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TPWD Proposing To Adjust Spring Turkey Season
AUSTIN, Texas -- The proposal, which was presented to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission’s Regulations Committee along with several other suggested changes to the 2007-08 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation, would open the South Zone season for Rio Grande turkeys two weeks earlier than in recent years and open the North Zone one week later than normal.
“Two years ago, we simplified the season by combining the North and South Zones and added a week to the overall length,” Mike Berger, TPWD Wildlife Division Director explained. “After re-evaluating this move, we’ve opted to move the South Zone up to the Saturday nearest March 18 and the North Zone to open the Saturday nearest April 7. Both zones would retain a 44-day season length.”
Berger said the proposed change would increase hunter opportunity by allowing hunters to take advantage of peak gobbling activity, which varies annually across Texas depending on weather conditions. “Since the spring Rio Grande hunting season is limited to only male birds (gobblers) there is little potential for harm to turkey production, given the way landowners manage turkey hunting in the spring,” ,” Berger went on to note. “Varying the opening date will allow hunters a longer window of opportunity to be in the field when peak gobbling occurs.”
“Since the spring Rio Grande hunting season is limited to only male birds (gobblers) there is little potential for harm to turkey production, given the way landowners manage turkey hunting in the spring,” ,” Berger went on to note. “Varying the opening date will allow hunters a longer window of opportunity to be in the field when peak gobbling occurs.”
In addition to the spring turkey season adjustment proposal, wildlife officials are seeking public input and commission guidance on several other recommendations, including:
- Extending the statewide archery-only deer season to the day prior to the opening day of the general open season. Historically, the archery season has always closed the Sunday before the opening of the general season. The proposed change would eliminate the current five-day gap between the end of the archery season and the beginning of the general season.
- Implementing an archery-only open season for mule deer on Managed Land Deer Permit (MLD) properties. Under current rule, Mule Deer MLDPs are not valid during the statewide archery-only season. The proposed change would allow archery-only hunting on MLDP properties during the statewide archery-only season.
- Eliminating the “double tagging” requirement for antlerless mule deer under the MLDP program. When the MLDP program was expanded to include mule deer, it was anticipated that the antlerless mule deer permit would be eliminated. However, there were landowners who preferred to continue receiving the antlerless mule deer permit.
- Adjusting the requirements for management plans for lesser prairie chicken. The proposed change would reduce the number of required habitat management practices from five to three, and would increase the allowable harvest quota to 10 percent of population (currently 5 percent). The breeding behavior of lesser prairie chickens and their large home ranges cause them to use habitat components that are typically provided by more than one landowner. This variability can be problematic for both habitat management and permit issuance, especially when birds are spending only a small portion of their time on a given habitat component. Therefore, the proposed changes would allow staff to issue permits on a more flexible and biologically specific basis.
- Require a tag or wildlife resource document to accompany deer and turkey until the deer or turkey reach either the permanent residence of the possessor or a cold storage/processing facility. By statute, a private, non-commercial, family-owned cold storage/processing facility is not required to maintain a record book attesting to the provenance of deer or turkey within the facility. The proposed change would clarify that tagging and documentation requirements remain in effect for deer and turkey at a non-commercial, family-owned cold storage/processing facility.
- Require taxidermists to maintain a wildlife resource document for two years following the time that each wildlife resource is retrieved by the owner or sold as unclaimed merchandise.
- Create a managed lands permit program that includes provisions for harvesting additional javelina above the daily bag limit on properties where surplus javelina populations have been identified as part of an overall wildlife management plan.
Public comment about these issues and others of interest may be made to TPWD, Regulatory Proposals Public Comment, 4200 Smith School Road, 78744, by phoning (800) 792-1112 or by visiting tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment. In addition, a series of public meetings is scheduled across the state during March to take public comment. Following is a calendar of upcoming public meetings.
On the Net:
- TPWD Public Meeting Calendar: http://tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/meetings/statewide_hearings/
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