|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-04-12                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
April 12, 2004
New Options, Incentives Available for Deer Management
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has adopted new options and incentives for private landowners who actively practice white-tailed deer management, including the elimination of "double tagging" and an extension of hunting seasons.
According to the new rules, which go into effect this fall, hunters who take deer on properties holding deer permits that require permit tagging, such as Managed Lands Deer Permits, Landowner Assisted Management Permits or on Texas Parks and Wildlife Department-drawn public hunts, would not have to use a deer tag from their hunting license. What this means for affected hunters and landowners is less redundant paperwork and a simpler tagging system.
"This will eliminate personal bag limits and the requirement to complete the harvest log on the back of the hunting license for deer taken under authority of the specified permits," said Clayton Wolf, TPWD Big Game Program Director.
Providing private landowners and wildlife managers with the freedom and flexibility to effectively manage wildlife on their property is one of the benchmark priorities in TPWD's Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan, designed to guide the agency's long-range efforts.
TPWD recognizes the need to adjust and amend the guidelines to allow land managers to be more efficient and effective stewards. The new rules are based upon recommendations from the TPW Commission's White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee.
Among the changes, properties operating under the department's Level II and III MLDPs (Managed Lands Deer Permit) will have hunting opportunities that extend through the last day in February.
Those same operations can also qualify for an exemption from any site inspection prior to issuance of a Trap, Transport and Transplant (Triple T) permit, which is required in order to introduce new deer onto the property, providing they meet certain data collection and stocking criteria.
The commission also removed the limit on the number of deer that can be removed from those properties before importing additional deer. This change allows landowners more flexibility in the number of deer they can import to their property without negative implications on plant communities.
In addition, authority was granted to allow buck deer to be included in Triple T activities that are authorized for inconsequential purposes or for sites that do not require a site inspection.
Provisions were also adopted that affect how properties conduct certain management practices under MLD permits, including penalties for abuses.
For example, a one-year suspension for properties that exceed the harvest quota in a Wildlife Management Plan was created.
New rules also require that all buck deer moved by Triple T permit have antlers removed prior to transport, which provides additional safety for trappers and for the animals.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
April 12, 2004
Commission Adopts Fishing License Changes
AUSTIN, Texas -- Beginning this fall, Texas anglers will have to pick the fishing license that matches their fishing preference: freshwater, saltwater or both.
That's because a new $5 freshwater fishing stamp to generate funding for fish hatchery construction and repair will be required to fish in freshwater starting Sept. 1. A similar endorsement to fish in saltwater has been in place for several years, with revenue generated by coastal anglers earmarked for that fishery.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its April 8 public hearing adopted a series of fishing license changes that incorporate the new freshwater stamp into the system. The changes do not take effect until Sept. 1.
Along with the freshwater stamp, TPWD created several new fishing license types, including a new June-July summer license, a new single day license and, for the first time in many years, a "year-round" license good for 365 days from the date of purchase.
Under the new licensing structure, anglers will select from several fishing packages: a freshwater fishing license ($28 for residents, $55 for non-residents), a saltwater fishing license ($33 for residents, $60 for non-residents) or an all-water fishing license good for both fresh and saltwater ($38 for residents, $65 for non-residents). All packages come with the appropriate required stamps.
Similar license packages will also be available in conjunction with hunting licenses, including a freshwater combo ($47 for residents, and $15 for seniors), a saltwater combo ($52 for residents, $20 for seniors) and all-water combo ($57 for residents, $25 for seniors). The popular super combo, "one stop shop" license package will incur just the additional cost of the freshwater stamp ($64), as does the senior super combo ($30).
The commission also changed the types of temporary fishing licenses available, eliminating the 3-day resident, the 5-day non-resident and the 14-day temporary and replacing them with a 1-day temporary with an option to buy additional daily privileges at the time of purchase. A 1-day resident license will sell for $11 for freshwater, $16 for saltwater and $21 for all water privileges. Non-residents could purchase a 1-day license for freshwater for $17, for saltwater ($22) or for all water ($27). Residents could purchase subsequent days for $4 each and non-residents for $8 each.
The commission also created a new summer's-end license valid for the months of July and August. The freshwater version would cost $25; while the saltwater would run $30 and an all-water license $35.
The agency also created for convenience sake a "year-to-date," all-water fishing license valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Currently, all licenses expire each year on Aug. 31. The cost of this license option will be $45 and available to Texas residents only.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
April 12, 2004
Dove Zone Shift Tops List of Migratory Bird Proposals
AUSTIN, Texas -- Additional white-winged dove hunting opportunity near San Antonio and a proactive alternative to restrictive "seasons within a season" on certain duck species top the list of possible changes to this year's Texas migratory game bird hunting regulations. The proposals were announced here April 7 in a briefing of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission's Regulations Committee.
The final options for this fall's migratory game bird hunting seasons won't be available until later this summer when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service establishes its annual federal framework. But to give the public time to weigh in on possible changes, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials unveiled proposed options for dove, ducks and geese for 2004-05 they hope will fly.
"For the most part, migratory regulations being proposed are unchanged from last year with the exception of calendar adjustments," explains Dave Morrison, TPWD waterfowl program coordinator. "Other proposed regulations could be altered significantly depending on the federal rule-making process and population surveys yet to be completed."
TPWD is considering a minor extension of the Central and South Dove zone boundary around San Antonio so hunters can take advantage of the large feeding flights of whitewings flying out of San Antonio in early September. By moving the boundary to south loop FM 1604 from the current U.S. Highway 90 to Interstate Highway 10, the dove season in this area could open consistent with the Central Zone (Sept. 1, 2004). However, concern about late-nesting mourning doves remains.
Currently the daily bag limit of 12 is an aggregate of both mourning and white-winged doves.
According to Jay Roberson, TPWD dove program leader, data from nesting studies conducted in the early 1980's indicate more than 11 percent of young doves produced each year are fledged after Sept.1, and mourning doves nest later in south Texas than in other areas of the state. "Other studies indicate that if either parent is lost before the young are nine days old, survival of the nestlings is reduced," he said. "Long-term breeding population index trends in South Texas have been declining at three times the state rate so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may not allow this extension. However, we are asking for public comment in case they do."
In addition to the zone boundary shift, the proposed season dates and bag limits for mourning dove are:
--North Zone: Sept. 1-Oct. 30 with a 15-bird daily bag limit.
--Central Zone: Sept. 1-Oct. 30 and Dec. 26-Jan. 4 with a 12-bird daily bag limit.
--South Zone: Sept. 24-Nov. 9 and Dec. 18-Jan. 9 with a 12-bird daily bag limit. In the Special White-winged Dove Area in the south zone, the season would run Sept. 4, 5, 11, 12 then Sept. 24-Nov. 9 and Dec. 18-Jan. 5. During the first two weekends, the bag limit would be 10 in the aggregate, no more than 5 mourning dove or 2 white-tipped dove. The bag limit for the remainder of this season would be the same as the rest of the South Zone.
If some of the dove harvest regulations seem elaborate, consider what waterfowlers have had to digest in recent years. Abbreviated seasons set within the general duck season for certain species like pintails and canvasbacks have kept these prized birds in the game, but necessitated day planner tracking of what's open on any given outing.
This year, the Central Flyway Council, of which Texas is a member, submitted a recommendation to the Service to alter the bag limit for this coming year.
"We're calling it the 'Hunter's Choice' and the key elements include reducing the daily bag limit from six ducks to five," explained Morrison. "Another important aspect of this concept is that it should eliminate the closed or partially closed seasons on certain species like canvasbacks and pintails that we have experienced in the last few years."
Under the aggregate daily bag for the "Hunter's Choice," waterfowlers could take only one from the following group: hen mallard, mottled duck, pintail or canvasback. They could take up to two redheads and wood ducks a day. They could also take up to three scaup. For all other legal duck species, such as mallard drakes, teal, gadwall and wigeon, the aggregate bag would be five in any combination.
For rails, gallinule and snipe, TPWD is proposing the following:
--Rail and Gallinule: Sept. 11-26 and Oct. 30-Dec. 22.
--Snipe: Oct. 30-Feb. 13.
--American Woodcock: Dec. 18, 2004-Jan. 31, 2005
For the duck hunting seasons, TPWD is proposing the following:
--Early Teal: Sept. 11-26 if the Service provides for a 16-day season, otherwise, Sept. 18-26.
--High Plains Mallard Management Unit: Youth Only, Oct. 16-17. General Season, Oct. 30-Nov. 1 and Nov. 6-Jan. 30.
--North Zone: Youth Only, Oct. 30-31. General Season, Nov. 13-14 and Nov. 20-Jan. 30.
--South Zone: Youth Only, Oct. 18-19. General Season, Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 6-Jan. 16.
If the Service does not approve the "Hunter's Choice" option, the proposed aggregate daily bag limit for ducks would be 6, no more than 5 mallards (only 2 hens), 3 scaup, 2 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 1 mottled duck, and 1 pintail and 1 canvasback (restricted season for both pintail and canvasback at this time). The daily bag limit for mergansers would be 5 (only 1 hooded merganser) and the daily bag limit on coots would be 15.
Here's what's being proposed for the goose hunting seasons:
--Western Zone: Light geese Oct. 30-Feb. 13 with a daily bag limit of 20. Dark geese Oct. 30-Feb. 13 with a bag limit of 4, no more than 3 Canada and 1 white-fronted goose. The proposed conservation order for light geese would run Feb. 14-March 27.
--Eastern Zone: North Segment light geese Oct. 23-Jan. 23 and South Segment light geese Oct. 23-Jan. 16 with a bag limit of 20 daily. White-fronted geese and Canada geese and brants Oct. 23-Jan. 16 with an aggregate daily bag limit of 3, no more than 2 white-fronted geese. The proposed conservation order for light geese would run Jan. 24-March 27 in the North Segment and Jan. 17-March 27 in the South Segment.
Here's what's being proposed for the sandhill crane hunting seasons:
--Zone A: Nov. 6-Feb. 6 with a bag limit of three daily.
--Zone B: Nov. 27-Feb. 6 with a bag limit of three daily.
--Zone C: Dec. 18-Jan. 16 with a bag limit of two daily.
All proposed dates are very tentative and reflect a season structure based on the liberal package. Should another package be called for these dates will be changed drastically.
Public comment about these proposals may be made to Dave Morrison, TPWD, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744 or by e-mail to dave.morrison@tpwd.texas.gov.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
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:
--Implementation of a 4-day doe season in eight East Texas counties where the current antlerless harvest is by permit only. Areas receiving doe days Nov. 25-28 include: Brazos, Cherokee, Gregg, Grimes, Houston, Madison, Robertson and Rusk counties.
--Re-establishing the season framework in the Panhandle for pheasants to a 30-day season to begin on the first Saturday in December.
--Implementation of fall season for Rio Grande turkey in Denton and Johnson counties.
--Implementation of a 14-18 inch slot limit for largemouth bass on San Augustine City Lake (San Augustine County).
--Implementation of an 18-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass and restricting angling to pole and line only for new Lake Pflugerville (Travis County), which is scheduled to open in 2005.
--Alteration of rules on community fishing lakes (statewide) to eliminate length limits for blue and channel catfish.
--Implementation of statewide regulations for white bass and white bass/striped bass hybrids on Lake O' the Pines (Camp, Marion, Morris, and Upshur counties) and Pat Mayse (Lamar County) and removal of the downstream tailrace areas from the boundary definitions for these two reservoirs.
--Creation of a boundary definition for Lake Murvaul (Panola County) to extend the 14-21 inch slot limit for largemouth bass to the downstream tailrace area.
--Modification of saltwater perch trap rules to incorporate degradable panels
--Inclusion of "star trap" as legal gear to capture crabs in Texas.
--Legalized the use of minnow traps in saltwater.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
April 12, 2004
Texas To Implement First-Ever Hunter Education Deferral
AUSTIN, Texas -- Taking a practical and innovative step in making hunting more accessible, especially to adults new to the activity, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved a new plan that would defer hunter education certification requirements for as much as one year under certain circumstances.
The deferral, which takes effect Sept. 1, allows an individual, 17 years of age or older, a one-time extension to complete the state's hunter education requirements. The individual must purchase a hunting license and must be accompanied by a person 17 years of age or older who is also licensed to hunt in Texas. The accompanying individual must have completed hunter education or be exempt from the requirements (born before Sept. 2, 1971). The extension is good until the end of that license period, by which time the person with the deferral should have completed a hunter education course.
The deferral costs $10 and may be offered one-time only. The new hunter also receives a $5 discount off the price of a hunter education course, which costs $10, but only if the course is taken prior to the end of the current license year.
The deferral will also be available to out-of-state hunters, as well as those in the military who are stationed in Texas or who are home on leave.
Texas certifies more than 33,000 hunters annually through 4,400 hunter education courses offered across the state, with at least one offered in each of the 254 counties. Hunter Education courses are a minimum of 10 hours of classroom and hands-on activities. The classroom objectives can alternatively be taken through home study or online, followed by a hands-on, outdoors session taught by volunteer instructors.
"Although we offer the course throughout the year, there are times during the holidays when only a select number of courses may be available and that's typically the time of year when most people have an opportunity to go hunting," said Terry Erwin, TPWD hunter education coordinator. "This temporary deferral will give folks time to enroll at a later date and still take advantage of an opportunity to go hunting."

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
April 12, 2004
Stay Tuned
Information from Texas Parks and Wildlife is available on radio and television, as well as the newsstand.
Passport to Texas, TPWD's radio series of weekday, 90-second stories is broadcast on about 100 Texas stations. Airing the week of April 12-16, they're digging up the past at one state historic site. Plus the opportunity to become a Texas game warden is attracting a diversity of people with some very interesting backgrounds.
For more information, visit the Web (http://www.passporttotexas.org/).
Video News
TPWD provides video news reports that run in newscasts on numerous Texas stations, as well as on cable and satellite outlets around the nation. This month's stories include: Spring turkey season is here and with it come many hunters from both in and out of state to try their luck at bagging one of these creatures; the Great Texas Birding Classic brings bird watchers from all over the country to compete in a week-long 'birdathon.' This year, however, some contestants will leave their binoculars at home; this spring there are two new ways to enjoy state parks; buy a new State Parks Pass to get into the more than 120 state parks and then fish free when you get there; and once they were cargo ships during World War II, now they are home to marine life in the sea.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. Stories airing the week of April 11-18; for decades biologists have been working to restore the Desert Bighorn to its native range in West Texas. See how the methods for trapping and transporting these amazing animals has changed through the years and helped make the Bighorn effort a success story; a visit to the Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site near Houston; get some advice about how to transport your firearms to and from the field safely; take a trip to the Brown Ranch to see hummingbirds, hummingbirds, and more hummingbirds; watch as game warden cadets get trained for swift-water rescue in the San Marcos River; and finally, see the sights of Caddo Lake in the rain.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/tv).
Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is always available on newsstands throughout the state and by subscription for $19.95 a year. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393 or order online at (http://www.tpwmagazine.com/).