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TPWD Announces Proposed Waterfowl Season Framework
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas will likely revert this fall to the standard 74-day season and six bird daily bag limit framework for ducks during the general waterfowl seasons. The department is proposing dates and bag limit possibilities based on a liberal season package, pending authorization of the federal framework for the Central Flyway by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Texas has the option this year of taking the duck season to the last Sunday in January, however, TPWD staff is recommending a return to the Sunday nearest Jan. 20 due to biological concerns.
TPWD is recommending the High Plains Mallard Management Unit waterfowl season run Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 — 25 and Friday, Oct. 30 through Sunday, Jan. 24, with a youth-only season of Saturday/Sunday, Oct. 17-18.
The proposed season for the North and South Zones would run concurrently Saturday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Dec. 12 through Sunday, Jan. 24, with a youth-only season of Saturday/Sunday, Oct. 24-25 to avoid conflict with the youth deer season.
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).
"There still remains the outside chance that pintail, canvasback and mottled ducks could have a season within a season structure or a 39 day season within the 74 days allowed," said Dave Morrison, TPWD waterfowl program leader.
The season dates TPWD is proposing for the Western Goose Zone are Saturday, Nov. 7 through Sunday, Feb. 7. 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.
Proposed dates for the Eastern Goose Zone are Saturday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Jan. 24 for light geese and Canada geese and Saturday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Jan. 10 for white-fronted geese. The daily bag limit is 20 light geese in the aggregate and three Canada geese and two white-fronted geese.
"Texas is allowed a maximum of 107 days for Canada and light goose hunting," Morrison explained. "As in the past we are suggesting a season that has fewer days than allowed by federal framework to take advantage of the Light Goose Conservation Order and begin this special management practice on the day after the regular duck seasons close."
White-fronted geese may be hunted for only 72 days. All goose seasons would open concurrent with duck season but the white-fronted goose season in the Eastern Zone would close two weeks earlier because of the difference in total number of days allowed for hunting.
The dates being considered for the Light Goose Conservation Order are Monday, Feb. 8 through Sunday, Mar. 28 in the Western Goose Zone and Monday, Jan. 25 through Sunday, Mar. 28 in the Eastern Goose Zone. These dates open the Light Goose Conservation Order the day following the close of the regular duck or goose season.
Federal frameworks allow sandhill crane hunting in Texas between Sept. 1 and Feb. 28. Texas is allowed up to 93 days of sandhill crane hunting in Zones A and B and up to 37 days in Zone C.
The recommended sandhill crane season dates for Zone A are Saturday, Nov. 7 through Sunday, Feb. 7 with a daily bag limit of three birds.
The season opening in Zone B is delayed about 3 weeks after Zone A opens to give whooping cranes that might be migrating through the zone adequate time to move through before sandhill crane season begins. TPWD is proposing Zone B season to run Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Feb. 7 with a daily bag limit of three birds.
Zone C does not open until late December to give whooping cranes adequate time to get to the Aransas area and the proposed dates are Saturday, Dec. 26 through Sunday, Jan. 24 with a daily bag limit of two birds.
Since the limited comments received during scoping at the various public hearings indicated the opening of the Light Goose Conservation Order should begin the day after the duck season closes, this would require a shortening of the Zone C crane season by one week. This season would be 30 days rather than the 37 days prescribed by current federal frameworks.
Possession limits statewide are twice the daily bag limits.
Suggested dates for falconry season for ducks are 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 because the total 107 days allowed are used by the other ducks season in this area.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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