Regulations Committee

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
9:00 a.m.

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

Chairman 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
    Staff:  Carter Smith
  2. 2012–2013 Statewide Hunting Proclamation — Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff:  Alan Cain, Robert Perez, Scott Vaca
  3. 2012–2013 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation — Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff:  Ken Kurzawski, Robin Riechers
  4. Briefing on the Federal Process for Species Review regarding Potential Threatened and Endangered Listings
    Staff:  Wendy Connally
  5. Nuisance Alligator Control Permit and Fee Rules – Recommended Adoption of New Rules and Proposed Changes (Action Item No. 9)
    Staff:  Mitch Lockwood

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
January 25, 2012

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
Presenters:  Alan Cain
Robert Perez
Scott Vaca

Regulations Committee
2012-2013 Statewide Hunting Proclamation
January 25, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  This item seeks permission to publish proposed amendments to the Statewide Hunting Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed amendments:

  • Alter the season structure currently in effect for Grayson County (archery-only special season with crossbow by upper-limb disability only; regular season restricted to archery only with crossbows lawful) to allow full-season either-sex hunting opportunity, and implement that structure in Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall counties (which currently have no open season);
  • Implement a full general season in Galveston County (currently there is no open season) with the same season structure as Harris County;
  • Elimination of the pheasant season in four coastal counties in response to absence of population;
  • Alterations to existing season structure for quail;
  • Removal of remnant references to tarpon and red drum;
  • Removal of obsolete regulations regarding the hunting of prairie chickens on managed lands; and
  • Legalization of firearm silencers to take game animals and game birds.

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 and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable.  The potential 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.

            Attachments — 1

1.      Exhibit A — Statewide Hunting Proclamation


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

2012-2013 STATEWIDE HUNTING PROCLAMATION
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department, or TPWD) proposes amendments to §§65.7, 65.8, 65.11, 65.25, 65.42, 65.60, and 65.62, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation.

         The proposed amendments to §65.7, concerning Harvest Log, and §65.8, concerning Alternative Licensing System, would remove references to tarpon and red drum. In 2010 the department restructured hunting and fishing regulations to separate hunting rules from fishing rules. In the process, the department overlooked references to tarpon and red drum in regulations addressing the license log and the alternative licensing system. Those references are not germane to hunting. The proposed amendment corrects that oversight.

         The proposed amendment to §65.11, concerning Lawful Means, would allow the use of firearm silencers to hunt alligators, game animals and game birds. Under current rule, the use of sound-suppressing devices to hunt alligators, game animals or game birds is unlawful. The department has determined that there is no resource- or enforcement-related reason to prohibit the use of firearm silencers for the take of alligators, game animals or game birds, and therefore proposes to eliminate the current prohibition. The department notes that if the proposed is adopted, it will not relieve any person of the obligation to otherwise comply with any applicable state, federal, or local law governing the possession or use of firearm silencers. The proposed amendment also alters §65.11(3) to include additional counties to the applicability of the provisions governing the use of crossbows. This change is necessary to ensure consistency with the changes to §65.42 discussed elsewhere in this preamble.

         The proposed amendment to §65.25, concerning Wildlife Management Plan (WMP) would remove provisions concerning WMP issuance for the hunting of lesser prairie chicken. In response to declines in lesser prairie chicken populations, the department in 2005 prohibited the take of lesser prairie chicken except on properties managed under a WMP for lesser prairie chicken. In response to continuing population declines the department in 2009 completely closed the season on lesser prairie chicken statewide. The provisions of §65.25(c) were retained at that time with the intent that if lesser prairie chicken populations recovered within the near future, the department would be able to reinstitute limited hunting opportunity on managed lands; however, the department has determined that population recovery is now a long-term conservation goal and the presence of the regulations is confusing to the public, since it would appear that there is hunting opportunity available, in spite of the closed season. The department therefore proposes to eliminate current §65.25(c).

         The proposed amendment to §65.42, concerning Deer, would alter the current season structure in Grayson County by allowing full-season, either-sex harvest, implementing the Grayson County deer season structure in Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall counties, and implementing the Harris County season structure  in Galveston County.         In 2010 the department received a petition for rulemaking requesting the implementation of a full-length open season for white-tailed deer in Collin and Rockwall counties, during which the lawful means would be restricted to archery equipment. The deer season in Collin and Rockwall counties has been closed since 1976. The original tallgrass prairie ecosystem in the area was virtually eliminated by agricultural development in the early part of the 20th century, resulting in the near-obliteration of white-tailed deer habitat, primarily in wooded bottomlands that were ideal for crop cultivation and timber exploitation. Since that time, agriculture has been gradually displaced by the extensive urban, suburban, and exurban growth of the Metroplex, which has resulted in highly fragmented habitat and minimal populations of white-tailed deer, mostly in riparian areas surrounding lakes and streams. The department believes that there is no biological reason to prohibit hunting and this is an opportunity to increase hunting opportunity. Opening a season would also provide an additional method for addressing nuisance deer issues. Given the continued urbanization of these counties, the sparse deer habitat that currently exists is expected to continue to decline in the future. Although areas of non-deer habitat, such as residential landscapes in subdivisions may artificially support the carrying capacity of the deer populations within these counties, it is not biologically sound native habitat. Supporting deer populations beyond what native habitat is able to support will lead to further habitat degradation, ultimately affecting habitat quantity and quality for all wildlife species that utilize those native habitats. Since the counties in question, along with Dallas County, are ecologically similar to Grayson County, where there is an archery season (during which crossbows are lawful only by hunters with an upper-limb disability) and a general season restricted to archery equipment including crossbows, the department proposes to implement the Grayson County season structure (with proposed changes noted as follows) in Collin, Dallas, and Rockwall counties, primarily to establish identical harvest regulations in the contiguous counties to reduce potential hunter confusion and differential enforcement issues.

         Under current regulations in Grayson County, the take of antlerless deer is by permit only. The department has determined that because harvest in Grayson County is restricted to archery equipment only, the implementation of full-season, either-sex hunting will not result in depletion or waste of the resource because of the comparatively low hunter success rate of archery equipment compared to firearms. The proposed amendment would implement full-season, either-sex hunting in Grayson County.

         Under current regulations there is no open deer season in Galveston County. The season has been closed in Galveston County for many years. The department has determined that much like Collin, Dallas, and Rockwall counties, Galveston County contains fragmented native habitat that supports small deer populations. Currently, all surrounding counties including Harris County have an open general season for deer. These counties have characteristics similar to Galveston in that Fort Bend, Harris, and Brazoria have isolated pockets of suitable deer habitat and small but huntable deer populations. The department has determined that additional hunting opportunity can be provided under the regulatory structure currently in effect in adjoining counties. The department has determined that there is no biological reason to prohibit hunting and the regulation should provide a tool to help manage deer populations. The hunting opportunity would consist of an archery-only season, a general season, and a special late muzzleloader season, with an aggregate annual bag limit of four deer ( no more than two bucks and two antlerless deer), with antlerless harvest by permit only after Thanksgiving.

         The proposed amendment to §65.60, concerning Pheasant, would close the season for pheasant in Chambers, Jefferson, and Liberty counties. In 1976 the department stocked pheasant in seven counties along the upper Texas coast in an effort to create hunting opportunity. By 2002, surveys indicated no pheasant populations in four of those counties, and the seasons in those counties were closed. Surveys now indicate that there are no pheasants remaining in Chambers, Jefferson, or Liberty counties, either. Therefore, the department proposes to close the season in those counties because there are no birds left to hunt.

         [NOTE: The department intends to propose changes to quail regulations; however, the proposed amendment to §65.62, concerning Quail, has not been formalized at this time]

2. Fiscal Note.

         Mr. Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division 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 or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Wolf 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) 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 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 and micro-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.

         The department has determined that the proposed rule will not directly affect small businesses or micro-businesses. The proposed amendments would not directly regulate any business and would not impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; affect sales, profits, or market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services by small businesses or microbusinesses. Therefore, the department therefore has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006. There will be no fiscal implications for persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

         (C) 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.

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

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Robert Macdonald(512) 389-4775; e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. Comments also may be submitted via the department’s website at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/feedback/public_comment/.

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for animals during each year or season and to prescribe the form and issuance of licenses and tags; and 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.

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

         §65.7. Harvest Log.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) The provisions of this subsection apply to any person in possession of a license lawfully purchased by any means other than through an automated point-of-sale system.

                         (1) A person who takes a white-tailed deer, mule deer, Rio Grande turkey, or Eastern turkey[, red drum in excess of the maximum length limit, or tarpon] shall complete, in ink, the harvest log on the back of the hunting or fishing license, as applicable, immediately upon kill[, or, in the case of fish, upon retention].

                         (2) (No change.)

         §65.8. Alternative Licensing System.

                 (a) The tagging requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, §§42.018, 42.0185, 42.020, and 46.0086 do not apply to any person in lawful possession of a license that was sold by the department without tags for white-tailed deer, mule deer, or turkey[, red drum, or tarpon].

                 (b) The requirements of this subchapter that require the attachment of license tags to wildlife resources do not apply to any person in lawful possession of a license that was sold by the department without tags for white-tailed deer, mule deer, or turkey[, red drum, or tarpon]. A properly executed wildlife resource document must accompany any white-tailed deer, mule deer, or turkey[, red drum in excess of maximum size limits, or tarpon] until the provisions of this title and Parks and Wildlife Code governing the possession of the particular wildlife resource cease to apply.

                 (c) (No change.)

         §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 firearms, and including a firearm equipped with a silencer[weapons], except as specifically restricted in this section.

                          (B)  Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to relieve any person of compliance with any other federal, state, or local laws governing the possession or use of firearm silencers.

                         (C)[(B)] Special muzzleloader –only deer seasons are restricted to muzzleloading firearms only.

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

                         (E)[(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].

                         (F)[(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.

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

                 (2) (No change.)

                 (3) Crossbow — Special Provisions.

                         (A) In Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties[County]:

                                  (i) no person may use a crossbow to hunt deer during the archery-only season (October 3 — November 6) unless the person has an upper-limb disability and has in immediate possession a physician’s statement that certifies the extent of the disability; and

                                  (ii) any person may hunt deer by means of crossbow during the general open season (November 7 — January 3) and the requirements of clause (i) of this subparagraph do not apply.

                         (B) (No change.)

                 (4) – (7) (No change.)

         §65.25. Wildlife Management Plan (WMD).

                 (a) (No change.)

                 [(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 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 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.]

                 (b)[(c)] Javelina.

                         (1) – (6) (No change.)

         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

         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 ay be hunted, taken, or possessed.

         The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

         §65.42. Deer.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) White-tailed deer. The open seasons, annual bag limits, and special provisions for white-tailed deer shall be as follows. If Managed Lands Deer Permits(MLDPs) have been issued for a tract of land in any county, they must be attached to all deer harvested on the tract of land, regardless of season. An MLDP buck permit may not be used to harvest or tag an antlerless deer. An MLDP antlerless permit may not be used to tag a buck deer.

                         (1) – (7) (No change.)

                         (8) In Angelina, Brazoria, Chambers, Cherokee, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad(south of U.S. Highway 59), Hardin, Harris, Houston, Jackson(south if U.S. Highway 59), Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Orange, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, Victoria(south of U.S. Highway 59), Walker, and Wharton(south of U.S. Highway 59) counties, there is a general open season.

                                  (A) Open season: from the 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) Special provisions.

                                          (i) Buck deer. 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 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. Not more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater may be taken.

                                          (ii) Antlerless deer. If permits have been issued for the harvest of antlerless deer, they must be attached to all antlerless deer harvested on the tract of land.

                                                   (I) On USFS, Corps of Engineers, and river authority lands in the counties listed in this paragraph, the take of antlerless deer shall be by permit only.

                                                   (II) On all other tracts of land in the counties listed in this paragraph, antlerless deer may be taken without permits from opening day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day. From the Monday immediately following Thanksgiving Day until the end of the season, antlerless deer may be taken by antlerless MLD permit or LAMPS permit only.

                                                   (III) 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.

                         (9) – (10) (No change.)

                         (11) In Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties [County] there is a general open season.

                                  (A) Open season: from the first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January.

                                  (B) Bag limit: four deer, no more than two antlerless and no more than two bucks.

                                  (C) Special provisions. Lawful means are restricted to lawful archery equipment and crossbows only, including MLDP properties.

                                          (i) Buck deer. 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. Not more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater may be taken.

                                          (ii) Antlerless deer. No permit is required to hunt antlerless deer unless MLDP antlerless permits have been issued for the tract of land[Antlerless deer may be taken by MLD antlerless permits only. If permits have been issued for the harvest of antlerless deer, they must be attached to all antlerless deer harvested on the tract of land.]

                         (12) – (16) (No change.)

                         (17) Muzzleloader-only open seasons, and bag and possession limits shall be as follows. In Angelina, Austin, Bastrop, Bowie, Brazoria, Brewster, Caldwell, Camp, Cass Chambers, Cherokee, Colorado, Culberson, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Gregg, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Karnes, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Marion, Matagorda, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Presidio, Reeves, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton, and Wilson counties, there is an open season during which deer may be taken only with a muzzleloader.

                                  (A) Open Season: 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the first Sunday in January.

                                  (B) Bag limit: as specified in this section for the general season in the county in which take occurs.

                                  (C) Special provisions:

                                          (i) Buck deer. In any given county, all restrictions established in this subsection for the take of buck deer during the general season remain in effect.

                                          (ii) Antlerless deer. No permit is required for the take of antlerless deer, except:

                                                   (I) on properties for which antlerless MLDPs have been issued; and

                                                   (II) in the counties that are also listed in paragraph(12) of this section.

                         (18) (No change.)

                 (c) (No change.)

         §65.60. Pheasant.

                 (a) In Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Floyd, Gray, Hale, Hall, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hockley, Hutchinson, Lamb, Lipscomb, Lubbock, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, Wheeler, and Wilbarger counties, there is an open season for pheasants.

                         (1) Open season: First Saturday of December for 30 consecutive days.

                         (2) Daily Bag limit: Three cock pheasants.

                         (3) Possession limit: Six cock pheasants.

                 [(b) In Chambers, Jefferson, and Liberty, counties, there is an open season for pheasants.]

                         [(1) Open season: Saturday nearest November 1 through the last Sunday in February.]

                         [(2) Daily bag limit: Three cock pheasants.]

                         [(3) Possession limit: Six cock pheasants.]

                 (b)[(c)] In all other counties, there is no open season on pheasants.

                 (c)[(d)] It is unlawful to hunt pheasant with the aid of a cable, chain, rope, or other device connected to or between a moving object or objects.

         §65.62. Quail: Open Season, Bag, and Possession Limits. [NOTE: The department intends to proposed changes to §65.62 concerning quail; however, the proposed amendment to §65.62, concerning quail, has not yet been formalized.]

                 (a) In all counties there is an open season for quail beginning [the Saturday closest to October 28 through the last Sunday in February] [Dates to be determined]

                 (b) Daily bag limit: [15] [Number to be determined] quail.

                 (c) Possession limit: {45] [Number to be determined] quail.

                 (d) There is no open season on Mearns’ quail (commonly called fool’s quail).

         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
Presenters:  Ken Kurzawski
Robin Riechers

Regulations Committee
Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation
January 25, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  This item will consist of two parts.  First, staff seeks permission to publish proposed changes to the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations and Fee Schedule in the Texas Register for public comment.  Second, staff will provide an update on seagrass protection initiatives.  The proposed amendments would:

  •     Change minimum length limit for largemouth bass back to the statewide 14-inch limit on three reservoirs:  Aquilla Reservoir (Hill County); Lake Fort Phantom Hill (Jones County); and Lake Proctor (Comanche County);
  • Change daily bag limit for striped bass back to the statewide five fish limit on Possum Kingdom Reservoir (Palo Pinto County);
  • Implement an 18-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag for largemouth bass and prohibit use of juglines, trotlines, and throwlines on Lake Naconiche (Nacogdoches County), a reservoir that will open to angling September 1, 2012;
  • Restrict the number of fishing devices (to two) that a person may use simultaneously while fishing from a dock, pier, jetty, or other man-made structure on a state park;
  • Prohibit the transport of live, non-game fishes from the Red River below Lake Texoma, Big Cypress Bayou downstream of Ferrell’s Bridge Dam on Lake O’ the Pines (including the Texas waters of Caddo Lake), and the Sulphur River downstream of the Lake Wright Patman dam;
  • Exempt boaters leaving Lake Texoma, the Red River above and below Lake Texoma, and Lake Lavon (Rockwall County) from the application of certain exotic species regulations, provided all bait buckets, live wells, bilges, and any other receptacles, containers, or systems that could contain water are emptied prior to departure;
  • Require gear tags for throwlines and minnow traps in fresh water;
  • Reduce the time limit for re-dating gear tags from 30 days to 10 days;
  • Update fee rules to reflect changes in Oklahoma license regulations that affect reciprocity for nonresident seniors fishing in Texas;
  • Migrate rules applicable to fisheries resources regarding alternate licensing and the license log (currently contained in the Statewide Hunting Proclamation); and
  • Clarify that take of marine life is prohibited in areas closed due to a freeze event.

II.      Discussion:  Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking fisheries resources for recreational purposes is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 61 and 67.  Statutory authority to regulate commercial fisheries is delegated to the Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 47 and 66.  The proposed rules are based upon suggestions from the public, statutory requirements, and commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable.  The potential 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.

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Fishing Rules
  2. Exhibit B — Proposed Oklahoma Reciprocity Rule

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL
AND COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATIONS
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§57.972, 57.973, 57.975, and 57.981, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations.

         The proposed amendment to §57.972, concerning General Rules, add two provisions governing the use of the license log and the alternative license system. In 2010 the department restructured hunting and fishing regulations to separate hunting rules from fishing rules and recreational fishing rules from commercial fishing rules. In the process, the department overlooked two regulations that remained in Chapter 65, Subchapter (A) that affect red drum and tarpon with respect to license log requirements and procedures to be followed in the event that the department is ever in the position of implementing an alternative licensing system. The proposed amendment to §57.972 would migrate the applicable portions of those rules (i.e., those affecting fisheries) to Chapter 57 to allow intuitive reference.

         The proposed amendment to §57.972 also would implement provisions to address the spread of exotic aquatic species such as zebra mussels and silver and bighead carp. At the current time, these species are present in Texas in limited numbers or are confined to few locations. Although possession and transport of these species is prohibited under Chapter 57, Subchapter A, additional regulations are needed to prevent the accidental or incidental movement of these species from one waterbody to another. The proposed amendment consists of two provisions. The first is intended to prevent the spread of silver and bighead carp and would prohibit any person from leaving specified water bodies in the possession of live, nongame fishes. By prohibiting the movement of all live nongame fish, the provision would help to prevent the accidental spread of silver and bighead carp to additional waterbodies as a result of bait-collecting activities. Because silver and bighead carp are quite similar in size and appearance to native nongame species typically captured for use as bait, they cannot readily be distinguished from those species when large numbers of similar fish are caught. The proposed provision would affect the Red River below Lake Texoma; Big Cypress Bayou downstream of Ferrell’s Bridge Dam on Lake O’ the Pines, including the Texas waters of Caddo Lake; and the Sulphur River downstream of the Lake Wright Patman dam. Collection and use of live nongame fishes for bait on those water bodies would continue to be legal.

         The second provision would impact waterbodies where zebra mussels have been found or have a high potential of occurrence. Zebra mussels have a free-swimming, microscopic larval stage called a veliger. Any water collected from waterbodies where zebra mussels are present could contain veligers; thus, water transported from waterbodies with known zebra mussel populations is a vector for the spread of zebra mussels. Under ordinary circumstances, the department would consider any person in possession of zebra mussel veligers to be in violation of Chapter 57, Subchapter A, which prohibits the possession of zebra mussels. Under the amendment as proposed, the department would not consider a person in possession of veligers to be in violation, provided live wells, bilges, and other receptacles or systems capable of retaining or holding water as a consequence of being immersed in a waterbody have been drained prior to the use of a public roadway. A person traveling on a public roadway via the most direct route to another access point located on the same body of water would not be required to drain or empty water. This provision is intended to provide an incentive for boaters to take actions necessary to ensure that zebra mussels are not transplanted from one water body to another water body. The proposed provision would affect Lake Texoma, Red River above and below Lake Texoma, and Lake Lavon.

         The proposed amendment to §57.973, concerning Devices, Means, and Methods, would require the use of gear tags on throwlines and minnow traps in fresh water, and would reduce the length of time required for gear-tag replacement on employed devices from 30 days to 10 days. Under current rules, gear tags are required to affixed to most fishing devices that are typically left unattended, such as trotlines. In fresh water, only throwlines and minnow traps are not required to have a gear tag affixed to them when in use. The department has determined that because such devices continue to fish and represent a danger to birds and mammals when they are abandoned, it is necessary to require a gear tag to be employed when such devices are used. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.1105, the department is authorized to seize a device that is in or on water in violation of a regulation of the commission. By requiring throwlines and minnow traps to be affixed with a gear tag in order to be lawfully used, the department will be able to prevent abandoned throwlines and minnow traps from continuing to be dangerous to fish and wildlife populations. In the course of investigating the need for the gear tag requirement for throwlines and minnow traps, the department also considered the current rule requiring gear tags or juglines to be replaced at least every 30 days. In researching similar regulations in other states, the department determined that the Texas gear tag rules allowed the longest time period in the country between mandatory datings. Therefore, the proposed amendment to §57.973 would provide that 10 days is the minimum time period that any device for which a gear tag is required could be left in the water without being re-tagged with a new gear tag. The department considers that 10 days would allow any person at least two weekends of fishing effort before having to re-tag a device.

         The proposed amendment to §57.973 also would restrict the use of passive taking devices (trotlines, juglines, and throwlines) on Lake Naconiche in Nacdogdoches County. A Naconiche will be opened to the public in 2012. Angling effort is expected to be high, especially during the first several years. Since the largemouth bass population is still developing, it is important to prevent harvest of smaller bass to ensure that a quality population is established. Restrictions on the use of passive taking devices (trotlines, juglines, and throwlines) will provide additional protection for the expanding fish populations and is more compatible with other uses planned for this small reservoir (i.e., swimming and water skiing).

         The proposed amendment to §57.973 also would implement a two-device restriction on the number of pole-and-line fishing devices that a person may use simultaneously while fishing from a dock, pier, jetty, or other man-made structure on a state park. Because of their proximity to population centers, easy access, and waiver of fishing license requirements in certain areas, state parks are popular fishing destinations. State parks are important angling destinations because they are good places to introduce people to the angling experience, particularly youth and families. The department has received complaints that some persons are monopolizing pier/jetty/dock space at state parks by utilizing large numbers of taking devices. Therefore, the proposed amendment would restrict the number of devices that a person could employ while fishing in a state park from a pier, jetty, dock, or other man-made structure. The proposed amendment is necessary to ensure equitable distribution of angling opportunity and prevent user conflicts.

         The proposed amendment to §57.975, concerning Freeze Event Closures, would clarify that no person may take, or attempt to take, aquatic life in an affected area during a freeze closure.  The current rule specifically prohibits the take of fish by hook and line, pole and line, or throwline in an area closed during a freeze event. There has been some confusion on the part of anglers who interpret the current rule to allow the harvest of fish by hand, dip net, or other means that are not specifically prohibited under §57.975. This interpretation is erroneous. Under current §57.973, 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, and devices that are unlawful under §57.973 are still unlawful in an area that has been closed due to a freeze event. The cumulative effect of §57.973 and §57.975 is to prohibit the take of fish by any means in an area closed during a freeze event.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981, concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limits, would change minimum length limit for largemouth bass back to the statewide 14-inch limit on three reservoirs: Aquilla Reservoir (Hill County); Lake Fort Phantom Hill (Jones County); and Lake Proctor (Comanche County).

         Aquilla Reservoir is a 2,366-acre reservoir with scarce amounts of native aquatic vegetation.  Nearly 35% of the reservoir is covered in standing timber, and this habitat has declined drastically since impoundment (1986).  A recent study indicated the reservoir could be losing as much as 218 acre-feet of volume each year through erosion and sedimentation from within its watershed. An 18-inch minimum length limit was implemented in 1994 to increase the density of largemouth bass and provide greater availability of largemouth bass greater than 18 inches for angler catch.  Largemouth bass densities and population indices spiked between 1998 and 2002; however, these indices are currently below pre-regulation values.  Largemouth bass densities remain improved over pre-regulation numbers but are also well below the spike observed in 2000 and 2002.  Creel survey information indicates that few anglers are fishing for bass. The department has determined that the largemouth bass fishery is habitat-limited, and the 18-inch minimum length limit is no longer effective or needed. Therefore, the proposed amendment would restore the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit.

         Fort Phantom Hill is a 4,213-acre reservoir that was impounded in 1938 and is operated by the city of Abilene.  A 16-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass was implemented in September 1994.  The goals of the regulation were to increase relative abundance of 14 to 16-inch largemouth bass and to increase angler catch rates. Mean catch rates of 14 and 16-inch bass in department surveys were similar under the two length limits.  Population indices were slightly higher but statistically similar. Angler catch rates varied little under the two regulations.  Water level elevation likely has a large influence on the largemouth bass population in this reservoir. A model using water level elevations from April-July, and the difference in elevation from the previous October to the next July accounted for 92% of the variation in catch rates of small (less than 8 inches) largemouth bass from 1996-2009. Similar to other West Texas reservoirs where a 16-inch minimum length limit was attempted, there appears to be no additional benefit to anglers compared with a 14-inch limit. Therefore, the proposed amendment would restore the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit.

         Lake Proctor is a 4,537-acre reservoir that was impounded in 1963. A 16-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass was implemented in September 2002 to prolong a “boom” phase following severe drought conditions that lasted from 1998-2001. Increased water levels in 2001 resulted in an extremely large 2001 year class of largemouth bass. The increase to a 16-inch minimum length limit was designed to improve size structure for a longer period of time than could be achieved under the 14-inch limit. The post-drought changes that occurred in the largemouth bass population at Lake Proctor were similar to changes that occurred in other largemouth bass populations from area reservoirs that experienced the same drought-related problems but had a 14-inch minimum length limit.  Essentially, either limit provided the same protection to a recovering largemouth bass population. Additionally, the 16-inch limit failed to provide long-term improvements beyond what a 14-inch limit would provide. Therefore, the proposed amendment would restore the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would change the daily bag limit for striped bass back to the statewide five-fish limit on Possum Kingdom Reservoir (Palo Pinto County). Possum Kingdom is a 15,588-acre reservoir that was impounded in 1941.  In 2001, golden alga caused a fish kill that greatly reduced the abundance of striped bass. In response to this fish kill, striped bass were stocked to rebuild the population. Also, the daily bag limit for striped bass was decreased from five to two in September 2002. Fish kills continue to negatively affect the rebuilding of the striped bass population. Catch rate of striped bass in gillnets has decreased from 9.3 fish per net night in 1999 to 0.2 per net night in 2011. Striped bass take between two and four years at Possum Kingdom to attain the legal length limit of 18 inches. The periodic fish kills prevent many fish from attaining legal size.  Increasing the daily bag to allow anglers to take additional fish when they are present and would better utilize the resource.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would implement an 18-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag for largemouth bass and prohibit use of juglines, trotlines, and throwlines on Lake Naconiche (Nacogdoches County), a reservoir that will open to angling September 1, 2012. The department plans to intensively manage this water body to enhance and protect the largemouth bass population.  Lake Naconiche was impounded in 2009 and will be 692 acres at full pool. Lack of rainfall has prevented the lake level from reaching full pool. The lake will open to angling September 1, 2012. Threadfin shad, bluegill, channel catfish, white and black crappie, and Florida largemouth bass were stocked in 2010 and 2011. Angling effort is expected to be high, especially during the first several years. Since the largemouth bass population is still developing, it is important to protect fish to 18 inches in order to prevent harvest of 14- to 18-inch bass and ensure that a quality population is established. Additionally, restricting the use of passive taking devices (trotlines, juglines, and throwlines) will provide additional protection for the expanding fish populations and is more compatible with other uses planned for this small reservoir (i.e., swimming and water skiing).

         The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would remove a reference to Town Lake in Travis County. In 2008, Town Lake was renamed Lady Bird Lake.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Ken Kurzawski, Program Director, Inland Fisheries Division, 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 administering or enforcing the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the dispensation of the agency’s statutory duty to protect and conserve the fisheries 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 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 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.

          The department has determined that the proposed rules will not directly affect small businesses and/or micro-businesses. Therefore, the department has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in 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 Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

         (F) 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 proposal may be submitted to Ken Kurzawski (Inland Fisheries) at (512) 389-4591, e-mail: ken.kurzawski@tpwd.state.tx.us; Jeremy Leitz (Coastal Fisheries) at (361) 825-3356, e-mail: jeremy.leitz@tpwd.state.tx.us; or David Sinclair (Law Enforcement) at (512) 389-4854, e-mail. Comments also may be submitted via the department’s website at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/feedback/public_comment/.

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; 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 61 and 67.

         §57.972. General Rules.

                 (a) – (g) (No change.)

                 (h) Harvest Log.

                         (1) The provisions of this subsection apply to any person in possession of a license lawfully purchased by any means other than through an automated point-of-sale system.

                         (2) A person who takes a red drum in excess of the maximum length limit, or a tarpon shall complete, in ink, the harvest log on the back of the hunting or fishing license, as applicable, immediately upon kill, or, in the case of fish, upon retention.

                 (i) Alternative Licensing System.

                         (1) The requirements of this title that require the attachment of license tags to wildlife resources do not apply to any person in lawful possession of a license that was sold by the department without tags for red drum or tarpon. A properly executed wildlife resource document must accompany any red drum in excess of maximum size limits, or tarpon, until the provisions of this title and Parks and Wildlife Code governing the possession of the particular wildlife resource cease to apply.

                         (2) The provisions of this section do not exempt any person from any provision of this subchapter that requires or prescribes the use of a wildlife resource document.

                 (j) No person may leave a body of water listed in this subsection while in possession of a live nongame fish:

                         (1) the Red River below Lake Texoma;

                         (2) Big Cypress Bayou downstream of Ferrell’s Bridge Dam on Lake O’ the Pines, including the Texas waters of Caddo Lake; and

                         (3) the Sulphur River downstream of the Lake Wright Patman dam.

                 (k) A person who leaves a water body listed in this subsection while in possession of a harmful or potentially harmful species listed in §57.111 of this title (relating to Definitions) that is invisible to the unaided human eye is not in violation of §57.112 of this title (relating to General Rules), provided that:

                         (1) all live wells, bilges, and other similar receptacles and systems that are capable of retaining or holding water as a consequence of being immersed in a waterbody have been drained prior to the use of a public roadway; or

                         (2) the person is travelling on a public roadway via the most direct route to another access point located on the same body of water.

                         (3) This subsection applies to the following bodies of water:

                                  (A) Lake Texoma;

                                  (B) the Red River above and below Lake Texoma; and

                                  (C) Lake Lavon.

         §57.973. Devices, Means and Methods.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line only in:

                         (1) community fishing lakes; however, on community fishing lakes that are not within or part of a state park, no person may employ more than two devices (i.e., poles or lines) at the same time;

                          (2) sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of state parks, and no person may employ more than two taking devices (i.e., poles or lines)  at one time on any dock, pier, jetty, or other manmade structure within a state park;

                         (3) – (6) (No change.)

                 (c) – (e) (No change.)

                 (f) Device restrictions. Devices legally used for taking fresh or saltwater fish or shrimp may be used to take crab as authorized by this subchapter.

                         (1) – (2) (No change.)

                         (3) Crab trap. It is unlawful to:

                                  (A) – (H) (No change.)

                                  (I) fish a crab trap in public salt waters without a valid gear tag. Gear tags must be attached within 6 inches of the buoy and are valid for 10[30] days after date set out;

                                  (J) – (N) (No change.)

                         (8) 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:

                                  (A) with invalid gear tags. Gear tags must be attached within six inches of the free-floating device, are valid for 10[30] days after the date set out, and must include the number of the permit to sell non-game fish taken from fresh water, if applicable;

                                 (B) – (C) (No change.)

                                  (D) 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, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

                         (9) (No change.)

                         (10) Minnow trap (fresh water and salt water). It is unlawful to use a minnow trap [in salt water] that is not equipped with a gear tag. A gear tag is valid for 10[30] days after the date it is set out.

                                  (A) – (B) (No change.)

                         (11) Perch traps. For use in salt water only.
                                  (A) (No change.)
                                  (B) It is unlawful to fish a perch trap that:
                                          (i)-  (ii) (No change.)
                                          (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 10[30] days after date set out.

                         (12) – (19) (No change.)

                         (20) Throwline. For use in fresh water only.

                                  (A) (No change.)

                                  (B) 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, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

                                  (C) It is unlawful to use a throwline that is not equipped with a gear tag. A gear tag is valid for 10 days after the date it is set out.

                         (21) Trotline.

                                  (A) (No change)

                                  (B) It is unlawful to use a trotline:

                                          (i) (No change.)

                                          (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 10[30] days after date set out, except on saltwater trotlines, a gear tag is not required to be dated;

                                          (iii) – (v) (No change.)

                                  (C) In fresh water, it is unlawful to use a trotline:

                                          (i) (No change.)

                                          (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, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

                                  (D) (No change.)

                         (22) (No change.)

         §57.975. Freeze Event Closures.

                 (a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

                         (1) Affected area — an area of coastal water where fishing from the bank is possible and where game fish are known or expected to take refuge from cold weather conditions.

                         (2) Freeze — a period of cold weather that begins when the air temperature drops to or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and creates a risk of depletion of one or more game fish species.

                 (b) The Executive Director shall provide appropriate notice to the public that a freeze has occurred and fishing in the affected area or areas is prohibited. The Executive Director shall provide appropriate public notice as to when fishing in the affected area or areas is allowed to resume.

                 (c) No person shall take or attempt to take any aquatic life by any means[fish with a hook and line, pole and line, or Throwline] in an affected area during a freeze after the Executive Director has given notice to the public that a freeze has occurred and fishing in the affected area is prohibited and before the Executive Director gives notice that fishing may resume.

         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

         The amendment is 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; 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 amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 61 and 67.

         §57.981. Bag, Possession, and Length Limits.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) There are no bag, possession, or length limits on game or non-game fish, except as provided in this subchapter.

                         (1) – (4) (No change.)

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

Figure: 31 TAC §57.981(c)(1)
Species and Location (County) Daily Bag Minimum Length (Inches) Special Regulation
Bass: largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and Guadalupe bass, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
In all waters in the Lost Maples State Natural Area (Bandera). 0 No limit Catch and release only.
Bass: largemouth and spotted.      
Lake Alan Henry. 5 No limit It is unlawful to retain more than two bass of less than 18 inches in length.
Caddo Lake (Marion and Harrison). 8 (in any combination with spotted bass) 14 - 18 inch Slot limit (largemouth bass); no limit for spotted bass. It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 18 inches. No more than 4 largemouth bass 18 inches or longer may be retained. Possession limit is 10.
Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge and Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby). 8 (in any combination with spotted bass) 14 (largemouth bass); no limit for spotted bass. 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  
Lake Nacogdoches (Nacogdoches). 5   It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass of 16 inches or greater in length. Largemouth bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained in a live well or other aerated holding device for purposes of weighing, but may not be removed from the immediate vicinity of the lake. After weighing, the bass must be released immediately back into the lake unless the department has instructed that the bass be kept for donation to the ShareLunker Program.
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), Naconiche (Nacogdoches), 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.
O.H. Ivie Reservoir (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 24 inches or greater in length may be retained in a live well or other aerated holding device for purposes of weighing, but may not be removed from the immediate vicinity of the lake. After weighing, the bass must be released immediately back into the lake unless the department has instructed that the bass be kept for donation to the ShareLunker Program.
Lakes Bridgeport (Jack and Wise), Burke-Crenshaw (Harris), 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), Kyle (Hays), Lady Bird (Travis) Mill Creek (Van Zandt), Murvaul (Panola), Pinkston (Shelby), Timpson (Shelby), [Town (Travis),] Walter E. Long (Travis) and Wheeler Branch (Somervell). 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), and Monticello (Titus). 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), Devil's River (Val Verde) from State Highway 163 bridge crossing near Juno downstream to Dolan Falls and Wheeler Branch (Somervell). 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: striped and white bass, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge and Toledo Bend Reservoir (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.
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 Caddo (Harrison and Marion), Texoma (Cooke and Grayson) and Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby), and Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge. 25 No limit  
Carp: common.      
Lady Bird Lake (Travis). No limit No limit It is unlawful to retain more than one common carp of 33 inches or longer per day.
Catfish: blue.      
Lakes Lewisville (Denton), Richland- Chambers (Freestone and Navarro), and Waco (McLennan). 25 (in any combination with channel catfish) 30-45-inch slot limit It is unlawful to retain blue catfish between 30 and 45 inches in length. No more than one blue catfish 45 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Catfish: channel and blue catfish, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Lake Livingston (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker). 50 (in any combination) 12  
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.
Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion), Kirby (Taylor), Palestine (Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, and Smith), and Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby), Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge. 50 (in any combination) No Limit No more than five catfish 20 inches or greater in length may be retained each day. Possession limit is 50.
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 15 (in any combination) 12 No more than one blue catfish 30 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
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  
Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion), Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby), and Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge. 10 18 Possession limit is 10.
Crappie: black and white crappie, their hybrids and subspecies.      
Caddo Lake (Harrison and Marion), Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby) , and Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge. 25 (in any combination) No limit  
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), Fairfield (Freestone), and Tradinghouse Creek (McLennan). 3 20 No maximum length limit.
Shad, gizzard and threadfin.      
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  

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit B

FEES
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §53.2, concerning License Issuance Procedures, Fees, Possession, and Exemption Rules.

         The proposed amendment would alter the provisions of subsection (d)(4) to specify that residents of the State of Oklahoma who are 65 years of age or older are exempt from the fishing license requirements of the State of Texas. Oklahoma recently raised the minimum age at which Texas residents are exempt from the licensing requirements of Oklahoma, from 64 to 65. In order to be consistent with the requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, §41.008, which authorizes the department to agree with any other state to license sport fishing by residents of the other state at the same fee as Texas residents are licensed in that state, the department is altering the minimum age under Texas rules for fishing license exemption.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Mr. Ken Kurzawski, Program Director, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be fiscal implications to state government as a result of enforcing or administering the rule. Those implications will be positive, since the effect of the rule is to raise the age at which Oklahoma residents qualify for exemption from fishing license requirements in Texas. The department has no way to predict a value for such a revenue increase, since it is impossible to know how many Oklahoma residents are 64 years of age and intend to fish in Texas in any of each of the next five years.

         There will be no fiscal implications for other units of state or local government.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Kurzawski 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 accurate department regulations.

         (B) There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule 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 rule does 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. There will be no fiscal implications for persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

         (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 rule 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 rule.

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Ken Kurzawski, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4591 (e-mail: ken.kurzawski@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §41.0086, which authorizes the department to agree with any other state to license sport fishing by residents of the other state at the same fee as Texas residents are licensed in that state.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 41.

         §53.2. License Issuance Procedures, Fees, Possession, and Exemption Rules.

                 (a) – (c) (No change.)

                 (d) The following categories of persons are exempt from fishing license requirements and fees:

                         (1) – (3) (No change.)

                         (4) non-residents 65[64] years of age or older who are residents of Oklahoma;

                         (5) – (6) (No change.)

                 (e) – (f) (No change.)

         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
Presenter:  Wendy Connally

Regulations Committee
Federal Process for Species Review regarding
Potential Threatened and Endangered Listings
January 25, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  More than 90 rare species known to occur in Texas have been identified in the recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) multi-jurisdictional work plan.  This work plan, along with the recently proposed policy/definition on “significant portion of a species range,” will define the USFWS listing teams’ priorities for the next five years.  The Comptroller of Public Accounts has also launched an initiative, Keeping Texas First, focused on the economic impacts of species’ listings in Texas, and the Governor’s Office has also taken an interest in this topic.

Primarily, TPWD’s Wildlife Diversity Statewide Biologists will coordinate with Diversity Field Biologists and Texas Natural Diversity Database (TXNDD) staff to respond to all requests for information about these species.  Inland or Coastal Fisheries biologists may also be requested to respond.










































Back to Top
Back to Top