Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.
March 30, 2011

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX  78744

Commissioner T. Dan Friedkin, Committee Chair
Ross Melinchuk, Committee Liaison

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  1. Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
    • Off-highway Vehicle (OHV) Sand Drags in the Panhandle
    • Recreational Boating Advisory Panel
    • Urban Resource Management Unit (RMU) for White-tailed Deer
    Staff:  Carter Smith
  2. Potential Changes to the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff:  Kevin Kraai
  3. Public Lands Proclamation – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff:  Linda Campbell
  4. Briefing on the February Freeze Event and Closures
    Staff:  Rebecca Hensley
  5. 2011-2012 Statewide Hunting Proclamation – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes (Action Item No. 4)
    Staff:  Jason Hardin
  6. 2011-2012 Statewide Fishing Proclamation — Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes (Action Item No. 5)
    Staff:  Robin Riechers, Ken Kurzawski

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter:  Carter Smith

Regulations Committee
Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the
TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
March 30, 2011

I.      Executive Summary:  Executive Director Carter Smith will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency’s efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the “Plan”).

II.    Discussion:  In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wild. Code §11.104).  In 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan.  A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005.  In November 2009, the Commission approved a new Plan effective January 1, 2010.  The 2010 Plan is available on the TPWD web site.  Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Regulations Committee on TPWD’s recent progress in achieving the Plan’s goals, objectives and deliverables as they relate to the Regulations Committee.

The Plan consists of the following four goals:

  1. Practice, Encourage and Enable Science-based Stewardship of Natural and Cultural Resources
  2. Increase Access To and Participation In the Outdoors
  3. Educate, Inform and Engage Texas Citizens in Support of Conservation and Recreation
  4. Employ Efficient, Sustainable and Sound Business Practices

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter:  Kevin Kraai

Regulations Committee
Potential Changes to the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
March 30, 2011

I.      Executive Summary:  This item:

  • provides an overview of the state/federal management process for migratory game birds;
  • apprises the Committee of anticipated and potential changes to migratory game bird regulations as a result of the federal regulatory process;
  • presents staff recommendations for 2011-2012 migratory game bird seasons.

II.     Discussion:  Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) frameworks is delegated to the Commission under Chapter 64, Subchapter C, Parks and Wildlife Code. Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.022, authorizes the Executive Director, after notification of the Chairman, to engage in rulemaking.  At present, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has not issued the annual regulatory frameworks for migratory game birds.  Typically, the Service issues the preliminary early-season (dove, teal, snipe, rails, gallinules) frameworks in late June and the preliminary late-season (ducks, geese, cranes) frameworks in early August.  The Service typically issues the final early-season frameworks in early August and the final late-season frameworks in late September.  Because no Commission meetings occur between May and August, the early-season regulations are normally adopted by the Executive Director in early July, using the rulemaking authority delegated by the Commission.

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Seasons
  2. Exhibit B – Proposed Rules

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Summary:  Proposed 2011-2012 Migratory Game Bird Seasons

Early season species:

Dove: Staff anticipates that Texas will have a 70-day season with a 15-bird daily bag limit.  Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

  • North Zone:  September 1 – October 23, 2011; December 24, 2011 – January 9, 2012.
  • Central Zone:  September 1 – October 23, 2011; December 24, 2011 – January 9, 2012.
  • South Zone:  September 23 – October 30, 2011; December 24, 2011 – January 24, 2012.
  • Special White Winged Dove Area*:  September 3-4 and 10-11, 2011; September 23 – October 30, 2011 and December 24, 2011 – January 20, 2012.

      *Shooting hours in the SWWDA during the September special season are from noon to sunset.  There is an aggregate daily bag limit of 15 dove (no more than four mourning dove and no more than two white-tipped dove).  During the general season the aggregate bag limit is 15.

Woodcock:  Staff anticipates that Texas will have a 45-day season with a three-bird daily bag.  Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

Snipe:  Staff anticipates that Texas will have a 107-day season with an eight-bird daily bag limit.  Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

Rails/Gallinules/Moorhens:  Staff anticipates that Texas will have a 70-day season.   Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit unless otherwise noted.

Teal:  Staff anticipates either a nine-day or a 16-day season with a four-bird daily bag limit.  Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

Late Season Species:

Ducks:  Staff anticipates a “liberal” package from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Geese:  Staff anticipates that Texas will have a 107-day season for Canada and light geese, a 72-day season for white-fronted geese in the Eastern Zone; and a 95-day season for all species in the Western Zone.

Sandhill Cranes:  Staff anticipates a 93-day crane season with a 3-bird bag limit in Zones A and B, and a 37-day season with a 2-bird bag limit in Zone C.

Possession limit – twice the daily bag limit.

Falconry


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit B

2011-2012 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD PROCLAMATION
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes amendments to §§65.315, and 65.318-65.321, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation.

         The proposed amendment to §65.315, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits — Early Season, would retain the season structure and bag limits from last year and adjust the season dates for early-season species of migratory game birds to account for calendar shift (i.e., to ensure that seasons open on the desired day of the week, since dates from a previous year do not fall on the same days in following years).

         The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issues annual frameworks for the hunting of migratory game birds. Regulations adopted by individual states may be more restrictive than the federal frameworks, but may not be less restrictive.  Prior to 2009, September 20 was the earliest day that the South Zone dove season could be opened under frameworks issued by the Service, except the four days of half-day hunting in the Special White-winged Dove Area (SWWDA). Since hunter and landowner preference historically has been for the season to open on the earliest date possible, irrespective of where that day falls during the week, this structure resulted in the periodic occurrence of opening day on days other than a Friday, the preferred choice of hunters and landowners for opening the season. In 2009, the Service authorized the department to open the South Zone on the Friday nearest September 20, but no earlier than September 17.  The intent was to insure that the season always opened on the Friday closest to September 20. However, this formulation results in the periodic occurrence (including 2011) of the Friday closest to September 20 falling on September 16. To address this anomaly the department has requested Service approval to set the opening day for the South Zone dove season on the Friday before the third Saturday in September. In this fashion, the season would always open on a Friday and would never open later than September 20. Although this proposal would set an opening date of September 23, if the Service approves an earlier opener the department will consider adoption of an opening day of September 16.

         The proposed amendment to §65.315 also would implement a 16-day statewide teal season to run from September 10-25, 2011, which must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) before it can be implemented. If the Service does not approve a 16-day season, the department proposes to adopt a 9-day season to run September 17-25, 2011. The department cautions that the federal frameworks could close the season on teal if population data warrant. By federal law, the number of days in the September teal season count against the 107 days of total hunting opportunity allowed for ducks, coots, and mergansers.

         The proposed amendment to 65.318, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits — Late Season Species, retains the season structure and bag limits from last year, with the exception of a 16-day early season for non-migratory Canada geese; however, the season dates for geese in the Eastern Goose Zone and ducks in all zones have been shifted to occur one week later in comparison to last year. Prior to 2009, the department followed hunter preference and selected season dates that run to the last day of the federal frameworks. Beginning in 2009, the department adopted seasons that closed with one week left in the framework in an attempt to increase nesting success. This season structure is not popular with waterfowl hunters, especially if adjustments based solely on calendar shift cause the season to open in late October. Therefore, the department proposes a season this year that would begin in November, in an attempt to accommodate somewhat the preferences of waterfowl hunters while preserving the opportunity for the resource to benefit from some time without hunting pressure prior to migration to the nesting areas. The proposed amendment would adjust the remaining late-season migratory game bird seasons to account for calendar shift.

         Populations of non-migratory Canada geese have been growing in northeast Texas, primarily in and along the Red River valley. Non-migratory are geese that do not exhibit the characteristically long north-south seasonal migration flights, instead remaining resident in a single general area on a year-round basis. In other parts of the country, particularly in the Atlantic Flyway, populations of non-migratory geese have exploded, causing nuisance damage, navigation hazards, crop depredation, and other undesirable effects. Although Canada geese populations in Texas are not at levels similar to those in the Atlantic Flyway, they have become numerous enough for the department to propose a 16-day September Canada goose season in the East Goose Zone, to run concurrently with September teal season. The intent of the proposed new season is to manage non-migratory Canada geese while creating additional hunting opportunity.

         The proposed amendment to §65.319, concerning Extended Falconry Season — Early Season Species, adjusts season dates to consolidate, where possible, seasons for woodcock, gallinules, rails, and moorhens with the extended falconry season for ducks. The proposed amendment adjusts falconry seasons for dove to reflect calendar shift.

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

         The proposed amendment to §65.321, concerning Special Management Provisions, would adjust the dates for the conservation season on light geese so that they occur one week later, for reasons explained in the discussion of the proposed amendment to §65.318.

         The proposed amendments are generally necessary to implement commission policy to provide the greatest hunter opportunity possible, consistent with hunter and landowner preference for starting dates and segment lengths, under frameworks issued by the Service. The Service has not issued regulatory frameworks for the 2011-2012 hunting seasons for migratory game birds; thus, the department cautions that the proposed regulations are tentative and may change significantly, depending on federal actions prior to the release of the early-season frameworks in late June and the late-season frameworks in August. However, it is the policy of the commission to adopt the most liberal provisions possible, consistent with hunter preference, under the frameworks in order to provide maximum hunter opportunity.

2. Fiscal Note.

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

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rules as proposed will be the department’s discharge of its statutory obligation to manage and conserve the state’s populations of migratory game birds for the use and enjoyment of the public, consistent with the principles of sound biological management.

         (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic affect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. The department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

         The department has determined that the proposed rules regulate various aspects of recreational license privileges that allow individual persons to pursue and harvest migratory game bird resources in this state and therefore do not directly affect small businesses or micro-businesses. Therefore, neither the economic impact statement nor the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006, is required.

         There also will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

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

         (D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2008, as a result of the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Robert Macdonald, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4775 or 1-800-792-1112 (e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

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

         The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64.

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

                 (a) Rails.

                         (1) Dates: September 10–25, 2011 and November 5 – December 28, 2011[September 11–26, 2010 and October 30 – December 22, 2010].

                         (2) Daily bag and possession limits:

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

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

                 (b) Dove seasons.

                         (1) North Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: September 1 – October 23, 2011 and December 24, 2011 – January 9, 2012[September 1 – October 24, 2010 and December 25, 2010 – January 9, 2011 September 1 – October 24, 2010 and December 25, 2010 – January 9, 2011[September 1 – October 24, 2010 and December 25, 2010 – January 9, 2011].

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

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

                         (2) Central Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: September 1 – October 23, 2011 and December 24, 2011 – January 9, 2012[September 1 – October 24, 2010 and December 25, 2010 – January 9, 2011 September 1 – October 24, 2010 and December 25, 2010 – January 9, 2011[September 1 – October 24, 2010 and December 25, 2010 – January 9, 2011].

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

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

                         (3) South Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: Except in the special white-winged dove area as defined in §65.314 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species), September 23 – October 30, 2011 and December 24, 2011 – January 24, 2012[September 17 – October 31, 2010 and December 25 – January 18, 2011].

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

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

                         (4) Special white-winged dove area.

                                  (A) Dates: September 3, 4, 10, and 11, 2011[September 4, 5, 11, and 12, 2010].

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

                                          (ii) Possession limit: 30 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate to include no more than eight mourning doves and four white-tipped doves in possession.

                                  (B) Dates: September 23 – October 30, 2011 and December 24, 2011 – January 20, 2012[September 17 – October 31, 2010 and December 25, 2010 – January 14, 2011].

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

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

                 (c) Gallinules.

                         (1) Dates: September 10–25, 2011 and November 5 – December 28, 2011[September 11– 26, 2010 and October 30 – December 22, 2010].

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

                 (d) September teal-only season.

                         (1) Dates: September 10-25, 2011[September 11-26, 2010].

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

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

                 (f) Shorebirds. No open season.

                 (g) Woodcock: December 18, 2011 — January 31, 2012[December 18, 2010 — January 31, 2011]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

                 (h) Wilson’s snipe (Common snipe): November 5, 2011 – February 19, 2012[October 30, 2010 – February 13, 2011]. The daily bag limit is eight. The possession limit is 16.

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

                 (1) Ducks, mergansers, and coots. The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may include no more than five mallards  (only two of which may be hens); three wood ducks; two scaup (lesser scaup and greater scaup in the aggregate); two redheads; two pintail; one canvasback; and one “dusky” duck (mottled duck, Mexican like duck, black duck and their hybrids) during the season established in subparagraphs (A)(ii), (B)(ii), and (C)(ii) of this paragraph.   For all other species not listed, the bag limit shall be six. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, which may include no more than two hooded mergansers.

                         (A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit:

                                  (i) all species other than “dusky ducks”: October 29-30, 2011 and November 4, 2011 – January 29, 2012[October 23-24, 2010 and October 29, 2010 – January 23, 2011].

                                  (ii) “dusky ducks”: November 6, 2011 – January 29, 2012[November 1, 2010 – January 23, 2011[November 1, 2010 – January 23, 2011].

                          (B) North Zone:

                                  (i) all species other than “dusky ducks”:  November 5 – November 27, 2011 and December 10, 2011 — January 27, 2012[October 30 – November 28, 2010 and December 11, 2010 — January 23, 2011].

                                  (ii) “dusky ducks”: November 10–27, 2011 and December 10, 2011 – January 29, 2012[November 4, 2010 – November 28, 2010 and December 11, 2010 – January 23, 2011].

                         (C) South Zone:

                                  (i) all species other than “dusky ducks”: November 5 – November 27, 2011 and December 10, 2011 — January 29, 2012[October 30 – November 28, 2010 and December 11, 2010 — January 23, 2011].

                                  (ii) “dusky ducks”: November 10–27, 2011 and December 10, 2011 – January 29, 2012[November 4, 2010 – November 28, 2010 and December 11, 2010 – January 23, 2011].

                 (2) Geese.

                         (A) Western Zone.

                                  (i) Light geese: November 5, 2011 – February 5, 2012[November 6, 2010 – February 6, 2011]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

                                  (ii) Dark geese: November 5, 2011 – February 5, 2012[November 6, 2010 – February 6, 2011]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is five, to include not more than one white-fronted goose.

                         (B) Eastern Zone.

                                  (i) Light geese: November 5, 2011 – January 29, 2012[October 30, 2010 – January 23, 2011]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

                                  (ii) Dark geese:

                                          (I) White-fronted geese: November 5, 2011 – January 15, 2011[October 30, 2010 – January 9, 2011]. The daily bag limit for white-fronted geese is two.

                                          (II) Canada geese: September 10 – 25, 2011 and November 5, 2011 – January 29, 2012[October 30, 2010 – January 23, 2011]. The daily bag limit for Canada geese is three.

                 (3) Sandhill cranes. A free permit is required of any person to hunt sandhill cranes in areas where an open season is provided under this proclamation. Permits will be issued on an impartial basis with no limitation on the number of permits that may be issued.                      (A) Zone A: November 5, 2011 — February 5, 2012[November 6, 2010 — February 6, 2011]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

                         (B) Zone B: November 25, 2011 — February 5, 2012[November 26, 2010 — February 6, 2011]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

                         (C) Zone C: December 24, 2011 — January 29, 2012[December 18, 2010 — January 23, 2011]. The daily bag limit is two. The possession limit is four.

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

                         (A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 22-23, 2011[October 16-17, 2010];

                         (B) North Zone: October 29-30, 2011[October 23-24, 2010]; and

                         (C) South Zone: October 29-30, 2011[October 23-24, 2010].

         §65.319. Extended Falconry Season—Early Season Species.

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

                         (1) mourning doves and white-winged doves: November 17 – December 23, 2010[November 18 – December 24, 2010].

                         (2) rails and gallinules: January 30 – February 13, 2012[December 25, 2010 — January 30, 2011].

                         (3) woodcock: January 30 – February 13, 2012[November 23 — December 16, 2010].

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

         §65.320. Extended Falconry Season – Late Season Species. It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the following Extended Falconry Seasons.

                 (1) Ducks, coots, and mergansers:

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

                         (B) North Duck Zone: January 30 — February 13, 2012[January 24 — February 7, 2011];

                         (C) South Duck Zone: January 30 — February 13, 2012[January 24 — February 7, 2011].

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

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

                 (1) Means and methods. The following means and methods are lawful during the time periods set forth in paragraph (4) of this section:

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

                         (B) electronic calling devices.

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

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

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

                         (C) a person may give, leave, receive, or possess legally taken light geese or their parts, provided the birds are accompanied by a wildlife resource document (WRD) from the person who killed the birds. A properly executed WRD satisfies the tagging requirements of 50 CFR Part 20. The WRD is not required if the possessor lawfully killed the birds; the birds are transferred at the personal residence of the donor or donee; or the possessor also possesses a valid hunting license, a valid waterfowl stamp, and is HIP certified. The WRD shall accompany the birds until the birds reach their final destination, and must contain the following information:

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

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

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

                                  (iv) the date the birds were killed; and

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

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

                 (4) Special Light Goose Conservation Period.

                         (A) From January 30 — March 25, 2012[January 24 — March 27, 2011], the take of light geese is lawful in Eastern Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species).

                         (B) From February 26 — March 25, 2012[February 7 — March 27, 2011], the take of light geese is lawful in the Western Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species).

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

         Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter:  Linda Campbell

Regulations Committee
Public Lands Proclamation
March 30, 2011

I.       Executive Summary:  This item seeks permission to publish proposed amendments to the Public Lands Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed amendments would add two definitions to enhance enforcement of existing regulations governing watercraft and would add the Blue Elbow Swamp — Tony Housman WMA/SP to the list of wildlife management areas.

II.      Discussion:  Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 81, Subchapter E, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is authorized to promulgate rules governing access to and use of public hunting lands and specific hunting, fishing, recreational, or other use of wildlife management areas and requires the Commission to prescribe by rule any terms, conditions, and fees for the issuance and use of permits.

Advancements in propulsion systems technology have increased the ability of shallow-draft vessels to operate in very shallow waters and wetlands, which poses threats to habitat by disturbing soils and vegetation.  Current rules prohibit the use of airboats on WMAs except by executive order or written permission; however, the terms “airboat” and “motorboat” are not defined by rule.  The proposed amendment would supply a regulatory meaning of those terms for enforcement purposes.

The Blue-Elbow Swamp – Tony Housman WMA/SP is not listed in the inventory of WMAs currently contained in the Public Lands Proclamation.  The proposed amendment would add that area to the list.

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rules

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

PUBLIC LANDS PROCLAMATION
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §65.190 and §65.191, concerning the Public Lands Proclamation. The proposed amendment to §65.190, concerning Application, would add “Blue Elbow Swamp-Tony Houseman WMA/SP” to the list of wildlife management areas (WMAs) contained in the section. The area was acquired in 1997 but inadvertently was not included in the inventory of WMAs listed in the section.

         The proposed amendment to §65.191, concerning Definitions, would add definitions of “airboat” and “motorboat.”  Advances in propulsion systems technology (belt drives, mud pumps, etc.) have increased the ability of shallow-draft vessels to operate in very shallow waters and wetlands, which poses threats to habitats on WMAs as a result of the physical disturbance of soils and vegetation. Current rules prohibit the use of airboats on WMAs except by executive order or written permission, and several WMAs impose site-specific restrictions on the operation of motorboats; however, the terms “airboat” and “motorboat” are not defined by rule. The proposed amendment would supply a regulatory meaning for each of those terms for enforcement purposes. By clearly defining what is meant by those terms, the department’s existing regulations regarding public access and use can be enforced without ambiguity.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Ms. Linda Campbell, Public Hunting and Private Lands program director, 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 and local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Ms. Campbell 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 accurate references and clear definitions within department regulations.

         (B) There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

         (C) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect affect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services. Since the proposed rules do not affect small businesses or microbusinesses, the department has determined that the proposed amendment will not impose any direct adverse economic effects on small businesses or microbusinesses. Accordingly, the department has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis under Government Code, Chapter 2006.

         (D) 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.

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

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Linda Campbell, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4395 (e-mail: linda.campbell@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 81, Subchapter E, which authorizes the Parks and Wildlife Commission to promulgate rules governing access to and use of public hunting lands and specific hunting, fishing, recreational, or other use of wildlife management areas and requires the commission to prescribe by rule any terms, conditions, and fees for the issuance and use of permits.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 81, Subchapter E.

         §65.190. Application.

                 (a) This subchapter applies to all activities subject to department regulation on lands designated by the department as public hunting lands, regardless of the presence or absence of boundary markers. Public hunting lands are acquired by lease or license, management agreements, trade, gift, and purchase. Records of such acquisition are on file at the Department’s central repository.

                 (b) On U.S. Forest Service Lands designated as public hunting lands (Alabama Creek, Bannister, Caddo, Lake McClellan Recreation Area, Moore Plantation, and Sam Houston National Forest WMAs) or any portion of Units 902 and 903, persons other than hunters are exempt from the provisions of this subchapter, except for the provisions of §65.199(15) of this title (relating to General Rules of Conduct).

                 (c) On U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Lands designated as public hunting lands (Cooper, Dam B, Granger, Pat Mayse, Ray Roberts, Somerville, and White Oak Creek WMAs), persons other than hunters and equestrian users are exempt from requirements for an access permit.

                 (d) On state park lands designated as public hunting lands, access for fishing and recreational use is governed by state park regulations.

                 (e) Public hunting lands include, but are not limited to, the following:

                         (1) Alabama Creek WMA (Unit 904);

                         (2) Alazan Bayou WMA (Unit 747);

                         (3) Atkinson Island WMA;

                         (4) Bannister WMA (Unit 903);

                         (5) Big Lake Bottom WMA (Unit 733);

                         (6) Black Gap WMA (Unit 701);

                         (7) Blue Elbow Swamp-Tony Houseman WMA/SP;

                         (8)[(7] Caddo Lake WMA (Unit 730);

                         (9)[(8)] Caddo National Grasslands WMA (Unit 901);

                         (10)[(9)] Candy Abshier WMA;

                         (11)[(10)] Cedar Creek Islands WMA (includes Big Island, Bird Island, and Telfair Island Units);

                         (12)[(11)] Chaparral WMA (Unit 700);

                         (13)[(12)] Cooper WMA (Unit 731);

                         (14)[(13)] D.R. Wintermann WMA;

                          (15)[(14)] Dam B WMA — includes Angelina-Neches Scientific Area (Unit 707);

                         (16)[(15)] Designated Units of the Las Palomas WMA;

                         (17)[(16)] Designated Units of Public Hunting Lands Under Short-Term Lease;

                         (18)[(17)] Designated Units of the Playa Lakes WMA;

                         (19)[(18)] Designated Units of the State Park System;

                         (20)[(19)] Elephant Mountain WMA (Unit 725);

                         (21)[(20)] Gene Howe WMA (Unit 755) — includes Pat Murphy Unit (Unit 706);

                         (22)[(21)] Granger WMA (Unit 709);

                         (23)[(22)] Guadalupe Delta WMA (Unit 729) — includes Mission Lake Unit (720), Guadalupe River Unit (723), Hynes Bay Unit (724), and San Antonio River Unit (760);

                         (24)[(23)] Gus Engeling WMA (Unit 754);

                         (25)[(24)] James Daughtrey WMA (Unit 713);

                         (26)[(25)] J.D. Murphree WMA (Unit 783);

                         (27)[(26)] Justin Hurst WMA (Unit 721);

                         (28)[(27)] Keechi Creek WMA (Unit 726);

                         (29)[(28)] Kerr WMA (Unit 756);

                         (30)[(29)] Lake McClellan Recreation Area (Unit 906);

                         (31)[(30)] Lower Neches WMA (Unit 728) — includes Old River Unit and Nelda Stark Unit;

                         (32)[(31)] Mad Island WMA (Unit 729);

                         (33)[(32)] Mason Mountain WMA (Unit 749);

                         (34)[(33)] Matador WMA (Unit 702);

                         (35)[(34)] Matagorda Island WMA (Unit 722);

                         (36)[(35)] McGillvray and Leona McKie Muse WMA (Unit 750);

                         (37)[(36)] M.O. Neasloney WMA;

                         (38)[(37)] Moore Plantation WMA (Unit 902);

                         (39)[(38)] Nannie Stringfellow WMA (Unit 716);

                         (40)[(39)] North Toledo Bend WMA (Unit 615);

                         (41)[(40)] Old Sabine Bottom WMA (Unit 732);

                         (42)[(41)] Old Tunnel WMA;

                         (43)[(42)] Pat Mayse WMA (Unit 705);

                         (44)[(43)] Ray Roberts WMA (Unit 501);

                         (45)[(44)] Redhead Pond WMA;

                         (46)[(45)] Richland Creek WMA (Unit 703);

                         (47)[(46)] Sam Houston National Forest WMA (Unit 905);

                          (48)[(47)] Sierra Diablo WMA (Unit 767);

                         (49)[(48)] Somerville WMA (Unit 711);

                         (50)[(49)] Tawakoni WMA (Unit 708);

                         (51)[(50)] Walter Buck WMA (Unit 757);

                         (52)[(51)] Welder Flats WMA;

                         (53)[(52)] White Oak Creek WMA (Unit 727); and

                         (54)[(53)] Other numbered units of public hunting lands.

         §65.191. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms shall have the meanings assigned in §65.3 of this title (relating to Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation).

                 (1) Adult — A person 17 years of age or older.

                 (2) Airboat — A boat propelled mechanically by movement of air, including, but not limited to a fan, propeller, or jet.

                 (3)[(2)] All terrain vehicle (ATV) — Any vehicle meeting the definition of an ATV under Transportation Code, §663.001.

                 (4)[(3)] Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit — A permit, valid from issuance date through the following August 31, which allows entry to designated public hunting lands at designated times and the taking of wildlife resources as designated.

                 (5)[(4)] Application fee — A non-refundable fee that may be required to accompany and validate an individual’s application for a special permit.

                 (6)[(5)] Authorized supervising adult — A parent, legal guardian, or individual at least 18 years of age who assumes liability responsibility for a youth.

                 (7)[(6)] Blind — Any structure assembled of man-made or natural materials for the purpose or having the effect of promoting concealment or increasing the field of vision of a person.

                 (8)[(7)] Buckshot — Lead pellets ranging in size from .24-inch to .36-inch in diameter normally loaded in a shotgun (includes, but is not limited to 0 and 00 buckshot).

                 (9)[(8)] Camping — The use of public hunting lands for overnight accommodation, which includes sleeping, the storage of unattended personal possessions, or the use of a motor vehicle as a lodging.

                 (10)[(9)] Competitive hunting dog event (field trial) — A department-sanctioned contest in which the skills of hunting dogs are tested.

                 (11)[(10)] Concurrent hunt — A hunt that maintains the same permit requirements, hunt dates, means and methods, or shooting hours or combinations thereof for more than one species of animal, as designated and subject to any special provisions.

                 (12)[(11)] Consumptive user — A person who takes or attempts to take wildlife resources.

                 (13)[(12)] Designated campsite — A designated area where camping and camping activities are authorized.

                 (14)[(13)] Designated days — Specific days within an established season or period of time as designated by the executive director.

                 (15)[(14)] Designated road — A constructed roadway indicated as being open to the public by either signs posted to that effect or by current maps and leaflets distributed at the area. Roads closed to the public may additionally be identified by on-site signing, barricades at entrances, or informational literature made available to the public. Designated roads do not include county or state roads or highways.

                 (16)[(15)] Designated target practice area — An area designated by on-site signing or by order of the executive director within which the discharge of firearms for target practice is authorized.

                 (17)[(16)] Designated units of the state park system — Specific units of the state park system approved by the commission for application of provisions of this subchapter.

                 (18)[(17)] Disabled person — A person who possesses a placard, license plate, or other documentation issued to that person by the State of Texas under the provisions of Transportation Code, Chapter 681.

                 (19)[(18)] General Season — A specified time period, or designated days within a specified time period, during which more than one means or methods (as designated) may be used to take designated species.

                 (20)[(19)] Headwear — Garment or item of apparel worn on or about the head.

                 (21)[(20)] Immediate supervision — Control of a youth by an authorized supervising adult issuing verbal instructions in a normal voice level.

                 (22)[(21)] Lands within a desert bighorn sheep cooperative — An aggregation of lands for which the concerned landowners and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have agreed to coordinate efforts to restore, manage, and harvest desert bighorn sheep.

                 (23)[(22)] Limited Public Use (LPU) Permit — A permit, valid from issuance date through the following August 31, which allows access to designated wildlife management areas and public hunting lands at the same times that access is provided by an APH permit.

                 (24)[(23)] Limited use zone — An area designated by order of the executive director and/or by boundary signs on the area, within which public use is prohibited or restricted to specified activities.

                 (25)[(24)] Loaded firearm — A firearm containing a live round of ammunition within the chamber and/or the magazine, or if muzzleloading, one which has a cap on the nipple or a priming charge in the pan.

                 (26)[(25)] Mentored Hunting Permit — A permit authorizing access to public hunting lands for the purpose of attending a department-sponsored workshop, including participation in a designated hunting opportunity subsequent to the workshop.

                 (27)  Motorboat—Any vessel being propelled by machinery, but does not include a boat being propelled solely by paddle, pole, oar, or wind.

                 (28)[(26)] Motor vehicle — As defined by Transportation Code, Chapter 541.

                 (29)[(27)] Off-road vehicle — An ATV, a utility vehicle, a vehicle that may not lawfully be operated on a public roadway, or any vehicle that is manufactured or adapted for off-road use.

                 (30)[(28)] On-site registration — The requirement for public users to register at designated places upon entry to and exit from specified public hunting lands, but does not constitute a permit.

                 (31)[(29)] Permit — Documentation authorizing specified access and public use privileges on public hunting lands.

                 (32)[(30)] Predatory animals — Coyotes and bobcats.

                 (33)[(31)] Preference point system — A method of special permit distribution in which the probability of selection is progressively enhanced by prior unsuccessful applications within a given hunt category by individuals or groups.

                 (34)[(32)] Public hunting area — A portion of public hunting lands designated as being open to the activity of hunting, and may include all or only a portion of a certain unit of public hunting land.

                 (35)[(33)] Public hunting compartment — A defined portion of a public hunting area to which hunters are assigned and authorized to perform public hunting activity.

                 (36)[(34)] Public hunting lands — Lands identified in §65.190 of this title (relating to Application) or by order of the executive director on which provisions of this subchapter apply.

                 (37)[(35)] Recreational use — Any use or activity other than hunting or fishing.

                 (38)[(36)] Regular Permit — A permit issued on a first-come-first-served basis, on-site, at the time of the hunt that allows the taking of designated species of wildlife on the issuing area.

                 (39)[(37)] Restricted area — All or portions of public hunting lands identified by boundary signs as being closed to public entry or use.

                 (40)[(38)] Sanctuary — All or a portion of public hunting lands identified by boundary sign as being closed to the hunting of specified wildlife resources.

                 (41)[(39)] Slug — A metallic object designed for being fired as a single projectile by discharge of a shotgun.

                 (42)[(40)] Special Access Permit — A permit, issued pursuant to a selection procedure, that allows access to a specified unit of the state park system at a specified time.

                 (43)[(41)] Special Permit — A permit, issued pursuant to a selection procedure, which allows the taking of designated species of wildlife.

                 (44)[(42)] Special package hunt — A public hunt conducted for promotional or fund raising purposes and offering the selected applicant(s) a high quality experience with enhanced provisions for food, lodging, transportation, and guide services.

                 (45)[(43)] Tagging fee — A fee which may be assessed in addition to the special permit fee for the harvest of alligators for commercial sale or prior to the attempted harvest of desert bighorn sheep or designated exotic mammals.

                 (46)[(44)] Wildlife management area (WMA) — A unit of public hunting lands which is intensively managed for the conservation, enhancement, and public use of wildlife resources and supporting habitats.

                 (47)[(45)] Wildlife resources — Game animals, game birds, furbearing animals, alligators, marine mammals, frogs, fish, crayfish, other aquatic life, exotic animals, predatory animals, rabbits and hares, and other wild fauna.

                 (48)[(46)] Wounded exotic mammal — An exotic mammal leaving a blood trail.

                 (49)[(47)] Youth — A person less than 17 years of age.

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

         Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenters:  Rebecca Hensley

Regulations Committee
Briefing on the February Freeze Event and Closures
March 30, 2011

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff will provide the Commission an update and overview of the February 2011 freeze event which will include a discussion of the impacts of the freeze and subsequent closures of thermal refuges.

II.      Discussion:  In 2005 and following the 2004 freeze, the Commission adopted a regulation intended to provide additional protection to game fish during freeze conditions.  This regulation was intended to reduce losses due to excessive fishing mortality and disturbance of fish concentrated in thermal refuges during a freeze event.

During 2011, this authority was first used to temporarily close twenty-one deep water areas along the coast from noon February 2 through noon February 7.  The 2011 freeze began with temperatures dropping below freezing on February 1 through 5, followed by a small warming period and then a second period of low temperatures (February 9).  Nighttime air temperatures reached as low as 22°F during this extended cold weather event.  Water temperatures dropped steadily and decreased to near 32°F in parts of the bays, coastwide.  Water temperatures below 45°F were sustained for at least two days, consecutively in all systems.  In addition to killing game fish in shallow bay waters, a hard freeze can also cause surviving fish to congregate in a few deeper areas where they become sluggish and prone to capture.  Estimates of the impacts of the freeze event and review of the actions to reduce the impacts of the event will be presented.






















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