TITLE 31. NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION

PART 2. TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT

CHAPTER 57. FISHERIES

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§57.117, 57.120, 57.252, 57.392, 57.395, 57.399, and 57.951, concerning Fisheries. The proposed amendments are a result of the department's review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

The proposed amendment to §57.117, concerning Exotic Species Permit: Application Requirements, would alter subsection (a)(5) to waive the permit fee for persons removing prohibited nuisance aquatic vegetation in accordance with an approved treatment proposal. Because such activity is consistent with department goals, department-approved, and is not undertaken at department expense, the department believes that a fee waiver is appropriate.

The proposed amendment to §57.120, concerning Exotic Species Permit: Expiration and Renewal, would alter subsection (a) to clarify that permits allowing removal of prohibited plants from a public water body in accordance with an approved treatment proposal may share the same period of validity with the treatment proposal. The proposed amendment will increase efficiency and prevent confusion regarding the removal of exotic plants pursuant to approved treatment proposals.

The proposed amendment to §57.252, concerning General Provisions, would alter subsection (d) to provide that a period of permit validity other than 60 days may be specified in the terms and conditions of the permit, which is intended to enhance efficiency and compliance in instances in which repeated introductions are scheduled over a period of time longer than 60 days or when a project is delayed.

The proposed amendment to §57.392, concerning General Rules, would alter subsection (a) to eliminate the reference to a saltwater stamp. A valid recreational fishing license now includes a freshwater stamp, saltwater stamp, or both. The language proposed for elimination is an artifact and predates the implementation of the freshwater stamp.

The proposed amendment to §57.395, concerning Broodfish Permits; Fees, Terms of Issuance, would alter subsection (d) to eliminate the reference to the $25 fee for a broodfish permit. The fees for such permits are established in §53.15(h)(3).

The proposed amendment to §57.399, concerning Permit Denial Review, would alter paragraph (3)(C) to afford additional latitude in the composition of panels that review agency decisions to deny issuance or renewal of permits. The current rules require the Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources, the Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division, and the Deputy Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division to function as the review panel. In practice this is problematic, because such personnel are typically not in the same place at the same time very often, making the scheduling of review panels difficult. Therefore, the proposed amendment would require a review panel to be consist of three agency employees at the level of program director or above who have knowledge of the affected resources, to be appointed by the Executive Director or the Chief Operating Officer.

The proposed amendment to §57.951, concerning Definitions, would alter the definitions of "Agent" in paragraph (1) and "Applicant" in paragraph (2) to clarify that an "Applicant" includes the applicant's agent.

Ken Kurzawski, Regulations and Information Programs Director, Inland Fisheries Division, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the proposed amendment to §57.117, consisting of approximately $108 per year, based on the historical permit issuance to entities removing exotic species under a department-approved proposal. The department issues approximately four permits per year at $27 per permit to entities removing exotic species from public water under a department approved proposal. There are no other fiscal implications to units of state or local governments as a result of the proposed rules.

Mr. Kurzawski also has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be clearer, better organized, and more accurate regulations governing the processes and entities administered under the provisions of Chapter 57.

There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule's potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule's "direct adverse economic impacts" to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers "direct economic impact" to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services. The department has determined that the rules will not directly affect small businesses and/or micro-businesses. Therefore, the department has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedure Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Robert Macdonald, Regulations Coordinator, e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department's website at http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/.

SUBCHAPTER A. HARMFUL OR POTENTIALLY HARMFUL FISH, SHELLFISH, AND AQUATIC PLANTS

31 TAC §57.117, §57.120

The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.0072, which authorizes the commission to regulate by rule or permit the importation, possession, sale, and placement into the public water of this state exotic harmful or potentially harmful aquatic plants.

The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 66.

§57.117.Exotic Species Permit: Application Requirements.

(a) To be considered for an exotic species permit, the applicant shall:

(1) - (4) (No change.)

(5) remit to the department all applicable fees except that fees shall be waived for:

(A) a public school meeting the conditions established in Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.007(c-1); or

(B) a person applying for a permit to physically remove prohibited plants from a public water body in accordance with an approved treatment proposal as established in §57.932(5) of this title (relating to State Aquatic Vegetation Plan).

(b) - (d) (No change.)

§57.120.Exotic Species Permit: Expiration and Renewal.

(a) An exotic species permit required by this subchapter [these rules] expires on December 31 of the year issued, except that a permit to physically remove prohibited plants from a public water body in accordance with an approved treatment proposal shall have the same period of validity as the treatment proposal, as defined in the guidance document required by §57.932 of this title (relating to State Aquatic Vegetation Plan).

(b) (No change.)

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700492

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER C. INTRODUCTION OF FISH, SHELLFISH AND AQUATIC PLANTS

31 TAC §57.252

The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.015, which requires the department to establish rules and regulations governing the issuance of permits under that section.

The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 66.

§57.252.General Provisions.

(a) - (c) (No change.)

(d) Except as provided by the terms and conditions of the permit, a [A] one-time introduction permit, for releases other than those made into an offshore aquaculture facility, is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance or until the permitted introduction has been completed, whichever comes first.

(e) - (h) (No change.)

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700493

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER F. COLLECTION OF BROODFISH FROM TEXAS WATERS

31 TAC §§57.392, 57.395, 57.399

The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §43.552, which requires the commission to prescribe by rule the requirements and conditions for issuance of a permit authorized under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter P.

The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43.

§57.392.General Rules.

(a) While collecting broodfish, an aquaculturist or designated agent must be in possession of a valid recreational fishing license in all public waters[, a saltwater fishing stamp in public salt water,] and broodfish permit issued by the department.

(b) (No change.)

§57.395.Broodfish Permits; Fees, Terms of Issuance.

(a) - (c) (No change.)

(d) The fee for broodfish permit application shall be as specified in Chapter 53 of this title (relating to Finance) [$25] and is not refundable if a permit is denied.

(e) - (g) (No change.)

§57.399.Permit Denial Review.

An applicant for a permit under this subchapter may request a review of a decision of the department to refuse issuance of a permit or permit renewal.

(1) - (2) (No change.)

(3) The request for review shall be presented to a review panel. The review panel shall be designated by the executive director or chief operating officer and shall consist of three agency employees at the level of program director or above who have knowledge of the affected resources or programs. [the following:]

[(A) the Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources (or his or her designee);]

[(B) the Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division; and]

[(C) the Deputy Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division.]

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700494

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER M. ARTIFICIAL REEFS

31 TAC §57.951

The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 89, which authorizes the commission to adopt rules and guidelines as necessary to implement the chapter.

The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 89.

§57.951.Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(1) Agent--A person authorized by an applicant to act on behalf of the applicant. [For the purposes of this subchapter, the use of the term "applicant" also includes the applicant's agent.]

(2) Applicant--Any person applying for a PRA. For the purposes of this subchapter, the use of the term "applicant" also includes the applicant's agent.

(3) - (9) (No change.)

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700495

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER N. STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATION

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§57.971, 57.973, 57.981, and 57.992, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations.

The proposed amendment to §57.971, concerning Definitions, would add the Alabama bass to the list of game fishes and make a grammatical correction. In Texas, Alabama bass are known to exist only in Alan Henry Reservoir, and heretofore have been considered a subspecies of spotted bass. However, this fish is now considered a separate species called the Alabama bass. The proposed amendment also makes a nonsubstantive grammatical correction in paragraph (5).

The proposed amendment to §57.973, concerning Devices, Means, and Methods, would prohibit the use of juglines, throwlines, and trot -lines on Kirby Lake in Taylor County. Kirby Reservoir is a 740-acre impoundment on Cedar Creek within the city limits of Abilene. In 1965, the City of Abilene passed an ordinance restricting fishing to pole-and-line only with a two-hook maximum per rod and no more than two rods per person. Although most anglers have observed these restrictions, the City of Abilene does not have the statutory authority to have promulgated the ordinance, and repealed it in December of 2016. Catfishes support the most popular fisheries at the reservoir. Allowing the use of juglines, throwlines, and trotlines in this small urban impoundment could negatively impact the quality of the catfish fishery by increasing take of quality-sized and larger catfishes as well as by increasing hooking mortality. Prohibiting the use of these gears at Kirby Reservoir will likely reduce the potential of hooking mortality and provide better protection for the high-quality catfish fishery.

The proposed amendment to §57.973 also would prohibit the use of commercial crab traps in waters north and west of Highway 146 where it crosses the Houston Ship Channel in Harris County. The public waters north of Highway 146 represent a very large geographical expanse and commercial crabbing in the area is not intense (because of a Department of State Health Services consumption advisory).

The proposed amendment to §57.981, concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limit, would consist of several actions.

Department data indicate decreased angling success for smallmouth bass in the Devils River, which skirts the western edge of the Edwards Plateau. The average number of smallmouth bass caught per angler day in 2015 (6.8 fish) was 37% less than in previous years (10.8 fish). Outfitters, Devils River State Natural Area staff, and anglers have reported an increase in the harvest of black bass for consumption during float trips (i.e., shore meals). The current level of fishing pressure may be having a negative effect on the Devils River black bass populations, resulting in decreased in fishing quality. Therefore, the proposed amendment to §57.981 would restrict the harvest of black bass to catch-and-release only on the Devils River and its tributaries from the State Highway 163 bridge downstream to Big Satan Creek Canyon. The current harvest regulations impose an 18-inch minimum length limit and three-fish daily bag limit on smallmouth bass between the State Highway 163 bridge and Dolan Falls, with the remainder of the river under the statewide standard of a 14-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag limit. The goal of the proposed amendment is to maintain black bass abundance and angling success by protecting against overharvest. Catch-and-release angling is biologically consistent with the preservation-focused management model implemented on the Devils River.

The proposed amendment also would alter harvest regulations for largemouth bass and sunfish on Bedford Boys Ranch Lake in Tarrant County. Bedford Boys Ranch Lake is a 5.4-acre impoundment and thus automatically designated a Community Fishing Lake (CFL). The reservoir was recently drained and renovated, and habitat was installed to benefit fish population. Department staff are working with the City of Bedford to provide quality fishing opportunities in the local area. Overharvest of fish such as bass and sunfish is a common problem in small urban ponds and CFLs. Protecting these species from harvest will increase abundance and maintain catch rates for those species. Therefore, the proposed amendment would replace the current harvest regulations for largemouth bass (14-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag) and sunfish (no minimum length limit or daily bag) and implement a catch-and-release-only regulation for largemouth bass and sunfish.

The proposed amendment to 57.981 would also make changes to harvest regulations where necessary to accommodate the nomenclature change for Alabama bass discussed earlier in the proposed amendment to §57.971.

The remainder of the proposed amendment to §57.981 and the proposed amendment to §57.992, concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limits for commercial fishing, would alter bag and possession limits for great, scalloped, and smooth hammerhead sharks and black, gag, and Nassau grouper. The proposed amendment would prohibit the take of Nassau grouper, which were designated by the federal government as threatened on July 29, 2016 (81 FR 42268). The state cannot pre-empt or modify a federal designation of any species as threatened or endangered.

With respect to great, scalloped, and smooth hammerhead sharks and the two other species of grouper (black and gag), the proposed amendment would implement state regulations to be consistent with federal regulations regarding those species. Federal action in 2013 (81 FR 40318) altered the minimum length and possession limits for great, scalloped, and smooth hammerhead sharks in federal waters and federal action in April of 2016 (81 FR 24039) implemented new bag and possession limits for gag and black grouper in federal waters. The proposed amendment would alter the current size and possession limits for those species to be consistent with the federal regulations, which the department believes will reduce confusion and enhance compliance, administration, and enforcement.

Ken Kurzawski, Program Director, Inland Fisheries Division, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the rules.

Mr. Kurzawski also has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the dispensation of the agency's statutory duty to protect and conserve the fisheries resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission's policy to maximize recreational opportunity within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule's potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule's "direct adverse economic impacts" to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers "direct economic impact "to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

The department has determined that the rules will not directly affect small businesses and/or micro-businesses. Therefore, the department has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Ken Kurzawski (Inland Fisheries) at (512) 389-4591, e-mail: ken.kurzawski@tpwd.texas.gov; Tiffany Hopper (Coastal Fisheries) at (512) 389-4560, e-mail: tiffany.hopper@tpwd.texas.gov; or Brandi Reeder (Law Enforcement) at (512) 389-4853, e-mail brandi.reeder@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department's website at http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/.

DIVISION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

31 TAC §57.971, §57.973

The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be taken or possessed; and §67.004, which requires the commission to establish any limits on the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife that the department considers necessary to manage the species.

The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 47, 61, and 67.

§57.971.Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms in this subchapter shall have the meanings assigned in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code.

(1) - (4) (No change.)

(5) Charter Vessel--A vessel less than 100 gross tons that meets the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard to carry six or fewer passengers for hire and that carries a passenger for hire at any time during the calendar year. A charter vessel with a commercial permit is considered to be operating as a charter vessel when it carries a passenger who pays a fee or when there are more than [then ] three persons aboard, including operator and crew.

(6) - (14) (No change.)

(15) Fish--

(A) Game fish--Alabama bass, blue[Blue] catfish, blue marlin, broadbill swordfish, brown trout, channel catfish, cobia, crappie (black and white), flathead catfish, Guadalupe bass, king mackerel, largemouth bass, longbill spearfish, pickerel, red drum, rainbow trout, sailfish, sauger, sharks, smallmouth bass, snook, Spanish mackerel, spotted bass, spotted seatrout, striped bass, tarpon, tripletail, wahoo, walleye, white bass, white marlin, yellow bass, and hybrids or subspecies of the species listed in this subparagraph.

(B) (No change.)

(16) - (48) (No change.)

§57.973.Devices, Means and Methods.

(a) - (f) (No change.)

(g) Device restrictions. Devices legally used for taking fresh or saltwater fish or shrimp may be used to take crab as authorized by this subchapter.

(1) - (2) (No change.)

(3) Crab trap. It is unlawful to:

(A) - (I) (No change.)

(J) fish a crab trap within 200 feet of a marked navigable channel in Aransas County; and in the water area of Aransas Bay within one-half mile of a line from Hail Point on the Lamar Peninsula, then direct to the eastern end of Goose Island, then along the southern shore of Goose Island, then along the eastern shoreline of the Live Oak Peninsula past the town of Fulton, past Nine Mile Point, past the town of Rockport to a point at the east end of Talley Island including that part of Copano Bay within 1,000 feet of the causeway between Lamar Peninsula and Live Oak Peninsula or possess, use or place:

(i) for recreational purposes, more than three crab traps in waters north and west of Highway 146 where it crosses the Houston Ship Channel in Harris County; or

(ii) for commercial purposes, a crab trap in waters north and west of Highway 146 where it crosses the Houston Ship Channel in Harris County.

(K) - (N) (No change.)

(4) - (8) (No change.)

(9) Jugline. For use in fresh water only. Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish may be taken with a jugline. It is unlawful to use a jugline:

(A) - (C) (No change.)

(D) in Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Kirby Lake in Taylor County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

(10) - (20) (No change.)

(21) Throwline. For use in fresh water only.

(A) (No change.)

(B) It is unlawful to use a throwline in Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Kirby Lake in Taylor County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

(C) (No change.)

(22) Trotline.

(A) - (B) (No change.)

(C) In fresh water, it is unlawful to use a trotline:

(i) (No change.)

(ii) in Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Fayette County Reservoir in Fayette County, Pinkston Reservoir in Shelby County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Kirby Lake in Taylor County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

(D) (No change.)

(23) (No change.)

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700503

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775

DIVISION 2. STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL FISHING PROCLAMATION

31 TAC §57.981

The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be taken or possessed.

The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

§57.981.Bag, Possession, and Length Limits.

(a) - (b) (No change.)

(c) There are no bag, possession, or length limits on game or non-game fish, except as provided in this subchapter.

(1) - (4) (No change.)

(5) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, the statewide daily bag and length limits shall be as follows.

(A) (No change.)

(B) Bass:

(i) The daily bag limit for largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, Alabama, and Guadalupe is 5, in any combination.

(ii) Alabama, Guadalupe, and spotted.

(I) - (II) (No change.)

(iii) - (v) (No change.)

(C) - (I) (No change.)

(J) Grouper.

(i) Black.

(I) Daily bag limit: 4.

(II) Minimum length limit: 24 inches.

(III) No maximum length limit.

(ii) [(i)] Gag.

(I) Daily bag limit: 2.

(II) Minimum length limit: 24 [22] inches.

(III) No maximum length limit.

(iii) [(ii)] Goliath. The take of Goliath grouper is prohibited.

(iv) Nassau. The take of Nassau grouper is prohibited.

(K) - (O) (No change.)

(P) Shark: all species (including hybrids and subspecies).

(i) all species other than [Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead and] the species listed in clauses (ii) - (iv) [item (ii)(IV)] of this subparagraph:

(I) - (III) (No change.)

(ii) Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead:

(I) - (III) (No change.)

(iii) great, scalloped, and smooth hammerhead:

(I) Daily bag limit: 1.

(II) Minimum length limit: 99 inches.

(III) No maximum length limit.

(iv) [IV] The take of the following species of sharks from the waters of this state is prohibited and they may not be possessed on board a vessel at any time:

(I) [(-a-)] Atlantic angel;

(II) [(-b-)] Basking;

(III) [(-c-)] Bigeye sand tiger;

(IV) [(-d-)] Bigeye sixgill;

(V) [(-e-)] Bigeye thresher;

(VI) [(-f-)] Bignose;

(VII) [(-g-)] Caribbean reef;

(VIII) [(-h-)] Caribbean sharpnose;

(IX) [(-i-)] Dusky;

(X) [(-j-)] Galapagos;

(XI) [(-k-)] Longfin mako;

(XII) [(-l-)] Narrowtooth;

(XIII) [(-m-)] Night;

(XIV) [(-n-)] Sandbar;

(XV) [(-o-)] Sand tiger;

(XVI) [(-p-)] Sevengill;

(XVII) [(-q -)] Silky;

(XVIII) [(-r-)] Sixgill;

(XIX) [(-s-)] Smalltail;

(XX) [(-t-)] Whale; and

(XXI) [(-u-)] White.

(Q) - (X) (No change.)

(d) Exceptions to statewide daily bag, possession, and length limits shall be as follows:

(1) Freshwater species.

(A) Bass: largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, and Guadalupe (including their hybrids and subspecies). Devils River (Val Verde County) from State Highway 163 bridge crossing (Bakers Crossing) to the confluence with Big Satan Creek including all tributaries within these boundaries and all waters in the Lost Maples State Natural Area (Bandera County).[In all waters in the Lost Maples State Natural Area (Bandera County):]

(i) Daily bag limit: 0.

(ii) No minimum length limit.

(iii) Catch [All angling is limited to catch] and release only.

(B) Bass: largemouth and Alabama [spotted].

(i) Lake Alan Henry (Garza County).

(I) Daily bag limit: 5 largemouth or Alabama [spotted] bass in any combination.

(II) - (III) (No change.)

(ii) - (iv) (No change.)

(C) Bass: largemouth.

(i) - (iv) (No change.)

(v) Bedford Boys Ranch Lake (Tarrant County), Buck Lake (Kimble County), Lake Kyle (Hays County), and Nelson Park Lake (Taylor County).

(I) - (III) (No change.)

(vi) - (xi) (No change.)

[(D) Bass: smallmouth.]

[(i) Devil's River (Val Verde County) from State Highway 163 bridge crossing near Juno downstream to Dolan Falls.]

[(ii) Daily bag limit: 3.]

[(iii) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.]

(D) [(E)] Bass: striped and white bass their hybrids and subspecies.

(i) Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge and Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby counties).

(I) Daily bag limit: 5.

(II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(III) No more than 2 striped bass 30 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.

(ii) Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties).

(I) Daily bag limit: 10 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(III) No more than 2 striped or hybrid striped bass 20 inches or greater in length may be retained each day. Striped or hybrid striped bass caught and placed on a stringer in a live well or any other holding device become part of the daily bag limit and may not be released. Possession limit is 20.

(iii) Red River (Grayson County) from Denison Dam downstream to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson County).

(I) Daily bag limit: 5 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(III) Striped bass caught and placed on a stringer in a live well or any other holding device become part of the daily bag limit and may not be released.

(iv) Trinity River (Polk and San Jacinto counties) from the Lake Livingston dam downstream to the F.M. 3278 bridge.

(I) Daily bag limit: 2 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.

(E) [(F)] Bass: white. Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion counties), Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties), and Toledo Bend (Newton Sabine and Shelby counties) and Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge.

(i) Daily bag limit: 25.

(ii) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(F) [(G)] Carp: common. Lady Bird Lake (Travis County).

(i) Daily bag limit: No limit.

(ii) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(iii) It is unlawful to retain more than one common carp of 33 inches or longer per day.

(G) [(H)] Catfish: blue. Lakes Lewisville (Denton County), Richland-Chambers (Freestone and Navarro counties), and Waco (McLennan County).

(i) Daily bag limit: 25 (in any combination with channel catfish).

(ii) Minimum length limit: 30-45-inch slot limit.

(iii) It is unlawful to retain blue catfish between 30 and 45 inches in length. No more than one blue catfish 45 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.

(H) [(I)] Catfish: channel and blue catfish, their hybrids and subspecies.

(i) Lake Kyle (Hays County).

(I) Daily bag limit: 0.

(II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(III) Catch and release and only.

(ii) Lake Livingston (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties).

(I) Daily bag limit: 50 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: 12 inches.

(iii) Trinity River (Polk and San Jacinto counties) from the Lake Livingston dam downstream to the F.M. 3278 bridge.

(I) Daily bag limit: 10 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: 12 inches.

(III) No more than 2 channel or blue catfish 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.

(iv) Lakes Kirby (Taylor County) and Palestine (Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, and Smith counties).

(I) Daily bag limit: 50 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(III) No more than five catfish 20 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.

(IV) Possession limit is 50.

(v) Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion counties) and Toledo Bend (Newton Sabine and Shelby counties) and the Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge.

(I) Daily bag limit: 50 (in any combination)

(II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(III) No more than five catfish 30 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.

(IV) Possession limit is 50.

(vi) Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties).

(I) Daily bag limit: 15 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: 12 inches.

(III) No more than one blue catfish 30 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.

(vii) Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County), North Concho River (Tom Green County) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam, and South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam.

(I) Daily bag limit: 5 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(viii) Community fishing lakes.

(I) Daily bag limit: 5 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(ix) Bellwood (Smith County), Dixieland (Cameron County), and Tankersley (Titus County).

(I) Daily bag limit: 5 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: 12 inches.

(x) Lake Tawakoni (Hunt, Rains, and Van Zandt counties).

(I) Daily bag limit: 25 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(III) No more than seven blue or channel catfish 20 inches or greater may be retained each day, and of these, no more than two can be 30 inches or greater in length.

(I) [(J)] Catfish: flathead.

(i) Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties) and the Red River (Grayson County) from Denison Dam to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson County).

(I) Daily bag limit: 5.

(II) Minimum length limit: 20 inches.

(ii) Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion counties) and Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby) and the Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge.

(I) Daily bag limit: 10.

(II) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.

(III) Possession limit: 10.

(J) [(K)] Crappie: black and white crappie their hybrids and subspecies.

(i) Caddo Lake (Harrison and Marion counties), Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton Sabine and Shelby counties), and the Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge.

(I) Daily bag limit: 25 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(ii) Lake Fork (Wood, Rains, and Hopkins counties) and Lake O' The Pines (Camp, Harrison, Marion, Morris, and Upshur counties).

(I) Daily bag limit: 25 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: 10 inches.

(III) From December 1 through the last day in February there is no minimum length limit. All crappie caught during this period must be retained.

(iii) Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties).

(I) Daily bag limit: 37 (in any combination).

(II) Minimum length limit: 10 inches.

(III) Possession limit is 50.

(K) [(L)] Drum, red. Lakes Braunig and Calaveras (Bexar County), Coleto Creek Reservoir (Goliad and Victoria counties), and Fairfield (Freestone County).

(i) Daily bag limit: 3.

(ii) Minimum length limit: 20.

(iii) No maximum length limit.

(L) [(M)] Gar, alligator. Falcon International Reservoir (Starr and Zapata counties).

(i) Daily bag limit: 5.

(ii) No minimum length limit.

(iii) No maximum length limit.

(iv) The provisions of this subparagraph expire on September 1, 2020.

(M) [(N)] Shad gizzard and threadfin. Trinity River below Lake Livingston (Polk and San Jacinto counties).

(i) Daily bag limit: 500 (in any combination).

(ii) No minimum length limit.

(iii) Possession limit: 1000 (in any combination).

(N) [(O)] Sunfish: all species. Lake Kyle (Hays County).

(i) Daily bag limit: 0.

(ii) Minimum length limit: No limit.

(iii) Catch and release and only.

(O) [(P)] Trout: rainbow and brown trout (including hybrids and subspecies).

(i) Guadalupe River (Comal County) from the second bridge crossing on the River Road upstream to the easternmost bridge crossing on F.M. 306.

(I) Daily bag limit: 1.

(II) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.

(ii) Guadalupe River (Comal County) from the easternmost bridge crossing on F.M. 306 upstream to 800 yards below the Canyon Lake dam.

(I) Daily bag limit: 5.

(II) Minimum length limit: 12 - 18 inch slot limit.

(III) It is unlawful to retain trout between 12 and 18 inches in length. No more than one trout 18 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.

(P) [(Q)] Walleye. Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties).

(i) Daily bag limit: 5.

(ii) Minimum length limit: 18.

(2) Saltwater species. There are no exceptions to the provisions established in subsection (c)(5) of this section.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700504

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775

DIVISION 3. STATEWIDE COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATION

31 TAC §57.992

The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be taken or possessed.

The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

§57.992.Bag, Possession, and Length Limits.

(a) (No change.)

(b) There are no bag, possession, or length limits on game fish, non-game fish, or shellfish, except as otherwise provided in this subchapter.

(1) - (3) (No change.)

(4) The statewide daily bag and length limits for commercial fishing shall be as follows.

(A) - (F) (No change.)

(G) Grouper.

(i) Black.

(I) Daily bag limit: 4.

(II) Minimum length limit: 24 inches.

(III) No maximum length limit.

(ii) [(i)] Gag.

(I) Daily bag limit: 2.

(II) Minimum length limit: 24 [22] inches.

(III) No maximum length limit.

(iii) [(ii)] Goliath. The take of Goliath grouper is prohibited.

(iv) Nassau. The take of Nassau grouper is prohibited.

(H) - (I) (No change.)

(J) Shark: all species (including hybrids and subspecies).

(i) all species other than [Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead and] the species listed in items (ii) - (iv) [item (ii)(IV)] of this subparagraph:

(I) - (III) (No change.)

(ii) Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead:

(I) - (III) (No change.)

(iii) great, scalloped, and smoothhammerhead:

(I) Daily bag limit: 1.

(II) Minimum length limit: 99 inches.

(III) No maximum length limit.

(iv) [(IV)] The take of the following species of sharks from the waters of this state is prohibited and they may not be possessed on board a vessel at any time:

(I) [(-a-)] Atlantic angel;

(II) [(-b-)] Basking;

(III) [(-c-)] Bigeye sand tiger;

(IV) [(-d-)] Bigeye sixgill;

(V) [(-e-)] Bigeye thresher;

(VI) [(-f-)] Bignose;

(VII) [(-g-)] Caribbean reef;

(VIII) [(-h-)] Caribbean sharpnose;

(IX) [(-i-)] Dusky;

(X) [(-j-)] Galapagos;

(XI) [(-k-)] Longfin mako;

(XII) [(-l-)] Narrowtooth;

(XIIII) [(-m-)] Night;

(XIV) [(-n-)] Sandbar;

(XV) [(-o-)] Sand tiger;

(XVI) [(-p-)] Sevengill;

(XVII) [(-q -)] Silky;

(XVIII) [(-r-)] Sixgill;

(XIX) [(-s-)] Smalltail;

(XX) [(-t-)] Whale; and

(XXI) [(-u-)] White.

(K) - (N) (No change.)

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700505

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


CHAPTER 58. OYSTERS, SHRIMP, AND FINFISH

SUBCHAPTER B. STATEWIDE SHRIMP FISHERY PROCLAMATION

31 TAC §58.165

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §58.165, concerning Noncommercial (Recreational) Shrimping. The proposed amendment is a result of the department's review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

The proposed amendment would eliminate subsection (c)(3)(D), which would provide for consistency with commercial shrimping regulations, by eliminating the count and size requirements during the Fall season. The proposed amendment also would alter subsection (d)(3) to provide consistency with commercial shrimping regulations by clarifying that legal shrimping hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Ann Bright, General Counsel, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the proposed amendment.

Ms. Bright also has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rule will be clearer, better organized, and more accurate regulations governing the processes and entities administered under the provisions of Chapter 58.

There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule's potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule's "direct adverse economic impacts" to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers "direct economic impact" to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services. The department has determined that the rule will not directly affect small businesses and/or micro-businesses. Therefore, the department has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedure Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rule as proposed will not impact local economies.

The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rule.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Robert Macdonald, Regulations Coordinator, e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department's website at http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/.

The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code. The amendments are adopted under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 77, which provides the Commission with authority to regulate the catching, possession, purchase, and sale of shrimp.

The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 77.

§58.165.Non-commercial (Recreational) Shrimping.

(a) - (b) (No change.)

(c) Shrimping for personal use--Inside waters.

(1) - (2) (No change.)

(3) Fall open season.

(A) - (C) (No change.)

[(D) Size limits:]

[(i) From August 15 through October 31, the legal shrimp count is 50 heads on per pound.]

[(ii) From November 1 through December 15 there are no count or size requirements.]

(d) Shrimping for bait--Inside waters.

(1) - (2) (No change.)

(3) Legal shrimping hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

[(A) From August 15 through March 31 legal shrimping hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.]

[(B) From April 1 through August 14 legal shrimping hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.]

(4) - (5) (No change.)

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700496

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


CHAPTER 65. WILDLIFE

SUBCHAPTER A. STATEWIDE HUNTING PROCLAMATION

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department, or TPWD) proposes the repeal of §§65.26, 65.28, 65.34, and 65.42; amendments to §§65.7, 65.9, 65.10, 65.24, 65.25, and 65.33; and new §65.42, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation. The proposed repeals, amendments, and new section are a result of the department's review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

The proposed repeal of §65.26, concerning Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)--White-tailed Deer; §65.28, concerning Landowner Assisted Management Permit System (LAMPS); and §65.34, concerning Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)--Mule Deer and the proposed amendments to §65.7, concerning Harvest Log; §65.9, concerning Open Seasons: General Rules; §65.10, concerning Possession of Wildlife Resources; §65.24, concerning Permits; §65.25, concerning Wildlife Management Plan (WMP); and §65.33, concerning Mandatory Check Stations, are necessary to accommodate the provisions of §65.29, concerning Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Programs. In 2014, the department adopted new §65.29 (41 TexReg 806), concerning Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP) to replace the current MLDP programs for white-tailed and mule deer and the Landowner Assisted Management Program (LAMPS) for white-tailed deer. Those rules were adopted with an effective date that would allow program implementation beginning with the 2017-2018 deer seasons. In order to prevent regulatory conflict, references to and provisions of the programs being replaced, therefore, need to be removed or altered.

The proposed repeal of §65.42, concerning Deer, and proposed new §65.42, concerning Deer, would remove references to deer permit programs that no longer exist and reorganize the remaining provisions of the current rule to make it more concise and user-friendly. As discussed earlier in this preamble, a single MLD program will take effect for the 2017-2018 hunting seasons; therefore, references and provisions regarding the previous permit programs must be removed from the current rule or altered to conform to the new rule. In addition, the proposed rule also rewords the roadway definition that delineates the north and south deer zones in Val Verde County in the interests of clarity. Finally, proposed new §65.42 would nonsubstantively reorganize and restructure existing provisions to eliminate repetition and categorize regulatory provisions in a more consistent fashion.

The proposed repeals, amendments, and new section are a result of the department's review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

Mr. Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division Director, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

Mr. Wolf also has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be the exercise of the agency's statutory duty to protect and conserve the wildlife resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission's policy to maximize recreational opportunities within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule's potential adverse economic impact on small and micro-businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule's "direct adverse economic impacts" to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers "direct economic impact" to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

The department has determined that the proposed rule will not directly affect small businesses or micro-businesses. Therefore, the department has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules) does not apply to the proposed rules.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Robert Macdonald (512) 389-4775; e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us, or Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. Comments also may be submitted via the department's website at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/feedback/public_comment/.

DIVISION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

31 TAC §§65.7, 65.9, 65.10, 65.24, 65.25, 65.33

The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for deer during each year or season; and Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 42 and 61.

§65.7.Harvest Log.

(a) The provisions of this subsection apply only to a person in possession of a license purchased through an automated point-of-sale system.

(1) A person who kills a white-tailed deer shall complete, in ink, the harvest log on the back of the hunting license immediately upon kill.

(2) Completion of the harvest log is not required for deer taken:

(A) under the provisions of §65.29 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Program [§65.26 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Permits];

[(B) under the provisions of §65.28 of this title (relating to Landowner Assisted Management Permits (LAMPS);]

(B) [(C)] by special permit under the provisions of Subchapter H of this chapter (relating to Public Lands Proclamation) on department lands;

(C) [(D)] on department-leased lands under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0272; or

(D) [(E)] by special antlerless permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for use on USFS lands that are part of the department's public hunting program.

(b) (No change.)

§65.9.Open Seasons: General Rules.

(a) (No change.)

(b) No antlerless deer permit is required to take an antlerless white-tailed deer during the archery-only open season, except on lands enrolled in the Managed Lands Deer Program [for which Managed Lands Deer permits have been issued].

(c) (No change.)

§65.10.Possession of Wildlife Resources.

(a) - (b) (No change.)

(c) A person who lawfully takes a deer is exempt from the tagging requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.018 if the deer is taken:

(1) under the provisions of §65.29 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Program [§65.26 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)--White-tailed Deer)];

[(2) under the provisions of §65.34 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)--Mule Deer);]

[(3) under the provisions of §65.28 of this title (relating to Landowner Assisted Management Permits (LAMPS));]

(2) [(4)] under an antlerless mule deer permit issued under §65.32 of this title (relating to Antlerless Mule Deer Permits);

(3) [(5)] by special permit under the provisions of Subchapter H of this chapter (relating to Public Lands Proclamation);

(4) [(6)] on department-leased lands under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0271; or

(5) [(7)] by special antlerless permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for use on USFS lands that are part of the department's public hunting program.

(d) - (g) (No change.)

(h) No additional proof of sex is required for a deer that is lawfully tagged in accordance with:

(1) the provisions of §65.29 [§65.26 ] of this title;

[(2) the provisions of §65.34 of this title;]

[(3) the provisions of §65.28 of this title;]

(2) [(4)] the provisions of §65.32 of this title; or

(3) [(5)] on department-leased lands under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0271.

(i) - (l) (No change.)

§65.24.Permits and Tags.

(a) Except as specifically provided in this subchapter, permits and tags issued under the provisions of this subchapter [Permits] shall be issued only to the landowner.

(b) Except as provided in §65.29 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Program or §65.30 of this title (relating to Pronghorn Antelope Permits [§65.26 of this title (relating Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)--White-tailed Deer and §65.34 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)--Mule Deer], no person may hunt white-tailed deer, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, or antelope when a permit or tag is [permits are] required unless that person has received from the landowner and has in possession a valid permit or tag issued by the department.

(c) When a permit or tag is [permits are] required to hunt or possess the wildlife resources listed in subsection (b) of this section, it is unlawful to:

(1) use a permit or tag more than once;

(2) use a permit or tag on a tract of land other than the tract for which the permit or tag was issued;

(3) falsify or fail to fully complete any information required by a permit or tag application; or

(4) possess the wildlife resource without attaching a valid, properly executed permit or tag, except as may be otherwise provided in this subchapter [§65.26 and §65.34 of this title], which shall remain attached until the wildlife resource reaches its final destination.

(d) (No change.)

[(e) An applicant for a permit issued under §65.26 of this title or §65.34 of this title may request a review of a decision by the department to deny issuance of those permits.]

[(1) An applicant seeking review of a decision of the department under this subsection shall contact the department within ten working days of being notified by the department of permit denial.]

[(2) The department shall conduct the review and notify the applicant of the results within ten working days of receiving a request for a review.]

[(3) The request for review shall be presented to a review panel. The review panel shall consist of the following:]

[(A) the Director of the Wildlife Division;]

[(B) the Regional Director with jurisdiction;]

[(C) the Big Game Program Director; and]

[(D) the White-tailed Deer or Mule Deer program leader, as appropriate.]

[(4) The decision of the review panel is final.]

[(5) The department shall report on an annual basis to the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee the number and disposition of all reviews under this subsection that involve white-tailed deer.]

§65.25.Wildlife Management Plan (WMP).

(a) Deer.

(1) An approved WMP, specifying a harvest quota for antlerless deer or both buck and antlerless deer, is required for participation in the Conservation Option of the Managed Lands Deer Program under the provisions of §65.29 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Program [the issuance of Managed Lands Deer Permits].

[(2) MLD permit issuance shall be determined by the WMP as follows.]

[(A) Level 1 MLD permits shall be issued to a landowner whose WMP includes current deer population data.]

[(B) Level 2 MLD permits shall be issued to a landowner whose WMP includes:]

[(i) deer population data for both the current year and the immediately preceding year;]

[(ii) deer harvest data from the immediately preceding year; and]

[(iii) at least two recommended habitat management practices.]

[(C) Level 3 MLD permits shall be issued to a landowner whose WMP includes:]

[(i) deer population data for the current year and the immediately preceding two years;]

[(ii) deer harvest data from the immediately preceding two years; and]

[(iii) at least four recommended habitat management practices.]

(2) [(3)] A WMP is not valid unless it is:

(A) consistent with Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.053 and §61.056; and

(B) signed by a Wildlife Division biologist or technician. A WMP is valid for one year following the date of such signature.

(b) (No change.)

§65.33.Mandatory Check Stations.

(a) (No change.)

(b) Except as required under §65.40 of this title (relating to Pronghorn Antelope: Open Seasons and Bag Limits) or Subchapter B of this chapter, the [The] entire wildlife resource, with head and hide/plumage attached, except that internal and sexual organs may be removed (field-dressed), of any designated wildlife resource taken in a county in which mandatory check stations have been established must be presented:

(1) - (2) (No change.)

(c) - (d) (No change.)

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700499

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


31 TAC §§65.26, 65.28, 65.34

The repeals are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for deer during each year or season; and Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The proposed repeals affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 42 and 61.

§65.26.Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)--White-tailed Deer.

§65.28.Landowner Assisted Management Permit System (LAMPS).

§65.34.Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)--Mule Deer.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700497

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


DIVISION 2. OPEN SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS

31 TAC §65.42

The repeal is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for deer during each year or season; and Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The proposed repeal affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 42 and 61.

§65.42.Deer.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700498

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


31 TAC §65.42

The new section is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for deer during each year or season; and Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The proposed new section affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 42 and 61.

§65.42.Deer.

(a) General.

(1) No person may exceed the applicable county bag limit or the annual bag limit of five white-tailed deer (no more than three bucks) and two mule deer (no more than one buck), except as provided by:

(A) §65.29 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Program);

(B) use of an antlerless mule deer permit issued under §65.32 of this title (relating to Antlerless Mule Deer Permits);

(C) use of a special permit under the provisions of Subchapter H of this chapter (relating to Public Lands Proclamation); or

(D) use of special antlerless permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for use on USFS lands that are part of the department's public hunting program.

(2) During an archery-only open season, deer may be taken only by the means described in §65.11(2) and (3) of this title (relating to Lawful Means).

(3) The issuance and use of MLDP tags is prescribed by §65.29 of this title.

(b) White-tailed deer. The open seasons and bag limits for white-tailed deer shall be as follows.

(1) South Zone. The general open season for the counties listed in this subparagraph is from the first Saturday in November through the third Sunday in January.

(A) In Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Calhoun, Cameron, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kinney (south of U.S. Highway 90), Kleberg, LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina (south of U.S. Highway 90), Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Uvalde (south of U.S. Highway 90), Val Verde (south of a line beginning at the International Bridge and proceeding along Spur 239 to U.S. Hwy. 90 and thence to the Kinney County line), Webb, Willacy, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a general open season. The bag limit is five deer, no more than three bucks.

(B) In Atascosa County there is a general open season.

(i) The bag limit is five deer, no more than two bucks; and

(ii) antler restrictions apply.

(2) North Zone. The general open season for the counties listed in this subparagraph is from the first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January.

(A) In Bandera, Baylor, Bexar, Blanco, Burnet, Callahan, Coke, Coleman, Comal (west of Interstate 35), Concho, Crockett, Edwards, Gillespie, Glasscock, Haskell, Hays (west of Interstate 35), Howard, Irion, Jones, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney (north of U.S. Highway 90), Knox, Llano, Mason, McCulloch, Medina (north of U.S. Highway 90), Menard, Mitchell, Nolan, Pecos, Real, Reagan, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Shackelford, Sterling, Sutton, Taylor, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis (west of Interstate 35), Upton, Uvalde (north of U.S. Highway 90), Val Verde (north of a line beginning at the International Bridge and proceeding along Spur 239 to U.S. Hwy. 90 and thence to the Kinney County line), and Wilbarger counties, the bag limit is five deer, no more than two bucks.

(B) In Archer, Bell (west of IH 35), Bosque, Brown, Clay, Coryell, Hamilton, Hill, Jack, Lampasas, McLennan, Mills, Palo Pinto, Somervell, Stephens, Wichita, Williamson (west of IH 35) and Young counties:

(i) the bag limit is five deer, no more than two bucks; and

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply.

(C) In Armstrong, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Childress, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dickens, Donley, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hardeman, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Kent, King, Lipscomb, Motley, Ochiltree, Roberts, Scurry, Stonewall, and Wheeler counties, the bag limit is five deer, no more than two bucks.

(D) In Brewster, Culberson, Jeff Davis, Presidio, and Reeves counties, the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks

(E) In Comanche, Cooke, Denton, Eastland, Erath, Hood, Johnson, Montague, Parker, Tarrant, and Wise counties:

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and

(iii) on USFS, Corps of Engineers, and river authority lands, the take of antlerless deer shall be by MLDP tag only, except on USFS lands in Montague and Wise counties, where antlerless deer may be taken without MLDP tags from Thanksgiving Day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day. On all other tracts of land, no MLDP tag is required to hunt antlerless deer unless MLDP antlerless tags have been issued for the tract of land.

(F) In Angelina, Brazoria, Chambers, Cherokee, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad (south of U.S. Highway 59), Hardin, Harris, Houston, Jackson (south if U.S. Highway 59), Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Orange, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, Victoria (south of U.S. Highway 59), Walker, and Wharton (south of U.S. Highway 59) counties:

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and

(iii) antlerless deer may be taken without MLDP tags from opening day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day. From the Monday immediately following Thanksgiving Day until the end of the season, antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(G) In Anderson, Bowie, Brazos, Camp, Cass, Gregg, Grimes, Harrison, Henderson, Lamar, Leon, Madison, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Red River, Robertson, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, and Upshur counties:

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply.

(iii) on USFS, Corps of Engineers, and river authority lands the take of antlerless deer shall be by MLDP tag only; and

(iv) on all other tracts of land, antlerless deer may be taken without MLDP tags during the first 16 days of the season. After the first 16 days of the season, antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(H) In Bell (East of IH 35), Burleson, Delta, Ellis, Falls, Fannin, Franklin, Freestone, Hopkins, Hunt, Kauffman, Limestone, Milam, Navarro Rains, Smith, Titus, Van Zandt, Williamson (East of IH 35), and Wood counties:

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and

(iii) on USFS, Corps of Engineers, and river authority lands, the take of antlerless deer shall be by MLDP tag only, except in Fannin County; and

(iv) on all other tracts of land, antlerless deer may be taken without MLDP tag from Thanksgiving Day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day. At all other times, antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(I) In Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties there is a general open season:

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and

(iii) lawful means are restricted to lawful archery equipment and crossbows only, including properties for which MLDP tags have been issued.

(J) In Austin, Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Comal (east of IH 35), De Witt, Fayette, Goliad (north of U.S. Highway 59), Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays (east of IH 35), Jackson (north of U.S. Highway 59), Karnes, Lavaca, Lee, Travis (east of IH 35), Victoria (north of U.S. Highway 59), Waller, Washington, Wharton (north of U.S. Highway 59), and Wilson counties;

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and

(iii) antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(K) In Andrews, Bailey Castro, Cochran, Dallam, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Gaines, Hale, Hansford, Hartley, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Moore, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Sherman, Swisher, Terry, and Yoakum counties, the bag limit is three deer, no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless.

(L) In Crane, Ector, Loving, Midland, Ward, and Winkler counties:

(i) the bag limit is three deer, no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless; and

(ii) antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(M) In all other counties, there is no general open season.

(3) Antler Restrictions. In any county for which antler restrictions are imposed under the provisions of this subsection:

(A) a legal buck is a buck deer with at least one unbranched antler or an inside spread of 13 inches or greater; and

(B) no person may take may more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater.

(4) Special Late General Seasons.

(A) There is a special late general season during which harvest is restricted to antlerless and unbranched antlered deer, as follows:

(i) in the counties listed in paragraph (1)(A) and (B) of this subsection: 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the third Sunday in January;

(ii) in the counties listed in paragraph (2)(A)-(C) and (E) of this subsection: 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the first Sunday in January; and.

(iii) in all other counties there is no special late general season.

(B) The bag limit during a special late general season is the bag limit established for the county for the general open season and is not in addition to any other bag limit.

(5) Archery-only open seasons.

(A) The open season is from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 35 consecutive days.

(B) The bag limit in any given county is as provided for that county during the general open season.

(C) No tag is required to hunt antlerless deer unless MLDP tags have been issued for the property.

(6) Muzzleloader-only open seasons, and bag and possession limits shall be as follows. In Anderson, Angelina, Austin, Bastrop, Bell (East of IH 35), Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brewster, Burleson, Caldwell, Camp, Cass, Chambers, Cherokee, Colorado, Comal (East of IH 35), Culberson, Delta, DeWitt, Ellis, Fannin, Falls, Fayette, Fort Bend, Franklin, Freestone, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hays (East of IH 35), Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Jackson, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Karnes, Kaufman, Lamar, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Matagorda, Milam, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Presidio, Rains, Red River, Reeves, Robertson, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Travis (East of IH 35), Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton, Williamson (East of IH 35), Wilson and Wood counties, there is an open season during which deer may be taken only with a muzzleloader.

(A) The open season is 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the first Sunday in January.

(B) The bag limit is as specified in this section for the general season in the county in which take occurs.

(C) Special provisions:

(i) Buck deer. In any given county, all restrictions established in this subsection for the take of buck deer during the general season remain in effect.

(ii) Antlerless deer. No MLDP tag is required for the take of antlerless deer, except:

(I) on properties for which antlerless MLDP tags have been issued; and

(II) in the counties listed in paragraph (2)(J) of this subsection.

(7) Special Youth-Only Seasons. There shall be special youth-only general hunting seasons in all counties where there is a general open season for white-tailed deer.

(A) The early open season is the Saturday and Sunday immediately before the first Saturday in November.

(B) The late open season is 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the first Sunday in January.

(C) Bag limits, provisions for the take of antlerless deer, and special requirements in the individual counties listed in paragraph (2)(A) - (J) of this subsection shall be as specified for the first two days of the general open season in those counties, except as provided in subparagraph (D) of this paragraph.

(D) Provisions for the take of antlerless deer in the individual counties listed in paragraph (2)(H) of this subsection shall be as specified in those counties for the period of time from Thanksgiving Day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day.

(E) Other than properties where MLDP tags have been issued under the provisions of §65.29(c)(2), only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt deer during the seasons established by this paragraph, and any lawful means may be used.

(F) The stamp requirement of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter I, does not apply during the seasons established by this paragraph.

(G) Antlerless deer may be taken without an MLDP tag on USFS lands.

(c) Mule deer. The open seasons and bag limits for mule deer shall be as follows:

(1) In Armstrong, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Childress, Coke, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Kent, King, Knox, Lipscomb, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Scurry, Sherman, Stonewall, Swisher, and Wheeler counties:

(A) the Saturday before Thanksgiving for 16 consecutive days;

(B) bag limit: one buck; and

(C) antlerless deer may be taken only by Antlerless Mule Deer permit or MLDP tag.

(2) In Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Ector, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Midland, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties:

(A) the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving for 17 consecutive days;

(B) bag limit: one buck; and

(C) antlerless deer may be taken only by antlerless mule deer permit or MLDP tag.

(3) In Brewster, Pecos, and Terrell counties:

(A) the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving for 17 consecutive days;

(B) bag limit: two deer, no more than one buck.

(4) In Andrews, Bailey, Castro, Cochran, Dawson, Gaines, Hale, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock, Martin, Parmer, Terry, and Yoakum counties:

(A) the Saturday before Thanksgiving for nine consecutive days;

(B) bag limit: one buck; and

(C) antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(5) In all other counties, there is no general open season for mule deer.

(6) Archery-only open seasons and bag and possession limits shall be as follows.

(A) In Armstrong, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Childress, Coke, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Ector, El Paso, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hudspeth, Hutchinson, Jeff Davis, Kent, King, Knox, Lipscomb, Loving, Midland, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Potter, Presidio, Randall, Reagan, Reeves, Roberts, Scurry, Sherman, Stonewall, Swisher, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, Wheeler, and Winkler counties:

(i) from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 35 consecutive days; and

(ii) bag limit: one buck.

(B) In Brewster, Pecos, and Terrell counties:

(i) from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 35 consecutive days.

(ii) bag limit: two deer, no more than one buck. Antlerless deer may be harvested without a permit unless MLDP antlerless tags have been issued for the property.

(C) In all other counties, there is no archery-only open season for mule deer.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700500

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


31 TAC §65.40, §65.64

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department, or TPWD) proposes amendments to §65.40 and §65.64, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation.

The proposed amendment to §65.40, concerning Pronghorn Antelope, would expand the current experimental season for the take of buck pronghorn antelope to additional areas in the Texas Panhandle. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.057, no person may hunt an antelope without first having acquired an antelope permit issued by the department. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.051, the department is required to conduct scientific studies and investigations of game animals to determine, among other things, supply, sex ratios, and the effects of any factors or conditions causing increases or decreases in supply. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.052, the commission is required to regulate the means, methods, places, and periods of time when it is lawful to hunt or possess game animals. Until 2013, all take of pronghorn antelope was by permit only. The department manages pronghorn antelope populations by the concept of the "herd unit." A herd unit is an area containing similar pronghorn densities (during the timeframe of population surveys) and habitats. Some herd units are bounded by natural or man-made barriers that prevent or inhibit immigration/emigration. Other herd units are bounded by man-made infrastructure that facilitates a descriptive boundary but does allow immigration/emigration. The department conducts population surveys and collects harvest data annually to determine the percentage of each herd unit that may be harvested each year without causing depletion or waste. Permits are then issued to landowners, who distribute them to hunters at their discretion. Over the last 10-15 years, pronghorn antelope populations in portions of the northern Panhandle have increased steadily and continue to expand their range. As a result, permit demand has increased and staff time accommodating that demand has increased accordingly. In response, the department in 2013 implemented an experimental season in three herd units where staff believe that buck populations could sustain additional hunting pressure. Under the experimental regulations, the bag limit and season length were retained; however, no permits for buck pronghorn antelope were issued to the landowners within the areas affected by the experimental season. Instead, the harvest of buck pronghorn antelope in those areas were conducted at the discretion of landowners. The proposed amendment would place additional areas under the effectiveness of the experimental season and would merge current Areas 1 and 3. In order to measure the impact of the experiment and to assist law enforcement personnel in identifying lawfully taken pronghorn antelope, the department would continue to require hunters to obtain a permit from the department, attach it to harvested bucks, and present each harvested buck at a department-designated check station. The intent of the proposed amendment is to reduce the amount of time spent on permit issuance by staff, increase hunter opportunity, and provide greater convenience for landowners, hunters, and outfitters.

The proposed amendment to §65.64, concerning Turkey would clarify eastern turkey seasons on U.S. National Forest lands in Jasper County, correct an error in the late spring youth-only season length, eliminate the option for hunters to present harvested eastern turkey at department-designated check stations, and reword the roadway definition that delineates the north and south turkey zones in Val Verde County in the interests of clarity.

In 2015, the department closed the season for eastern turkey on National Forest lands in Jasper County. The department has since discovered that a small portion of the Sabine National Forest, jointly managed by the department as part of the Moore Plantation Wildlife Management Area, lies within Jasper County and the eastern turkey season was not intended to have been closed. The proposed amendment would correct that oversight. In 2015 the department also extended the length of the fall youth-only turkey season from two days to 14 days, but inadvertently included the late spring youth-only season, which was not intended. The proposed amendment would rectify that oversight as well. Department regulations in effect since 1994 require hunters to report the harvest of eastern turkey. Until 2013, this requirement could only be satisfied by presenting a harvested bird in person at a department-designated check station within 24 hours of take. In 2014 the department altered the regulation to allow hunters the option of complying with the reporting requirement by use of a mobile application, which has been effective to the point that the department no longer has a need to establish physical check stations. Therefore, the proposed amendment would eliminate that option and require all mandatory reporting of harvested eastern turkey to be done via the mobile application.

Mr. Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division Director, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

Mr. Wolf also has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be the dispensation of the agency's statutory duty to protect and conserve the wildlife resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission's policy to maximize recreational opportunities within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule's potential adverse economic impact on small and micro-businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule's "direct adverse economic impacts" to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers "direct economic impact" to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

The department has determined that the proposed rule will not directly affect small businesses or micro-businesses. Therefore, the department therefore has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules) does not apply to the proposed rules.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Robert Macdonald (512) 389-4775; e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. Comments also may be submitted via the department's website at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/feedback/public_comment/.

The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for animals allowed by law to be killed during each year or season, including antelope and turkey; and Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 42 and 61.

§65.40.Pronghorn Antelope: Open Seasons and Bag Limits.

(a) In all counties there is a general open season for pronghorn antelope for nine consecutive days beginning the Saturday nearest October 1, and the annual bag limit is one pronghorn antelope.

(b) A person who kills a pronghorn antelope shall immediately and legibly complete and attach a pronghorn antelope permit to the carcass, which shall remain attached until the carcass reaches a final destination.

(c) In any area of this state that is not within an area described in subsection (d) of this section, a person who hunts pronghorn antelope shall acquire the pronghorn antelope permit from the landowner of the property on which the hunting activity occurs.

(d) Within the boundaries of an area described in this subsection, no landowner-issued permit is required to hunt buck pronghorn antelope; however, no person may hunt a buck pronghorn antelope unless that person has obtained a buck pronghorn antelope permit from the department.

(1) Area 1. That portion of the state south of a line beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highway (U.S.) 87 and U.S. 54 in the City of Dalhart in Dallam County; thence northeast along U.S. 54 to U.S. 287 in the City of Stratford in Sherman County; thence southeast along U.S. 287 to the intersection of State Highway (S.H.) 354 in Moore County; thence west along S.H. 354 to U.S. 385 in Hartley County; thence northwest along U.S. 385/87 to intersection of U.S. 87 and U.S. 54 in the City of Dalhart in Dallam County. [That portion of the state north of a line beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highway (U.S.) 87 and Farm to Market Road (F.M.) 281 in Hartley County; thence east along F.M. 281 to U.S. 287 in Moore County; thence north along U.S. 287 to F.M. 2014 in Sherman County; thence southwest along F.M. 2014 to South Cedar Street in the City of Stratford in Sherman County; thence northwest along South Cedar Street to U.S. 54 in Sherman County; thence southwest along U.S. 54 to Elks Road in the City of Dalhart in Dallam County; thence south along Elks Road to Ranch Road (R.R.) 297 in Dalhart, Dallam County; thence east along R.R. 297 to Rawlings Road/Robertson Road; thence south on Rawlings Road/Robertson Road to U.S. 87 in Hartley County; thence south along U.S. 87 to F.M. 281 in Hartley County.]

(2) Area 2. That portion of the state south of a line beginning at the intersection of S.H. 70 and Canadian River in Roberts County; thence east along the Canadian River to U.S. 60 in Hemphill County; thence southwest along U.S. 60/83 to Ranch Road (R.R.) 3367 in Roberts County; thence southeast along R.R. 3367 to County Road (C.R.) W; thence east along C.R. W to Neece Road in Hemphill County; thence south along Neece Road to C.R. Z; thence east along C.R. Z to U.S. 83; thence south along U.S. 83 to C.R. A in Wheeler County; thence west along C.R. A to F.M. 48; thence south along F.M. 48 to S.H. 152/W. Oklahoma Ave; thence west along S.H. 152/W. Oklahoma Ave to R.R. 2857 in Gray County; thence south along R.R. 2857 to Ranch to Market (R.M.) 1321; thence west along R.M. 1321 to S.H. 273; thence west/northwest along S.H. 273 to S.H. 171 Loop; thence north along S.H. 171 Loop to S.H. 70; thence north along S.H. 70 to the Canadian River in Roberts County. [That portion of the state south of a line beginning at the intersection of U.S. 87 and U.S. 385 in Hartley County; thence east along U.S. 87 to S. Twichell Ave. in the City of Dumas in Moore County; thence south along S. Twichell Ave. to W. 16th St.; thence eastward along W. 16th St. to the first unnamed dirt road; thence south and then east along the unnamed dirt road to S. Dumas Ave./U.S. 87/287; thence south along S. Dumas Ave./U.S. 87/287 to State Highway (S.H.) 354; thence west along S.H. 354 to Alabama Ave. in the City of Channing in Hartley County, thence north along Alabama Ave. to E. 4th St.; thence west along E. 4th St. to U.S. 385; thence north along U.S. 385 to the intersection of U.S. 385 and U.S. 87.]

[(3) Area 3. That portion of the state north of a line beginning at the intersection of U.S. 70 and S.H. 171 in Gray County; thence southeast along S.H. 171 to U.S. 60 in Gray County; thence northeast along U.S. 60 to F.M. 282 in Roberts County; thence west along F.M. 282 to F.M. 283 in Roberts County; thence northwest along F.M. 283 to U.S. 70 in Roberts County; thence south along U.S. 70 in Roberts County to S.H. 171 in Gray County.]

(e) The department may establish mandatory check stations in the areas described in subsection (d) of this section. If check stations have been established, a person who kills a buck pronghorn antelope or the person's representative must present the entire, intact head at a check station within 24 hours of take.

§65.64.Turkey.

(a) (No change.)

(b) Rio Grande Turkey. The open seasons and bag limits for Rio Grande turkey shall be as follows.

(1) Fall seasons and bag limits:

(A) The counties listed in this subparagraph are in the Fall South Zone. In Aransas, Atascosa, Bee, Calhoun, Cameron, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kinney (south of U.S. Highway 90), LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina (south of U.S. Highway 90), Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Uvalde (south of U.S. Highway 90), Val Verde south of a line beginning at the International Bridge and proceeding along Spur 239 to U.S. Hwy. 90 and thence to the Kinney County line [(in that southeastern portion located both south of U.S. Highway 90 and east of Spur 239)], Webb, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a fall general open season.

(i) - (ii) (No change.)

(B) (No change.)

(C) The counties listed in this subparagraph are in the Fall North Zone. In Archer, Armstrong, Bandera, Baylor, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Carson, Childress, Clay, Coke, Coleman, Collingsworth, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Dawson, Denton, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Erath, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Hill, Hood, Howard, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kendall, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney (north of U.S. Highway 90), Knox, Lipscomb, Lampasas, Llano, Lynn, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, Medina (north of U.S. Highway 90), Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Pecos, Potter, Randall, Reagan, Real, Roberts, Runnels, Sutton, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Uvalde (north of U.S. Highway 90), Ward, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Williamson, Wilson, Wise, Val Verde north of a line beginning at the International Bridge and proceeding along Spur 239 to U.S. Hwy. 90 and thence to the Kinney County line [(that portion located north of U.S. Highway 90; and that portion located both south of U.S. Highway 90 and west of Spur 239)], and Young counties, there is a fall general open season.

(i) - (ii) (No change.)

(2) - (3) (No change.)

(4) Special Youth-Only Seasons. Only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt during the seasons established by this subsection.

(A) (No change.)

(B) There shall be special youth-only spring general open hunting seasons for Rio Grande turkey in the counties listed in paragraph (3)(A) and (B) of this subsection.

(i) open seasons:

(I) the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately preceding the first day of the general open spring season; and

(II) the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately following the last day of the general open spring season[from the Saturday immediately following the close of the general open spring season for 14 consecutive days].

(ii) (No change.)

(c) Eastern turkey. The open seasons and bag limits for Eastern turkey shall be as follows. In Bowie, Cass, Fannin, Grayson, Jasper (other than the Angelina National Forest [lands]), Lamar, Marion, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Red River, Sabine, San Augustine, and Upshur counties, there is a spring season during which both Rio Grande and Eastern turkey may be lawfully hunted.

(1) - (2) (No change.)

(3) In the counties listed in this subsection:

(A) - (B) (No change.)

(C) all turkeys harvested during the open season must be registered via the department's internet or mobile application [or at a designated check station] within 24 hours of the time of kill. The department will publish the internet address and information on obtaining the mobile application in generally accessible locations, including the department internet web site (www.tpwd.texas.gov). Harvested turkeys may be field dressed but must otherwise remain intact.

(d) (No change.)

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700501

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER N. MIGRATORY GAME BIRD PROCLAMATION

31 TAC §§65.314, 65.315, 65.318 - 65.321

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes amendments to §§65.314, 65.315, and 65.318 - 65.321, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issues annual frameworks for the hunting of migratory game birds in the United States. Regulations adopted by individual states may be more restrictive than the federal frameworks, but may not be less restrictive. Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within Service frameworks is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, Subchapter C. Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.022, authorizes the Commission to delegate rulemaking authority to the Executive Director. Department regulations (31 TAC §65.313(f)) authorize the Executive Director, after notification of the Chairman of the Commission, to engage in rulemaking.

The proposed amendment to §65.314, concerning Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species, would expand the Special White-winged Dove Area (SWWDA) to encompass the entirety of the South Dove Zone. The Service has authorized the provision of four days of hunting opportunity in early September for the entire South Zone, and in keeping with commission policy to pursue the most liberal hunting seasons possible under the federal frameworks (consistent with sound resource management), the proposed amendment would expand the SWWDA to encompass all of the current South Dove Zone in order to provide 4 days of early hunting opportunity everywhere in the South Zone.

The proposed amendment to §65.315, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits - Early Season, would adjust the season dates for early-season migratory game birds to allow for calendar shift (i.e., to ensure that seasons open on the desired day of the week, since dates from a previous year do not fall on the same days in following years), with the exception that the first segment of the South Zone/SWWDA would be shortened by four days (compared to last season) and those days would be added to the end of the second segment to allow for a weekend closure of the second segment. The proposed amendment also would clarify the bag limit for white-fronted dove where necessary, which is nonsubstantive.

The proposed amendment to §65.315 also would implement a 16-day statewide teal season to run from September 9 - 24, 2017. By federal rule, the number of days in the September teal season count against the 107 days of total hunting opportunity allowed for ducks, coots, and mergansers. In addition, the proposed amendment would implement a 16-day early Canada goose season in the Eastern Zone, also to run from September 9 - 24, 2017.

With the exception of a reduction in the bag limit for pintail ducks, the proposed amendment to §65.318, concerning Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits - Late Season, would retain the same season structure in both duck zones from last year and adjust the season dates to account for calendar shift while retaining the bag and possession limits from last year. The Service, based on breeding waterfowl population surveys, has determined that recruitment (the survival of young ducks to join the population) in pintail populations has experienced a reduction that under the current harvest strategy triggers a bag limit reduction in the federal frameworks. Therefore, the bag limit for pintails is being reduced from two to one to comply with the federal frameworks.

With respect to geese, the season structure (adjusted for calendar shift) and bag and possession limits from last year are retained.

The proposed amendment would also make the age requirement for youth waterfowl season consistent with the age requirements in effect for other species. Until recently, the federal youth-only season applied to persons 15 years of age and younger; however, because age requirements for youth hunting opportunity vary from state to state, recent federal action (81 FR 17301) allows individual states to establish a minimum participation age not to exceed to 17. In Texas the youth-only seasons for deer, turkey, and squirrel are limited to persons 16 years of age and younger; therefore, the proposed amendment would implement that standard for the youth-only waterfowl season for the sake of consistency and to eliminate confusion.

The proposed amendment to §65.319, concerning Extended Falconry Season--Early Season Species, would adjust season dates to reflect calendar shift.

The proposed amendment to §65.320, concerning Extended Falconry Season--Late Season Species, would adjust season dates to reflect calendar shift.

The proposed amendment to §65.321, concerning Special Management Provisions, would adjust the dates for the conservation season on light geese to account for calendar shift.

The proposed amendments are generally necessary to implement commission policy to provide the greatest hunter opportunity possible, consistent with hunter and landowner preference for starting dates and segment lengths, under frameworks issued by the Service. It is the policy of the commission to adopt the most liberal provisions possible, consistent with hunter preference, under the Service frameworks in order to provide maximum hunter opportunity.

Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division Director, has determined that for the first five years that the amendments as proposed are in effect, there will be no additional fiscal implications to state or local governments of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed.

Mr. Wolf also has determined that for each of the first five years the proposed rules are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rules as proposed will be the department's discharge of its statutory obligation to manage and conserve the state's populations of migratory game birds for the use and enjoyment of the public, consistent with the principles of sound biological management.

Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule's potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule's "direct adverse economic impacts" to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. The department considers "direct economic impact" to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

The department has determined that the proposed rules regulate various aspects of recreational license privileges that allow individual persons to pursue and harvest migratory game bird resources in this state and therefore do not directly affect small businesses or micro-businesses. Therefore, neither the economic impact statement nor the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006, is required.

There also will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce Commission as required by Government Code, §2001.022, as the department has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2008, as a result of the proposed rules.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted via the department website at www.tpwd.texas.gov or to Robert Macdonald, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4775 or 1-800-792-1112 (e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us).

The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, which authorizes the Commission and the Executive Director to provide the open season and means, methods, and devices for the hunting and possessing of migratory game birds.

The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64.

§65.314.Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species.

(a) (No change.)

(b) Mourning and white-winged doves.

(1) - (2) (No change.)

(3) South Zone and Special White-winged Dove Area: That portion of the state south of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to State Loop 1604; thence following Loop 1604 south and east to Interstate Highway 10; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to the Texas-Louisiana State Line.

[(4) Special white-winged dove area: That portion of the state south and west of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to State Loop 1604; thence along Loop 1604 south and east to Interstate Highway 37; thence south along Interstate Highway 37 to U.S. Highway 181 in Corpus Christi; thence north and east along U.S. 181 to the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, thence eastwards along the south shore of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to the Gulf of Mexico.]

(c) - (f) (No change.)

§65.315.Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits--Early Season.

(a) Rails.

(1) Dates: September 9 - 24, 2017 and November 4 - December 27, 2017 [September 10-25, 2016 and November 5 - December 28, 2016].

(2) Daily bag and possession limits:

(A) king and clapper rails: 15 in the aggregate per day; 45 in the aggregate in possession.

(B) sora and Virginia rails: 25 in the aggregate per day; 75 in the aggregate in possession.

(b) Dove seasons.

(1) North Zone.

(A) Dates: September 1 - November 12, 2017 and December 15 - 31, 2017 [September 1 - November 13, 2016 and December 17, 2016 - January 1, 2017].

(B) Daily bag limit: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped doves per day.

(C) Possession limit: 45 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped doves (white-fronted) in the aggregate, including no more than 6 white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in possession.

(2) Central Zone.

(A) Dates: September 1 - November 8, 2017 and December 15 - January 21, 2018 [September 1 - November 6, 2016 and December 17, 2016 - January 8, 2017].

(B) Daily bag limit: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped (white-fronted) doves per day.

(C) Possession limit: 45 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than 6 white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in possession.

(3) South Zone and Special White-winged Dove Area.

(A) Dates: September 2, 3, 9, and 10, 2017;

(i) Daily bag limit: 15 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, in the aggregate to include no more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped (white-fronted) doves per day.

(ii) Possession limit: 45 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate to include no more than 6 mourning doves and 6 white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in possession.

(B) Dates: September 22 - November 8, 2017; and December 15, 2017 - January 21, 2018 [Except in the special white-winged dove area as defined in §65.314 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Early Season Species), September 23 - November 13, 2016 and December 17, 2016 - January 23, 2017].

(i) [(B)] Daily bag limit: 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped (white-fronted) doves per day.

(ii) [(C)] Possession limit: 45 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than 6 white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in possession.

[(4) Special white-winged dove area.]

[(A) Dates: 3, 4, 10, and 11, 2016.]

[(i) Daily bag limit: 15 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, in the aggregate to include no more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves per day.]

[(ii) Possession limit: 45 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate to include no more than 6 mourning doves and 6 white-tipped doves in possession.]

[(B) Dates September 23 - November 9, 2016 and December 17, 2016 - January 23, 2017.]

[(i) Daily bag limit: 15 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, in the aggregate to include no more than two white-tipped doves per day;]

[(ii) Possession limit: 45 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate to include no more than 6 white-tipped doves in possession.]

(c) Gallinules.

(1) Dates: September 9 - 24, 2017 and November 4 - December 27, 2017 [September 10-25, 2016 and November 5 - December 28, 2016].

(2) Daily bag and possession limits: 15 in the aggregate per day; 45 in the aggregate in possession.

(d) September teal-only season.

(1) Dates: September 9 - 24, 2017 [10-25, 2016].

(2) Daily bag and possession limits: six in the aggregate per day; 18 in the aggregate in possession.

(e) Red-billed pigeons, and band-tailed pigeons. No open season.

(f) Shorebirds. No open season.

(g) Woodcock: December 18, 2017 - January 31, 2018 [December 18, 2016 - January 31, 2017]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is nine.

(h) Wilson's snipe (Common snipe): October 28, 2017 - February 11, 2018[October 29, 2015 - February 12, 2017]. The daily bag limit is eight. The possession limit is 24.

(i) Canada geese: September 9 - 24, 2017 [10-25, 2016] in the Eastern Goose Zone as defined in §65.317(b) of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species). The daily bag limit is five. The possession limit is 15.

§65.318.Open Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits--Late Season.

Except as specifically provided in this section, the possession limit for all species listed in this section shall be three times the daily bag limit.

(1) Ducks, mergansers, and coots. The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may include no more than five mallards (only two of which may be hens); three wood ducks; three scaup (lesser scaup and greater scaup in the aggregate); two redheads; one [two ] pintail; two canvasbacks; and one "dusky" duck (mottled duck, Mexican like duck, black duck and their hybrids) during the seasons established in subparagraphs (A)(ii), (B)(ii), and (C)(ii) of this paragraph. For all other species not listed, the bag limit shall be six. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, which may include no more than two hooded mergansers.

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit:

(i) all species other than "dusky ducks": October 28 - 29, 2017 and November 3, 2017 - January 28, 2018 [October 29-30, 2016 and November 4, 2016 - January 29, 2017].

(ii) "dusky ducks": November 6, 2017 - January 28, 2018 [November 7, 2016 - January 29, 2017].

(B) North Zone:

(i) all species other than "dusky ducks": November 11 - 26, 2017 and December 2, 2017 - January 28, 2018 [November 12-27, 2016 and December 3, 2016 - January 29, 2017].

(ii) "dusky ducks": November 16 - 26, 2017 and December 2, 2017 - January 28, 2018 [November 17-27, 2016 and December 3, 2016 - January 29, 2017].

(C) South Zone:

(i) all species other than "dusky ducks": November 4 - 26, 2017 and December 9, 2017 - January 28, 2018 [November 5-27, 2016 and December 10, 2016 - January 29, 2017].

(ii) "dusky ducks": November 9 - 26, 2017 and December 9, 2017 - January 28, 2018 [November 10-27, 2016 and December 10, 2016 - January 29, 2017].

(2) Geese.

(A) Western Zone.

(i) Light geese: November 4, 2017 - February 4, 2018 [November 5, 2016 - February 5, 2017]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

(ii) Dark geese: November 4, 2017 - February 4, 2018 [November 5, 2016 - February 5, 2017]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is five, to include no more than two white-fronted geese.

(B) Eastern Zone.

(i) Light geese: November 4, 2017 - January 28, 2018 [November 5, 2016 - January 29, 2017]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20, and there is no possession limit.

(ii) Dark geese:

(I) Season: November 4, 2017 - January 28, 2018 [November 5, 2016 - January 29, 2017];

(II) Bag limit: The daily bag limit for dark geese is five, to include no more than two white-fronted geese.

(3) Sandhill cranes. A free permit is required of any person to hunt sandhill cranes in areas where an open season is provided under this proclamation. Permits will be issued on an impartial basis with no limitation on the number of permits that may be issued.

(A) Zone A: October 28, 2017 - January 28, 2018 [October 29, 2016 - January 29, 2017]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is nine.

(B) Zone B: November 24, 2017 - January 28, 2018 [November 18, 2016 - January 29, 2017]. The daily bag limit is three. The possession limit is nine.

(C) Zone C: December 16, 2017 - January 21, 2018 [December 17, 2016 - January 22, 2017]. The daily bag limit is two. The possession limit is six.

(4) Special Youth-Only Season. There shall be a special youth-only waterfowl season during which the hunting, taking, and possession of geese, ducks, mergansers, and coots is restricted to licensed hunters 16 [15] years of age and younger accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older, except for persons hunting by means of falconry under the provisions of §65.320 of this chapter (relating to Extended Falconry Season--Late Season Species). Bag and possession limits in any given zone during the season established by this paragraph shall be as provided for that zone by paragraphs (1) and (2) of this section. Season dates are as follows:

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 21 - 22, 2017 [October 22-23, 2016];

(B) North Zone: November 4 - 5, 2017 [November 5-6, 2016]; and

(C) South Zone: October 28 - 29, 2017 [October 29-30, 2016].

§65.319.Extended Falconry Season--Early Season Species.

(a) It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the following Extended Falconry Seasons:

(1) mourning doves, white-winged doves and white-tipped doves: November 18 - December 4, 2017 [November 19 - December 5, 2016].

(2) rails and gallinules: January 29 - February 12, 2018 [January 30 - February 12, 2017].

(3) woodcock: January 29 - February 12, 2018 [January 30 - February 12, 2017].

(b) The daily bag and possession limits for migratory game birds under this section shall not exceed three and nine birds respectively, singly or in the aggregate.

§65.320.Extended Falconry Season--Late Season Species.

It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the following Extended Falconry Seasons.

(1) Ducks, coots, and mergansers:

(A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: no extended season;

(B) North Duck Zone: January 29 - February 12, 2018 [January 30 - February 12, 2017];

(C) South Duck Zone: January 29 - February 12, 2018 [January 30 - February 12, 2017].

(2) The daily bag and possession limits for migratory game birds under this section shall not exceed three and nine birds, respectively, singly or in the aggregate.

§65.321.Special Management Provisions.

The provisions of paragraphs (1) - (3) of this section apply only to the hunting of light geese. All provisions of this subchapter continue in effect unless specifically provided otherwise in this section; however, where this section conflicts with the provisions of this subchapter, this section prevails.

(1) - (3) (No change.)

(4) Special Light Goose Conservation Period.

(A) From January 29 - March 18, 2018 [January 30 - March 19, 2017], the take of light geese is lawful in Eastern Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title (relating to Zones and Boundaries for Late Season Species).

(B) From February 5 - March 18, 2018 [February 6 - March 19, 2017], the take of light geese is lawful in the Western Zone as defined in §65.317 of this title.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 6, 2017.

TRD-201700502

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 19, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775