Presenters: Matt Reidy

Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Action
Raptor Proclamation
Proposed New State Falconry Regulations
January 28, 2010

I. Executive Summary: This item seeks adoption of proposed new falconry regulations. The proposed rules govern the taking, capture, possession, identification, propagation, transportation, export, import, and sale of raptors; the times and areas from which raptors may be taken or captured; species that may be taken or captured; standards for the housing of raptors held under a permit; annual reporting requirements and procedures; and, eligibility requirements for falconry, raptor propagation, and nonresident trapping permits.

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

Until this year, an applicant for a state falconry permit had to apply for a federal falconry permit concurrently with the application for a state permit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has recently conducted a significant revision of federal falconry rules. Part of that revision allows states that meet the federal falconry standards to handle falconry permitting with a single state permit application. In those states, the state becomes, in effect, an administrative agent of the Service. In states that do not participate in joint federal/state falconry certification, applicants must continue to apply for state and federal falconry permits separately. Texas falconers have expressed a strong desire to be administratively regulated by the department alone.

At the August 2009 Commission meeting, the Commission adopted an interim regulation that allowed for federal certification pending a more detailed rulemaking. At the November 2009 meeting of the Regulations Committee, staff received permission to publish proposed new falconry regulations in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed new regulations (located at Exhibit A) were published in the December 25, 2009, issue of the Texas Register (34 TexReg 9350). A summary of public comment on the proposed new 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 the repeal of §§65.261-65.267 and 65.269-65.277 and new §§65.261-65.277, concerning the Raptor Proclamation with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the December 25, 2009, issue of the Texas Register (34 TexReg 9350)."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed Rules

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