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Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov [SL]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Aug. 6, 2009

Texas to Delay Mottled Duck Harvest Five Days

AUSTIN, Texas — Duck hunters in Texas will once again get the liberal waterfowl season with a 74-day season and six bird daily bag limit framework during the 2009-2010 general waterfowl seasons, but mottled ducks will be off the table during the first five days. The framework has been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is pending adoption by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Aug. 27 public meeting.

The Service is holding Texas and Louisiana to a 20 percent harvest reduction on mottled ducks, citing a need for additional conservation based on estimated population declines resulting from major storms in recent years and slow habitat recovery due to extended drought conditions.

While Louisiana will be trimming its daily bag limit on mottled ducks from three birds to one to meet its 20 percent reduction in harvest, Texas can achieve the same goal with a five-day delay at the start of the season.

"We ran our harvest-per-day numbers on mottled ducks and determined we could wait and open hunting of mottled ducks on the sixth day of the season and achieve a 20 percent reduction because we were already at one dusky duck per day (mottled duck, Mexican duck or black duck)," said Vernon Bevill, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department program director for small game.

Bevill went on to say that mottled ducks are a front-end loaded species with the majority of the harvest occurring early in the season. "The sixth day falls on a Thursday (Nov. 5) and by opening on a weekday we feel mottled ducks will get a quick education before the hunting pressure goes back up on the second weekend," he said. "They have suffered the impacts of several hurricanes destroying their breeding areas and flushing the wetlands with high salinities and destroying their food sources.

"The impact of the current drought is also slowing the wetland recovery from the effects of the hurricanes," Bevill added. "But that said, when the rains return and the habitat recovers we should see a dramatic increase in their numbers. There is a lot of good news associated with the proposed 2009-10 regulations. We will once again have one each/day of pintails and canvasbacks as well as a three wood duck bag limit that will help East and North Texas duck hunters. If the drought holds on into the fall, those hunting over managed wetlands, around stock tanks fed by windmills, and rice fields will have some great hunting.  We plan to have some migration chronology information in our late season digest to help hunters know when various species tend to migrate to, or through, Texas."

Proposed 2009-2010 Waterfowl Seasons

Ducks

High Plains Mallard Management Unit

North and South Zones

The daily bag limit statewide would be six ducks, with the following species and sex restrictions: five mallards (of which only two may be hens), three wood ducks, two scaup, two redheads, one pintail, one canvasback, and one "dusky duck" (mottled duck, Mexican-like duck, black duck and their hybrids). Mottled ducks may not be harvested prior to Thursday, Nov. 5.

Proposed falconry season for ducks is Monday, Jan. 25 through Tuesday, Feb. 9 in the North and South Zones. There is no Extended Season in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit.

Geese

Western Goose Zone

The daily bag limit is 20 light geese in the aggregate and four Canada geese and one white-fronted goose. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit for dark geese and no possession limit on light geese.

Eastern Goose Zone

The daily bag limit is 20 light geese in the aggregate and three Canada geese and two white-fronted geese.

Light Goose Conservation Order

No bag or possession limits.

Sandhill Crane

Zone A

Daily bag limit of three birds.

Zone B

Daily bag limit of three birds.

Zone C

Daily bag limit of two birds.

Possession limits statewide are twice the daily bag limits.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed migratory seasons by contacting Dave Morrison, TPWD Waterfowl Program Leader, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744 or email dave.morrison@tpwd.texas.gov.

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