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TPWD News Release — April 12, 2004

Eastern Turkey Season Extension Approved

AUSTIN, Texas — Turkey hunters in East Texas will be able to spend more time in the woods trying to outsmart a wary gobbler beginning in the Spring of 2005, thanks to hunting season changes passed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

Recognizing the ongoing success of the eastern turkey restoration effort in the Pineywoods, the commission approved doubling the season length for eastern turkeys to 30 days with an April 1 opener. Mandatory check stations and use of shotgun-only will remain in place.

"This marks another milestone in the state’s successful effort to restore the wild turkey on suitable habitat in East Texas," said Mike Berger, Ph.D. and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s wildlife division director. "The commission’s charge to us has been to maximize hunting opportunity whenever that resource can sustain it."

Since 1995 when Texas’ first spring eastern turkey hunting season was opened in Red River County, TPWD has maintained a conservative approach — a 14-day season, mandatory check stations, one gobbler bag limit — to give the birds ample opportunity to establish themselves in new haunts. As turkey numbers have increased and flocks expand into new areas, the agency has steadily increased hunting opportunity by opening a spring season in 42 East Texas counties.

The commission also approved adding two more counties, Hardin and Liberty, to the mix beginning in 2005 and expanding the season to encompass all of two others, Montgomery and Tyler counties.

In addition to the turkey season changes, the commission modified the late youth-only deer season to reduce confusion and increase opportunity. The changes extend the same opportunities granted youth during the early youth-only season to the late season, including the opportunity to harvest bucks where county regulations provide that option.

Other changes adopted by the commission as part of the 2004-05 Texas Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation include: