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TPWD Approves Early Opener in South for Spring Turkey
AUSTIN, Texas — Rio Grande turkey hunters in the southern parts of Texas will get a two-week jump on gobblers next spring following changes in hunting regulations adopted here April 5 by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
The alteration to the South Zone spring turkey season framework is among several changes to the 2007-08 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation.
“Two years ago, we simplified the season by combining the North and South Zones and added a week to the overall length,” Mike Berger, TPWD Wildlife Division Director explained. “After re-evaluating this move, we’ve opted to move the South Zone opening up to the Saturday nearest March 18 and leave the North Zone to open the Saturday nearest April 1. Both zones retain a 44-day season length.”
In addition to the spring turkey season adjustment proposal, the commission also approved several changes designed to simplify and clarify hunting regulations and create greater flexibility for wildlife resource managers. The changes include:
- Extending the statewide archery-only deer season by five days. Historically, the archery season has always closed the Sunday before the opening of the general white-tailed deer season. The change eliminates the current five-day gap between the end of the archery season and the beginning of the general white-tailed deer season.
- Implementing an archery-only open season for mule deer on Managed Land Deer Permit (MLD) properties. The change allows archery-only hunting on MLDP properties during the statewide archery-only season.
- Eliminating the “double tagging” requirement for antlerless mule deer. When the MLDP program was expanded to include mule deer, it was anticipated that the antlerless mule deer permits would be eliminated. However, there were landowners who preferred to continue receiving the antlerless mule deer permit, and when using these permits, no tag from the hunting license will be required.
- Adjusting the requirements for management plans for lesser prairie-chicken. The change reduces the number of required habitat management practices from five to three, and increases the allowable harvest quota to 10 percent of the estimated population. The breeding behavior of lesser prairie-chickens and their large home ranges cause them to use habitat components that are typically provided by more than one landowner. This variability can be problematic for both habitat management and permit issuance, especially when birds are spending only a small portion of their time on a given habitat component. The changes allow biologists to issue permits on a more flexible and biologically specific basis.
- Requiring taxidermists to maintain a wildlife resource document for two years following the time that each wildlife resource is retrieved by the owner or sold as unclaimed merchandise.
- Creating a managed lands permit program that includes provisions for harvesting additional javelina above the daily bag limit on properties where surplus javelina populations have been identified as part of an overall wildlife management plan.
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