Presenter: Mike Berger

Commission Agenda Item No. 11
Action
Statewide Hunting and Fishing
Proclamation Rule Amendments
Use of Laser Sighting Devices
– Proof of Being Legally Blind
Mandated by Legislation (H.B. 308)
August 23, 2007

I. Executive Summary: This item presents a proposed amendment to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation that would prescribe the conditions under which a legally blind person could lawfully use a laser-sighting device while hunting.

II. Discussion: House Bill 308, enacted by the 80th Texas Legislature, amended the Parks and Wildlife Code by adding §62.0055, which authorizes the use of laser sighting devices by hunters who are legally blind under the standards of Government Code, §62.104, provided the hunter is accompanied by a licensed hunter at least 13 years of age or older who is not legally blind. Under the terms of H.B. 308, the department is required to adopt rules to prescribe proof of legal blindness. The proposed rules were published for public comment in the July 6, 2007, issue of the Texas Register (32 TexReg 4183). Staff will provide a summary of public comment at the time of the meeting.

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts an amendment to §65.11, concerning the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the July 6, 2007, issue of the Texas Register (32 TexReg 4183)."

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Use Of Laser Sighting Devices by the Legally Blind - Proposal Preamble

Commission Agenda Item No. 11
Exhibit A

Use of Laser Sighting Devices by the Legally Blind
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §65.11, concerning Lawful Means. The proposed amendment would prescribe acceptable proof of legal blindness for the purposes of implementing the provisions of House Bill 308, enacted by the 80th Texas Legislature. House Bill 308 amended Parks and Wildlife Code, by adding §62.0055, which authorizes the use of laser sighting devices by hunters who are legally blind under the standards of Government Code, §62.104, provided the hunter is accompanied by a licensed hunter at least 13 years of age or older who is not legally blind. Under the terms of H.B. 308, the department is required to adopt rules to prescribe proof of legal blindness.

The proposed amendment would require a hunter who uses a laser sighting device to possess a signed statement from a physician attesting to the fact that the hunter is legally blind under the standards of Government Code, §62.105, which defines legal blindness as no more than 20/200 of visual acuity in the better eye with correcting lenses or visual acuity greater than 20/200, but with a limitation in the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.

2. Fiscal Note.

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

3. Public Benefit — Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed will be the execution of the directives of the legislature and the provision of additional hunting opportunity.

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

(C) The department has determined that the rule will not affect local economies; accordingly, no local employment impact statement has been prepared.

(D) The department has determined that Government Code, § 2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules) does not apply to the proposed rule.

(E) The department has determined that Government Code, Chapter 2007 (Governmental Action Affecting Private Property Rights), does not apply to the proposed rule.

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to David Sinclair, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4854 (e-mail: david.sinclair@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment is proposed under the authority of House Bill 308, 80th Texas Legislature (Regular Session) which amended Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 62, to require the department by rule to prescribe acceptable proof of legal blindness for the purposes of allowing legally blind hunters to use laser sighting devices.

The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 62.

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

(1) Firearms.

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

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

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

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

(E) In Angelina, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler and Victoria counties, alligators may not be hunted by means of firearms. In all other counties, alligators may by hunted by means of firearms on private property, including private waters, but may not be hunted by means of firearms from, on, in, across, or over public water.

(F) Alligators lawfully caught on a taking device may be dispatched by means of firearms in all counties.

(2) Archery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(B) the crossbow must have a mechanical safety;

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

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

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

(5) Alligator.

(A) Legal devices for taking alligators in the wild are as follows:

(i) hook and line (line set);

(ii) alligator gig;

(iii) lawful archery equipment and barbed arrow;

(iv) hand-held snare with integral locking mechanism; and

(v) lawful firearms, in counties where take by firearm is allowed.

(B) A line of at least 300-pound test shall be securely attached to all taking devices other than firearms used to hunt alligators. Except as provided in this subsection, hook-bearing lines must be attached to a stationary object capable of maintaining a portion of the line above water when an alligator is caught on the line. A line attached to an arrow, snare, or gig must have a float attached when used to take alligators. The float shall be no less than six inches by six inches by eight inches, or, if the float is spherical, no less than eight inches in diameter.

(C) Line-set provisions.

(i) Hook-bearing lines may not be set prior to the general open season and shall be removed no later than sunset of the last day of the open season.

(ii) From sunset to one-half hour before sunrise:

(I) no person shall use any taking device other than line sets to hunt alligators; and

(II) no person shall set any baited line capable of taking an alligator and no person shall remove alligators from line sets.

(iii) On a property for which the department has issued hide tags, no person shall set more than one line per unused hide tag in possession.

(iv) On a property that is not in a county listed in paragraph (1)(E) of this section and for which the department has not issued hide tags, no person shall set more than one line.

(v) Line sets shall be inspected daily, and alligators shall be killed, tagged or documented, and removed immediately upon discovery.

(vi) All line sets on properties for which hide tags have been issued shall be secured at one end on the tract of land specified for the hide tags. All other line sets shall be secured at one end on private property.

(vii) Each baited line shall be labeled with a plainly visible, permanent, and legibly marked gear tag that contains:

(I) the full name and current address of the person who set the line;

(II) the hunting license number of the person who set the line; and

(III) a valid hide tag number, if the line is set on a property for which hide tags have been issued.

(6) Use of laser sighting devices.

(A) A person who is legally blind may use a laser sighting device to hunt game animals and game birds during lawful hunting hours in open seasons, provided the person is assisted by a person who:

(i) is not legally blind;

(ii) has a hunting license; and

(iii) is at least 13 years of age.

(B) A person who uses a laser sighting device must have in possession a signed statement from a physician to the effect that the person is legally blind by the standard of Government Code, §62.104, and must present the statement to any peace officer or department employee acting within the scope of official duties.

(C) All provisions concerning hunter education requirements apply.

(7)[(6)] Special Provisions.

(A) Desert bighorn sheep. Except as provided in this paragraph, no motorized conveyance of any type shall be used to herd or harass desert bighorn sheep.

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

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


Back to Top
Back to Top