Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
January 24, 2001Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
1 7 BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 8 24th day of January 2001, there came on to be 9 heard matters under the regulatory authority of 10 the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the 11 commission hearing room of the Texas Parks and 12 Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis 13 County, Texas, beginning at 2:57 p.m., to wit: 14 15 16 APPEARANCES: 17 THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION: Chair: Lee M. Bass, Fort Worth, Texas 18 Dick W. Heath, Carrollton, Texas Nolan Ryan, Alvin, Texas (Absent) 19 Ernest Angelo, Jr., Midland, Texas John Avila, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas 20 Carol E. Dinkins, Houston, Texas Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas 21 Katharine Armstrong Idsal, San Antonio, Texas Mark E. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas 22 THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT: 23 Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director, and other personnel of the Parks and Wildlife 24 Department. 25 . 2 1 JANUARY 24, 2001 2 *-*-*-*-* 3 REGULATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING 4 *-*-*-*-* 5 CHAIRMAN BASS: Regulations 6 Committee. 7 AGENDA ITEM NO. 1: BRIEFING - CHAIRMAN'S 8 CHARGES. 9 CHAIRMAN BASS: Mr. Sansom, would 10 you brief us on Chairman's charges? 11 MR. SANSOM: Yes, sir. One of the 12 charges that you gave this committee was optimized 13 license management of the commercial fishery. And 14 I'm happy to report to you as of December the 8th, 15 426 commercial fin fish licenses have been issued. 16 The records indicate that a thousand individuals 17 are eligible to purchase these licenses. 18 As of this date, ten have been sold 19 and transferred by the original holder. Nineteen 20 individuals have filed appeals with the Finfish 21 Review Board. The first buyback application 22 period for crab licenses resulted in a total of 15 23 purchases, ranging from $1500 to $45,000. An 24 eighth round of shrimp license buyback was 25 completed. There were 304 bid applications . 3 1 submitted ranging from $2500 to $65,000. We 2 purchased 17 licenses -- excuse me -- 77 licenses 3 for $467,000. 4 I'd like to point out here that as 5 we testified before the Senate Finance Committee 6 yesterday, we were caught in a peculiar situation 7 in that we had the money to buy another million 8 dollars worth of licenses because of the fees that 9 we placed on saltwater fisherman. But we could 10 not do it because we didn't have the authority. 11 And so one of the things that we 12 are seeking from the Legislature is to restore 13 what we've called the entrepreneurial rider that 14 would allow us to spend revenue that we generate 15 and thus avoid this kind of situation. Because we 16 rarely would have the opportunity to purchase that 17 many licenses, and we're really sorry to see it 18 slip by. Thank you. 19 AGENDA ITEM NO. 2: ACTION - EXOTIC SPECIES 20 RULES. 21 CHAIRMAN BASS: All right. Exotic 22 species rules. 23 MR. DUROCHER: Mr. Chairman, 24 members, my name is Phil Durocher. I'm with the 25 Inland Fisheries division. It seems like at . 4 1 almost every Commission meeting Mr. Gray comes 2 before you with amendments that are harmful or 3 potentially harmful to exotic fish, shellfish and 4 aquatic plant rules. 5 Several of you have asked questions 6 about why these frequent changes are needed. This 7 morning before Mr. Gray -- this afternoon before 8 Mr. Gray addresses you on the current proposed 9 amendments to the rules, I'd like to spend a few 10 minutes talking about this set of rules and how we 11 are forced to operate in a reactive as opposed to 12 a proactive mode. 13 As written, the statute requires us 14 to provide a list of harmful exotic organisms. 15 Once listed, their possession is prohibited unless 16 specifically permitted in the rules. 17 Historically, this has not been an issue. In 18 recent times, though, because of technological 19 advances and the increased mobility of the world's 20 population, we've seen more and more exotic 21 organisms, some which have the potential to be 22 really destructive have entered our environment. 23 For example, within the last few 24 years, we've had potentially threatening shrimp 25 viruses in aquaculture facilities. We've noted a . 5 1 spread of exotic plants in public waters, and fish 2 farmers are continuously looking for new exotic 3 species for aquaculture purposes. 4 Now, fortunately, most of these 5 exotic species are harmless and listing is not 6 required. Our current rules allow exotics to be 7 imported if they are not listed. Several years 8 ago we recognized the potential for serious damage 9 to our environment and began looking at ways to 10 change the rules to be more proactive. We formed 11 a task force containing fish farmers, members of 12 academia, zoo curators and the pet industry to 13 look at these issues. 14 One of the options we brought to the 15 table was to change from a prohibited list to a 16 nonprohibited list. In other words, we would work 17 with the involved participants to develop a list 18 of exotics which were allowed in Texas. Organisms 19 not on the list would be prohibited. Segments of 20 the task force, particularly the pet trade 21 representatives, opposed the proposal. They 22 argued that there are currently so many tropical 23 and exotic fishes on the market, there is no way a 24 comprehensive list could be prepared. 25 After considering their concerns, . 6 1 the staff backed off from the proposal. Because 2 the industry would be continually asking for 3 additions to the new list, which would require 4 Commission actions, we felt like we could actually 5 be adding to the problem, coming to you more often 6 than less frequently. 7 Now, since these earlier meetings, 8 our staff has developed an excellent rapport with 9 not only the pet industry but all interested 10 parties. We have been promoting public awareness 11 concerning the importance of protecting our public 12 waters against the release of exotics. 13 However, periodically new 14 threatening species will occur that will require 15 your approval to add to our list. Now, we want to 16 assure the Commission that we will do everything 17 we can to decrease the frequency of these changes. 18 And we will continue to explore ways of changing 19 these rules to put us in a more proactive mode. 20 And with that said, I'll introduce Mr. Gray. 21 MR. GRAY: Chairman, committee 22 members, my name is Joedy Gray, and I'm a staff 23 support specialist with inland fisheries. Staff 24 is proposing amendments for the harmful or 25 potentially harmful exotic fish, shellfish and . 7 1 aquatic plant rules. These amendments are 2 intended to clarify the permitting and reporting 3 procedures and provide additional protection of 4 native aquatic species. 5 The first proposed amendment will 6 add the channeled applesnail to the list of 7 prohibited shellfish. Applesnails are medium 8 large snails with two to six inches in height. 9 Channeled applesnails appear in the pet trade and 10 are typically called mystery snails when sold by 11 pet stores. They will feed aggressively on many 12 types of aquatic and terrestrial plants including 13 commercial crops. In Hawaii and Southeast Asia, 14 they have caused significant damage to rice 15 fields. 16 In July of this year a reproducing 17 population of channeled applesnails was discovered 18 in the American Canal south of Houston. There is 19 concern because this canal is centered in the 20 heart of the Texas rice belt. 21 I have personally contacted the pet 22 industry in Texas, the Joint Pet Advisory Council 23 and all major pet distributors to inform them of 24 this potential danger and that we would be seeking 25 approval to add this species to our prohibited . 8 1 list, and I've received no opposition. 2 The second proposed amendment would 3 allow permitted fish farmers to continue to posses 4 black carp provided the fish are certified as 5 triploids. Black carp are used to consume snails 6 and other mollusks that may be disease vectors in 7 hatchery situations. 8 Concerns have been raised recently 9 about the potential harmful ecological threats 10 these fish would cause should they accidentally 11 escape. By requiring the use of triploids, we 12 will assure there will be no reproduction should 13 they ever escape into Texas waters. 14 CHAIRMAN BASS: Can you tell me the 15 differences between the black carp and the grass 16 carp? 17 MR. GRAY: The grass carp is going 18 to focus mainly on vegetation. The black carp is 19 used by Mississippi cat fish farmers to control 20 vectors which get into the catfish. So they eat 21 snails and things like that. And our concern 22 is -- 23 CHAIRMAN BASS: They don't eat 24 vegetation? 25 MR. GRAY: No. . 9 1 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Is a grass carp 2 also a triploid? 3 MR. GRAY: Yes. 4 MR. DUROCHER: Yes. We require that 5 they be triploids only. 6 CHAIRMAN BASS: Thank you. 7 MR. GRAY: Following the term 8 Aquaculture license will be incorporated into the 9 rules to be consistent with the Texas Department 10 of Agriculture rules, and we'll correct an 11 inadvertent deletion of triploid grass carp in the 12 exception section of the rules. The proposed 13 amendments were published in the Texas Register, 14 and no public comment has been received to date. 15 Staff recommends the Regulations 16 Committee of the Parks and Wildlife Commission 17 refer the proposed amendments concerning harmful 18 or potentially harmful exotic fish, shellfish and 19 aquatic plants to the full Commission for adoption 20 and consider placing this item on the consent 21 agenda. We'll answer any questions. 22 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Move approval. 23 VICE -CHAIR DINKINS: Second. 24 CHAIRMAN BASS: Motion is seconded. 25 Any further discussion? All in favor? Any . 10 1 opposed? Thank you, Mr. Gray. 2 (Motion passed unanimously.) 3 AGENDA ITEM NO. 3: ACTION - LEGISLATIVE 4 REGULATIONS REVIEW. 5 CHAIRMAN BASS: All right. 6 Legislative regulations review. 7 MR. McCARTY: Mr. Chairman, 8 Commissioners, my name is Gene McCarty. I'm Chief 9 of Staff at Texas Parks and Wildlife. I've come 10 today to introduce the continuation of our 11 Regulations Review Program. If you remember, that 12 Senate Bill 178 of the 76th Legislature directed 13 all state agencies to review existing regulations 14 no later than every four years ever after the rule 15 has become final. 16 The review is an assessment of 17 whether the reasons for initially adopting the 18 regulation has continued to exist. TPWD currently 19 has ten chapters in its Administrative Code. And 20 in November we reviewed or you adopted our review 21 of the Executive chapter, Fish and Wildlife 22 chapter, Law Enforcement chapter, and design the 23 Construction chapter. 24 We have today three additional 25 chapters that have been reviewed. That's Chapter . 11 1 53, Finance; Chapter 59, Parks, and Chapter 69, 2 Resource Protection. I would like to have Suzy go 3 ahead and come up and go through the review of 4 Chapter 53, Finance, followed by Walt Dabney, to 5 talk about Chapter 59, Parks, and Robert Sweeney, 6 to talk about Resource Protection. 7 MS. WHITTENTON: Staff across all 8 the divisions has reviewed Chapter 53 and has 9 recommended some fairly minor housekeeping type 10 amendments. And I have some highlights here of 11 these changes. They resulted in very minor 12 things, including changes to reflect the new 13 license point of sale system. 14 We've updated the text and the fees 15 and have eliminated references to surety bonds and 16 letters of credit which are not going to be 17 required in the new system. 18 Another amendment would require 19 senior Louisiana residents fishing in Texas waters 20 to possess a valid Louisiana fishing license. 21 This change basically reinstates a reciprocal 22 fishing agreement for seniors and is something 23 that the Commission had already approved. 24 Also eligibility requirements for 25 special resident licenses for both hunting and . 12 1 fishing are clarified to better reflect the 2 eligibility as stated in the statute. 3 For example, general commercial 4 fishermen are no longer listed as eligible for the 5 discounted special resident fishing license to 6 ensure consistency among commercial license 7 fishing holders. Otherwise, the eligibility 8 requirements for the discounted licenses are just 9 listed. They're added to the rules in this 10 amendment. 11 The proposed amendments also add and 12 remove references to license, permit and transfer 13 fees. This is basically for housekeeping purposes 14 to more accurately reflect the current statutory 15 authority. There are also proposed changes to the 16 Lifetime License Endowment Fund, the investment 17 policy. The proposed change specifies that 18 investment of the fund will be in accordance with 19 the investment policy already approved by the 20 Commission. 21 Other changes include changes 22 dealing with Subchapter B, stamps. The previous 23 language exempted the nongame and endangered 24 species stamps from the provisions regarding the 25 sale of obsolete stamps. . 13 1 There are also some changes dealing 2 with the Texas Fresh Water Fishery Center. The 3 proposed amendments dealing with the Center 4 basically eliminates the specific fee schedule and 5 replace it with a not-to-exceed number, $6, as 6 determined by the Executive Director. 7 And finally, there were just some 8 changes for general cleanup, such as removing 9 redundant language, relocating text and other 10 minor edits. 11 In addition, just need to mention a 12 minor revision to Subchapter B. This revision was 13 not published in the Register, but since it is not 14 a substantive change, it can still can be adopted 15 today. The change just clarifies that individual 16 stamps and the collectors edition stamp package 17 can be sold at different prices. And that -- for 18 example, that they can be sold either at face 19 value or at an established fee for the package. 20 And that quickly summarized the 21 changes to Chapter 53. And if there are no 22 changes, I can turn it over to Walt. 23 CHAIRMAN BASS: Any questions? 24 Thank you, Suzy. 25 MR. DABNEY: Chairman, . 14 1 Commissioners, I'm Walt Dabney, State Park 2 Director. I've got a few changes in our 3 regulations to share with you today. The first, 4 as it relates to historic structures, generally 5 speaking we do not go in and make alterations to 6 historic structures for convenience purposes, that 7 sort of thing. What this allows us to do in cases 8 of health and safety or ADA, handicapped access, 9 this gives us the ability to make some 10 modifications. Is my hair standing up? 11 CHAIRMAN BASS: We're looking at the 12 picture over your -- 13 MR. DABNEY: I came out a while ago 14 and looked like Alfalfa, so I thought it popped 15 back up there. 16 CHAIRMAN BASS: We'll let you know 17 when it does. 18 MR. DABNEY: And I'll whack it back 19 down. 20 Section 103, selection of 21 concessionaires, this gives us the authorization 22 to -- first of all, it removes the automatic right 23 of renewal preference which gives us a better 24 ability to bid new these contracts. It creates 25 specific process for selection of concessionaires . 15 1 which basically describes a panel of folks so that 2 we can evaluate each concession bid proposal. 3 The next one, Section 104, types of 4 concession contracts, it requires us to have a 5 long-term contract for a major concession. 6 Secondly, it provides us an option to have a 7 two-year contract for small concessions like 8 vending machines. People don't want to bid on a 9 one year, so this extends that to a more 10 reasonable level. 11 Section 105 adds an option for 12 extending a major contract. If somebody comes in 13 and has major investment that they're putting into 14 a site, we want to give them a reasonable 15 opportunity to recoup their costs on that 16 investment. And as I said, on the other one, it 17 allows us to go to two years on the smaller -- 18 smaller contracts. 19 Franchise fee rates. Currently, we 20 cannot assess a penalty. And we've had problems 21 in the past with folks that just did not pay their 22 franchise fee. This gives us the ability to 23 collect those fees and assess a penalty on them, 24 which is very important. It also gives us the 25 opportunity, if someone is having a legitimate . 16 1 problem, a flood situation or something like that, 2 it gives us the ability to waive or postpone those 3 franchise fees to a more reasonable time. 4 We had -- the only thing that may 5 come up tomorrow, I think, as we open this up for 6 discussion in Part 63 and 64, where it lists the 7 activities that you can participate -- participate 8 in or do in a state park. We got 16 comments that 9 suggested that folks would like to come and hang 10 glide. And the two places specifically that they 11 were talking about are Enchanted Rock in the state 12 parks and Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management 13 Area out west. 14 Before Enchanted Rock was a state 15 park, there was hang gliding. And of course, 16 there wasn't anybody else out there. Now 17 Enchanted Rock is so busy that we're turning 18 people away at the gate. The folks that wrote to 19 us said that they need an acre to launch and at 20 least five cleared acres to land if they can hit 21 the five. And some probably can, and some 22 probably can't. 23 Our recommendation is that we don't 24 get into that. Enchanted Rock is already just an 25 anthill. We would have safety problems. We could . 17 1 not keep any particular place cleared for these 2 things coming out of the air, assuming that we 3 knew where we needed to clear. And so I think it 4 would open a can of worms that we don't have any 5 need to get into. 6 I talked to Gary about it at 7 Elephant Mountain, and I think the primary issue 8 there is not one related to visitor safety. It is 9 truly a recovering big horn sheep population, and 10 a hang glider would have a stress effect on the 11 big horn sheep population that we don't think is 12 appropriate. 13 In addition, Enchanted Rock is a 14 natural area. This doesn't add to that 15 experience. So our recommendation is no changes 16 to that. 17 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Where do people 18 that enjoy this go? 19 MR. DABNEY: There's lots of places 20 to go. It's another issue where probably in many 21 cases it's on private land, and they go there. I 22 don't know of any urban parks where that's going 23 on. It's just not very compatible. It's 24 really -- when you have crowded areas, it's a 25 tough deal. I dealt with that in Yosemite years . 18 1 ago, and it was just a -- 2 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: I don't 3 disagree with your conclusions. I'm just curious, 4 where do people go hang gliding? 5 CHAIRMAN BASS: The Executive 6 Director at Chinati, maybe. A long way out there, 7 but you're not going to be in anyone's way. 8 MR. DABNEY: That's true. 9 The last group have to do with minor 10 language changes. There's a series of these that 11 are in your book. An example of that would be it 12 changes the terminology of rock art, which is not 13 acceptable to the Native American population, and 14 inserts the words petroglyph or pictograph, which 15 are proper archeological terms that are more in 16 keeping with where it should be. 17 Another example is that it removes 18 cultural systems from the terminology that 19 describes sustainability. Sustainability 20 generally applies to natural systems. It doesn't 21 apply to cultural resources, so we've simply 22 pulled that out. And I think that's the last one 23 we have. 24 And if there are any questions, I'd 25 be glad to answer. You may have someone here . 19 1 tomorrow that wants to speak on behalf of the hang 2 gliding community. I don't know that they're 3 flying in or driving in, but they may be here. 4 CHAIRMAN BASS: How many spots do we 5 have to keep clear in the parking lot for them? 6 MR. DABNEY: I haven't got that 7 request yet. 8 CHAIRMAN BASS: Questions? Thank 9 you, Walt. 10 MR. SWEENEY: Good afternoon, 11 Commissioners. I'm Bob Sweeney. I am the closer 12 on this deal. I chose a baseball metaphor, but, 13 unfortunately, Commissioner Ryan is not here to 14 hear it, so... 15 This is Chapter 69 that we're doing 16 now, review and readoption of. And there are 11 17 subchapters of Chapter 69 that are administered by 18 various areas in the agency. So we're going to 19 keep a score card, and I'm going to keep referring 20 back to this list and -- as we go through them and 21 show you where we're proposing readoption without 22 any changes. And those will be highlighted in 23 green. And where we're proposing readoption with 24 changes, those will be highlighted in yellow. 25 Moving on to the first kind of . 20 1 overview of the situation, we've got six 2 subchapters of Chapter 69 that are administered by 3 Resource Protection Division. And one of those 4 subchapters, Subchapter B, fish and wildlife 5 values, is also administered in part by law 6 enforcement. It says coastal fisheries 7 administer, Subchapter F. That's actually inland 8 fisheries even though it's a coastal species, 9 native shrimp that's a concern. So that should be 10 inland fisheries administer Subchapter F. And 11 then the Wildlife division administers A, C, J, 12 and K. 13 So six resource protection 14 subchapters, three of them are for proposed for 15 readoption without changes. So green, those are 16 proposed for readoption without changes. 17 Now, there are three other resource 18 protection chapters, G, H, and I, that deal with 19 sand and gravel permits, shell permits and that 20 sort of thing, and those are proposed for some 21 changes to correct erroneous cross-references and 22 typographical errors and confusing language, 23 nonsubstantive changes, no new regulatory 24 requirements just some cleanup to correct some 25 errors that have crept in over the years. So G, . 21 1 H, and I, readoption with changes. A little over 2 halfway. No changes proposed to Subchapter F. 3 Readopt that one, please, without changes. 4 Now, going to the Wildlife chapters, 5 four of them. Two of those subchapters are 6 proposed for readoption. No changes except for 7 changes to 69.8. And that's just kind off the 8 table here. That's addressing separate 9 regulations committee item. I think it's Item 7. 10 So we're just -- the motion that we're going to 11 propose doesn't concern 69.8 at all. Every other 12 section of A and K should be readopted with no 13 changes. 14 So much for A and K. The other two 15 chapters are the subchapters of Chapter 69. There 16 are some proposed changes. These are Wildlife 17 Division matters. Let me summarize real quickly. 18 These are under the authority of the Parks and 19 Wildlife Code Chapter 43 and for the purposes of 20 scientific research and other purposes. Changes 21 were published in the December 22nd Texas 22 Register, and no comments were received in these 23 changes. 24 To Subchapter C, the changes that 25 are proposed are refusal of a permit to any person . 22 1 finally convicted of violating a wildlife law; and 2 requiring the permittee to release wildlife as 3 soon as it is capable of surviving in the wild. 4 It's sort of to fulfill the objective of 5 rehabilitation, make that clear. 6 The changes they proposed to 7 Subchapter J requires applicants for scientific 8 permits to document compliance with the Federal 9 Animal Welfare Act, by one of two methods, and to 10 require smaller caging for smaller raptors because 11 they don't need the cages as large as provided for 12 currently in the rules. So we've completed our 13 score card. We've gotten all the readoption 14 without changes there and the readoption with 15 changes. So I'll move on to our motion. 16 And as I said, I'm the closer on 17 this deal. So the motion concerns all three 18 chapters that you have heard about: Finance, 19 Parks, and Resource Protection. And it asks also 20 for consideration of placement on the consent 21 agenda. And I'm available for any questions. 22 CHAIRMAN BASS: Any questions? The 23 Chair would entertain -- we have a motion. The 24 Chair would entertain -- 25 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Second. . 23 1 CHAIRMAN BASS: Actually, we have a 2 proposed motion. The Chair would entertain a 3 motion and a second. I have a second. Do I have 4 a motion? 5 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: So moved. 6 COMMISSIONER HEATH: So moved. 7 CHAIRMAN BASS: Motion and a second. 8 All in favor? Opposed? Thank you, Bob. 9 (Motion passed unanimously.) 10 AGENDA ITEM NO. 4: ACTION - STATEWIDE HUNTING 11 AND FISHING PROCLAMATION 2001-2002. 12 CHAIRMAN BASS: All right. 13 Statewide hunting and fishing proclamation, next. 14 MR. HAMMERSCHMIDT: Mr. Chairman, 15 Commissioners, my name is Paul Hammerschmidt, 16 Program Director for the Coastal Fisheries 17 Division. 18 Today I will review regulatory plans 19 of the Coastal Fisheries Division for statewide 20 hunting and fishing proclamation. During this 21 regulation cycle, Coastal staff will propose an 22 increase to the daily bag limit of Spanish 23 Mackerel in State waters from seven fish to 15 24 fish. This increase has already been implemented 25 in federal waters by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery . 24 1 Management Council. 2 Certainly, establishing rules 3 consistent with those in federal waters will 4 enhance law enforcement and reduce angler 5 confusion. Moreover, recent stock assessment have 6 showed that Spanish mackerel populations in the 7 Gulf are fully recovered from their previously 8 depleted state and are at a level where the 9 available harvest is not being taken. In Texas 10 waters our routine monitoring data also echo these 11 improvements as you can see in the graph. 12 This tremendous improvement in the 13 surplus of Spanish mackerel gives fishery managers 14 a rare occasion to increase fishing opportunities 15 to anglers in the state. And in addition, we get 16 a secondary benefit by redirecting anglers to 17 focus on Spanish mackerel, we might be getting 18 them to focus off of fish that are still of 19 concern, which are king mackerel and red snapper. 20 Finally, we have a housekeeping 21 issue. Staff proposes new language regarding the 22 color of floats required on commercial crab traps 23 used by commercial finfish fishermen. The color 24 of the float is currently yellow, and it's 25 supposed to be white. It was inadvertently made . 25 1 the same color as what is required on trot lines. 2 And so at that I'd be happy to answer any 3 questions. Thank you. 4 MR. KURZAWSKI: Good afternoon, 5 Commissioners. My name is Ken Kurzawski. I'm 6 Regulatory Coordinator for Inland Fisheries 7 Division, and today I'd like to review with you 8 the freshwater fishing regulation proposals that 9 we're presenting to you for your approval to take 10 to public hearing. 11 We have three areas that are the 12 focus of our proposed changes. First is improving 13 and maintaining fishing quality. The second deal 14 with some regulation simplification, and the final 15 one deals with regulation standardization. 16 Starting out with proposals to improve or maintain 17 fishing quality, these deal with harvest 18 regulations for large-mouth bass on three 19 reservoirs. And our goal there is to improve or 20 maintain some excellent and above average fishing 21 that we already have in these reservoirs. 22 The first concern is Lake 23 Sweetwater, a 630-acre reservoir in Nolan County. 24 It currently has a 14-inch minimum length, and we 25 are proposing to change it to a 14-to 18-inch slot . 26 1 limit. The reservoir currently has a decent 2 population of largemouth bass, exhibits some 3 excellent growth, and it's producing some good 4 fishing. It is one of the best bass spots near 5 Abilene. And staff there recognizes that it has 6 potential to possibly produce even some better 7 quality fishing for these anglers. 8 What I'd like to review with you is 9 what the population looks like currently. It's 10 typical of what we see in our population, 11 reservoir populations of largemouth bass with the 12 14-inch limit. We'll see a pretty good group of 13 fish around ten inches. These are usually age 14 zero or some one plus fish. Moving up closer to 15 the minimum length limit, I still have a pretty 16 good abundance of fish. These fish usually range 17 in age from age one to two plus. 18 Once we exceed that minimum length 19 limit, the numbers of fish are greatly reduced. 20 Even though catch and release is very popular 21 among anglers, we still do see some -- a number of 22 fish leaving due to harvest. It really doesn't 23 matter where that minimum length limit is. If 24 it's 14 inches, 16 or 18, we see a similar type 25 population structure where we have a buildup of . 27 1 fish below the minimum length limit, depending the 2 number of fish we have exceeding that 14 inches 3 depends on a number of factors, such as growth 4 rate of the fish, productivity of the reservoir. 5 Also in some of our larger 6 reservoirs, such as Rayburn or Falcon or on the 7 border, when it was full, larger reservoir, we 8 seem to see a few more fish escaping, so to speak, 9 across that 14 inches, and anglers are catching a 10 few more fish. But in a smaller reservoir such as 11 Sweetwater, it usually requires a little bit more 12 protection to enhance that good quality fishing. 13 What we would hope to produce here, 14 when we put that 14 to 18 inch slot, we want to 15 see a reduction in the number of fish below 14 16 inches. We want anglers to remove some of those 17 fish, protect those fish within the slot, 14 to 18 18 inches, sort of an overall reduction in bio mass 19 with the fish removed below the slot, and it will 20 maintain good growth through the slot and then 21 hopefully produce some fish above the slot for 22 those anglers to catch. 23 So our goals there at Lake 24 Sweetwater is to restructure that population with 25 the slot and then increase abundance of those . 28 1 quality sized bass, those bass a few more inches 2 and produce a few more fish even up to trophy size 3 for the anglers. 4 The next regulation change we have 5 is on Pinkston Reservoir which is in Shelby 6 County. It currently has a 14-to 18-inch slot, 7 and we are proposing to move it to 14-to 21-inch 8 slot with a restriction that only one bass over 21 9 inches can be harvested. The overall bag of five 10 fish will remain for both, from the previous slot 11 limit. This reservoir also has the potential to 12 produce some big fish. 13 The fish pictured here is a 16.9 14 pound bass that was caught in '86 which was for a 15 short while a state record fish. So staff there 16 recognized that this reservoir has produced and 17 has the potential to produce some excellent 18 fishing for bigger bass. 19 What we see there currently in that 20 population is similar to what we were shooting for 21 in Lake Sweetwater. We see an abundance of fish 22 within the slot and some fish being produced over 23 that 18-inch limit. What we're hoping to do, by 24 moving that length limit up to 21 inches, is to 25 produce a few more fish to provide some protection . 29 1 for some fish under that slot and also produce -- 2 allow a few more fish to be caught above the slot. 3 So what we're going to do there is, 4 again, restructure that population and increase 5 the abundance of quality and trophy-sized bass. 6 The last bass regulation we have, largemouth bass 7 regulations is for O.H. Ivie which when at full 8 pool, which it is not at now, is around 19,000 9 acres. It currently has an 18-inch minimum length 10 limit which it has had since 1990, when it was 11 first opened. We're proposing sort of a 12 modification of that to a no minimum length limit 13 and only allowing -- and allowing anglers to 14 harvest two fish less than 18 inches of the total 15 five fish bag. 16 This reservoir also has been 17 producing some excellent fishing. It produced 18 three share lunchers in spring of 2000. Those are 19 fish 13 pounds and over. So it does have the 20 potential to produce some good quality large size 21 fish. But what we're seeing there the last few 22 years is an overabundance of 14 to 18 inch bass, 23 and we're seeing some very slow growth among that 24 group of fish. And this is sort of heightened by 25 the low water conditions, and it is currently at . 30 1 about 58 percent of capacity. 2 What the population looks like out 3 there now is a good group of fish, as I said, 4 between 14 to 18 inches. And we're seeing fish in 5 that group that range in age from age two up to 6 age eight. Typically, we wouldn't see fish much 7 over five years of age in that group. And what 8 we're hoping to do by allowing to harvest some of 9 those fish less than 18 inches is overall reduce 10 the abundance of the population, increase the 11 growth of these fish below 18 inches and maintain 12 movement of fish above that 18-inch minimum as we 13 had before. 14 So our goals there, as I said, is to 15 remove some of those fish, improve the growth of 16 remaining fish and maintain that high quality 17 angling that we have there now. 18 Under regulation simplification, we 19 are proposing to change regulations for smallmouth 20 bass on seven reservoirs. We currently have an 21 18-inch minimum which we've had on them since 22 1994, and we're proposing to roll that back to the 23 statewide limits for largemouth and smallmouth 24 bass of 14 inches and five fish. 25 Since we've had that 18-inch minimum . 31 1 on these reservoirs, we've been surveying them, 2 looking to see if we were seeing any gains under 3 the 18-inch minimum, and we just haven't seen any 4 benefit. We were hope ing to see an increase in 5 population abundance out there, and we were hoping 6 that would lead increased angler catch and also 7 with a larger sized population and improved 8 reproduction in the population. We just haven't 9 seen that. They are acting just like they did 10 before, under the 14-inch limit. So we don't see 11 any reason, since we're not getting the benefit of 12 that, we can simplify the regulations here and 13 move back to the 14-inch limit. 14 The final category, regulation 15 standardization, we have two small reservoirs in 16 the Caddo National Grassland. We've proposed to 17 prohibit the use of trotlines, throw lines and jug 18 lines. Our staffs there are working with the 19 National Grasslands' staff which is administered 20 by the U.S. Forest Service to improve catfish 21 angling. They have had some regulations 22 prohibiting certain means and methods. 23 And we want to go in there and 24 standardize those between the two agencies and 25 also add the benefit of reducing some of the . 32 1 harvest for catfish, restricting it to pole and 2 line only and hopefully build up that catfish 3 population. 4 As far as the public input so far, 5 mostly it's been favorable. For the bass 6 regulations, we've contacted the local groups, 7 bass groups in these areas. We've also done some 8 mailout survey work for Inks and Sweetwater to get 9 a little larger sample of input. That all was 10 mostly favorable. 11 Overall, O.H. Ivie probably has the 12 highest profile. It's one of the better bass 13 lakes out in West Texas. It gets a lot of 14 attention. Anglers will be looking to see what we 15 do there. 16 I think most of them recognize we 17 need to do something. They see the problems we're 18 having with the small, the slow growing fish. And 19 they think a change certainly is needed there. We 20 may receive some comments on the smallmouth bass 21 change. 22 Some anglers may interpret that that 23 we're lessening our protection for these fish. 24 But I think our rationale has found there that we 25 really aren't seeing any benefits from that 18 . 33 1 inch so we can achieve the same biological 2 objectives with the 14 inches. 3 Those are all the changes we are 4 proposing. Now, if you have any questions, I'd be 5 certainly happy to answer them. 6 CHAIRMAN BASS: Any questions? 7 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: You may have 8 said and I missed it. How long has that 18-inch 9 been in on the smallmouth -- 10 MR. KURZAWSKI: Since 1994. We do 11 have a special project to evaluate that to make 12 sure we kept a close look at it. 13 CHAIRMAN BASS: I think it's 14 interesting that at the same time we have lakes 15 proposing to become more restrictive or in a 16 sense, we have some proposed -- we have an 17 instance where we've seen it. It didn't work the 18 way we thought it would, so let's go back to being 19 more -- 20 MR. KURZAWSKI: Over the last few 21 years, we've had a number of lakes, some slot 22 limit lakes that we've returned to statewide for 23 that reason. 24 CHAIRMAN BASS: I think it's an -- 25 interesting that it's all in the same presentation . 34 1 that we're trying things, if they don't work, give 2 up on them and go back and try it somewhere else. 3 Active management. Good. Thank you. 4 DR. COOKE: Mr. Chairman and 5 members, my name is Jerry Cooke, Game Branch Chief 6 of the Wildlife Division, and I will be presenting 7 to you the recommended changes for the statewide 8 hunting and fishing proclamation. 9 Our normal process in the Wildlife 10 division during the summer months is to identify 11 issues for your consideration in November. These 12 are issues that we feel are related to the 13 Chairman's charges in maximizing hunting 14 opportunity, land owner flexibility while 15 protecting the wildlife resources for which we are 16 all responsible. 17 We've presented these issues to you 18 in November to ensure that the changes that we're 19 developing were those that you consider 20 appropriate and to allow you the opportunity to 21 identify issues important to you that would be 22 further developed. 23 Also, we will be meeting with the 24 MLD TTT Task Force February 5th to continue those 25 discussions. And we hope to continue to use this . 35 1 group along with the Hunting Advisory Committee 2 and the Private Lands Advisory Committee for 3 sounding boards for issues in the future. 4 Our first proposal was the result of 5 a petition for rule making by ^ Mr. Rampor who 6 opened the quail season one week earlier. We feel 7 this will have no either positive or negative 8 impact biologically on the quail population. And 9 we would recommend that we place this before the 10 public for comment. 11 CHAIRMAN BASS: I would expect that 12 will generate some comment in that there is a 13 Cadre that is very concerned about quail 14 populations, et cetera. I'm not saying that I 15 agree with them, but I'm just saying -- 16 DR. COOKE: The substantial fraction 17 of the comments that I've had in the X number of 18 years that I've been here is that it opens too 19 early now. But rather than tell the petitioner 20 that, we'll let the public tell him that. 21 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Well, you 22 know, the primary argument in favor of doing it 23 was to prevent the quail season and the deer 24 season from opening on the same weekend which 25 occurs every maybe three or four years and . 36 1 prevents the quail hunters from being -- or people 2 from being able to do both on opening day. 3 CHAIRMAN BASS: Two-day weekend. 4 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: One on one day 5 and one on the other. 6 CHAIRMAN BASS: One before noon and 7 one after. I've done that. Anyway, I think -- I 8 guess one thing that we should -- I know we've 9 talked about this before. When we go forward with 10 the things such as this, make it clear that this 11 is, you know, not necessarily a position the 12 Department is taking but a topic for discussion. 13 DR. COOKE: Absolutely. Absolutely. 14 A proposal that is part of the rule review process 15 but one that would potentially affect many hunters 16 is changing the proof of sex of the turkeys. And 17 this was another comment from the public, but it 18 sounds like a good one. 19 A beard on a turkey is not a good 20 indicator of sex. There's a substantial fraction 21 of hens who will have a beard. And maintaining 22 the beard intact makes it difficult to maintain a 23 turkey in a very sanitary condition following 24 cleaning. So to address this, we would propose to 25 change the proof of sex, very similar to what we . 37 1 have for a pheasant, which is to have one leg and 2 a spur attached to the turkey and accompanying the 3 turkey would be a patch of skin with breast 4 feathers attached to the skin because this would 5 be proof positive. 6 CHAIRMAN BASS: What does the skin 7 with feathers accomplish? 8 DR. COOKE: Jakes sometimes don't 9 have a spur developed very well at all, but the 10 breast feathers will positively identify it as a 11 gobbler or a hen. We could probably do it with a 12 spur alone. But if we're going to lay it out to 13 change it, let's change it ideally and see what 14 the comments are, if you agree. 15 In Houston, Rusk, Smith, Upshur and 16 Wood -- 17 CHAIRMAN BASS: Maybe that could be 18 an alternative to just having the beard attached? 19 Never mind. 20 DR. COOKE: You have very broad 21 flexibility, sir, in your adoptions. 22 In Houston, Rusk, Smith, Upsher and 23 Wood Counties, we propose a standard spring season 24 for eastern wild turkeys. This would be the 25 Monday nearest April 14th, for 14 days, one . 38 1 gobbler in the bag, shotgun, archery or crossbow 2 would be the only legal means, no baiting would be 3 allowed and check stations would be required in 4 the counties. 5 This would raise to 37 the number of 6 counties that have an Easter wild turkey season 7 should it be adopted. We propose a Javelina 8 season in Archer County. It would be October 1 9 through the last Sunday in February two Javelina 10 in the bag. All other aspects of the regulation 11 would be similar to surrounding counties that have 12 an open Javelina season. 13 Currently, antlerless and spike-buck 14 control -- deer control permits are a valid during 15 the period in which any regular season is open on 16 a property. The purpose of ADCP is to allow a 17 landowner to reduce a deer herd that imminently 18 endangers or itself or its habitat and where 19 conventional hunting would not be effective to 20 accomplish the reduction. 21 Because this focus in most instances 22 is at cross-purposes for the focus of Level 2 and 23 Level 3 MLDPs where these population conditions 24 would not be expected to exist, populations with 25 the greatest need for harvest are provided only in . 39 1 the county's general season, which is much 2 shorter, to accomplish a much more difficult 3 harvest goal at a time later than would be optimal 4 for maximizing the benefit of the habitats. This 5 proposal would establish a period in which ADCPs 6 are valid, which would be the Saturday nearest 7 September 30th through the last day of any open 8 season on the property. 9 In November we discussed with you 10 the possibility of proposing that muzzle loaders 11 using U.S. Forest Service lands, Corps of 12 Engineers, Trinity River Authority lands or Sabine 13 River Authority lands would be required to have an 14 MLD permit for their hunts. 15 Subsequent investigations by our 16 staff and the staffs of those agencies that I just 17 mentioned and our law enforcement Division has 18 determined that this is not a problem. It was a 19 concern beforehand, but they believe that it would 20 be inappropriate for the restriction on them at 21 this time. And we would withdraw this proposal to 22 be included in January. 23 In Fannin, Hunt and Rains County, we 24 would provide LAMPS permits for landowners in 25 those counties, there being no other change in the . 40 1 regulations. Fourteen counties north of the 2 Edwards plateau we would add one doe to the bag 3 and provide them a 14-day antlerless and 4 spike-buck season following the general season. 5 These counties were previously four deer, no more 6 than two bucks. So we will be adding one doe. 7 We have two proposals from South 8 Texas in the 12 counties in yellow will be moving 9 to a five-deer no more than a three-buck bag and 10 provide the South Texas 14-day antlerless and 11 spike-buck late season in those counties. And 12 also in all the counties in yellow, we would 13 change the opening date to the first Saturday in 14 November, which would provide a statewide opener 15 for white-tailed deer in Texas. 16 CHAIRMAN BASS: Whereas, currently 17 there's two different opening days? 18 DR. COOKE: Correct. This would 19 also include turkeys, not just white tail but 20 everything that's valid in fall season. 21 This proposal would ensure that 22 landowners and hunters are equally protected from 23 risk if they are not in violation. Currently, a 24 hunter is required to have an MLD permit to hunt 25 deer on an MLD property. . 41 1 This proposed change would make it a 2 violation for a landowner to allow hunting on a 3 property, an MLD property without issuing the 4 permits to the hunters and would require a daily 5 log to be kept, which is basically a receipt, so 6 that if the permits had been issued to the hunter, 7 the hunter is liable for not using; if the permits 8 were not issued to the hunter, then the landowner 9 would be liable for the lack of issuance. 10 CHAIRMAN BASS: Let me ask on this. 11 Is it -- refresh my memory. Is it only the 12 landowner that can apply for an MLD or -- 13 DR. COOKE: Correct. Or his agent. 14 CHAIRMAN BASS: Or his agent. 15 DR. COOKE: Correct. And the 16 wording of the regulation is landowner or agent. 17 CHAIRMAN BASS: So it's a lessee. 18 It's something that would be -- basically, it 19 would be the permit holder rather than landowner. 20 Is that -- 21 DR. COOKE: The person in violation 22 would be the one liable. 23 CHAIRMAN BASS: The permit holder? 24 DR. COOKE: Correct. Thank you. 25 That was a part of the proposal. . 42 1 COMMISSIONER WATSON: Now, Jerry, is 2 this -- 3 CHAIRMAN BASS: Actually your 4 wording in the slide is different than your 5 proposal. Because the permit holder is not the 6 landowner, it will not be the landowner that's in 7 violation? 8 DR. COOKE: It would be whoever is 9 responsible for the property. If you as a 10 landowner have assigned an agent to run the hunt, 11 they have signed fir the permits. They're 12 responsible for issuing them to the hunters. 13 CHAIRMAN BASS: The permit holder. 14 DR. COOKE: Correct. So in that 15 instance, this slide is incorrect as compared to 16 the actual proposal. 17 COMMISSIONER WATSON: Is this a 18 different log than we have to keep now? 19 DR. COOKE: Yes. This would 20 basically be a receipt so the landowner could 21 prove he's issued a permit to the hunter or the 22 hunter could prove that one was not issued. 23 Otherwise, it would never even come into play 24 unless a violation took place. 25 CHAIRMAN BASS: So it's the log -- . 43 1 there's a log for issuance and then a log for use 2 of the permit? 3 COMMISSIONER WATSON: I mean, 4 there's a log currently. 5 DR. COOKE: David? I don't believe 6 so. There's not a log required. That was 7 required by statute, but it was repealed in '97. 8 I mean, routinely landowners maintain a log of 9 their own, but it's not required by our 10 regulations or by our law. 11 CHAIRMAN BASS: So this log, it 12 would not be a log of actual kill,. It would be a 13 log of issuance? 14 DR. COOKE: Permit issuance. 15 Correct. 16 CHAIRMAN BASS: Okay. Now, would 17 that, therefore, mean that once it's issued, the 18 permit could no longer be transferable? 19 DR. COOKE: No. It could be 20 returned to the landowner. 21 CHAIRMAN BASS: If you issue it to 22 me, I can't give it to him? I'd have to give it 23 back to you? 24 DR. COOKE: I don't think that I've 25 thought about that, to be very fair. We were . 44 1 making provisions for the hunter to return the 2 permit to the landowner or the agent, whoever that 3 may be, through the log, so it's essentially a 4 receipt arrangement. 5 COMMISSIONER HENRY: So I 6 understand, a lessee would be an agent? 7 DR. COOKE: Only if the landowner 8 appointed him to be so. 9 CHAIRMAN BASS: Whoever applies for 10 the permit and receives it is the person we're 11 talking about having this burden? 12 DR. COOKE: Of issuing to the 13 hunter. 14 COMMISSIONER HEATH: Permit holder. 15 DR. COOKE: The permit holder. 16 CHAIRMAN BASS: And what would be 17 the penalty? What kind of violation would it be? 18 What kind of penalty? 19 DR. COOKE: David? I'm sorry, Jim. 20 MR. ROBERTSON: Jim Robertson, 21 Director of the Law Enforcement Division. Of 22 course, the violation would be a Class C 23 misdemeanor, maximum fine of $500. 24 But what we're seeing here and what 25 we've dealt with in the past is lessees that have . 45 1 permits that do not issue them to hunters. 2 Hunters leave the property, not knowing that they 3 should have had an MLD. 4 What this process will do will 5 absolutely show that the person responsible for 6 the MLD program on that property will issue the 7 permit. If it's not utilized, the hunter will 8 give it back, and there will be a transaction 9 there. But if the hunter does use it, then he's 10 got the MLD permit in hand. And he attaches it to 11 the deer, and everything is fine, so you don't 12 have this unsuspecting person that could violate a 13 regulation, not knowing that he should have had 14 that. And that's the purpose of the law. 15 CHAIRMAN BASS: I'm aware of one 16 case where that's happened rather egregious, that 17 it was numerous transgressions by the same permit 18 holder in the same year. Have we had other 19 problems with this elsewhere? 20 MR. ROBERTSON: We have had other 21 cases where other people have harvested deer on 22 MLD properties without the permits but not near as 23 heinous as the one case that you've mentioned. By 24 the way, that one is still being adjudicated. 25 CHAIRMAN BASS: Well, Jerry, you . 46 1 have a meeting February 5th with the task force? 2 DR. COOKE: Correct. I'm sure we'll 3 have input. 4 CHAIRMAN BASS: That's the perfect 5 time for enlightenment. 6 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Will that 7 meeting be here? 8 DR. COOKE: It will be here in this 9 room. 10 CHAIRMAN BASS: Thanks. 11 DR. COOKE: Thanks, Jim. 12 At the November Commission meeting 13 we were directed to investigate the possibility of 14 allowing hunters to take more than one buck from 15 the one buck limit compartment in Texas. This 16 compartment exists because of severe harvest 17 pressure on bucks. For example, it's not unusual 18 in counties for -- from 50 to 65 percent of the 19 bucks harvested in a given year to be yearlings, 20 which is a very intensive harvest rate. In the 21 past providing another buck in the bag has been 22 linked to reductions in buck harvest rates. 23 For example, in those 11 counties in 24 southeast Texas, when their harvest rate fell 25 below 25 to 30 percent, we allowed another buck in . 47 1 their bag. However, staff proposes an experiment 2 which may increase opportunity without 3 significantly impacting harvest rates. IH-35 will 4 be shown on the following maps because it provides 5 a natural break between the peaks and spatial 6 distributions. 7 The map shows two circles. These 8 circles are common, whether you're looking at a 9 map of a number of hunters in Texas in this 10 compartment, the number of hunter days, the buck 11 harvest, or the white-tailed deer population. 12 Using these data as a guide and -- 13 CHAIRMAN BASS: I'm sorry. Go back 14 to your circles. Tell me again what they 15 represent. 16 DR. COOKE: If you're looking at a 17 spatial distribution, these circles represent 18 hills in that spatial distribution. In other 19 words, a very high concentration of hunters, 20 hunter days, bucks harvested in the white-tail 21 deer population itself. 22 CHAIRMAN BASS: So within the red 23 counties those are the two hot zones for those 24 statistics? 25 DR. COOKE: Hot zones. And there's . 48 1 a very distinct deep valley between them that I-35 2 essentially runs through. What we would propose 3 is to create two one-buck compartments using the 4 counties that lie along I-35, the entire county, 5 and those counties east would represent one 6 compartment, and the counties west of those 7 counties would represent a second. This would 8 allow a hunter to take one buck from the western 9 zone, for lack of a better term, and take one buck 10 from the eastern zone. And we'll see what the 11 comment is from there. 12 CHAIRMAN BASS: And you would 13 propose to use entire counties rather than east 14 and west of I-35? 15 DR. COOKE: Correct. There are 16 counties in the Edwards plateau where west of the 17 county are four/two -- well, five now -- five/two. 18 Excuse me. I'm having trouble getting my own bags 19 straight -- and a one buck limit to the east. And 20 in those counties only the eastern portion would 21 go into the compartment. That's why we chose to 22 go east because we could use all the counties on 23 I-35 to go into a reasonably consistent 24 compartment. 25 Another proposal is the potential to . 49 1 expand the youth-only season for deer and turkey 2 for modern firearms during the weekends of October 3 and January. Currently youth hunts can be 4 conducted by archers during October, muzzle 5 loaders during January and with modern firearms on 6 Level 2 and Level 3 MDL properties during both 7 periods and, of course, during any weekend in the 8 general season. 9 This proposal would not affect any 10 of these opportunities currently available. 11 However, there are -- there is no potential for 12 landowners who are not participating in any of 13 these special seasons or permit options to expand 14 youth hunts during October and January. 15 The original treatment of this issue 16 identified all weekends of October and three 17 weekends of January as potentially available for 18 this expansion. The purpose of the public 19 comment -- for the purposes of public comment nd 20 to provide the Commission the broadest latitude 21 for possible adoptions, we will leave this 22 proposal as it is unless you otherwise direct us. 23 There is concern among some field 24 staff that overharvest of either bucks, does, or 25 both could result in parts of Texas where deer . 50 1 populations are not strong or where hunting 2 pressure currently is intense, depending, of 3 course, on how the proposal is eventually adopted. 4 Also, there will probably be 5 opposition to expansion -- to expanding the youth 6 season to additional weekends in October by 7 archers. 8 To show the impact of the current 9 youth weekend, shows in 1996 -- and this is the 10 chronology of license purchases by individuals 11 younger than 17 because this is the year before 12 there was any organized youth hunting at all in 13 Texas. You'll see there's a peak at the dove 14 opening -- just before the dove opening, and 15 there's a peak in the north zone deer opening. 16 In 1999, you'll see there's still a 17 peak for the doe opening. There's still a peak 18 for the north zone opening, but there's a distinct 19 peak, it's actually stronger, just before the 20 opening of the current youth season. This 21 difference represents about 17.7 percent increase 22 in the sale of licenses to youth. They don't just 23 buy licenses. They use them. 24 You can see the peaks of the harvest 25 reported by youth in our big game survey to show . 51 1 the opening of the youth season, the opening of 2 the north part of the deer season, Thanksgiving, 3 Christmas are all heavily used. 4 At the November meeting, we 5 discussed migratory proposals, however, at that 6 time, we were simply asking permission -- 7 CHAIRMAN BASS: Can we back up 8 before we move on? Basically, on this what we're 9 proposing is, rather than having one weekend of a 10 youth season, having as much as -- as many as 11 seven or -- I guess, if October falls right, you 12 would have five weekends? 13 DR. COOKE: Up to that. In other 14 words, the proposal, the proposal is to expand the 15 youth weekend. And these are the potential areas 16 for expansion, up to that maximum. 17 CHAIRMAN BASS: Okay. Up to that. 18 I guess my gut instinct is going from one youth 19 weekend to seven or eight is probably too big a 20 jump. I don't know. I don't know whether there 21 is any discussion from anyone else. But as 22 opposed to it kind of becoming an annual 23 traditional event, it becomes so diluted that it 24 kind of loses some meaning. But maybe that's too 25 big an increment to take on some something that . 52 1 we're not sure where the right place is. 2 DR. COOKE: If -- 3 CHAIRMAN BASS: I'd almost be in the 4 position of having not done enough than saying, 5 oops, now I feel like we need to take -- as a 6 Department, take something back from the youth. 7 DR. COOKE: Right. The spirit of 8 the proposal would be if you added one weekend, it 9 would have to be one of those in order to provide 10 this new opportunity. 11 CHAIRMAN BASS: So once again, the 12 slide is not really reflective because it says 13 include all of the weekends -- 14 DR. COOKE: As potential for 15 expansion. Correct. In that instance -- if I can 16 figure out how to make this work -- 17 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: What you're 18 saying is we could pick any one of those weekends 19 or all of them. 20 CHAIRMAN BASS: We could add from 21 those or add all of them? 22 DR. COOKE: Yes. Or do nothing. 23 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: That's the way 24 it will be published? 25 DR. COOKE: That's the way it will . 53 1 be published. 2 COMMISSIONER WATSON: Well, you 3 know, Jerry, I don't think that you can have too 4 many because I think these kids are our future. 5 And we had three youth hunts this year, and I wish 6 we had had more, but we just ran out of time. And 7 there's so much competition for the kids' time 8 that if -- I'm sure TWA would echo that, too, that 9 anything we can do to get these kids set, I'm 10 totally in favor of that. 11 DR. COOKE: At the November 12 Commission meeting, we laid out migratory changes 13 as well. But at that time we were asking 14 permission to take those proposals to public 15 hearing for comment. And there will not be 16 discussion at this time unless you wish to discuss 17 any items of those. 18 CHAIRMAN BASS: The only thing of 19 that regard I think I'd add is, as I recall that 20 particular discussion, the potential change of the 21 dove late season was adding some days at the front 22 of end of it, is what the slides read. And I 23 think on further thought on my part, as well as 24 all the feedback I've gotten from two dozen 25 different comments just casually to me, is that . 54 1 strong support but preference for the extra days 2 to be added on the end of the late season, 3 especially in South Texas, where people feel it 4 would be more beneficial and in lean quail years 5 and provide -- take some pressure off in corporate 6 hunting situations where they're committed to 7 entertain people for a weekend, but it gives them 8 something to focus them on other than only quail. 9 In fact, over half the people that 10 have said something to me positive about expanding 11 the late dove season, it's been because they see, 12 as much as it increased hunter opportunity, a way 13 to alleviate pressure on quail populations in 14 years that they're worried about them. 15 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: I want to add 16 something to that because it's a little different. 17 The parents and children that I've talked to 18 regarding the change asked if -- I thought it was 19 a pretty good question. Why don't they do the 20 dove season and the late season according to what 21 the public school Christmas vacation is, or more 22 or less what the public school Christmas vacation 23 is? 24 CHAIRMAN BASS: Is that uniform 25 statewide? . 55 1 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Within a few 2 days, I'd say so. And the private schools kind of 3 track with that, not perfectly, but close. 4 DR. COOKE: Again, this proposal was 5 related to south zone only. Is that still -- 6 CHAIRMAN BASS: I believe that's 7 what -- I don't remember whether that proposal was 8 related to south and central zone. 9 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: I think it was. 10 DR. COOKE: It was for only the 11 south zone. It could be published more generally 12 if you desire. 13 CHAIRMAN BASS: Obviously, we don't 14 have a late season in the north zone. We do in 15 the central zone, and I don't remember what the 16 November proposal was in that regard. 17 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: I think it 18 was -- I think I remember the proposed change 19 being roughly December 15th to January whatever it 20 is currently, wasn't it? 21 CHAIRMAN BASS: Well, it currently 22 starts December 26th. 23 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Right. 24 CHAIRMAN BASS: The day after 25 Christmas. . 56 1 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Right. 2 CHAIRMAN BASS: And as I recall, in 3 November the proposal to take to the public for 4 comment was that it go from the 60 days/15 bag to 5 70 days/12 bird bag, take the extra ten days and 6 add them on the front end of that, in other words, 7 start the 16th. And all the comment I've had is 8 don't do that, start on the 26th and add them in 9 January. That's just the feedback I've gotten. 10 MR. SANSOM: I agree with that. The 11 other issue that I think that we need to consider 12 here is that if you don't propose it uniform, then 13 you could end up in a situation where you have 14 different bag limits and seasons for the different 15 zones. And we discussed ideally having the same 16 number of days in the same bag statewide if we 17 could. 18 DR. COOKE: It could be taken for 19 public comment in that way, any way you choose 20 because it has not been published as of yet. 21 Okay. 22 CHAIRMAN BASS: And I'd be 23 interested in what the Hunting Advisory Committee 24 feedback on these issues was. 25 DR. COOKE: We intend to bring this . 57 1 up to the Hunting Advisory Committee later. 2 CHAIRMAN BASS: And private lands, 3 too. 4 DR. COOKE: The recommended motion 5 is the Regulations Committee of the Parks and 6 Wildlife Commission authorizes staff to publish 7 the proposed 2001-2002 Statewide Hunting and 8 Fishing Proclamation contained in Exhibit A, with 9 changes, in the Texas Register for public comment. 10 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Move approval 11 of the recommendation. 12 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Second. 13 CHAIRMAN BASS: Further questions, 14 discussion? All in favor? Any opposed? Thank 15 you. 16 (Motion passed unanimously.) 17 AGENDA ITEM NO. 5: ACTION - AMENDMENTS TO THE 18 PUBLIC LANDS PROCLAMATION AND PROPOSED HUNTING 19 ACTIVITIES ON STATE PARKS. 20 CHAIRMAN BASS: Public Lands Hunting 21 Proclamation. Herb? 22 MR. KOTHMANN: Good afternoon, 23 Mr. Chairman and members of the Regulations 24 Committee. My name is Herb Kothmann, and I'm the 25 Director of Public Hunts. I will be presenting . 58 1 proposed changes to the Public Lands Proclamation 2 and the 2001-2002 public hunts on state park 3 lands. 4 The first portion of this 5 presentation deals with the proposed changes to 6 the Public Lands Proclamation. Staff proposes to 7 update the application section to clarify the 8 units of public hunting land to which the rules 9 apply. This would include adding two recently 10 acquired units, Lake McClellan Recreation Area 11 which is a U.S. Forest Service area in the 12 Panhandle and the Nannie Stringfellow WMA near 13 Houston in East Texas near the Peach Point area. 14 Current rules waive the access 15 permit requirement for a nonhunting adult who is 16 assisting a permitted minor in a youth-only hunt. 17 This waiver of access permit requirement for an 18 adult is not in compliance with the terms of our 19 public hunting lease agreements with cooperating 20 landowners. The discrepancy in the access permit 21 requirements has become a problem with a 22 significant expansion of the youth-only hunting 23 seasons and the youth-only hunt days on the public 24 hunting lands. 25 Staff proposes to standardize the . 59 1 access permit requirement on our public hunting 2 lands for adults supervising minors in youth-only 3 hunts. The proposed change would require all 4 supervising adults to possess a valid access 5 permit. 6 Staff proposes a change which would 7 allow the Department to retain application fees 8 submitted with invalid applications for a special 9 permit. This change is needed to defray the costs 10 of handling applications and be more compatible 11 with the current procedures for processing 12 applications and handling revenue received in the 13 mail. 14 Revenue is now removed from the 15 incoming mail in the mail room and immediately 16 deposited; therefore, it is no longer possible to 17 return the personal checks along with the invalid 18 applications to the applicant. The cost of making 19 a refund under the current system is generally 20 several times larger than the $2 for individual 21 application fee. 22 Some public hunts for small game are 23 conducted by regular permit, which means a daily 24 permit. The $10 regular permit fee is waived for 25 youth and for persons who possess the $40 annual . 60 1 public hunting permit. However, current rules 2 require that all participants in these hunts be 3 issued a regular permit. This delays the check-in 4 procedure and creates unnecessary paperwork. 5 Consequently, staff proposes to 6 waive this requirement for issuance of a regular 7 permit to individuals who already possess the 8 annual public hunting permit on these hunts and to 9 the youth under their supervision. The proposed 10 change would streamline the check-in procedures by 11 eliminating the need to unnecessarily issue a 12 second permit to many participants. 13 Staff proposes a change to clarify 14 that preference points of a selected applicant 15 will not be reinstated if, due to an error in 16 processing applications, an application should be 17 awarded a public hunt other than the one they 18 applied for and chooses to participate in that 19 hunt. On occasion, an error is made in computer 20 entry of the hunt category code or the hunt date 21 code from the handwritten applications we process. 22 However, the applicant often wishes 23 to accept the hunt that they were drawn for in the 24 majority of cases. Our current rules state that 25 if they were awarded a hunt other than the one . 61 1 they had indicated on our application as 2 acceptable, we have to reinstate their preference 3 points. This would allow us to award that 4 selected hunter the hunt he was erroneously 5 awarded. These would be just a few cases, but it 6 would keep our customers happy. 7 Staff proposes to clarify that all 8 participants in public hunts conducted under the 9 streamlined regular permit issued procedures must 10 comply with the check-in and check-out 11 requirements. This is just a tweaking of a 12 verbiage here. Our current rules state that 13 everybody hunting under a regular permit must 14 check in and check out. We have some people with 15 the APH permit and not the regular permit. We 16 simply want everybody to participate in the 17 check-in and check-out. 18 Staff proposes to establish hunter 19 education training requirements for youth under 20 age 17 who participate in public hunts by special 21 permit. These are our drawn hunts. Staff has 22 become concerned with the increasing number of 23 very young children, some as young as two years of 24 age who apply and are selected in the public hunt 25 drawings. For instance, this past season we had . 62 1 198 applicants for drawn hunts that were under 2 eight years of age. Thirty-three of those youths 3 were drawn for a hunt, five of which were under 4 six years of age. 5 Approximately only 6,000 big game 6 hunt positions are awarded each year through the 7 public hunt drawings, among over 70,000 8 applicants. To promote the safety of all 9 participants in these drawn hunts and more 10 effectively utilize the limited number of special 11 permits, staff proposes to require youth to 12 possess documentation of successful completion of 13 hunter education training. That would be either 14 the full certification of going through the hunter 15 safety training course, or, if they're under 12 16 years of age, they get and -- and they 17 successfully complete it, they can get this 18 certificate of successful completion. This is not 19 certification, but this authorizes them to hunt 20 without adult supervision under our state laws. 21 CHAIRMAN BASS: Herb, let's stop 22 here and talk about this, please. If a child gets 23 that second permit, he can get it -- back up. 24 In order to be certified, you have 25 to be 12 to take the course? . 63 1 MR. KOTHMANN: That's correct. 2 CHAIRMAN BASS: So children under 12 3 cannot be certified. 4 MR. KOTHMANN: That's correct. 5 CHAIRMAN BASS: But what you just 6 showed us is an alternative that a child under 12 7 can do. But once he reaches the age of 12, he 8 still has to go take that course to get to be -- 9 MR. KOTHMANN: To be certified. 10 CHAIRMAN BASS: To be certified, 11 which he has to be certified by the time he 12 reaches age 18 to legally hunt. 13 MR. KOTHMANN: That's correct. 14 CHAIRMAN BASS: With or without an 15 adult? Is that -- 16 MR. KOTHMANN: I'm told by our 17 hunter education folks that generally kids that 18 are issued this certification of successful 19 completion are probably nine years of age or 20 older. There is not a fixed age minimum here. 21 CHAIRMAN BASS: I'm -- yeah. One 22 thing that's interesting to me is, I have three 23 kids under 15, and this is the first time I never 24 knew that existed. But it's kind of one thing 25 that's -- I don't think it's well publicized at . 64 1 all. I think most people, should we pass this, 2 will say, well, then the kid has got to be 12 3 years old because they won't know that exists. 4 And we'll be throwing out of the youth deal all 5 the kids that are under 12. 6 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Is the concern 7 that some of these that are not really being drawn 8 for youth, and it's a subterfuge, or is it you're 9 concerned about the safety? 10 MR. KOTHMANN: We're concerned about 11 having kids out there that are not of the physical 12 development or hand-eye coordination to be 13 responsible for handling a large caliber rifle 14 that they're supposedly using on that drawn hunt. 15 COMMISSIONER HEATH: Do we know that 16 they're out there, Herb, or is it because -- go 17 back to Ernie's question. Do we think that 18 someone is trying to get a permit for somebody 19 that, as I see here, is one year of age? Do we 20 really think that one-year-olds are out there 21 or -- 22 MR. KOTHMANN: We've had a 23 two-year-old out. I don't know that we've had a 24 one-year-old. But currently there is no minimum 25 age applied. . 65 1 COMMISSIONER HEATH: But are they 2 there, is my question. I understand they're 3 selected. Are they physically there? Do we know 4 that? 5 MR. KOTHMANN: Yes. 6 COMMISSIONER HEATH: They are? 7 MR. KOTHMANN: This proposal was 8 developed by the area manager in our Chaparral 9 Wildlife Area that brought it to my attention and 10 asked for it. 11 CHAIRMAN BASS: Are all of these 12 drawn hunts deer? Are some of them smaller game? 13 MR. KOTHMANN: All of these are big 14 game, either deer, feral hog, alligator. 15 Alligator, I think you'd have as much concern 16 about as youth as anything. Turkey would be the 17 only what you might call small game. Basically, 18 you're talking big game. 19 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Is there a 20 problem? And if so, what is the problem? 21 MR. KOTHMANN: The problem is an 22 increasing number of very small kids that, for all 23 appearances sake, are not capable of utilizing 24 that opportunity that we're awarding, a very 25 limited opportunity. . 66 1 COMMISSIONER HENRY: As a result of 2 that, what has happened to make it a concern, I 3 guess is what I'm asking? 4 MR. KOTHMANN: We've had more 5 applying in the drawings, more being selected. I 6 think one of the reasons, possibly, we're seeing 7 more applicants is that the preference points 8 interest. People, almost from the date of birth, 9 are trying to get their kids on the applications 10 with them, accrue preference points so when they 11 get into their teens -- 12 CHAIRMAN BASS: When they get old 13 enough, they have a chance to get drawn, increased 14 chance to get drawn. 15 MR. KOTHMANN: And we may want to 16 consider some way to allow that youth to continue 17 to accrue preference points but not be eligible 18 until they qualify. 19 CHAIRMAN BASS: If we do want to 20 create an age cutoff, I'd rather just go ahead and 21 do it by saying you have to be X years old to 22 apply rather than saying that you have to get this 23 secondary Hunter Education Certificate. Because 24 that's just an impediment to getting the kid -- am 25 I going to find a class, haul my kid to it and in . 67 1 two years are going to have to go back and do it 2 again with him because then he's 12, and he can 3 get the real thing? 4 I think that's a barrier to entry. 5 I agree. Two years old is a little over the top. 6 But if we want to say you have to be six or seven 7 or eight or whatever it is, I think it would be 8 far better to just straightforward say you cannot 9 apply for deer, alligator, feral hog until you're 10 eight years old or whatever the right number is. 11 MR. KOTHMANN: Incidentally, this 12 bar chart shows from the past years of public hunt 13 drawings the number of applicants that were under 14 age 17 by year of age. And you can see that it's 15 very small until you get up to about the eight or 16 nine years of age, and then it really picks up. 17 This -- there were a total of 3,625 18 youths under age 17 that applied in our public 19 hunt drawings this past year. 20 CHAIRMAN BASS: How many? 21 MR. KOTHMANN: 3,625. They were 22 ages two through 16. We did not have a one year 23 old this year. 24 Restriction of these applicants to 25 those age eight or older would have kept 198 or 5 . 68 1 percent of these youth from entering the drawing 2 this year. And 33 of those youths were drawn this 3 year of those 198 that were on -- that were eight 4 or -- restriction to age nine would have kept 366 5 or 10 percent of the youth from entering the 6 drawing. 7 So you're speaking about a fairly 8 small section of the youth, but it's important, 9 with all the emphasis on attracting youth to 10 hunting, that we study, I think very closely, 11 before we step into this thing. 12 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Are they now 13 required to be with an adult? They are, are they 14 not? 15 CHAIRMAN BASS: Yes, they are. 16 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: There's a lot 17 of fathers that take six and eight-year-olds out 18 and hunt, so I mean I don't think you want to make 19 it any lower than -- I mean any higher than eight. 20 MR. KOTHMANN: The original proposal 21 that was sent in from the field from Chaparral did 22 suggest a fixed age of eight. The person read our 23 news release yesterday and phoned me back and was 24 quite dissatisfied with the proposed tack that we 25 have taken because he thought it would be a . 69 1 restriction on kids coming down and participating 2 without having that certification or that 3 documentation of successful completion, for what 4 it's worth. 5 I mean, this -- the proposal we put 6 forth, keying on hunter certification or 7 documentation is virtually exactly what Louisiana, 8 the State of Louisiana has in their public 9 requirements. 10 CHAIRMAN BASS: That's enough reason 11 to do it different. 12 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Well, why not 13 make it eight years and have anybody below that be 14 able to earn points but not to get drawn, if 15 they're doing it for that reason, to earn 16 preference points? I mean, if there is any 17 advantage to that. I don't know if there is or 18 not, any desire for that. 19 MR. KOTHMANN: And it would be eight 20 at the time of application in order for our 21 computer to check if it's valid or invalid. 22 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Seven is first 23 grade, more or less? 24 CHAIRMAN BASS: Six is first grade. 25 Seven is second grade, typical. . 70 1 COMMISSIONER WATSON: But this is 2 only applicable to hunts on public -- 3 MR. KOTHMANN: Only to our 4 departmental drawn public hunts. This restriction 5 would not apply to our APH permit hunts, Type 2 6 hunts as some people call them, under the annual 7 permit or the daily permitted hunts. These are 8 only the 6,000 drawn positions, roughly, that we 9 award each year. 10 COMMISSIONER HEATH: Herb, excuse 11 me. But would you just give me, then, what would 12 be the publicly-stated reason for us making this 13 restriction? 14 MR. KOTHMANN: I think certainly 15 safety is something that we could put at the very 16 top when we're having very young kids out there 17 handling large bore rifles and a group of people 18 who report to these check stations for these 19 hunts. To me, utilization of a precious, limited 20 commodity, the only 6,000 positions that we have 21 to somebody that we feel is really capable of 22 utilizing those. 23 I would say that we question the 24 veracity of some of the hunt members, but it 25 appears that our four and five-year-olds have had . 71 1 equally good marksmanship to what the elder -- 2 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Now, you get 3 to the subterfuge that I was wondering about to 4 begin with. 5 COMMISSIONER HEATH: My concern just 6 is impression, just what the impression is. As 7 the Chairman said earlier, having another 8 certificate, I think, is confusing. And I just 9 think we want to be real careful in what we say. 10 Granted, it's for the -- for public lands. But I 11 think we want to be very careful that we're not 12 sending a message that we don't want youth 13 involved. And I think we're all having a 14 challenge here trying to grasp just what this is 15 and what the purpose is. 16 CHAIRMAN BASS: Is anyone 17 uncomfortable with the approach of saying seven or 18 eight years and older, you have to be at least 19 that age to apply for a big game hunt? 20 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: I just can't 21 imagine being -- and I shot at a very young age. 22 Seven is as young as I would be comfortable with. 23 CHAIRMAN BASS: That's how old I 24 was. 25 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Most of the . 72 1 programs I'm familiar with and have been over the 2 years sort of use eight as a breaking point. I've 3 worked and handled youth programs for 30 years, 4 and generally this is the break that was used as 5 far as program activities are concerned. 6 CHAIRMAN BASS: If we say eight and 7 older, we're cutting, what, maybe 6 percent of the 8 number out. 9 MR. KOTHMANN: 5 percent. If you 10 had a minimum of eight to qualify, you would 11 eliminate 5 percent of what we had apply this year 12 under these -- this circumstance. 13 COMMISSIONER HEATH: When is the 14 application made? 15 MR. KOTHMANN: Applications are made 16 in late summer, generally starting about the 17 middle of July. And they will continue up 18 until -- well, for deer hunts, up until about the 19 first of September or early September. Of course, 20 some of the later hunts, feral hog and such that 21 occur in the spring, turkey hunts, and you have 22 Christmas. 23 CHAIRMAN BASS: Let me tell you 24 something. David Langford? David? I don't know 25 whether you just walked in the room or you've been . 73 1 listening to this. 2 MR. LANGFORD: I've been. 3 CHAIRMAN BASS: Since TWA is so 4 closely involved in Texas Youth Hunting 5 Association, I'd be interested if you have any 6 input in this or an opinion. 7 MR. LANGFORD: It's a little bit 8 different than the public hunt drawing situation. 9 The youth hunting program, since it concentrates 10 on safety and mentoring and education, I mean, 11 it's about the things that hunting is about as 12 much as it is about hunting, if that makes any 13 sense. We require either of the two permits for 14 liability considerations and for safety 15 considerations and for education considerations. 16 So they have either got to be 17 certified or they have to have the other permit 18 that they have actually been through the class. 19 But it's a whole different deal than -- 20 CHAIRMAN BASS: Right. You're 21 dealing with liability taking them on private 22 lands instead of -- thank you. Do we need to 23 discuss this more, or do I have -- 24 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Just one more. 25 Do our hunter ed people have any thoughts on this, . 74 1 on what's an appropriate age for a young girl or 2 boy to start shooting a rifle? 3 MR. LANGFORD: I've got one more 4 thing. We do have a minimum of nine in the youth 5 hunting program. They have to have both 6 certificates, and they cannot be younger than 7 nine. 8 CHAIRMAN BASS: Okay. Thank you. 9 MR. LANGFORD: We occasionally have 10 eight and six years old, but they kind of come 11 help. They are there to help lift and tote to be 12 a part of the experience. 13 CHAIRMAN BASS: Thank you. 14 I'm sorry. Katherine, your question 15 was? 16 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Whether our 17 hunter education people had any thoughts on this, 18 what's an appropriate age to start. 19 MR. KOTHMANN: They will couch it 20 with the preceding statement that all kids develop 21 at a slightly different rate. 22 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Right. 23 MR. KOTHMANN: And of course, 24 training has a lot to do with it. But of course, 25 eight is pretty well the level at which the . 75 1 physical development, the hand-eye coordination 2 gets to the point where you would feel fairly 3 comfortable with most children, kids being able to 4 handle a firearm. Some kids, at age nine, some, 5 unfortunately, never achieve that level. 6 CHAIRMAN BASS: Okay. I would 7 propose that we use an eight or older cutoff for 8 this rather than the staff proposal. And if -- 9 MR. KOTHMANN: Could we say at the 10 time of application, Mr. Chairman? 11 CHAIRMAN BASS: When does the 12 application period close? 13 MR. KOTHMANN: The deer hunts close, 14 like I said, about the first part of September. 15 CHAIRMAN BASS: Yeah. I think 16 that's fine. Eight or older at the time of 17 application. 18 COMMISSIONER HENRY: TWA uses nine? 19 CHAIRMAN BASS: They use nine, but 20 that's a different program, as he pointed out. 21 They use nine. 22 COMMISSIONER HENRY: I know. But 23 that has to be -- 24 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: I'm comfortable 25 with eight. . 76 1 COMMISSIONER WATSON: I think eight 2 is okay. 3 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: I am, I must 4 say. 5 CHAIRMAN BASS: Everybody 6 comfortable with eight? Please proceed. 7 MR. KOTHMANN: Thank you. The 8 second portion of this presentation deals with the 9 proposals for the 2001 and 2002 public hunts on 10 state park lands. A total of 45 units of the 11 state park lands have been identified as candidate 12 sites of those public hunts during the 2001-2002 13 season. This is three more than the 42 units 14 which were approved by the Commission for public 15 hunts last season. 16 This includes two new sites, Cooper 17 Lake State park, the South Sulphur Unit, which has 18 not been hunted as a public hunt area before and 19 the Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, which has not 20 been in the public hunt program before. Also 21 Dinosaur Valley State Park has proposed to come 22 back into the program for deer hunts which it 23 hasn't been previous years. 24 The following is a series of three 25 slides which lists the names in alphabetical order . 77 1 of the 45 state park units recommended as 2 candidate sites. I will not belabor you and go 3 through the reading of this as I made the mistake 4 of doing in prior years. But this first slide 5 shows 14 of those 45. Cooper Lake, the South 6 Sulphur Unit shown in yellow is one of the 7 proposed new units. 8 The second slide shows the next 17 9 candidate parks. This includes Dinosaur Valley in 10 yellow and Lake Bob Sandlin is listed here. 11 The third slide lists the final 14. 12 You might notice here that Pedernales Falls Annex 13 is listed as a separate site from Pedernales Falls 14 State Park proper. I don't want to be accused of 15 subterfuge of artificially listing too many parks. 16 But we hunt these two portions of Pedernales Falls 17 as two separate units. The portion north of the 18 park is a walk-in event, that they walk in and 19 camp, and they camp there. And we draw for a 20 whole different area as opposed to the hunts on 21 the developed park proper. 22 Staff recommends the following 23 two-part motion: First is the regulations 24 committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife 25 Commission authorizes staff to publish the . 78 1 proposed amendments to 31 TAC Subsection 65.190, 2 65.193, 65.197, 65.198 and 65.202 concerning the 3 Public Lands Proclamation in the Texas Register 4 for public comment. 5 The second part would be the 6 Regulations Committee of the Texas Parks and 7 Wildlife Commission authorizes staff to solicit 8 public comment concerning the hunting activities 9 proposed for units of the state park system 10 contained in Exhibit B, which would be the listing 11 of the 45 parks that are shown on the screen. Is 12 there any questions? 13 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS: Yeah. You're 14 not putting the dates on this. Is that right? 15 MR. KOTHMANN: The dates are, 16 frankly, being developed as we speak still. We're 17 doing some fine-tuning to resolve differences 18 between parks that are in the same geographic area 19 to try to avoid overlaying those on concurrent 20 dates as much as possible. This is a big chore, 21 frankly, in the Hill Country, where we have Inks 22 Lake, Pedernales Falls, Enchanted Rock, that we do 23 not hunt these areas on weekends of developed 24 parks. We do not hunt them on major holiday 25 dates. . 79 1 So if you're targeting weekday dates 2 during the fall and winter season that meet that 3 criteria, you have very few dates to fit those in. 4 And I think we've done a quite good chore of doing 5 that. In some cases we may have, say, three out 6 of five, six, or seven parks that actually will 7 have hunts on the same date in a geographic area. 8 But there will be usually at least as many or more 9 parks that will be open. 10 I did get several comments this past 11 year, again, primarily Enchanted Rock, Inks Lake, 12 Pedernales Falls, that people were frustrated 13 during that week after Christmas that they found 14 that those had hunts ongoing and were not open to 15 general visitation. 16 COMMISSIONER HEATH: Was that 17 Pedernales Falls? 18 MR. SANSOM: All at the same time. 19 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS: Yeah. Well, 20 that's what my concern was. I've expressed it 21 before because I heard a lot of grumbling in the 22 Hill Country when I was visiting parks at that 23 same time, and I thought it was quite valid. 24 MR. KOTHMANN: It is. Like I say, 25 it's a big chore. And when we have these folks . 80 1 develop their recommendations and send them in, 2 number one, they will indicate that they have the 3 resource and the opportunity to provide a hunt, 4 what type, where they say a deer, exotic, feral 5 hog or whatever, where they say firearms hunt, an 6 archery hunt. And then we go to trying to fit the 7 dates into a schedule that will not block out 8 geographic regions on certain calendar dates. 9 We do have -- I do have a draft as 10 it exists at this time. And this will probably 11 evolve as soon as I get back to my desk. If 12 you're interested at looking at seeing where we're 13 at right now, just -- just hand it to her? But I 14 was on the phone with some of the park 15 superintendents this morning, and we're still 16 working to resolve this schedule. We feel we know 17 probably where most of them are. 18 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS: Thank you. 19 CHAIRMAN BASS: Any further 20 discussion? The Chair would entertain a motion. 21 COMMISSIONER WATSON: So move. 22 CHAIRMAN BASS: Second? 23 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Second. 24 CHAIRMAN BASS: All in favor? Thank 25 you, Herb. . 81 1 (Motion passed unanimously.) 2 AGENDA ITEM NO. 6: BRIEFING - SEVENTY-SEVENTH 3 LEGISLATURE OVERVIEW. 4 CHAIRMAN BASS: Legislative 5 overview. 6 MR. SANSOM: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Park 7 is in the back, and I would like to introduce him 8 to you. We also have now working with us a 9 gentleman named Harold Stone. I don't believe 10 Harold is in the room, but some of you have met 11 him. 12 My purpose in discussing the 13 Legislative session is twofold, one to give you a 14 glimpse as to what our principal objectives are in 15 the Legislature and, two, is to try to get some 16 feedback from you as to how you would like for us 17 to provide you with legislative information during 18 this session. 19 Obviously, I think the most -- the 20 biggest issue that we're facing in this session is 21 the successful passage of our sunset bill which 22 would reauthorize the Department. As you all 23 know, the Sunset Commission came out with a very 24 favorable report on the Department. And our goal 25 principally will be to make sure, if we can, that . 82 1 there are not more onerous things attached to it 2 as it goes through the session. 3 Beyond sunset, the second issue that 4 will occupy virtually all of our time is the 5 appropriations process. As I mentioned to you 6 earlier, we did appear, along with Commissioner 7 Henry and Commissioner Watson, before the Senate 8 Finance Committee yesterday. I've been informed 9 in the last hour that our appearance before the 10 House Appropriations Committee will be February 11 the 1st. And so if any of you can possibly attend 12 that, that would be most helpful. 13 Our appropriations objectives are 14 very simple. First, we have asked for an 15 additional $8 million per year for our maintenance 16 program. And as I -- you recall, I mentioned this 17 morning that would put into our base an amount of 18 money necessary to bring our annual repair program 19 up to a level that would keep us from sliding back 20 into a significant backlog situation. 21 We have also asked for an additional 22 $5 million per year for operation of state parks. 23 This number represents the balance of the 24 shortfall identified by the State Auditor prior to 25 the last legislative session, which was $10 . 83 1 million. And this would -- this would take care 2 of the balance of that and provide some much 3 needed support in parks, particularly those that 4 are underutilized. 5 The second principal objective is 6 the restoration of what we call the 7 Entrepreneurial Rider, or Rider 17. Rider 17 was 8 a function of our appropriations pattern for most 9 of this decade. And what it did was, it allowed 10 us that if we could issue a license plate and 11 successfully generate income on that or use other 12 techniques to become entrepreneurial and thus 13 increase our revenues, then we could capture the 14 benefit of that. The rider was removed from our 15 bill pattern in the last session, and so we seek 16 to restore it. 17 Once again, I think I can point to a 18 couple of situations within the last 12 months in 19 which we could have really used it. The first, of 20 course, being the opportunity to purchase a whole 21 lot of shrimp boat licenses when we had the funds 22 to do it but we did not have the authority. 23 Just as significant, as you-all 24 recall, last summer our state park revenues were 25 substantially above what our projections have . 84 1 been. And we desperately wanted to put that money 2 to work in state parks where we had -- we had some 3 operating deficiencies. And once again, we were 4 unable to do it because of the lack of that 5 entrepreneurial flexibility. 6 We have a request specifically to 7 restore -- or to get the authority to spend the 8 money that we would -- that comes from the 9 increases in recreational and commercial fishing 10 licenses specifically for the buyback program. If 11 the Entrepreneurial Rider passed, that would be 12 unnecessary. But we must have the ability to buy 13 those shrimp licenses back because that's why we 14 passed the extra fees, for that purpose. 15 We have a couple of other riders 16 that are not so significant, but that I would 17 provide you in written form so you can take a look 18 at it. I want to call your attention to the fact 19 that one of the issues that we have been facing in 20 previous sessions that you-all are familiar with 21 is the -- we get into these discussions, sometimes 22 very contentious, with the staff members of the 23 Legislative Budget Board and the Comptroller over 24 our balances. 25 I do not believe that will be the . 85 1 case this year. First and foremost because Suzy 2 Whittenton and her staff have worked very 3 diligently with those organizations to try to 4 reconcile the conception of our balances; but 5 secondly, because they're simply not there. 6 That we have been much more 7 efficient in expenditures in this biennium than 8 previously because, as you-all recall, our culture 9 here for most of this decade was to reward 10 managers for saving money. But when the 11 Legislature began to look at those balances as an 12 opportunity, we kind of switched gears, and, 13 frankly, we were successful. And so I believe 14 that that will not be as much of an issue as 15 before. 16 We -- a couple items of note. You 17 recall in the last session the Legislature 18 appropriated a $5 million item in our bill pattern 19 which was called Conservation Education Projects. 20 They viewed that at the LBB as a one-time 21 expenditure, and so it was removed from the bill 22 pattern this time. 23 So we were restricted from spending 24 $5 million in Fund 9 that we had available to us 25 in the last session. I believe that it will be . 86 1 necessary to try to recapture that money just from 2 the standpoint of increased operating costs, 3 increased salaries and other costs that have been 4 incurred on us since that time. 5 During our Finance Committee hearing 6 yesterday, it became apparent that, number one, 7 there are a number of constituencies from 8 various -- that represent various state parks, 9 hatcheries and wildlife management areas and other 10 facilities around the state that are going to be 11 coming to the Legislature and asking for specific 12 line items for those communities. 13 In some cases, we've actually 14 visited with one delegation that will be seeking 15 direct appropriations through Parks and Wildlife 16 for local parks within that community. 17 It is our hope and I believe the 18 hope of at least those members of -- that have 19 considered it, that if there is some consideration 20 of substantial capital expenditures, that they do 21 not go back and do that by line item, but that 22 they give us some increased bonding authority or 23 other capacity so that you-all could set the 24 priorities for what those expenditures would be. 25 I'd be happy to answer any . 87 1 questions. I just want to reiterate again how 2 helpful it is to us if those of you who can be 3 there when these critical hearings take place, 4 it's an immense help to us, and also say that 5 we're tracking now, Joey, how many bills? 6 MR. PARK: Two hundred. 7 MR. SANSOM: Two hundred pieces of 8 legislation, which of which affect us 9 substantially and others which affect us very 10 minimally. 11 In times past, you know, we have 12 provided you-all with updated material on every 13 single bill, including the amendments, you know, 14 that have been added to them. I don't know 15 whether that's helpful or not. But at the same 16 time, I would like to find some comfortable level 17 for you so that we can provide you with 18 information that's timely. 19 One of the things that we could do 20 is on about a weekly basis we could distribute to 21 you a list of legislation that we're tracking by 22 title. And so if you saw something there that was 23 of interest to you, you could get in touch with us 24 and we could provide you with greater information. 25 But I'll be happy -- we'll be happy to do it any . 88 1 way you like. We are in the process of tracking, 2 as you say, over 200 pieces of legislation. 3 CHAIRMAN BASS: Andy, I think it is 4 something we've struggled with getting right, of 5 how to get information in a usable form to the 6 Commission. In my time here we've swung from no 7 information to so much that it was effectively no 8 information because it was just too much to wade 9 through. And I'm not sure exactly what the best 10 way is. 11 Some Commissioners may wish to have 12 more than others. I think if we were to provide 13 everybody with something that basically, you know, 14 had a -- an ID like House Bill 1 -- 15 MR. SANSOM: Sponsor -- 16 CHAIRMAN BASS: As short as 17 possible, what it pertained to, like, you know, 18 pertaining to hunting in state parks or pertaining 19 to whatever else it might be, that could be 20 something that might be concise enough that 21 everybody could sit down and in a short amount of 22 time look at it, then get to, get back to your 23 office -- you know, I want more on these 14. You 24 could then send some kind of an -- I assume we 25 have kind of an ongoing bill analysis -- . 89 1 MR. SANSOM: Yes, we do. 2 CHAIRMAN BASS: Or something that 3 Joey has that we could -- 4 MR. SANSOM: Provide. 5 CHAIRMAN BASS: -- provide and then 6 go from there. That might be a usable approach. 7 And I'd be -- 8 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: That sounds 9 good to me. 10 COMMISSIONER HENRY: One thing I'd 11 be particularly interested in -- I think most of 12 us would -- bills that would directly affect our 13 budget. 14 MR. SANSOM: Yes, sir. 15 CHAIRMAN BASS: And I think that's 16 basically going to be the appropriations bill. 17 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Can you send 18 out some sort of a legislative alert on things 19 that there is no question that it should be of 20 interest to us? 21 MR. SANSOM: Yes. 22 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: And then fax 23 them to us with an alert on top? 24 MR. SANSOM: Yes. And I'm going to 25 work with Lydia to sort of tailor the Commission . 90 1 brief on Mondays to the session as well, so that, 2 you know, you're getting a regular weekly fax 3 that's kind of newsy. 4 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS: If you are 5 doing any of it electronically, it's -- 6 MR. SANSOM: We can do that. 7 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS: It's an easy 8 way to get it and to respond to it. 9 CHAIRMAN BASS: And I think there is 10 an electronic way to access the text of all the 11 bills that are filed. I'm sure Joey or someone 12 can provide us with that -- that address so that 13 when we got your list, if we just wanted to see 14 the bill instead of get in-house analysis of it or 15 something, we could just go straight to the 16 capital Web site and read it. Why don't we 17 proceed that way? 18 MR. SANSOM: Sounds good, starting 19 next week. 20 CHAIRMAN BASS: I imagine to do the 21 initial list will take a few days. It's just 22 going to take some time. 23 Anything else on that, Andy? 24 MR. SANSOM: Nope. I appreciate it. 25 AGENDA ITEM NO. 7: ACTION - ENDANGERED, . 91 1 THREATENED AND PROTECTED NATIVE PLANT 2 REGULATIONS. 3 CHAIRMAN BASS: Endangered, 4 Threatened and Protected Native Plant Regulations. 5 Jerry Cooke, could you come here for a moment, 6 again, please? I have one more question. I will 7 just ask you. I won't interrupt the proceeding. 8 Go ahead. 9 MR. HERRON: Chairman Bass and 10 Commissioners, my name is John Herron. I am the 11 Branch Chief of Wildlife Diversity. Today I'm 12 going to present you with some changes we're 13 proposing to the threatened and endangered plant 14 regulations. This is an action item. I'm 15 requesting the adoption of these regulations at 16 the full Commission meeting tomorrow. 17 This is going to be a very brief 18 item because actually the Commission has heard 19 this briefing before. We brought this before you 20 all in August and asked you for an adoption then. 21 We thought we had adopted it, but afterwards we 22 realized this item had not been properly published 23 in the Texas Register. Since then we have 24 republished the item, reopened the public comment 25 period and are bringing it back to you basically . 92 1 for consideration again today. 2 We did hold the public hearings 3 required by law this past summer and did properly 4 notice that meeting. We did not receive any 5 written comment at the time and to date we have 6 not received any other comment on these 7 regulations, either. 8 The changes we're proposing 9 basically mirror changes that the Fish and 10 Wildlife Service has already done to their 11 threatened and endangered species list. Very 12 briefly, we're proposing to remove from our 13 threatened plant list the McKittrick pennyroyal 14 and to add the Pecos sunflower to the threatened 15 species list. We're also proposing two changes to 16 the endangered plant list, removing the Lloyd's 17 hedgehog cactus and adding the Zapata bladderpod. 18 With that, I'd be very happy to take 19 any questions. I basically request that the 20 committee forward this to the Commission tomorrow 21 for consideration and also add it to the consent 22 agenda for consideration tomorrow as well. 23 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: John, do you 24 and your people do the research on this for the 25 feds, or do they do it for you, or do you . 93 1 cooperate? How does that work? 2 MR. HERRON: It's a combination, 3 sir. We rely on each other quite a bit, 4 particularly in regards to threatened and 5 endangered plants. Neither this -- the Department 6 nor the Fish and Wildlife Service really have very 7 many botanists on staff. 8 Our three botanists are very active 9 doing field surveys on a number of these species, 10 and those surveys are really matched up with the 11 surveys being done by the federal government as 12 well. We share our data with both the Fish and 13 Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy and 14 use whatever other academic sources we can, as 15 well, for current data. 16 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS: I move approval 17 that it go to the consent agenda. 18 COMMISSIONER WATSON: Second. 19 COMMISSIONER HEATH: All in favor? 20 (Motion passed unanimously.) 21 MR. HERRON: Thank you very much. 22 CHAIRMAN BASS: The only other item 23 I have is -- that concludes this. 24 CHAIRMAN BASS: But I'll go back to 25 the Commissioner Avila license plate. And since . 94 1 he had to depart for another meeting, in his 2 stead, I think what he discussed with me was in 3 some form or fashion having on here Parks and 4 Wildlife. 5 You know, with our current horned 6 frog plate, you know, there's no real connection 7 to the casual observer that it's this Department 8 or our mission that they're supporting, unlike 9 University of Texas license plates or even state 10 of the arts license plates. 11 His initial thought was taking 12 something such as this little logo and putting it 13 up here or something. But he and I quickly 14 determined that the car behind couldn't read it 15 any better than you can, Lydia, from there. The 16 thought we then progressed to was down here, 17 change this verbiage to Parks and Wildlife. You 18 see, you've got Texas Parks and Wildlife, with the 19 icon and the plate number or letters. 20 And that way people start saying, 21 "Oh, there's the Parks and Wildlife horned frog. 22 There's a Parks and Wildlife bluebonnet. There's 23 a Parks and Wildlife largemouth bass or whatever." 24 And there might be people who buy it, instead of 25 for the logo, the icon, they're buying it for . 95 1 Parks and Wildlife. 2 But it helps identify it with the 3 Department and -- well, I like Keep Texas Wild, 4 too. But we're just kind of -- where do we run 5 out of places to put something. So that was the 6 thought, in his absence, that I'll pass on or open 7 for discussion. 8 MS. SALDANA: We're limited on the 9 design portion to that to the four-inch corner. 10 So that was the one issue. We also, in the 11 research that we did, we actually tested the tag 12 lines, and we tested Texas State Parks, and Keep 13 Texas Wild came up very high because I think it's 14 a call to action. It's catchy. But certainly, I 15 think that's something we could look at, is going 16 ahead and identify -- 17 CHAIRMAN BASS: I wonder if the 18 people that we tested already knew it was Parks 19 and Wildlife; whereas, the car behind you at the 20 stoplight doesn't have a clue. 21 MS. SALDANA: That's true. 22 CHAIRMAN BASS: So as we go forward 23 with this design, we can discuss that further or 24 talk to Commissioner Avila or -- 25 COMMISSIONER IDSAL: Our marketing . 96 1 genius. 2 COMMISSIONER HEATH: Parks and 3 Wildlife. 4 CHAIRMAN BASS: We've heard from our 5 marketing guy. Pass that thought on. Any other 6 business? We stand adjourned until in the 7 morning. Thank you. 8 *-*-*-*-* 9 (MEETING ADJOURNED.) 10 *-*-*-*-* 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 . 97 1 REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE 2 STATE OF TEXAS ) 3 COUNTY OF TRAVIS ) 4 I, MELODY RENEE DeYOUNG, a Certified 5 Court Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do 6 hereby certify that the above and foregoing 96 7 pages constitute a full, true and correct 8 transcript of the minutes of the Texas Parks & 9 Wildlife Commission on JANUARY 24, 2001, in the 10 commission hearing room of the Texas Parks & 11 Wildlife Headquarters Complex, Austin, Travis 12 County, Texas. 13 I FURTHER CERTIFY that a stenographic 14 record was made by me at the time of the public 15 meeting and said stenographic notes were 16 thereafter reduced to computerized transcription 17 under my supervision and control. 18 WITNESS MY HAND this the 24th day of 19 February, 2001. 20 21 MELODY RENEE DeYOUNG, RPR, CSR NO. 3226 22 Expiration Date: 12-31-02 3101 Bee Caves Road 23 Centre II, Suite 220 Austin, Texas 78746 24 (512) 328-5557 25 EBS NO.