|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2007-08-10                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 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]
Aug. 10, 2007
Comment Sought on Proposed Waterfowl Seasons
AUSTIN, Texas --Duck hunters are bracing for what could be one of the best waterfowl hunting seasons in many years, with near record duck populations building to the north and ideal habitat conditions awaiting them in Texas. State waterfowl biologists announced proposed hunting regulations for the upcoming season and are currently seeking public comment.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, along with four other states in the Central Flyway, will be in the second year of an experimental Hunter's Choice bag limit during the 2007-08 seasons.
The Hunter's Choice allows hunters to shoot five ducks daily, but only one in the aggregate of certain species. In the aggregate category of less abundant ducks, that one bird could be either a pintail, or a canvasback, or a "dusky duck" (mottled, black duck or Mexican-like duck) or a hen mallard.
The general duck season length will be the same as last year in the North and South Zones at 74 days and up seven days in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit to 96 days. "This year because of habitat conditions and duck population estimates we felt we'd be in the liberal framework, so we made the decision to several days off the early teal season and add them into the big duck season," said Dave Morrison, TPWD waterfowl program leader.
This year's North American waterfowl spring breeding population survey showed populations of the 10 most popular duck species was up 14 percent over last year with an estimated 41.2 million birds. The counts are the highest since 2000 and just below the all-time record of 43.8 million ducks recorded in 1999.
How the final season structure will unfold is still being discussed, but TPWD has developed a proposal and is seeking public comments prior to presenting recommendations to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for final approval on Aug. 23.
According to federal guidelines, the general duck hunting seasons in Texas can only occur between Sept. 24 and Jan. 27. In making its recommendations, TPWD takes into consideration calendar shifts to maximize weekend and holiday hunting opportunity, and factors in years of survey data on bird migration and hunter harvest. Following is a rundown of the TPWD recommendations being considered:
North and South Zones -- TPWD proposes the following dates: youth-only season Oct. 27-28, regular season Nov. 3-25 and Dec. 8-Jan. 27. This season format will provide a two-week split giving hunters and ducks a rest, while maximizing opportunity during peak historic migrations. It will also provide hunting opportunities until the end of the framework, something many hunters have requested.
High Plains Mallard Management Unit -- The HPMMU offers one of the longest duck hunting seasons in the nation. To provide a season that takes advantage of this lengthy opportunity, TPWD is recommending season dates of Oct. 13-14 for the youth-only season and Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 26-Jan. 27 for the regular season.
The proposed daily bag limit for all ducks is five and may include no more than two redheads, two scaup, two wood ducks, and one aggregate duck.
As for geese, TPWD is proposing a season similar to last year, except for an increase in the Canada goose bag limit for the Western Goose Zone.
Eastern Goose Zone -- White-fronted geese: Nov. 3-Jan. 13; Canada and light geese: Nov. 3-Jan. 27.The daily bag limit is three Canada, two white-fronted and 20 light geese.
Western Goose Zone -- Nov. 3-Feb. 5 with a daily bag limit of five dark geese, of which four may be Canada geese and one white-fronted. The bag limit on light geese is 20 per day.
The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit for Canada and white-fronted geese and no possession limit for "light geese."
The Light Goose Conservation Order would start at the close of the regular goose seasons and run through March 30 in both zones. This allows relaxed regulations to hunt through various atypical means in order to control light goose overpopulation that has caused damage to Canadian habitat.
Public comment about the waterfowl proposals will be accepted through Aug. 21. Comments should be sent by e-mail to dave.morrison@tpwd.texas.gov or by regular mail to Dave Morrison, TPWD Waterfowl Program Leader, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744. Input may also be made online via the Public Comment link on the TPWD Web site home page.
On the Net:
Online public comment: http://tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/

[ Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Aug. 10, 2007
Latest Survey Reveals Texas Leads Nation in Hunting
AUSTIN, Texas -- According to preliminary state data from the new 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, Texas led the nation in 2006 with 1.1 million Texans going hunting at some point during the year, while Florida led the nation in total fishing participation with 2.8 million anglers and California was the top wildlife-watching state with 6.2 million of its residents observing wildlife.
The Lone Star State was also among the national leaders in fishing participation at 2.5 million and wildlife viewing with 4.17 million Texans participating.
Texas also leads the nation in hunting-related expenditures, and the Lone Star State generates among the highest spending levels in the country for fishing and wildlife-watching. The survey showed hunters spent about $2.3 billion in Texas, more than any other state. Angler spending in Texas was about $3.2 billion, second only to Florida at $4.5 billion. Texas ranked third nationally for expenditures by wildlife-watchers at about $2.9 billion, with California first at $4.6 billion and Florida edging above Texas at close to $3 billion. These figures reflect spending on food, lodging, transportation, equipment and other items.
"The National Survey is an important tool that measures in economic and participatory terms the value that wildlife has in Americans' hearts and to the nation's economy. Wildlife related recreation rejuvenates our spirit, connects us with nature and gets us outside pursuing healthy activities," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall.
In 2006, more than 87 million Americans, or 38 percent of the United States' population age 16 and older hunted, fished or watched wildlife. They spent $120 billion that year pursuing those activities. Further broken down by category, 30 million or 13 percent fished and spent a total of $41 billion on their activities, 12.5 million or 5 percent hunted and spent a total of $23 billion, and 71 million or 31 percent observed wildlife and spent a total of $45 billion.
The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation has been conducted every 5 years since 1955 and is one of the nation's most important wildlife recreation databases. It is considered to be the definitive source of information concerning participation and expenditures associated with hunting, fishing and other forms of wildlife-related recreation nationwide.
The Survey is conducted at the request of State fish and wildlife agencies and is funded by grants from the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Acts' Multistate Conservation Grant Program. A wide range of individuals and groups depend on the Survey to analyze participation rates, economic impacts of expenditures, demographic characteristics, and trends in participation and activities.
It is important to note that the National Survey counts only participants who actually went hunting, fishing or observed wildlife in 2006 and does not represent the total number of anglers, hunters, and wildlife watchers in the U.S. Many people who consider themselves hunters, anglers or wildlife watchers do not participate every year. For example, examination of survey data shows that over the five year period from 2002 to 2006, a cumulative total of 44.4 million people fished and 18.6 million hunted.
This 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation State Overview report, as well as previous surveys and reports, can be found at http://federalaid.fws.gov/surveys/surveys.html. The Service expects to publish the final National Report in November 2007.
Most Participants In-State
(age 16 and older)
Highest Participation Rates
(age 16 and older)
In-State Hunters
Texas -- 1,115,000
Pennsylvania -- 1,027,000
Michigan -- 756,000
Wisconsin -- 698,000
Missouri -- 613,000
Montana -- 19%
North Dakota -- 17%
South Dakota, Wisconsin -- 15%
Arkansas, Maine, West Virginia -- 14%
Minnesota, Missouri, Wyoming -- 13%
In-State Anglers
Florida -- 2,755,000
Texas -- 2,500,000
California -- 1,740,000
Minnesota -- 1,435,000
Michigan -- 1,408,000
Alaska, Minnesota -- 28%
Montana, Wyoming -- 24%
Wisconsin -- 23%
Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, West Virginia -- 21%
Idaho -- 20%
In-State Wildlife Watchers
Wildlife Watching
California -- 6,233,000
Florida -- 4,177,000
Texas -- 4,174,000
Pennsylvania -- 3,965,000
New York -- 3,762,000
Maine -- 57%
Montana, Vermont -- 55%
Iowa, Minnesota, Wyoming -- 48%
New Hampshire -- 46%
Missouri -- 45%

[ Note: This item is more than 10 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: Steve Lightfoot, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, (512) 389-4701; Joshua Winchell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (202) 219-7499 ]
Aug. 10, 2007
New Way To Buy Federal Duck Stamps: The E-Duck Stamp
AUSTIN, Texas -- Waterfowl hunters in Texas will have the option of purchasing a Federal Duck Stamp electronically this year, as part of a three-year joint effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and nine state fish and wildlife agencies, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Hunters who buy the Federal Duck Stamp from license retailers this year will be issued the actual stamp at the time of purchase and pay the face value of $15. However, purchases of the Federal Duck Stamp at TPWD locations -- game warden offices, state parks and other sites that sell licenses -- as well as online and phone transactions, will consist of an electronic authorization and the actual stamp will be mailed separately. These locations will only sell the new electronic Federal Duck Stamp, which costs $17, reflecting additional shipping and handling fees.
The "E-Duck Stamp" option is designed to make it more convenient for hunters, birdwatchers, stamp collectors, and others who support conservation of the nation's wetlands to buy federal migratory bird hunting and conservation stamps, commonly known as the Federal Duck Stamp.
To hunt any migratory game bird in Texas, hunters must have a valid Texas hunting license, HIP (Harvest Information Program) certification and a Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp ($7). Along with this state stamp, they must also have a Federal Duck Stamp ($15 hard copy or $17 electronic) to hunt ducks or geese.
The new electronic Federal Duck Stamp program allows the fish and wildlife agencies of Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, to sell stamps electronically through their individual automated licensing systems, providing a special receipt as proof of purchase. This proof of purchase -- a unique code given to the purchaser instantly -- will be accepted as evidence of a Federal Duck Stamp purchase for 45 days -- time enough for the printed stamp to arrive in the mail.
A Federal Duck Stamp and a Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp are required of anyone 16 years of age and older to hunt waterfowl in Texas. Federal Duck Stamps also provide free entry into national wildlife refuges that charge entrance fees.
"This pilot program explores one way to improve service to duck stamp purchasers, in particular those from rural or remote areas," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director, H. Dale Hall. "We are always looking for new ways to better serve the public, and enhance wetland conservation."
Funds from Federal Duck Stamp sales are a vital tool for wetland conservation, with 98 cents of every dollar generated used to purchase or lease wetland habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since the stamp's inception in 1934, more than $700 million has been raised to acquire more than 5.2 million acres of waterfowl habitat. In 2005, more than 1.6 million Federal Duck Stamps were sold.
"The Duck Stamp program provides much needed funding for wetland conservation, and it is important that they are marketed appropriately for today's web-savvy public," said Matt Hogan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. "The E-Duck Stamp meets the needs of modern day hunters and stamp collectors and ensures continued success for wetland conservation."
The Electronic Duck Stamp Act of 2005 directed the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with state management agencies, to conduct a three-year pilot program under which up to 15 states could issue electronic migratory bird hunting and conservation stamps. The pilot program will allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to evaluate the program and make adjustments or assess other distribution options to better serve stamp buyers.
On the Net: