Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter:  Dave Morrison

Action
2012-2013 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
Late Season Provisions
August 30, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  This item seeks adoption of proposed changes to regulations governing the take of late-season species of migratory game birds.

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 Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, Subchapter C. Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.022, authorizes the Executive Director, after notification of the Chairman, to engage in rulemaking.  The proposed regulations (located at Exhibit A) appeared in the May 18, 2012, issue of the Texas Register (37 TexReg 3673). Following the issuance of early-season frameworks by the Service on June 22, 2012, the Executive Director on July 12, 2012, issued Executive Order 011-002, which adopted those portions of the proposal affecting early-season species (31 TAC §§65.315, 65.319).  The Notice of Adoption effecting that action appeared in the July 20, 2012, issue of the Texas Register (36 TexReg 5485), located at Exhibit B.  Staff has gathered and analyzed public comment pertaining to the late-season provisions of the proposal, and a summary will be available at the time of the meeting.

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

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to 31 TAC §§65.318, 65.320, and 65.321, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation, with changes as necessary to the proposed text (located at Exhibit A) as published in the May 18, 2012, issue of the Texas Register (37 TexReg 3673).”

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Late-Season Provisions
  2. Exhibit B – Notice of Adoption: Early-Season Provisions

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

2012-2013 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD PROCLAMATION
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE
LATE-SEASON PROVISIONS

[Note: To avoid confusion, this proposal excludes the portions of the original proposal regarding early season migratory game birds which were adopted in June 2012.]

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes amendments to §§65.318, 65.320, and 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.

         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 §65.320, 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 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.

6. Text.

         §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 5, 2012 — January 27, 2013[November 7, 2011 — January 29, 2012].

                         (B) North Zone:

                                  (i) all species other than "dusky ducks": November 3 – 25, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — January 27, 2013[November 5 — 27, 2011 and December 10, 2011 — January 29, 2012].

                                  (ii) "dusky ducks": November 8 — 25, 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 – 25, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — January 27, 2013[November 5 — 27, 2011 and December 10, 2011 — January 29, 2012].

                                  (ii) "dusky ducks": November 8 — 25, 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].

         §65.320. 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


Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit B

2012-2013 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD PROCLAMATION
ADOPTION PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) adopts amendments to §65.315 and §65.319, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation, without changes to the proposed text as published in the May 18, 2012, issue of the Texas Register (37 TexReg 3673).

2. Justification for the Rules.

         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.

         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. Because there is no Commission meeting between May and late August, the 2012-13 migratory game bird regulations are being adopted in two separate actions under the authority of the Executive Director.

         The proposed amendments to the migratory game regulations published in the May 18, 2012 issue of the Texas Register also included amendments to §§65.318, 65.320, and 65.321, which affect late-season species of migratory game birds. The proposed amendments to §§65.318, 65.320, 65.321 will be considered for adoption by the Executive Director or Commission following the release of the late-season frameworks by the Service in early August, after which the department will file notice of adoption.

         The amendment to §65.315, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits — Early Season, retains the season structure and bag limits from last year and adjusts the season dates for early-season species of migratory game birds other than dove 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 amendment implements a structure for dove seasons in the North and Central zones that is slightly different from years past, ending the first segment on a weekday and the second segment on a Sunday. The change is intended to offer an additional weekend of hunting in January.

         The amendment to §65.315 also implements a 16-day statewide teal season to run from September 15-30, 2012 and a 16-day early Canada goose season in the Eastern Goose Zone to run from September 15-30, 2012.

         The amendment to §65.319, concerning Extended Falconry Season — Early Season Species, adjusts season dates to reflect calendar shift and clarifies that white-tipped doves can be taken.

         The 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 policy of the commission is to adopt the most liberal provisions possible, consistent with hunter preference, under the Service frameworks in order to provide maximum hunter opportunity.

3. How the Rules Will Function.

         The amendment to §65.315, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits — Early Season, will function by establishing the season dates for the hunting of early-season species of migratory game birds.

         The amendment to §65.319, concerning Extended Falconry Season — Early Season Species, will function by establishing the season dates for the hunting of early-season species of migratory game birds by means of falconry.

4. Summary of Public Comment.

Doves

         The department received 15 comments opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §65.315 governing the hunting of doves. Of the 15 comments, 13 articulated a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. Those comments, accompanied by the department’s response to each, follow.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the South Zone should open one week after the North and Central zones, which would be September 8. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that under the federal frameworks, the season in the South Zone cannot open earlier than September 17.  No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the winter segment in the North and South zones should begin the first week in November. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that season structures have historically been set in such a fashion as to allow greater hunting opportunity during the Christmas break, when more people, especially youth, are able to take advantage of opportunity, and that hunter preference is to have a late segment that is roughly 15 days in length.

Given that the Service allows a maximum of 70 days of hunting opportunity, starting the winter segment in November would not leave enough days to cover the Christmas/New Year holiday season. No changes were made as a result of the comment

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the first segment in the Central Zone should extend through a weekend. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that as adopted, the first segment in the Central Zone ends on aWednesday, which essentially means that it extends through a weekend. Extending the segment through an additional weekend would reduce opportunity during the winter segment, when the department believes it is important to provide hunting opportunity that includes the Christmas/New Year holiday season. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that Brazoria County should be in the Central Zone. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that such a change is not possible at this time because changes to zone boundaries must be approved in advance by the Service. No changes were made as a result of the comment.
         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the season should start on a weekend. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that hunter preference is for the season to open on a Friday. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the first segment in the Central Zone should remain open into November. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that season structures have historically been set in such a fashion as to allow greater hunting opportunity during the Christmas break, when more people, especially youth, are able to take advantage of opportunity, and that hunter preference is to have a late segment that is roughly 15 days in length. Given that the Service allows a maximum of 70 days of hunting opportunity, running the first segment into November would not leave enough days to cover the Christmas/New Year holiday season. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the winter segment in the South Zone should begin December 26th. The commenter stated that people are too busy with the holidays to go hunting before Christmas Day. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that season structures have historically been set in such a fashion as to allow greater hunting opportunity during the Christmas break, when more people, especially youth, are able to take advantage of opportunity.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that because there are fewer white-wing doves in Rio Grande valley than there are farther north, the special white-wing dove season should be eliminated and the four days added to the regular dove season. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that hunter and landowner surveys indicate that the special white-wing dove season is popular because it occurs in early September, which would not be possible if the four days were added to the regular South Zone season. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that dove hunters on public lands in the South Zone have little opportunity during the late season split since most annual public hunting permit property leases are for the first part of the split only. The department neither agrees nor disagrees with the comment and responds that the department cannot dictate the terms of lease agreements to private landowners who participate in the short-term dove hunting program. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the special white-wing season regulations should be in effect for the entire South Zone. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the special white-wing dove zone and season are allowed by a special provision of the federal frameworks, which cannot be altered without the prior approval of the Service. No charges were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the South Zone should open on September 15. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that under the federal frameworks, the season in the South Zone can open no earlier than September 17.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the opening segment ends too early. The commenter did not indicate to which zone the comment referred, but the department nevertheless disagrees with the comment and responds that season structures have historically been set in such a fashion as to allow greater hunting opportunity during the Christmas break, when more people, especially youth, are able to take advantage of opportunity, and that hunter preference is to have a late segment that is roughly 15 days in length. Given that the Service allows a maximum of 70 days of hunting opportunity, extending the length of the first segment in any of the three dove zones would not leave enough days to cover the Christmas/New Year holiday season. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that either the South Zone should start sooner or another zone should be created. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the season as adopted contains the earliest possible opening day under the federal frameworks, and that Texas currently has the maximum number of zones allowable under federal law. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         The department received 32 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendments governing dove hunting.

Teal

         The department received eight comments opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §65.315 governing the hunting of teal. All eight comments articulated a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. Those comments, accompanied by the department’s response to each, follow.       
         Two commenters opposed adoption and stated that the daily bag should be increased to six birds. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the bag limit as adopted is the maximum allowed under the federal frameworks. No changes were made as a result of the comments.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated dissatisfaction with a nine-day season. The department neither agrees nor disagrees with the comment and responds that commission policy is to adopt the most liberal harvest rules possible under the federal frameworks, which this year will result in a 16-day teal season.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the department should adopt a seven-day teal season rather than a 16-day season and shift the remaining nine days to the regular duck season. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that days cannot be taken from the September teal season and added to duck season because the duck season in Texas is already at the maximum number of days allowed by federal law. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         Two commenters opposed adoption and stated that the department should select the full number of days available for the regular duck season and eliminate the early teal season. The department disagrees with the comments and responds that days cannot be taken from the September teal season and added to duck season because the duck season in Texas is already at the maximum number of days allowed by federal law. No changes were made as a result of the comments.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the season should open earlier. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that dates selected for the early teal season are intended to capture the time period when teal migration makes the most birds available in the greatest part of the state. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that there should be a split season for teal. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the federal frameworks do not allow the option of a split season for teal. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         The department received 28 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

Rails, Gallinules, Woodcock, Snipe

         The department received five comments opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §65.315 governing the hunting of rails, gallinules, woodcock, and snipe. Of the seven comments, three articulated a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. Those comments, accompanied by the department’s response to each, follow.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the snipe season should open earlier. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that snipe seasons are set to overlap as much of the goose, duck, crane, rail, and gallinule seasons as possible, in order to allow concurrent hunting for multiple species.  No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the snipe season should run concurrently with the dove season. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that snipe seasons are set to overlap as much of the goose, duck, crane, rail, and gallinule seasons as possible, in order to allow concurrent hunting for multiple species.  No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the woodcock season should run concurrently with the duck season. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that surveys indicate that hunter preference for the woodcock season, which under federal frameworks cannot exceed 45 days in length or end later than January 31, is for a season that runs as late as possible in the framework. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         The department received 16 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

Falconry

         The department received one comment opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §65.319, which governs the hunting of early-season species of migratory game birds by means of falconry. The commenter did not articulate a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

         The department received six comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

         No groups or associations commented in favor of or opposition to adoption of the proposed amendments.

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendments are adopted 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.

6.      Text.

         §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.

                         (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 24, 2012 and December 22, 2012 — January 6, 2013.

                                  (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 24, 2012 and December 22, 2012 — January 6, 2013 .

                                  (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.

                                  (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.

                                          (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.

                                          (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.

                         (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.

                         (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. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

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

                 (i) Canada geese: September 15 — 30, 2012 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.

         §65.319. Extended Falconry Season — Early Season Species.

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

                         (1) mourning doves , white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves: November 15 — December 21, 2012.

                         (2) rails and gallinules: January 28 — February 11, 2013.

                         (3) woodcock: January 28 — February 11, 2013.

                 (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.

         This agency hereby certifies that the adoption has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be a valid exercise of the agency’s authority.

         Issued in Austin, Texas, on


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