Proposed 2020-21 Statewide Hunting Proclamation

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Video Presentation for Statewide Hunting Items

Proposal

The department is in the process of automating the application and issuance procedures for pronghorn 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.

Background

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, permit 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.

Comment on Pronghorn and Antlerless Mule Deer Permits
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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

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