Regulations Committee
Wednesday, March 28, 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. Potential Changes to the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff: Corey Mason
  2. Floating Cabins Permit Rules Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff: Cody Jones
  3. Update on Quail Science Review
    Staff: Robert Perez
  4. Public Opinion Survey regarding Mule Deer MLDP Season Extension
    Staff: Shawn Gray
  5. 20122013 Statewide Hunting Proclamation Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes (Action Item No. 6)
    Staff: Scott Vaca, Alan Cain, Robert Perez
  6. 20122013 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation - Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes (Action Item No. 7)
    Staff: Ken Kurzawski, Robin Riechers

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Corey Mason

Regulations Committee
Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
March 28, 2012

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 2012-2013 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, and 31 Texas Administrative Code, §65.313 authorize 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 adopted by the Executive Director in early July.

Attachments – 2

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

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Exhibit A

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED MIGRATORY GAME BIRD SEASON DATES 2012-2013

EARLY SEASON

Dove

North and Central Zones:  September 1, 2012 – October 28, 2012 and December 22, 2012 – January 2, 2013

Special White-winged Dove Area:  September 1-2 and 8-9, 2012, September 21, 2012 – October 28, 2012 and December 22, 2012 – January 18, 2013

South Zone:  September 21, 2012 – October 28, 2012 and December 22, 2012 – January 22, 2013

Woodcock

December 18, 2012 – January 31, 2013

Snipe

November 3, 2012 – February 17, 2013

Moorhen, Gallinule, and Rail

September 15, 2012 – September 30, 2012, November 3, 2012 – December 26, 2012

Extended Falconry

Mourning, white-winged, and white-tipped dove:  November 15, 2012 – December 21, 2012

Woodcock, moorhen, gallinule, and rail statewide, and ducks in the North and South Duck Zones:  January 28, 2013 – February 11, 2013

LATE SEASON

Early Teal:

September 15-30, 2012

Duck*

            High Plains Mallard Management Unit (HPMMU):

                        Youth:  October 20–21, 2012

                        Regular Season: October 27-28, 2012 and November 2, 2012 — January 27, 2013

            North and South Zones:

                        Youth: October 27-28, 2012

                        Duck:  November 3 — November 25, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — Jan 27, 2013

*Season closed on “dusky” ducks (mottled duck, Mexican-like duck, black duck, and hybrids) for the first five days of the season in each zone.

Goose:

            West Zone

                        Light and Dark Goose:  November 3, 2012 — February 3, 2013

                        Conservation Order: February 4 — March 24, 2013

            East Zone:

                        Light Geese:  November 3, 2012 — January 27, 2013

                        Canada Geese: September 15-30, 2012 and November 3, 2012 — Jan 27, 2013

                        White-fronted Geese: November 3, 2012 — January 13, 2013

                        Conservation Order: January 28 — March 24, 2013

Sandhill Crane

Zone A:  November 3, 2012 – February 3, 2013

Zone B:  November 23, 2012 – February 3, 2013

Zone C:  December 22, 2012 – January 27, 2013

Extended Falconry: January 28 — February 11, 2013


Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Exhibit B

2012-2013 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 United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issues annual frameworks for the hunting of migratory game birds in the United States. Regulations adopted by individual states may be more restrictive than the federal frameworks, but may not be less restrictive. Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within Service frameworks is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, Subchapter C,. Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.022, authorizes the Executive Director, after notification of the Chairman of the Commission, to engage in rulemaking.  At present, the 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 adopted by the Executive Director in early July.

         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 proposed amendment to §65.315 also would implement a 16-day statewide teal season to run from September 15-30, 2012, which must be approved by the Service before it can be implemented. If the Service does not approve a 16-day season, the department would instead adopt a 9-day season to run from September 22-30, 2012. 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, would retain the season structure and bag limits from last year and adjust the season dates to account for calendar shift.

         The proposed amendment to §65.319, concerning Extended Falconry Season — Early Season Species, would adjust season dates to reflect calendar shift.

         The proposed amendment to §65.320, concerning Extended Falconry Season — Late Season Species, would adjust season dates 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 to account for calendar shift.

         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 2012-2013 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 Service 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. Wolf 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 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 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 15 — 30, 2012 and November 3 — December 26, 2012 [September 10 — 25, 2011 and November 5 — December 28, 2011].

                         (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 28, 2012 and December 22, 2012 — January 2, 2013[September 1 — October 23, 2011 and December 23, 2011 — January 8, 2012].

                                  (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 28, 2012 and December 22, 2012 — January 2, 2013 [September 1 — October 23, 2011 and December 23, 2011 — January 8, 2012].

                                  (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 21 — October 28, 2012 and December 22, 2012 — January 22, 2013[September 23 — October 30, 2011 and December 23, 2011 — January 23, 2012].

                                  (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 1, 2, 8, and 9, 2012[September 3, 4, 10, and 11, 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 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 21 — October 28, 2012 and December 22, 2012 — January 18, 2013[September 23 — October 30, 2011 and December 23, 2011 — January 19, 2012].

                                          (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 15 — 30, 2012 and November 3 — December 26, 2012[September 10 — 25, 2011 and November 5 — December 28, 2011].

                         (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 15 — 30, 2012[September 10 — 25, 2011].

                         (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, 2012 – January 31, 2013[December 18, 2011 — January 31, 2012]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

                 (h) Wilson’s snipe (Common snipe): November 3, 2012 — February 17, 2013[November 5, 2011 — February 19, 2012]. The daily bag limit is eight. The possession limit is 16.

                 (i) Canada geese: September 15 — 30, 2012[September 10 — 25, 2011] in the Eastern Goose Zone as defined in §65.317(b) of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species). The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

         §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 seasons 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 27 — 28, 2012 and November 2, 2012 — January 27, 2013[October 29 — 30, 2011 and November 4, 2011 — January 29, 2012].

                                  (ii) "dusky ducks": November 2, 2012 — January 29, 2012[November 7, 2011 — January 29, 2012].

                         (B) North Zone:

                                  (i) all species other than "dusky ducks": November 3 – 27, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — January 27, 2013[November 5 — 27, 2011 and December 10, 2011 — January 29, 2012].

                                  (ii) "dusky ducks": November 8 — 27, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — January 27, 2013[November 10 — 27, 2011 and December 10, 2011 — January 29, 2012].

                         (C) South Zone:

                                  (i) all species other than "dusky ducks": November 3 – 27, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — January 27, 2013[November 5 — 27, 2011 and December 10, 2011 — January 29, 2012].

                                  (ii) "dusky ducks": November 8 — 27, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — January 27, 2013[November 10 — 27, 2011 and December 10, 2011 — January 29, 2012].

                 (2) Geese.

                         (A) Western Zone.

                                  (i) Light geese: November 3, 2012 — February 3, 2013[November 5, 2011 — February 5, 2012]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

                                  (ii) Dark geese: November 3, 2012 — February 3, 2013[November 5, 2011 — February 5, 2012]. 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 3, 2012 — January 27, 2013[November 5, 2011 — January 29, 2012]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

                                  (ii) Dark geese:

                                          (I) White-fronted geese: November 3, 2012 — January 13, 2013[November 5, 2011 — January 15, 2012]. The daily bag limit for white-fronted geese is two.

                                          (II) Canada geese: November 3, 2012 — January 27, 2013[November 5, 2011 — January 29, 2012]. 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 3, 2012 — February 3, 2013[November 5, 2011 — February 5, 2012]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

                         (B) Zone B: November 23, 2012 — February 3, 2013[November 25, 2011 — February 5, 2012]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

                         (C) Zone C: December 22, 2012 — January 27, 2013[December 24, 2011 — January 29, 2012]. 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 paragraphs (1) and (2) of this section. Season dates are as follows:

                         (A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 20 — 21, 2012[October 22 — 23, 2011];

                         (B) North Zone: October 27 — 28, 2012[October 29 — 30, 2011]; and

                         (C) South Zone: October 27 — 28, 2012[October 29 — 30, 2011].

         §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 ,white-winged , and white-tipped doves: November 15 — December 21, 2012[November 16 — December 22, 2011].

                         (2) rails and gallinules: January 28 — February 11, 2013[January 30 — February 13, 2012].

                         (3) woodcock: January 28 — February 11, 2013[January 30 — February 13, 2012].

                 (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 28 — February 11, 2013[January 30 — February 13, 2012];

                         (C) South Duck Zone: January 28 — February 11, 2013[January 30 — February 13, 2012].

                 (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 28 — March 24, 2013[January 30 — March 25, 2012], 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 4 — March 24, 2013[February 6 — March 25, 2012], the take of light geese is lawful in the Western Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title.

         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. 2
Presenter:  Cody Jones

Regulations Committee
Floating Cabins Permit Rules
March 28, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  This item seeks permission to publish a proposed amendment to regulations governing floating cabins in coastal waters.  The proposed amendment would create a review panel for situations in which extenuating circumstances have prevented a person from renewing a floating cabin permit in a timely manner.

II.     Discussion:  Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §32.051, a person may not own, maintain, or use a floating cabin in the public coastal water of this state unless a permit has been issued by the department under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 32.  Under current rule, the department may renew a floating cabin permit if the permittee has met all statutory and regulatory requirements and has submitted an application for renewal prior to the expiration date of the current permit.  Permits that are not renewed within 90 days of expiration are not eligible for renewal and are subject to removal at the owner’s expense.

It has come to the department’s attention that some floating cabins are jointly owned, sometimes by people who don’t know one another.  Since the current rules require the floating cabin permit to be issued to an individual and do not provide for either multiple permittees or subpermittees of a single floating cabin, there are instances in which a part-owner of a floating cabin — but who is not the person to whom the floating cabin permit is issued – can be unaware of the status of the permit and therefore unable to take steps to renew the permit and prevent the floating cabin permit from becoming ineligible for renewal.

To address these situations, the department proposes to create a process to allow persons whose permits have expired and become ineligible for renewal to have the expiration reviewed by a panel of senior department managers.  The process as proposed would allow the department to renew an expired permit after further review.

            Attachments — 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rule

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

REGULATION OF FLOATING CABINS IN COASTAL WATERS
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §55.202, concerning Renewal and Transfer of Permits.

        Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §32.051, a person may not own, maintain, or use a floating cabin in the public coastal water of this state unless a permit has been issued by the department under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 32. Under current rule, the department may renew a floating cabin permit if the permittee has met all statutory and regulatory requirements and has submitted an application for renewal prior to expiration date of the current permit. Permits that are not renewed within 90 days of expiration are not eligible for renewal and are subject to removal at the owner’s expense.

        Under the current rules, the department issues a floating cabin permit to one individual and lists other owners, if any, on the permit. It has come to the department’s attention that interests or shares in floating cabins are bought and sold, and that some floating cabins are jointly owned by people who don’t know one another. Since the current rules require the floating cabin permit to be issued to an individual permittee, there are instances in which the part-owner of a floating cabin – a person who is not the permittee — is unaware of the status of the permit and therefore unable to take steps to renew the permit and prevent the permit from becoming ineligible for renewal.

        To address these situations, the department proposes to create a process to allow persons who have failed to submit a timely permit renewal application to have the reason(s) for the failure reviewed by a panel of senior department managers. The process as proposed would allow the department to renew the permit in light of extenuating circumstances upon further review.

        The proposed amendment would move the text of current subsection (a) into current subsection (c) so that all renewal provisions are in a single section; however, two changes to the existing provisions are proposed. First, the reference to February 1, 2002 is eliminated, as it was the original regulatory deadline for applications for floating cabin permits and is no longer necessary. Second, the deadline for submission of renewal materials would be 90 days from the date the permit expires, rather than before the expiration date. The department reasons that the current provision is confusing, since it stipulates that permits will be renewed only if renewal materials are submitted prior to the expiration date of the permit, yet provides another 90 days from the expiration date for renewal. The department believes it is less confusing to provide a single deadline.

        The proposed amendment also alters current subsection (d) to provide that the department will notify each owner of a floating cabin by certified mail in the event a floating cabin permit expires and becomes ineligible for renewal. The proposed amendment to current subsection (d) also stipulates that a request for review must be received by the department within 10 working days of the mailing of notification by the department, and adds new paragraphs (1) – (3) to create a panel of senior managers to review late renewal applications.  The proposed amendment would allow an owner of a floating cabin for which the permit has expired and become ineligible for renewal to have the permit expiration reviewed. The 10-day limit was chosen because by the time a floating cabin permit has become ineligible, at least 90 days has passed since the expiration of the permit, during which time the department has attempted several times to contact the permittees and owners. The department believes that 10 days is sufficient as a last-chance opportunity for an owner or permittee to reconcile the status of a permit with the department.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Lt. Cody Jones, Marine Enforcement, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state and local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rule.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Jones 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 additional provisions to allow owners of floating cabins to have late renewal applications reviewed.

         (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 rules do not make substantive changes and are merely for the purpose of ensuring an accurate cross-reference, 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 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 rule may be submitted to Lt. Cody Jones, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4913 (e-mail: cody.jones@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §32.005, which allows the commission to adopt rules to implement the provisions of the floating cabin statute.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code Chapter 32.

         §55.202. [Issuance,]Renewal and Transfer of Permits.

                 (a) [Permits will only be issued to floating cabins:

                         [(1) meeting the eligibility requirements set forth in Parks and Wildlife Code, §32.052;]

                         [(2) and for which all applicable fees have been paid; and]

                         [(3) for which a completed application has been submitted to the department on or before February 1, 2002.]

                 [(b)] Permits issued under authority of this subchapter are valid only during the yearly period for which they are issued without regard to the date on which the permits are acquired. Each yearly permit period begins on September 1 and ends on August 31.

                 (b)[(c)] The department may renew a floating cabin permit only if:

                         (1) the eligibility requirements set forth in Parks and Wildlife Code, §32.052, have been met; and

                         (2) a permit renewal form, accompanied by the permit renewal fee specified in Parks  and Wildlife Code, §32.055, has been submitted to the department  no later than 90 days after  the expiration date of the current permit.

                 (c)[(d)]  Permits that are not renewed within 90 days after expiration will become ineligible for renewal and the affected floating cabin will be subject to removal at the owner’s expense according to the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code,  §32.154. The department shall notify each owner of a floating cabin by certified mail upon determining that a permit has expired  and become ineligible for renewal.

                         (1)  An owner of a cabin for which the permit has expired and become ineligible for renewal may request a review of the ineligibility status to show good cause why the permit should be renewed.  A person seeking review of the expiration must contact the department within 10 working days of the date that the department issues the notification required by this section.

                         (2)  The request for review shall be presented to a review panel.  The review panel shall consist of the following:

                                  (A)  the Deputy Executive Director for Operations (or his or her designee);

                                  (B)  the Director of Law Enforcement (or his or her designee); and

                                  (C)  the Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division (or his or her designee).

                         (3)  The decision of the review panel is final.

                  (d)[(e)] A person possessing a permit issued under this subchapter shall notify the department prior to the transfer of the permitted floating cabin to a new owner. Notification shall be on a form provided by the department.

                 (e)[(f)] A person purchasing a permitted floating cabin may not renew the annual permit unless the person has submitted a completed transfer application.

         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:  Robert Perez

Regulations Committee
Update on Quail Science Review
March 28, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  This item is a briefing on the status of efforts to ensure that the department’s scientific understanding of quail is sufficient to give the Commission the best possible information upon which to base quail management strategies.

II.      Discussion:  At the January 2012 meeting of the Regulations Committee, Wildlife Division staff presented a range of potential changes to quail regulations, from the staff recommendation to other scenarios developed outside the agency.  At that time, the Committee elected to defer any potential action until later in the summer and directed staff to convene, by invitation only, a select group of leading researchers and scientists to assess current data, data-collection methodology, and evaluation processes.  Staff will update the Committee on the group’s conclusions and recommendations.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter:  Shawn Gray

Regulations Committee
Public Opinion Survey regarding Mule Deer MLDP Season Extension
March 28, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  Wildlife Division Mule Deer and Pronghorn Program Leader Shawn Gray will brief the Regulations Committee on findings from a recent public opinion survey regarding an extension to the existing mule deer Managed Land Deer Program (MLDP) season.

II.      Discussion:  Because there has been some interest in expanding the mule deer MLDP season length in order to increase hunting opportunity, staff conducted a public opinion survey to assess constituents’ (landowners and hunters) sentiment for a longer season on participating properties.

The current mule deer MLDP season starts the first Saturday in November and continues through the first Sunday in January.  The MLDP program is an incentive-based program that provides participating landowners with an extended deer-hunting season if they collect deer population and harvest data, and implement practices to improve habitat conditions on their ranches.  The population and harvest data collected for a specific property are analyzed by a TPWD biologist and are used to establish a bag limit tailored to that particular deer population.  Overall harvest is limited by the bag limit and number of permits issued for the property.

In order to determine interest in extending the mule deer MLDP season, questionnaires were sent to all MLDP cooperators and a comparable number of non-MLDP landowners, as well as to a similar number of mule deer hunters (roughly 50:50 ratio of landowners:hunters).  Participants were asked ten questions varying from demographics, support of season extension, length of extension, hunter opportunity, possible biological concerns, and antlerless harvest.  A total of 647 questionnaires were sent out (MLDP landowners = 119; MLDP agents = 38; non-MLDP landowners = 149; mule deer hunters = 341) with 354 returned (response rate = 57.2 percent).  However, 11 questionnaires were returned undeliverable and not included in the analysis.

Respondents indicated that TPWD biologists provided technical advice regarding mule deer on 43.6 percent of the properties represented in the survey.  About half of the respondents hunt, own, or manage a ranch that receives mule deer MLDP permits.  Approximately 55 percent of the respondents said they hunted or owned land in the Trans-Pecos with about 40 percent indicating they hunted or owned land in the Panhandle.  Mean respondent rate for supporting an extended mule deer season given that the season would begin on the first Saturday in November (current opening day) was 61.2 percent.  An average of 25.4 percent of respondents said they would not support an extension to the current season.  The average for undecided respondents was 13.3 percent.  Respondents were given five choices for extending the season after the ending of the current season (January-February 28).  A January closing was strongly favored over a February closing with the third and last Sunday in January being the two most preferred.  Most respondents had concerns of mistakenly harvesting a buck with shed antlers if the season went through February 28th; however, the MLDP respondents were less concerned.  The greater part of respondents (61.2 percent) thought that extending the mule deer MLDP season would increase hunting days in the field.  Although, around 67 percent of MLDP respondents believed that an extended mule deer season would not help them meet their antlerless quota.










































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