Commission Meeting Agenda Item No. 5
Presenters: Alan Cain
Shawn Gray
Shaun Oldenburger

Action
2022-2023 Statewide Hunting and Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes
March 24, 2022

I.      Executive Summary:  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff seeks adoption of proposed amendments to the Statewide Hunting Proclamation and the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation, respectively. The amendments and new sections would:

Deer

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 26, 2022, staff was authorized to publish the proposed rules in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed rules appeared in the February 18, 2022, issue of the Texas Register(47 TexReg 737, 749).  A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be presented at the time of the hearing.

III.   Recommendation:  Staff recommends that the Commission adopt the proposed motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the repeal of 31 Texas Administrative Code §65.4 and amendments to §§65.3, 65.10, 65.11, 65.42, and 65.64, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation, and §§65.314-65.320, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 18, 2022, issue of the Texas Register (47 TexReg 737, 749).”

Attachments – 2

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

Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit A

2022-2023 STATEWIDE HUNTING PROCLAMATION

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes the repeal of 31 TAC §65.4 and amendments to §§65.3, 65.10, 65.11, 65.42, and 65.64, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation.

        The repeal of §65.4, concerning Proof of Sex for Deer is necessary to transfer the contents of that section to §65.10, concerning Possession of Wildlife Resources. Section 65.4 was promulgated earlier this year because of pending rule action in §65.10 to implement rules regarding digital hunting and fishing licenses, which made that section unavailable for additional rule action. The proposed repeal will allow the department to comport the provisions of the two sections.

        The proposed amendment to §65.3, concerning Definitions, would modify the definitions of “antlerless” and “buck” deer to further clarify the types of deer to which those terms apply. As a matter of reproductive biology, there are only two types of deer, male (buck) and female (doe). Harvest regulations historically have been centered on directing or deflecting harvest pressure to or away from those segments as necessary to manage population size. As an enforcement matter, however, these distinctions can be problematic because it is not always an easy matter to positively identify a deer as male or female while hunting, especially at a distance or in low visibility conditions. Most male white-tailed deer and mule deer typically develop their first set of distinctive hardened antlers at one and one-half years of age. Antlers are shed annually; thus, for some portion of the year, male deer cannot be readily or easily distinguished from female deer. The same is true of male fawns that have not developed antlers and the small percentage of male fawns with extremely limited antler growth that cannot be readily discerned except upon close inspection (the so-called “nubbin” or “button” bucks). In such situations, a hunter may, upon seeing a deer with no discernible antler characteristics, conclude that the deer is a female deer and legal to harvest as a female deer, only to discover upon harvest that the deer is in fact a male deer, which can be problematic if the harvest of male deer is prohibited at that time. For these reasons, the department many years ago replaced the term “doe” with the term “antlerless deer,” which was intended to accommodate the unintentional but completely understandable circumstance of harvesting of deer that appeared to be female, only to discover otherwise on closer inspection. Another longstanding conundrum has been bucks in velvet. Technically, antlers in velvet are not actually completely hardened antlers yet; thus, the current and historic definition of a buck being “a deer with a hardened antler protruding through the skin” has been occasionally problematic, because to a hunter in the field it is difficult to tell whether an antler is fully in velvet (i.e. an antlerless deer) or not (a legal buck).  In order to be as clear and specific as possible as to the specific types of animals that bag limits, tagging requirements, and proof-of-sex rules for “buck” and “antlerless” apply to, the proposed amendment would clarify that the term “antlerless deer” means a deer having no antler point (a projection extending at least one inch from the edge of a main beam or another tine, which includes the tip of a main beam) protruding through the skin or a buck deer that has completely shed its antlers. The proposed amendment would alter the definition of “buck deer” to apply the same standard; a buck deer is a deer having an antler point protruding through the skin or a deer having antler growth in velvet of greater than one inch.

        The proposed amendment to §65.3 also would create a new definition for “commercial cold storage or processing facility.” Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.018, no person except as provided by commission rule may possess the carcass of a deer before the carcass has been finally processed unless the deer has been tagged. In order to be finally processed, a carcass must be at a final destination, which can be either the possessor’s permanent residence or a cold storage or processing facility. The proposed amendment to §65.10 would alter tagging and documentation requirements, which necessitates the creation of new distinctions regarding final destinations. The proposed ´┐╝definition of “commercial cold storage or processing facility” would be “a cold storage or processing facility as defined in Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.001, that is made available for use by individuals other than the owner, the owner’s nonpaying family members, or the owner’s nonpaying guests in exchange for a fee or other consideration.” Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.029, specifically exempts private, noncommercial, family-owned cold storage or processing facilities from the requirement to maintain a cold storage record book for deer that are taken beyond quarters, unless the facility is located on a hunting lease and is made available to individuals other than the landowner, the landowner’s nonpaying family members, or the landowner’s nonpaying guests. In effect, this bifurcates cold storage or processing facilities into two categories, commercial (those available to paying customers) and non-commercial (those available only to non-paying family and guests). The department has determined that there is a further differentiation with respect to commercial cold storage or processing facilities because some facilities are located on ranches and hunting leases that, while being made available to paying customers (i.e., persons who have paid to hunt on the property), are not open to the general public. Therefore, the proposed amendment would define a “Type 1 commercial cold storage or processing facility” as “a facility that is a place of business open to the public for the purpose of storing or processing game animals or game birds upon demand on a for-profit basis or in exchange for anything of value,” and a “Type 2 commercial cold storage processing facility” as “a facility that is not open to the public on an on-demand basis and is utilized to store or process game taken by persons on properties where hunting by individuals in return for pay or other consideration occurs.”

        The proposed amendment to §65.3 also would create a new definition of “final destination.” Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.001, a final destination for deer is the permanent residence of the hunter, the permanent residence of another person receiving the carcass, or a cold storage or processing facility. Under current rule, proof of sex (evidence of gender identity) for deer must remain with the carcass until the carcass reaches a final destination and is processed beyond quartering. As noted previously, the department is engaged in a concerted battle to control the spread of CWD. One mitigation strategy is to minimize where possible the extent to which certain body parts of harvested deer are transported from place to place. The department elsewhere in this rulemaking proposes to eliminate proof-of-sex requirements for deer that have been entered into a cold storage record book at a Type 2 commercial cold storage or processing facility (which allows the head, spinal column, etc. to remain at the harvest location); thus, the Type 2 cold storage processing facility would no longer be a final destination.

        As previously noted in this preamble, the proposed amendment to §65.10, concerning Possession of Wildlife Resources, would make alterations to current rules regarding the nature and applicability of tagging and proof-of-sex requirements for deer. Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.018, provides that except as provided by commission rule, no person may possess the carcass of a deer before the carcass has been finally processed unless the deer has been lawfully tagged. Current rule stipulates that in order to be finally processed, a carcass must be at a final destination, which can be either the possessor’s permanent residence or a cold storage or processing facility, and that proof of sex accompany a harvested deer until it reaches a final destination. The proposed amendment would alter those requirements for the reasons noted in the discussion of the proposed amendment to §65.3. It has come to the attention of the department that the requirement that a head remain with a carcass until the carcass is taken beyond quarters at a final destination is problematic at larger commercial cold storage/processing facilities, where immediate removal and disposal of the head is desirable for purposes of allowing hunters to retain the heads of trophy deer and for reasons of sanitation and food safety. Therefore, proposed new subsection (b)(2) would establish the conditions under which tagging requirements for deer cease at Type 1 commercial cold storage or processing facilities. Tagging requirements for a deer at a Type 1 commercial cold storage or processing facility would cease when the required information has been entered into the cold storage record book and the harvest location has been recorded (which may be maintained on a single document or separate documents); however, the cold storage or processing facility would be required to maintain the tag or Wildlife Resource Document (WRD), as applicable, on premises for so long as the carcass or any part of the carcass remains in possession, which is necessary in case the department needs the tag for evidentiary or investigational purposes. The proposed amendment would create paragraph (4) to make clear that although by statute there is no cold storage or record book requirement at a private, noncommercial cold storage facility, a cold storage record book nonetheless may be maintained if desired and accordingly, tagging and proof-of-sex requirements cease and a carcass may be processed beyond quarters when the required information has been recorded. The proposed amendment also would eliminate current subsection (b)(5) to eliminate conflicts of interpretation caused by commission action to alter statutory provision regarding tagging, proof of sex, and final destinations.

        The proposed amendment to §65.10 would also alter provisions governing proof of sex. The movement, and ultimately, the improper disposal of carcasses and carcass parts, particularly skulls, brains, and spinal cords, increases the risk of spreading CWD. Under current rule, proof-of-sex for deer is the head of the deer, which must accompany the carcass until a final destination is reached. The proposed new rule would provide an alternative to the current rules regarding proof of sex for buck deer, by allowing the option of retaining the tail and unskinned skull cap with antlers attached, and for female deer, by allowing certain gender-related anatomical parts to accompany the carcass in lieu of the head. This would provide hunters an option to leave the head of a female deer at the site of harvest to reduce risk for the potential spread of CWD from that site. The proposed amendment also eliminates a superfluous reference to “personal consumption.” A hunting license authorizes a person to take wildlife resources for personal use, including consumption; thus, the language is not necessary.

        The proposed amendment to §65.11, concerning Lawful Means, would make changes necessary to comport the section with the proposed amendment to §65.42, concerning Deer. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter I, in a county that does not permit hunting with a firearm, a hunter may use a crossbow only if the hunter is a person with upper limb disabilities and has an archery hunting stamp. The proposed amendment to §65.42 would allow the use of firearms in four counties where lawful means are currently restricted to archery equipment only; therefore, any person would be able to hunt lawfully with a crossbow during the archery-only season and during the general season.

        The proposed amendment to §65.42, concerning Deer, would allow harvest by firearm in in four counties where lawful means are currently restricted to archery equipment (along with four “doe days” at Thanksgiving), extend the mule deer season in 15 Panhandle counties from nine days to 16 days, and implement antler restriction rules for the harvest of mule deer in 21 additional Panhandle counties and Terrell County.

        The department received a petition for rulemaking requesting that firearms be made lawful for use during the general season in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties. Under current rule, harvest in the affected counties is restricted to archery equipment only. The season in Grayson County was closed in 1961 for reasons that the department is not able to determine. With the establishment of the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge in 1983, the commission in 1984 authorized an archery-only season restricted to the refuge. In 1999 the department expanded the archery-only season countywide at the request of landowners and hunters, and harvest has remained restricted to archery equipment since that time. In 2010 the harvest regulations in effect in Grayson County were implemented in Collin, Dallas, and Rockwall counties (which had been closed for many years) at the request of State Representative Jodie Laubenberg and a finding that allowing take by archery only would not result in depletion or waste.

        The department has determined that there is no biological reason for restricting the means of take for white-tailed deer in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties, which is supported by department harvest, population, and habitat data. The majority of the four counties are encompassed within a single Deer Management Unit (DMU 21) and have habitat and deer population characteristics similar to the DMUs surrounding DMU 21. Take of white-tailed deer with a firearm is allowed in the surrounding DMUs. Therefore, the proposed amendment would implement similar harvest regulations in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties, consisting of an archery-only season, early and late youth seasons, a general season in which all lawful means may be used, and four “doe days” at Thanksgiving (during which antlerless deer may be harvested without a permit, which is in effect in surrounding counties with similar population dynamics, habitat, and harvest pressure). The bag limit would be four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless, and the “antler restriction rule” would remain in effect (to be lawful for take, a buck must have at least one unbranched antler or an inside spread of 13 inches or greater and no person is allowed to take more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater). Additionally, the proposed amendment would require all harvested deer in all seasons to be reported to the department via the department’s internet or mobile application within 24 hours of take, which is necessary at least in the short term for the department to monitor and evaluate the effects of the new harvest rule on local populations.

        Finally, the proposed amendment would replace the term “pronghorn antelope” with the term “pronghorn” where it occurs in the sections affected by this rulemaking. Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 63, designates the “pronghorn antelope” as a game species; however, the animal is not a true antelope. In 2020, the department amended §65.3 to stipulate that “pronghorn” means “pronghorn antelope” and has been engaged in a gradual process in the course of various rulemakings of replacing the term where it occurs in agency rules. The department believes it is less cumbersome and more accurate to simply refer to the animal as a pronghorn.

        In 2018, the department implemented an experimental antler restriction regulation for mule deer (prohibiting harvest of bucks with an outside spread of the main beams of less than 20 inches) in six Panhandle counties in response to data indicating an injuriously excessive harvest of young mule deer bucks. The intent of the antler restriction rule was to protect bucks in the younger age cohorts from harvest, allowing them to grow into mature bucks, which in turn results in sex ratios consistent with those found in normal populations. Within four hunting seasons, population data indicate an improving sex ratio (which is an index of reduced harvest pressure) and harvest data have indicated a steep declining trend in the harvest of young bucks and a steady increasing trend in the harvest of mature (older) bucks. The department therefore believes that the antler restriction regulation is achieving the desired effect and will exert a similar beneficial effect in additional counties that either are experiencing overharvest of young bucks or in which harvest trends indicate overharvest is likely to occur in the future. The department also believes that extending the season from nine days to 16 days in the selected counties can safely provide additional hunting opportunity without the threat of depletion or waste, because the antler restrictions will protect approximately 80 percent of the buck population younger than four years of age and the hunting of antlerless mule deer is already strictly controlled by means of department issued permits. The proposed amendment is expected to result in improved sex ratios, a healthier age structure in the buck segment of the herd, and older, more desirable buck deer for hunters. The antler restriction would not be implemented in any part of a county within a CWD management zone (an area where CWD may be more likely to occur and certain special provisions regarding harvest reporting and carcass movement are in effect), which is necessary because current science indicates that increased buck harvest in those areas will reduce CWD prevalence rates and may inhibit the spread of CWD into new areas.

        Finally, the proposed amendment would implement the antler restriction rule in Terrell County. Harvest and population data indicate that intense buck harvest has skewed sex ratios and severely reduced buck structure to the point that the mule deer population in the management unit is in danger of depletion.

        The proposed amendment also would eliminate subsection (a)(5) in order to locate reporting requirements in the specific suites of counties to which they apply.

        The proposed amendment to §65.64, concerning Turkey, would close the spring turkey season east of Interstate Highway 35 in Ellis County. The department is conducting stocking operations and closing that part of the county to harvest will offer additional support in the reestablishment of huntable populations in the future.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Robert Macdonald, Regulations Coordinator, 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. Macdonald 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) not create a new regulation;

                 (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 Robert Macdonald at (512) 389-4775, e-mail: robert.macdonald@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 amendments are also proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which authorizes the commission to modify or eliminate the tagging, carcass, final destination, or final processing requirements or provisions provided by Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61 and Chapter 42.

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) – (5) (No change.)

                 (6) Antlerless deer —

                         (A) A deer having no [hardened] antler point protruding through the skin.  

                         (B) A deer that has no antlers.

                 (7) – (10) No change.)

                 (11) Buck deer —

                         (A) A deer having an [a hardened] antler point protruding through the skin; or

                         (B) a deer having antler growth in velvet of greater than one inch.

                 (12) (No change.)

                 (13) Commercial cold storage or processing facility — A cold storage or processing facility as defined in Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.001, that is made available for use by individuals other than the owner, the owner’s nonpaying family members, or the owner’s nonpaying guests in exchange for a fee or other consideration. 

                         (A) A Type 1 commercial cold storage or processing facility is a facility that is a place of business open to the public for the purpose of storing or processing game animals or game birds upon demand on a for-profit basis or in exchange for anything of value.

                         (B) A Type 2 commercial cold storage processing facility is a facility:

                                  (i) that is not open to the public on an on-demand basis; and

                                  (ii) is utilized to store or process game taken by persons on properties where hunting by individuals in return for pay or other consideration occurs.

                 (14)[(13)] Daily bag limit — The quantity of a species of a wildlife resource that may be lawfully taken in one day.

                 (15)[(14)] Day — A 24-hour period of time that begins at midnight and ends at midnight.

                 (16)[(15)] Deer population data — Results derived from deer population surveys and/or from systematic data analysis of density or herd health indicators, such as browse surveys or other scientifically acceptable data, that function as direct or indirect indicators of population density.

                 (17) Final destination for deer-for a deer carcass or any part of a deer carcass, a final destination is any of the following:

                         (A) the permanent residence of the hunter;

                         (B) the permanent residence of any other person receiving the carcass or part of a carcass; or

                         (C) a Type 1 commercial cold storage or processing facility.

                 (18)[(16)] Final processing — The cleaning of a dead wildlife resource for cooking or storage purposes. For a deer or pronghorn[antelope] carcass, the term includes the processing of the animal more than by quartering.

                 (19)[(17)] Fully automatic firearm — Any firearm that is capable of firing more than one cartridge in succession by a single function of the trigger.

                 (20)[(18)] Gig — Any hand-held shaft with single or multiple points.

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

                 (22)[(20)] 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.

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

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

                 (25)[(23)] Muzzleloader — Any firearm designed such that the propellant and bullet or projectile can be loaded only through the muzzle.

                 (26)[(24)] 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.

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

                 (28)[(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.

                 (29)[(27)] Pronghorn — A pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana).

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

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

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

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

                 (34)[(32)] 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.

                 (35)[(33)] (33) Wildlife resources — Alligators, all game animals, and all game birds.

                 (36)[(34)] (34) Wounded deer — A deer leaving a blood trail.

         §65.10. Possession of Wildlife Resources.

                 (a) For all wildlife resources taken [for personal consumption and] for which there is a possession limit, the possession limit shall not apply after the wildlife resource has reached the possessor’s permanent residence and is finally processed.

                 (b) Under authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.0177, the tagging requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.018, are modified as follows.

                         (1) At a final destination other than a cold storage or processing facility required to maintain a cold storage record book under the provisions of this subchapter[Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.029,] tagging requirements for a carcass cease when the forequarters, hindquarters, and back straps have been completely severed from the carcass. 

                         (2) At a Type 1 commercial cold storage or processing facility, tagging requirements for a carcass cease when:

                                  (A) the information required by Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.029, has been entered into the cold storage record book; and

                                  (B) for each carcass entered into the cold storage record book, the harvest location required to be indicated on a tag or WRD (the county where the deer was harvested and the name of the ranch or property where the deer was harvested) has been recorded by the proprietor or agent of the facility. 

                                  (C) The information required by subparagraph (B) of this paragraph may be combined with or appended to the information required to be entered into the cold storage record book or may be maintained separately.

                                  (D) After being detached from a carcass, a tag or WRD, as applicable, shall be retained at the premises of the cold storage or processing facility for as long as the carcass or any part of the carcass remains in the possession of the cold storage or processing facility.  

                         (3)[(2)] At a Type 2 commercial cold storage or processing facility [required to maintain a cold storage record book under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.029,] tagging requirements for a carcass cease when:

                                  (A) the forequarters, hindquarters, and back straps have been completely severed from the carcass; and

                                  (B) the information required under Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.029, has been entered into the cold storage record book that the cold storage or processing facility is required to maintain.

                                  (C) After the information required under Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.029, has been entered into the cold storage record book, a carcass may be taken beyond quarters.  

                         (4) At a private noncommercial cold storage processing facility as defined in Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.029, where a cold storage record book is maintained, carcass tagging and proof-of-sex requirements cease and the carcass may be taken beyond quarters when the required information has been entered in the cold storage record book.

                         (5)[(3)] Except as provided in paragraph (3)[(4)] of this subsection, the tagging requirements for deer and turkey taken under a digital license issued under the provisions of §53.3(a)(12) of this title (relating to Super Combination Hunting and Fishing License Packages) or under the digital tagging option of §53.4(a)(1) of this title (relating to Lifetime Licenses) are prescribed in subsection (e) of this section.

                         (6)[(4)] A person who has purchased a digital license identified in §53.4(a)(1) of this title and selected the fulfilment of physical tags must comply with the tagging requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, and this chapter that are applicable to the tagging of deer and turkey under a license that is not a digital license.

                         [(5) The provisions of this subsection do not modify or eliminate any requirement of this subchapter or the Parks and Wildlife Code applicable to a carcass before it is at a final destination.]

                 (c) – (e) (No change.)

                 (f) Proof of sex for deer and pronghorn[antelope] must remain with the carcass until tagging requirements cease.

                          (1) Proof of sex for deer consists of: 
                                  (A) buck:

                                          (i) the head, with antlers still attached; or

                                          (ii) the tail and unskinned skull cap with antlers attached; and

                                  (B) antlerless: 
                                          (i) the head; or 
                                          (ii) if the deer is female: the mammary organ (udder) or vulva, and tail.
                                          [(A) buck: the head, with antlers still attached; and]

                                          [(B) antlerless: the head.]

                         (2) Proof of sex for pronghorn[antelope] consists of the unskinned head.

                 (g) – (m) (No change.)

        §65.11. Lawful Means. It is unlawful to hunt alligators, game animals or game birds except by the means authorized by this section, and as provided in §65.19 of this title (relating to Hunting Deer with Dogs).

                 (1) (No change.)

                 (2) Archery.

                         (A) A[Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this section, a] person may hunt by means of lawful archery equipment during any open season; however, no person shall hunt deer by lawful archery equipment during a special muzzleloader-only deer season.

                         (B) – (C) (No change.)

                         (D) Lawful archery equipment is the only lawful means that may be used during archery-only seasons[, except as provided in paragraph (3) of this section].

                 (3) Crossbow — Special Provisions.

                         (A) [In Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties:]

                                  [(i) no person may use a crossbow to hunt deer during the archery-only season unless the person has an upper-limb disability and has in immediate possession a physician’s statement that certifies the extent of the disability; and]

                                  [(ii) any person may hunt deer by means of crossbow during the general open season and the requirements of clause (i) of this subparagraph do not apply.]

                         [(B)] When hunting turkey and all game animals other than squirrels by means of crossbow:

                         (i) the crossbow must have a mechanical safety; and

                         (ii) the bolt must conform with paragraph (2)(B) and (C) of this section.

                 (4) – (9) (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

        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.

        §65.42. Deer.

                 (a) General.

                         (1) – (4) (No change.)

                          [(5) In the counties or portions of counties listed in subsection (b)(2)(H) of this section, antlerless deer harvested on properties not subject to the provisions of §65.29 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Programs) must be reported via the department’s internet or mobile application within 24 hours of the time of kill, including antlerless deer harvested during the special seasons established by subsection (b)(5) — (7) of this section.]

                         (b) White-tailed deer. The open seasons and bag limits for white-tailed deer shall be as follows.

                         (1) (No change.)

                         (2) The general open season for the counties listed in this subparagraph is from the first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January.

                                  (A) – (G) (No change.)

                                 (H) In Austin, Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Collin, Comal (east of IH 35), Dallas, DeWitt, Fayette, Goliad (north of U.S. Highway 59), Gonzales, Grayson, Guadalupe, Hays (east of IH 35), Jackson (north of U.S. Highway 59), Karnes, Lavaca, Lee, Rockwall, Travis (east of IH 35), Victoria (north of U.S. Highway 59), Waller, Washington, Wharton (north of U.S. Highway 59), and Wilson counties:

                                          (i) – (iii) (No change.)

                                          (iv) Special provisions.

                                                  (I) In Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties, all deer harvested on properties not subject to the provisions of §65.29 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Programs) must be reported via the department’s internet or mobile application within 24 hours of the time of kill, including deer harvested during any special season established by subsection (b)(5) — (7) of this section.

                                                  (II) In the counties or portions of counties not listed in subclause (I) of this clause, antlerless deer harvested on properties not subject to the provisions of §65.29 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Programs) must be reported via the department’s internet or mobile application within 24 hours of the time of kill, including antlerless deer harvested during any special seasons established by subsection (b)(5) — (7) of this section.

                                  [(I) In Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties there is a general open season:]

                                          [(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;]

                                          [(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and]

                                          [(iii) lawful means are restricted to lawful archery equipment, including properties for which MLDP tags have been issued.]

                                  (I)[(J)] In Andrews, Bailey Castro, Cochran, Dallam, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Gaines, Hale, Hansford, Hartley, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Moore, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Sherman, Swisher, Terry, and Yoakum counties, the bag limit is three deer, no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless.

                                  (J)[(K)] In Crane, Ector, Loving, Midland, Ward, and Winkler counties:

                                          (i) – (ii) (No change.)

                                  (K)[(L)] In all other counties, there is no general open season.

                         (3) – (7) (No change.)

                 (c) Mule deer. The open seasons and bag limits for mule deer shall be as follows:

                         (1) In Andrews, Armstrong, Bailey, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Castro,  Childress, Cochran, Coke, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Gaines, Garza, Gray, Hale, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hockley, Hutchinson, Kent, King, Knox, Lamb,  Lipscomb, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Scurry, Sherman, Stonewall, Swisher, Terry, [and] Wheeler and Yoakum counties:

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

                                  (D) In Andrews, Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Collingsworth, Cottle, Dawson, Donley, Foard, Floyd, Gaines, Hale, Hall, Hardeman, Hockley, Lamb, Lynn, Lubbock, Martin, [and] Motley, Parmer, Randall, Swisher, Terry, and Yoakum counties, no person may harvest a buck deer with an outside spread of the main beams of less than 20 inches.

                         (2) (No change.)

                         (3) In Brewster, Pecos, and Terrell counties:

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

                                  (D) In Terrell County, no person may harvest a buck deer with an outside spread of the main beams of less than 20 inches.

                         [(4) In Andrews, Bailey, Castro, Cochran, Dawson, Gaines, Hale, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Parmer, Terry, and Yoakum counties:]

                                  [(A) the Saturday before Thanksgiving for nine consecutive days;]

                                  [(B) bag limit: one buck; and]

                                  [(C) antlerless deer may be taken by antlerless mule deer permit or MLDP tag only.]

                                  [(D) In Lynn County, no person may harvest a buck deer with an outside spread of the main beams of less than 20 inches.]

                         (4)[(5)]  In all other counties, there is no general open season for mule deer.

                         (5)[(6)] Archery-only open seasons and bag and possession limits shall be as follows.

                                  (A) In Andrews, Armstrong, Bailey, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Coke, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Dallam, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Ector, El Paso, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Gaines, Garza, Gray, Hale, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hockley, Hudspeth, Hutchinson, Jeff Davis, Kent, King, Knox, Lamb, Lipscomb, Loving, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Midland, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Presidio, Randall, Reagan, Reeves, Roberts, Scurry, Sherman, Stonewall, Swisher, Terry, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, Wheeler, [and] Winkler, and Yoakum counties:

                                          (i) – (ii) (No change.)

                                  (B) (No change.)

                         (6) There are no antler restrictions within a Containment Zone or Surveillance Zone established under the provisions of Subchapter B, Division 1 of this chapter.

        §65.64. Turkey.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Rio Grande Turkey. The open seasons and bag limits for Rio Grande turkey shall be as follows.

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

                         (3) Spring season and bag limits.

                                  (A) The counties listed in this subparagraph are in the Spring North Zone. In Archer, Armstrong, Bandera, Baylor, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Brewster, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Carson, Childress, Clay, Coke, Coleman, Collingsworth, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Dawson, Denton, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Ellis (west of Interstate Hwy. 35), Erath, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Gray, Guadalupe, Hall, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Hill, Hood, Howard, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Jeff Davis, Johnson, Jones, Kendall, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney (north of U.S. Hwy. 90), Knox, Lampasas, Lipscomb, Llano, Lynn, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, Medina (north of U.S. Hwy. 90), Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Pecos, Potter, Randall, Reagan, Real, Roberts, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Uvalde (north of U.S. Hwy. 90), Val Verde (north of a line beginning at the International Bridge and proceeding along Spur 239 to U.S. Hwy. 90 and thence to the Kinney County line), Ward, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Williamson, Wise, and Young counties, there is a spring general open season.

                                          (i) – (ii) (No change.)

                                  (B) – (C) (No change.)

                         (4) (No change.)

                 (c) – (d) (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

        The repeal is 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 repeal affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

        §65.4. Proof of Sex for Deer.

        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. 5
Exhibit B

2022 — 2023 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD PROCLAMATION

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes amendments to 31 TAC §§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 specify the season dates for hunting the various species of migratory game birds for 2022-2023. With two exceptions, the proposed rules retain the season structure and bag limits for all species of migratory game birds from last year while adjusting 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 proposed amendment to §65.315, concerning Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, and Teal, would remove the explicit restrictions governing daily bag limits for mergansers. At one time, merganser populations were in decline, but populations are now robust and mergansers are plentiful. Since the federal frameworks no longer stipulate a special limit for mergansers, the amendment would allow the take of up to six mergansers per day as part of the aggregate daily bag limit.

        The proposed amendment to §65.316, concerning Geese, would begin and end the season for light geese in the Western Zone one week earlier than last year. The department’s intent is to provide greater hunting opportunity for white-fronted geese, which arrive in the Western Zone in large numbers earlier than other species of geese.

        The proposed amendment to §65.317, concerning Special Youth-Only Waterfowl Season, would include special provisions applicable to veterans, as defined by 38 U.S.C. Section 101, and members of the armed forces of the United States on active duty, including members of the national guard and reserves on active duty other than for training. The amendment also would change the title of the section accordingly. The 87th Texas Legislature (RS) enacted Senate Bill 675, which authorizes the commission to provide for special open seasons during which the taking and possession of ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens, and gallinules are restricted to veterans, as defined by 38 U.S.C. Section 101, and members of the armed forces of the United States on active duty, including members of the national guard and reserves on active duty other than for training, and to combine those seasons with other special seasons. The proposed amendment would combine the current youth-only special season with a special season for active-duty military personnel and military veterans and would prescribe eligibility requirements for participation which is necessary to provide a method of identifying persons legally authorized to participate in the special season. The eligibility requirements are those forms of official governmental documentation and identification that explicitly identify the person to whom they are issued as a member of the active-duty military or a military veteran. Additionally, Senate Bill 675 provides that if rules adopted by the commission require a person participating in the special open season to have in proof of veteran or active-duty status in possession, the rule must also provide that it is a defense to prosecution under that rule that the person produces in court proof of the person’s veteran or active-duty status in accordance with commission rule. Accordingly, the rule as proposed would do so.

        The proposed amendment to §65.318, concerning Sandhill Crane, would correct an oversight that occurred in 2020 when the department merged the Early Season Migratory Game Bird Proclamation and the Late Season Migratory Game Bird Proclamation to create a single Migratory Game Bird Proclamation in response to a change in the federal process for establishing frameworks for migratory game bird hunting. In the process of that effort, the department inadvertently omitted a provision requiring a free federal sandhill crane hunting permit for hunting sandhill cranes. The permit is a federal requirement and is used to provide more accurate survey data for management purposes.

        The proposed amendments also make nonsubstantive housekeeping-type changes to punctuation and phrasing for consistency.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Shaun Oldenburger, Wildlife Division Small Game Program 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. Oldenburger 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 also 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 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) not create a new regulation, expand or limit an existing regulation;

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

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

4. Request for Public Comment.

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

        §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 13, 2022 and December 17, 2022 — January 1, 2023 [September 1 — November 12, 2021 and December 17, 2021 — January 2, 2022].

                                  (B) (No change.)

                         (2) Central Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: September 1 – October 30, 2022[October 31, 2021] and December 17, 2022 — January 15, 2023[December 18, 2020 — January 14, 2021].

                                  (B) (No change.)

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

                                  (A) Dates: September 2-4 and 9-11, 2022[September 3-5 and 10-12, 2021]; September 14 – October 30, 2022[October 31, 2021]; and December 17, 2022 — January 22, 2023 [December 17, 2021 — January 21, 2022].

                                  (B) Daily bag limit:

                                          (i) from September 2-4 and 9-11, 2022 [on September 3-5 and 10-12, 2021]; 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 – October 30, 2022 and December 17, 2022 — January 22, 2023 [September 14 – October 30, 2021 and December 17, 2021 — January 21, 2022]; 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 29-30, 2022 and November 4, 2022 — January 29, 2023 [October 29-30, 2021 and November 5, 2021 — January 30, 2022]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 7, 2022 — January 29, 2023 [November 8, 2021 — January 31, 2022].

                         (2) North Zone.

                                  (A) For all species other than "dusky ducks": November 12-27, 2022 and December 3, 2022 — January 29, 2023 [November 13 — 28, 2021 and December 4, 2021 — January 30, 2022]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 17–27, 2022 and December 3, 2022 – January 29, 2023 [November 18 — 28, 2021 and December 4, 2021 — January 30, 2022].

                         (3) South Zone.

                                  (A) For all species other than "dusky ducks": November 5-27, 2022 and December 10, 2022 — January 29, 2023 [November 6 — 28, 2021 and December 11, 2021 — January 30, 2022]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 10-27, 2022 and December 10, 2022 — January 29, 2023 [November 11 — 28, 2021 and December 11, 2021 — January 30, 20221].

                         (4) September teal-only season.

                                  (A) (No change.)

                                  (B) Dates: September 10-25, 2022[11 — 26, 2021].

                 (c) Bag limits.

                         (1) The daily bag limit for ducks and mergansers is six in the aggregate, which may include no more than five mallards (only two of which may be hens); three wood ducks; one scaup (lesser scaup or greater scaup); 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 5, 2022 — February 5, 2023 [November 13, 2021 — February 13, 2022]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 10, and there is no possession limit.

                                  (B) Dark geese: November 5, 2022 — February 5, 2023 [November 13, 2021 — February 13, 2022]. 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 5, 2022 — January 29, 2023 [November 6, 2021 — January 29, 2022]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 10, and there is no possession limit.

                                  (B) Dark geese:

                                          (i) Season: November 5, 2022 — January 29, 2023 [November 6, 2021 — January 30, 2022];

                                          (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 10-25, 2022 [September 11 — 26, 2021].

                         (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 January 30 – March 12, 2023[January 31 — March 13, 2022], the take of light geese is lawful in the Eastern Zone.

                                  (B) From February 6 — March 12, 2023 [February 14 — March 13, 2022], the take of light geese is lawful in the Western Zone.

        §65.317. Special Youth, Active Duty Military, and Military Veteran[Youth-OnlySeasons[Waterfowl Season].

                 (a) Special Youth Waterfowl Season. There shall be a Special Youth[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 22 — 23, 2022 [October 23 — 24, 2021];

                         (B) No change.)

                 (2) North Duck Zone:

                         (A) season dates: November 5 — 6, 2022 [November 6 — 7, 2021];

                         (B) (No change.)

                 (3) South Duck Zone:

                         (A) season dates: Special youth-only season: October 29 — 30, 2022 [October 30 -31, 2021];

                         (B) (No change.)

                 (b) Special Active-Duty Military and Military Veteran Migratory Game Bird Season. 

                         (1) There shall be a Special Active-Duty Military and Military Veteran Migratory Game Bird Season for waterfowl, during which the taking and possession of ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens, and gallinules are restricted to veterans, as defined by 38 U.S.C. Section 101, and members of the armed forces of the United States on active duty, including members of the national guard and reserves on active duty other than for training. 

                         (2) While hunting during the special season established by this subsection, a person must have in possession at least one of the forms of documentation listed in this paragraph: 

                                  (A) a driver’s license or other state-issued identification indicating that the person to whom it was issued is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces;

                                  (B) a copy of the DD214 or DD215 discharge documentation issued to the person by the United States Department of Defense; or

                                  (C) any other identification issued by the federal government indicating that the person to whom it was issued is a veteran or member of the armed forces on active duty. 

                         (3) Season Dates and Bag Limits.

                                  (A) HPMMU:

                                          (i) season dates: October 22 -23, 2022;

                                          (ii) daily bag limits:

                                                  (I) ducks, coots, and mergansers — as specified by §65.315(b)(1) of this title (relating to Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, and Teal); 

                                                  (II) geese — as specified by §65.316(b)(1) of this title (relating to Geese); and

                                                  (III) moorhens and gallinules – as specified by §65.319(a)(2) of this title (relating to Gallinules, Rails, Snipe, Woodcock).

                                  (B) North Duck Zone:

                                          (i) season dates: November 5 — 6, 2022; 

                                          (ii) daily bag limits:

                                                  (I) ducks, coots, and mergansers — as specified by §65.315(b)(2) of this title;

                                                  (II) geese:

                                                           (-a-) west of IH 35 — as specified by §65.316(b)(1) of this title; and

                                                           (-b-) east of IH 35 — as specified by §65.316(b)(2) of this title.

                                                           (-c-) moorhens and gallinules – as specified by §65.319(a)(2) of this title.

                                  (C) South Duck Zone:

                                          (i) season dates: October 29 — 30, 2022;

                                          (ii) daily bag limits:

                                                  (I) ducks, coots, and mergansers — as specified by §65.315(b)(3) of this title; and

                                                  (II) geese:

                                                           (-a-) west of IH 35 — as specified by §65.316(b)(1) of this title; and

                                                           (-b-) east of IH 35 — as specified by §65.316(b)(2) of this title. 

                                                           (-c-) moorhens and gallinules – as specified by §65.319(a)(2) of this title.

                                  (4) It is a defense to prosecution that a person cited for a violation of this subsection produces in court proof of the person’s veteran or active-duty status in accordance with commission rule. 

        §65.318. Sandhill Crane.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Season dates and bag limits.

                         (1) Zone A: October 29, 2022 — January 29, 2023 [October 30, 2021 — January 30, 2022]. The daily bag limit is three.

                         (2) Zone B: November 25, 2022 — January 29, 2023 [November 27, 2021 — January 31, 2022]. The daily bag limit is three.

                         (3) Zone C: December 17, 2022 — January 22, 2023 [December 18, 2021 — January 23, 2022]. The daily bag limit is two.

                 (c) No person may hunt sandhill cranes in this state unless that person has obtained a federal sandhill crane permit valid for the season in which the hunting occurs. The permit required by this subsection is free.  §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 10-25 and November 5 — December 28, 2022 [September 11 — 26 and November 6 — December 29, 2021].

                         (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 10-25 and November 5 — December 28, 2022 [September 11 — 26 and November 6 — December 29, 2021].

                         (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 5, 2022 — February 19, 2023 [November 6, 2021 — February 20, 2022].

                         (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, 2022[2021] — January 31, 2023[2022].

                         (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 18 — December 4, 2022 [November 19 — December 5, 2021].

                 (2) Duck, gallinule, moorhen, rail, and woodcock: January 30 — February 13, 2023 [January 31 — February 14, 2022].

                 (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