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News Release
Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov

April 28, 2009

TPWD Scoping Migratory Bird Issues at Public Hearings

AUSTIN, Texas — In addition to public comment on proposed fee increases and dove hunting seasons, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is inviting input on a series of scoping issues related to migratory game birds during public hearings around the state.

TPWD is presenting proposals for adoption by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in late May that could increase certain license and boat registration fees. In addition, agency officials will present general waterfowl season framework options for the 2009-10 seasons and gather feedback on issues related to migratory game bird seasons in the future.

Changes proposed for the 2009-10 Texas dove season include a 70-day season and 15-bird daily bag statewide, pending adoption of federal guidelines. Additionally, the department is advancing a proposal to move the South Zone opening to the Friday nearest Sept. 20, but no earlier than Sept. 17, which means it will open on Sept. 18 this year if approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in late June.

The proposed dove season in the North and Central Dove Zones would run Sept. 1-Oct. 25 and reopen Dec. 26-Jan. 9, with a 15-bird bag and not more than two white-tipped doves.

Also during the public comment period, TPWD will be scoping calendar options for the additional 10 days of hunting in the North Zone for the 2010-11 seasons and beyond.

Because hunters in the North Zone have in recent years seen an uninterrupted 60-day season, the department wants public input on where to place the 10 additional days awarded under the Service’s new adaptive harvest framework. Would hunters prefer a winter split and if so, when and for how long?

The proposed South Zone dove season would run Sept. 18-Nov. 3, reopening Dec. 26-Jan. 17 with a 15-bird bag and not more than two white-tipped doves. Possession limit is twice the daily bag for all migratory game birds except light geese, which currently does not have a possession limit.

The department will be scoping opinion on standardized closing dates for the South Zone, using the Sunday before the Martin Luther King Day national holiday.

TPWD is also seeking feedback on the dove bag limit increase in the Central and South Zones from 12 to 15 birds.

The Special South Texas Whitewing Area would open to white-winged dove afternoon-only (noon to sunset) hunting Sept. 5-6 and 12-13 and reopen Sept. 18-Nov. 3 and again from Dec. 26-Jan. 13. The daily bag limit is 12 birds, not more than four mourning doves during the first two weekend splits and 2 white-tipped doves. Once the general season opens, the aggregate bag limit will be 15.

TPWD wants to find out if hunters prefer a Friday or Saturday opener during the first two weekends in the special whitewing area or a combination of the two.

The Service is also reviewing a proposal to give TPWD the option to adjust a portion of the boundary of the special whitewing area. This potential change would remove portions of Jim Hogg and Starr counties. These areas are not as high a quality white-winged dove habitat as other portions of the area. If removed, these portions would fall under the South Zone dates and bag.

TPWD is proposing no changes to other early migratory game bird seasons other than to reflect calendar shifts.

If Texas gets a 16-day September teal season, the dates would be Sept. 12-27, while a nine-day season would run Sept. 19-27.

The proposed season for rail and gallinule is Sept. 12-27 and Oct. 31-Dec. 23; for snipe, Oct. 31-Feb. 14; and for woodcock, Dec. 18-Jan. 31.

Texas will likely revert this fall to the standard season and bag limit framework for the general waterfowl seasons, although there is a slim chance the Service could retain the Hunters Choice option. The department is presenting dates and bag limit possibilities based on the general framework under a liberal season package, as well as what the Hunters Choice season would resemble, however, one issue being scoped is the option for taking the duck season to the end of January or returning to the Sunday nearest Jan. 20.

The department will also scope public sentiment regarding the snow goose season structure for 2010-11 and its relation to the Light Goose Conservation Order, as well as bag limits on snow geese.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed fee changes and early migratory seasons at any TPWD public hearing, by visiting the TPWD Web site online comment section or by writing TPWD Public Comment, attn. Robert Macdonald, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744 or email robert.macdonald@tpwd.texas.gov.

Comments on scoping issues can be made at the public hearings, online or by contacting Dave Morrison, TPWD Waterfowl Program Leader, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744 or email dave.morrison@tpwd.texas.gov.

TPWD Public Hearing Schedule

All meetings are set for 7 p.m.

April 28

April 29

April 30

May 1

May 4

May 5

May 6

May 7

May 8

May 11

May 12

May 13

May 14

May 15

SL 2009-04-28


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