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Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Presenters: Shawn Gray
Shaun Oldenburger

Action
2020-2021 Statewide Hunting and Migratory Game Bird Proclamations
Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes
May 21, 2020

I.      Executive Summary:  With this item, the staff seeks adoption of proposed amendments to the Statewide Hunting Proclamation and the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation. The amendments and new sections would:

 

General

Migratory Game Bird Regulations

 

II.     Discussion:  Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking wildlife resources is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapter 61.  The proposed changes are based upon statutory requirements and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable. The proposed changes are intended to increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state.

At the Commission Work Session meeting on January 22, 2020, the staff was authorized to publish the proposed rules in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed rules appeared in the February 21, 2020 issue of the Texas Register(45 TexReg 1176, 1190).  A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be presented at the time of the hearing.

III.   Recommendation:  The staff recommends that the Commission adopt the proposed motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to §§65.3 and 65.24, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation and amendments to §§65.314-65.320, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 21, 2020 issue of the Texas Register(45 TexReg 1176, 1190).”

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Statewide Hunting Proclamation
  2. Exhibit B – Proposed Migratory Game Bird Proclamation

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

2020-2021 STATEWIDE HUNTING PROCLAMATION

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §65.3 and §65.24, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation. The department is in the process of automating the application and issuance procedures for pronghorn antelope and antlerless mule deer permits, which has until this point been manual. To do so efficiently and cost-effectively, the department has determined that those processes should first be defined by rule in order to provide a definitive, permanent structure before programming begins.

        The proposed amendment to §65.3, concerning Definitions, would add definitions for “herd unit,” “buck pronghorn,” and “pronghorn.” “Herd unit” would be defined as “a discrete geographical area designated by the department for the purpose of population monitoring and permit issuance with respect to pronghorn,” which is necessary to create an unambiguous meaning for the basic management context utilized by the department for pronghorn. The proposed amendment also would define “pronghorn” as “pronghorn antelope (Antilocarpa americana).” Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 63, designates the “pronghorn antelope” as a game species; however, the animal is not a true antelope. Additionally, the department believes it is less cumbersome to simply refer to the animal as a pronghorn. Therefore, the definition is necessary to establish that the word “pronghorn” means the pronghorn antelope established by statute as a game animal. The proposed amendment also would define “buck pronghorn” as “a pronghorn with black cheek patches below the ears,” which is necessary because certain harvest rules in the subchapter have a narrow application to male pronghorn (bucks), which are distinguishable by their unique markings. Finally, the proposed amendment relocates the definition for “pre-charged pneumatic” in order to preserve the alphabetic order of the section.

        The proposed amendment to §65.24, concerning Permits, would set forth the application requirements and conditions for the issuance of pronghorn and antlerless mule deer permits. The proposed amendment would alter subsection (a) to allow for multiple landowners to combine multiple tracts of land to create an aggregate acreage for permit issuance and utilization. By allowing acreages to be combined, the department hopes to increase hunting opportunity and encourage resource management; however, because mule deer are very mobile and can travel substantial distances within their home ranges, the department employs a conservative harvest philosophy for the doe segment of the mule deer population. In order to ensure that harvest is not concentrated to a deleterious extent in one or two areas, the proposed rule would require tracts of land within an aggregate acreage to be contiguous, which is necessary to distribute hunting pressure and harvest across a geographical range. Proposed new subsection (d) would require all permit applications to be submitted electronically and establish application deadlines. The purpose of automation is to relieve staff of burdensome, time-consuming administrative labor, which allows more time that can be devoted to other job duties. Therefore, use of the automated system must be mandatory in order to achieve maximal efficiency. Additionally, deadlines must be established in order to establish smooth workflows.

        Proposed new subsection (e) would require landowners who receive permits to maintain a daily harvest log and prescribe the information that must be contained in the daily harvest log (name of hunter, driver’s license or customer number, date of kill, location of kill). A daily harvest log is necessary to allow the department to verify that permits are being lawfully utilized.

        Finally, the proposed amendment would require landowners to enter harvest data by a deadline following the end of permit validity. The submitted data is used by the department to inform and guide future management decisions.

2. Fiscal Note.

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

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

        (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the dispensation of the agency’s statutory duty to protect and conserve the resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission’s policy to maximize recreational opportunity within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

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

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

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

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

        (D) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

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

        (F) In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0221, the department has prepared the following Government Growth Impact Statement (GGIS).  The rules as proposed, if adopted, will:

                 (1) neither create nor eliminate a government program;

                 (2) not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs;

                 (3) not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding;

                 (4) not affect the amount of any fee;

                 (5) create a new regulation (the rules governing permit application and issuance);

                 (6) not repeal, expand, or limit an existing regulation;

                 (7) neither increase nor decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation; and

                 (8) not positively or adversely affect the state’s economy.

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Shawn Gray at (432) 837-2051, e-mail: shawn.gray@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department’s website at http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/.

5. Statutory Authority.

        The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

6. Rule Text

        §65.3. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms in this chapter shall have the meanings assigned in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code.

                 (1) – (10) (No change.)

                 [(11) Pre-charged pneumatic — An air gun or arrow gun for which the propellant is supplied or introduced by means of a source that is physically separate from the air gun or arrow gun.]

                 (11)[(12)] Buck deer — A deer having a hardened antler protruding through the skin.

                 (12) Buck pronghorn—A pronghorn with black cheek patches below the ears.

                 (13) – (18) (No change.)

                 (19) Herd unit—A discrete geographical area designated by the department for the purpose of population monitoring and permit issuance with respect to pronghorn. 

                 (20)[(19)] Landowner — Any person who has an ownership interest in a tract of land, and includes a person authorized by the landowner to act on behalf of the landowner as the landowner’s agent.

                 (21)[(20)] Lawful archery equipment — Longbow, recurved bow, and compound bow.

                 (22)[(21)] License year — The period of time for which an annual hunting license is valid.

                 (23)[(22)] Muzzleloader — Any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle.

                 (24)[(23)] Permanent residence — One’s domicile. This does not include a temporary abode or dwelling such as a hunting/fishing club, or any club house, cabin, tent, or trailer house used as a hunting/fishing club, or any hotel, motel, or rooming house used during a hunting, fishing, pleasure, or business trip.

                 (25)[(24)] Possession limit — The maximum number of a wildlife resource that may be lawfully possessed at one time.

                 (26) Pre-charged pneumatic — An air gun or arrow gun for which the propellant is supplied or introduced by means of a source that is physically separate from the air gun or arrow gun.

                 (27) Pronghorn—A pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana).

                 (28)[(25)]  Silencer or sound-suppressing device — Any device that reduces the normal noise level created when the firearm is discharged or fired.

                 (29)[(26)] Spike-buck deer — A buck deer with no antler having more than one point.

                 (30)[(27)] Unbranched antler — An antler having no more than one antler point.

                 (31)[(28)] Unbranched antlered deer — A buck deer having at least one unbranched antler.

                 (32)[(29)] Upper-limb disability — A permanent loss of the use of fingers, hand or arm in a manner that renders a person incapable of using a longbow, compound bow or recurved bow.

                 (33)[(30)] Wildlife resources — Alligators, all game animals, and all game birds.

                 (34)[(31)] Wounded deer — A deer leaving a blood trail.

        §65.24. Permits.

                 (a) Except as specifically provided in this subchapter, permits and tags issued under the provisions of this subchapter shall be issued only to the landowner. Multiple landowners may combine multiple tracts of land to create an aggregate acreage for issuance of pronghorn or antlerless mule deer permits; however, tracts of land aggregated for purposes of antlerless mule deer permit issuance must be contiguous.  

                 (b) – (c) (No change)

                 (d) All applications for issuance of pronghorn permits or antlerless mule deer permits shall be submitted electronically via a department system designated for that purpose on or before the deadline specified in this subsection. The deadline for submission of applications for:

                         (1) pronghorn permits is July 1; and

                         (2) antlerless mule deer permits is September 1.

                 (e) A landowner to whom a pronghorn or antlerless mule deer permit is issued shall maintain a legible daily harvest log on the tract a tract of land for which the permit is issued.

                         (1) The daily harvest log shall be on a form provided or approved by the department and shall be maintained by the landowner until the last day of permit validity.

                         (2) A person who kills a pronghorn or antlerless mule deer that is required by a provision of this subchapter to be tagged shall, on the same day that the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer is killed, legibly enter the required information in the daily harvest log.

                                  (A) The daily harvest log shall contain the following information for each pronghorn or antlerless mule deer killed on the enrolled tract of land:

                                          (i) the name and customer or driver’s license number of the person who killed the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer; 

                                          (ii) the date the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer was killed; 

                                          (iii) the location where the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer was killed; and

                                          (iv) the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer permit number of the permit affixed to the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer, as appropriate. 

                                  (B) The daily harvest log shall be made available to any department employee acting in the performance of official duties upon request.

                 (f) A person to whom the department has issued pronghorn or antlerless mule deer permits shall submit a harvest report electronically via a department system designated for that purpose.

                         (1) For pronghorn, the harvest report shall be submitted by no later than October 31 of the year of permit issuance. The report shall contain the number of buck and/or doe pronghorn killed in addition to any other information required by the department.

                         (2) For antlerless mule deer, the harvest report shall be submitted by no later than January 15 of the year following the year of permit issuance. The report shall contain the number of antlerless mule deer killed in addition to any other information required by the department.

                 (f)[(d)] No state-issued permit is required to hunt antlerless white-tailed deer on a National Wildlife Refuge.

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

        Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit B

2020 -2021 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD PROCLAMATION

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes amendments to §§65.314-65.320, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation.

        The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issues annual frameworks for the hunting of migratory game birds in the United States. Regulations adopted by individual states may be more restrictive than the federal frameworks but may not be less restrictive. Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within Service frameworks is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, Subchapter C.

        The proposed amendments would specify the season dates and bag limits for the 2020-2021 migratory game bird seasons. The remainder of the amendments, with the exceptions addressed later in this preamble, would retain the season structures and bag limits for all migratory game birds from last year and serve only to adjust the season dates to allow for calendar shift (i.e., to ensure that seasons open on the desired day of the week, since dates from a previous year do not fall on the same days in following years).

        The exceptions are as follows.

        The proposed amendment to §65.315, concerning Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, and Teal, will reduce the bag limit for scaup from three to one in compliance with the federal frameworks. The commission cannot modify or alter the mandates of the federal frameworks.

        The proposed amendment to §65.316, concerning Geese, would open the light and dark goose seasons in the Western Zone one week later than has been the case in the past and reduce the daily bag limit for light geese in both goose zones from 20 birds to 10 birds. The department has noticed a gradual shift in migration chronology in that part of the state, characterized by the later arrival of large numbers of geese in the Western Zone and believes that moving the opening date will result in greater hunter opportunity. The proposed amendment also necessitates a conforming change to the traditional opening day of the Light Goose Conservation Order as well. The bag limit reduction is necessitated by continuing concerns about long-term declines in wintering populations of light geese, especially along the Texas coast. Department data indicate that populations of wintering light geese in Texas have declined by over 50% since 1970, and although a variety of factors are believed to be responsible, primarily habitat loss, the department believes that a reduction in the daily bag limit is warranted.

        The proposed amendment to §65.319, concerning Gallinules, Rails, Snipe, and Woodcock, would open the season for snipe two weeks later than in years past. Hunter survey data indicate a preference for a later season, and the department does not believe that moving the opening date to a later time will result in negative population impacts.

2. Fiscal Note.

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

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

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

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

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

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

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

        (D) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

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

        (F) In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0221, the department has prepared the following Government Growth Impact Statement (GGIS).  The rule as proposed, if adopted, will:

                 (1) neither create nor eliminate a government program;

                 (2) not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs;

                 (3) not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding;

                 (4) not affect the amount of any fee;

                 (5) not create a new regulation, but replace existing regulations;

                 (6) not expand or limit an existing regulation, but will replace existing regulations;

                 (7) neither increase nor decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation; and

                 (8) not positively or adversely affect the state’s economy.

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Shaun Oldenburger (Small Game/ Bird Program Director) at 512-389-4778, e-mail: shaun.oldenburger@tpwd.texas.gov. or

via the department website at www.tpwd.texas.gov.

5. Statutory Authority.

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

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

6. Rule Text.

        §65.314. Doves (Mourning, White-Winged, White-Tipped, White-Fronted Doves).

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Seasons; Daily Bag Limits.

                         (1) North Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: September 1 — November 12, 2020 and December 18, 2020 — January 3, 2021[September 1 — November 12, 2019 and December 20, 2019 — January 5, 2020].

                                  (B) (No change.)

                         (2) Central Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: September 1 — November 1, 2020 and December 18, 2020 — January 14, 2021[September 1 — November 3, 2019 and December 20, 2019 — January 14, 2020].

                                  (B) (No change.)

                 (3) South Zone and Special White-winged Dove Area.

                                  (A) Dates: September 5, 6, 12, and 13, 2020; September 14 — November 1, 2020; and December 18, 2020 — January 23, 2021[September 1, 2, 7, and 8, 2019; September 14 — November 3, 2019; and December 20, 2019 — January 23, 2020].

                                  (B) Daily bag limit:

                                          (i) on September 5, 6, 12, and 13, 2020[September 1, 2, 7, and 8, 2019]; 15 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, in the aggregate to include no more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped (white-fronted) doves per day.

                                          (ii) from September 14 — November 1, 2020; and December 18, 2020 — January 23, 2021[September 14 — November 3, 2019 and December 20, 2019 — January 23, 2020]; 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped (white-fronted) doves per day.

        §65.315. Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, and Teal.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Season dates and bag limits.

                         (1) HPMMU.

                                  (A) For all species other than "dusky ducks": October 31 – November 1, 2020 and November 6, 2020 — January 31, 2021[October 26 — 27, 2019 and November 1, 2019 — January 26, 2020]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 9, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 4, 2019 — January 26, 2020].

                         (2) North Zone.

                                  (A) For all species other than "dusky ducks": November 14 – 29, 2020 and December 5, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 9 — December 1, 2019 and December 7, 2019 — January 26, 2020]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 19 — 29, 2020 and December 5, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 14 — December 1, 2019 and December 7, 2019 — January 26, 2020].

                         (3) South Zone.

                                  (A) For all species other than "dusky ducks": November 7 — 29, 2020 and December 12, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 2 — December 1, 2019 and December 14, 2019 — January 26, 2020]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 12 – 29, 2020 and December 12, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 7 — December 1, 2019 and December 14, 2019 — January 26, 2020].

                         (4) September teal-only season.

                                  (A) During the September teal-only special season, the season is closed for all species of ducks other than teal ducks (blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon).

                                  (B) Dates: September 12-27, 2020[14 — 29, 2019].

                 (c) Bag limits.

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

                         (2) The daily bag limit during the September teal-only season is six in the aggregate.

        §65.316. Geese.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Season dates and bag limits.

                         (1) Western Zone.

                                  (A) Light geese: November 14, 2020 — February 14, 2021[November 2, 2019 — February 2, 2020]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 10[20], and there is no possession limit.

                                 (B) Dark geese: November 14, 2020 — February 14, 2021[November 2, 2019 — February 2, 2020]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is five, to include no more than two white-fronted geese.

                         (2) Eastern Zone.

                                  (A) Light geese: November 7, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 2, 2019 — January 26, 2020]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 10[20], and there is no possession limit.

                                  (B) Dark geese:

                                          (i) Season: November 7, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 2, 2019 — January 26, 2020];

                                          (ii) (No change.)

                 (c) September Canada goose season. Canada geese may be hunted in the Eastern Zone during the season established by this subsection. The season is closed for all other species of geese during the season established by this subsection.

                         (1) Season dates: September 12 — 27, 2020[September 14 — 29, 2019].

                         (2) (No change.)

                 (d) Light Goose Conservation Order. The provisions of paragraphs (1) — (3) of this subsection apply only to the hunting of light geese. All provisions of this subchapter continue in effect unless specifically provided otherwise in this section; however, where this section conflicts with the provisions of this subchapter, this section prevails.

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

                         (4) Season dates.

                                  (A) From February 1 — March 14, 2021[January 27 — March 15, 2020], the take of light geese is lawful in the Eastern Zone.

                                  (B) From February 15 — March 14, 2021[February 3 — March 15, 2020], the take of light geese is lawful in the Western Zone.

        §65.317. Special Youth-Only Waterfowl Season. There shall be a Special Youth-Only Season for waterfowl, during which the hunting, taking, and possession of geese, ducks, mergansers, and coots is restricted to licensed hunters 16 years of age and younger accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older, except for persons hunting by means of falconry under the provisions of §65.320 of this title (relating to Extended Falconry Seasons).

                 (1) HPMMU:

                         (A) season dates: October 24 — 25, 2020[October 19 — 20, 2019];

                         (B) (No change.)

                 (2) North Duck Zone:

                         (A) season dates: November 7 — 8, 2020[November 2 — 3, 2019];

                         (B) (No change.)

                 (3) South Duck Zone:

                         (A) season dates: Special youth-only season: October 31 – November 1, 2020[October 26 — 27, 2019];

                         (B) (No change.)

        §65.318. Sandhill Crane.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Season dates and bag limits.

                         (1) Zone A: October 31, 2020 — January 31, 2021[October 26, 2019 — January 26, 2020]. The daily bag limit is three.

                         (2) Zone B: November 27, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 22, 2019 — January 26, 2020]. The daily bag limit is three.

                         (3) Zone C: December 19, 2020 — January 24, 2021[December 14, 2019 — January 19, 2020]. The daily bag limit is two.

        §65.319. Gallinules, Rails, Snipe, Woodcock.

                 (a) Gallinules (moorhen or common gallinule and purple gallinule) may be taken in any county during the season established in this subsection.

                         (1) Season dates: September 12 — 27 and November 7 — December 30, 2020[September 14 — 29, 2019 and November 2 — December 25, 2019].

                         (2) (No change.)

                 (b) Rails may be taken in any county in this state during the season established by this subsection.

                         (1) Season dates: September 12 — 27 and November 7 — December 30, 2020[September 14 — 29, 2019 and November 2 — December 25, 2019].

                         (2) (No change.)

                 (c) Snipe may be taken in any county of the state during the season established by this subsection.

                         (1) Season dates: November 7, 2020 — February 21, 2021[October 26, 2019 — February 9, 2020].

                         (2) (No change.)  

                 (d) Woodcock may be taken in any county of the state during the season established by this subsection.

                         (1) Season dates: December 18, 2020 — January 31, 2021[December 18, 2019 — January 31, 2020].

                         (2) (No change.)

        §65.320. Extended Falconry Seasons. It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the seasons established by this section.

                 (1) Mourning doves, white-winged doves and white-tipped doves: November 20 — December 6, 2020[November 16 — December 2, 2019].

                 (2) Duck, gallinule, moorhen, rail, and woodcock: February 1 — February 15, 2021[January 27 — February 9, 2020].

                 (3) – (4) (No change.)

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

        Issued in Austin, Texas, on