Work Session

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
9:00 a.m.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX  78744

Chairman T. Dan Friedkin
Carter Smith, Commission Liaison

Approval of the Previous Minutes from the Work Session held January 23, 2013.

    Land and Water Plan

  1. Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan – Carter Smith
  2. Legislation

  3. Legislative Update – Carter Smith
  4. Financial

  5. Financial Overview – Mike Jensen
  6. Internal Audit Update – Cindy Hancock
  7. License Sales System Update – Bridget Wolf, Tom Newton
  8. Natural Resources Regulations

  9. Red Snapper – Discuss Recent Actions by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council related to the Management of Red Snapper Stocks within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off of Texas – Robin Riechers (Public Session and Executive Session)
  10. Sand and Gravel Regulations – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register – Tom Heger — WITHDRAWN
  11. 2013-2014 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register – Kevin Kraai
  12. Update on the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) – Clayton Wolf
  13. Public Lands Proclamation – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register – Linda Campbell
  14. Raptor Proclamation – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register – John Davis
  15. 2013-2014 Statewide Hunting Proclamation – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes – Shawn Gray (Action Item No. 3)
  16. 2013-2014 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes – Ken Kurzawski, Robin Riechers, Brandi Reeder (Action Item No. 4)
  17. Interstate Transportation of Deer through Texas – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes – Mitch Lockwood (Action Item No. 5)
  18. Land Conservation—Land Acquisition

  19. Land Acquisition – Anderson County – 118.5 Acres at the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area – Request Permission to begin the Public Notice and Input Process – Corky Kuhlman — WITHDRAWN
  20. Land Acquisition – Yoakum County – Approximately 4500 Acres as an Addition to the Yoakum Dunes Preserve – Corky Kuhlmann (Action Item No. 8) — WITHDRAWN
  21. Land Conservation—Easements

  22. Request for Pipeline Easement – El Paso County – 0.55 Acres Plus 1.77 Acres in Temporary Work Spaces Transmission Pipeline at Franklin Mountains State Park – Ted Hollingsworth (Action Item No. 9)

Work Session Item No. 1
Presenter: Carter Smith

Work Session
Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the
TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
March 27, 2013

I. Executive Summary: Executive Director Carter Smith will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency’s efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the “Plan”).

II. Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wild. Code §11.104). In 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan. A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. In November 2009, the Commission approved a new Plan effective January 1, 2010. The 2010 Plan is available on the TPWD web site. Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Commission on TPWD’s recent progress in achieving the Plan’s goals, objectives and deliverables.

The Plan consists of the following four goals:

  1. Practice, Encourage and Enable Science-based Stewardship of Natural and Cultural Resources
  2. Increase Access To and Participation In the Outdoors
  3. Educate, Inform and Engage Texas Citizens in Support of Conservation and Recreation
  4. Employ Efficient, Sustainable and Sound Business Practices

Work Session Item No. 2
Presenter: Carter Smith

Work Session
Legislative Preview and Update
83rd Texas Legislature (2013)
March 27, 2013

I. Executive Summary: Staff will present a legislative update regarding the 83rd Texas Legislative Session.

II. Discussion: Staff will provide updates regarding the deliberations of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Staff will also discuss other major legislative issues and initiatives impacting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.


Work Session Item No. 3
Presenter: Mike Jensen

Work Session
Financial Overview
March 27, 2013

I. Executive Summary: Staff will present a financial overview of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

II. Discussion:

  • Staff will update the Commission on revenue collected by TPWD for FY 2013 and will compare the FY 2013 budget to FY 2013 expenditures and summarize recent budget adjustments.

Work Session Item No. 4
Presenter: Cindy Hancock

Work Session
Internal Audit Update
March 27, 2013

I. Executive Summary: Staff will provide a status report on the TPWD FY13 Internal Audit Plan and ongoing or completed external audits.

II. Discussion: Staff will present a status report on the TPWD FY13 Internal Audit Plan as well as external audits that have been completed and/or are ongoing. A short summary of the results will be provided for completed assurance projects.


Work Session Item No. 5
Presenters: Bridget Wolf
Tom Newton

Work Session
Briefing
TPWD License Sales System Project
March 27, 2013

I. Executive Summary: Staff will provide the Commission an update on the new License Sales System Project.

II. Discussion: Current TPWD License Sales vendor, Verizon Business, will no longer provide service for our License Sales System as of December 31, 2013. TPWD has contracted with a new vendor, Gordon Darby, Inc., to write a new custom license sales system with a planned implementation in July 2013.

Current Status:

  • Planned deployment date for the new License Sales System is scheduled for July 2013. This will allow TPWD to transition before license sales for the 2014 license year begin on August 15.
  • The existing TPWD license sales contract with Verizon Business has been extended to run through December 31, 2013; however, TPWD’s contract with Verizon allows early termination upon 60 days advance notice to Verizon if we choose to stop using the Verizon system prior to the December date.
  • The deployment team will make a decision in May on whether TPWD will be ready to transition from Verizon’s system to the new system on July 15, 2013. Although the schedule is tight due to the complexity of the project, the current progress leads the team to believe that TPWD will be in a good place to make a sound decision in mid May on how to proceed.
  • Gordon-Darby, the new licenses sales vendor, is custom building a replacement to the Verizon system to meet TPWD specifications. Features necessary to continue with business as usual for selling licenses will be delivered in addition to improvements over the current system.
  • To date, all major system requirements have been gathered and the development of various system modules is underway. Staff members are currently in the process of user acceptance testing as modules become available.
  • Measures are being taken to minimize the impact to TPWD’s license agents. For instance, the license equipment currently in place at agent locations will be utilized instead of replacing it to help smooth the transition.

Work Session Item No. 6
Presenter: Robin Riechers

Work Session
Red Snapper
March 27, 2013

I. Executive Summary: Staff will brief the Commission regarding the recent action by the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council (GMFMC) recommending an emergency rule to further restrict the harvest of red snapper in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Texas.

II. Discussion: The federal Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.), become law in 1996 and was reauthorized in 2006. The Act continued the eight fishery management councils to help manage the fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Texas is a member of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC), which consists of 17 voting members comprised of state fish and wildlife agency, university, commercial and recreational fishery representatives from the States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). These Councils are administered by NMFS, an agency within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Department of Commerce. Governor Perry nominates members to the Council as do the Governors from the other Gulf States. In addition to the state fish and wildlife agency representative, each state has at least one other representative.

For several years, the red snapper recreational regulations in Texas state waters (set by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission) have been different than the federal regulations in the EEZ. Although some at NMFS and members of the public have raised concerns about this inconsistency, Texas has simply operated with one standard in Texas Territorial Sea (TTS) (4 fish daily bag limit, 15 inch minimum size limit, open year around) and another in the EEZ (2 fish bag limit, 16 inch minimum size limit).

On Friday February 8, 2013, at a meeting of the GMFMC, a motion was narrowly passed to initiate an emergency rulemaking that would essentially allow a significant reduction in red snapper harvest in the EEZ in those states that have not adopted regulations consistent with the federal regulations. These federal regulations, if adopted, would have a significant impact on Texas, as well as Louisiana.

TPWD staff briefed the Commission on this matter in public session on February 26, 2013. TPWD staff will provide an update. In addition, the Commission will hold an executive (closed) session as authorized by the Open Meetings Act (Tex. Gov't Code 551.071) to consult with attorneys from TPWD and the Office of the Attorney General.


Work Session Item No. 8
Presenter: Kevin Kraai

Work Session
2013-2014 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
March 27, 2013

I. Executive Summary: This item:

  • provides an overview of the state/federal management process for migratory game birds;
  • apprises the Commission of anticipated and potential changes to migratory game bird regulations as a result of the federal regulatory process; and
  • presents staff recommendations for 2013-2014 migratory game bird seasons.

II. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) frameworks is delegated to the Commission under Chapter 64, Subchapter C, Parks and Wildlife Code. Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.022, and 31 Texas Administrative Code, §65.313 authorize the Executive Director, after notification of the Chairman, to engage in rulemaking. At present, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has not issued the annual regulatory frameworks for migratory game birds. Typically, the Service issues the preliminary early-season (dove, teal, snipe, rails, gallinules) frameworks in late June and the preliminary late-season (ducks, geese, cranes) frameworks in early August. The Service typically issues the final early-season frameworks in early August and the final late-season frameworks in late September. Because no Commission meetings occur between May and August, the early-season regulations are adopted by the Executive Director in early July.

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rules

Work Session Item No. 8
Exhibit A

2013-2014 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD PROCLAMATION

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes amendments to §§65.314, 65.315, and 65.318-65.321, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation.        The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issues annual frameworks for the hunting of migratory game birds in the United States. Regulations adopted by individual states may be more restrictive than the federal frameworks, but may not be less restrictive. Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within Service frameworks is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, Subchapter C. Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.022, authorizes the  Commission to delegate rulemaking authority to the Executive Director.  31 Texas Administrative Code §65.313(f) authorizes the Executive Director, after notification of the Chairman of the Commission, to engage in rulemaking.

         At present, the Service has not issued the annual regulatory frameworks for migratory game birds. Typically, the Service issues the preliminary early-season (dove, teal, snipe, rails, gallinules) frameworks in late June and the preliminary late-season (ducks, geese, cranes) frameworks in early August. The Service typically issues the final early-season frameworks in early August and the final late-season frameworks in late September. Because no Commission meetings occur between May and August, the early-season regulations are adopted by the Executive Director in early July.

         The proposed amendment to §65.314, concerning Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species, would expand the Special White Winged Dove Area (SWWDA). For the last two decades, white-winged dove populations have steadily expanded both their numbers and their geographical extent. The department believes this expansion warrants enlargement of the SWWDA in South Texas to provide more hunting opportunity. The department has determined, based on scientific findings of fact, that the zone expansion will not result in either depletion or waste.

         The proposed amendment to §65.315, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits — Early Season, would alter the season structure for dove in all three zones from last year. In the North and Central zones the department has chosen to run the season from the earliest possible date allowable under the federal frameworks (September 1) to the last full weekend in October to allow hunters to take maximum advantage of the mourning dove populations in the first season segment. Department data indicate that most doves are harvested during the first season segment. Additionally, adding days to the first segment allows greater opportunity for concurrent hunting of other species, especially for youth. The winter segment dates were selected to maximize opportunity during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, particularly for youth. The proposed amendment adjusts the season dates for species of early-season migratory game birds other than dove to account for calendar progression (i.e., to ensure that seasons open on the desired day of the week, since dates from a previous year do not fall on the same days in following years).  In all  Zones (including the SWWDA), the opening date of the winter segment is later than last year in order to provide additional days in the first segment, allow the last segment to run later, and would open on a weekday in order to allow for a full weekend of hunting at the end of the season. Additionally, the proposed dates are intended to maximize opportunity during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, especially for youth.

         The proposed amendment to §65.315 also would implement a 16-day statewide teal season to run from September 14-29, 2013, which must be approved by the Service before it can be implemented. If the Service does not approve a 16-day season, the department would instead adopt a 9-day season to run from September 21-29, 2013. The department cautions that the federal frameworks could alter the total number of days for teal hunting if population data warrant. By federal rule, the number of days in the September teal season count against the 107 days of total hunting opportunity allowed for ducks, coots, and mergansers. In addition, the proposed amendment would implement a 16-day early Canada goose season in the Eastern Zone to run from September 14-29, 2013 (with the proviso that if a nine-day teal season is selected,  the early Canada goose season would run concurrently).

         The proposed amendment to 65.318, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits — Late Season, would lengthen the first segment in the North Zone to include an additional seven days after the week of Thanksgiving and open the second segment one week later than last year. The proposed amendment is intended to provide additional hunter opportunity because the split in the North Zone season will not be concurrent with the split in the South Zone season. The seasons in the High Plains Mallard Management and South Zone retain the season structure and bag limits from last year and adjust the season dates to account for calendar shift.

         The portion of the proposed amendment to §65.318 involving goose seasons would open the season for white-fronted geese two weeks later than last year in the Eastern Zone and run for the maximum days allowed under the federal frameworks. Department survey data indicate that hunter preference is for a later opener that closes concurrent with both the duck and other goose seasons in the Eastern Zone. The remaining seasons (Western Goose Zone, Sandhill Crane, Youth Waterfowl) retain the season structure and bag limits from last year and adjust the season dates to account for calendar shift.

         The proposed amendment to §65.319, concerning Extended Falconry Season — Early Season Species, would adjust season dates to reflect calendar shift.

         The proposed amendment to §65.320, concerning Extended Falconry Season — Late Season Species, would adjust season dates to reflect calendar shift.

         The proposed amendment to §65.321, concerning Special Management Provisions, would adjust the dates for the conservation season on light geese to account for calendar shift.

         The proposed amendments are generally necessary to implement commission policy to provide the greatest hunter opportunity possible, consistent with hunter and landowner preference for starting dates and segment lengths, under frameworks issued by the Service. The Service has not issued regulatory frameworks for the 2013-2014 hunting seasons for migratory game birds; thus, the department cautions that the proposed regulations are tentative and may change significantly, depending on federal actions prior to the release of the early-season frameworks in late June and the late-season frameworks in August. However, it is the policy of the commission to adopt the most liberal provisions possible, consistent with hunter preference, under the Service frameworks in order to provide maximum hunter opportunity.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division Director, has determined that for the first five years that the amendments as proposed are in effect, there will be no additional fiscal implications to state or local governments of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Wolf also has determined that for each of the first five years the proposed rules are in effect:

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rules as proposed will be the department’s discharge of its statutory obligation to manage and conserve the state’s populations of migratory game birds for the use and enjoyment of the public, consistent with the principles of sound biological management.

         (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. The department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

         The department has determined that the proposed rules regulate various aspects of recreational license privileges that allow individual persons to pursue and harvest migratory game bird resources in this state and therefore do not directly affect small businesses or micro-businesses. Therefore, neither the economic impact statement nor the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006, is required.

         There also will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

         (C) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce Commission as required by Government Code, §2001.022, as the department has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

         (D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2008, as a result of the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Robert Macdonald, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4775 or 1-800-792-1112 (e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, which authorizes the Commission and the Executive Director to provide the open season and means, methods, and devices for the hunting and possessing of migratory game birds.

         The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64.

         §65.314. Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species.

                 (a) Rails: statewide.

                 (b) Mourning and white-winged doves.

                         (1) North Zone: That portion of the state north of a line beginning at the International Bridge south of Fort Hancock; thence north along FM 1088 to State Highway 20; thence west along State Highway 20 to State Highway 148; thence north along State Highway 148 to Interstate Highway 10 at Fort Hancock; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to Interstate Highway 20; thence northeast along Interstate Highway 20 to Interstate Highway 30 at Fort Worth; thence northeast along Interstate Highway 30 to the Texas-Arkansas state line.

                         (2) Central Zone: That portion of the state between the North Zone and the South Zone.

                         (3) South Zone: That portion of the state south of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to State Loop 1604; thence following Loop 1604 south and east to Interstate Highway 10; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to the Texas-Louisiana State Line.

                         (4) Special white-winged dove area: That portion of the state south and west of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to State Loop 1604; thence along Loop 1604 south and east to [Interstate Highway 35 to State Highway 44; thence east along State Highway 44 to State Highway 16 at Freer; thence south along State Highway 16 to Randado; thence south on FM 649 to FM 2686; thence east on FM 2686 to FM 1017; thence southeast along FM 1017 to State Highway 186 at Linn; thence east along State Highway 186 to the Mansfield Channel at Port Mansfield; thence east along the Mansfield Channel to the Gulf of Mexico] Interstate Highway 37 thence south along Interstate Highway 37 to U.S. Highway 181 in Corpus Christi; thence north and east along U.S. 181 to the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, thence eastwards along the south shore of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to the Gulf of Mexico.

                 (c) Gallinules (Moorhen or common gallinule and purple gallinule): statewide.

                 (d) Teal ducks (blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon): statewide.

                 (e) Woodcock: statewide.

                 (f) Wilson’s (Common) snipe: statewide.

         §65.315. Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits — Early Season.

                 (a) Rails.

                         (1) Dates: September 14 — 29, 2013 and November 2 — December 25, 2013 [September 15 — 30, 2012 and November 3 — December 26, 2012].

                         (2) Daily bag and possession limits:

                                  (A) king and clapper rails: 15 in the aggregate per day; 30 in the aggregate in possession.

                                  (B) sora and Virginia rails: 25 in the aggregate per day; 25 in the aggregate in possession.

                 (b) Dove seasons.

                         (1) North Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: September 1 — October 27, 2013 and December 24, 2013 — January 5, 2014[September 1 — October 24, 2012 and December 22, 2012 — January 6, 2013].

                                  (B) Daily bag limit: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day.

                                  (C) Possession limit: 30 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, including no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

                         (2) Central Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: September 1 — October 27, 2013 and December 24, 2013 — January 5, 2014[September 1 — October 24, 2012 and December 22, 2012 — January 6, 2013].

                                  (B) Daily bag limit: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day.

                                  (C) Possession limit: 30 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, including no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

                         (3) South Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: Except in the special white-winged dove area as defined in §65.314 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species), September 20 — October 27, 2013 and December 24, 2013 — January 24, 2014[September 21 — October 28, 2012 and December 22, 2012 — January 22, 2013].

                                  (B) Daily bag limit: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day.

                                  (C) Possession limit: 30 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, including no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

                         (4) Special white-winged dove area.

                                  (A) Dates: September 1, 2, 7, and 8, 2013[September 1, 2, 8, and 9, 2012].

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 15 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, in the aggregate to include no more than two[four] mourning doves and two white-tipped doves per day.

                                          (ii) Possession limit: 30 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate to include no more than four[eight] mourning doves and four white-tipped doves in possession.

                                  (B) Dates: September 20 — October 27, 2013 and December 24, 2013 — January 20, 2014[September 21 — October 28, 2012 and December 22, 2012 — January 18, 2013].

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 15 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, in the aggregate to include no more than two white-tipped doves per day;

                                          (ii) Possession limit: 30 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate to include no more than four white-tipped doves in possession.

                 (c) Gallinules.

                         (1) Dates: September 14 — 29, 2013 and November 2 — December 25, 2013 [September 15 — 30, 2012 and November 3 — December 26, 2012].

                         (2) Daily bag and possession limits: 15 in the aggregate per day; 30 in the aggregate in possession.

                 (d) September teal-only season.

                         (1) Dates: September 14 — 29, 2013[September 15 — 30, 2012].

                         (2) Daily bag and possession limits: four in the aggregate per day; eight in the aggregate in possession.

                 (e) Red-billed pigeons, and band-tailed pigeons. No open season.

                 (f) Shorebirds. No open season.

                 (g) Woodcock: December 18, 2013 – January 31, 2014[December 18, 2012 – January 31, 2013]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

                 (h) Wilson’s snipe (Common snipe): November 2, 2013 — February 16, 2014 [November 3, 2012 — February 17, 2013]. The daily bag limit is eight. The possession limit is 16.

                 (i) Canada geese: September 14 — 29, 2013[September 15 — 30, 2012] in the Eastern Goose Zone as defined in §65.317(b) of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species). The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

         §65.318. Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits — Late Season. Except as specifically provided in this section, the possession limit for all species listed in this section shall be twice the daily bag limit.

                 (1) Ducks, mergansers, and coots. The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may include no more than five mallards (only two of which may be hens); three wood ducks;  six scaup (lesser scaup and greater scaup in the aggregate); two redheads; two pintail; one canvasback; and one "dusky" duck (mottled duck, Mexican like duck, black duck and their hybrids) during the seasons established in subparagraphs (A)(ii), (B)(ii), and (C)(ii) of this paragraph. For all other species not listed, the bag limit shall be six. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, which may include no more than two hooded mergansers.

                         (A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit:

                                  (i) all species other than "dusky ducks": October 26 — 27, 2013 and November 1, 2013 — January 26, 2014[October 27 — 28, 2012 and November 2, 2012 — January 27, 2013].

                                  (ii) "dusky ducks": November 4, 2013 — January 26, 2014[November 5, 2012 — January 27, 2013].

                         (B) North Zone:

                                  (i) all species other than "dusky ducks": November 2 – December 8, 2013 and December 21, 2013 — January 26, 2014 [November 3 – 25, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — January 27, 2013].

                                  (ii) "dusky ducks": November 7 – December 8, 2013 and December 21, 2013 — January 26, 2014[November 8 — 25, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — January 27, 2013].

                         (C) South Zone:

                                  (i) all species other than "dusky ducks": November 2 – December 1, 2013 and December 14, 2013 — January 26, 2014[November 3 – 25, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — January 27, 2013].

                                  (ii) "dusky ducks": November 7 – December 1, 2013 and December 14, 2013 — January 26, 2014[November 8 — 25, 2012 and December 8, 2012 — January 27, 2013].

                 (2) Geese.

                         (A) Western Zone.

                                  (i) Light geese: November 2, 2013 — February 2, 2014[November 3, 2012 — February 3, 2013]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

                                  (ii) Dark geese: November 2, 2013 — February 2, 2014[November 3, 2012 — February 3, 2013]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is five, to include no more than one white-fronted goose.

                         (B) Eastern Zone.

                                  (i) Light geese: November 2, 2013 — January 26, 2014[November 3, 2012 — January 27, 2013]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

                                  (ii) Dark geese:

                                          (I) White-fronted geese: November 16, 2013 — January 26, 2014 [November 3, 2012 — January 13, 2013]. The daily bag limit for white-fronted geese is two.

                                          (II) Canada geese: November 2, 2013 — January 26, 2014[November 3, 2012 — January 27, 2013]. The daily bag limit for Canada geese is three.

                 (3) Sandhill cranes. A free permit is required of any person to hunt sandhill cranes in areas where an open season is provided under this proclamation. Permits will be issued on an impartial basis with no limitation on the number of permits that may be issued.

                         (A) Zone A: November 2, 2013 — February 2, 2014[November 3, 2012 — February 3, 2013]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

                         (B) Zone B: November 22, 2013 — February 2, 2014[November 23, 2012 — February 3, 2013]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is six.

                         (C) Zone C: December 21, 2013 — January 26, 2014[December 22, 2012 — January 27, 2013]. The daily bag limit is two. The possession limit is four.

                 (4) Special Youth-Only Season. There shall be a special youth-only waterfowl season during which the hunting, taking, and possession of geese, ducks, mergansers, and coots is restricted to licensed hunters 15 years of age and younger accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older, except for persons hunting by means of falconry under the provisions of §65.320 of this chapter (relating to Extended Falconry Season — Late Season Species). Bag and possession limits in any given zone during the season established by this paragraph shall be as provided for that zone by paragraphs (1) and (2) of this section. Season dates are as follows:

                         (A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 19 — 20, 2013 [October 20 — 21, 2012];

                         (B) North Zone: October 26 — 27, 2013[October 27 — 28, 2012]; and

                         (C) South Zone: October 26 — 27, 2013[October 27 — 28, 2012].

         §65.319. Extended Falconry Season — Early Season Species.

                 (a) It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the following Extended Falconry Seasons:

                         (1) mourning doves, white-winged doves and white-tipped doves: November 16 — December 22, 2013[November 15 — December 21, 2012].

                         (2) rails and gallinules: January 27 — February 10, 2014[January 28 — February 11, 2013].

                         (3) woodcock: January 27 — February 10, 2014[January 28 — February 11, 2013].

                 (b) The daily bag and possession limits for migratory game birds under this section shall not exceed three and six birds respectively, singly or in the aggregate.

         §65.320. Extended Falconry Season — Late Season Species. It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the following Extended Falconry Seasons.

                 (1) Ducks, coots, and mergansers:

                         (A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: no extended season;

                         (B) North Duck Zone: January 27 — February 10, 2014[January 28 — February 11, 2013];

                         (C) South Duck Zone: January 27 — February 10, 2014[January 28 — February 11, 2013].

                 (2) The daily bag and possession limits for migratory game birds under this section shall not exceed three and six birds, respectively, singly or in the aggregate.

         §65.321. Special Management Provisions. The provisions of paragraphs (1) — (3) of this section apply only to the hunting of light geese. All provisions of this subchapter continue in effect unless specifically provided otherwise in this section; however, where this section conflicts with the provisions of this subchapter, this section prevails.

                 (1) Means and methods. The following means and methods are lawful during the time periods set forth in paragraph (4) of this section:

                         (A) shotguns capable of holding more than three shells; and

                         (B) electronic calling devices.

                 (2) Possession. During the time periods set forth in paragraph (4) of this section:

                         (A) there shall be no bag or possession limits; and

                         (B) the provisions of §65.312 of this title (relating to Possession of Migratory Game Birds) do not apply; and

                         (C) a person may give, leave, receive, or possess legally taken light geese or their parts, provided the birds are accompanied by a wildlife resource document (WRD) from the person who killed the birds. A properly executed WRD satisfies the tagging requirements of 50 CFR Part 20. The WRD is not required if the possessor lawfully killed the birds; the birds are transferred at the personal residence of the donor or donee; or the possessor also possesses a valid hunting license, a valid waterfowl stamp, and is HIP certified. The WRD shall accompany the birds until the birds reach their final destination, and must contain the following information:

                                  (i) the name, signature, address, and hunting license number of the person who killed the birds;

                                  (ii) the name of the person receiving the birds;

                                  (iii) the number and species of birds or parts;

                                  (iv) the date the birds were killed; and

                                  (v) the location where the birds were killed (e.g., name of ranch; area; lake, bay, or stream; county).

                 (3) Shooting hours. During the time periods set forth in paragraph (4) of this section, shooting hours are from one half-hour before sunrise until one half-hour after sunset.

                 (4) Special Light Goose Conservation Period.

                         (A) From January 27 — March 23, 2014[January 28 — March 24, 2013], the take of light geese is lawful in Eastern Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species).

                 (B) From February 3 – March 23, 2014[February 4 — March 24, 2013], the take of light geese is lawful in the Western Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title.

         This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

         Issued in Austin, Texas, on

 


Work Session Item No. 9
Presenter: Clayton Wolf

Work Session
Update on Lesser Prairie Chicken
March 27-28, 2013

I. Executive Summary: This item is a briefing on the status of efforts to create a range-wide management plan for the Lesser Prairie Chicken in response to the proposed rule by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the species as threatened.

II. Discussion: Lesser Prairie Chickens were once found throughout short- and mid-grass prairies in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico, but since 1998 this bird has been considered a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposed rule last fall that may designate the bird as a federally threatened or endangered species by fall 2013. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other state fish and wildlife agencies created the Lesser Prairie Chicken Interstate Working Group and are developing a range-wide management plan to further conservation of the species and address the proposed listing.


Work Session Item No. 10
Presenter: Linda Campbell

Work Session
Public Lands Proclamation
March 27, 2013

I. Executive Summary: This item seeks authorization to publish proposed amendments to the Public Lands Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed amendments would:

  • Remove the former Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Walter Buck Wildlife WMA from the inventory of WMAs;
  • Remove the WMA designation from the Granger, Lake Ray Roberts, and Somerville areas;
  • Make housekeeping changes regarding the naming of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) units and Corps of Engineers (COE) units;
  • Prohibit users from leaving personal property unattended overnight on public hunting lands except under specific circumstances;
  • Prohibit any person from leaving a floating conveyance unattended within the boundaries of public hunting lands; and
  • Standardize regulatory language regarding the use of dogs on public hunting lands.

II. Discussion: Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 12, Subchapter A, provides that a tract of land purchased primarily for a purpose authorized by the Code may be used for any authorized function of the Parks and Wildlife Department “if the Commission determines that multiple uses is the best utilization of the land's resources.” Additionally, Chapter 81, Subchapter E, provides the Commission with the authority to establish open seasons, and authorizes the Executive Director to determine bag limits, means and methods, and conditions for the taking of wildlife resources on wildlife management and public hunting lands, which includes units of the State Park System designated as public hunting lands.

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rules

Work Session Item No. 10
Exhibit A

PUBLIC LANDS PROCLAMATION

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§65.190, 65.191, 65.193, and 65.199, concerning the Public Lands Proclamation.

         The proposed amendment to §65.190, concerning Application, would make several nonsubstantive organizational and nomenclatural changes. The proposed amendment would add language to subsection (b) to refer to the full name of the Caddo National Grasslands Wildlife Management Area (WMA), organize the listing of the entities affected by subsections (a) and (b) by naming WMAs first, followed by other types of public hunting lands, and reflecting the fact that Somerville is no longer a WMA, although it does remain in the inventory of public hunting lands. The proposed amendment also would remove Old Tunnel and Walter Buck WMAs from the inventory of WMAs because they are now part of the state park system.

         The proposed amendment to §65.191, concerning Definitions, would add the acronym “PHL” to the definition of “public hunting lands” so that public hunting lands can be referred to by an acronym when necessary.

         The proposed amendment to §65.192, concerning Access Permit Required and Fees, would eliminate subsection (b)(4)(A) and (B), which are not necessary because they repeat provisions already contained in §65.190(b) and (c).

         The proposed amendment to §65.193, concerning General Rules of Conduct, would eliminate a reference to Caddo WMA, define the term “unattended,” clarify the use of dogs to hunt, and create an offense for leaving personal gear or floating conveyances unattended within the boundaries of public hunting lands. WMA staff have experienced difficulties with the abandonment of gear and equipment (such as waterfowl decoys, temporary floating blinds, and personal effects) on public hunting lands and with user conflicts arising from temporary blinds and waterfowl decoys left out overnight to “stake a claim” to an area for hunting activities in the future. Unless a person has been drawn for or is participating in specific hunting activities scheduled by the department, the department believes that providing hunting opportunity on a daily, first-come, first-served basis is the most equitable method of distributing walk-in hunting privileges. Additionally, collecting and disposing of abandoned property diverts department field personnel from other duties. The proposed amendment would therefore prohibit leaving personal gear or floating conveyances unattended and would provide that such material is “unattended” if the person who is responsible for the gear, equipment, or floating conveyance is not within normal voice distance. The proposed amendment also would provide an exception for personal gear within designated campsites and camping areas and during multi-day hunts scheduled by the department.

         The proposed amendment also would explicitly specify that it is an offense to use a dog to hunt on public hunting lands unless the use of dogs to hunt is specifically authorized. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §81.402, the executive director of the department may regulate numbers, means, methods, and conditions for taking wildlife resources on wildlife management areas and public hunting lands. The numbers, means, methods, and conditions for taking wildlife resources on wildlife management areas and public hunting lands are prescribed by executive order in the department publications entitled “Public Hunting Map Booklet” and “Applications for Drawings on Public Lands,” which contain language addressing the use of dogs on public lands; however, in the interests of clarity, staff have determined that it has become necessary to explicitly state by rule that unless the use of dogs to hunt is authorized, such use is prohibited.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Linda Campbell, Director of Private Lands and Public Hunting, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state and local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Ms. Campbell also has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect:

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be clearer rules that enhance enforcement and compliance.

         (B) There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

         (C) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect affect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services. The department has determined that the proposed amendments will not impose any direct adverse economic effects on small businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply. Accordingly, the department has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis under Government Code, Chapter 2006.

         (D) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

         (E) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Linda Campbell, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4395 (e-mail: linda.campbell@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 81, Subchapter E, which provides the Parks and Wildlife Commission with authority to establish an open season on wildlife management areas and public hunting lands, authorizes the executive director to regulate numbers, means, methods, and conditions for taking wildlife resources on wildlife management areas and public hunting lands, and authorizes the commission to adopt rules governing recreational activities in wildlife management areas.

         The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 81.

6. Text.

         §65.190. Application.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) On U.S. Forest Service Lands designated as public hunting lands (Alabama Creek, Bannister, Caddo National Grasslands, [Lake McClellan Recreation Area], Moore Plantation, and Sam Houston National Forest WMAs, Lake McClellan Recreation Area) or any portion of Units 902 and 903, persons other than hunters are exempt from the provisions of this subchapter, except for the provisions of §65.199(15) of this title (relating to General Rules of Conduct).

                 (c) On U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Lands designated as public hunting lands (Cooper, Dam B, Pat Mayse, and White Oak Creek WMAs;  Granger,  Ray Roberts and Somerville PHLs) [(Cooper, Dam B, Granger, Pat Mayse, Ray Roberts, Somerville, and White Oak Creek WMAs), persons other than hunters and equestrian users are exempt from requirements for an access permit.

                 (d) (No change.)

                 (e) Public hunting lands include, but are not limited to, the following:

                         (1) – (21) (No change.)

                          (22) Granger [WMA] (Unit 709);

                          (23) – (41) (No change.)

                         [(42) Old Tunnel WMA;]

                          (42)[(43)] Pat Mayse WMA (Unit 705);

                          (43) [(44)] Ray Roberts [WMA] (Unit 501);

                          (44) [(45)] Redhead Pond WMA;

                          (45) [(46)] Richland Creek WMA (Unit 703);

                          (46) [(47)] Sam Houston National Forest WMA (Unit 905);

                          (47) [(48)] Sierra Diablo WMA (Unit 767);

                          (48) [(49)] Somerville [WMA] (Unit 711);

                          (50) [(50)] Tawakoni WMA (Unit 708);

                          [(51) Walter Buck WMA (Unit 757);]

                          (51) [(52)] Welder Flats WMA;

                          (52) [(53)] White Oak Creek WMA (Unit 727); and

                          (53) [(54)] Other numbered units of public hunting lands.

         §65.191. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms shall have the meanings assigned in §65.3 of this title (relating to Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation).

                 (1) – (35) (No change.)

                 (36) Public hunting lands (PHL) — Lands identified in §65.190 of this title (relating to Application) or by order of the executive director on which provisions of this subchapter apply.

                 (37) – (49) (No change.)

         §65.193. Access Permit Required and Fees.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit and Limited Public Use (LPU) Permit.

                          (1) – (3) (No change.)

                          (4) The permits required under paragraphs (1) — (3) of this subsection are not required for:

                                 [(A) persons who enter on United States Forest Service lands designated as a public hunting area or any portion of Units 902 and 903 for any purpose other than hunting;]

                                 [(B) persons who enter on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lands (Aquilla, Cooper, Dam B, Granger, Pat Mayse, Ray Roberts, Somerville, and White Oak Creek WMAs) designated as public hunting lands for purposes other than hunting or equestrian use;]

                                 (A)[(C)] persons who enter Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area and do not hunt or enter upon the land;

                                 (B)[(D)] persons who enter and hunt waterfowl within the Bayside Marsh Unit of Matagorda Island State Park and Wildlife Management Area; or

                                 (C)[(E)] persons who enter Zone C of the Guadalupe River Unit of the Guadalupe Delta Wildlife Management Area and do not hunt or fish.

                          (5) – (6) (No change.)

                 (c) – (q) (No change.)

         §65.199. General Rules of Conduct. This section applies to all public hunting lands unless an exception for a specific area and time period is designated by the executive director or by written permission of the department. For the purposes of this section, gear, equipment, and floating conveyances are “unattended” if the person who is responsible for the gear, equipment, or floating conveyance is not within normal voice distance of the gear, equipment, or floating conveyance. It is unlawful for any person to:

                 (1) – (11) (No change.)

                 (12) use a dog to hunt, unless the use of dogs to hunt is specifically authorized;

                 (13)[(12)] use or possess any type of riding stock or pack animal on public hunting lands at any time, except:

                         (A) as may be provided by order of the executive director; or

                         (B) by written authorization of the department;

                 (14)[(13)] use an airboat within the boundaries of public hunting lands, except as provided by executive order or by written permission of the department;

                 (15)[(14)] take an antlerless deer during the general open season on wildlife management areas jointly managed by TPW and the U.S. Forest Service (Alabama Creek, Bannister, [Caddo,]Moore Plantation, or Sam Houston National Forest) unless that person possesses on their person a U.S.F.S. antlerless permit;

                 (16)[(15)] enter a unit of public hunting lands with an equine or equines, or cause the entry of an equine or equines to a unit of public hunting lands, unless that person has in their immediate possession, for each equine in the person’s custody or equine that the person allowed to enter the unit of public hunting lands, a completed VS Form 10-11 (Texas Animal Health Commission) showing that the equine has tested negative to an official Equine Infectious Anemia test within the previous 12 months. The documentation required by this paragraph shall be made available for inspection upon the request of any department employee acting within the scope of official duties;

                 (17)[(16)] park or leave a motor vehicle unattended anywhere other than in designated parking areas, if parking areas have been designated;

                 (18)[(17)] use a motor vehicle, off-road vehicle, or ATV on a road, in an area, or at a time when such use is restricted to disabled persons, unless the person is in possession of a state-issued disabled parking placard or disabled license plate or assisting such a person.  (17) use a motor vehicle, off-road vehicle, or ATV on a road, in an area, or at a time when such use is restricted to disabled persons, unless the person is in possession of a state-issued disabled parking placard or disabled license plate or assisting such a person;[.]

                 (19) leave a floating conveyance of any type unattended within the boundaries of public hunting lands;

                 (20) leave personal gear or equipment (including decoys) unattended for more than one hour following the close of legal shooting hours. This paragraph does not apply to personal gear or equipment:

                         (A) within a designated camping area or designated campsite; or

                         (B) that is unattended during reserved participation in a public hunting activity that has been specifically scheduled by the department.  

                 (21)[(18)] engage in any activity not specifically authorized by order of the executive director or regulation of the commission.

         This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

         Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Work Session Item No. 11
Presenter: John Davis

Work Session
Raptor Proclamation
March 27, 2013

I. Executive Summary: This item seeks permission to publish proposed amendments to rules governing the practice of falconry in Texas. The proposed amendments would:

  • Remove sterilization requirement for hybrid raptors;
  • Eliminate reciprocity requirement for non-resident raptor trapping permit;
  • Clarify rules regarding practice of falconry while establishing residency;
  • Clarify the flight-time requirements for issuance of general permits.

II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 49, the Commission may prescribe rules for the taking, capture, possession, propagation, transportation, export, import, and sale of raptors, the times and areas from which raptors may be taken or captured, and species that may be taken or captured; provide standards for possessing and housing raptors held under a permit; prescribe annual reporting requirements and procedures; prescribe eligibility requirements and fees for any falconry, raptor propagation, or nonresident trapping permit; and require and regulate the identification of raptors held by permit holders.

Staff periodically meets with the Falconry and Raptor Council (FRC), an ad hoc group of licensed falconers, to review issues of mutual interest and develop strategies for efficient and effective regulation of the falconry community and management of the raptor resources of the state. The proposed rules reflect the consensus of staff and the regulated community.

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rules

Work Session Item No. 11
Exhibit A

RAPTOR PROCLAMATION

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §65.264, 65.267, and 65.270, concerning the Raptor Proclamation, which governs the practice of falconry. The practice of falconry is regulated at both the state and federal levels. The federal authority to regulate falconry is derived from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, an international treaty to which the United States is a signatory. As with all migratory bird rules, the states may adopt rules that are more restrictive than the federal rules, but may not adopt rules that are less restrictive.

         The proposed amendment to §65.264, concerning Permit Application Requirements, would clarify flight-time requirements for apprentice permittees. The current rules require an applicant for a general permit to have “maintained (to include capture from the wild), trained, flown (which may include releasing to the wild) and hunted with raptors in the applicant’s possession for at least four months in each of at least two years during which the person has been permitted to practice falconry.” The department has become aware that at least one person interprets the provision to mean that the two years of experience can be attained with a bird that was not trapped from the wild by the apprentice (i.e., a bird trapped by another falconer or obtained from another falconer). This is not the intent of the requirement. The purpose of the apprentice level of falconry permit is to ensure that a person entering the sport of falconry be mentored and supervised by an experienced falconer for two years before being allowed to obtain a permit that allows that person to practice falconry alone. In this way, the department can be reasonably confident that a person who enjoys the privilege of possessing and using a live, publicly-owned wildlife resource has received the proper training in the care of raptors, raptor biology/ecology, and the art of  trapping and using raptors for hunting purposes and can be expected to behave responsibly if issued a general falconry permit.  The proposed amendment would make clear that requirements of the provision can be satisfied only by means of a raptor trapped from the wild by the apprentice, unless the raptor was trapped by a general or master permittee under a physician’s statement.

         The proposed amendment to §65.267, concerning Permit Privileges and Restrictions, would remove the prohibition on the possession of non-sterilized raptors by apprentice falconers. In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revamped the federal regulations governing the possession and use of native raptors. Prior to 2010, federal rules prohibited the possession of hybridized raptors by apprentice falconers. When the department reorganized falconry regulations in 2010, that prohibition was inadvertently retained. Because federal regulations no longer prohibit the possession of unsterilized hybridized raptors by apprentice falconers, the department sees no reason to retain the prohibition.

         The proposed amendment to §65.267 would also alter subsection (e) to remove the provision that prohibits the issuance of a nonresident trapping to a resident of a state that does not allow Texas residents to trap raptors in that state. Only four states do not allow nonresidents to trap raptors (Alaska, Connecticut, Vermont, and West Virginia). Staff have determined that in the interests of streamlining the permit process, the provision is no longer necessary.

         The proposed amendment to §65.270, concerning Notification, Reporting, and Recordkeeping Requirements, would alter subsection (f) to clarify requirements for falconers licensed in another state who relocate to Texas. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §49.003, a person in possession of a raptor under a license issued by another state who intends to establish residency in this state must apply to the department for a falconry permit not late than the 10th day after the date the person first moves a raptor into the state. Under current rule (§65.270(f)), a person who relocates to Texas and holds the valid equivalent of a Texas falconry permit issued by another state, territory, or tribe may retain raptors the person lawfully possesses; however, the person is required to submit an application for the appropriate Texas permit within 30 days of relocation to this state. The proposed amendment would clarify that a person who has complied with these provisions may practice falconry, including hunting, in the interim while waiting for the issuance of a Texas falconry permit; however, the person must purchase a non-resident hunting license.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Matt Reidy, Wildlife Biologist, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state and local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Reidy also has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect:

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be clearer rules that enhance enforcement and compliance.

         (B) There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

         (C) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect affect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services. The department has determined that the proposed amendments will not impose any direct adverse economic effects on small businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply. Accordingly, the department has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis under Government Code, Chapter 2006.

         (D) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

         (E) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Robert Macdonald, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4775 (e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 49, which authorizes the commission to prescribe rules for the taking, capture, possession, propagation, transportation, export, import, and sale of raptors, time and area from which raptors may be taken or captured, and species that may be taken or captured; provide standards for possessing and housing raptors held under a permit; prescribe annual reporting requirements and procedures; prescribe eligibility requirements and fees for and issuance of any falconry, raptor propagation, or nonresident trapping permit; §61.054 , which requires the commission to specify the means or method that may be used to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life; and Chapter 67, which authorizes the commission to establish any limits on the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife that the department considers necessary to manage the species.

         The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 49, 61, and 67.

6. Text.

         §65.264. Permit Application Requirements.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Educational or school programs may not be used to satisfy the experience requirements of paragraphs (1) — (4) of this subsection.

                         (1) (No change.)

                         (2) An applicant for a general falconry permit must be at least 16 years of age.

                                  (A) (No change.)

                                  (B) An application for a general permit must be accompanied by a signed attestation from the applicant’s sponsor, who must be a general or master falconer, that the applicant has maintained [(to include capture from the wild)], trained, flown (which may include releasing to the wild) and hunted with raptors trapped from the wild by the applicant [in the applicant’s possession] for at least four months in each of at least two years during which the person has been permitted to practice falconry. The trapping requirement of this subparagraph does not apply to a raptor trapped under the provisions of 65.271(e)(3) of this title (relating to Trapping).

                         (3) – (5) (No change.)

                 (c) – (g) (No change.)

         §65.267.  Permit Privileges and Restrictions.

                 (a) Apprentice falconers.

                         (1) – (2) (No change.)

                         (3) An apprentice falconer may not:

                                  (A) – (C) (No change.)

                                  (D) take or possess:

                                          (i) an eyass;

                                          (ii) an imprinted raptor; or

                                          (iii) [a hybrid that has not been sterilized; or]

                                          [(iv)] a raptor taken from the wild as a nestling.

                         (4) – (5) (No change.)

                 (b) – (d) (No change.)

                 (d) Raptor propagator permittees.

                 (e) Nonresident trapping permittees.

                         [(1) The department will not issue a nonresident trapping permit to any person who is a resident of a state that does not allow Texas residents to trap raptors in that state.]

                         [(2)] A nonresident trapper shall not trap more than one raptor per year in this state.

                 (f) (No change.)

         §65.270. Notification, Reporting, and Recordkeeping Requirements.

                 (a) – (e) (No change.)

                 (f) A person who relocates to Texas and holds the valid equivalent of a permit issued under this subchapter issued by another state, territory, or tribe may retain raptors the person lawfully possesses; however, the person shall submit an application for the appropriate Texas permit within 30 days of relocation to this state. The department will not issue a permit until the applicant’s facilities have passed an inspection conducted by a department representative or designee. All inspections shall be in the presence of the permittee or the property owner (if the facility is located on property that is not owned by the permittee). A person who has complied with the requirements of this subsection and Parks and Wildlife Code, §49.003 may practice falconry, including hunting by means of falconry,  in this state while awaiting the issuance of a Texas falconry permit, provided:

                 (1) the person is not otherwise legally prohibited from possessing or hunting with raptors; and

                 (2) if the person hunts by means of falconry, the persons possesses an appropriate, valid  non-resident hunting license.

         This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

         Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Work Session Item No. 15
Presenter: Corky Kuhlmann

Work Session
Land Acquisition – Anderson County
Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area
March 27, 2013

WITHDRAWN