the red snapper fishery. The definition of ‘circle hook’ is necessary because the department is proposing elsewhere in this rulemaking to prohibit all hooks other than the circle hook for the take of red snapper. Additionally, the provisions of the proposed amendment to §65.72 would incorporate the federal Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) rules for the commercial take of red snapper. The IFQ is a form of limited access that assigns a fixed share of the total allowable catch to each user of the resource. The percentage share is based on historical catches in a particular time period. With each landing, poundage from the quota is debited from the individual’s IFQ account. The IFQ program is mandated by federal law for all vessels and persons engaged in the commercial harvest of red snapper in federal waters. The incorporation of the federal rules in the Texas Administrative Code would allow the department to prosecute of violations the rules in state jurisdictions. Since the federal IFQ system contains provisions governing vessels (headboats and charter vessels) that simultaneously engage in both commercial and recreational fishing, those terms must be defined in order for the regulated community to ascertain the applicability of the rules to their various activities.

The proposed amendment to §65.3 also would update the reference to the title of the American Fisheries Society publication used to determine fish names. The new title of that publication is “Common and Scientific Names of Fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.”

The proposed amendment to §65.9, concerning Open Seasons: General Rules, would eliminate paragraph (d), which by its own terms ceased effect on September 1, 2003 and is thus no longer necessary.

The proposed amendment to §65.10(b) would have the effect of eliminating the ‘double tagging’ requirement for mule deer taken under an antlerless mule deer permit. In previous rulemakings, the department eliminated ‘double tagging’ for white-tailed deer, which was caused by overlapping regulatory requirements that obligated hunters to provide the same information on multiple tags and documents. With the expansion of the managed lands permit program to encompass mule deer, the department inadvertently neglected to provide for the elimination of ‘double tagging’ of mule deer. The proposed amendment is necessary to streamline the tagging process and make it consistent for all deer taken by special permit.

The proposed amendment to §65.10(f) would require a taxidermist to retain a wildlife resource document (WRD) or tag for each deer or turkey in possession for a period of at least two years following the return of the specimen to the owner or, if the owner abandons it, the sale for recovery of the cost of taxidermy. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §§42.018 and 42.0185, the tagging requirements for deer or turkey allow for the use of a WRD in lieu of a tag under certain circumstances, including when deer and turkey are left with a taxidermist. Under §42.0177, the commission may modify or eliminate those requirements. By statute (Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.023), a taxidermist may sell unclaimed specimens to recover the cost of the taxidermy, and is required to retain the WRD or tag for a period of two years from the date the taxidermy was completed. The two-year time period is the statute of limitations for a Class C misdemeanor. By starting the two-year retention period from the time a specimen is returned to the owner or sold (rather than when the taxidermy is completed), the department will always have the maximum amount of time to conduct an investigation when it is necessary to determine whether deer or turkey taken to a taxidermist have been lawfully taken.

The proposed amendment to §65.25, concerning Wildlife Management Plan (WMP), would alter the provisions of the section applicable to lesser prairie chicken and create additional provisions concerning javelina. With respect to lesser prairie chicken, the proposed amendment to subsection (b) would reduce the number of required management practices from five to three, increase the maximum designated harvest from up to five percent of the estimated lesser prairie chicken population on the property to up to 10 percent of that estimate, and add a requirement for a harvest log to be maintained on the property. The intent of the proposed regulation change is to give field staff more flexibility to encourage landowners to participate in management programs for lesser prairie chicken. The department has determined that most landowners interested in the program are already conducting some or many practices that are beneficial to lesser prairie chicken; therefore, the number of required practices may be reduced. Because of the breeding behavior of lesser prairie chickens and their large home ranges, habitat components for any given population are typically provided by several landowners. For example, nesting and feeding areas may be on one property, while the breeding ground is on another. Variability in property sizes can make management challenging, especially when birds are spending only a small portion of their time on a given habitat component, such as the breeding ground. Increasing the harvest rate will allow field biologists to make issuance of harvest quotas for lesser prairie chicken more equitable for landowners in the program. Harvest at or below 10% of the estimated total population will not result in depletion of the resource, since the post-harvest reproductive potential is more than sufficient to offset or replace harvest mortality. The harvest log requirement is necessary to maintain a record of harvest so the department can determine compliance with harvest quotas. The proposed amendment also would alter subsection (b)(1)(E) by inserting the word ‘quota’ to clarify that the harvest recommendation is in fact a limit.

With respect to javelina, the proposed amendment to §65.25 would add a new subsection (c) to create a mechanism to allow the harvest of javelina by quota on individual properties under a department-approved management plan. Javelina are common across southern and western Texas, but are not uniformly distributed over their natural range. Although department data indicate a possible downward trend across their range, javelina populations are stable or thriving where habitat is good, particularly along drainages where there is abundant vegetation and cover. Thus, in many areas javelina exist in densities sufficient to sustain additional hunting pressure in excess of the current personal bag and possession limits, provided the total harvest does not cause local populations to fall below their immediate recuperative potential. The proposed amendment would allow the department to establish an annual harvest quota for javelina on a given property and the normal bag and possession limits would no longer apply. The department also would require a habitat evaluation, habitat management practices, a harvest log, and population and harvest data for javelina on each property where javelina are to be hunted. By establishing a finite, resource-dependent harvest quota, 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 able to acquire useful biological data concerning javelina populations.

The proposed amendment to §65.34, concerning Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP) — Mule Deer, would allow the take of mule deer by MLDP during the archery-only open season. When the MLDP program was expanded to include mule deer, the department inadvertently did not provide for an archery-only open season on properties receiving mule deer MLDPs. Under the MLDP program, a participating property receives a finite harvest quota and a specific time period in which to harvest the specified number of animals. The implementation of an archery season will not be additive to the harvest quota. The amendment is necessary because there is no biological reason not to provide an archery season for mule deer on properties participating in the MLDP program for mule deer.

The proposed amendment to §65.42, concerning Deer, would address several issues. The proposed amendment to subsection (a) would clarify that no person is authorized to exceed a county bag limit except as provided in the section. The proposed amendment to subsection (a) (5) would allow a person to who takes an antlerless mule deer under an antlerless mule deer permit to tag the deer with either a tag from the person’s hunting license or the antlerless mule deer permit. The amendment is necessary to prevent hunters from being inconvenienced by “double tagging,” having to tag a deer with multiple tags bearing the same information.

The proposed amendment to §65.42(b)(17) and (c)(5) would extend the statewide archery-only season by five days. Historically, the archery season has always closed the Sunday before the opening of the general season. The proposed change would eliminate the current five-day gap between the end of the archery season and the beginning of the general season. The amendment is necessary to follow the commission’s policy of providing the maximum hunting opportunity possible.

The proposed amendment to §65.42(b)(5)-(9) would clarify the rules concerning the take of buck deer in counties where antler restrictions are in effect. In those counties, a lawful buck is defined as a buck that has an inside antler spread of 13 inches or greater or a buck that has at least one unbranched antler. A hunter may take two bucks, but only one of them may have an inside antler spread of 13 inches or greater. The amendment is necessary because the current rule does not provide for the instance in which a hunter kills a spike-buck deer with an inside spread of greater than 13 inches. The proposed amendment would make it clear that the antler spread of a buck with an unbranched antler is irrelevant.

The proposed amendment to §65.42(b)(5)(13)(D) would clarify that antlerless deer may be taken in without a permit anywhere Grayson County during the ‘doe days’ in effect in the county.

The proposed amendment to §65.44, concerning Javelina — Seasons and Annual Bag limits, would insert clarifying language to prevent conflicts with the proposed amendment to §65.25.

The proposed amendment to §65.64, concerning Turkey, would alter subsection (b)(3) to change the spring season dates for Rio Grande turkey. In 2005, the department lengthened the season and created a uniform opening day in all counties. In analyzing the results of that change, the department has determined that additional hunting opportunity can be provided without resulting in depletion or waste of the resource. The proposed amendment would start the season approximately two weeks earlier (the Saturday closest to March 18) in counties in the southern Edwards Plateau and South Texas, and one week later in those counties in the northern Edwards Plateau, north Texas, and the Rolling Plains. The proposed amendment would allow hunters to take advantage of peak gobbling activity, which often varies annually depending on weather conditions. Since the spring Rio Grande hunting season is limited to only male birds (gobblers) there is little harm to turkey production, unless hunting activities disrupt the breeding behavior of the turkeys. Varying the opening date will allow hunters to be in the field when peak gobbling occurs. The amendment is necessary in order to follow the commission’s policy of providing the maximum opportunity possible within the tenets of sound biological management. In selecting the counties where the season would open in March, the department included three counties (Guadalupe, DeWitt, and Victoria) where the bag limit is currently one gobbler during the spring season. In 1996, the department reduced the spring season bag limit in those counties due to population concerns. The department has determined that the populations in those counties are able to withstand additional harvest.

The proposed amendment also would extend the statewide archery-only season for turkey by five days, for the same reasons discussed for the extension of the archery season for deer.

The proposed amendment to §65.72, concerning Fish, consists of a number of actions. The proposed amendment would alter subsection (a) to exempt persons engaged in offshore aquaculture from the size and bag limits established for the recreational fishery. The action is necessary to clarify that fish being reared in lawful aquaculture facilities would be allowed to be possessed and landed without violating the recreational limits for those species. Current regulations would not allow the possession of cultured species in excess of bag or length limits.

The proposed amendment to §65.72(a) also would allow the use of catfish heads as bait in crab traps by commercial crab fishermen, provided the catfish were obtained from a permitted aquaculturist in the United States. The purpose of the prohibition of the use of game fish for bait is to prevent the use of undersized game fish as bait. However, catfish heads are good bait for crab traps, and aquaculture facilities typically have no use for catfish heads following harvest. By restricting the use of catfish to heads only and requiring crab fisherman who do use them to be able to document their origin, the department believes protection for game species will not be affected.

The proposed amendment to §65.72(a) also would prohibit the use of any vessel to harass or harry fish. The current rule prohibits the use of airboats or jet-driven devices to harass or harry fish. At the time the current rule was adopted, only certain types of vessels were capable of traversing water shallow enough to allow the herding of fish; however, newer hull and engine designs allow many vessels to access very shallow water and occurrences of this kind of activity are growing. Fish that are artificially concentrated into small areas are more susceptible to anglers than those that are not concentrated, despite otherwise effective restrictions. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.002, the purpose of the chapter is to provide a comprehensive method for the conservation of an ample supply of wildlife resources on a statewide basis to insure reasonable and equitable enjoyment of the privileges of ownership and pursuit of wildlife resources. Harrying fish with vessels is considered an artificial method of concentration that deprives other anglers of the opportunity for equitable enjoyment of the resource.

The proposed amendment to §65.72(a) also would incorporate federal regulations governing the Individual Fishing Quota program in state regulations. Federal rules require a federal permit for the harvest of Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish and a federal red snapper Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) vessel endorsement. This change is necessary to allow enforcement of these requirements in state as well as federal court and to insure that fish landed in Texas are not in contravention of federal limits.

The proposed amendment to §65.72 would alter the provisions of subsection (b)(2)(C) to increase the size limit for sheepshead from 12 inches to 15 inches over a three-year period. The current size limit was implemented 15 years ago and was selected to maintain consistency with other, similar size limits. Recent biological research suggests that the 15-inch limit would provide better protection for sheepshead, allowing a higher percentage of fish to reach sexual maturity and age by the time of first spawn. Since the growth rate of sheepshead is relatively slow, increasing the size limit by one inch per year balances greater protection via size limits against the impacts of size limits on recreational landings. Increasing the size limit by one inch per year over the next three years will achieve the protection needed and minimize the impact to recreational landings. The proposed amendment is necessary to ensure a plentiful supply of this popular sport fish.

The proposed amendment to §65.72(b)(2)(C) also would change the size limit for red snapper from 15 to 13 inches for all anglers. This change is being considered to be consistent with federal regulations that apply to fish legally caught in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Gulf of Mexico and then landed in Texas. Also, anyone fishing for red snapper will be required to use circle hooks. The restriction is intended to reduce hooking mortality in undersized fish.

The proposed amendment to §65.72(b)(2)(C) also would implement a catch-and-release fishery for tarpon. Under current rules there is a bag limit of one tarpon of 80 inches or longer per person per year. Tarpon become reproductively mature at around 10 years of age (approximately 4 feet in length), which is extremely old for most fish species. Also, while individual females are relative fecund, the survival rate of young is poor compared to other species of saltwater fish because its unusual life history involves multiple larval stages, all susceptible to predation. Individuals, record-keeping trophy groups, and even some fishing tournaments have moved towards systems that rely on measurements of fish (length and/or girth) to determine the weight of the fish. The fish are released immediately after measurement. The proposed amendment will create a similar catch and release fishery for tarpon in Texas and reduce the need for even the very limited harvest now allowed.

The proposed amendment to §65.72(b)(2)(D) would increase the possession limit for striped bass on Lake Texoma from 10 to 20. The proposed change would reduce angler confusion with respect to fish landed in Texas and would create a more standardized regulation with Oklahoma, without resulting in any negative impacts on the resource or the angling community. The current possession limit on Lake Texoma (10 fish) is identical to the daily bag limit, which differs from the statewide regulations that generally establish the possession limit as twice the daily bag limit. The Oklahoma possession limit is 20 fish, with special exceptions.

The proposed amendment to §65.72(b)(2)(D) also would regionalize spotted seatrout regulations by reducing bag and possession limits for spotted seatrout in the lower Laguna Madre (LLM). The proposed amendment would lower the daily bag limit in the LLM from 10 to 5, and the possession limit would be the same as the daily bag limit. Surveys and modeling have suggested a relatively long downward trend in overall abundance of spotted seatrout and a decrease in the spawning stock biomass in the LLM. Population size in this bay system is at or slightly below those found elsewhere along the coast, but it is significantly lower than in the recent past. Based on bag seine sampling in the LLM there appears to be constant recruitment into the LLM fishery. Gill-net sampling by the department indicates that while the same or even slightly greater abundance of fish are reaching the size classes that are susceptible to sampling with the gill nets (based on gear selectivity), a smaller proportion of those fish are reaching the larger size classes as compared to previous time periods. These larger size classes of fish are being harvested out of the system and this is believed to be impacting the reproductive potential of the population. Modeling has indicated a substantial improvement would be possible in a relatively short period of time if these trends were to be addressed now. This proposal is necessary to stop and reverse current total abundance and spawning biomass trends in the LLM.

The proposed amendment also would insert a statement in §65.72(b)(2)(C) to clarify that the provisions of subparagraph (D) of that paragraph are exceptions to the provisions of subparagraph (C).

The proposed amendment also would extend for one year the provision allowing the harvest of catfish by means of lawful archery equipment and crossbow. The proposed amendment is necessary because the department is still in the process of evaluating the impact of the regulation on catfish populations.

The proposed amendment to §65.82 would preclude taking or retaining diamondback terrapin, except by persons holding commercial nongame, scientific, educational, or zoological permits. The impact of direct or incidental take and accidental mortality on diamondback terrapins is a concern, and research indicates that the species is in a declining population trend across much of its range. The take by special permit only will allow the department to monitor trends affecting the population and take additional action in the future if warranted.

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, except as noted. 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.

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 amendments 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 changes at the micro (local) level, as addressed elsewhere in this preamble.

However, there are four proposed amendments that warrant clarification: the requirement of the use of circle hooks when taking red snapper by pole and line, the implementation of the federal regulations governing the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ), the reduction in the minimum size limit for red snapper, and the reduction in bag and possession limits for spotted seatrout in the lower Laguna Madre.

The proposed amendment to §65.72(b)(2)(c) would require pole-and-line anglers to use circle hooks when fishing for red snapper. It must be noted that this is a cost routinely borne by the angler when replacing old, worn, or damaged tackle. Although there are fishermen who currently do not use circle hooks who will have to purchase them to comply with the proposed amendment, the expense is expected to be between $.17 and $1 per hook, depending on the quality and quantity purchased.

The proposed amendment to §65.62(b) would require commercial fishermen to comply with federal IFQ requirements when landing red snapper in Texas. Under existing federal law, a commercial fisherman may not land red snapper in Texas unless that person is in compliance with the federal IFQ requirements. The proposed amendment does not impose additional regulatory requirements or costs on the regulated community. The federal regulations are being incorporated into the Texas Administrative Code to allow the department to prosecute violations in state jurisdictions.

The proposed amendment to §65.72(b)(2) would decrease the minimum size limit for red snapper from 15 inches to 13 inches for both recreational and commercial fisherman. The department believes that the change, if adopted, will actually make a greater number of fish available for both recreational and commercial harvest. The reduction in length is intended to reduce the waste of fish that are released and do not survive. With respect to impact upon the commercial fishery, the new size limit is anticipated to benefit the overall biomass in the fishery and benefit the rebuilding of the stock. The National Marine Fisheries Service assessment of the stock indicates that the reduction will not create the same benefits to the overall population for the recreational fishery. However, by reducing the size limits simultaneously there will be fewer conflicts between the recreational and commercial fishery. In addition, through the use of circle hooks and angler education, the benefits of the 13-inch minimum size limit on the recreational sector may be greater than anticipated.

The proposed amendment to §65.72(b) would reduce the bag limit on spotted seatrout in the lower Laguna Madre (LLM) from 10 fish to 5 fish and would make the possession limit identical to the bag limit. The amendment, if adopted, might influence an angler’s choice of fishing location or the number of times an angler fishes in a particular location. Anglers who traditionally fish the LLM might decide to take fewer trips to the LLM, fish in other bay systems, fish in fresh water, or possibly curtail all fishing activities over the next five years. While this type of behavior shift does not have a direct cost of compliance to the angler it does equate to a change in the expected value (satisfaction) that the individual angler received from their fishing experiences. The impact of changing fishing behavior or the shifting of fishing pressure could have an economic impact on fishing guides, bait dealers, tackle businesses, hotels, restaurants and other small businesses directly associated with angler tourism in the local area of the LLM; however, this secondary impact is not a direct cost of compliance and will depend on the number of anglers that choose to alter or shift their current fishing behavior.

(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 rules as proposed will not impact local economies. The proposed amendment to §65.72(b) that would reduce the bag limit for spotted seatrout may have an indirect impact on the local economies surrounding the lower Laguna Madre, but as explained earlier in this preamble, these effects, if they occur, would be secondary impacts of the rulemaking, chiefly in the form of individual decisions by anglers to increase, decrease, or maintain their levels of angling activities based on the perception of the rule’s effect on angling satisfaction. The rule in and of itself imposes no direct effects on local economies.

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

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted 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 amendments 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; §42.017, which authorizes the commission to modify or eliminate the tagging requirements of §§42.018, 42.0185, or 42.020, or other similar tagging requirements in Chapter 42; and §67.004, which requires the commission to establish any limits on the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife that the department considers necessary to manage the species.

The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 42, 61, and 67.

§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) Alligator gig—A pole or staff equipped with at least one of the following:

(A) immovable prongs;

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

(C) a detachable head.

(3) Alligator hide tag (hide tag)—A department-issued tag required by federal law pursuant to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to be affixed to all alligators taken in the state. All alligator hide tags issued by the department are CITES tags.

(4) 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.

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

(6) 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.

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

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

(9) 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.

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

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

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

(13) Charter Vessel — A vessel less than 100 gross tons that meets the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard to carry six or fewer passengers for hire and that carries a passenger for hire at any time during the calendar year. A charter vessel with a commercial permit is considered to be operating as a charter vessel when it carries a passenger who pays a fee or when there are more then three persons aboard, including operator and crew.

(14) Circle hook — a hook originally designed and manufactured so that the point of the hook is turned perpendicularly back toward the shank of the hook to form a generally circular or oval shape.

(15)[(13)] Coastal waters boundary—All public waters east and south of the following boundary are considered saltwater[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.

(16)[(14)] 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.

(17)[(15)] Crab line—A baited line with no hook attached.

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

(19)[(17)] Day—A 24-hour period of time that begins at midnight and ends at midnight.

(20)[(18)] 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.

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

(22)[(20)] Final processing—the cleaning of a dead wildlife resource for cooking or storage purposes. For a deer or antelope carcass, the term includes the processing of the animal more than by quartering.

(23)[(21)] 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, tripletail, 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.

(24)[(22)] Fishing—Taking or attempting to take aquatic animal life by any means.

(25)[(23)] 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.

(26)[(24)] 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 from [of] The United States, [and] Canada and Mexico."

(27)[(25)] Fishing guide—a person who, for compensation, accompanies, assists, or transports a person or persons engaged in fishing in the water of this state.

(28)[(26)] 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.

(29)[(27)] 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.

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

(31)[(29)] Gaff—Any hand-held pole with a hook attached directly to the pole.

(32)[(30)] 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.

(33)[(31)] Gig—Any hand-held shaft with single or multiple points.

(34) Headboat — A vessel that holds a valid Certificate of Inspection issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire. A headboat with a commercial vessel permit is considered to be operating as a headboat when it carries a passenger who pays a fee or, in the case of persons aboard fishing for or possessing coastal migratory fish or Gulf reef fish, when there are more than three persons aboard, including operator and crew.

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

(36)[(33)] Lawful archery equipment—Longbow, recurved bow, and compound bow.

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

(38)[(35)] Muzzleloader—Any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle.

(39)[(36)] 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.

(40)[(37)] 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.

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

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

(43)[(40)] 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.

(44)[(41)] 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.

(45)[(42)] 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.

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

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

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

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

(50)[(47)] Spike-buck deer—A buck deer with no antler having more than one point.

(51)[(48)] 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.

(52)[(49)] Trap—A rigid device of various designs and dimensions used to entrap aquatic life.

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

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

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

(56)[(53)] Unbranched antler—An antler having no more than one antler point.

(57)[(54)] 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.

(58)[(55)] Wildlife resources—Alligators, all game animals, all game birds, and aquatic animal life.

(59)[(56)] Wounded deer—A deer leaving a blood trail.

§65.9. Open Seasons: General Rules.

(a) There is no open season on game animals or game birds on public roads and highways or in the right-of-way of public roads and highways.

(b) No antlerless deer permit is required to take an antlerless deer during the archery-only open season, except on lands for which Managed Lands Deer permits have been issued.

(c) The hunting of roosting turkey is unlawful.

[(d) There is no open season on game animals or game birds in any state-owned riverbed in Dimmit, Uvalde, and Zavala counties. The provisions of this subsection cease effect on September 1, 2003.]

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

(4) under an antlerless mule deer permit issued under §65.32 of this title (relating to Antlerless Mule Deer Permits);

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

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

(7)[(6)] 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

(8)[(7)] 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).

(4) A taxidermist who accepts a deer or turkey shall retain the wildlife resource document or tag accompanying each deer or turkey for a period of two years following the return of the resource to the owner or the sale of the resource under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.023.

(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.

§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) MLD permit issuance shall be determined by the WMP as follows.

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

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

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

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

(iii) at least two recommended habitat management practices.

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

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

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

(iii) at least four recommended habitat management practices.

(3) A WMP is not valid unless it is:

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

(B) 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 three[five] department-recommended habitat management practices designed to increase, enhance, or connect lesser prairie chicken habitat; and

(E) a recommended harvest quota not to exceed 10[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 paragraph (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.

(7) Each lesser prairie chicken harvested on a property for which the department has issued a quota under this subsection shall be recorded in a harvest log. The harvest log shall contain the name of each person who killed a lesser prairie chicken, the date, and the number of lesser prairie chicken the person killed. The harvest log shall be maintained on the property, shall be kept current, and shall be made available for inspection at the request of a department employee acting within the scope of official duties.

(c) Javelina.

(1) An approved WMP, specifying an annual harvest quota for javelina, is required for the issuance of an annual harvest quota for javelina on a property. The WMP shall include:

(A) javelina population data for both the current year and the immediately preceding year;

(B) javelina harvest data from the immediately preceding year; and

(C) at least two recommended habitat management practices. Recommended habitat management practices already being performed under an existing department-approved WMP may be used to satisfy the requirements of this subparagraph on a one-for-one basis.

(2) A WMP is not valid unless it is:

(A) consistent with Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.053; and

(B) signed by a Wildlife Division biologist or technician authorized to approve management plans. A WMP is valid for one year following the date of such signature.

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

(4) The department may refuse to approve a WMP if the landowner has not complied with the provisions of this subsection.

(5) No person may possess a javelina harvested under a quota issued under this section anywhere other than the property on which the javelina was harvested unless that person also possesses a completed, department-supplied affidavit signed by the landowner of the property where the person harvested the javelina.

(6) Each javelina harvested on a property for which the department has issued a quota under this subsection shall be recorded in a harvest log. The harvest log shall contain the name of each person who killed a javelina, the date, and the number of javelina the person killed. The harvest log shall be maintained on the property, shall be kept current, and shall be made available for inspection at the request of a department employee acting within the scope of official duties.

§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.]

(f)[(g)] If MLDP antlerless permits have been issued for a property, each antlerless deer harvested on the property must be immediately tagged with a valid MLDP antlerless permit. If MLDP buck permits have been issued for a property, each buck deer harvested on the property must be immediately tagged with a valid MLDP buck permit. 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.

(g)[(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.

(h)[(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.

(i)[(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.

(j)[(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.

§65.42. Deer.

(a) No person may exceed the applicable county bag limit or 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) an antlerless mule deer permit issued under §65.32 of this title (relating to Antlerless Mule Deer Permits);

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

(7)[(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 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 Bell (west of IH 35), Bosque, Comanche, Coryell, Eastland, Erath, Hamilton, Lampasas, Somervell, and Williamson (west of IH 35) 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. The inside spread requirement does not apply to any buck that has an unbranched antler.

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

(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. The inside spread requirement does not apply to any buck that has an unbranched antler.

(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 Cass, Harrison, Marion, Nacogdoches, Panola, Sabine, San Augustine, and Shelby, 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. The inside spread requirement does not apply to any buck that has an unbranched antler.

(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) 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.

(8) In Bowie, Camp, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Gregg, Hopkins, Houston, Lamar, Morris, Red River, 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) 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. The inside spread requirement does not apply to any buck that has an unbranched antler.

(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 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.

(9) In Austin, Bastrop, Bell (east of IH 35), Burleson, Caldwell, Colorado, Comal (east of IH 35), De Witt, Fayette, Goliad (north of U.S. Highway 59), Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays (east of IH 35), Jackson (north of U.S. Highway 59), Karnes, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Rains, Travis (east of IH 35), Victoria (north of U.S. Highway 59), Waller, Washington, Wharton (north of U.S. Highway 59), Williamson (east of IH 35), and Wilson 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. The inside spread requirement does not apply to any buck that has an unbranched antler.

(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 or LAMPS permit only.

(10) In Archer, Armstrong, Baylor, Borden, Briscoe, Callahan, Carson, Childress, Clay, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dickens, Donley, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Haskell, Hemphill, Hood, Hutchinson, Jack, Jones, Kent, King, Knox, Lipscomb, McLennan, Montague, Motley, Ochiltree, Palo Pinto, Parker, Randall, Roberts, Scurry, Shackelford, Stephens, Stonewall, Swisher, Taylor, Throckmorton, Wheeler, 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.

(11) 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.

(12) In Denton 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.

(13) In Brazos, Grayson, Grimes, Madison, and Robertson 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, except on the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.

(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].

(14) In Anderson, Crane, Ector, Ellis, Falls, Freestone, Henderson, Hunt, Kaufman, Limestone, Loving, Midland, Milam, Navarro, Smith, Van Zandt, and Ward 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.

(15) 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.

(16) 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.

(17) 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 35[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.

(18) 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 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.

(19) 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) — (14) 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 35[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 35[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.

§65.44. Javelina — Open Seasons and Annual Bag Limits.

(a) In Andrews, Archer, Baylor, Blanco, Caldwell, Calhoun, Coke, Comal, Concho, Crane, DeWitt, Ector, Foard, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Howard, Irion, Knox, Llano, Loving, McCulloch, Martin, Mason, Midland, Mitchell, Nolan, Reagan, Refugio, Runnels, San Saba, Sterling, Taylor, Tom Green, Upton, Victoria, Ward, Wichita, Wilbarger, and Winkler counties, there is a general open season.

(1) Open season: October 1 through the last Sunday in February.

(2) Bag limit: Two javelina.

(3) Possession limit: two javelina.

(b) In Aransas, Atascosa, Bandera, Bee, Bexar, Brewster, Brooks, Cameron, Crockett, Culberson, Dimmit, Duval, Edwards, El Paso, Frio, Hidalgo, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kendall, Kenedy, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Kleberg, LaSalle, Live Oak, McMullen, Maverick, Medina, Menard, Nueces, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, San Patricio, Schleicher, Starr, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Webb, Willacy, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is an open season from September 1 through August 31.

(1) Bag limit: two javelina.

(2) Possession limit: two javelina.

(c) In all other counties, there is no open season for javelina.

(d) The bag limits established in this section do not apply on properties for which the department has established an annual harvest quota under §65.25(c) of this title (relating to Wildlife Management Plan (WMP).

§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 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.

(B) 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) 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, 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 35[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 7[April 1] for 44 consecutive days.

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

(B) In Aransas, Atascosa, Bandera, Bee, Bexar, Blanco, Brewster, Brooks, Calhoun, Cameron, Comal, Crockett, DeWitt, Dimmit, Duval, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Hidalgo, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kendall, Kenedy, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Kleberg, LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Nueces, Pecos, Real, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Victoria, Webb, Willacy, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a spring general open season.

(i) Open season: Saturday closest to March 18 for 44 consecutive days.

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

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

(i) Open season: from April 1 through April 30.

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

(4) Special Youth-Only Seasons. 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 day of the general open spring season 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.

(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.

§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) The bag and possession limits of this subchapter do not apply to the possession or landing of fish lawfully raised under an offshore aquaculture permit issued under Chapter 57, Subchapter C of this title (relating to Introduction of Fish, Shellfish, and Aquatic Plants).

(4)[(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, except for processed catfish heads used as crab-trap bait by a licensed crab fisherman, provided the catfish is obtained from an aquaculture facility permitted to operate in the United States. A person who uses catfish as bait under this subparagraph shall, upon the request of a department employee acting within the scope of official duties, furnish appropriate authenticating documentation, such as a bill of sale or receipt, to prove that the catfish was obtained from a legal source.

(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 any vessel [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.

(5)[(4)] Finfish tags: Prohibited Acts.

(A) No person may purchase or use more finfish (red drum) 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.

(6)[(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. No person may land red snapper in Texas for commercial purposes unless that person is in compliance with the provisions of this clause.

(I) Requirement for Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) vessel endorsement and allocation. No person aboard any vessel shall sell, barter, trade, or exchange red snapper; land or attempt to land red snapper for the purpose of sale, barter, trade, or exchange; or possess red snapper for the purpose of sale, barter, trade, or exchange unless the person possesses a valid federal permit for the harvest of Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish and a valid federal red snapper Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) vessel endorsement.

(-a-) No person shall harvest or land red snapper for the purpose of sale, barter, trade, or exchange, without holding or being assigned federal IFQ allocation at least equal to the pounds of red snapper landed /docked at a shore side location.

(-b-) At-sea or dockside transfer of red snapper from one vessel to another vessel for the purpose of sale, barter, trade, or exchange, is prohibited.

(-c-) Except as provided in this subparagraph, no person shall purchase, sell, exchange, barter, or attempt to purchase, sell, exchange, or barter any red snapper in excess of any possession limit for which federal commercial license, permit, and appropriate allocation were issued.

(-d-) On the last fishing trip of the year, a vessel may exceed by 10 % the remaining IFQ allocation.

(II) Offloading and transfer. During the hours from 6:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. (local time), no person shall offload from a vessel or receive from a vessel red snapper harvested for the purpose of sale, barter, trade, or exchange. No person who is in charge of a commercial red snapper fishing vessel shall offload red snapper from the vessel prior to three hours after proper notification is made to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries.

(III) Recreational limits. Persons aboard a vessel for which permits indicate both charter vessel/headboat for Gulf reef fish and commercial Gulf reef fish may retain reef fish under the recreational take and possession limits specified in subsection (b) of this section, provided the vessel is operating as a validly licensed charter vessel or headboat with prepaid recreational charter fishermen aboard the vessel.

(IV) VMS requirement. No person shall harvest red snapper for the purpose of sale, barter, trade or exchange, from a vessel unless that vessel is equipped with a fully operational and federally approved Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) device. Approved devices are those devices approved by NOAA Fisheries and operating under the requirements mandated by NOAA Fisheries.

(V) Requirement for IFQ dealer endorsement. In addition to the requirement for a federal dealer permit for Gulf reef fish, a dealer must have a federal Gulf red snapper IFQ dealer endorsement in order to receive Gulf red snapper from a commercial fishing vessel. A person aboard a vessel with a federal Gulf red snapper IFQ vessel endorsement must also have a federal Gulf red snapper IFQ dealer endorsement to sell to anyone other than a permitted dealer.

(VI) Requirement for transaction approval code. The owner or operator of a vessel landing red snapper for the purpose of sale, barter, trade, or exchange is responsible for calling National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Law Enforcement at least 3 hours, but no more than 12 hours, in advance of landing to report the time and location of landing and the name of the IFQ dealer where the red snapper are to be received. Failure to comply with this advance notice of landing requirement will preclude authorization to complete the required NMFS landing transaction report and, thus, will preclude issuance of the required NMFS-issued transaction approval code. Possession of red snapper for the purpose of sale, barter, trade, or exchange, from the time of transfer from a vessel through possession by a dealer is prohibited unless the red snapper are accompanied by a transaction approval code verifying a legal transaction of the amount of red snapper in possession.

(VII) Wholesale dealers. Wholesale dealers are required to comply with the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.019, when acquiring, purchasing, possessing, and selling red snapper. Wholesale dealers shall maintain approval codes issued by NOAA Fisheries associated with all transactions of red snapper on purchases and sales on records.

(VIII) Recreational limit. All persons aboard a vessel for which no commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service under the Federal Fishery Management Plan for the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish resources are limited to the recreational bag limit specified in subsection (b) of this section for red snapper, and such fish may not be bartered or sold.

(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.

(7)[(6)] In Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Ector, El Paso, Jeff Davis, Hudspeth, Kinney, 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) For flounder, the possession limit is the daily bag limit.

(C) Except as provided in subparagraph (D) of this paragraph, the statewide[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*

*Special Regulation: One black drum over 52 inches may be retained per day as part of the five-fish bag limit.

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*

*Special Regulation: The daily bag limit of 10 is the possession limit allowed for flounder for those fishing with a recreational license. 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.

14 No limit
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 13*[12]

*Special Regulation: Beginning on September 1, 2008, the size limit will be 14 inches. Beginning on September 1, 2009, the size limit will be 15 inches.

No limit
Snapper, lane. No limit 8 No limit
Snapper, red. 4*

*Special Regulation: Red snapper may be taken using pole and line, but it is unlawful to use any kind of hook other than a circle hook.

13[15] No limit
Snapper, vermilion. No limit 10 No limit
Snook. 1 24 28
Tarpon. 0*[1]

*Special Regulation: catch and release only.

[80] [No limit.]
Trout: rainbow and brown trout, their hybrids, and subspecies. 5 (in any combination) No limit No limit
Tripletail. 3 17 No limit.
Walleye. 5*

*Special regulation: Two walleye of less than 16 inches may be retained per day.

No limit No limit

(D) Exceptions to statewide daily bag, possession, and length limits shall be as follows:

(i) Freshwater species.[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), Marine Creek Reservoir (Tarrant), 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 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 20[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), and Tradinghouse Creek (McLennan). 3 20 No maximum length limit.
Nasworthy (Tom Green) No Limit No Limit  
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) Saltwater species.

Location Daily Bag Minimum Length (Inches) Special Regulation
Seatrout, spotted.
Lower Laguna Madre south of marker 21 (ICWW) in the landcut, including South Bay, the Brownsville ship channel, the Arroyo Colorado, and the water within the jetties to the extreme eastern tip of each jetty.
5*

*Special Regulation: The daily bag limit of 5 is the possession limit allowed for spotted seatrout.

15 25**

**Special Regulation: One spotted seatrout greater than 25 inches may be retained per day.

(iii)[(ii)] Bag and possession limits for black drum and sheepshead do not apply to the holder of a valid Commercial Finfish Fisherman's License.

(iv)[(iii)] Fish caught in federal waters in compliance with a federal fishery management plan may be landed in Texas.

(v)[(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 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, channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish may be taken with lawful archery equipment or crossbow. After August 31, 2008[2007], only nongame fish may be taken by means of lawful archery 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) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly take or possess a diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) or their eggs unless the person is authorized to do so under a permit issued under Subchapter O of this chapter (relating to Commercial Nongame Permit) or Chapter 69, Subchapter J of this title (relating to Scientific, Educational, and Zoological Permits).

(c)[(b)] There is no open season on porpoises, dolphins (mammals), whales, or sawfishes (Pristis perotteti).

(d)[(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.

(e)[(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.

(f)[(e)] 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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