|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2006-05-30                                    |
|  This page contains only plain text, no HTML formatting codes.          |
|  It is not designed for display in a browser but for copying            |
|  and editing in whatever software you use to lay out pages.             |
|  To copy the text into an editing program:                              |
|    --Display this page in your browser.                                 |
|    --Select all.                                                        |
|    --Copy.                                                              |
|    --Paste in a document in your editing program.                       |
|  If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send            |
|  an e-mail to webtech@tpwd.state.tx.us and mention Plain Text Pages.    |

[ Note: This item is more than 11 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]
May 30, 2006
Hunter's Choice Bag Tops List of Migratory Bird Proposals
AUSTIN, Texas -- Pending U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision in July, Texas duck hunters could get a "partial-mulligan" on their duck straps during the next three seasons.
A Central Flyway experimental bag configuration would create the "Hunter's Choice" that would help eliminate the confusing season-within-a-season framework for less abundant bird species such as pintail and canvasbacks. If implemented by the Service the bag limit drops from 6 to 5 birds overall.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced the potential option as part of proposed changes to the migratory game bird hunting regulations for 2006-07.
The "Hunter's Choice" proposal would allow hunters to shoot five ducks daily in one of two categories. In the "aggregate category" of less abundant ducks, one of those birds could be either a pintail, or a canvasback, or a "dusky duck" (mottled, black duck or Mexican-like duck) or a hen mallard.
Including hen mallards in the category would create a buffer to help reduce the harvest of the less-abundant pintails and canvasbacks.
"If this experiment works well, it could help us preserve season long hunting opportunities with other stocks of ducks that get down low, like scaup," said Vernon Bevill, TPWD migratory game bird program director.
The proposal would make the regulations less complex and eliminate the risk of hunters accidentally shooting a pintail or canvasback during the closed portions of the duck season, since the season-within-a-season takes place only during the last 39-days of the regular duck season.
"They could shoot that first duck without fear of violating the regulations all season long," Bevill noted.
Within the Central Flyway, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Texas and Kansas would offer the Hunter's Choice limits in the trial. Harvest results would be compared to the five states in the flyway not participating in the experiment.
Proposed dove season dates remain virtually unchanged from last year other than calendar shifts.
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. 22-Nov. 12 and Dec. 26-Jan. 12 with a 12-bird daily bag limit.
In the Special White-winged Dove Area in the South Zone, the season would run Sept. 2, 3, 9, 10 then Sept. 22-Nov. 12 and Dec. 26-Jan. 8. During the first two weekends, the bag limit would be 12 in the aggregate, no more than 4 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, except only 2 white-tipped dove daily.
For rails, gallinule, woodcock and snipe, TPWD is proposing the following:
Rail and Gallinule: Sept. 16-24 and Nov. 4-Jan. 3.
Snipe: Nov. 4-Feb. 18.
Woodcock: Dec. 18-Jan. 31
For the duck hunting seasons, TPWD is proposing the following:
Early Teal: Sept. 9-24 if the Service provides for a 16-day season, otherwise, Sept. 16-24.
High Plains Mallard Management Unit: Youth Only Oct. 14-15. General Season Oct. 21-22 and Oct 27-Jan. 28.
Remainder of State (North/South Zones): Youth Only Oct. 28-29. General Season Nov. 4-26 and Dec. 9-Jan. 28
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), 2 scaup, 2 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 1 "dusky duck" (mottled duck, black duck or Mexican-like 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.
For geese, a potential increase in the bag limit for dark geese in the Western Zone is being considered, as is the discontinuance of the Light Goose Conservation Order.
In 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued the first Conservation Order Light Goose Season to encourage hunters to harvest additional light geese. Harvest surveys indicate the Conservation Order has become less effective in Texas during recent years with declines in both hunter participation and light geese harvest.
Here's what's being proposed for the goose hunting seasons:
Western Zone: Light and dark geese Nov. 4-Feb. 6 with a daily bag limit of 20 light geese. Bag limit of 4 dark geese, no more than 3 Canada and 1 white-fronted goose. The proposed conservation order for light geese would run Feb. 7-Mar. 25
Eastern Zone: Light geese Nov. 4-Jan. 28 with a bag limit of 20 daily. White-fronted geese Nov. 4-Jan. 14 and Canada geese Nov. 4-Jan. 28with a daily bag limit of 3 Canada geese and 2 white-fronted geese. The proposed conservation order for light geese would run Jan. 29-Mar. 25.
Here's what's being proposed for the sandhill crane hunting seasons:
Zone A: Nov. 4-Feb. 4 with a bag limit of three daily.
Zone B: Nov. 24-Feb. 4 with a bag limit of three daily.
Zone C: Dec. 23-Jan. 28 with a bag limit of two daily.
All proposed dates are very tentative and reflect a season structure based on the liberal package, according to Dave Morrison, TPWD waterfowl program leader. "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 11 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]
May 30, 2006
TPWD Increases Pheasant Bag Limit
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved increasing the daily bag limit for ring-necked pheasant in Texas Panhandle counties from two cocks to three.
The additional bird in the bag is not expected to significantly impact overall harvest based on a long term comparison of hunter effort.
From 1995 to 2002, the pheasant season in the Panhandle began on the second Saturday in December and ran for 16 consecutive days. In 2002, the department increased the length of the pheasant season in the Texas Panhandle from 16 to 30 days, and began the season one week earlier. Accordingly, as a precautionary measure, when the department lengthened the season and opened it a week earlier, the bag limit was reduced from three cock pheasant to two.
The ring-necked pheasant is a polygamous species (the male mates with multiple females) and harvest is restricted to males which will not affect the overall population, according to TPWD wildlife biologists.
"An analysis of harvest data during the last 11 years (eight years at a three-bird bag limit and three years at the two-bird bag limit) indicates that the long-term average of total harvest has remained essentially unchanged," said Vernon Bevill, TPWD upland game bird program director.
From 1995 to 2003 (three-bird limit, 16-day season), the average total harvest was about 26,000 cocks per year. From 2003 to 2005 (two-bird bag limit, 30-day season), the total harvest averaged 24,000 cocks per year.
Hunter success during the period from 1995 to 2003 was about 1.25 birds per day, while from 2003 to 2005, it was about one bird per day. The estimated number of hunters from 1995 to 2003 averaged 25,900; from 2003 to 2005 it was 24,170.
"If harvest pressure remains stable at the long-term average, increasing the bag limit by one cock should result in a total increase of between 1,730 and 2,160 birds, which is still less than the total harvest under the three-bird/16-day season structure that was in effect from 1995 to 2003," Bevill explained. "The department therefore believes that increasing the bag limit by one cock will not result in depletion of the resource, and we will continue monitoring harvest and hunter activity to assure our assessments are correct."
Counties affected by the change include: Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Floyd, Gray, Hale, Hall, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hockley, Hutchinson, Lamb, Lipscomb, Lubbock, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, Wheeler, and Wilbarger.
The possession limit for pheasant is twice the daily bag limit.

[ Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
May 30, 2006
TPW Commission Approves Public Hunting in 42 State Parks
AUSTIN, Texas -- One-third of Texas state parks will allow public hunts for the 2006-07 hunting season, as approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its May 24-25 public meeting.
Most of the state parks approved for public hunting will be offered through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's computer drawings for a variety of game and hunting options, including new youth opportunities. New categories include youth-only deer management and youth-only exotic hunts.
To minimize conflicts between park user groups, public hunts are offered during off-peak visitation periods, typically on weekdays in the winter months. A number of youth hunts are scheduled during school holidays. During these events, signs are posted at parks alerting visitors that a hunt is in progress.
The public is urged to contact the park or check the hunting calendar posted online before heading out during hunting season.
The 42 state parks where public hunts will take place are: Abilene, Atlanta; Big Bend Ranch; Brazos Bend; Caprock Canyons; Choke Canyon - North Shore Unit; Colorado Bend; Cooper Lake - South Sulphur Unit; Copper Breaks; Davis Mountains; Devil's River; Devil's Sinkhole; Enchanted Rock; Fairfield Lake; Fort Boggy; Garner; Guadalupe River; Guadalupe River North Unit; Hill Country; Honey Creek; Huntsville; Inks Lake/Longhorn Caverns; Kickapoo Caverns; Lake Bob Sandlin; Lake Brownwood; Lake Mineral Wells; Lake Somerville Birch Creek and Nails Creek; Lake Whitney; Lost Maples; Mother Neff prairie area; Pedernales Falls; Pedernales Falls Annex; Possum Kingdom; Purtis Creek; Resaca de la Palma; San Angelo; Sea Rim; Seminole Canyon; South Llano; Tony Houseman and Tyler.
Applications for special drawing hunts to be conducted on state parks, wildlife management areas and other TPWD-managed properties during the 2006-07 season will be available in early July from TPWD headquarters and field offices, and posted on the TPWD Web site. Each hunt's application fee ranges from $3 to $10 for adults and is free to youth, who must be accompanied by an adult hunter.
Deadlines to apply for TPWD public hunts are as follows:
Alligator, Archery Alligator, Youth Only Alligator - August 2, 2006
Prong-horned Antelope - August 17, 2006
Archery Deer, Archery Exotic - August 17, 2006
Guided Bighorn Sheep Hunt - August 31, 2006
Private Lands Management Either Sex, Private Lands Antlerless/Spike- September 7, 2006
Gun Deer (Either-Sex, Antlerless/Spike, Youth Only Either Sex, Youth Only Antlerless/Spike, Management Buck, and Youth Only Management) - September 7, 2006
Javelina, Youth Only Javelina, Guided Waterbuck, and Guided Deer Hunt Packages - October 5, 2006
Exotic Only, Feral Hog, Youth Only Exotic and Youth Only Feral Hog - November 1, 2006
Youth Only Spring Turkey, Spring Turkey, Guided Scimitar-Horned Oryx Hunt Package, Guided Gemsbok, and Guided Antelope Hunt Packages - December 5, 2006
Many parks will also provide hunting opportunities as part of the department's Annual Public Hunting Permit program, which offers purchasers of the $48 permit hunting access to more than one million acres throughout the state.
Among the hunting opportunities available to permit holders are more than 100 separate dove-hunting units covering more than 60,000 acres. Many of these hunting sites are within close proximity to major urban areas. The permit also provides access to hunting for other species, including deer, waterfowl and small game.
The permit is available for the 2006-2007 season on Aug. 15, 2006. Permits can be purchased wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold and from TPWD law enforcement offices.
A map booklet detailing the public hunting sites is mailed to permit holders within two weeks of purchase or can be obtained directly if the permit is obtained from a TPWD law enforcement office. Map booklets can also be viewed on the department's Web sites.
Public hunt applications booklets will be available at TPWD law enforcement offices, state parks and wildlife management areas in July. Information about the drawings for hunts by special permits can be obtained by calling (800) 792-1112 or online.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Rick Barrera, 614-265-6490, rick.barrera@dnr.state.oh.us ]
May 30, 2006
NASBLA Issues Advisory for Used Boat Buyers
AUSTIN, Texas -- Hurricanes Katrina and Rita may continue to cause devastation well into the 2006 boating season, warns the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
Due to the hurricanes in 2005 many boats were damaged or destroyed. Boat Owners Association of the United States estimates that damages to recreational vessels as a result of Hurricane Katrina alone are between $650 and $750 million. Some of these boats are being sold as merely "used" to unsuspecting buyers.
"Sadly, unethical people are everywhere, even in times of disaster," said Rick Barrera, chairman of NASBLA's Numbering & Titling Committee. "Used boat buyers should take precautions to protect themselves down the road," he said.
Of the states that require titling, fewer than 10 require titles of boats that have been totaled to be marked "salvaged."
Consumers, boating registration personnel and others can utilize a database of watercraft affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita developed by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
According to the NICB, by March 2006, there were 206,000 vehicles in its flooded motor vehicle and boat database. The NICB warns that flooded vessels may be cleaned up, moved and sold in other areas of the country by unscrupulous operators.
Although the vessels were totaled by insurance companies and some are identified with the word "salvage" on their titles (meaning that they are not fit for any use except for scrap or parts), they could end up on the market in states where it is relatively easy to apply for a new title.
If a consumer buys one of these boats, they could be in for a surprise that could prove costly.
NASBLA encourages boat buyers to check out the history of any used vessel they may purchase. They can do this by searching the NICB database for watercraft affected by the hurricanes.
To access the database go to www.nicb.org and enter the hull identification number (HIN) of the boat you are buying. The HIN can be found on the right rear of the watercraft hull. While not all vessels scraped for salvage are in the database, it is one tool consumers can use to help lessen the chance of fraud.
Barrera said, "If a deal on a boat sounds too good to be true, most times it is. Take a few extra steps and make sure the vessel you are buying is legitimate and will provide a safe and enjoyable experience for you and your family."
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a non-profit organization comprised of state and territorial recreational boating authorities. NASBLA fosters partnerships among the states, the Coast Guard and others, crafts model boating laws, maintains national education and training standards, assists in the homeland security challenges on our waterways, and advocates the needs of the state boating programs before Congress and federal agencies.