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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2019-09-27                                    |
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Sept. 27, 2019
TPWD Reminds Hunters about Proper Deer Carcass Disposal
AUSTIN - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reminds hunters throughout the state to properly dispose of carcasses from harvested deer to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in deer. This is particularly important for those taken inside the Trans-Pecos, South Central and Panhandle Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Containment and Surveillance Zones.
"Because many hunters process their own deer, they are key players in preventing environmental contamination or minimizing the spread of diseases such as CWD," said Alan Cain, TPWD White-tailed Deer Program Leader. "One possible way that disease can spread is by the transportation and improper disposal of infected carcass parts."
Deer can become infected with CWD if they come into contact with other infected deer or an environment contaminated with CWD prions. While CWD prions are found ubiquitously throughout the body of an infected deer, they are known to accumulate in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes.
Additionally, hunters cannot take whole deer carcasses, or carcass parts that contain brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, or lymph nodes, out of the CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones or from another state or country known to have CWD.
"We recommend hunters in the CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones quarter deer in the field and leave all inedible parts at the site of harvest, or preferably dispose of in a landfill, or bury at site of harvest if possible," Cain said. "Proper disposal of carcass parts is good practice anywhere in the state, but especially critical in CWD zones."
Cain also noted that hunters wishing to take an intact skinned or unskinned deer head to a taxidermist outside a CWD zone or from another CWD positive state or country may do so, but must obtain the Deer Head Waiver at any TPWD CWD check station or at the TPWD CWD website. The waiver should be completed and kept with the hunter or with the deer head until it reaches the taxidermist.
Hunters are urged to follow these safe handling recommendations:
Proper Carcass Disposal
--Avoid cutting through bones, spine, or brain when processing deer carcasses.
--If processing harvested deer in camp or at home, place carcass parts in trash bags and properly dispose of them through a trash service or landfill.
Safe Parts to Transport
--Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spine or head attached.
--Hides or capes from which all excess tissue has been removed.
--Antlers, including antlers attached to skull plates or skulls cleaned of all muscle and brain tissue.
--Finished taxidermy products.
Carcass movement restrictions do not apply if the carcass will not be moved outside of a CWD zone. However, it is recommended to always properly dispose of unused carcass parts.
Hunters who harvest deer and other CWD-susceptible species in the South Central zone during archery season beginning Sept. 28 are required to bring their animals to a TPWD check station within 48 hours of harvest in order to have tissue samples removed for CWD testing. Hunters will receive a proof-of-sex document at the check station, allowing them to lawfully dispose of the head as recommended. Those hunting in the Trans-Pecos zone during archery season should call (512) 221-8491 and those hunting in the Panhandle zone during archery season should call (806) 420-0439, as check stations in these areas do not open until November.
"Texas Game Wardens will be doing compliance checks to make sure hunters are meeting the requirements in the CWD restricted zones and when bringing big game from CWD positive states, which includes Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming," said Region I Texas Game Warden Major Jason Huebner.
Hunters who harvest deer and other CWD-susceptible species during seasons later this fall should also check the Outdoor Annual online or through the mobile app to find check station requirements, dates and hours of operation.
For the latest updates, call or (800) 792-1112, or visit the CWD information page. A hunter who harvests a CWD-susceptible species outside a CWD zone and wishes to have the animal tested for CWD should contact a wildlife biologist in that area.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Sept. 27, 2019
TPWD Taking Public Comment on Proposed Regulation Changes for Trotlines and Other Related Gears
AUSTIN - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the regulations on passive fishing gear (jug lines, minnow traps, perch traps, throwlines, and trotlines), which includes adding requirements and specifications for floats and reducing the valid period for gear tags to reduce the negative impacts of abandoned passive fishing gear in Texas public waters.
"Abandoned passive fishing gear is not easily identified and can harm fish and wildlife resources and present a nuisance and safety hazard to recreational users of public water bodies," said Jarret Barker, TPWD Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement. "These proposed changes would aid in identifying and monitoring lawful passive fishing gear and help facilitate the removal of abandoned gear."
The proposed changes would require that passive fishing gear have properly marked gear tags and floats attached to aid in distinguishing active fishing gear from abandoned fishing gear and litter. These changes include adding a customer number from a valid fishing license on the gear tag and marking all passive fishing gear with floats that are at least 6 inches in length and not less than 3 inches in width. Floats for recreational anglers can be any color other than orange. Commercial fishing license holders will be required to use orange-colored floats.
The changes would also reduce the period of validity for a gear tag from 10 days to four days to shorten the fishing time between angler inspections of their gear. Scientific investigations conducted by the department show that fish mortalities as a result of "ghost fishing" (the continuing of effect of unattended passive gears) can increase after four days. Such devices can continue to fish and represent a danger to fish and other aquatic organisms when they are abandoned. Requiring the gear tag and the accompanying gear to be checked more frequently than 10 days should reduce those unintended mortalities.
Additionally, the removal of abandoned fishing gear will have the additional benefit of reducing threats to human health and safety.
The proposed regulation changes will be available for review in the September 27 edition of the Texas Register. The public comment period is open through Nov. 7, when the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission will meet to vote on adopting these changes.
Comments on the proposed changes may be submitted to Jarret Barker by phone (512) 389-4853 or email jarret.barker@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department's website at https://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/ or in person during the TPW Commission meeting Nov. 7 at 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Sept. 27, 2019
Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife law enforcement reports.
From Cheer to Fear
While on the way to patrol the San Jacinto River, a Montgomery County game warden observed a vehicle driving erratically toward a bridge near the river. The vehicle voluntarily pulled into the same area beside the road as the warden. After approaching the vehicle, the warden noticed several beer cans in the passenger's side floor board. The driver, who was the only occupant in the vehicle, denied drinking the ice-cold beer. The warden began a field sobriety test and when instructed for the hand coordination test, the driver began doing a high school cheer. When asked to do the breathalyzer to prove they hadn't been drinking, the driver refused. When asked why they wouldn't do it, the driver said, "because I would be way over." They were placed under arrest for Driving While Intoxicated, a charge the driver had previously been convicted for.
Be Very, Very Quiet; We're Hunting Snakes
Late one evening, two Trinity County game wardens noticed a truck driving slowly near Alabama Creek Wildlife Management Area. After following the suspicious vehicle for a while, the truck stopped on a bridge and one of the passengers began shinning a spotlight out of the windows. The wardens watched the vehicles for a few miles, then initiated a traffic stop. Six people were in the truck, along with snake capture bags, a bucket marked for venomous snakes and snake catch poles. The wardens advised them of the hunting rules and regulations and cited them for the appropriate charges including hunting reptiles from the roadway.
It Wasn't Me
A Navarro County game warden was checking a group of hunters after hearing shots coming from a nearby field. As the warden began to check the group, one of the hunters disappeared. After a quick search, the warden found the missing hunter lying face down in a field of tall grass. The warden asked the hunter if they had any luck, to which they replied they were just lying in the field. About six inches away from the hunter's hands was a shotgun on the ground. When the warden asked about it, the hunter said they were watching the shotgun for someone else. Near his feet was a box of shotgun shells and a stool commonly used by bird hunters. The hunter continued to say they hadn't been hunting. Questioning continued for a short time and the individual finally admitted the obvious, they had been hunting. The individual has never possessed a Texas hunting license.
From Bad to Worse
Four game wardens apprehended a group of individuals who were taking fish from the Navasota River with an illegal electricity-producing device. The group had five flathead catfish in their possession, which were released back into the river. In addition to that violation, the group was in possession of drug paraphernalia, 3 grams of methamphetamine, an illegally possessed firearm and a truck that had been reported stolen. Several water safety violations were also noted. Violation categories ranged from Class C misdemeanor to 3rd degree felony. All violators were taken to the Leon County Jail.
Feeling Green
Two game wardens from Montgomery County and San Jacinto County were patrolling the highway when they saw an oncoming car swerving from their lane. The wardens pursued the vehicle when it immediately lost control swerving into a ditch, overcorrected back onto the highway spinning 360-degrees and came to a stop on the same lane it originally departed. The wardens approached the vehicle to check on the operator, who was extremely shaken up. As the driver exited the vehicle, a faint odor of marijuana drifted from the car. The wardens escorted the driver to the side of the road to avoid traffic. The driver grabbed his abdomen claiming nausea from the spin but doing so caused the sound of crumpling paper. Wardens asked the individual to raise his hands away from his waist and they found a large paper sack full of marijuana tucked into his beltline. The operator of the vehicle said the bag was originally under his seat, but it slid forward under the pedals causing the reckless driving. The individual was placed under arrest for possession of marijuana. Cases pending.
Blame the Dog
A Lubbock County game warden received a call from someone who had their roof peppered by dove hunters. The warden went to the location and found three dove hunters with dove scattered over a concrete slab in a pile. When asked which dove belonged to each hunter, the group claimed they didn't know and blamed it on their dog for scattering and displacing the dove, some of which were still alive. Upon further investigation, the warden learned that one hunter claimed 10 doves, the second claimed seven doves, leaving the third hunter as the owner of the remaining 17 doves. The hunter continued to blame the dog. Citations were issued for over the daily bag limit and civil restitutions. The dove were seized and donated.
(Expired) License to Kill
On the morning of Sept. 1, two Trinity County game wardens were on patrol when they heard a group of hunters constantly shooting. The wardens located the area and found six individuals hunting in an area baited with milo. When they asked the hunters for their licenses, two hunters said they left it at home, another bought a license three months prior. The wardens informed the hunters that new licenses had only been on sale for two weeks. Several cases were filed, and 36 doves were seized. Restitution and cases pending.
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