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TPWD News Release — May 30, 2006

TPWD Increases Pheasant Bag Limit

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved increasing the daily bag limit for ring-necked pheasant in Texas Panhandle counties from two cocks to three.

The additional bird in the bag is not expected to significantly impact overall harvest based on a long term comparison of hunter effort.

From 1995 to 2002, the pheasant season in the Panhandle began on the second Saturday in December and ran for 16 consecutive days. In 2002, the department increased the length of the pheasant season in the Texas Panhandle from 16 to 30 days, and began the season one week earlier. Accordingly, as a precautionary measure, when the department lengthened the season and opened it a week earlier, the bag limit was reduced from three cock pheasant to two.

The ring-necked pheasant is a polygamous species (the male mates with multiple females) and harvest is restricted to males which will not affect the overall population, according to TPWD wildlife biologists.

“An analysis of harvest data during the last 11 years (eight years at a three-bird bag limit and three years at the two-bird bag limit) indicates that the long-term average of total harvest has remained essentially unchanged,” said Vernon Bevill, TPWD upland game bird program director.

From 1995 to 2003 (three-bird limit, 16-day season), the average total harvest was about 26,000 cocks per year. From 2003 to 2005 (two-bird bag limit, 30-day season), the total harvest averaged 24,000 cocks per year.

Hunter success during the period from 1995 to 2003 was about 1.25 birds per day, while from 2003 to 2005, it was about one bird per day. The estimated number of hunters from 1995 to 2003 averaged 25,900; from 2003 to 2005 it was 24,170.

“If harvest pressure remains stable at the long-term average, increasing the bag limit by one cock should result in a total increase of between 1,730 and 2,160 birds, which is still less than the total harvest under the three-bird/16-day season structure that was in effect from 1995 to 2003,” Bevill explained. “The department therefore believes that increasing the bag limit by one cock will not result in depletion of the resource, and we will continue monitoring harvest and hunter activity to assure our assessments are correct.”

Counties affected by the change include: Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Floyd, Gray, Hale, Hall, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hockley, Hutchinson, Lamb, Lipscomb, Lubbock, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, Wheeler, and Wilbarger.

The possession limit for pheasant is twice the daily bag limit.