Correction of Error – Squirrel Season Rules

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Statewide Recreational HUNTING Proclamation

SQUIRRELS: OPEN SEASONS, BAG AND POSSESSION LIMITS

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

          The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new 31 TAC §65.46, concerning Squirrel: Open Seasons, Bag and Possession Limits. The proposed amendment would re-establish the season dates and bag limits for squirrels in certain East Texas Counties to correct an administrative error.

        In 2021 the department promulgated regulations that established an open season for squirrel in all counties that at that time were closed to squirrel hunting. Due to an administrative error, the rule in its entirety is not reflected in TAC and the season dates and bag limits for certain counties were omitted; therefore, rule action is necessary at this time to ensure that the intended squirrel harvest regulations are reinstated.       

2. Fiscal Note.

        Robert Macdonald, Regulations Coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the rule.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

        Mr. Macdonald also has determined that that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect:

                 (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rule will be accurate regulations.

                 (B) Under 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 and micro-businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s "direct adverse economic impacts" to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, 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 rule regulates an aspect of recreational license privilege that allows individual persons to pursue and harvest public wildlife resources in this state and therefore does 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 rule 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 rule.

                 (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 rule.

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

                         (1) neither create nor eliminate a government program;

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

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

                         (4) not affect the amount of any fee;

                         (5) not create a new regulation;

                         (6) not expand 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 proposed rule may be submitted to Robert Macdonald, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4775; email: robert.macdonald@tpwd.texas.gov or via the department website at www.tpwd.texas.gov.

5. Statutory Authority.

        The amendment 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 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

6. Rule Text.

        §65.46. Squirrel: Open Seasons, Bag and Possession Limits.

                 (a) In Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Chambers, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Freestone, Galveston, Gregg, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Jasper, Jefferson, Lamar, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Marion, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Rains, Red River, Robertson, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Walker, and Wood Counties, there is a general open season for squirrel.

                         (1) Open season: May 1-May 31 and October 1 through the last Sunday in February.

                         (2) Daily bag limit: 10 squirrels.

                         (3) Possession limit: 20 squirrels.

                 (b) – (c) (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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