Presenter: Matt Wagner

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Action
Raptor Proclamation Amendments
Consistency with Federal Rules
January 22, 2009

I. Executive Summary: This item seeks adoption of a proposed amendment to the rules governing the practice of falconry to clarify that raptors possessed under a federal abatement permit do not count against the possession limits established for falconers.

II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 49, the department may prescribe rules for the taking, capture, possession, propagation, transportation, export, import, and sale of raptors, time and area from which raptors may be taken or captured, and species that may be taken or captured; provide standards for possessing and housing raptors held under a permit; prescribe annual reporting requirements and procedures; prescribe eligibility requirements and fees for and issue any falconry, raptor propagation, or nonresident trapping permit; and require and regulate the identification of raptors held by permit holders.

The practice of falconry is regulated at both the state and federal levels. The federal authority to regulate falconry is derived from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, an international treaty to which the United States is a signatory. As with all migratory bird rules, the states may adopt rules that are more restrictive than the federal rules, but may not adopt rules that are less restrictive.

Under current department regulations, an applicant for a state falconry permit must possess a federal falconry permit prior to application for a state permit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has recently authorized falconers to engage in abatement activities (the use of raptors to harass or eliminate nuisance wildlife such as rabbits, pigeons, and grackles around areas such as airports, and public buildings, where other forms of control are impractical or unsafe). Under current rules, the department prescribes the number of birds that each class of falconer may possess. The federal abatement authorization allows falconers to possess raptors for abatement purposes in addition to those birds possessed for falconry purposes.

The proposed rule would clarify that the possession limits established for falconers do not apply to raptors possessed under a federal abatement permit.

The Regulations Committee at its November, 2008, meeting authorized staff to publish the proposed amendment in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed amendment appeared in the December 19, 2008, issue of the Texas Register (33 TexReg 10298). A summary of public comment on the proposed rule will be presented.

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts an to §65.265, concerning Permit Classes: Qualifications and Restrictions, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the December 19, 2008, issue of the Texas Register (33 TexReg 10298)."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed Amendments

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