Migratory Game Bird Proclamation

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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 the 2021-2022 migratory game bird seasons. In all cases, the proposed rules retain the season structure and bag limits for all migratory game birds from last year, with one exception, 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 single exception is an increase of two days of hunting opportunity in the Special White-winged Dove Area (SWWDA) within the South Dove Zone. The Service has allowed Texas to provide two days of additional opportunity in the SWWDA provided those days are subtracted from the regular South Zone season. Survey data indicate a preference by landowners and hunters for as much early hunting opportunity as possible.

2. Fiscal Note.

        John Silovsky, 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. Silovsky 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 neither create nor eliminate a government program; not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs; not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding; not affect the amount of any fee; not create a new regulation, expand or limit an existing regulation; neither increase nor decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation; and 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 Program Director) at 512-389-4778, e-mail: shaun.oldenburger@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 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, 2021 [2020] and December 17, 2021 — January 2, 2022 [December 18, 2020 — January 3, 2021].

                                  (B) (No change.)

                         (2) Central Zone.

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

                                  (B) (No change.)

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

                                  (A) Dates: September 3-5 and 10-12, 2021 [5, 6, 12, and 13, 2020]; September 14 – October 31, 2021 [November 1, 2020]; and December 17, 2021 — January 21, 2022 [December 18, 2020 — January 23, 2021].

                                  (B) Daily bag limit:

                                          (i) from September 3-5 and 10-12, 2021 [on September 5, 6, 12, and 13, 2020]; 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; and

                                          (ii) from September 14 – October 31, 2021 and December 17, 2021 — January 21, 2022 [September 14 — November 1, 2020 and December 18, 2020 — January 23, 2021]; 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 30-31, 2021 and November 5, 2021 — January 30, 2022 [October 31 — November 1, 2020 and November 6, 2020 — January 31, 2021]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 8, 2021 — January 30, 2022 [November 9, 2020 — January 31, 2021].

                         (2) North Zone.

                                  (A) For all species other than "dusky ducks": November 13 — 28, 2021 and December 4, 2021 — January 30, 2022 [November 14 — 29, 2020 and December 5, 2020 — January 31, 2021]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 18 – 28, 2021 and December 4, 2021 – January 30, 2022 [November 19 — 29, 2020 and December 5, 2020 — January 31, 2021].

                         (3) South Zone.

                                  (A) For all species other than "dusky ducks": November 6 — 28, 2021 and December 11, 2021 — January 30, 2022 [November 7 — 29, 2020 and December 12, 2020 — January 31, 2021]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 11 — 28, 2021 and December 11, 2021 — January 30, 2022 [November 12 — 29, 2020 and December 12, 2020 — January 31, 2021].

                         (4) September teal-only season.

                                  (A) (No change.)

                                  (B) Dates: September 11 — 26, 2021 [12 — 27, 2020].

                 (c) (No change.)

        §65.316. Geese.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Season dates and bag limits.

                         (1) Western Zone.

                                  (A) Light geese: November 13, 2021 — February 13, 2022 [November 14, 2020 — February 14, 2021]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 10, and there is no possession limit.

                                  (B) Dark geese: November 13, 2021 — February 13, 2022 [November 14, 2020 — February 14, 2021]. 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 6, 2021 — January 30, 2022 [November 7, 2020 — January 31, 2021]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 10, and there is no possession limit.

                                  (B) Dark geese:

                                          (i) Season. November 6, 2021 — January 30, 2022 [November 7, 2020 — January 31, 2021];

                                          (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 11 — 26, 2021 [September 12 — 27, 2020].

                         (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 31 – March 13, 2022 [February 1 — March 14, 2021], the take of light geese is lawful in the Eastern Zone.

                                  (B) From February 14 — March 13, 2022 [February 15 — March 14, 2021], 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 23 — 24, 2021 [October 24 — 25, 2020]; and

                         (B) (No change.)

                 (2) North Duck Zone:

                         (A) season dates: November 6 — 7, 2021 [November 7 — 8, 2020]; and

                         (B) (No change.)

                 (3) South Duck Zone:

                         (A) season dates: Special youth-only season: October 30 – 31, 2021 [October 31 — November 1, 2020];

                         (B) (No change.)

        §65.318. Sandhill Crane.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Season dates and bag limits.

                         (1) Zone A: October 30, 2021 — January 30, 2022 [October 31, 2020 — January 31, 2021]. The daily bag limit is three.

                         (2) Zone B: November 26, 2021 — January 30, 2022 [November 27, 2020 — January 31, 2021]. The daily bag limit is three.

                         (3) Zone C: December 18, 2021 — January 23, 2022 [December 19, 2020 — January 24, 2021]. 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 11 — 26 and November 6 — December 29, 2021 [September 12 — 27 and November 7 — December 30, 2020].

                         (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 11 — 26 and November 6 — December 29, 2021 [September 12 — 27 and November 7 — December 30, 2020].

                         (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 6, 2021 — February 20, 2022 [November 7, 2020 — February 21, 2021].

                         (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, 2021 [2020] — January 31, 2022 [2021].

                         (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 19 — December 5, 2021 [November 20 — December 6, 2020].

                 (2) Duck, gallinule, moorhen, rail, and woodcock: January 31 — February 14, 2022 [February 1 — February 15, 2021].

                 (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

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