|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2018-08-24                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Aug. 24, 2018
New Rules Prohibit Commercial Harvest of Four Turtle Species in Texas
AUSTIN - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission this week voted to prohibit the commercial collection of four species of freshwater turtles in Texas--the common snapping turtle, red-eared slider, smooth softshell and spiny softshell.
Previous state rules passed in 2007 prohibited commercial collection of wild freshwater turtles in Texas, but exempted these four species on private waters, meaning they could still be collected from private ponds. The new rules prohibit wild collection of the four turtles anywhere in Texas.
On Oct. 3, 2017, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department received a petition for rulemaking saying that continued commercial harvest of the four turtle species is unsustainable. Scientific evidence bears this out, since localized turtle declines have been documented in parts of Texas, and research in recent years has shown these species are vulnerable to overharvest.
In 2008, the state agency funded a 5-year research investigation of freshwater turtle populations in Texas. This showed turtles are highly sensitive to commercial harvest, that even modest commercial harvest leads to long-term population declines, and that illegal commercial harvest of turtles continues.
The department received 1,184 public comments on the new rules since they were published as a proposal for comment in the Texas Register earlier this year. Of those comments, 98 percent supported the new rules to restrict harvest and protect the turtles.
Also, this year the department received a letter from eight concerned scientists located across the nation, a group with collective expertise in conservation biology, ecology, population dynamics, wildlife management and other areas relevant to turtle conservation. They said, "freshwater turtles cannot sustain any significant level of wild collection without suffering population declines," and they asked the commission to "promptly ban for-profit exploitation of the state's turtles."
Under the new rules, recreational collection of wild turtles by children or individual citizens remains allowed, captive breeding and sale of lawfully obtained brood stock remains legal for permitted nongame dealers, and private property rights remain unchanged.
The rules will take effect this fall.

[ Note: This item is more than 10 months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Aug. 24, 2018
TPW Commission Adopts Rules Permitting Pneumatic Weapons for Hunting
AUSTIN - Beginning this fall, hunters in Texas will be able to use air guns and arrow guns that meet criteria established under new rules adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
The regulations create a new category of legal means for hunting in Texas defined as pre-charged pneumatic devices. Unlike pellet guns and traditional air rifles that can be charged manually or with an attached CO2 cartridge, pre-charged pneumatic air guns and arrow guns are those weapons for which an unignited compressed gas propellant is supplied or introduced from a detached source.
The TPW Commission decision follows months of scrutiny to avoid creating undue risks of wounding of wildlife from pneumatic weaponry. These devices must meet minimum standards of ballistic efficacy.
Minimum ballistic specifications of pre-charged pneumatics approved by the Commission for hunting alligators, big game and Rio Grande turkeys are: .30 caliber bullets weighing at least 150 grains powered by an unignited compressed gas propellant charge capable of attaining a muzzle velocity of at least 800 feet per second (fps) OR any bullet weight and muzzle velocity combination that produces at least 215 foot pounds of energy.
For furbearers, pre-charged pneumatics must be at least .30 caliber. For squirrels, chachalaca, quail and pheasant an air rifle does not need to be a pre-charged pneumatic, but it must be able to propel a minimum .177 caliber projectile at least 600 fps.
In addition to minimum standards for pre-charged pneumatic devices, the Commission adopted provisions that hunter education certification requirements be met in order to hunt any wildlife resource.
At least 10 other states permit the use of pneumatic devices for hunting big game, and all but three states allow their use for hunting certain other wildlife species. Their use in Texas previously was limited to hunting anything other than game animals (except squirrels), game birds, alligators, and furbearers.
The new rules will take effect Sept. 29, 2018. Additional information on the use of air guns and arrow guns is available online.