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TPWD Proposing Spring Turkey Closure for 15 East Texas Counties
AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is considering closing spring turkey hunting in 15 East Texas counties where turkey populations are believed to have dipped below what biologists believe are sustainable numbers. The recommendation tops a brief slate of proposed hunting regulation changes for 2011 presented to the TPW Commission’s Regulations Committee.
Public comment will be taken on all proposed changes prior to any rulemaking by the Commission at its March 30-31 public hearing.
Closing spring turkey seasons in the following counties will enable biologists to reassess Eastern turkey restoration efforts in areas having suitable habitat, restock sites and provide brood stock protection. Counties proposed for hunting season closure and further restocking consideration include: Cherokee, Delta, Gregg, Hardin, Houston, Hunt, Liberty, Montgomery, Rains, Rusk, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Tyler and Walker.
The agency’s goal is to reopen hunting once the Eastern turkey populations in the affected counties are capable of sustaining harvest.
TPWD is also proposing to delay spring Eastern turkey hunting in the remaining counties having an open season by two weeks. If adopted, the spring Eastern turkey season would run from April 15-May 14 beginning in 2012. Biologists say the delay would give hens time to begin nesting prior to the season opening.
Biologists are also recommending altering the bag composition during the spring season for Rio Grande turkey in all counties with a bag limit of four turkeys. The current bag composition for turkey during the spring season is gobblers only. The proposal would make any bearded turkey legal during the spring season. TPWD has determined the Rio Grande turkey population in Texas is large and stable, and since bearded hens constitute less than 5 percent of the total hen population, allowing harvest of bearded hens during the spring season would not have a negative impact on the population.
TPWD is also proposing to clarify that Managed Lands Deer permits for mule deer are valid during the archery-only season for the take of mule deer by means of archery equipment. This recommended change would clear up any confusion as to when MLDPs can be used for mule deer.
Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Robert Macdonald (512) 389-4775; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. Comments may also be submitted through the department’s Internet web site and at upcoming public meetings to be scheduled around the state.
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