TPW Commission

Public Hearing, May 26, 2016


TPW Commission Meetings


May 26, 2016



COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good morning, everyone. This meeting is called to order May 26th, 2016, at 9:08 a.m.

Before proceeding with any business, I believe Mr. Smith has a statement to make.

MR. SMITH: I do, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. Thank you. Public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 Government Code referred to as the Open Meetings Act. I would like for this fact to be noted in the official record of the meeting.

Chairman, I want to join you and the Commissioners in welcoming everybody. We have a lot of folks that have come in that are here not only in this room, but in others inside the building that have come to partake in the Commission meeting today. Welcome. We appreciate all of you traveling to be here. Just as a reminder in terms of how the morning will unfold, after we complete the special awards and service awards and recognitions, the Chairman will take a short break and allow us to recess. Allow those of you who came in for the special awards to go ahead and depart and then we've got a lot of people that want to come back into this room to participate and listen to the Commission's deliberations on several of the action items this morning; but there will be ample opportunity for that to transpire.

And, again, for those of you who hadn't been here, just a few little rules of the road if we could. If you've got a cell phone, if you could go ahead and silence that or put it on vibrate just so that doesn't buzz or ring during the meeting. We've got bathrooms down the hall. We've got plenty of colleagues from inside the building to help you if you need anything while you're here.

For those of you that are going to speak on a particular item that the Commission is taking action on, the Chairman will call you up by name at the appropriate time. The simple protocol for that is you'll come up to the podium. You'll have three minutes to address the Commission. We'll simply ask that you share your name and who you represent and then three minutes to share your perspective on that particular topic. We have a simple green light/yellow light/red light system to help monitor time and move us through the morning and so green means go and yellow means start to wind it down and obviously red means it's time to stop. So we appreciate everybody joining us today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


And next on the agenda is approval of the minutes from the previous Commission meeting held March 24th, 2016, which have already been distributed. Do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Scott. Second by Commissioner Duggins. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

And now acknowledgment of the list of donations, which has also been distributed. Do we have a motion for approval? Commissioner Latimer, second Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Motion carries.

And now consideration of contracts, which has also been distributed. Do we have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Jones, second Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

And now we have special recognitions, retirement, and service awards, Mr. Smith.

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. For the record, my name is Carter Smith. We're going to kick off this morning with a couple of special things and we're tickled to death to have our friends at Whole Earth Provision Company back. This is the fifth year in a row I think we've done the — or they've done the April is Texas State Parks Month in their nine stores around the state in Dallas and South Lake and Houston and San Antonio and Austin, and that's a big deal because they make a big deal about your state parks in the stores. The invite park rangers to come in and talk about parks. Their employees are encouraging customers their to get out and enjoy state parks. They're helping to raise funds to support operations and programs inside the parks. And so it's just a very, very well-recognized and what's become an annual tradition in this partnership with Whole Earth; but they take it a step further.

Every year they also host the Banff Mountain Film Festival world tour down at the Paramount in Austin. It's two days of these action-packed short features on outdoor activities from whitewater rafting and kayaking to fly fishing to skiing and adventure extreme sports and it attracts a crowd that we absolutely want to encourage and get out to the parks. They give our colleagues a chance to have displays and exhibits and speak to the group and so it's just a very, very special partnership.

This year, they're coming with a check of a little over $30,000 that Whole Earth is donating to support your state parks; and, again, just a longstanding partnership with this company. Jack and Joe Jones, Joe's son Holland, Walter Wakefield, Bert Peeples, they've just been great partners; and I want to ask them to come up as they present this check to the Department. So thank you our friends at Whole Earth.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Joe, you got another check? What are we doing here? You all right?

MR. JOE JONES: I'm just hanging around up here, and now I'm moving on back to the farm. I've got work to do.

MR. SMITH: I'm sorry, Jack.

Our next — our next recognition is a special one. It's from the Texans for State Parks. This is a longstanding partner of ours, been around since the late 90s. Y'all remember in April we celebrated National Volunteer Month and we talked about just the fact that we can't run the parks without our volunteers and we've got these friends groups, dozens of them all over the state that support local parks. Texans for State Parks is kind of the umbrella group to help organize their activities to support us at the local level. They do a terrific job.

One of the new programs that they wanted to institute was really recognizing our front line colleagues, the ones that are there really doing the customer service and the outreach and the stewardship and the education and the interpretation and the maintenance. I mean, really do all the work for all practical purposes. And so they have an award this year that they want to present to Lisa Reznicek who is one of park rangers there at Galveston Island State Park and this is the Interpretative Ranger of the Year.

Lisa has been there for about a year and a half. She's brought a great spirit of energy and enthusiasm to that job as she interprets beach to the bay, marshes, does sunset paddle trips, all kinds of wildlife interpretive programs. She's just really helped to energize that place and the volunteers. And Texans for State Parks want to acknowledge her today with a special presentation and I'm pleased to introduce an old friend to do that, John Gosdin. John is the president of Texans for State Parks. John has a long history with this Agency. He worked in the Governor's Office as head of their office of budget and policy for many years, responsible for kind of natural resource related issues. John went on and served at LCRA for close to 20 years, heading up all of their parks and conservation programs up and down the basin; but he's also pretty uniquely qualified do to this, given his dad used to head up Texas State Parks. And so let me ask John to come forward to make this special presentation to Lisa. John, welcome.

MR. JOHN GOSDIN: Again, my name is John Gosdin. I'm president of the Texans for State Parks 501(c)(3) organization, advocating for those friends groups and individuals who do a lot of the work that Carter described in our parks. This past year, we wanted to start a new program to put a spotlight on the stories that you can see in various state parks and to recognize particularly the employee of Parks and Wildlife who represented the very best of what the Department stands for, as well.

This year, we have an award to present to Ranger Lisa Reznicek from Galveston Island State Park. She has been a park interpreter there for almost two years now and I want to just give you one sentence from her nomination and that was that her boundless enthusiasm is infectious and her creativity in developing an interpretive program has been impressive to watch.

So she is a great asset to Texas Parks and Wildlife and a great friend to all of the friends group and others who visit that park. Lisa.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We're going to now move on to our service awards, and we're going to start off with James Harden. James has been with us for 30 years. I don't think that counts his time when he was working in high school and his position at that time when he was growing up in Abilene was seasonal field hand. I think the State employee classification system was a whole lot easier back then. So we can harken back to the glory days.

James worked all the way through high school and technical school there at Abilene State Park. Got out of school, was hired as park ranger at Palo Dura Canyon. Worked his way up the ladder there. Moved back to Abilene State Park as a park ranger. Then went over to Lake Arrowhead over at Wichita Falls where he was the lead ranger and then the assistant superintendent. He was commissioned as a police officer at that time, and James has maintained his commission since that time. Done a terrific job.

In 2009, James was promoted to our regional maintenance specialist for the Panhandle and parts of Central Texas. So all of these capital related projects that we're involved in from minor repair to major repairs and maintenance, James says grace over those for everywhere from Mother Neff up to Palo Dura Canyon. He's got a big job. He also does a great job training new park police officers. He's a certified hunter and angler instructor and just models our mission every day. We're awfully proud of him. Thirty years of service, James.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague is also from our State Parks Division, Roxane Eley; and she's been with us for 30 years. She worked in local government for a period of time and then came over to work with us to work in our very successful Local Parks Grant Program. Back then, we called it the Grants and Aid Program. And she was involved in everything from planning to grant applications, doing customer research, helped develop the Texas Outdoor Recreational Plan, which is a plan that we produce every few years to help serve as a guide post and vision for where we want to go from a conservation and recreation perspective and helps drive also where we look at placing our grants.

Roxane left us briefly in 2000 to go work for another agency, but recognized the error of her ways and came back a few years later and we welcomed her back with open arms into the Local Parks Grant Program. She's just been terrific there in her position as a Senior Grants Coordinator. She's got wonderful partnerships with communities all over the state. She just brings a great spirit of service and smile and enthusiasm for her job. We're awfully proud of her. Roxane Eley, 30 years of service. Roxane.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague is also from State Parks, Kurt Kemp. Kurt has been with us for 20 years. Really has spent much of his career out in West Texas. He started as a park ranger out at Fort McKavett Historic Site and kind of worked his way up the ladder there. In 2000, Kurt was promoted to the superintendent at the Eisenhower Birthplace site and house there in North Texas and Kurt had to lead the refurbishment of that house, taking it back to its 1890s period. It was a big project culturally, historically, and operationally. Also, helped work things over at nearby Eisenhower State Park.

In 2004, Kurt was promoted to the superintendent San Angelo State Park, which is a critically important park for us out in West Texas; and he's formed all kinds of partnerships with the local community and the Upper Colorado River Authority and the Corp of Engineers. He also has a lot of responsibility in working with the Historical Commission on helping to manage the State's longhorn herd and that's a big part of his job and he's represented us very, very well on that front. We're awfully proud of his leadership out in West Texas. Kurt Kemp, 20 years of service. Kurt.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague is a wildlife biologist that's also been with us 20 years, Billy Tarrant. Billy is out in West Texas. Started — came from Arizona and came to Texas, was a biologist there in Van Horn and was out there a few years and then moved up to Wichita Falls, where he met a girl and brought her back to the Davis Mountains where he was a biologist in God's country out there. Part of his career, he was then promoted to our District Leader in West Texas; and then in 2012, Billy was promoted to our Regional Director to oversee all of our wildlife operations in the Trans-Pecos and the Panhandle. So every day, Billy gets to wake up thinking about Bighorn sheep and Pronghorn and Mule deer and Black beer and a few other pretty cool critters that call that home. He just leads a wonderful team out there.

Y'all have heard us talk a lot about that very precipitous Pronghorn decline that we had out in the Trans-Pecos and Billy working with Dr. Louis Harveson and others was so instrumental in helping to engender private landowner and rancher support for the recovery and restoration of the Pronghorn. Billy helped put together a task force with ranchers out there and the Highland Hereford Association and got them on board and it was really no small part to his leadership that we've had so much success in the cooperation and participation by private landowners and the stewardship and restoration of that flagship species and that's been really a hallmark of Billy's leadership out there.

He's got great, great relationships with those ranchers in West Texas. They trust him. They find him credible. He always shoots straight with them and he's just been a great ambassador and leader for us out there. Billy Tarrant, 20 years of service, Wildlife Division. Billy.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Earl Nottingham. You may not know him, but I promise you you know his pictures. Earl is our chief photographer and he has covered every corner of the state, every program, every initiative. He came to work for us 20 years ago. Before that, he was a freelance photographer and he was taking pictures for some kind of B-list magazines — Smithsonian and National Geographic and a few others you hadn't ever heard of — and — but when he heard there was an opportunity to come work for Parks and Wildlife and take pictures for the magazine and document just the glory and grandeur of our state, Earl jumped on it and he has just done that in spades.

He lives out of his pickup truck. As he said, all he needs, Josh, four not bald tires, an internet connection, and a decent digital camera and he'll make it all work; and by golly, for 20 years he has. Earl is just extraordinary in his creativity. He's a consummate educator and teacher. He's always innovating with his photography and just does a terrific job telling the great story of our state. Earl Nottingham, 20 years of service. So let's thank him.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Roger Kunshick is with our IT Division. Has been with us for 20 years and I don't need to tell this body how important that IT support and management is to make everything go for this Agency and Roger has just been the brains and brawn behind that for 20 years. He's worked on so many flagship IT projects for us, whether it was our state park reservation systems, our accounting systems, our boat registration and titling system. When we had to move our servers over to the State data center, Roger was in the middle of that making sure that all of our files got appropriately transferred and so, you know, if we want to make sure that the trains run on time and that bills are paid and paychecks are paid and our websites don't expire, Roger is on the front lines making sure that all of that gets taken care of seamlessly and just does a fabulous job working with George and his team to support this place, mission, the programs of this Agency. He's been with us 20 years. Let's thank him, Roger Kunshick. Roger, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our last colleague that we're going to recognize today, James Edwards, a wildlife biologist up in North Central Texas. Been with us for 20 years. Almost didn't get here because of traffic, imagine that; but we're delighted he did. James has had a long career with us, 20 years. That doesn't count the basically two years of full-time volunteer service that he did with us when he was in school there a Tarleton State working out as a volunteer Lake Mineral Wells State Park where literally he just poured a thousand hours into helping the park out there.

When he got out of college, he was hired at Lake Mineral Wells as their first Wildlife Information Specialist there at the park. Went on to take a park ranger position at Possum Kingdom State Park. Worked there for a little while, and then he moved over to the Wildlife Division to work in wildlife management and public hunting over at Lake Ray Roberts and Lake Aquila. In 2000, James became a wildlife biologist overseeing our work in Comanche and Hamilton and Erath and Palo Pinto Counties where he's worked on everything from deer to turkey to dove and quail and public hunting.

He's done a great job also forging partnerships with our state park colleagues to promote public hunting opportunities there at Lake Mineral Wells and the new Palo Pinto Mountains State Park and we're awfully proud of his stewardship and his service. Twenty years of service, James Edwards. James, let us thank you.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, that concludes my presentation. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Sorry. Thank you, Carter.

At this time, I'd like to inform the audience that anybody is welcome to stay for the remainder of the meeting, of course; but if you wish to leave, this would be a good time so we can now start the business agenda.

(Recess taken)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: All right. Let's pick it back up, if we can. We're going to move Agenda Items 3 and 7 to be heard first on our agenda.

First order of business is Action Item No. 1, Approval of the Agenda. Do we a motion for approval? Approved by Commissioner Morian. Second by Commissioner Latimer. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Item 3 is Texas Statewide Recreational Trail Grants Funding, Recommended Approval of Trail Construction, Renovation, and Acquisition Projects. Good morning, Trey.

MR. COOKSEY: Good morning. For the record, my name is Trey Cooksey. I'm the manager of the Recreational Trail Program. A little background, the National Recreational Trail Fund Grants, federal grant funds from the rebate of off-highway vehicle fuel tax. In 2016, the Texas apportionment was $3,954,874. Of that, we're going to use $279,638 for program administration. And we have 600,000 thousand that was available from past failed projects and previous years.

But one note is 30 percent of the allocation must be allocated to off-highway vehicle projects. This year, we had 73 projects that were proposals that were submitted for the February 1st deadline requesting $12,577,705. The state trail advisory board met in March of 2016 to review and score each of the applications. Some of the qualities — or some of the things they look at are quality, cost effectiveness, recreational opportunity impact, and geographic distribution of funds.

Also, we're going to utilize $600,000 to fund state park trail improvements and here's a listing of some of the state parks that we'll have projects in over the next year. So with that, the recommendation is funding for 22 projects recommended in Exhibit A in the amount of $5,538,131 and the state park trail improvements in the amount of 600,000 is approved. I'd be happy to answer any questions.


Any questions from the Commission?

Okay. I don't believe we have — okay. Nobody signed up to speak on Item 3. So a motion —

MR. COOKSEY: We do have — we do have two people — no?

MS. HALLIBURTON: She changed her mind.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. So nobody signed up to speak on Item 3? Okay, thank you.

MR. COOKSEY: I think we do have one.


MS. HALLIBURTON: I don't have a registration slip. Sorry about that.

MR. SMITH: Can we have her just come up?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yeah, come on up. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: We'll take care of that. Thank you, ma'am.

MS. CAROL SMITH: I apologize. I thought I handed it in. Good morning, Commissioner Friedkin and Commissioners. I appreciate you allowing me a few minutes of your time. My name is Carol Smith. I'm the project coordinator for Texas Trails Education and Motorized Management, more commonly referred to as Tex Team. I submitted an RTP grant and am seeking approval for that grant. Tex Team is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are comprehensive statewide and we provide safety education for OHV and we gear towards youth.

We utilize a national curriculum with a lot of volunteer effort. We use the ATV Safety Institute, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, I'm also your state partner on the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, and I do work with AMA. That's Motorcycle Association, not medical.

Statistics, Texas ranks number one and has for years in the number of fatalities in ATV and OHV. From 1982 to 2014, we had 753 fatalities. From 2012 to 2014, we had 89. This is why we do what we do. We're here to combat this. We've had the declining numbers since 2007. My own personal opinion is this has a lot to do with the fact that we have very little public land. Most OHV use is just on private land where there are no rules, and there are no laws.

We utilize decal, your OHV decal program funding. The RTP funding will be a great asset to us. We have also utilized manufacturer's funding from Yamaha and Polaris. Those are somewhat unstable. They come. They go. Sometimes we get their grants. Sometimes we don't. Tex Team also partners with memorandums of understanding with Texas 4-H. We'll be teaching almost 80 4-H children at the College Station round-up in a couple of weeks. We also partner with Texas Department of State Health Services. We work with DPS, the motorcycle safety unit; and we also work with Baylor Scott and White and a number of other agencies too numerous to list.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provides hunter and boater safety education. Now, you can say you utilize OHV education, as well. Chapter 29 of your decal program mandates that you foster responsible use. We have 30 safety awareness educators, 11 State licensed rider course instructors, and we've seen almost 40,000 Texas school children in the past five years. We're proud to be able to partner with you to promote safe, legal, and responsible OHV use. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Is anyone else signed up on three?

Okay. Thank you.

So motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Move for approval.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Vice-Chairman Duggins. Second, Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Next item is Item No. 7, Chronic Wasting Disease Response Rules, Recommended Adoption of Proposed rules, Mr. Clayton Wolf.

MR. WOLF: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, for the record, I'm Clayton Wolf. I'm the director of the Wildlife Division, and this morning we're asking you to consider for adoption the Chronic Wasting Disease proposed rules as amended. These are the rules that were published in the Texas Register. And yesterday, I did a little crosswalk and reviewed the rules as proposed and then the proposed amendments.

This morning, because your exhibit in your agenda item has the text of the rules and it's also published, I'm going to focus my presentation primarily on those proposed amendments that we're asking you to consider for adoption. So first amendments — and let me also say these proposed amendments, as you heard yesterday, there was significant outreach, you know, beginning since the first of the year, development of stakeholder groups, and also the volume of public comment. Obviously, each of you have a binder that details all that public comment that we've received.

We've utilized all that public comment in the work with our stakeholders to consider these amendments. The recommended amendments really involve no new issues or new individuals. So the amendments we're asking for are really a logical outgrowth of the proposed rules.

So first, you'll recall from yesterday what we are asking you to consider for adoption with an effective date — from the effective date until June 30 of 2019, is that we would still have TC 1, 2, 3 facilities and we would have Class I,II, and III release sites with testing on those Class II and III facilities. However, from July 1st, 2019, and on, it would be much simpler. We would simply have movement qualified and not movement qualified facilities. We would still have TC 3 facilities, those facilities that are trace herds under a hold order from Texas Animal Health Commission; but there would be no release site testing except on Class III release sites, and that would also include any sites that were not in compliance with the rules.

As far as the bulk of the conversation with stakeholders, we talked a lot about Transfer Category 1. That's the category that would allow folks to release deer without any release site testing requirements. We're not — we're not making a change to the requirement that certified and fifth-year herds qualify and we're going to recognize those certified and fifth-year herds in the Animal Health Commission program. However, we also recommend recognizing those herds that have tested 80 percent mortality testing over the previous five years.

And then the one live animal testing pathway, if you will, to TC 1, which was essentially if you sum it up, 50 percent antemortem testing by May 15th of 2017. We parse out this provision a couple of different ways because we know folks have done a lot of live animal testing right now, and we want to give them credit for that. So if individuals have tested at least 25 percent of their herd prior to May 15th, we're going — we will set them to TC 1; but if they want to maintain that status after May 15th of 2017, they'll have to supplement that until they reach that 50 percent testing threshold.

Now, we've received quite a bit of comment on the fact that this particular provision would expire on May 15th of 2017 and not carry into the intervening years. And we know we've got a lot of public comment, comment from our stakeholders, and also comments from legislators to Carter Smith. And so if the Commission wants to discuss this more in detail, I would suggest that we cover that at the end of my presentation and then we can come back to this particular provision.

Other amendments we're asking you to consider is to be movement qualified, all TC 1 and TC 2 facilities must test 80 percent of the eligible mortalities annually. I've got the little asterisk in there to remind myself that if you're a fifth-year or certified herd with Animal Health Commission, we simply accept that status irrespective of the testing history. Also, TC 3 facilities would have to test 100 percent of eligible mortalities annually.

As far as release site provisions, we're not proposing any amendments to the proposed rules for Class I release sites; but we are proposing amendments to Class II release sites. As we talked about yesterday, a much simpler scheme, much simpler to understand, and that essentially is to test the first — CWD test the first 15 deer during the next three hunting seasons. As far as Class III release sites, we're not recommending any amendments to the proposed changes. Essentially, 100 percent testing of those hunter-harvested deer and the animal identification requirements.

And then as far as Triple T and DMP release sites, we are recommending identical testing requirements, that is to test the first 15 deer during the next three hunting seasons. So all of the release sites associated with all these programs would have the same provisions for release site testing.

As far as more breeding facility amendments, we recommend that all facilities permitted for at least six months must provide postmortem tests for at least 4 percent of the herd annually. Changed that nominally from 3 percent — 3.6 percent to a simpler 4 percent from yesterday's presentation. And then they must also antemortem — or antemortem test may be substituted for these required postmortem tests. A very important component now that we're transitioning to antemortem testing and so that no one out there would have to sacrifice any animals to be able to meet the minimum qualifications for whatever category they chose to be in.

As far as those postmortem testing substitutions, we do have some recommended amendments. First, anyone that could substitute antemortem test on a two-for-one basis if they fit into two categories. If they either had no mortalities or if they had submitted 50 percent of the — 50 percent postmortem tests of all their mortalities. However, if they're unable to reach that 50 percent threshold and provide postmortem tests on 50 percent of their mortalities, they could still use the substitution; but the ratio would be four to one instead.

Other provisions, this one we're not recommending a change; but just as a reminder, a deer must be 16 months of age or older to be eligible for antemortem testing. However, as we mentioned yesterday, we are recommending that you not adopt the provision that would require an animal to be in a facility for at least 16 months before it could qualify for antemortem testing.

Additionally, we are recommending a modification in that a deer could be tested no more frequently than every two years, as opposed to the proposed every three years. As far as release site testing goes, no change to the recommended provision or the proposed provision that all breeder deer release sites be high fenced and that at the release site, all the information, all deer harvested must be entered in a harvest log. But we are recommending that we not adopt the definition for liberated deer since that definition is no longer needed with the change in release site testing provisions.

As far as some transition amendments, we're recommending resetting the 2016-17 release sites back to Class I if all those sites that have contributed deer to that release site test up to a TC 1 status prior to May 15th, and also resetting those release sites, 2016-17 release sites back to Class I if all the breeder deer released on that site in that season are harvested and CWD tested.

As far as noncompliant sites, the proposed amendment we're asking you to consider is that release sites that are not in compliance during this past hunting season, the 2015-16 hunting season, would be required to submit CWD tests for the first 15 deer harvested for three consecutive years so that that requirement aligns with the other release site testing requirements. And also that if a site during the last season was not in compliance or even in future seasons, they would be ineligible to receive a DMP deer — or a DMP Permit, breeder deer, or Triple T deer on the release site until the release site testing requirements have been satisfied.

Other proposed amendments, we have a provision that requires that the deer have access to the entirety of the acreage on the site that they're released; and we've been reminded that there are, you know, many reasonable cases where folks have exclosures to fence off airstrips, orchards, crops, food plots, etcetera. And so we would recommend adopting this provision that allows for those types of exclosures for the protection of human life, agriculture, and ornamental plants, etcetera.

Also recommending an effective date of the rule to be upon the launch of the updated TWIMS application; but no later than August 15th, 2016. And as far as the Triple T Permits are concerned, no change in our proposed rule that there be a minimum of 15 CWD samples for each trap site; but we are recommending that the RFID requirement, the RFID tag requirement and the requirement to report those numbers not be a part of the adoption. And then finally, no change to the provision that no trap — there would be no trapping — no Triple T trapping from deer breeder release sites.

As far as public comment is concerned, as we said, we received quite a bit. You see on the screen the count as of — I believe it was late last night, it was 183 in support and 355 opposed. I'm going to go through a list of different rational or common theme for opposition. Most of those range from anywhere from two to ten comments, and then I'll highlight any of those comments that exceed that. I'll read through these reasons for opposition rather quickly since there are quite a few of them.

So those would include: The rules don't go far enough — these are people in opposition — believe the rules don't go far enough; that deer movement should be illegal; release site fencing should be eight feet high; released deer should be visibly marked; testing is not as expensive as the Department claims in our preamble; that there is a conflict with Animal Health Commission herd certification program; that we should notify adjoining landowners when a site has been identified as CWD positive or as a trace-out facility; that these rules are unfair and they single out one group or are discriminatory; that the rules hurt the jobs and the economy; that the rules won't affect CWD and that CWD can't be contained; that these are overkill, overreach, government takeover, etcetera; there's a recommendation to adopt the TDA recommendations and keep politics out of this and listen to the experts in the industry; to test all free-range deer; that this is a waste of taxpayer money; no release site testing; and that there be no Triple T release site testing or log requirements if they receive a TC 1 breeder deer; some comments that this is a — that CWD is a political disease and that there are ulterior motives or agendas for the rules; that we should test all breeder deer and hunter harvested deer; that the State shouldn't force breeders to kill deer; that there be no Triple T test — no Triple T release site testing; that we should allow live testing; that the property value on some of these release sites would be destroyed; that breeders shouldn't be regulated; that CWD is not contagious and other states have had CWD for centuries without a problem; that Triple T release sites should be able to gain Class I status; that release site test requirements should be the same as interim rules; that the live test window should be eliminated from the rules.

And then we also received a form letter that was initially distributed by Texas Deer Association and that count is 68, and then also what is an apparent Triple T form letter with a count of ten.

As far as organizations or individuals that specifically sent in letters or opposed and may also have been a member of our stakeholder group, those include Texas Deer Association, Exotic Wildlife Association, North American Deer Farmers Association. We also received a letter in opposition from Representative Lyle Larson recommending that we adopt the offer that was submitted by Texas Deer Association on May 6th to the stakeholder group. And then opposition from AgriSense Texas. I have it noted there, you got the letter from North American Deer Farmers Association, which opposed the rules, support that May 6th offer from Texas Deer Association; but also recommend that if that option is not up for consideration, then they support this most previous iteration that came out of the stakeholder group meeting and is the basis for the rules.

Organizations supporting: Deer Breeders Corporation — and specifically supporting this most latest iteration that came out of the stakeholder group — High Fence Wildlife Association, South Texas Property Rights Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers, and King Ranch. We also received a letter signed by multiple organizations and individuals supporting the rule and also asking that a — that this Commission consider identification — enhancing identification requirements on released breeder deer to include external, visible identification. Those organizations include Texas Wildlife Association, Archery Trade Association, Boone and Crockett Club, Hill Country Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Pope and Young Club, Hill Country Alliance, the Quality Deer Management Association, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and I believe it's ten individuals that are in the wildlife management range and veterinary fields. And then we also received a letter signed by 43 landowners in support of the regulations.

And so staff is requesting you to consider the following motion: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts repeal of 31 Texas Administrative Code Section 60 — 95.90 through 65.94 and new Sections 65.90 through 65.99 concerning Chronic Wasting Disease, movement of deer, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the April 22nd, 2016, issue of the Texas Register.

And with that, I'll be happy to take any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions on Clayton's presentation at this stage?

Thank you, Clayton.

We'll now hear from those who have signed up to speak. And first up is Don Loyd and Paul Tyus is next.

MR. DON LOYD: Good morning, honorable Commission members. Thank you for your time. My name is Coach Don Loyd. I'm a retired high school football coach. I'm presently supposed to be a part-time wildlife biologist and ranch manager; but that's turned into a 24, seven hour — seven day a week job. Before I get started, I would like to say thank you to the industry, the stakeholders, staff; and I would like for the people in the audience to give them all a round of a hand because they've worked countlessly hours on this problem. So if you don't mind, just give them some applause.

(Round of applause)

MR. DON LOYD: And that's whether you're for or against whatever, but I think they need to be duly noted that they have worked tirelessly and effortlessly whether it's opposed, for, or whatever.

At 3:05 back in the summer in the a.m., I got a phone call from a previous football player that I coached that was a ranch manager at the index facility. We talked until sunrise. He was — told me that they had susceptible CWD exposure, waiting for confirmation from Ames, Iowa; and we talked a long time about what this can do to the industry, what this can do to the state of Texas. We are currently — or I say "we" — I and the company that I work for, currently a small deer breeding operation, we don't sell a lot of deer. We do just enough to enhance the genetics in our pasture. We happen to be a trace-forward deer facility from the index herd. So, therefore, we are a Class III release site and a Class III deer breeding site.

We had to put down two of our deer breeders that came from the release site or from the index facility, and we also had purchased several stockers from the index facility. The two breeders came back negative, tested non-detected. Our stockers that were in the pasture, we cannot produce because in the years that we acquired them, we harvested them. So, therefore, I can't move out of this three facility for the next five years or four years now because I cannot produce the deer that were harvested in previous years.

So as we look at things, it's a very difficult situation for all of us too make, especially as a Commission. I got another call from the ranch manager later in the early summer or fall — is it blinking because I've got time — I'm out —

MR. SMITH: You've got 30 seconds, Coach.

MR. DON LOYD: Okay. Well, I'll shut it down after that.

I got a call from him that we — they had to depopulation their pens. So that morning we went to the ranch, helped them depopulate 200 plus deer. All of the deer came back non-detected. So what I'm trying to ask the Commission is this and what I see is this — I'm not necessarily for or against anything, but what I am for is antemortem testing and that we don't do anything like we did to a deer pen or deer population in that day when we sacrificed 200 deer for a disease that we cannot control or know where it starts from. Thank you for your time, and I appreciate y'all doing the right thing.


Next up is Paul Tyus, and on deck is Mr. Ken Bailey.

MR. PAUL TYUS: Good morning. Appreciate y'all's time and courtesy. My name is Paul Tyus. I live in Erath County. I manage a White-tail operation. I'm also law enforcement, still currently law enforcement. When I started managing a White-tail ranch, me and my family set forth to do this. We put our heart and our soul in this. The State give us guidelines, rules to follow. We've done that for about 13 years.

Last August, the carpet got pulled out from underneath us. We couldn't operate. We couldn't do commerce. Folks, this hurt my family, my kids, the way we live. I do not like these rules. I think it's very unfair.

The next thing is we try to promote our kids to do what's right. Last weekend, we bring a group of college kids to Brown County. We teach them about agriculture, food, water, livestock; and then we have State — State — whatever you would like to call them. They are the guys that set the rules for that county. And we tell them what we do and they say, "Oh, you're a deer breeder? We don't like y'all. We already know who y'all are."

That's not fair to us. So I would like for y'all to listen to what we have to say. Maybe we can find a happy medium, and that's all that I can say. Thanks.


Mr. Ken Bailey and on deck is Tim Condict.

MR. KEN BAILEY, JR.: How long do we have?

MR. SMITH: You've got three minutes, Mr. Bailey.

MR. KEN BAILEY, JR.: My name is Ken Bailey. I'm talking only for myself. I'm not talking on behalf of any organization. I stand here today because in 1995, I got with Dr. James Kroll and Dr. Ron Randel from Texas A&M and we discussed rather than bringing deer down to Texas, why couldn't we do artificial insemination and to my understanding as to what they were telling me, that was the first time that was ever done successfully.

And during that period of time, I have always abided by the regulations that this organization has issued. I even came up here one time and turned myself in and the law enforcement guy who was the head of law enforcement, said that's the first time he's ever had some idiot come up here and turn himself in. So I abide and I respect everything, your duties and obligations that y'all have.

However, we find ourselves in a crisis right here. And I'm going to quote two people that are a lot more knowledgeable about life than I am. One of them was Abraham Lincoln. He said, "I destroy my enemies by making them my friends." And the second guy is a guy that said, "To challenge the government is the greatest form of patriotism."

So whatever decisions y'all make here today, I'm going to live with them; but I'm going to make a decision because I don't have to do this and there's a lot of people out here that have put all their time and investment and money and stuff and time and effort and y'all are going to put them out of business and you're going to hear a lot more about that. You're also going to prevent people from having interest in doing this. So two of the issues that I see that are very important here to focus on is there is a great political issue involved here. There are the anti-breeders and there are the breeders. And right now, in my opinion, I think that the antis have a bigger voice here and the voice is heard more often than the people that are out here that's actually doing this.

I find fault with some of the procedural stuff that's been done. I find fault with the fact that there was a mediation called of all the stakeholders. They all had to sign according to mediation rules that you would not disclose what was said in there and somebody went after the meeting was over and talked to a representative of Texas Parks and Wildlife in violation of those rules and yet — and told everything that they had agreed to.

Now, I remember back in the day I was litigating and we had a bunch of plaintiff lawyers and a bunch of defense lawyers and a federal judge said, "Y'all have got to go get together and y'all have got to come to agreement, A or B." We went back in our room and we said, "A, we want A." Other group came into the meeting and they said, "We want A." A guy in our group said, "B, we want B." So that's kind of what we have here. There's no cooperation here and understanding. It's a crisis that some people can say isn't worthy of the status of being a crisis. It's not a crisis.

And I am going to make a decision if this comes down, whether or not I want to stay in this business. And I'm going to be back up here because I want somebody to tell me: How do I get out? Do I have to go kill all of my deer? I'm willing to do that because I may not want to live by these rules. Or am I going to stay into it because I think it's in the betterment what we're trying to do here?

The way it's proposed today, it's not; and I may get out but, I'm going to be a patriot. That's all I've got to say.


Tim, good morning.

And D'Anne Williams is on deck, please.

MR. TIM CONDICT: Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, Mr. Smith, for the record, I'm Tim Condict, the Executive Director of the Deer Breeders Corporation in Mesquite, Texas.

Mr. Smith, this past August I came to your office and met with you and Mr. Wolf for the first time. I promised to work honestly, fairly, openly, and with integrity. I asked for the same in return. All of the employees in this Department have lived up to my hopes and expectations. I informed you gentlemen that first day that I wanted to develop a plan to give every breeder and release site in Texas the ability to move to TC 1 or Class I through live animal testing.

A few short months later, Texas is the first state in the nation to allow a program such as we have developed. No longer is our only option to euthanize animals to determine if CWD is present. Thank you for leading the nation. Today is a proud day to be a Texan.

I would also like to thank the Texas Animal Health Commission for their hard work and patience while dealing with me to assist in releases for breeder and hold orders and every other possible thing that they've done. Thank you.

Throughout the last few months, I have participated with Mr. Chris Timmons to represent the Deer Breeders Corporation in the stakeholders group negotiations. I would like to thank all the representatives who worked endless hours to help negotiate and craft plans to put our industry back in business. I thank all of you.

The biggest detriment to our industry at this time is uncertainty. We need to know what we have to do. I would ask the Commission to adopt the May 16th amendment — amended comments to the rule in the Texas Register. I would also support any amended comments that lessen the costs or percentages of the May 16th amended comments. I would ask this to be done today to allow us the certainty we need immediately. We believe through the process of negotiation. We have developed the level of trust that makes us believe if a good faith effort has been shown by our industry to attempt to achieve our 50 percent live animal testing rate by May 15, 2017, and we fall short, the Commission and the Department would grant an extension to the rule for a reasonable time to allow all breeders to reach this benchmark to allow us to continue to be able to be TC 1's in the future in our breeding facilities and our hunting facilities.

Thank you for your time, and thank you for allowing Texas to lead the nation. This is a big deal.



COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Mr. Condict, on behalf of the Commission and everything, we recognize how much time and effort you have put into this in working with our staff and everything and we want to thank you for your time and effort and negotiating in good faith and trying to get something resolved. Thank you.

MR. TIM CONDICT: Thank you, Commissioners.

Thank you, Mr. Smith.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: D'Anne Williams, please. No? I'll set that aside in case she —

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, it's possible that we may have some people in the overflow and so —


MR. SMITH: — if you don't mind setting that aside and if she comes, we'll make sure she has a chance to speak. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I have it right here. Perfect.

And Jerry Johnston. Danny Burch is next.

MR. JERRY JOHNSTON: Commissioner Friedkin, proud to be here —


MR. JERRY JOHNSTON: — and allowing me to speak today. Does anybody in here know Horace Gore besides me? Well, when you call his phone, what his answering machine says kind of sums it all up because it — what it says, it says, "What we've got here is a failure to communicate." That's what Horace has got on his phone. So we'll start it out with that.

The hardest thing I have to understand is the severe interest in this particular CWD issue. When we've got — we've got anthrax in this state, and we know that kills human beings. We've got blue tongue. We've got EHD. I don't understand why CWD is attracting this much study and I'm sure a lot of grant money; but I do know that as a result, it's having the effect that you've already heard about personally from people. It's destroying an industry. It's destroying livelihood.

There are people that got into this business with their life savings, and they're just — they're hung out to dry. I don't think it's fair. This whole issue, if you live in Medina County like I do, Medina County, the population — I'm talking about people not even in the deer business — are worried to death about property value. Of all things, how could something like this destroy property value?

I mean, I wish there was a realtor in here that sells ranches and would tell me: How easy is it to sell ranch or rural land in Medina County right now? It's that bad.

I guess to finish up with, it's pretty obvious that I think we're overregulated. I don't see much change since 1999, but this is going to be a hard bunch to beat. That's all I want to tell you. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

Now, we have Danny Burch. Followed by Dr. Dick Cain, I believe.

MR. DANNY BURCH: Oh, good morning. I appreciate the time to voice our opinion. My name's Danny Burch. I represent the High Fence Wildlife Association. We would just like to voice our opinion. We don't have a lot of interest right now or a lot of stance on what's going on. We see a little bit of both sides. You know, one of our biggest concerns — and I think Carter Smith and Clayton Wolf have decided to do away with the 16-month residency rule. That was one of our biggest concerns.

And secondly, we're concerned with the hunter harvest rules if being able to test up to a TC 1 status is very detrimental to keeping our stocker genetics favorable to ranches that can release them and still make revenue. The industry is suffering because of the rules and regulations currently. So to be able to test up is very important to this Association.

We'd also like to mention moving forward with these regulations — we support the newly proposed regulations, by the way — but moving forward, to continue to build new regulations and to do studies and research to make protocols in the future that would still benefit everybody as a whole are important. We would like to — we would like to see and hope that organizations would provide representation that would negotiate in good faith in the future the stakeholders groups. I think there's a lot to still negotiate.

You know, this industry is a strong industry. We really don't have a stance either way as far as whether this is good or bad. We're ready to go to work. We're ready to support this protocol for the time being. Again, reiterate there is more to do; but right now, the majority of the breeders that I've talked to, the majority of the ranchers that I've talked to, they just want their rules so we can move forward with this industry.

I'm going to keep it short and sweet. Thank you very much. Appreciate everything.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Dr. Dick Cain, please. Brian Wilson is up next.

DR. DICK CAIN: Chairman Friedkin, ladies and gentlemen, been a long history with working with Parks and Wildlife. In 1970, when I started at Texas A&M, wildlife professor, and have had lots of interaction here. In fact, I was a consultant for Chairman Perry Bass way back then on Mustang Island. So a long time history.

What bothers me the most about this particular process is we had stakeholder meetings, and we looked at the science. Well, we only looked at part of the science. The science of CWD is still an unknown issue, as we well know. And yet, it's not a major killer of disease. It's a major killer of business. It's a major killer of property values, but it's not a major killer of deer. And we're looking at putting an industry that's in excess of a billion dollars in this state, out of business. That's not right. It's a high fence/low fence issue. It's not a disease issue.

I'm a member of all the associations. I've been an advisory board member of Parks and Wildlife; and I'm telling you we're looking at this from a political standpoint, not a biological or science standpoint. The Texas Animal Health Commission is who regulates diseases in this state. That Parks and Wildlife takes it upon themselves to create a disease emergency and regulate, is not right, it's not fair, it's not scientific. So I would just like to oppose the rules as they've been proposed. I think they're onerous. I think they're going to put people out of business, and they're going to affect property values. Thank you.


Mr. Brian Wilson.

MR. BRIAN WILSON: Good morning. Thanks for giving us your time. The way the rules are written, we've just been in business two years. We tested 100 percent the first year. We was required to test 20 percent. Last year, we tested 100 percent. We were required to test 50 percent. The way these rules are written now, now they want us to go back five years.

Well, we hadn't been in business but two years. So now we're being punished for going above and beyond what they required to live test a herd to be able to keep in business. And our genetics in the pasture are pretty much nonexistent. So we're having to release out of our — what will be now a TC 2 facility. We release one deer this year, we'll have to test 46 deer to be able to test up to a TC 1 status again.

I think there's a lot of things that need to be reconsidered on your proposal, and thanks for your time.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Appreciate it.

COMMISSIONER JONES: What was the last speaker's name? I'm sorry, I just didn't catch it. The last speaker, what was —

MR. BRIAN WILSON: Brian Wilson.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Brian Wilson? Okay, thank you.


MR. JUSTIN PARKER: Good morning. I appreciate y'all's time. Forgive me if I seem a little nervous, but it does seem that this room does not like me or my industry from my standpoint in the past year. We've tried to operate in good faith, test over and above, and now we're going back and that doesn't seem fair to us.

And I'm going to back up just a minute. My name's Justin Parker and I'm a ranch manager and a wildlife biologist for Santa Margarita Ranch in La Salle County, Texas. I'm here on behalf of Don Collis and Margaret Collis, as well as my wife, my son, and another coworker on the ranch, Cody Russell, his wife and his two kids.

The regulations as they're written right now that are being proposed that you will vote on, are determining whether I still have a job. I'd like for everybody to stop just a minute and look up and pay attention when we say, "You're affecting my life." It's not just a random thing. You know, you've got all these people sitting in this room. I guarantee you there's not a single one in this deer business that hasn't cried over the loss of a deer. I'm not talking about loss of money, not that they lost a million-dollar deer. It could have been a doe. It could have been a fawn. It affects us.

The regulations as proposed will greatly affect us. TWA, all the other listed, they don't care. They want to put me out of business. That's where I'm standing. This is a political disease. Name a state — name one state — go back and do a little research. Throw a little Google action on it and find out what state CWD has decimated a population of White-tail deer — find it — outside of government overreach. That's what we're doing here. I oppose the proposed regulations. I do support TDA's May 6th proposal. That's all I've got.


Next up is Margaret Martin. I thought I recognized that name.

MS. MARGARET MARTIN: Good morning, Commissioners, Mr. Chairman, Carter Smith. For the record, my name is Margaret Martin. I'm here personally; but as a former Commissioner, I know the amount of time and effort that has gone into this. It's a serious matter. It's a complicated matter, and I know the dedication of most of you that I've worked with.

And, Carter, you're impeccable, stellar personality and how you've handle this with integrity and ethics is commendable.

The amount of time you've put into this and the Commissioners and the Chairman and, Clayton, with your team, outstanding team, put you up against anybody.

So mainly it's just to give my support. I know it's complicated. It's not easy. You have a charge to keep. We have a mission statement. I believe you're following it, and I want to just thank you because there's nothing easy about it. And you don't take this lightly, and everybody's life is in somewhat of a peril at some given time. So just really want to thank you.

Thank you, Clayton, and your team.

Carter, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Margaret, thank you.

Pat Short and followed by Charly Seale.

MR. PAT SHORT: Yes. My name is Pat Short. I appreciate you people putting the time and listening to us. Yes, this is difficult. Most of us aren't public speakers.

The problem as I see with this that is the biggest dilemma, is trying to address current issues with past regulations. I'm not in the know and not with all the meetings, but I don't see how it's possible to — for — and I think that's what a lot of people are saying here. How do you regulate retroactively when we've all been under one set of regulations and rules and we followed those regulations and rules and then at some point now, we go back and say that those rules that we had that you abided by, we're changing those and that's how we're catching up in time?

I think — I don't understand how that can be done, how you can go retroactively on regulations when a lot of us have done what we should have done and supposed to have done and done by the regulations and by the law and now regulate behind us to place us in this point in time where we are now. As silly as it is, my analogy would be if all of you folks, for example, lived in a town or a city and you had your county commissioners decided that — a small handful of people, that committee decided that really for the good of the town, we're going to build a $10 billion bridge and we really think it's important; but we don't have the money to do that and all of you-all that paid your taxes, property taxes, and then went and lived your life like you were supposed to and by the rules and now those handful of people come in and say we need the money. So we're going to go back retroactively five years and assess you additional tax dollars and we're going to go up on taxes from here forward.

So it puts you in a position of perhaps not being able to afford to go back retroactively and come up with $30,000 or a number to pay the taxes; but because of the increased taxes, property values are down. So you can't say I want to quit and get out. You can't sell your — you can't sell your home and leave. So you're in a quandary and you're stuck.

All I can say is I just think that we should take things from a present time forward and when we try to go retroactive to regulate, that's where all the problems have come with. If we're going to change the rules, that's fine. Just start them here forward where we can start now and go forward, not try to go retroactive. It's impossible for us to contend with. Thank you for your time.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you for your time. Appreciate it.

Charly Seale and Keith Warren is up next.

MR. CHARLY SEALE: Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Commission and Carter, it's a privilege to be here. And for the record, My name is Charly Seale. I am the Executive Director of the Exotic Wildlife Association, one of the oldest associations of private property rights in the U.S.

The EWA represents 5,000 members across three continents. And in those members, we have crossover members. We primarily address hoof stock, exotic hoof stock; but we have crossover members in the TDA and also in the DBC. These members also have White-tail and Mule deer breeding facilities and all have huge investments in their breeder deer.

I'm also a White-tail breeder. So the rules that govern our investments and our property not only affect me professionally, but they affect me personally. I currently sit on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's working group that has worked since February to develop rules and regulations that will not only protect those animals in our breeding facilities, but that will protect the State's natural resource as well. After several months of negotiations with all the stakeholders in the working group, industry on May the 6th gave a proposal that was accepted by all major associations — EWA, TDA, DBC, and NADFA. These rules were very simple. They provided a clear, concise path to the elimination of release site testing; but at the same time, established more testing than had ever been done before under previous regulations.

Industry is very concerned about the protection of the deer on both sides of the fence. This is why the EWA believed this unified industry proposal was and is a very workable solution. It is my belief that the regulatory proposal that is currently in the Texas Register and any others that are currently being considered, will devastate not only the breeder industry, but the livelihoods of Texans who depend upon the deer industry.

Depending on how this Commission chooses to establish these regulations, the land values and the lives of Texas citizens that inhabit this land hang in the balance. Those that own ranches are simply one positive CWD test from being destroyed. I have dealt with CWD since 2002 in Texas, as did many states close their borders to the importation of White-tail deer and Mule deer. CWD has not devastated the deer herds across this country, but the real devastation is the toll it has taken on the citizens of any state where it has been found. It has been said that the definition of insanity is repeating something over and over and expecting different results.

Lessons should be learned from other states. After spending $30 million attempting to eradicate every deer in the southern part of Wisconsin, they increased their herd by 44 percent. We're not minimizing CWD. Please understand that. But it should be monitored and should not have a scorched earth policy either.

And, members of the Commission, you have a very difficult task in front of you. I appreciate the opportunity to address the Commission on behalf of the EWA and myself. I respectfully advise the Commission that EWA opposes the rules as proposed in the Texas Register and those dated May the 16th and urge you to consider the May 6th, entitled: Unified Industry Proposals. Thank you, sir.


Keith Warren is up next.

MR. KEITH WARREN: Good morning.


MR. KEITH WARREN: I'm a native Texan. I'm a deer breeder. I'm a rancher. And I'm a deer lover, just like everybody in this room. I hope everybody's a deer lover anyway. You know, I was — on May the 6th, it was one of the greatest days I thought ever. I thought, "My God, everybody has come together. This is wonderful," and then I left the country and I came back two days ago and I was like, "My God, it fell apart like a cheap suit."

And I'm like going these guys in this room — everybody asked me, they said, "What side am I on?" I'm on the deer side. That's all I care about, just the deer. I want to be on the deer side, and I hope everybody else is on the deer side. I think if a deer walked in here, what would he say right now? He'd be thankful that he's got y'all. He'd be thankful that he's got us. We all love deer, but we're all fighting over something that just seems so crazy.

And I don't want to be redundant, and I wrote all this stuff down because I want to hit all these points; but I think we all love deer. Nobody wants to see a sick deer. Nobody. We want our deer healthy as everybody. I worked all my life, just like most the people in this room, just like y'all to have what you have and to have an agency that has the ability, the mechanism to come in and shut us down and take our life dream away. I'm opposed to that and I'll be a patriot, too, and I'll stand and I'll fight because you know what? I fought all my life. Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to own a piece of Texas and I got it and now I'm sitting here thinking I didn't do anything — if I was the index herd, they didn't do anything to get it. They just got it. Okay? And if we keep looking, we're going to find it. Okay?

And I'm wondering, the people up — y'all, the people that own land, how many of y'all's animals have you had tested? Seriously, any? Okay. You want to test all of them on our place. Okay, whatever. But I'm just saying why discriminate against us? Why wouldn't you want to test animals on your place? It's clear that the reason why is maybe you don't want to find it.

The problem is not testing. The problem is discriminating against people and the problem is that when all of sudden you wind up not testing places, it gives the impression to the public that you know what? You are discriminating against people. This is a deer disease. It's not a deer farm disease. It's not a deer breeder disease. And what frustrates me more than anything is that y'all — somebody is driving a wedge in-between us. These guys are my friends and they asked me, "Which side are you on? Are you on the DBC side? Are you on the TDA side? Are you on the EWA side?" I'm on the deer side and they're all my friends and I'm on y'all's side. I'm worried about the future of rural Texas. Why would anybody in their right mind after watching what happened in Medina County, why would anybody want to buy land in rural Texas? Seriously?

I mean, it's like you've got to be kidding me. You're one test away from losing your life dream. And so I think just let's look at it from a deer's point of view, what would we want to do? And for the future of Texas, when we're all dead and gone, I would pray to God that enough people loved deer as much as you and you and me and everybody in this room, that we do what's right for Texas and what's right for the deer. This is a deer disease and I think we need to unify.

Like I said, on May the 16th when that deal came and we were all unified, yippee. Now, I'm like going, "Now what do we have?" So anyway, I just appreciate the opportunity and I'm glad that y'all love Texas and love deer as much as I do and I just pray to God that we can come to unity and move forward because there's got to be greater days ahead. Thank y'all.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Appreciate your comments very much. Thank you.

I hope I'm pronouncing this — I think it's Greg Gist, Dr. Greg Gist — guest, I'm reading the fine print here. Dr. Greg Gist.


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yes, please, Commissioner Latimer.

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: I'm hearing a lot of the speakers this morning say they're opposed to the rules that were published in the Register. There were some amendments presented this morning, and I don't know if anyone has had a chance to digest those; but I would like to kind of know if these people coming in opposition are still opposed to the current amendments.

DR. GREG GIST: Yes, ma'am, we are.




DR. GREG GIST: Hi. I'm Greg Gist. Thank you for the time this morning. I'm going to run down my bullet points. Hopefully, not waste a lot of time. I am here to support the May 6th unified plan that was proposed May 6th, obviously. These other proposed rules are really draconian in nature, and they're going to do nothing by tear our industry apart.

You know, tyranny comes wearing many hats — these retroactive rules, violations of Open Meeting Acts that this organization has been involved in. I think it's time to ask for a light touch from government. That's a hard thing to ask for; but a heavy-handed government approach is never going to help any industry, much less the deer that we all love. I want to appeal to your ethics and morals to reverse and do the right thing.

This government agency has been in violations, as I said, of an Open Meeting Act, picking winners and losers in this industry, and so much government overreach that we really don't have time for it here. I beg you to look at the science in CWD. The problem with it is it's a moving target. The science is evolving. We have no idea how this pathogen got to Texas. We have no idea how long it's been in Texas. And we really don't have any idea of how it's transmitted in Texas.

I feel like the Texas deer breeders are being discriminated against. I would enjoy hearing about any equitability in testing with our low-fence colleagues, which I'm not hearing about. History has shown that states have spent millions and millions of dollars with really no change in the herd dynamics anywhere that it's been heavy-handed. This level of testing inside private property is just not equitable. I believe this is morally wrong, and I actually believe it's unconstitutional.

Enemies of the deer breeding industry that are losing market share and a profitable hunting industry, are the driving force behind many of these — much of this political disease. These people are not wanting to compete in the arena of capitalism and science. The quality animals that we grow are a threat to a lot of people in this industry, and that's wrong. Not unlike the — when the combustion engine came along and the buggy whip makers just though, "That's wrong. Let's put them out of business." It didn't happen. When you create a better product, capitalism should move forward. So I urge a soft touch in whatever you decide, and I am in favor of the May 6th proposal.

In closing, we are the good guys in the White-tail industry. The public is slowly beginning to learn this. Our politicians are coming along, as well; slowly, but surely. And I want to close in quoting one of my heros. President Ronald Reagan said that the 12 most dangerous words that free people hear are, "Hello, I'm here from the government and I'm here to help." So in that spirit, I urge you to stop regulating and let's work together. Let’s adopt the May 6th unified proposal. Thank you.


Lynn Collard is up, followed by Carrie Collard.

MR. LYNN COLLARD: Good morning, Commissioners. I'm Lynn Collard. I'm a ranch manager and have been for 16 years. I had a speech wrote up, but I'm not going to do that. I'm going to go strictly from the heart.

No. 1, what you're doing to us is putting a lot of families possibly out of jobs, children that have been following this for years that won't have an opportunity down the road. So I do agree on the May 6th proposal, none of the others. If I had my way, we wouldn't do none of these, period. My opinion. We cannot control this condition. We'll never be able to. Everybody here knows what's happened all over the United States with these diseases. So I'm going to make this short and sweet. I am in favor of the May 6th proposal. If I had my way, we would do none. Thank you very much.


Carrie Collard, please. And Jay Reichert is up after Carrie.

MS. CARRIE COLLARD: I'm really nervous. So bear with me. I'm Carrie Collard. I'm Lynn Collard's wife, and those boys he's talking about are mine. Okay? And this is all they know and they love it and they want to continue doing this. I oppose everything that you're doing and I am also a registered nurse and I know how the CDC works and this is a disease. So I want to read you something, and so put yourself in my shoes for just a minute.

Commissioners, what a sad day for Texas with these proposed rules forced upon captive deer. You will not have any — will not have as many deer breeders or out-of-state hunters after today. As I see it, deer breeders bring in about $200 a year in permit fees for breeders and also about 3,000 — they attract about 3,000 out-of-state hunters at $315. The total is about $1.2 million every year for the State of Texas.

Without these resources, the State will lose $1.2 million every year. Now, your State agency will go stand in a line with every other State agency seeking money and ask for $1.2 million every year that your State just threw it all away. Who in their right mind would stop taking money from an industry who contributes to a fund that could be used to further the CWD science?

Yep, you found CWD. Okay? What are you going to do about it? Nobody has answered that question. You found it. What are you going to do about it? Okay. This is what you're going to do about it. Sorry, I'm really nervous. You haven't been able to find the source of it since the 1960s. You can't get rid of it. You can't contain it. You can't kill it. The condition does not choose between captive deer, wild deer, TTT deer, DMP deer, low-fence deer, high-fence deer, or deer with tattoos or ear tags. The condition chooses deer, all animals that are susceptible.

I think you should stop this regulation madness. Use the $1.2 million every year to fund further science on this condition and find the source of it, find a way to contain it, find a way to kill it before it jumps across the human barrier. Okay. You get more funds by growing the industry together and even more from out-of-the-state hunters that we bring into Texas every year. What good does it do to test for CWD when you don't have a clue what to do when you find it? Then take money from the other agency — oh, shoot. Yep — no, I did good. Sorry. Then take money from the other State agencies because you crippled the industry that brought you the money that you asked for for its research.

You're obviously not going to get any help from any other associates to fund this research. Looks to me we need to educate the Texas public about CWD and inform them they are going to pay for the science now, instead of breeders. Looks to me we need to clean up our state government, just like we need to clean up our federal government. Good job Texas Parks and Wildlife. Thank you very much.


Mr. Jay Reichert and Mike Murski is up after Jay. Good morning.

MR. JAY REICHERT: Hi, everybody. My name's Jay Reichert. I'm a TC 1 deer breeder. I'm fifth-year status CWD herd in the Texas Health Commission's program. I started breeding deer to release deer on my own low-fence ranch. I've been doing it nine years. Now, you tell me I can't release deer on my low-fence ranch.

I couldn't do it originally because I had to build up a big enough herd of deer that I could release them. One thing I want to remind you is all of you — everybody in the room is a deer breeder. Texas Parks and Wildlife restocked the state of Texas in the 1940s. The deer population was almost gone. They took all the zones. They put deer back out in the field. They let them flourish, and now we have deer everywhere by good processes and programs.

The laws of Texas don't differentiate by how high your fence is. Texas Parks and Wildlife is overstepping their boundaries by requiring that deer breeders can only liberate deer to high-fenced lands. At a minimum, once somebody goes through all of these programs and invests all these years and time, you've got to allow the TC 1 breeders, you've got to allow the fifth-year or better in the CWD program breeder to liberate low-fence deer. That's point number one.

Point No. 2, the temporary epidemiological study period is over. There's nothing temporary about what you're about to do for the state of Texas. Your actions and rules are going to have long-term, monetary lasting effects on the hunting and ranching economy for the state of Texas, especially for the rural communities. Think about these things before you do them. They're going to affect the value of our lands, how and where land is appraised.

Let me give you an example. Two ranches side by side. One is TC 3, got to test 100 percent of the deer. Next ranch over, TC 1, doesn't have to test any of the deer, 100 percent no-test deer. If you were going to buy a hunt ranch, open up a hunting operation, which ranch are you going to buy? Which ranch can you afford?

New testing rules, Point No. 3. Your rules are arbitrary and insufficient. Your sample survey is too small for any kind of scientific study. Just a breed — just testing breeders is too small a sample size. Why don't you force — why only force deer breeders and high-fence hunting reserves to test for CWD? Why not test every road kill deer in the state of Texas? There's 250,000 free samples laying on the side of the road every year. Why don't we test those as a random test sample? Why not require free-range, low-fence hunter harvest testing mandatory for the next three seasons? I mean, if you really want to do something, let's start testing.

Here's my point on example to this. If you go hike in the tall grass and you get covered in ticks, but you only look for ticks around your ankles, where are you going to find ticks? Why create a new set of CWD rules? We've already got a set of CWD rules we've been following for the last nine years with Texas Animal Health. Why not just make mandatory participation in that set of rules? I've been in there for eight years. Let me tell you how hard it is. Every day I have to walk my deer pens, count every deer head in the deer pens. I walk every inch of the pen if I can't find a specific deer. I process the deaths immediately. I follow a litany of other rules and regulations in the CWD program. What are we really trying to do? Are we trying to cure CWD? Are we trying to study CWD, or are we just trying to persecute the deer breeders?

Stop it. Recognize CWD is not — is not a political disease. It's a deer disease, and Texas love their deer. So let's do something that's good for the deer, and let's start testing all the deer if we're going to start requiring such major testing. Thank you for your time.


Mike Murski.

MR. MIKE MURSKI: Thank you. I am Mike Murski, and I inherited and own 1400 acres in Bosque County. Three years ago, I had to reapply for a new deer breeder's license to comply with the Texas Parks and Wildlife law to continue our deer breeding operation after my father, Ray Murski, died. Currently, I am both a Level 2 deer breeder and Level 2 release site and the majority of my deer are released to supplement my ranch genetics.

Last summer, I had to kill several of my breeder deer that were nursing fawns to achieve a Level 2. I did so reluctantly. I had no positive tests, and I was not reimbursed for my loss. I am a current member of the Texas Deer Association and a current member of the Deer Breeders Corporation and like hundreds of other ranchers, I am also a life member of the Texas Wildlife Association.

In no way do I agree with the TWA's position on CWD in this non-epidemic or the misrepresentation of their overall membership. I expected the TWA to fight for my rights as a landowner, and they are failing miserably. CWD rules — excuse me. My proposal for CWD rules under monitoring, must include a way for Level 2 breeders to obtain Level 1 status, either test CWD at an 80 percent postmortem of eligible deer or test 25 percent of eligible deer in your deer pens through live testing.

If a retroactive five-year time limit is imposed on non-trace-in and non-trace-out facilities, most Level 2 breeders — including myself — will be forced to sell our ranches and lose our business. Level 1 breeders are the only way to survive in this deer economy, and the new proposed laws force Level 1 even more. Level 2 breeders must have a current option to become Level 1 without a retroactive time plan.

Finally, it's my understanding that there are only 11 positive CWD deer tests in some 9,500 plus pen deer tested, with no CWD actual deaths. A much greater percentage of those Texas wild deer population have tested positive than the pen deer. Please do not single out the deer breeders on scare tactics of this non-epidemic. White-tail deer are not the only species that carry CWD, and Texas does not have a Donald Trump wall protecting the entire state.

Please remember all Level 2 breeders must be able to qualify for Level 1, regardless of time. We already paid our initial price by killing unnecessary animals to prove our deer pen health. 80 percent postmortem or 25 percent live testing is fair. A time period of like five years will destroy us and that — we just can't have that happen. Thank you, Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

David Yeates and followed by Mike Ford.

MR. DAVID YEATES: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Mr. Smith. My name is David Yeates. I work for Texas Wildlife Association. I'd like to start out — and along the same vein as some others — by saying how much we appreciate the time and effort put in by the staff of Parks and Wildlife and the Texas Animal Health Commission. Untold hours and effort, opportunity costs, and brain damage were suffered through all of this and it was all in headwinds of constant criticism, character assassination, as well as, you know, perpetually moving goalposts through this process. So I applaud the staff and the Animal Health Commission for doing that, as well as the other stakeholder members.

TWA approached the stakeholder process with the lens that we wanted to allow the deer breeding trade associations to drive the structure and the mechanics. They understand better than we do what works and doesn't in the pens and pastures that they operate. There's a multitude of nuance business models in that industry. So we defer to their expertise.

We relied on the agencies to tell us what epidemiologically sound, what was feasible for administration and enforcement. We simply wanted to hold the end product — whatever that blend is — to some type of comfort level for the rest of the Texas landowners and wildlife enthusiasts here in Texas that you need permissive allowance of co-mingling breeder deer with pasture-born deer demands a higher vigilance and more responsibility and transparency.

We believe the originally proposed rules achieve that. Albeit, through a complex way. The May 6th proposal certainly had some attractive components of it. The simplicity was very attractive, but specifically — and it's an esoteric issue; but in this crowd, I think it would have some traction — the one year of 80 percent postmortem testing of eligible mortalities to achieve no additional testing, if you look at the math of that, it's about a 10 percent chance of detecting CWD in a pen. That's not something that we felt comfortable endorsing. So that's where we came from on that.

On May 16th, Deer Breeders Corporation specifically made a counteroffer built off of, in my mind's eye, off of that May 6th proposal and it was much closer and in the spirit of compromise and, you know, certainly our desire to be, you know, good partners with other wildlife stewards, such as deer breeders here in Texas, we conceded and can certainly accept that. So that's really where we came from. You-all have a copy of a letter that we drafted. Through the entire process, we've maintained that unique animal ID is critical for bio security. And as you can see with the photographs of CWD positive animals in the pasture, that the current protocol is deficient and we can and should do better. So thank you very much happy. I'm happy to answer any questions. Thank you.


Clayton, can you speak briefly to that — excuse me, just one quick second. Sorry. We just had some scientific information that was tossed around and I just want to better understand that, if we have kind of a staff perspective on that. Is that...

MR. WOLF: That's correct. If you'll recall from yesterday, the comparison I made from — it's driven by sample size. But when you look at a year in time — you know, a good monitoring program for CWD has 100 percent mortality testing; but even in one year when you're starting, when you don't have any testing history, the probability of detecting that disease, even with 100 percent monitoring in a completely closed herd, is very low. It's 3.7 percent.

But given — if you go with those same assumptions of a closed system and like trading with like, through time — particularly given the aspects of the incubation of the disease if it is there, and you didn't find it — through time, that animal will die surely by five years and probably much shorter than that. And so you're probability of detecting within that system goes way up and so that's the aspect that was identified by Mr. Yeates and also identified, you know, by our folks and our — you know, our veterinarian like Bob Dittmar and the other vets on the stakeholder group was we really needed to implement a — we needed a — some provisions in that intervening time. We do appreciate the offer of 80 percent mortality testing for the entire industry. With everyone trading amongst themselves and working at that level, that really bolsters our probability of detection; but in the first years, it really is — it's just not enough. And so that had to be supplemented with some release site testing until we could get a few years of test history behind us.


Sorry about that, Mike. Please.

MR. MIKE FORD: Ladies and gentlemen of the Commission, Chairman Friedkin, thank you for your time, Carter. My name is Mike Ford. I'm a fifth-generation Texan. I live on the Red River in Red River County. Some would have to get a map out to find out where that is. It's not in the hunting community of the world.

My family landed there in the 1860s. A hundred acres of my ground that I own today, we've had since 1880. My deer pens and my deer facility sit on that ground. I can only imagine what my great-grandfather is looking down — they were shooting deer to keep them out of the soybeans. Now, we're bailing soybean hay to feed them. Things have changed.

I'm here not to debate the issues of all the amendments and the updates and stuff, but I just have one conscience question to ask the ladies and gentlemen of this court — or this Commission. How on earth in the great state of Texas and in this country we have that's still great if we make some tough decisions coming, how in the world do we have a volunteer program where these ranchers that are sitting out here, some of them on legacy ranches like mine is, how do we have a volunteer program in this state that the only result at the end of the day — we do the blood, sweat, and tears. We do the testing. I'm a nine-year certified herd. I'm TC 1. Great, I'm in business. Guess what? I ain't sold a deer in six months.

I have developed personal equipment that an international company is building for me, that's Priefert. Carter Smith, in the Parks and Wildlife, bought the last unit I sold six months ago. Nobody is buying no more. My question is this: How in the great state of Texas do we have a volunteer program where you're asking the citizens of this state that you represent to do a program test that the only result at the end of the day — it isn't first, second, or third. It's not win, place, or show. It's not best hay baled in the county or the best heifer raised. The only nugget at the end of the day is detrimental to my family, to my life, and my family's legacy of that land that we own in Red River County. If we that CWD brand put on my gate, my ranch is history. We do the work. We follow the steps. I'm nine years tested and when this all happened last year, I'm out of business for 60 days — 56 or 54, whatever the magic is. How in the world, if I do what you asked me to do — and I'm a TC 1. You shut me down for 60 days.

Imagine the rest of our lives if yours was shut down for 60 days. How do we have a volunteer test program that the only result is the detrimental effects of my land? We find a nugget at the end of the rainbow, but it's not golden. It says CWD. We've done the due diligence of work. We've busted our butts to find it. The program you had in place worked. It found CWD. We've got a grip on it. Clayton and his guys are doing their job. We had something that worked, guys. We don't need new rules. I just ask and beg of you, how do we live with a conscience at night that the only result that we're looking for is the end of my ranch's legacy?

I have one more thing. And that red button, I know it means a lot to a lot of us. I'll get out of here. I could talk all day. I've got 103 proxy votes that I could have their minutes. I'm not going to do that. Secondly, we're spending taxpayers' money — Tom, Dick, and Harry, Smith, Jones, and Hall. They ain't got a dog in this fight and we're spending taxpayers' money chasing something that as of right now — and I only went to college at SMU for 30 years before I graduated — how on earth do we have a volunteer program that when I do the work for the State of Texas and they find CWD on somebody's ranch — what he's been doing for a living is done. What he wanted to do for a living was give his kids or his grandkids is done. That name has CWD on it. If we're working with you guys, please take that into consideration.

We want to do what's right. There ain't one swinging person in this room that don't want to kill, fight, eradicate CWD. We can't eradicate it. There's 50 years of history that tells us right now we can't do that. We can control it, and we can manage it; but we can't eradicate it. I beg of you, how do we have a conscience that says the only result at the end of the day for me testing for C — how do you get a rancher that — no fence, low fence, high fence ain't got nothing to do with it. West Texas, Panhandle, 10,000 acres.

How do you ask that man with a conscience, Carter, to volunteer testing for his ranch because we think we may have CWD and when he finds it on his ranch, he's done? He's done. He's going to go picking cotton in another state somewhere. I just ask you: How do we have one result at the end of the day when we do the work for the Commission?

Thank y'all for your time. I know all of you busted your tails to be here. Thank you. Appreciate it.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Appreciate it, Mike. Thank you for your comments. Appreciate it very much.

Joe McDavid — McDaniel, possibly.


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Joe McDaniel, excuse me. And Rob Beckham is next.

MR. JOE MCDANIEL: I think you guys have probably heard all you want to hear, and I was thinking about asking you guys — and I hope you think it's funny — but do you guys remember watching Charlie Brown with your kids? Come on, can I get a — and they would talk to the teacher, and what would the teacher say? "Wah-wah wah-wah." I felt like you guys have probably heard all of that you want to hear.

I got into the deer business because I loved hunting, and I loved deer. I killed my first deer when I was 12 years old for one of our — who introduced me into deer hunting was one of our political families here in the state. When I was in high school, I started guiding for them. I took a lot of Legislators hunting. I began to love it. I began to love watching other people experience it; and as I became a business owner, I was able to buy some land. I was able to bring some biologists in and some foresters. I was able to design a place on a low-fence property that began to grow deer, and my neighbors harvested them.

And that made me start to consider high fence, and I think a lot of people in this room probably considered high fence for those very same reasons. I think all of you are here because you love the outdoors. You want your families to have legacy because of your position and you guys have been on the Commission and I commend you for that. But it's bothersome to me that you would look at what the industry says about this circumstance and about this situation and ignore it, and it seems that that's exactly what's happening.

Not a single deer breeder has got up here today to support what's in the Register. And the gentleman from the TWA just announced that it was a complex deal. I'm for something that's simple. I support what the industry brought on May the 6th and I wish you guys would look at what's simple, what's very enforceable, what's easy for guys — I only graduated from Baylor. But, you know, something that I can understand and that's something that would be pro-business for me.

I'm concerned. It's embarrassing. I can't tell me friends — like most of these guys, you can't tell your friends what you've invested in this business. It's crazy. We just ask that you guys would think pro-business; that you would think, you know, how you can support guys like me who want to care and develop and make deer in Texas a better thing. Thank you so much.


And Rob Beckham is up next, please. Followed by Hugo Bertanga — Berlanga, rather. Excuse me.

MR. ROB BECKHAM: Berlanga, but I'm Beckham.


MR. ROB BECKHAM: My name is Rob Beckham, and thank you for your time and consideration and your service. You've got some important decisions to make, and I appreciate the weight that you have on you today. I am a White-tail conservationist. So what does that mean to me? To me, the biggest free-ranging White-tail deer in the state of Texas died over 120 years. He scored 284 inches and he was in Brady, Texas. He's known as the Brady Buck. Some people call that a "franken-deer," but that's what God intended when a perfect storm happened.

Second largest deer died almost a hundred years ago and over 30 percent — or excuse me. The vast majority of all Boone and Crockett records in Texas are over 30 years old. So why is that? Hunters go out and they hunt the biggest thing they see. Over time of a hundred years, the genetic pool has been decimated in the White-tail deer herd in Texas. Also, we've only had about 30 years of good management practice and if you own land and you're managing, it takes a long time.

So simply stated, that's why I got into it. The man earlier said — two men earlier said they got into it to release on their low-fence ranch. So did I. I wanted to improve the wild deer herd and the deer that I saw on my ranch. Excuse me, we're all nervous; and somebody told me when you're nervous, you care. We all care.

The most effective tool we have for improving this body size, disease resistance, antler growth, number of other desirable traits, is selectively breeding deer. That's why I have a breeder permit, and that's why I wanted to release on the low-fence ranch. My official position is I oppose the rules Registry. I oppose the rules proposed and amended by Tim Conduct — Condict. And I feel that the best proposal was the May 6th unified with EWA, TDA, DBC, and NADFA. That is the best plan on the table, but I understand it's not even on the table.

By observing what has transpired since CW was discovered almost a year ago, I've come to two conclusions. This Agency was ill prepared to deal with a disease that's been around almost as long as I've been blessed to breathe, and you can tell by my whiskers I'm not a teenager. This is something that bothers me and I believe that this Agency in typical bureaucratic fashion has made it far too complicated, that end result is that they're going to have more jobs and a bigger budget. Secondly, I believe that the powers that be want to kill this industry. This disease is not one that is here to — if it was treated as a disease, the wild deer would be tested at a higher rate. I cannot fathom their motivation. I only know that the concern for CWD, if it was valid, they would be testing many more wild deer, road kill as mentioned earlier.

The fact that Parks and Wildlife rejected out of hand a proposal that offered 100 percent — 100 percent postmortem testing, tells me all I need to know. It makes it crystal clear that there is a nefarious agenda underhand. I beg you to search your hearts and your souls and vote a conscience that will be clear because there's a lot of families depending on you. Thank you very much for your time, and I appreciate you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much.

Okay. Let me try that again. Hugo Berlanga and Carol Smith is next.

MR. HUGO BERLANGA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Hugo Berlanga and I'm here — I'm a deer breeder myself, and I'm here also on behalf of Pete Moore, who's a deer breeder in Frio County. I've been around this institution 40 years. Twenty plus years as a member of the Legislature and 20 years working up on the Hill on various numerous issues. Nobody has been more supportive of this Agency than I was when I was there.

I was the first honorary member of TWA. I'm on the board of TDA, and I'm also a member of the DBC because I believe in the industry and everything that we've done; but I'm going to tell you something. Whether we want to accept it or not, policy and politics are tied at the hip and there's no getting around it. And some people get offended when you ask them: How are you going to explain to the other policy members on the Hill that you rejected a hundred percent testing?

Don't threaten me with politics. It's not a threat. It's a reality. Those questions are going to be asked. Now, here we are today. And why are we here today? We started out with 32 pages of regulation. After the last barrage that we just got through, we're up to 500 pages of regulation. Now, I thought we were in an era of smaller government, less regulation. And yesterday, I was so glad to hear members talking about keep it simple, make it workable, and everything. And then we look at what we have today — now, I understand there may be some changes made; but at the end of the day, it's really not good enough. It's not enough.

What you're doing is you're putting people out of business. Simple. And there's going to be a lot of hard questions that are going to be asked this next session. Now, we have a billion-dollar industry, a billion dollars. 800,000 jobs that have been created by this industry, plus numerous college programs across the state of Texas that are in jeopardy. They're hurting. I can't wait to see the economic impact study that we're working on right now and see what the net effect has been from day one from the rules that you guys have imposed on us because we had an emergency.

There has not been one deer in Texas that had died from CWD. Not one. The only ones that have died from CWD are the ones that this Agency have slaughtered. Not one deer has died from CWD, and we're already testing over a hundred — 400 percent. And you won't accept 100 percent testing? We just handed y'all a lot of tests from the — that was required of us. 50 percent of our deer — 50 percent of the deer that got harvest, you've got all that data. That's a lot of data that's already there, and yet you won't accept 100 percent testing. It's just — it's absurd.

But whether we want to accept it or not, the political arena and the policy arena are headed for a head storm come January and we better brace ourselves and I worry about this Agency because if the money is not going to be thrown in — and I heard you talking about accountability and to justify and justify the programs here at this Agency. They're going to be on the table, and we're going to have to deal with it.

Now, what's ironic about this deal, you're putting unfounded mandates on us. We're having to pay for that testing. Yet, if you do — out on the free range if you do whatever limited testing that you do, the State pays for it. Why don't y'all go to the Legislature — we'll help you — pay for the — to get you the money to pay for the testing if you're so set on testing everybody until now until the end of eternity. But you're putting an unfunded mandate and those questions are going to be asked. And again, I caution y'all.

I mean, you had everybody on board on a proposal. Yesterday in the 11th hour, you were offered a 100 percent testing mechanism and it was flatly rejected because the computer we have, TWIMS, cannot do the calculations. Are you kidding me? So we're making decisions because we have a system that cannot do the job? We can put people on the moon, and we can do all these things; but we can't get a system. So we're doing rules and regulations because your system cannot do the calculations. That is absurd and is totally unacceptable. And then we wonder why we have so much turmoil across the country today and we're going to be choosing from a Donald Trump and a Bernie Sanders? Are you kidding me?

But you know what it is? People are frustrated. They're frustrated with government. They're frustrated with the overregulation. They're fed up, and they're looking for a way out. We have an opportunity to correct something and do it right, even if it means delaying your decision by one week or two weeks. What's the harm? Let's get it right the first time. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much. Appreciate your comments.

Clayton, can you just briefly speak to the — I don't remember hearing that association with our inability to process data through the system; and I think we were talking about it in a different context yesterday, unless I misunderstood.

MR. WOLF: Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman. There's, I guess, a little bit of confusion about two different discussions. Mr. Berlanga, yes, did yesterday evening — approximately 5:00 o'clock or something like that — offer a plan to us — well, it was myself and David Yeates in the room and Bob Price — that had 100 percent mortality testing; but it was also coupled with some other provisions that, to be honest with you, did not adequately mitigate risk and it's along the same theme that we just talked about. You know, 100 percent testing starting now does not have the value that you have down the road and so it was — that hundred percent mortality testing was offered, coupled with a 25 percent antemortem testing. A 50 percent reduction in what we're asking you to consider.

And along the lines of those, to be honest with you, I also — out of respect for the stakeholder process and all the other individuals that have invested so much time, I was very uncomfortable trying to negotiate a deal in the absence of all the other stakeholders.

The comment — the comment about the computer system was a different issue. That was a discussion about this termination date of May 15th, 2017, our ability to be able to process antemortem tests. The rule we have before you, terminates that option in May of next year; and as I mentioned earlier, we've had several requests to consider extending that. In our conversation, specifically what I indicated was I needed time to be able to understand what the implications were going to be on our resources and in our development because the model we have now, we were just going to handle manually.

We saw termination of it. We knew we could handle it manually. And carrying a 50 percent antemortem into the future, comes with some other complications that I simply did not have the ability to assess yesterday nor even today. I'm not — and I said yesterday that option is not off the table. We are willing to look at that and look at our capacity to deal with that, but that is a — that is an issue separate and apart from the hundred percent mortality testing offer that was given — that was given in combination with some other monitoring aspects that really watered down the risk mitigation.


Carol Smith and Mr. David Aaron is next. Okay. I'll set that one aside, as well.

David Aaron, you're up. Followed by Brian Dart. Thank you.

MR. DAVID AARON: My name's David Aaron. Thank y'all for listening to me. I've been a deer breeder for ten years. Been in the monitoring program for nine. What I don't quite understand, they say 100 percent what the — what the May 6th thing we offered 100 percent testing. I don't understand why they say that's not enough. I mean, we've been testing for nine, ten years, different breeders, either 20 percent or 100 percent. Like myself, I've been testing 100 percent mortality for nine years; and they say that's not enough.

Well, if that's not enough, why not go out there — somebody else said road kill and get their percentage, get their numbers up there. We're doing our part. I mean, we're a limited number of people out there and y'all are just trying to rule — regulate us and everybody else is all right. You know, everybody else can kind of do what they want to do. But I'm definitely against the Texas Register proposal, the amendment proposal; but I'm for the May 6th proposal. Thank you.


Brian Dart and David Sunderland is next, please.

MR. BRIAN DART: Good morning. My name is Brian Dart. Mr. Chairman, Commission, appreciate your time. I just want to stand here and tell you right off the bat I oppose the new rules and regulations as they stand. This industry is already, in my opinion, overregulated. These new regulations just kind of go to overreach that additionally.

As we all know, CWD is here. It's not really going anywhere. We just need to take a deep breath and move forward wisely. It's not going to decimate the population, as a lot of people unfortunately think. Previous to all of this, breeders have been in compliance as far as CWD testing goes with Texas Animal Health Commission and other programs and clearly it worked. That's how they were able to find this in the first place.

Changing these rules and enforcing them is going to be a gross misuse and waste of resources, as far as testing the breeders and focusing on them primarily. I'm not going to stand here and tell you how to fix the problem because I don't know. The wise approach would be to follow the lead of other states that have already gone through this and have already spent the money and the time and really taken the responsibility on to try to get in front of this.

I'm a former CWD technician with the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and I'm not speaking on their behalf by any means. I've been involved in a lot of the negative public interaction that goes with CWD and CWD testing. I've been involved in the monitoring of the disease, as well. I have gone out and collected road kill deer, deer found on people's property, etcetera, rotten carcasses, heads, etcetera, and tested them and that was what was needed to fulfill some of these testing requirements unfortunately. Not something I really wish on anybody, but a very feasible way to get more tests.

Again, this disease can't be stopped. It really can't be contained, and we need to learn from these other states. The best option is going to be just to follow and monitor where these programs are. As I said, Wisconsin tried to eradicate their population. Only caused it to increase as a result. These new rules and regulations are discriminatory clearly towards breeders and people with deer in pens, and we don't know where else this disease is. Clearly, we've found it in breeder pens at this point; but there needs to more population testing in the wild herds and this is very doable, like I said, through road kill testing, through MLD permits, statewide on a large basis.

Continue to let breeders test for themselves. Like I said, it worked up to this point. There's no reason it can't continue to work. Thanks for your time.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you for your time.

Kris Fore will be next after Mr. Sunderland.

MR. DAVID SUNDERLAND: Hello. My name is Davis Sunderland. Thank you for your time, opportunity to come and talk to y'all. I've been a deer breeder for about — first, let me start off by saying I am in favor of the May 6th proposal and no other proposals, if I have to choose one, which I am in favor of that one. I am a deer breeder. Been for about six or seven years. Have two operations. One in Kendall County, and one in Zavala County. Small operations, very simple, trying to keep high quality deer that we can sell to ranchers that are looking to improve the genetics on their ranch.

Everything was going great and we were able to find customers that bought deer and used them on their ranch and has also been great watching them have hunters out and all the joy and success that they've had selling deer hunts and watching the deer grow. But when CWD hit and now that I have — I have — in the past, I have bought deer from one of the source herds. I am now regulated to the point where if I sell deer to my customers, they are required to do all kinds of testing. Right?

So in talking with them, they basically said, "No, we're not going to buy from you. We're going to go and buy from somebody else that doesn't require the testing." To me, that means probably in a loss somewhere around $100,000 this year and over the next couple of years or two or three years, probably 250 to $300,000.

I just cannot afford to do and take that type of loss in this type of venture, and I will be forced to do something else because of these regulations. I'm in the opinion that CWD is now in Texas. It's not going away, just like — and will probably follow the same route that other states have followed. Why we can't learn from other states and their experiences, I don't understand.

Supposedly, we are here discussing this issue of a wild deer herd so that this natural resource can be protected. Well, if Texas Parks and Wildlife really wanted to control CWD or really wanted to eradicate it, kill it, whatever, why wouldn't they require testing in the whole state? Why just concentrate on one small portion of this Texas resource and concentrate on the deer breeding facilities or the captive deer herd? Why not test equally throughout all of Texas, like other people have said. I don't understand.

I feel like the rules and regulations that we had before, all of the CWD worked. It detected the disease. It's helping us to monitor it, which I think is important to monitor; but I do not feel like there should be additional laws and regulations on the captive deer industry. Once again, I am opposed to the rules that are currently published in the Texas Register and in favor of the unified industry proposal that was presented on May 6th and signed by all four industry associations in Texas. Thanks.


Next up is Kris Fore.

MR. KRIS FORE: Hello. Thank you for the opportunity. My name's Kris Fore from Frio County. I've been in this business for ten plus years. It's something I enjoy doing and over the last year, it's been pretty tough. We give a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to these animals, our property, and the owners we work for. You put a lot of pressure on us to watch over y'all's investments.

And with these new rules, your investment is at greater risk because if I get sick or go out of town and I miss out on two or three deer that pass away in those pens and can't get testing on them, then y'all are at fault and it looks bad on me and you have to worry about your property and your family's legacy. It's not fair. I oppose these rules that are in the Texas Registry, and I opposed the Texas Deer Association with the three other associations' proposal from May 6th. Thank you.


We're going to recess for just — why don't we call it 30 minutes now? I would like to take a break, and then we'll reconvene at noon. Thank you.

(Recess taken)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: We'll go ahead and get started and reconvene now. I want to thank everyone for waiting. I apologize for that, but I appreciate your patience.

First, I want to thank everybody who has taken the time to be with us today to share their opinions on this issue. I also want to acknowledge and thank the members of the small stakeholder group who invested considerable time and effort to identify opportunities for consensus. I also want to commend Clayton and his team for steadfast commitment to find a balance among competing interests under intense pressure. In addition, I want to express my appreciation to the Department staff who have maintained their professionalism and decorum, in spite of very difficult and challenging circumstances.

I would like to note that the based on the comments we've received so far, I believe that the Commission needs to take a pause on this issue. We have heard a lot of issues raised that I believe —

(Round of applause)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: We have heard a lot of issues raised that I believe the Commission would be well served to take some time to further reflect on. To that end, I suggest that the Commission not take action on this issue today; but instead convene a special meeting to be held in the next 30 days, at which time we would continue consideration and action on this matter.

In the meantime, I recommend that Carter, Clayton, and if possible a member of the Commission meet face to face with key stakeholders to discuss some of the specific concerns raised today. It is essential and critical that representatives of any associations that participate in these discussions have full authorization to negotiate and commit on behalf of their organization. If we're to make progress in discussions, it's critical that TDA representatives are authorized to make a commitment which TDA will honor. Similarly, DBC and EWA, as well as TWA, need to send authorized representatives to this meeting.

I would like to go ahead and hear now from other Commissioners about this approach and this direction.

Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I think that's a good, logical way to go forward. I like the idea about getting all the stakeholders, but I particularly think it's critical that the people that come have the authority to speak for the people they're representing. Thank you.


Commissioner — Bill, I'm sorry. Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: If I could speak just on, I guess, a couple of general comments and I took notes from everybody that spoke today, which is why I wanted to make sure I had the gentleman's name — Mr. Wilson, I believe — that spoke. I wanted know what you had to say, and I wrote it down. Not because for show, but because it's important for us that we get this right. Even if you disagree, even if we disagree among ourselves, what's important is that we look out for what we were all charged to look out for when we were sworn in to do this job.

When the Senate reviewed us before they allowed us to be on this Board, we were asked to do certain things for and on behalf of the State of Texas and some of those things, again, you might disagree with and some of those things you might agree with; but I want to make sure that you all understand is every one of these Commissioners — I know I can speak for these Commissioners to say we care about what you say. We care about what you do. We don't have motives that are against a particular group or for another particular group. It might seem that way to you by the way we vote or make suggestions, but it's not that way. We're simply trying to do what we've been charged to do by the Legislature and to defend the Constitution of this state and the United States.

It just so happens that we're dealing with something that is very important to each of you in your ranches and your family and for some of you, your future; but that's not taken lightly by this Board. I just want to make sure y'all understand that. We hear you. We do hear you. And we're going to try to do the best we can to help you and to take care of the wildlife that we're charged to take care of.

So just know that this Board takes our duties and responsibilities very seriously and one of reasons why I think this is a good idea for us to make sure we analyze some of the things that have been said here and give it just a little more drill-down, depth to our consideration.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Commissioner Jones, thank you.

(Round of applause)


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Excuse me. I too think it's a good idea to do as you propose, and I also want to express my pride in the tireless efforts that Carter Smith and Clayton Wolf and the other members of the staff have made here and the manner in which they've conducted themselves in serving the State's interest.

I too want some more time to reflect on the proposal and some of the — or the comments that were made today and I join Commissioner Scott in emphasizing — and the Chairman — in emphasizing that it is absolutely essential for TDA to find a way to send a representative or representatives, if more than one, who have the authority to speak for the organization and make a commitment the organization will honor. That is absolutely critical.

And I hope those of you who are here in the leadership positions for TDA, as well as the members, understand that if this face-to-face meeting has a possibility of addressing many of your issues and concerns, that must happen. And particularly, we're all on a time — a bit of a time-sensitive situation here. So we're going to — the Chairman will reschedule a special meeting soon; but we need to get after this, but we need to know that the people in the room each have the ability to speak and commit for their respective interest. I just cannot emphasize that enough. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Commissioner Duggins.

There are others who've requested the opportunity to address the Commission today. We're happy to hear you; but in the interest of time, I'd encourage you to consider whether your comments have already been covered by other speakers. We will also allow for public testimony prior to taking any action at the subsequent meeting.

I'm going to go ahead read the names of those who signed up. If you do not wish to speak, but registered a position, your position will be noted in the record. If you would like to speak today, please feel free to come up when I call your name.

Kevin Miller?

MR. KEVIN MILLER: First of all, thank you and I want to thank God for giving me the ability to walk up here today. I'm — my name's Kevin Miller. I do appreciate all of the determined work that you have put forward and everybody on behalf of the deer industry. I'm a landowner. I'm a taxpayer, and I'm a deer breeder. We have been in business for two years. So a lot of the constraints that have been laid out in front of you for the proposal, restrict me being able to do commerce.

This was — going into this is a business decision. This is not an inherent deal. This is not — we don't have a release pen or release site. We took and put together a business model — me, my wife, my six-year-old daughter, and three-year-old son — for our longevity, went and put a business plan together, went and borrowed — I mean, a lot of these guys won't tell you what they've spent. I spent $100,000, and $100,000 for a nine-to-five guy is a lot of money. And if there are rules or implementations that are going to not allow me to reap that, what I have sown, then that's not right.

So going into that and past that, the things that I feel are legitimate and they have been discussed before; but I don't think there should be any release site testing. Two, there should not be any TC categories. You should either be movement qualified or not movement qualified. And how we get there, I don't know. I think that there needs to be a committee that will determine that and I put that in y'all's hands and I appreciate the due diligence of y'all to come across and make that decision. The third and next to final thought is I feel like the pen-raised deer, the captive deer should be under the Texas Animal Health program. I think that they would do — because they're a disease entity, veterinarian entity, they would do a — better job is probably not the right word, but they would do a better job of taking care of the deer breeding industry. Now, once those deer are released onto a release site, then they become under the Texas Parks and Wildlife. That's under some other states that do that.

My last topic and something that y'all have already achieved today is time should be allowed to go over another set of simple guidelines, to bring everybody together; and again, I think each and every one of you. I want to thank everybody that showed up for the deer industry and we do appreciate it and God bless.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much.

Joe Strack, would you like to speak.

MR. JOE STRACK: No, sir.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Coleton Burrus, would you like to speak?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Shiloh Sosa, would you like to speak?

MR. SHILOH SOSA: No thanks.


MR. JOE FRANKS: Yes, sir. Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, ladies and gentlemen, I had a big, long story here spelled out that I was going to read to everyone. The basis of that story was us wanting y'all to listen to what we had to say, and you have restored some of the faith that I had lost in our Parks and Wildlife Commission. And I just want to tell y'all thank you for taking this pause and doing a little more consideration on this. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much.

(Round of applause)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Alan Warren, would you like to speak?

MR. ALAN WARREN: I would. Thank you. Thank you for — I figured y'all were convening and taking this matter very seriously. I am not a deer breeder. I'm probably one of the only people in here that isn't; but I am a deer lover, and I prepared some — something I want to read to you. I'm hopeful and optimistic with what I just heard y'all say. I really am. But at the same time, I want to speak the truth as I see it and so many times I think we are led to believe something and, well, it doesn't work out quite the way that we thought it was going to.

So I don't represent anybody, but me. I want to make that perfectly clear. Again, I'm not a deer breeder. I have hosted outdoor radio shows and I do so for the last eight years, still doing it, and I talk about things that are important to me. And I think that this is a really important issue and I'm glad that we're able to talk about it.

So I want you to take the comments that I'm going to make and these are from a different perspective. I'm not accusing anybody of anything, but I'm saying that if I were to have an agenda — not that anybody does, I'm not trying to be sarcastic here — but if I were to have an agenda and I wanted to kill an industry, the deer breeding industry in Texas, I want to tell you how I would do it if I had an agenda, which I don't.

I would kill the industry really slowly in Texas because I understand that today, the easiest way to kill something is to slowly increase the regulations and requirements on the people in the industry that I want to destroy. I would create ever increasing rules and regulations on deer breeders that would act to smother their very existence. I would create time-consuming paperwork, expensive testing, regulations, permit requirements that would discourage newcomers from being a part of this wonderful industry.

I would make up stakeholder groups and include those that don't even have a stake in the industry and won't be negatively affected by whatever rules are finally adopted. I would say that the rules are necessary for the health of the deer population, even though they really are discriminatory and they won't do a thing to help prevent the spread of the disease. I would realize that the more infighting among the true stakeholders, the more attention is taken away from me and my agency. Again, I'm not — I'm just saying this was prepared — I wrote it last night. I wasn't going to speak at all, but these were my thoughts.

If I wanted to kill the deer industry in Texas, I would do my best to make friends to find the weakest link in the deer breeding association community and hope that they would break rank and create chaos among the other cervid groups. I would create situations that would force people in the deer breeding industry and to take sides and pit them against each other. I would create a fear of retaliation among deer breeders, making them too afraid to even speak up.

I would make the public believe that my agency is the only reasonable solution on how to handle a disease and deer breeders in Texas. I would avoid invitations to be a guest on radio programs where questions would be asked that would cast doubts on the agency and make the public aware of needless executions of more than a thousand healthy White-tail deer. I would do whatever it takes to keep my job and continue the flow of money to my agency's annual budget. I would know that the White-tail deer breeding industry in Texas, just like my State agency, must grow in order to survive and that no growth eventually means no industry.

I would spin every fact, rumor, and story that would fit my narrative and use them as weapons against the deer breeding industry. I'd follow the law, but I would look for any and every opportunity to just bend it a little bit to advance my agenda. After all, we know what's best. I would deny over and over and over again that me or anybody in my agency would do anything ever that's illegal. I would attack those who oppose me and my agency, especially the people in the media, by doing everything possible to silence them. That's what I'd do.

But if I was somebody with an agenda and I wanted to kill the deer breeding industry, I'd pretty much do what has been done so far, until just a few minutes ago when y'all hit the pause button. And I appreciate you hitting the pause button and I'm hopeful and I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for these great people and for the animals that we all love that we'll make the right decision as we move forward. Thank you very much.

(Round of applause)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I want to underscore something that was said very, very well and very sincerely and very eloquently by Commissioner Jones. I think the spirit of his discussion and openness about how we want to approach this next short phase, I think it's important that we carry that attitude into it. I think — in fact, I think it's critical and that's why I'm going to ensure that a member of the Commission is present, as well.

But for us to make progress and come to some consensus arrangement or attempt to come to a consensus arrangement that balances several complex issues, it is going to require an attitude that is really in the spirit of what you heard from Commissioner Jones. So I would like us to focus on that as an approach, and I just — I'd underscore that that's going to be vital to that process.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I also want to respond by saying there's been no bending of any laws or rules by this Commission that I'm aware of. So that's — to suggest that's occurred is completely off base. And I also don't believe that the Commission or the Department has silenced or attempted to silence anyone. I think that the staff has been receptive to any and all comments, complaints, whatever.

We may not agree or they may not agree with them; but everybody that wants to be heard was given the opportunity in the written comment phase and, of course, could show up today and speak for three minutes. And I echo what Commissioner Jones first said and Chairman Friedkin just said, that we have no agenda other than keeping our oath of office. We are not taking sides. We don't want to put people out of business. We're just keeping our oath of office and trying to do our job diligently and in accord with the law.


Jeremy Mickle, would you like to speak?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Make sure I put it in the right spot here.

And Brad — I'm going to have a hard time — is it Draughon?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Did I say that right?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Draughon, thank you.

Ben Schmidtke?

MR. BEN SCHMIDTKE: No, sir. Thank you though.





COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Mr. Bob Price, would you like to speak?

MR. BOB PRICE: Yes, sir. Chairman, Commissioners, Director, thank you very much for understanding and recognizing the fact that there's more work to be done. We're very close to that deal. I think we can get there. I appreciate that very much and I'll — I also hear and recognize, as the President of the Texas Deer Association, the instruction and the importance of that. I want to be sure that you guys understand that we have that message, and we understand its purpose very clearly. And beyond that, I'll reserve our comments until such time as we reconvene and continue work. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it.

Mr. Scott Mooring?




COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Jason Sekula or Sekula?

MR. JASON SEKULA: Yes, sir. Thank you for your time today. I'd like to speak on something a little bit different than what we've been talking about. I'm a biologist that works in the private sector. I work for a ranch, Shiner Ranch. I also have my own consulting business. We utilize the permits that the Department has to manage our herd and one of the permits that is being affected by these rules is the Triple T permit and that is one that we utilize for our deer herd. In particular, just to give you an example, it is a very productive herd and in order for us — in order for us to be able to take off enough animals, that Triple T permit is vital. We've been using that permit for — the ranch is high fenced to itself. It's never had any deer brought into it. It's all native deer. So it's a lot different than what we've been discussing.

Under these rules, we're kind of put into what basically would essentially be a TC 2 status. We've been testing for 15 years now. We've had a monitoring program in place for the Triple T permit since I can remember, since I started using it. We test at a certain percentage every year; and so we have a 15-year track record or thereabouts, maybe 14. Several hundred tests that we've submitted, not detected. So we've been monitoring our herd for years voluntarily to use this permit.

I don't see a need for the testing on the release site side. We've already established that our herd is not detected CWD status. I mean, we've been doing it, like I say, for years and we have a good track record built up. So I think places like this kind of fall through the cracks and I don't like to see the permits, which are tools for us, be drug into this and I've heard the MLD permit thrown around as possible testing requirements. That's not what the MLD permit was there for. It's for habitat improvement. And so to tack on some testing requirements to it just as a way to get tests from people, almost to force a test from people, in my opinion, is not a good idea.

On the Triple T end of it, I feel like if you look at the current requirements, I'm fine with the 15 tests on the trap site. That's no problem. I did 24 tests last year. But on the release site side, 15 tests for all — for three years after that, would be a huge number of tests. I sent deer to ten different release sites last year. 15 tests for three years, let's say 45 tests from each of those release sites, all ten of them, that's 450 tests with my 15. So now we're going to have 400 plus tests just tied to one trap site. That — if you look at it that way, the testing burden is there for other people other than deer breeders.

So I would just like to say take a look at the permits that we use and try to leave them out of this discussion. I know the Triple T does need testing requirements if we are moving deer, but look at how the testing requirements are going to affect the permit. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yeah, we will. Thank you. Appreciate it.

Marty Berry, would you like to speak?

MR. MARTY BERRY: Yes, sir. For the record, I'm Marty Berry from Corpus Christi, Texas. I own my own deer facility. I've been in business for over 20 years. I've been in the black for almost all those years until we found CWD, and y'all turned it into a hobby at that moment.

What upset me the most and what brought me up here today is not the groups that have been negotiating. I've tried to throw a few cents in about that. But what bothered me the most was I saw this coming. I saw it coming years ago. We find CWD in West Texas. I asked Parks and Wildlife, please, come to our State convention, the largest deer convention in the state, wildlife convention, three, 4,000 people show up, more breeders there, come and listen and then tell us what's going to happen. Do a mock study. What's going to happen when CWD shows up in a pen? Because I said y'all are going to be asking us to sell this and when we go to sell it, they need know about it ahead of time and say, "Hey, guys, you knew this was coming."

It's made me sick and tired because I've heard this one statement over and over. Y'all know what you're getting into when you got in this business. I thought I knew what I was getting into. When I got in here, I had two pieces of paper, then 20 pieces of paper, then 40 pieces of paper. Overregulated, overregulated, overregulated, overregulated. So at ten — 9:45 on Friday, August the 8th, Mitch Lockwood started his speech off something like, "This is something I'm really dreading having to do, but I'm going to do it anyway." I may be off a little bit about it like that, but it's probably recorded.

And they went into trace-in, trace-out, trace-in, trace-out. What about unaffected herds, that is herds that are not in a trace-in or a trace-out? Dr. Schwartz was there. Carter knew these guys are going. Clayton. They're all in this e-mail I'm going to hand you. So you'll see all their names. Business as usual.

I've got to tell you, I'm in a huge business. I'm regulated all to beat all hell, but I know going in what the regulations are. I can't dream up what they're going to do every time Congress meets or when you come up here to Austin, but I can kind of plan for it. I can't plan for business as usual if business as usual is what we got. And in all fairness, I really gave them — I sat back. I'd only made one phone call to one guy at the State and I waited because Carter was with Dee Ellis and he's testified before the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee and I was reading it and I was so excited because he said we guys — or something like this, "Guys, these rules, are they perfects? No, they're not. After the season is over with, Dee and I are going to sit down" — of course, he ran and he retired — "but Dee Ellis and I are going to sit down and we're going to go over this and we're going to come up with a new plan."

I thought, well, they're going to probably get back and we're going to see there's no CWD. They did since that time 23,300 tests, and we got 19. That's like .0004, I think. It's ten — four 10,000s. This is not an emergency. This is not. The rules you have are for people that have CWD, this is terrible, it's everywhere. They don't match. The plan, the medicine does not match the problem we have.

I thank y'all for serving. I'm sorry. I do want to say one good thing. I hate to leave on all negative stuff. We used to have an issue with law enforcement. Kevin Davis has brought integrity back to your law enforcement, as far as breeders go.

Thank you, Kevin.

And that's all I have, Chairman. Thank you so much.


Chase Clark, would you like to speak?

MR. CHASE CLARK: Not today, Mr. Chairman; but thank you for the opportunity.


Jason Scaggs, would you like to speak?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. And Angela Schmidtke?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. And Gary Schmidtke?

MR. GARY SCHMIDTKE: No thank you.


MR. MASON IRVIN: Yes, sir. Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Mr. Director, thank you for allowing me to speak. My name is Mason Irvin. I'm from Godley, Texas, in Johnson County and I'm a deer breeder and I have been for the past eight years. The other speakers have talked about the kids that have grown up doing this, and I'm one of those kids that grew up doing this. I've been involved with MLD permits, TTT permits, DMP. We have two facilities, and so I've been involved heavily within this. This is what I grew up doing.

Now, I'm a student at Texas A&M and I'm studying to hopefully get into vet school this next cycle and I just want to say that we need to look at the significance of the issue before us because when we look at CWD in Texas, as others have mentioned, there haven't been very many cases. It's not an epidemic. And as I've learned in all of my classes, we need to handle the biggest issues that face us. Frankly, CWD isn't the biggest issue.

It needs to be monitored. It needs to be looked at; and accordingly, it needs to have some clear, simple rules that can be followed, consistency. We followed the rules that were set forth by this Department for seven years to a T; and then all of a sudden, they were changed rapidly. We had to shoot a few deer to get back into compliance and then now with some of the proposed arrangements, we have to do even more testing and live tests and maybe even possibly kill a deer or two if — depending on what the final agreement is.

I just urge y'all to think of the simplest, most straightforward answer to this problem. There's diseases out there that are similar to CWD. Just to remind you, this isn't CJD. This isn't Kuru. This doesn't affect humans like — it can't be transferred like BSE can to humans, and that's an important factor that it can't crossover to the humans that we know of. So I just thank y'all for listening to me and the other breeders and taking the time to consider this important issue further. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much. Appreciate your comments.

(Round of applause)


MR. BRANDON HARRELL: Yeah, I would like to speak. I want to first off by thanking the Commissioners for tabling this motion for 30 days. Something we haven't spoke about though, I'd like to see an exit strategy. What are we going to do five years from now? What's a ten-year plan?

I, just like everybody else in here, I've got a financial stake in it. I'm two years into it. When I first started, the rules were one way. I'm in it six months, and the rules changed. I want to know for my livelihood and what we can do as an exit strategy. We need to work together as a team because we're all conservationists at heart. Everybody in this room is in this business because they love deer. They love wildlife, and we donate back. All of donate back to different conservation programs. We want to see wildlife succeed. We create the habitats and humanity for all these different animals. We want to work with y'all. So don't squeeze the blood of the turnip. Help us work with y'all.

You know, we've got all of our animals in these facilities. You know, we've got opportunities for y'all to test them and do different things. Let's work hand in hand and come up with a better option so you're not just coming after the deer breeders that have deer under a high fence. Let's work together as a program together. You have an asset right here. All these people are willing to work with y'all. They want to work together. They have the deer in facilities that we could work with. You know, work hand in hand with us. Don't rule with an iron fist. Don't label with like a scarlet letter with CWD. Come up with a different idea and we can all work together for a long-term solution so we're not doing live tests later on so we can figure out another way to get around this stuff and just work with us hand in hand. I appreciate your time.


(Round of applause)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Roy Leslie, would you like to speak?

MR. ROY LESLIE: I would like to speak. Members of Commission, Mr. Chairman, Carter, I would like to thank y'all for letting me speak today. I've got a little bit different take on this. First of all, I'm not a breeder. Low-fenced operation, we don't lease. I don't represent anybody; but when you think about it, I kind of represent a lot of people, a lot of the stakeholders that aren't really on the stakeholder committee.

I have a few questions and look at it in the future a little bit, a couple of — I am in favor of the proposed management plan. A few minor questions, a lot of them deal with containment. Section 65.95(c)(1) calls for a 7-foot fence. I'm not sure where that came from, but it does say later on that it must be capable of retaining deer at all times. But I'm not the only one in the room that's seen a White-tail jump an 8-foot fence. Seven feet is not enough.

I do agree that permanent, visible ID tags, along with RFIDs, are necessary to identify them when they're hunted, killed, sold, or when they escape; and what the penalties will be when they do escape. I have a suggestion also that Parks and Wildlife notify all those landowners abutting any trace-out site that's received deer in the last five years. It's impossible for Parks and Wildlife to enforce enclosure rules without the help of neighbors who share a fence with translocation sites. I promise neighbors will have you on speed dial to report any breach in containment. No one wants to live next to a cervid superfund site. It's wrong, short-sided, and dangerous to keep thousands and thousands of neighbors in the dark about the actions of those we have allowed to receive and contain and ship these deer.

I have a call for action, too. I'm asking for restrictions on the movement of other susceptible and not susceptible cervids that have been shipped throughout Texas without any regard to disease or habitat. I'd like to make this real clear. The unrestricted movement of any cervid can potentially negate all previous and future efforts to contain Chronic Wasting Disease.

I know it's not your job, but I don't have any confidence in the Animal Health Commission's ability to address the movement of exotics. As far as I know, they haven't yet asked our friends at the Chaparral who turned loose those damn wart hogs. We've been real successful in demonizing feral hogs and have a good start on Zebra mussels, Giant cane, Tamerus, and Giant Salvinia. It's time to add elk, Red deer, Sika and those long-lash, Disney spotted Axis deer to those that must be tracked. You're charged with preserving the health and well-being of our native plants and animals, and exotic containment must be part of the job. One last suggestion, you need a program director exotic containment and control. Thanks.


Larry — is it Friesenhahn? Am I pronouncing that right? Anyway, would you like to speak?




COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Would you like to speak?



MS. LACY DICKEY: Hello. Good afternoon and thank you for hearing all of our voices today. Really appreciate y'all for sticking it out and everyone here. To lighten the mood, when I first started in this industry two years ago, very green, had no idea what I was doing. Graduated from Tarleton with a wildlife management degree. So today I have a unique perspective on the issue. Very young. But when I first started, I thought when I'd ask someone, "How many deer do you have in your pens," they'd say, "I got no idea." So no one's going to laugh? Okay. Just to lighten the mood.

But, okay, if you had a child my age — which I'm not saying all of you are old in here, not at all — but if you have children who have a passion and want to pursue something and there's a roadblock, what would you do to help them? I mean, really, we all need to just work together on this issue and I really appreciate you guys putting a pause on this because when I applied to Texas Parks and Wildlife several times, it says five years’ experience, you know, pointblank. Like, that's the roadblock right there. So where am I going to get my experience?

Well, that's why I'm so appreciative of the deer breeding operation. I got my experience with them. I'm working on my wildlife biologist certification, trying to get that on the — you know, that ball rolling. But I'll make this short and sweet and I'm going to do what's called a home base. For many of you in this room, you have had relatives or even yourself, you've been in the organization called FFA, Future Farmers of America back then; but I'm going to just touch base and summarize the FFA creed because we all tend to forget what it really means. Not only are we conservationists, but we're also agriculturalists.

So here it goes. I believe in the future of agriculture, which we all do. I believe that to live and work on a good farm or to be engaged in any agricultural pursuits is pleasant, as well as challenging — right now — for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which even in hours of discouragement I cannot deny. I believe in leadership from ourself and respect from others. And like I said, I'm summarizing the really powerful points that hit home with me and hopefully all of you.

I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining. I believe that American can and will be true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can expect to influence — or exert an influence in my home and my community and my part and that inspiring task.

So today I just ask that you really are hearing our voice and consider a younger generation as myself, fresh out of college, trying to get the ball rolling with my career. And if CWD, with the regulations and rules hits this point to where I can't further my education or career opportunities, what's next? Thank you.


(Round of applause)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Brenna Waegner or Waegner, would you like to speak?

MS. BRENNA WAEGNER: Yes, please. Okay. Hi.


MS. BRENNA WAEGNER: My name is Brenna Waegner and I am currently a bio medical sciences pre-vet major at Tarleton State University and I'm minoring in wildlife sustainability and management. This summer, I'm interning at Spring Gap Ranch in Baird and I've also helped artificially inseminate at Wilks White-tail Ranch. I've always wanted to be a veterinarian; but like many other college students, I was scared and unsure of exactly what my niche would be.

From the moment I helped artificially inseminate, I felt like I knew what I wanted to do as a career. The decisions made today could potentially take away the career I have found such a passion for. I am new to this industry; but within the short amount of time, I have been exposed to so many things I never would have had the opportunity to be, such as the genetic aspects to conservation and management to the biology facet. I have finally found what I want to do and it could be taken away from me and I am going to be left with a huge amount of debt.

I want the American dream of working a job that I am passionate about so that going into work every day isn't something I dread, but something that I look forward to. When asked about what I plan on doing with my life, I should be able to confidently answer; but with the decisions being made, my answer isn't filled with an excitement, but with uncertainty, which I finally do have a little bit of hope after y'all's pause. But please take into consideration the next generation of conservationists, like myself, who believe in the future of deer breeding and management. Thanks.


(Round of applause)


MS. AMANDA IVIE: No thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Is there anyone who signed up to speak and would like to speak who has not had the opportunity to speak?

Okay. I also just want to note that we've had individuals who wanted to register either opposition or support for the rule, but not speak; and those individuals' positions will be noted in the record.

The public has been given the opportunity to submit written comments on the proposed rule. Since the 30-day comment period expired, I'm not going to reopen public written comment on the proposed rule. I'm going to ask staff to evaluate written comments already submitted and they will be evaluated by staff prior to the special meeting.

Thank you. And we're going to take this time — for real — a three-minute break and allow those who want to go ahead and — it's been a long day for a lot of you and I appreciate all those who traveled so far and got here for this meeting and have spent their time here all day. So we'll give it a few minutes to clear some people out who need to run, and then we'll continue with the agenda of the Commission. Thank you.

(Recess taken)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: At this time, I want to go ahead and reconvene the Commission meeting with Action Item 2, Nonresident Disabled Veteran Super-Combo Sunset Date, Ms. Ann Bright, Recommended Adoption of proposed rules.

MS. BRIGHT: Good afternoon, Commissioners. I'm Ann — for the record, I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel. You will recall back in — for those of who you who were on the Commission recall that back in November of 2013, the Commission approved a rule that created a no fee nonresident — or confirmed a no fee nonresident disabled super-combo license for a nonresident qualified disabled veteran. Prior to this, there was a resident disabled veteran super-combo available.

And you'll see in your materials and on the screen is the list of what a disabled veteran is and — sorry about — so here is the list of licenses that are included in the super-combo. We — when this rule was adopted back in 2013, staff was asked to explore with other states the possibility of reciprocity where other states would also afford this benefit to Texas residents who are disabled veterans.

And Carter Smith, through activities with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and in other discussions with directors of agencies, did explore that; but it turned out that that just wasn't going to be feasible. These other states had different licensing structures, different fiscal realties. Some agencies have authority to set fees, others don't.

So although reciprocity is not going to be possible, staff is recommending that we remove the sunset date from this rule and what the rule does, it really does two things. It expands the definition of nonresident to include a qualified disabled — a nonresident qualified disabled veteran. Normally, a — only a resident can purchase a super-combo and it allows both resident and nonresident qualified disabled veterans to obtain a super-combo license at no cost.

We've received 15 comments. The — there's one that was neutral, but we received ten in favor, four against; and the comment against, really they just opposed any nonresident getting a license. They would support a small administrative fee and this one — this second comment was actually in support. And then the remaining comments supported the proposal.

The motion on the screen is what we're going to be asking that you adopt, which is Parks and Wildlife Department adopts amendments to 31 TAC Section 53.3 as published in the April 22nd, 2016, issue of the Texas Register, with changes as necessary to the proposed text. I'm happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: What is the fiscal impact of us giving away these free licenses to nonresident members on an annual basis? Can you tell us that, for example, for last year?

MS. BRIGHT: It's a little tricky and I apologize. I thought that I had —

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Just the number of licenses times the combo fee, is it seven or $800,000?

MS. BRIGHT: There's — possibly, yes, sir. The tricky part is that, first of all, the super-combo license is not available currently to a nonresident. If a nonresident came in and wanted to acquire everything that is included in the super-combo, it would be about a little over $400. And so obviously the impacts of that could be significant.

It's my understanding that for — especially for a lot of these Wounded Warrior events, they're usually one- or two-day events. They're not going to come in and engage in all of those activities. So I think the cheapest license for a nonresident is like a one-day fishing license and so the impact could be as low as 40,000 a year up, you know, 800,000 or above, depending on what license the person would have purchased otherwise.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, I just think it's important that the Legislature understands that while we're, I think, happy to do this and want to continue it, that there is a cost to the Agency to do so. And it's disappointing that other states won't do the same for our residents; but I appreciate, Carter, you and everybody else trying to get that done. I just — it kind of baffles me that we do it and others can't, but that is what it is.

Anybody else have any comments or questions on this issue?

MR. SMITH: Vice-Chairman, if I could, just in fairness to the other states. I mean, we really were talking about an apples-to-orange situation in most states and so it was very difficult to look at comparability and then to try to achieve reciprocity. It just proved to be a lot more difficult than what was intentioned. So I — Commissioner Morian was part of some of those discussions. A lot of reasons why it was a challenge to make it happen, but I do want you to know that we considered it with absolute due diligence and I'm sorry we couldn't achieve that.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: No, I don't fault you or anyone on the staff or Reed here. I'm just saying I'm disappointed that other states can't — couldn't find a way to make it work where it could work, is what I meant to say.

MR. SMITH: And some states have. So there's a variety of situations out there, just there's so many different license structures across the country. That's what made it difficult to realize just an apples-to-apples deal.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. Has anybody — is there anyone in the room who is signed up to speak on this issue?

Okay. Hearing --

COMMISSIONER JONES: Can I just ask a quick question?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Sure, sure, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER JONES: So there really wouldn't be an incentive for a person not to get a super-combo if it's free.

MS. BRIGHT: Absolutely.


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any other questions? Comments?

Okay. Is there a motion for approval? Commissioner Latimer, motion. Second Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion passes.

I'm not sure who the presenter is for Actions Items 4 and 5, Approval of Conveyance of Land, Harris County, Approximately 10 Acres at Lake Houston Wilderness Park.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good afternoon. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program.


MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: How are you this afternoon?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I'm good. Nice to see you again.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Over the hurdle and ready to wrap this up. This item is a second reading of an item that y'all heard in March. We, at one time, owned a 4900-acre tract of property in — that straddles the Harris County/Montgomery County line just north of Houston. It's now called Lake Houston Wilderness Park.

It was conveyed to the City of Houston Parks Department because, quite frankly, they had far more resources to develop and operate that park and make it assessable to the public. The deed however stipulates that the property cannot be used for anything but outdoor recreation and we've worked for over 15 years now on a segment of the Grand Parkway that is going to pass just on the north side — let me get right to it — on the north side of that park.

At one time, a preferred route for that highway would have taken it right through the middle of the 4900-acre state park at that time. And we agreed with the Grand Parkway Association and TxDOT and Federal Highways Association that — Federal Highways Administration, that if they would move that road to the north of the park and use an existing farm-to-market corridor, that we would cooperate with them when the time came to actually put together land necessary for that right-of-way. And as this map shows, there are just a couple of small slivers of land that would be required to achieve that, totaling about 10 acres.

In order for the City of Houston to convey that 10 acres to TxDOT, it is necessary for this Commission to authorize the change to that deed. Staff does recommend that the Commission adopt the motion — the resolution that you have in front of you as attachment Exhibit A. I'd be happy to answer any questions that you have.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Members, any questions? Comments?

Is there anyone in the room who's signed up to speak on this?

Okay. Hearing none, is there a motion

for approval? Commissioner Warren. Second, Commissioner Morian. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion passes.

Action Item 5, please, sir, Grant of Security Easement, Cameron County.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good afternoon. My name's Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. We've had a request from SpaceX. As all of you know, SpaceX has acquired a 49-acre tract that's essentially an inholding at the Boca Chica State Park. Boca Chica State Park is currently leased to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and operated as a unit of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, but we still do own that property and any changes in the use of that surface requires the concurrence of this Commission.

What has happened on that site is that SpaceX has built — has started construction. They've gotten all their permits from the Federal Aviation Administration. They built a chain-link fence around that 4900 — 49-acre tract and what they found is that that fence attracts sightseers and that people go up to that fence and press up against it, even climb up on it out of curiosity. Because of the design of that facility — and I'll just get right to that map — the design of that facility, which was intended to avoid jurisdictional wetlands and other sensitive features on that 49-acre tract, a number of facilities are designed to be right up against that fence, right up against the boundary of that property. SpaceX has not anticipated the security issues that they find they're faced with and their preferred response is to build an outer security fence.

They own a strip of land on the south side of that 49-acre tract where they can build the fence on their own property. TxDOT has agreed to let them build a fence in the right-of-way on the north side of the property. The one place where they would have to have property or would have to have an easement from Texas Parks and Wildlife is shown in this map and it's on the west side of that SpaceX tract.

To achieve that 70-foot wide exclusive zone or exclusion zone that their security people tell them that they need, is actually going to require about 1.7 acres, 1.73 as it turns out now that the property has been surveyed. We did have one public comment opposed. Their argument was that the SpaceX is going to close down a significant stretch of beach and highway during launches and they felt like that was security enough for their operations. They also felt like the 49-acre tract ought to contain sufficient area for a second perimeter fence. That was the only comment received.

Staff is looking to the Commission for direction on this item, but if you choose — you do have a resolution in front of you that would grant staff the authority to proceed with that, the granting of that easement. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So are you saying staff makes no recommendation? Put you on the spot.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

MR. SMITH: I think in this case, Mr. Chairman, we are looking to guidance from the Commission on this. Obviously, this is a significant project in South Texas. Obviously, all of you have been following that. We have been working as closely as we can with SpaceX over several years to address environmental and property related concerns. This is a new request that they have made and we're trying to figure out a way to help accommodate it, if possible; but we just need some direction from the Commission here.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: In the interest of the Chapter 26, which we've looked at very closely, I believe staff is convinced that there's — there is not room within the 49-acre footprint for a second fence. Whether or not a second fence is absolutely necessary for security, I don't have the expertise to judge. If there's going to be an outer fence, it's probably going to have to be on property eased from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Remind me — and I think Commission Warren has a comment or question — what's the payment, if any, to be made for this?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: SpaceX will donate another six and a half acres of land to Texas Parks and Wildlife. This is inholdings in the state park that they've acquired. Again, part of their security plan is to acquire all of the inholdings within the state park; but they would go ahead and donate another six acres, six and a half acres. They would also agree to — and I can go back to that slide. They would also agree to construct a cable — a bollard and cable fence along both sides of Highway 4 from the park entrance all the way to the beach. That is something that staff has requested for some time and has worked with SpaceX. It's in our best interest and in SpaceX best interest to construct that fence to keep off-road vehicles from just striking out across those mudflats and those dunes and those sensitive resources. So they've offered to commit to that construction of that fence in exchange for this easement.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And is there — does the commitment to — if they get permission for the easement, are they also undertaking the commitment to maintain the fence and the easement?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: We haven't drafted the language for that commitment. We can certainly — we can certainly make that a stipulation.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: I have one question.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Morian and then Commissioner —

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Did you say they were also going to donate the other partials and out-tracts?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir. And I want to be completely transparent. Those tracts are being systematically acquired as they become available. There's probably another 30 acres worth of tracts that they've acquired or in the immediate process of acquiring. Ultimately, those will probably all end up being donated to Texas Parks and Wildlife. SpaceX has no use for them. They're a liability. We do have a use for them. We feel like plugging those inholdings in the state park so that they can be managed as part of the refuge is in the best interest of the resource.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Yeah. My point being, I think, that coupled with them maintaining the fence and it's an easement, so we would get that strip back if they ever ceased. That looks like a feasible opportunity, a win-win for us.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Warren.

COMMISSIONER WARREN: My question was answered. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Anyone else have questions or comments?

COMMISSIONER JONES: What is the length of time for the easement?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Well, the easement would in effect as long as SpaceX continues space vehicle launch operations at the site.

COMMISSIONER JONES: We might specify that issue, drafting of language.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir. And with the direction of this Commission, I'd be very happy to specify that the maintenance of the bollard and cable fence will also remain as long as the easement is in effect.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any other observations about — do I hear a motion to — do we need — I guess we would need a formal motion to direct —

MR. SMITH: Yes, we do, please.


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Morian. Second from Commissioner Warren. All right. I think that before we vote on it that just to be clear, the direction that you've asked is be sure the easement coexists only so long as they own and use the site, SpaceX, that is; and two, they have to maintain both the fence and the easement, right?

And was there anything else that — Commissioner Morian, did you have any other suggestions about what should go in as a covenant?

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: I had one other suggestion that you define or attempt to define what "use" is. They actually have to use the property. Just can't say they're going to use the property or something.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir. And we've had that discussion verbally. They want to be able to drive emergency vehicles into that easement. I've told them that we would probably permit no other uses. That property needs to continue to be mudflats. There's a jurisdictional wetland. There's habitat there. We want that to continue to be habitat. We don't want them paving or doing anything else with that surface that would interfere with its existing value for wildlife.

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: And all of this is okay with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who's leasing the land?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, ma'am. In fact, we took the liberty of contacting their Region 2 Director who sent us a letter we received yesterday saying that the Service has no objection to the easement or to modifying the lease to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reflect the fact that this property is eased to SpaceX.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I guess I'd throw out one more. I'd say let's preclude any lights or any other improvements of any nature or use, other than the fence and the maintenance of the easement. I would think we would want that.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: I would agree with you. Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: With those tweaks, all those in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Okay. Action Item 6, Grant of Easement, Jefferson County, J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good afternoon. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program here at Texas Parks and Wildlife. This item pertains to a multiagency/multi-landowner project that's been in the works for several years now at J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area. J.D. Murphree is well over 24,000 acres. It's primarily marshes and wetlands, sloughs, coastal lakes and ponds. And as you can imagine in that country with very, very little topography, management of water is a constant project.

A few inches of water, plus or minus a few inches of water can have a significant impact on the type of habitat. For many, many years we have worked to maintain a very healthy and diverse mosaic of freshwater and intermediate and coastal wetlands on the property. The creation of the coastal waterway, the coastal — the — I'm sorry, the GIWW, the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, has made that increasingly difficult. And there is a significant area of about 4500-acres on the north side — and I'll get to that map — on the north side of the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway known as the Blind Lake Marsh System, which has been very difficult to maintain water levels on, primarily because there's no way to get water off of that after a rain or a storm surge. And so those freshwater marshes have been drowning and there are five landowners involved and they've been working Drainage District and with Texas Parks and Wildlife staff, like I say, for several years now on a plan to use an existing north/south canal shown on this map in red to try and shunt water off of that Blind Lake System when there's too much water there.

That canal currently stops just shy — and I'm going to say probably about 30 feet shy of the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway. All of the regulatory authorities have worked with us to grant permission to finish that canal, to install a water control structure. There is an agreement pending your authorization with the landowners, with Ducks Unlimited, and with the Drainage District No. 6 to then install that water control structure and to manage the water levels in that Blind Lake System for optimum emergent marsh conditions, optimum waterfowl conditions, optimum — what our staff considers to be optimum freshwater marsh conditions.

Again, the canal exists. Everything exists but the water control structure. Ducks Unlimited has grant of about $900,000 to construct that water control structure. And at this point, all that's really needed is an easement from us for the Drainage District to use that canal and to build and operate that water control structure.

We've received no comments regarding the action, and staff does recommend that the Commission adopt the resolution that you have as Exhibit A. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I don't know that I — I don't know that I've seen Exhibit A. Does anybody else have it? Is it just a standard — standard resolution?

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: It's on page 111 in your notebook, I think.



MS. HALLIBURTON: Yes, ma'am.


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Length of the easement?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: It's a 25-year agreement that will renew if the canal and water structure are still serving the purposes for which the easement was granted.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is that a determination we make, or who makes that determination?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: That is a determination that the parties would all have to concur with, including Texas Parks and Wildlife.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So it would specify if we don't concur with that, it reverts?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: That's correct. Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: All right. Is there anyone who's signed up to speak? You said no one has signed up to speak on this?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: I said there were comments, no public comments.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is there anyone in the audience who has signed up to speak on this?

Hearing none, is there a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Morian. Second, Commissioner Galo. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

Let's see, we still have to do No. 8, which is, for some reason, not in this book. Oh, here we are. Sorry. Action Item 8, Public Hunting Program, Establishment of an Open Season on Public Hunting Lands and Approval of Public Hunting Activities on State Parks. Justin, please make your presentation.

MR. DREIBELBIS: Mr. Vice-Chairman, Commissioners, for the record, my name is Justin Dreibelbis. I'm the Private Lands and Public Hunting Program Director. I know it's been a long day. So hopefully, we're going to end up on a good note here.

Each year in May, we come to the Commission to ask for action on two items. Number one is to adopt an open season on public hunting lands, and number two is to approve the public hunting activities on state parks for the following year. In order to provide hunting activities on public hunting land, the Commission must provide for an open season. That open season is typically from September 1st to August 31st each year.

The Commission is also asked to approve specific public hunting activities on units of the state park system, which are included in your briefing materials. Staff proposes hunts on 48 units of the state park lands for the 2016-17 hunting season. There are a total 1,680 proposed hunt positions, which is an increase of 19 from last year; and 387 of these 1,680 are youth positions.

Preliminary hunt proposals are developed during the winter and early spring through joint effort between field staff with State Parks and with our own Wildlife Division public hunting staff; and they have close communication throughout the process to make sure that last minute tweaks are made considering population levels, weather events, those types of things. Most of the recommended state park hunts address management needs to control deer numbers and remove exotic animals such as feral hogs. Others such as quail, turkey, dove, those type things are strictly recreational opportunities on the state park lands.

So at this time, staff is requesting the approval of the following two motions: No. 1, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes an open season on public hunting lands to run from September 1st, 2016, to August 31st, 2017; and No. 2, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the public hunting activities contained in Exhibit A to take place on units of the state park system. I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: When we say an open season, that's still limited per our other seasons by species. I mean, I realize hog hunting would be open, I guess, 365 days a year; but deer season wouldn't be open unless otherwise open in the county.

MR. DREIBELBIS: Yes, that's correct. It's just opening a public hunting season allowing us to actually have public hunts on these State properties.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. Any questions or comments?

Is there anyone in the audience who's registered to talk on this?

Hearing none, is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: I have one question. How many people register or apply for the drawn hunts? Just as a new Commissioner, I have no idea.

MR. DREIBELBIS: There's quite a few, and that number has gone up significantly here in the last two years with our new online draw system; but if you don't mind, I'm going to ask Kelly Edmiston if he has that number off the top of his head.

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: You can send it to me later. I just —

MR. DREIBELBIS: Okay, yeah. 116,000 applications this last year.


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Good work. Is there a motion for approval?




COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Galo. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

MR. DREIBELBIS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Mr. Smith, this Commission has completed its Commission meeting business. So I declare us adjourned at —

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: — 2:15 — no, sorry, 2:34 p.m.

(Commission Meeting Adjourns)

In official recognition of the adoption of this resolution in a lawfully called public meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, we hereby affix our signatures this _____ day of ______________, 2016.

T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman

Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

Anna B. Galo, Member

Bill Jones, Member

Jeanne W. Latimer, Member

James H. Lee, Member

S. Reed Morian, Member

Dick Scott, Member

Kelcy L. Warren, Member



I, Paige S. Watts, Certified Shorthand Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do hereby certify that the above-mentioned matter occurred as hereinbefore set out.

I FURTHER CERTIFY THAT the proceedings of such were reported by me or under my supervision, later reduced to typewritten form under my supervision and control and that the foregoing pages are a full, true, and correct transcription of the original notes.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Turn in date _____ day of ________________, ________.

Paige S. Watts, CSR
CSR No.: 8311
Expiration: December 31, 2016
7010 Cool Canyon Cove
Round Rock, Texas 78681

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