Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Regulations Committee

April 3, 2002

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
                                                                        1

           5            BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 3rd day 

           6   of April, 2002, there came to be heard matters under the 

           7   regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of 

           8   Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and 

           9   Wildlife Headquarters Complex, Austin, Texas, beginning at 

          10   9:00 a.m., to wit: 

          11    

          12   APPEARANCES: 

          13   THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION: 

          14    

          15   REGULATIONS COMMITTEE: 

          16   CHAIR:   Joseph Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas 
                        Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas 
          17            Philip Montgomery, III, Dallas, Texas 
                        Ernest Angelo, Jr., Midland, Texas 
          18            John Avila, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas 
                        Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas (Absent) 
          19            Katharine Armstrong Idsal, San Antonio, Texas 
                        Mark E. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas 
          20            Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Beaumont, Texas 

          21    

          22    

          23   THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION: 
               Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, and other personnel of 
          24   the Parks and Wildlife Department 

          25     


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           1                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Good morning.  Is this on?  

           2  Okay.  Good morning, everybody, thanks for coming.  Before 

           3  proceeding with any business, I believe Mr. Cook has a 

           4  statement to make. 

           5                 MR. COOK:  Madame Chairman, a public notice of 

           6  this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has 

           7  been filed in the office of the Secretary of State as required 

           8  by Chapter 551, Government Code, referred to as the Open 

           9  Meetings Law.  I would like for this action to be noted in the 

          10  official record of this meeting. 

          11                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you, Mr. Cook.  Before 

          12  beginning today I want to explain that there will be a little 

          13  bit of a change in our normal procedure.  We are going to 

          14  begin with the Regulations Committee and then recess the 

          15  Regulations Committee to convene the Finance Committee so that 

          16  we can wait for a couple of the commissioners to be here so 

          17  they can here Mr. Bomer's report.  We will go through the 

          18  Finance Committee to its conclusion and then reconvene the 

          19  Regulations Committee until its conclusion.  So with that, I 

          20  will turn the gavel over to Mr. Fitzsimons.  Commissioner. 

          21                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Thank you, Madame Chair.  

          22  The Regulations Committee will come to order here at 9:02 

          23  right on time.  The first order is approval of the committee 

          24  minutes from the previous meeting.  I have one or two minor 

          25  changes to the minutes from January 16th, 2002.  Be noted on 


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           1  Page 3 of the minutes, top of the page, fourth line reads, 

           2  "Mr. Cook relied in the affirmative," I believe that should be 

           3  "replied in the affirmative."  And in the briefing on cervid 

           4  disease issues, which is Paragraph 3, three lines from the 

           5  bottom it says "no credited test for CWD," I believe that 

           6  should be "no accredited test."  And at the end of that 

           7  Paragraph 3 at the top of Page 5, five lines from the bottom 

           8  it reads, "And that there should provisions," I believe that 

           9  should read, "and that there should be provisions for 

          10  evaluation."  And I don't have any further changes.  Anyone 

          11  else on the minutes from the previous?  Hearing none, motion 

          12  to approve the minutes from our previous meeting. 

          13                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  So moved. 

          14                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Second.  

          15                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  All opposed?  And propose 

          16  same signed and what's next here?  Chairman's Charges.  Bob. 

          17                 MR. COOK:  Mr. Fitzsimons, thank you.  I have 

          18  several items I would like to report to you on this morning.  

          19  We have been working on Chairman's Charges and I want to 

          20  address several of them with you here.   

          21                 The first charge to examine and develop 

          22  guidelines for the removal and disposable and abandoned or 

          23  illegal crab traps.  The Commission, as you know, adopted a 

          24  16-day closure in late February, early March for the use of 

          25  crab traps during its November '01 meeting.  The staff 


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           1  organized and coordinated the first and very successful crab 

           2  trap removal operation ever in the State of Texas.  Hal Osburn 

           3  in Coastal Fisheries Division Director will brief the 

           4  Commission on the status of this first crab trap removal 

           5  program tomorrow in the open public meeting.   

           6                 The second charge, review the Commission 

           7  committee structure.  Staff has reviewed the Commission policy 

           8  manual and are proposing amendments that address this charge.  

           9  Gene McCarty will present the proposed amendments ment to the 

          10  Committee in Item 7.   

          11                 Review the oyster lease permitting process.  

          12  Coastal staff worked closely with the Oyster Advisory 

          13  Committee during the 77th Legislature regarding this issue.  

          14  The Commission adopted the proposed amendments to the oyster 

          15  fisheries proclamation during its January '02 meeting.  New 

          16  regulations will be in full affect prior to the start of the 

          17  transplant season.  In addition, staff have published a rule 

          18  review of this section of the proclamation in the Texas 

          19  Register for public comments.  Robin Riechers will present the 

          20  results of this rule review in Item 4.   

          21                 Thank you, sir. 

          22                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Thank you, Bob.  The next 

          23  issue item on the agenda, No. 2, cervid disease issues.  Jerry 

          24  Cooke. 

          25                 DR. COOKE:  Mr. Chairman and members, my name 


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           1  is Jerry Cooke.  I'm Game Branch Chief for the Wildlife 

           2  Division, I'll be presenting you further updates on our cervid 

           3  disease issues, three Commission meetings in a row, I believe.  

           4  Since the March 11th emergency action that was taken by you to 

           5  suspend importation of white-tail deer and mule deer into 

           6  Texas, a number of things have happened.  Six other states 

           7  have joined Texas in suspending importation of cervids into 

           8  their states in various forms.  And one state has taken this 

           9  county and done the same thing but not a generalized issue for 

          10  the State.  We have had -- also the Texas Animal Health 

          11  Commission has taken action to suspend the issuance of 

          12  importation permits for elk which rounds out the primary 

          13  species of concern on importation.  Also, we have had 

          14  extensive meetings with Animal Health Commission working out 

          15  enforcement protocols.  What does a warden do when he finds 

          16  himself with a trailer load of deer on the side of the road in 

          17  the middle of the night and we think we have those worked out 

          18  to everyone's satisfaction.   

          19                 Also Operation Game Thief Committee has adopted 

          20  a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of 

          21  anyone who is illegally importing deer into this state.  In 

          22  addition, there's still pending actions with the Animal Health 

          23  Commission that I thought I would also bring to your 

          24  attention.  One is for the Animal Health Commission itself to 

          25  provide its executive director with the authority to embargo 


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           1  states that she finds at risk -- of risk to the State of 

           2  Texas.  And I assume that that will be adopted at their next 

           3  Commission meeting.  Also, they have rules published that will 

           4  limit importation of white-tail deer, mule deer, black-tail 

           5  deer, and elk into this state from only those facilities that 

           6  have a chronic waste and disease monitoring program in place 

           7  that has been in place for three years, have found no chronic 

           8  waste and disease and has imported no animals into that 

           9  facility during that time.  Again, those are pending with the 

          10  Animal Health Commission.  Your action today would include 

          11  adoption, if you choose, to make a permanent rule of the 

          12  suspension.  And when I say permanent rule, I mean the rule 

          13  will be in place until you take action to rescind it or to 

          14  amend it.  And this would replace, of course, the action item 

          15  of March 11th.   

          16                 When we discussed this in January, part of the 

          17  proposal that was laid out and published addresses the issue 

          18  that is found in statute, which is to say that only those deer 

          19  that are, quote, "in a healthy condition," end quote, they be 

          20  brought, sold, bartered, traded, whatever, in this State.  But 

          21  healthy condition was not defined either in statute or rule.  

          22  We proposed at that time that a possible definition of "in a 

          23  healthy condition" would be deer that come from facility that 

          24  have both a chronic waste and disease monitoring program and a 

          25  tuberculosis herd accreditation or has a valid herd health 


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           1  management plan approved by the Texas Animal Health 

           2  Commission.  And this definition then would be linked to a 

           3  rule that would clarify the statutory element, and that rule 

           4  change would be no person may sell, offer for sale, transport, 

           5  except to a veterinarian for health reasons, temporarily 

           6  transfer or release to the wild, unless their facility met 

           7  that definition.   

           8                 Since your January meeting and previous to your 

           9  emergency action we had several meetings with the Texas Deer 

          10  Association who made several offers of cooperation to the 

          11  agency.  One of which would be to take the lead and I 

          12  understood that to be the lead in every way the effort 

          13  gathering the finances, et cetera, to bring the BTB blood test 

          14  back into Texas which would be a good thing for everybody.  

          15  Also, the Executive Committee of the Texas Deer Association 

          16  said that they would be more than willing to put the strong 

          17  arm on their members, for lack of a better terminology, to try 

          18  to get more of their members in a voluntary program if we 

          19  would consider postponing taking -- taking action on the 

          20  monitoring portion of the proposal.  And our recommendation is 

          21  to certainly think hard and long about the importation 

          22  permanent rule but also to consider the possibility of 

          23  postponing action on the monitoring and testing requirements.  

          24  And that concludes my presentation.  If you have any 

          25  questions. 


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           1                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Any questions for Jerry? 

           2                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Commissioner Fitzsimons, I 

           3  have a question.  Jerry, could you tell me when the next 

           4  meeting of the Animal Health Commission.   

           5                 DR. COOKE:  No, ma'am.  I don't know.  They 

           6  meet at irregular dates and it has a lot to do with whether or 

           7  not they can make a quorum.  They have a huge committee 

           8  commission and making a quorum is not an easy thing.  I think 

           9  the fact that they've had new appointments to their 

          10  commission, which I think -- 

          11                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Make it easier? 

          12                 DR. COOKE:  You're aware of will make it 

          13  easier, but I really don't know.  I could find out.  I'll call 

          14  Gene Nelson and see if they have a tentative and I'll have 

          15  that for you today. 

          16                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Yesterday I got a copy of a 

          17  letter from someone who you're familiar with, Dr. Frank 

          18  Griffin -- 

          19                 DR. COOKE:  Yes. 

          20                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  -- in New Zealand who happens 

          21  to be the guy who has the BTB, the current the BTB test and 

          22  that some of these organizations are trying to get back over 

          23  here. 

          24                 DR. COOKE:  Uh-huh. 

          25                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  It's my understanding from 


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           1  this letter that there is a new and improved version of the 

           2  BTB test that would not require the skin patch testing to 

           3  heighten sensitivity, and I'm getting into areas I really -- 

           4                 DR. COOKE:  Right. 

           5                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  -- am no expert on. 

           6                 DR. COOKE:  That was a characteristic of the 

           7  original BTB test is that every animal had to have one skin 

           8  test to solicit enough immune response to be useful in the 

           9  test.  I was not aware of the other test. 

          10                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  So assuming that it looks 

          11  positive and they're optimistic that the skin test would not 

          12  be required in order to heighten the sensitivity to the BTB 

          13  test that the would be very positive news. 

          14                 DR. COOKE:  Absolutely. 

          15                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Okay.  If you could keep me 

          16  posted on that, that would be great.  The those are the only 

          17  questions I have. 

          18                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  How long would this 

          19  voluntary effort take before we knew whether it was working or 

          20  not?   

          21                 DR. COOKE:  That would be your call.  If it 

          22  were me, which is it not, but if it were me, I think that it 

          23  would be fair to the Texas Deer Association to make it clear 

          24  to them what you considered to be a reasonable effort, 

          25  whatever that may be.  It may be a good geographic 


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           1  distribution, you know, a breeder's testing in a voluntary 

           2  program or some percentage of their numbers of the scientific 

           3  breeder numbers, but that would be your call on that.  But I 

           4  think that would be appropriate.  I think they would welcome 

           5  that knowing what it would take. 

           6                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  How would we determine 

           7  what a reasonable period is?  I mean, what --  

           8                 DR. COOKE:  That would be your call. 

           9                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  What would you recommend 

          10  as reasonable period? 

          11                 DR. COOKE:  Well, the shortest possible would 

          12  be by the May meeting, but, you know, you could say --  

          13                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Would that be reasonable? 

          14                 DR. COOKE:  Huh? 

          15                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Would that be reasonable, 

          16  do you think? 

          17                 DR. COOKE:  Yes. 

          18                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  You're saying they just 

          19  have to sign up to --  

          20                 DR. COOKE:  They have to be part of the -- yes, 

          21  they have to be part of the program. 

          22                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  And you wouldn't have a 

          23  lot of data. 

          24                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  It wouldn't actually be 

          25  done but the commitment would be there. 


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           1                 DR. COOKE:  The commitment would be there, 

           2  uh-huh. 

           3                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  I'm sorry. 

           4                 COMIMSSIONER ANGELO:  No, that's fine. 

           5                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  How many voluntary 

           6  members are participating in the program now, Jerry? 

           7                 DR. COOKE:  I don't know.  I'm sorry, I don't 

           8  know but I could check with them when I call to check on 

           9  Chairman Idsal's question, I'll check on that as well.  The 

          10  last I heard was at the meeting that we had earlier and it was 

          11  just a handful but -- 

          12                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  I remember three in the 

          13  meeting you and I attended. 

          14                 DR. COOKE:  I remembered it closer to nine but 

          15  that's nine out of 400.  But also it is my understanding and 

          16  you may hear more about it tomorrow, that the president of 

          17  Texas Deer Association has met with all their regional 

          18  committees and has, you know, like taken the pledge but we'll 

          19  see.  I would rather you hear that from them than from me. 

          20                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  So by the next meeting in 

          21  May we should see something. 

          22                 DR. COOKE:  One would think. 

          23                 COMMISSIONER WATSON:  I don't understand.  In 

          24  other words, if we go ahead and pass the regulation requiring 

          25  the test then the Texas Deer Association says then they're out 


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           1  of it. 

           2                 DR. COOKE:  No.  Like I say, I'm not speaking 

           3  for them.  All I'm saying is that they -- they suggested that 

           4  they have an opportunity since they've seen the level of 

           5  concern of this Commission, had the opportunity to try to get 

           6  their membership to do it voluntarily.  The thing is, is that 

           7  any who enter it voluntarily, if you take an action at some 

           8  other date will not affect them at all because they will 

           9  already be in compliance before you ever adopted a change. 

          10                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Jerry? 

          11                 DR. COOKE:  Yes, sir. 

          12                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  We've addressed the out of 

          13  state health issues.  Do you have any concerns about within 

          14  the State, health issues as they relate to the movement of 

          15  deer, or is that -- is that not a concern of yours at this 

          16  point? 

          17                 DR. COOKE:  How important that would be within 

          18  the State would have a lot to do with -- it would be more 

          19  linked to our knowledge of diseases as they're occurring 

          20  across the State.  For instance, we know that there's 

          21  tuberculosis in and around El Paso and in and around Pecos and 

          22  in and around Fayette County.  Taking animals from that area, 

          23  you know, not knowing whether deer is involved in those 

          24  diseases or not, you may seem like too long a step.  It may 

          25  not be.  We -- you have taken action related to importation 


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           1  because of concern and we're labeling that action or have been 

           2  labeling that action as a suspension which suggests that when 

           3  the Animal Health Commission is in a position to do something 

           4  we will back back out of that and leave it in that place.  And 

           5  whether or not you felt that same level of concern about 

           6  movement within the State, again, would be your call.   

           7                 (Chairman Emeritus Bass present.) 

           8                 DR. COOKE:  And how much risk you think that 

           9  would be.  I'm concerned about everything, but that's my job.  

          10  I'm paid to be concerned. 

          11                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  But your concerns from the 

          12  State are not as great as from out of state? 

          13                 DR. COOKE:  Absolutely.  Absolutely not. 

          14                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I don't have a question but I 

          15  do have something I want to say.  I was most gratified by the 

          16  level of cooperation that the Texas Parks and Wildlife 

          17  received from the various organizations.  I see many of them 

          18  here and what a tremendous help it was to me and to the rest 

          19  of the commission and to the Department to have their help and 

          20  input.  I just wanted to say that.  Thank you all very much. 

          21                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Can we hear just 

          22  briefly about the law enforcement side of this and how much 

          23  enforcement is needed, how much of a concern we have about 

          24  compliance with regulation we passed, if we have any concern 

          25  about that. 


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           1                 DR. COOKE:  Well, I've been involved in some of 

           2  the conversations on the subject and I'll talk in general 

           3  terms.  If you have a really technical questions, I'll ask 

           4  Buddy Turner to help on some of those.  Basically this is like 

           5  any other kind of violation.  Hopefully the Operation Game 

           6  Thief reward will be very helpful 'cause that's a sizable 

           7  reward.  They've had that high of a reward for a violation 

           8  before.  And the key to it is going to be for knowledge of and 

           9  that's something that we wouldn't necessary have, but there's 

          10  somebody that knows about them.  Putting our hands on 

          11  white-tail deer or mule deer that are illegally brought into 

          12  this State is a much simpler enforcement issue than putting 

          13  your hands on a trailer load of cattle that came across the 

          14  border illegally because there's an issue of private property 

          15  with cattle that do not apply to white-tail deer.  I know that 

          16  scientific breeders purchase the deer, they're holding them, 

          17  they may sell them.  That's a -- that's a condition of the 

          18  scientific breeder statutes.  But in fact the statutes 

          19  specifically say that white-tail deer are subject to all the 

          20  laws in this State and those laws include property of the 

          21  people of the State, da-da, da-da and enforcement and powers 

          22  of taking by the department.  So basically if there's a 

          23  trailer load of deer that's brought into the State illegally, 

          24  that means that there is no permit for them, they can't 

          25  possibly be legally a part of a scientific breeder facility 


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           1  and therefore they're our deer is what it boils down to.  Now 

           2  What you do with them is where it starts getting complicated.  

           3  We don't have the money to hold them forever.  We're not going 

           4  to be able to turn them around on the road and send them back 

           5  to another State because they won't take them.  And we're 

           6  certainly not going to release them and that's basically bring 

           7  it to down destroying them.  That's what we've done is made 

           8  arrangements with the diagnostic veterinary clinic in Amarillo 

           9  and the vet school at A&M to assist us in that regard and to 

          10  dispose of the carcasses in a safe and helpful sort of way.   

          11                 If you have more technical questions about 

          12  that, then I think --  

          13                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  I really was trying 

          14  to understand the practical side of whether we feel like 

          15  there's full compliance with our regulation or whether we're 

          16  concerned about violations of it and if so are we taking 

          17  adequate steps to enforce it. 

          18                 DR. COOKE:  In my opinion we have, but if Buddy 

          19  has a different comment he can make that. 

          20                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  When you're talking about 

          21  enforcement it's not restricted to just our game wardens.  I 

          22  would think that the Texas Animal Health Commission and 

          23  Federal -- would also -- the Feds would also have jurisdiction 

          24  over it. 

          25                 DR. COOKE:  Absolutely because it's bringing 


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           1  white-tail or mule deer into the State illegally, you know, 

           2  falls into -- I believe falls into the Lacy Act which is a 

           3  Federal violation -- which is a Federal felony.  It's not a 

           4  Class C, which is what our statute says. 

           5                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Really more teeth in the 

           6  federal law than in our law as it relates to the movement of 

           7  them. 

           8                 DR. COOKE:  Yes. 

           9                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Any further questions?  

          10  We'll adjourn the Regulations Committee and reconvene with 

          11  Item 3.  Thank you, jerry, and I -- 

          12                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Before adjourning the Regs 

          13  Committee, this item will be on the agenda for tomorrow. 

          14                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  I'm sorry.  If there are 

          15  no further questions or discussions, without objection, I'll 

          16  place this item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for 

          17  public comment and action.  And with that, adjourn -- is there 

          18  a motion adjourn the Regs Committee? 

          19                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  We can recess.   

          20                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Recess it, I'm sorry.  

          21  Recessing the Regulations Committee and reconvene with Item 3. 

          22                 (Regulations Committee recessed to begin 

          23                 Finance Committee.) 

          24                 (Regulations Committee reconvened at 11:40.) 

          25                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Back to work.  We will 


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           1  reconvene the Regulations Committee with Joseph Fitzsimons 

           2  chairman.  Here's your gavel. 

           3                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Thank you.  Madam Chair, 

           4  reconvene the Regulations Committee.  We recessed by my notes 

           5  at 9:20 and reconvene at 11:40.  The next item of business is 

           6  Statewide Fishing Proclamation Gary Graham, come forward.  

           7  Thank you. 

           8                 DR. GRAHAM:  Chairman Fitzsimons, members of 

           9  the Committee, I'm Gary Graham, Director of the Wildlife 

          10  Division and I'll be discussing the statewide proposals for 

          11  the Wildlife Division today.  We have ten proposals that were 

          12  coordinated with law enforcement in the field.  Seven of these 

          13  pertain to deer, two involve turkey, and one involves the make 

          14  up of the hunting license.   

          15                 The first proposal is an experimental 

          16  regulation where we will redefine what a legal buck is in 

          17  order to address a high harvest pressure and undesirable age 

          18  structure of the herd in six counties.  Because of this 

          19  proposal is so well documented and moderately complex, I 

          20  wanted to spend a little extra time and have our white-tail 

          21  deer program leader Clayton Wolf to my right here present some 

          22  of the details to you.   

          23                 MR. WOLF:  Mr. Chairman, members, for the 

          24  record my name is Clayton Wolf, the white-tail deer program 

          25  coordinator.  I'm going to present to you an abbreviated 


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           1  version of a presentation that we gave at the six public 

           2  hearings in the county where we are proposing this action.  

           3  The key term that we are focusing in the title slide is a term 

           4  experimental.  We will formally sunset this in regulation if 

           5  it is adopted so that it will be in effect for three years, we 

           6  will monitor it through that period and come back with a 

           7  recommendation.  There's one primary biological goal that 

           8  we're shooting for with this proposal and that is to improve 

           9  the age structure of the buck herd.  We feel like this goal is 

          10  obtainable in the three year life of this regulation and by 

          11  year three that it is measurable.  There's another goal that 

          12  may be a little bit further down the horizon and may not seem 

          13  as apparent and that deals with increasing hunter opportunity 

          14  and recreation.  And toward the end of my presentation I 

          15  hopefully will adequately describe why we think we can achieve 

          16  that.  The proposal is for six counties in the post okay 

          17  ecological area specifically the southern end of the post oak 

          18  ecological area; those are Austin, Colorado, Fayette, Lavaca, 

          19  Lee, and Washington Counties.  There's several reasons we 

          20  chose these six counties.  One is we have very active wildlife 

          21  management associations in these counties.  We actually have 

          22  30 co-ops.  Those 30 co-ops have over 2,500 members those 

          23  2,500 landowners own over 527,000 acres of land which 

          24  compromises approximately 40 percent of the deer habitat in 

          25  these six counties.   


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           1                 In addition, we have a wildlife staff person 

           2  that is specifically assigned to each of those counties.  Six 

           3  staffers, so that if this proposal is adopted we would have 

           4  adequate manpower for education and data collection efforts.  

           5  In addition, this Commission may be aware that there's a 

           6  history of individuals, organizations, and co-ops in this 

           7  country that have petitioned this Commission before for some 

           8  form of antler restriction so there's a history in the area of 

           9  some kind of restriction or at least request for antler 

          10  restrictions.  Of course, what we're talking about is 

          11  redefining what a legal buck is in this six counties.  Right 

          12  now a legal buck deer state-wide is defined as having a 

          13  hardened antler protruding through the skin.  Our proposal 

          14  would require that that buck deer also meet an additional one 

          15  of three other criteria.  One of those is that it have at 

          16  least one unbranched antler or an inside spread measurement 

          17  between the main beams of 13 inches or greater, which I will 

          18  just refer to as inside spread, or six-points or more on one 

          19  antler.   

          20                 In the presentation in January we inadvertently 

          21  omitted an exemption that we feel like needs to be in this 

          22  regulation proposal.  We feel like landowners who have been 

          23  issued Level 2 and Level 3 managed land deer permits should be 

          24  exempt from this proposal.  The reason we feel this is these 

          25  landowners are working under a wildlife management plan that 


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           1  is approved by our wildlife staff.  They are already under 

           2  harvest guidelines and we would not want to further constrain 

           3  these people when they already have a custom harvest 

           4  recommendation that protects the resource.  So we would ask 

           5  your consideration in amending the proposal to include this.  

           6  We're also -- we also needed to define what a point was in 

           7  regulation.  This line has a definition as a point of 

           8  projection that extends at least one inch from the age of the 

           9  main beam or another tine.  Now, what was published in the 

          10  Texas Register for public comment did not include the last 

          11  three words, "or another tine."  That was inadvertent and we 

          12  do want to give credit if a deer's antlers has a kicker tine 

          13  off of one of the other main tines.  So we would also ask that 

          14  you also consider this amendment.   

          15                 I'm going to go through a series of slides 

          16  briefly that show which deer would be legal as defined in our 

          17  proposal and also which deer would not be legal.  The previous 

          18  slide, this is a deer that's legal because it has at least one 

          19  branched antler, in fact, it has two unbranched antlers.  This 

          20  buck is also legal because it meets the same criteria which is 

          21  one unbranched antler.  This buck is legal because it has an 

          22  inside spread of 13 inches.  In a couple of minutes I'll show 

          23  you how we determine that.  This deer would be legal it has 

          24  six points or more on one antler.  You can see the deer's left 

          25  antler has six points on it.  This deer is the deer we were 


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           1  trying to protect.  It would not be a legal buck as defined by 

           2  our proposal because it has no unbranched antler, its inside 

           3  spread between the main beam is not 13 inches or greater and 

           4  it has no antler with six points.  Now, why did we choose a 

           5  13-inch spread?  This is meat of our proposal because this one 

           6  criteria is what protects the animals we want to get into the 

           7  older age class.  Our wildlife division staff look at our 

           8  statewide age, weight and antler data and what we saw in the 

           9  Post Oak Savannah eco region, which is the region we are 

          10  talking about, we saw that deer that were buck deer that were 

          11  three and a half years old had an average of a 13.2-inch 

          12  inside spread.  In addition, our wildlife biologist knew that 

          13  the average spread from ear tip to ear tip on white-tail bucks 

          14  in this area is approximately 13 inches.  Therefore by 

          15  choosing 13 inches we basically have our buck deer out there 

          16  that are carrying a ruler around that our head that are 

          17  hunters can use to measure or compare the antlers to.  In 

          18  other words, if the antlers exceed the width of the ear tip to 

          19  ear tip spread, then they can feel assured that it's legal for 

          20  harvest.  I'm going to get a little bit more detailed and show 

          21  you deer that would be protected by this proposal if it had 

          22  been in effect.  This is the year 2000 data.  You'll see that 

          23  these bars here represent spreads of year and half old deer 

          24  and the frequency in the harvest basically all year and a half 

          25  old have been protected because they did not meet the 13-inch 


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           1  spread with the exception of those deer that had unbranched 

           2  antlers or possibly six points.  As we move in the 

           3  two-year-old age class you'll see that most two year olds are 

           4  still protected but the upper end two year olds would be legal 

           5  for harvest because they do have 13-inch spreads or greater.  

           6  By the time we get to three years old we get hit the first age 

           7  class where most of this age class of animals is legal for 

           8  harvest but still some of the bottom end three year olds would 

           9  be protected.  And then when we reach four year olds and older 

          10  basically all these deer are legal most four year old deer or 

          11  older have at least a 13-inch inside spread.  One thing to 

          12  note as we get to three and four-year-old animals you'll 

          13  notice that their frequency decreases dramatically.  It's a 

          14  symptom of the problem in the area.  There are very few of 

          15  these animals out there.  Why did we choose six points or 

          16  better on one antler?  Basically we were giving the hunter the 

          17  advantage and that is if this hunter looked out there and saw 

          18  a buck that had six points on one antler, he would not have to 

          19  do any further evaluation.  In fact, when we look at our 

          20  harvest data from the year 2000, we see that only 2.9 percent 

          21  of the bucks actually have six points or greater.  In fact, 

          22  when we looked even closer we realized of that 2.9 percent 

          23  there was only one animal that did not already meet the 

          24  13-inch minimum.  So in essence by giving the hunter this 

          25  advantage, they're going to have a negligible impact because 


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           1  these animals really rarely exist out there.   

           2                 We're talking about hunting pressure and 

           3  shifting hunting pressure.  This graph depicts the percent by 

           4  each age class in the buck harvest by eco region.  We are 

           5  focusing on the bottom bar down there which is the Post Oak 

           6  Savannah eco region.  The red bar indicates year and a half 

           7  olds in the harvest, the yellow two and a half, and so on.  

           8  You'll notice that the Post Oak Savannah has the most intense 

           9  hunting pressure in the State.  With 43 percent of the bucks 

          10  in that year being year and a half old bucks.  Now, remember 

          11  that 43 percent and focus down a little bit more.  We're going 

          12  to look at these six counties that are in this Post Oak 

          13  Savannah eco region.  We have several years of data.  That's 

          14  supposed to load up.  If it doesn't, I know it by memory so 

          15  I'm not going to let it rattle me.  Remember 43 percent for 

          16  the Post Oak Savannah which was the most intensively harvested 

          17  area of the State.  When we looked at data from these six 

          18  counties we saw that the percent year and a half olds in the 

          19  harvest was actually 53 percent.  So even more intense.  Heavy 

          20  hunting pressure on bucks in this area.  This regulation would 

          21  have protected 65 percent of the bucks that were harvested in 

          22  these six counties in the 2001 hunting season.  Now, what we 

          23  want to remember is this will be a temporary reduction in 

          24  harvests as we shift those animals to the older age class.  On 

          25  the left is a graph that depicts the actual right now with 


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           1  that 53 percent showing and if this regulation were adopted we 

           2  would move those animals in the older age class so we would 

           3  expect a temporary reduction but we feel like we would recoup 

           4  most of that harvest by the time those animals got to three 

           5  and four years old.   

           6                 Is the one buck limit really protecting the 

           7  wrong segment of the yearling age class?  Our biologist asked 

           8  themselves these questions.  Looking again at the slide that 

           9  we've seen those hunting pressure in South Texas and Edwards 

          10  Plateau and Post Oak Savannah.  We'll note that hunting 

          11  pressure on yearling bucks is low in South Texas and Edwards 

          12  Plateau as opposed to the Post Oak Savannah.  When we looked 

          13  at number of antler points on year and a half old deer only, 

          14  now, we're only focusing on year and a half old deer, notice 

          15  that in South Texas and Edwards Plateau over 50 percent of the 

          16  yearling deer, year and a half old deer that are harvested are 

          17  spike antlered bucks.  These counties are two and three buck 

          18  counties.  If you look down in the Post Oak Savannah and Piney 

          19  Woods you'll note that less than 20 percent of our year and a 

          20  half old deer, even though we shoot a lot of them, are spike 

          21  antlered bucks.  We do not feel that this is an indication of 

          22  the prevalence of spikes in the population but rather it's 

          23  hunter selectivity possibly driven by buck bag limits.  In the 

          24  Post Oak Savannah and most of the Piney Woods, you have a one 

          25  buck bag limit.  We feel like hunters, although they can't be 


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           1  very selective when they're out there harvesting deer, they're 

           2  harvesting the multipointed animals, possibly artificially 

           3  protecting spike deer because they do not want to use they're 

           4  one buck tag on a spike deer.  In 1991, '92 and '93 we did a 

           5  breeding chronology study statewide to determine if our does 

           6  were getting breed and when.  We found out that our does do 

           7  get breed.  But more importantly we found out breeding season 

           8  lengths and if you'll look at this graft especially the bottom 

           9  two bars, you'll notice the Post Oak Savannah has the longest 

          10  breeding season length of any ecological area in the State of 

          11  Texas.  If we focus on down those 26 experimental counties 

          12  which have even higher harvest pressure, our breeding season 

          13  length expands even more.  This is not surprising if you're 

          14  familiar with research that is done that shows that when year 

          15  and a half of old deer or even other cervids such as elk do 

          16  most of the breeding because the absence of older animals, 

          17  breeding season lengths are longer.  There's several reasons.  

          18  Some of that deals with breeding behavior and courtship 

          19  behavior.  You also have dispersal of yearling males out of 

          20  their home range right before the breeding season.  And it may 

          21  even be a factor just a numbers game.  When you have heavy 

          22  harvest pressure you have fewer bucks to breed those does.  

          23  But the conclusions in the study are basically when you have 

          24  that situation occurring, your breeding season is much longer 

          25  and there are negative implications associated with that, 


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           1  primarily dealing with fawn recruitment and survival.  You 

           2  would like to have all your fawns hit the ground in an very 

           3  tight time frame at an opportune time and when you expand that 

           4  breeding season, you put them down there at less opportune 

           5  times and you also expose them to more predation of mortality 

           6  so that further exacerbates the problem because you're putting 

           7  fewer bucks back into the population.   

           8                 I would be remiss if I didn't mention a couple 

           9  of issues that have been brought to us.  The primary issue 

          10  that has been mentioned is the inability of hunters to judge 

          11  spread correctly.  Particularly youth.  We want to make sure 

          12  that that doesn't occur.  We feel like we can adequately 

          13  address this issue by developing a program to educate hunters.  

          14  One way to do that and by your tablets this morning we left 

          15  these little wallet cards.  It's a prototype that if this 

          16  regulation were adopted we would print up thousands of these 

          17  and basically saturate the countryside anywhere we thought 

          18  hunters or landowners might show up in this area.  This would 

          19  just be one tool in addition because we have a staff member in 

          20  each county.  They would hit the road immediately using the 

          21  co-op network to inform our co-ops and then realizing that 

          22  everyone is not a co-op member, we'd also go outside of that 

          23  network to basically get ahold of every hunter or landowner we 

          24  could find in the area and around the area to educate them on 

          25  how to judge which bucks are legal and which are not.  The 


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           1  other issue is actually one that we would like to see occur 

           2  possibly and that is if we increase the number of bucks in the 

           3  older age classes, we may shift the buck harvest away from the 

           4  poor quality yearling buck.  Remember these are one buck 

           5  counties.  If we move those bucks into the older age class, 

           6  then we expect that hunters might want to even retain that tag 

           7  even longer to hunt mature bucks and thereby artificially 

           8  protecting the spike antler bucks.  So if this situation 

           9  occurred it's entirely conceivable that down the road we could 

          10  propose a two buck bag limit in these counties where one buck 

          11  must have an unbranched antler.  So we would add -- we would 

          12  go from a one buck bag and two buck bag and also solve some of 

          13  our biological problems.   

          14                 In addition, we feel like hunter expectations 

          15  will go up.  We'll put more adult bucks out there and there's 

          16  not going to be a race just to get your buck.  We feel like 

          17  the hunting experience will be improved.  We file like this is 

          18  going to stimulate hunting activity in this area and actually 

          19  may increase hunter days.  The bottom line is we are trying to 

          20  protect the buck in the foreground, the one in the middle, the 

          21  small antlered yearling bucks.  We don't want that to be the 

          22  primary component in our buck population so that we can put 

          23  more deer like that are in the background on the ground so 

          24  that hunters will have a more enjoyable experience, we can 

          25  stimulate hunting activity and possibly increase bag limit all 


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           1  the while doing a benefit to the deer herd out there.   

           2                 I do have comments from the public comment 

           3  period on this proposal.  Basically there were 684 comments in 

           4  favor of this proposal.  There with were 166 opposed to, that 

           5  breaks down to basically 80 percent for and 20 percent against 

           6  and I'll turn it back over to Dr. Graham. 

           7                 DR. GRAHAM:  Chairman Fitzsimons, do you want 

           8  to talk about this one now or move on to other proposals? 

           9                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Well, this has been the 

          10  subject of a lot of work and discussion are there any 

          11  questions regarding -- 

          12                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Are you proposing we 

          13  adopt a new regulation tomorrow or that we go into a public 

          14  hearing process? 

          15                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  The public hearing 

          16  process is finished and I was fortunate to go to one of them 

          17  and it's a good experience if you're never been to one, 

          18  especially in La Grange.  The proposal is that it be referred 

          19  to Commission action tomorrow. 

          20                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  I recommend both of you on 

          21  the cutting edge of a very innovative approach, but I will say 

          22  the key to this will be education because I can see if the 

          23  public is not aware of the standard we could have some 

          24  mishaps.  But I think it's great. 

          25                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Chairman? 


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           1                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I also want to commend you-all 

           2  for the hard work that everybody has put into this over a long 

           3  period of time.  And I want to say here that frankly in the 

           4  past I've been diffident about moving into this area because I 

           5  tend to believe that the landowners should go ahead and make 

           6  their own regulations.  I do think that this is an unusual 

           7  situation and presents an unusual opportunity.  I think the 

           8  three-year experimental nature of this proposal gives me great 

           9  comfort that if this doesn't -- if the law of unintended 

          10  consequences kicks in somehow or something that we're not in a 

          11  bind, that we have a way to either correct or end what we're 

          12  planning on doing.  And with that in mind, I'm very 

          13  comfortable with going forward and very interested in how it 

          14  works out and I think we should all be paying close attention 

          15  to this.  We have a lot to were learn, I suspect. 

          16                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Having seen this 

          17  presentation now I think four times, I finally understand it.  

          18  If I would be allowed an editorial comment, your work and Bob 

          19  Carroll's work changed my mind.  I started out following my 

          20  philosophy of the people that don't want to do what they 

          21  should be doing to improve their herd, that's their business 

          22  and those that have plenty of tools in the toolbox for the 

          23  others to do that.  What changed my mind, not only the 

          24  experimental nature but the fact that -- and then I guess I 

          25  look at the world pretty simply, two bucks is better than one.  


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           1  And as I've asked on numerous occasions what other way can we 

           2  get these people from a one buck bag limit to a two buck bag 

           3  limit and no one has come up with another proposal that makes 

           4  any sense that will increase the hunter opportunity and get 

           5  them from one to two.  And frankly that's enough reason for 

           6  me.   

           7                 Any other questions?  It's a lot of work and 

           8  thank you for all that work. 

           9                 DR. GRAHAM:  Still have other components here 

          10  that I wanted to also thank Clayton for stepping in.  Bob, who 

          11  has worked very hard on this regrets he can't be here today.  

          12  He broke his ankle I think thinking he was a teenager climbing 

          13  a ladder to cut down trees and fell and hurt his ankle 

          14  seriously but he's worked very hard on this and I would 

          15  appreciate his efforts.  I'll go through the rest of the 

          16  proposals rather quickly.   

          17                 It is illegal to use dogs to hunt deer anywhere 

          18  in Texas.  Currently however up to two dogs can be used to 

          19  trail wounded deer in all of Texas except the far eastern 

          20  counties where trailing use is prohibited.  Field staff and 

          21  wildlife and law enforcement divisions are confident that that 

          22  trailing prohibition is no longer needed in these 11 counties 

          23  in yellow and therefore we propose to allow the use of no more 

          24  than two dogs to trail wounded deer and in Northeast Texas.  

          25  Ninety-seven of the public comments were in favor of this 


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           1  proposal and 77 were opposed.   

           2                 When we revised the managed land deer permits 

           3  last year we created two unintended and undesirable conditions 

           4  of level two properties.  We precluded the harvest with guns 

           5  spikes deer in the early season and we precluded archers from 

           6  being able to harvest any buck during the early season which 

           7  is archery only in the surrounding properties.  Not being able 

           8  to harvest spikes when hunting does with guns is a problem 

           9  because as we all know, some spikes are mistakenly taken.  

          10  This proposal to allow spikes to be taken or legally harvested 

          11  corrects the problem.  One hundred and forty of the comments 

          12  on this -- on this particular proposal were in favor and 33 

          13  were against.  Allowing bucks to be harvested by archers on 

          14  MLD properties, the Level 2 properties would make those 

          15  properties consistent with adjacent properties.  And on that 

          16  particular part of the proposal the public comments were 148 

          17  for and 20 opposed.  The current regs for these counties in 

          18  the northern part of the State allow the harvest of does for 

          19  16 days starting from the beginning of the general season.  

          20  Doe harvest however in this area remains fairly conservative 

          21  and we have determined that populations could sustain 

          22  additional harvest in all these counties except for Hall 

          23  County in red which was added to the original list by mistake.  

          24  Consequently, we proposed to extend the number of doe days in 

          25  the 16 yellow counties by establishing the season to run from 


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           1  the opening day through the Sunday following Thanksgiving.  A 

           2  hundred and thirty-five of the comments were for this, 32 were 

           3  against. 

           4                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Excuse me.  When would the 

           5  bucks being in the rut in that area as compared to doe suit -- 

           6  would the rut typically be after the end of the doe season or 

           7  not? 

           8                 DR. GRAHAM:  Since I've got the expert here, 

           9  I'll let Clayton answer that. 

          10                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  If you don't know, that's 

          11  fine.   

          12                 MR. WOLF:  I don't know.  I don't have that 

          13  with me, but we've got it upstairs.  We can get back with you.  

          14  I would suspect that the doe seasons would not precede the 

          15  rut. 

          16                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  I kind have been an 

          17  advocate for not killing bred does.  The doe season should be 

          18  earlier.  I just wondered how this would tie into something 

          19  like that.  That's all right.   

          20                 MR. WOLF:  Well, when we found our breeding 

          21  chronology study that basically all the does are going to get 

          22  bred out there so the harvest of bred does is inevitable. 

          23                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Unless the doe season 

          24  preceded the rut.   

          25                 MR. WOLF:  That's true.  That's true.   


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           1                 DR. GRAHAM:  When we created the youth only 

           2  season last year we again incorrectly allowed unrestricted 

           3  antlerless harvest during the youth only portion of the 

           4  season, late season in some counties where antlerless harvest 

           5  has been and should continue to be restricted by the issuance 

           6  of doe permits.  The leading the phrase in no TPWD issued 

           7  permits as required will correct this oversight.  One hundred 

           8  eighteen people commented in favor of this, 63 commented in 

           9  opposition.   

          10                 We would like to remove the requirement that an 

          11  unskinned head be retained for white-tail deer.  The reg was 

          12  created to be consistent with antelope regulations where it's 

          13  required in order to determine the sex of harvested animals.  

          14  We want to remove the requirement for white-tail deer because 

          15  some no such pelage differences between the sexes exist for 

          16  white-tail deer.  Some hunters were concerned that hair could 

          17  contaminate meat and some hunters would like to tape their 

          18  animals in the field to avoid hair slippage and therefore 

          19  preserve the cape for taxidermic purposes.  Note that a 

          20  skinned head would still be required for white-tail deer.  A 

          21  hundred fifty-nine of the comments were in support, 29 

          22  against.   

          23                 The first of the turkey proposals is to provide 

          24  a fall season in Hill County where spring -- a spring season 

          25  is currently open.  One hundred forty-six were in favor of 


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           1  this proposal, ten were opposed.  The second is to provide a 

           2  spring season for eastern wild turkey in the four counties in 

           3  yellow here where the populations are strong and sufficient 

           4  enough to sustain additional hunting harvest.  One hundred 

           5  thirty-five were in favor, nine were opposed.  And the last 

           6  statewide proposal is from law enforcement and it would 

           7  require hunters to fill out a tag log on the back of the 

           8  hunting license.  The log itself is specifically for 

           9  white-tail deer and this requirement is designed to help law 

          10  enforcement enforce deer bag limits and simplify the language 

          11  on the white-tail deer tags that will be found on the new and 

          12  improved hunting license.  One hundred fifty-six were if favor 

          13  of this and 51 were against.  The second part of this item is 

          14  the -- deals with the legislative rules review required by the 

          15  Government Code which requires the agency to review each of 

          16  its regulations at least once every four years and to readopt 

          17  each regulation as is, readopt it with amendments or repeal 

          18  it.  The statute further requires that a review of the rule 

          19  must include an assessment of whether the reasons for 

          20  initially adopting the rule continue to exist.  At the January 

          21  meeting the Regulations Committee authorized staff to publish 

          22  a notice of intent to review affecting Chapter 565, the 

          23  wildlife portion.  To date staff have received no public 

          24  comment concerning the rule review.  However, the review 

          25  process -- during the review process staff identified three 


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           1  regulations for which the original justification is unclear.  

           2  The regulations in question established a closed season for 

           3  game animals, game birds and furbearing animals in the state 

           4  owned riverbeds in Dimmitt, Uvalde, and Zavala Counties.  

           5  Staff therefore seeks an authorization to publish amendments 

           6  to those regulations to set a sunset date on their 

           7  effectiveness while conducting investigations to determine if 

           8  the rules should be retained.  That concludes the wildlife 

           9  portion of the statewide and if there are any other questions 

          10  I would be glad to try to address them before Phil comes up. 

          11                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Any other questions for 

          12  Gary or Clayton?  Thank you very much.  And Phil Durocher, I 

          13  think you're next up. 

          14                 MR. DUROCHER:  Mr. Chairman, Commissioners --  

          15                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  I'm sorry, I failed to -- 

          16  if there are no further questions, discussions, without 

          17  objection I place this item on the Thursday Commission meeting 

          18  agenda for public comments and action.  Excuse me, Phil. 

          19                 MR. DUROCHER:  That's okay.  Mr. Chairman, 

          20  Commissioners, I'm Phil Durocher, the Director of the Inland 

          21  Fisheries Division.  The fisheries -- inland has eight 

          22  proposals and I'm going to go through these very briefly.  

          23  You've heard these three or four times already before this 

          24  meeting.  The first proposal deals with, and these are relate 

          25  to species on specific lakes.  The first one deals with Purtis 


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           1  Creek State Park Lake in Henderson County.  What we're 

           2  recommending here is to change the regulation for sunfish from 

           3  a 7-inch minimum and 25 fish daily bag to no minimum and no 

           4  daily bag.  This was in experiment we conducted Purtis Creek 

           5  to see if we could increase the sunfish fishing with a minimum 

           6  lake limit.  We're asking that the regulation go back to the 

           7  statewide standard.  Most of the public comments that we 

           8  received on our web survey, you can see here for this 

           9  particular proposal we had 74 for and nobody against.  The 

          10  second one at Purtis -- I mean, Coleto Creek in Goliad and 

          11  Victoria County, we're proposing to change the regulation for 

          12  red drum from 20 to 28-inch reserve slot limit to a 20-inch 

          13  minimum.  Daily bag limit would remain at three.  What we're 

          14  doing here is putting this in line with the rest of the 

          15  limits.  We had 62 people that spoke for and those that spoke 

          16  against it apparently were red drum did not spawn in 

          17  freshwater and therefore it's critical that we protect every 

          18  fish that we stock in those lakes.   

          19                 At Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County, 

          20  2,500 acres, change the limit for largemouth bass from catch 

          21  and release only to a 14 to 24-inch slot limit.  And we are 

          22  doing this at the request of the municipal power agent who 

          23  owns the reservoir.  They're trying to increase the interest 

          24  and increase fishing and delay and we would we support their 

          25  proposal.  Public comments for 70 I mean and against nine 


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           1  primarily from the web survey.   

           2                 Brushy Creek Lake, a new lake being built in 

           3  Williamson County.  We're asking to open the lake with an 

           4  18-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass and our goal 

           5  here as always we open a new lake to protect the populations 

           6  from initial overharvest which always -- almost always happens 

           7  in a new reservoir when it's opened to fish.  Again we had 

           8  comment from the public 60 for and 10 against.   

           9                 The next proposal Lake Alan Henry in Garza 

          10  County 2,220 acres.  We're asking to change the limit for 

          11  largemouth bass from an 18-inch minimum where it currently is 

          12  to a no minimum length limit, five fish bags only two fish can 

          13  be less than 18 inches.  We hope that this regulation acts 

          14  very similarly to what we get with the slot limit.  We need to 

          15  get some of the small fish removed from that lake.  This is 

          16  another approach we're trying to see if we can do this without 

          17  imposing a slot limit on the lake.  The public comments 

          18  primarily through the web site 54 for and 12 against.  Those 

          19  people against it were concerned about confusion and how they 

          20  would be able to -- what kind of confusion this would cause to 

          21  the anglers.  We have this regulation on effect at Lake O.H. 

          22  Ivie not far from here and it seems to be working fairly well.   

          23                 The next proposal is for Lake Proctor in 

          24  Comanche County, 4,600-acre reservoir.  We're asking to change 

          25  the length limit on largemouth bass from 14-inch minimum to a 


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           1  16-inch minimum.  That lake had really low water levels for a 

           2  number of years and last spring we caught a lot of water.  We 

           3  have a tremendous year class of fish coming on there.  And 

           4  we're trying to protect those fish to kind of even off the ups 

           5  and downs of fishing in that reservoir.  Public comments we 

           6  had 59 for and 11 against.  The primary opponents of this were 

           7  bass clubs who are concerned about their ability to hold bass 

           8  tournaments on lakes with any regulation other than the 

           9  statewide minimum.   

          10                 And the last two proposals are for Possum 

          11  Kingdom Reservoir and these proposals we're making to help 

          12  speed the recovery of the fisheries in that lake.  Those 

          13  fisheries were somewhat damaged by last year's occurrence of 

          14  the golden algae.  Let me just say Mother Nature is doing a 

          15  wonderful job for us.  Those fisheries are recovering 

          16  exceedingly well and we want to impose some regulations here 

          17  to help speed up that recovery and we're going to come back to 

          18  you once we get the populations back to where they were before 

          19  the fish kill.  We'll probably come back to you and have these 

          20  regulations change to what they were before.  The first one is 

          21  to change the limit on largemouth bass from 14-inch minimum 

          22  which is statewide standard to a 16-inch minimum.  We've got a 

          23  tremendous year class of young fish coming on in that lake and 

          24  we would like to protect them at least for another year so we 

          25  will have some brood fish out there to help that recovery 


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           1  effort.  Comments again we had -- at the public hearing today 

           2  we had three people that spoke against it and they were 

           3  primarily bass club people who were concerned about being able 

           4  to hold bass tournaments on the lake under the 16-inch 

           5  minimum.  And on our web survey we had 65 for and 17 against.  

           6  And the last proposal for Possum Kingdom is to change the 

           7  daily bag limit on striped bass from five to two fish per day.  

           8  We would maintain the 18-inch minimum lake limit and our goal 

           9  here is to assist with the recovery of that population.  We 

          10  had several people that spoke against it that were concerned 

          11  about what would happen with lowering the limit.  And on our 

          12  web survey 56 people for, 14 against.  And let me just say 

          13  striped bass did not reproduce in Possum Kingdom.  Every fish 

          14  that is there that is available to the anglers are fish that 

          15  we stock.  We have a good population of large fish, apparently 

          16  a lot of them were able to escape the golden algae and there's 

          17  fish there available but we don't have any young fish.  The 

          18  fish we stocked there last year we lost.  We had some problems 

          19  at our hatchery producing any stripers.  So we want to protect 

          20  those fish until we can stock enough fish to build that 

          21  population back up again without putting people completely out 

          22  of business.  There was some recommendation that we completely 

          23  eliminate harvest but we don't think that's necessary.  We 

          24  would like the guides to be able to continue to work there at 

          25  a lower level until we can build that population.   


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           1                 With that, that ends our recommendations and we 

           2  would recommend to the Commission that these proposals be 

           3  approved without change.  I would be willing to answer any 

           4  questions. 

           5                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Any questions for Phil on 

           6  inland fishery? 

           7                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I have a comment.  Was it just 

           8  a year ago, I think, that Possum Kingdom was facing a pretty 

           9  unhappy situation. 

          10                 MR. DUROCHER:  Yes, ma'am, there was a lot of 

          11  concern there.  We didn't really know exactly what impact the 

          12  golden algae had had.  It had a fairly substantial impact on 

          13  the fish populations but Mother Nature has a way of -- it 

          14  didn't kill all the fish.  Mother Nature has a way of filling 

          15  up these gaps.  We've got some really strong year classes of 

          16  fish coming on.  We just want to protect them to get that 

          17  thing back to where it was as quickly as we possibly can. 

          18                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Well, once again, I'm 

          19  impressed with Mother Nature and with you. 

          20                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Mother Nature gets a lot 

          21  of help from our staff. 

          22                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  That's right. 

          23                 MR. DUROCHER:  I appreciate it.   

          24                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Thank you, Phil.  Next on 

          25  this item is Hal Osburn, Coastal Fisheries. 


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           1                 MR. OSBURN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, 

           2  Commissioners, I'm Hal Osburn, Coastal Fisheries Division 

           3  Director.  I would like to brief you today on the proposed 

           4  changes to the statewide hunting and fishing proclamation 

           5  regarding Coastal.  Texas currently has a reciprocal license 

           6  agreement with Louisiana that allows anglers to legally fish 

           7  in common boundary waters such as Toledo Bend Reservoir and 

           8  Sabine Lake with either a Texas or a Louisiana license.  I 

           9  want to make it clear that none of the proposals changes that 

          10  long-standing agreement.  The only proposed rule change is to 

          11  clarify that all fish landed in Texas or possessed on Texas 

          12  waters must conform to the Texas size and bag limits.  In 

          13  fact, Louisiana also has this same rule, so if you land in 

          14  Louisiana you have to conform to their size and bag limits.  

          15  There are a number of differences between Texas and Louisiana.  

          16  Texas is more conservative on some species, Louisiana is more 

          17  conservative on others such as black drum.   

          18                 One of the concerns that has developed with the 

          19  reciprocal agreement particularly in Sabine Lake is that it 

          20  has been interpreted to allow anglers to take in the same day 

          21  both a Texas and a Louisiana limit of fish.  This can 

          22  obviously lead to excessive harvest and it's certainly an 

          23  inequity for all the other Texas anglers who are restricted to 

          24  just the Texas limit throughout the State.   

          25                 Our survey data indicates there is currently 


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           1  not a high level of this double tripping, but there is 

           2  definitely an upward trend.  We have seen that fishing 

           3  pressure on Sabine Lake is now at all time highs both for 

           4  recreational, private boats, and guided trips.  An example of 

           5  the resource concerns that this can produce is illustrated 

           6  with the flounder.  Because Louisiana has no minimum size 

           7  limit, over 23 percent of the flounder harvested in Sabine 

           8  Lake are under the Texas 14-inch size limit which is about 

           9  200 percent higher than the other Texas bays.  Texas flounder 

          10  stocks need to be rebuilt.  We've taken some action in the 

          11  last half decade to do that and the loss of the spawning 

          12  potential of the small flounder before they have had a chance 

          13  to spawn is not helpful to that recovery.  Certainly not as 

          14  dramatic a problem for trout and red drum but the more liberal 

          15  size and bag limits in Louisiana do work against the Texas 

          16  management strategy which is to increase the quality of the 

          17  fish harvested as well a precautionary approach for long-term 

          18  sustainability for the stocks.   

          19                 Staff believes that the proposed rule would 

          20  benefit the State by reestablishing equity among all the Texas 

          21  anglers and guides and by improving our marine fish 

          22  populations in a number of areas.  In addition, law 

          23  enforcement would be enhanced.  We believe the anglers would 

          24  be less confused about their landing limits and Texas would be 

          25  consistent not only with Louisiana but also Mississippi, 


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           1  Alabama and Florida, all of whom have similar handling laws.  

           2  Our initial scoping of this issue last year indicated strong 

           3  support from folks that we interviewed at boat ramps around 

           4  Sabine Lake.  Since then, of course, published it in the 

           5  Register and had an opportunity for more comments.  We have 

           6  received petitions with numerous signatures both for and 

           7  against.  Public hearings produced a majority of opposition 

           8  comments, while other sources such as e-mails, letters, and 

           9  telephone calls were mostly in favor.   

          10                 Based on staff's findings of facts we recommend 

          11  no changes to the proposed rule except for some minor wording 

          12  changes in the proclamation to clarify your original intent.  

          13  That concludes my presentation.  I'll be happy to answer any 

          14  questions. 

          15                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Phil -- oh. 

          16                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Do or does Louisiana 

          17  permit a limit of Texas and Louisiana catch? 

          18                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  No, they do not.   

          19                 MR. OSBURN:  Only Louisiana.  

          20                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  They allow only the 

          21  Louisiana limit. 

          22                 MR. OSBURN:  That's correct.  They have the law 

          23  that says all fish landed in Louisiana are presumed to 

          24  correspond to Texas -- Louisiana size and bag limits. 

          25                 COMMISSIONER AVILA:  We do not have a 


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           1  reciprocal of that.  

           2                 MR. OSBURN:  No.  And that's what we're trying 

           3  to clarify with this proposal. 

           4                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Is there any hope of 

           5  getting Louisiana to do anything with their bag limits? 

           6                 MR. OSBURN:  There's always hope.  We've had 

           7  some ongoing discussions --  

           8                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Springs eternal.   

           9                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  I grew up in 

          10  Louisiana. 

          11                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  My momma's from Louisiana. 

          12                 MR. OSBURN:  You might want to ask Phil that 

          13  question.  He's got more cajun in him -- 

          14                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Spoken as a native, 

          15  there's no hope. 

          16                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I felt like I had to ask 

          17  it.  I understand. 

          18                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Recognize Commission 

          19  Rising. 

          20                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  I would like to know -- I 

          21  know we probably have some data on the size distribution of 

          22  the speckled trout populations in Louisiana waters how that 

          23  compares to Texas with their lower size limit, do you have any 

          24  information? 

          25                 MR. OSBURN:  Absolutely.  The average size in 


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           1  Louisiana is quite a bit lower than the Texas.  In fact, by 

           2  weight I think it's about a half as large.  An average size 

           3  trout is about one pound in Louisiana and about two pounds in 

           4  Texas.  When we -- we used to have a 12-inch size limit.  When 

           5  we moved up over the last couple decades to the 15-inch, we've 

           6  seen a dramatic increase in the quality measured by size of 

           7  the fish.  But at the same time we've also seen an increase in 

           8  the population numbers indicating that even those fish, those 

           9  small fish being returned to the water are spawning and 

          10  helping the population.   

          11                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  I had another question.  

          12  Under the current situation as it exists, is there anything 

          13  that would prevent an angler fishing in Louisiana or 

          14  Texas/Louisiana reciprocal waters from keeping, say, 50 

          15  12-inch flounder because I understand there's no bag limit in 

          16  Louisiana waters. 

          17                 MR. OSBURN:  Actually, I think they do have the 

          18  same bag limit of ten on flounder, but they have no size 

          19  limit. 

          20                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  They have no size limit. 

          21                 MR. OSBURN:  They could keep 10 9-inch 

          22  flounder. 

          23                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  They could keep 20 if 

          24  they include the Texas? 

          25                 MR. OSBURN:  Right now they can keep 10 at 14 


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           1  and keep 10 at any size. 

           2                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  That's per person.  

           3                 MR. OSBURN:  That's per person per day. 

           4                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Is it my understanding --  

           5                 May I speak? 

           6                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Madame Chair, always. 

           7                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  -- that some of the guides in 

           8  that area are advertising sort of meat wagon -- 

           9                 MR. OSBURN:  There has been -- you know, guides 

          10  on the coast have tripled in the last 20 years.  We've seen 

          11  the same phenomena at Sabine Lake.  There's probably only a 

          12  couple of dozen guides there but it's increased over the years 

          13  from just a handful.  Some of the guides have had web sites 

          14  that did advertise to the eastern clientele that come enjoy 

          15  the Sabine Lake meat run and certainly that was one of the 

          16  concerns by some of the anglers in that area that brought this 

          17  to the agency's attention.  If you'll recall about a year and 

          18  a half ago we had the petition from a guide to basically adopt 

          19  this same rule and we wanted to scope it better and having 

          20  done that, we concur with his concerns.   

          21                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  I had one additional 

          22  question.  I understand that some of the creel surveys that we 

          23  obtained really show a fairly low number of actual anglers 

          24  that will admit to keeping a Louisiana limit.  Do you feel 

          25  that that accurately reflects what's actually going on? 


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           1                 MR. OSBURN:  Well, with -- anytime you have a 

           2  reporting system that depends on people voluntarily showing 

           3  you their fish there can be avoidance and certainly if 

           4  they're -- and there's still confusion on the lake about 

           5  whether two bag limits are allowed.  I think there certainly 

           6  could be some avoidance by those people who think they may be 

           7  having access numbers of fish and don't want to show those.  

           8  But I will say even the few surveys that we've indicated on 

           9  our creel surveys of this double tripping when you expand that 

          10  out to our harvest estimate, it indicates hundreds of trips 

          11  and that definitely would be a minimum estimate. 

          12                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  And it could definitely 

          13  have a positive impact on our flounder fishery? 

          14                 MR. OSBURN:  Oh, absolutely. 

          15                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Any other questions for 

          16  Hal on this? 

          17                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I have a comment.  I think our 

          18  new commissioner has done his homework.  Thank you very much 

          19  for your help in this -- you're area. 

          20                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  Neck of the woods. 

          21                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Your neck of the woods.  You 

          22  seem to know the issue and that's a big help. 

          23                 MR. OSBURN:  It has been.  Thank you. 

          24                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Any other comments from 

          25  Commissioners regarding any of these issues?  Hearing none, 


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           1  there's no further questions or discussions, without objection 

           2  I'll place this item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda 

           3  for further comments and action.   

           4                 Our next item.  Robin, are you back there in 

           5  the dark?  All right.  Statewide Oyster Fishery 

           6  Proclamation/Rule Review.   

           7                 MR. RIECHERS:  Chairman Fitzsimons, 

           8  Commissioners, my name is Robin Riechers and I'm the 

           9  management director of the Coastal Fisheries Division.  This 

          10  item is the rules review of Chapter 58, Subchapter A of the 

          11  Oyster Fishery Proclamation.  Of course, this is the rule 

          12  review required by Government Code Section 2001.039 Chapter A 

          13  rule review every four years.  The notice of review was 

          14  published in the Texas Register in February and is before you 

          15  today as an action item or adoption item.   

          16                 As you remember, of course, in January and as 

          17  Bob mentioned to you earlier today in the Commission Charges, 

          18  we just added to this chapter some oyster lease provisions as 

          19  required by legislation.  At that same time we took the 

          20  opportunity to make some clarifications in existing language 

          21  to just clean up items.  So with that, we really didn't expect 

          22  that we would receive a lot of public comment and to date we 

          23  have received zero comments regarding this rule review.   

          24                 As a side-bar to that, I will tell you that 

          25  based on those oyster lease rules that we passed, the 


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           1  March 1st was the deadline for all the renewals of those 

           2  oyster leases, all 43 oyster leases were renewed on time under 

           3  the new contractual guidelines and the new fees.  So you'll be 

           4  happy to note that that all got taken care of.  Given that we 

           5  had just dealt with this and had no provisions or no comment 

           6  at this time, we would recommend that there is need for the 

           7  existing proclamation still, so what we would recommend for 

           8  your consideration is readoption of Subchapter A of the Oyster 

           9  Fishery Proclamation without any changes.  Any questions? 

          10                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Robin, thank you.  Any 

          11  questions for Robin?  If there are no further questions, 

          12  without objection I'll place this item on the Thursday 

          13  Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.  And 

          14  seeing the clock and the lunch hour, I'd like to entertain a 

          15  motion we recess yet again and reconvene. 

          16                 COMMISSIONER AVILA:  So move.   

          17                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Second. 

          18                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Well, this -- I hope I get 

          19  this right.  This might be a little bit complicated.  We want 

          20  to recess for lunch, we want open the Conservation Committee, 

          21  then we want to go into Executive Session.   

          22                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  We'll recess from Regs at 

          23  12:30.   

          24                 (Regulations Committee recessed at 12:30 to 

          25                 begin Executive Session.) 


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           1                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  We will now break for 

           2  Executive Session, therefore, I would like to announce that 

           3  pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 551 Government Code 

           4  referred to as the Openings Meeting Law, an Executive Session 

           5  will be held at this time for the purpose of consideration of 

           6  Section 551.072 of the Texas Open Meetings Act regarding real 

           7  estate matters.  Okay. 

           8                 (Regulations Committee reconvened at 2:00 p.m.) 

           9                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  We're reconvening the 

          10  Regulations Committee.  Joseph, here's your gavel.  We're 

          11  going to wear it out. 

          12                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Thank you, Madame Chair, 

          13  and I believe we are picking up the Regulations Committee at 

          14  2:00 p.m.  And with Item 5, Public Lands Proclamation for 

          15  2002-2003.  Herb Kothmann, come forward, please. 

          16                 MR. KOTHMANN:  Thank you. 

          17                 MR. COOK:  Herb. 

          18                 MR. KOTHMANN:  I'm ready. 

          19                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Yes, sir. 

          20                 MR. KOTHMANN:  Mr. Chairman, members of the 

          21  Regulations Committee, my name is Herb Kothmann.  I'm Director 

          22  of Public Hunts for the Department.  I'll be presenting items 

          23  on the proposed amendments to the Public Lands Proclamation, 

          24  also the proposed 2002, 2003 public hunts on state parks and 

          25  the proposed establishment of an open hunting season on public 


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           1  hunting lands.   

           2                 The first change to the Public Lands 

           3  Proclamation would remove duplicate regulations concerning 

           4  public hunting fees.  Currently our public hunting fees are 

           5  addressed in two proclamations, both the Public Lands 

           6  Proclamation and the Proclamation 3, Permits and Fees.  Staff 

           7  proposes to remove all references to fee amounts in the Public 

           8  Lands Proclamation and to retain the complete and updated 

           9  listings of the fees in the Public Hunting Permits and Fees 

          10  Proclamation.   

          11                 The second change proposed to the Public Lands 

          12  Proclamation would be to standardize and simplify the permit 

          13  requirements for hunting under an annual permit on our public 

          14  hunting lands.  Currently we allow hunting of small game on 

          15  five national forest areas in East Texas under this $10 

          16  permit.  Which on all of our other 252 public hunting units 

          17  serves strictly as a nonconsumptive permit.  Sales of this $10 

          18  permit which was initially developed as a strictly 

          19  nonconsumptive permit have stayed at about 2,000 per year for 

          20  each of the past 15 years.  And our survey of permitees 

          21  indicates that about or less than 500 people indicated they 

          22  hunted under the $10 permit for small game.  And unfortunately 

          23  much of that activity occurred on sites where that hunting was 

          24  not authorized.  We do sell about 45,000 of the $40 public 

          25  hunting permits each year.  And to simplify the regulations 


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           1  and remove this confusion, staff simply proposes to remove 

           2  this provision that we have had for hunting on U.S. Forest 

           3  Service areas for small game only and Forest Service has 

           4  indicate they do support this proposal.  Let me back up.  The 

           5  two proposed changes to Public Lands Proclamation were 

           6  published in the Texas Register.  They are presented for 

           7  public comment at our 22 public hearings around the State and 

           8  also posted on our Internet web page.  The only comments 

           9  received were on the proposal for the $10 permit revision and 

          10  the comments were 132 supporting the proposed action and 32 

          11  opposed to it.   

          12                 On a proposed state park hunts staff recommends 

          13  public hunts on 43 units of the state park system in 2002, 

          14  2003 season.  All of these 43 units were among the 45 parks on 

          15  which the Commission approved public hunts last season.  The 

          16  two other parks are Arroyo, Colorado which has since been 

          17  transferred to the Wildlife Division and will be hunted as a 

          18  wildlife management area this season and the Dinosaur Valley 

          19  State Park on which field staff is not recommending a hunt 

          20  this year.  I have a series of three slides here that list the 

          21  names of the 43 parks we are recommending for hunts this 

          22  coming season.  Exhibit B on your agenda item list the 

          23  specific hunts proposed for each area.  The legal species, the 

          24  type of permit to be required, the number of hunter positions 

          25  to be offered and restrictions on general visitation during 


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           1  those hunt dates.  The second slide lists another 17 of those 

           2  43.  The proposed park hunts have received the signature 

           3  approve of all of our concerned field staff and headquarter 

           4  staff of the State Parks Division and the Wildlife Division.  

           5  The proposals for state park hunts have been posted on our 

           6  department's web page for more than a month.  They were 

           7  presented at our 22 public hearings and to date we received 24 

           8  comments concerning the proposals, 21 in support and 3 in 

           9  opposition.  This final slide indicates the last 12 of those 

          10  33 parks proposed for hunts.  The proposed hunts would offer 

          11  approximately 2,043 drawn hunter positions this coming season.  

          12  And in addition to that there would be an abundance of 

          13  nondrawn hunts by annual permit and some by the $10 regular 

          14  permit for small game.   

          15                 An open hunting season on all of our public 

          16  hunting lands must be established in order for public hunts to 

          17  be conducted.  Chapter 62 and 81 of the Parks and Wildlife 

          18  Code authorizes the Commission to establish an open season on 

          19  these public hunting lands which include our state parks, 

          20  wildlife management areas, and our leased public hunting 

          21  lands.   

          22                 Mr. Chairman, this concludes my presentation.  

          23  Do you have any questions? 

          24                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  I have no questions for 

          25  Herb.  Anyone have any questions. 


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           1                 COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Herb, just as a matter of 

           2  information, when are you going to start hunting in Government 

           3  Canyon? 

           4                 MR. KOTHMANN:  We had hunted Government Canyon 

           5  in the past.  We tried some big game hunts, at that time there 

           6  was concern about the archeological resources that had not 

           7  been identified and we restricted the hunters to the lower 

           8  part below the escarpment which is a very small portion of the 

           9  area.  Those were not successful at that time.  We did have 

          10  some interest in dove hunting and we offered dove hunting for 

          11  a couple of years.  And there was one small opening near the 

          12  entrance, probably less than 15 acres, that everybody 

          13  concentrated on and it was really an unsafe situation.  We'll 

          14  certainly look at the situation every year and see and now 

          15  maybe the archeological surveys have been overcome where we 

          16  could hunt the uplands for big game and maybe have some 

          17  additional open lands to hunt for dove.  But at this time our 

          18  staff is not recommending hunting Government Canyon.  I 

          19  certainly think there would be potential there for not only 

          20  deer and dove but possibly ferrel hog which have certainly 

          21  been a problem not only on that park but certainly on that 

          22  park have been a problem.   

          23                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Herb, Government Canyon, 

          24  correct me if I'm wrong, is officially an SNA, right, a state 

          25  natural area to that not open yet so do you know normally -- 


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           1                 MR. KOTHMANN:  The State Natural Area 

           2  designation does not necessarily preclude being used as a 

           3  hunting area.  For instance Hill Country I think is a State 

           4  Natural Area.  That designation does not preclude hunting.  It 

           5  does place a few more restrictions on the types of activities 

           6  that we allow hunters or the general public to use out there 

           7  to employ.  But certainly we are interested in hunting 

           8  Government Canyon or any other suitable site.  We're squeezing 

           9  our turnips pretty hard out there trying to get more blood out 

          10  of them.   

          11                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Any other questions for 

          12  Herb?  Mr. Ramos? 

          13                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Maybe I misunderstood you.  

          14  Are you asking to designate an open hunting season? 

          15                 MR. KOTHMANN:  An open hunting season must be 

          16  designated by the Commission each year in order for us to be 

          17  able to hold hunts on any of these lands, yes. 

          18                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Any other questions for 

          19  Herb.  Hearing none, no further questions or discussion, 

          20  without objection I'll place this item on the Thursday 

          21  Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.  

          22  Thank you, Herb. 

          23                 MR. KOTHMANN:  Thank you. 

          24                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  And next I believe is 

          25  Gary Graham trying to stand in for Vernon Bevill on a 


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           1  Migratory Game Bird Proclamation.   

           2                 MR. GRAHAM:  This weekend -- I'm Gary Graham, 

           3  Director of the Wildlife Division.  This weekend Dallas is a 

           4  nationwide meeting called North America Wildlife Conservation 

           5  meeting and a number of our staff are there including Vernon 

           6  and several others.  It's a very important meeting Mr. Cook 

           7  and I will be going there in the next couple of days.  And one 

           8  of the events of the meeting is our Commissioner Emeritus is 

           9  winning a award there.  We're all proud of and our private 

          10  lands -- one of our private lands stewards award winners is 

          11  winning a national award there so it's a big deal and Vernon 

          12  is there today.   

          13                 Standing in for him very capably will be Dave 

          14  Morrison our waterfowl leader who will give the presentation 

          15  today. 

          16                 MR. MORRISON:  Thank you, sir.  As he said, my 

          17  name is Dave Morrison, I'm the waterfowl program leader and 

          18  today we're going to bring forth proposed changes to the 

          19  2002-2003 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation.  This one. 

          20                 Basically for next year there are very few 

          21  changes being proposed with the exception of adjustments for 

          22  the calendar.  One exception is the changing of the sandhill 

          23  crane hunting in Zone C.  This year we are going to recommend 

          24  moving that Zone C one week earlier and in the future open it 

          25  the Saturday nearest December the 20th.  The other change 


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           1  centers around the teal season.  This year, provided that the 

           2  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service give us a 16-day option, we're 

           3  going to recommend that the teal season open the second 

           4  Saturday in September.  This should be understood that all 

           5  these seasons are predicated on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

           6  approving the migratory game bird regulations at meetings 

           7  later this year.   

           8                 With respect to the goose season in the West 

           9  Zone we're proposing that the both dark and light goose 

          10  seasons open on October 26th and run through February the 9th.  

          11  That's basically 107-day season and provides maximum days 

          12  allowable for us.  The bag limit and possession limit remain 

          13  unchanged from last year.  In the East Zone we're going to 

          14  propose that the light goose and dark goose season open on 

          15  October 26th and run through January 19th.  The bag limit and 

          16  possession limit basically remain unchanged from last year 

          17  with 20 and daily bag limit for light geese and no possession 

          18  limit.  Dark geese you can have no more than one Canada goose 

          19  in possession, no more than two white fronts.  The possession 

          20  limit is twice the daily bag limit.  This year the white goose 

          21  conservation order, the drafted environmental impact study has 

          22  been completed and a final rule is expected sometime before 

          23  the end of the fall.  Barring any unforeseen circumstances, 

          24  we're basically going to recommend a season similar to last 

          25  year.  And what that season is going to be is basically the 


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           1  Monday after the regular goose season closes in both the West 

           2  Zone and the East Zone will begin the light goose conservation 

           3  order.  And that would be on the February 10th in the West 

           4  Zone and on January 20th in the East Zone.  During this 

           5  conservation order there are no bag limits for light geese.  

           6  Use of electronic calls are illegal.  Shotgun plugs are not 

           7  required and the shooting hours have been extended to one-half 

           8  hour after sunset.  For ducks, mergansers, and coots basically 

           9  the season starts that we are recommending is unchanged from 

          10  last year with the exception of adjustment for calendar dates.  

          11  I understand that these recommendations are based on a liberal 

          12  package.  However, the stuff that we've been seeing come out 

          13  of Canada right now is not too promising and we would suspect 

          14  that we may be looking at more strict seasons for this coming 

          15  fall.  I should also point out that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 

          16  Service continues to discuss frameworks, basically the open 

          17  and closing dates.  And at this juncture they're considering 

          18  moving the framework to the end of the January, the last 

          19  Sunday in January.  Should the Fish and Wildlife Service take 

          20  action to put this in place then we'll certainly recommend the 

          21  season starts that we think is best for each respective zone.   

          22                 As I mentioned, the duck season dates are 

          23  basically a mirror image and from last year, just calendar 

          24  adjustments that on the screen as you can see.  These are 

          25  nothing more than adjusted from calendar from last year.  Bag 


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           1  limits again are the same as last year but, again, these bag 

           2  limits are based on a liberal package and right now we're 

           3  proposing a six-bird bag limit for ducks.  For coots and 

           4  mergansers 15 and 5 respective. 

           5                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Dave, let me -- may I 

           6  interrupt here, Joseph?  You said that we may be -- we are -- 

           7  last years was a liberal package, we may be going to what you 

           8  would now call a moderate package or is it a conservative 

           9  package? 

          10                 MR. MORRISON:  Basically -- I'm sorry.  

          11  Basically you're looking at a liberal to moderate restrictive 

          12  and very restrictive.  And we're hoping that we'll at least 

          13  fall into moderate package which would basically be looking at 

          14  a 60-day season structure.  Also a six-bird bag limit but 

          15  where the difference is in the six-bird bag limit is that 

          16  instead of killing two hens, ten mallard, you can only take 

          17  one hen mallard.  So that's what we're hoping for but there is 

          18  all sorts of things flying out there.  We're just not certain 

          19  where we're at and we won't know until July. 

          20                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Until July.  Go ahead.   

          21                 MR. MORRISON:  We also recommended extended 

          22  falconry season in the north and south duck zones.  And 

          23  basically the falconry season would be from January 20th, 

          24  which is the day after the duck season closes to February the 

          25  3rd.  We're not recommending a falconry season in the High 


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           1  Plains Mallard Management Unit simply because all the days 

           2  allowable for migratory bird hunted are used up in other gun 

           3  seasons.  The bag limit during that special falconry season 

           4  will be three migratory birds.   

           5                 As I mentioned earlier, there is one change is 

           6  the sandhill crane hunting.  This year we're recommending that 

           7  the sandhill crane hunting in Zone C open on December the 21st 

           8  and run through January the 19th.  This is basically one week 

           9  earlier.  We're also suggesting that in the future we run it 

          10  the Saturday nearest the 20th of December.  The reason for 

          11  this is that it this year will give us some extra days of 

          12  hunting and in one year out of every five we would be able to 

          13  take advantage the full 37 days allotted to us by framework.  

          14  And, for example, this year we'll have a 30-day season rather 

          15  than 23-day season.  So it's going to be advantageous to 

          16  people on the coast.   

          17                 As a I mentioned, the teal season we're 

          18  recommending that we open on the second Saturday of September, 

          19  this year that would be on September 14th through the 29th 

          20  that we get a 16-day option.  Now, then shuit bluing numbers 

          21  declined and we're offered a nine-day season, we would 

          22  recommend opening on September 21st. 

          23                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Again, you won't know 

          24  that until July? 

          25                 MR. MORRISON:  That one we'll know a little bit 


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           1  earlier because the framework has an early start framework and 

           2  we should know that probably by the June meeting. 

           3                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Was last the year's 

           4  approximately the same dates, I recall, the 16th. 

           5                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  September 15th to the 

           6  30th.   

           7                 MR. MORRISON:  That actually was the third.  

           8  That's the reason for this suggested change.  That would have 

           9  been the third Saturday last year, this year it will be second 

          10  Saturday.  Just the way the calendar flops. 

          11                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  Mr. Fitzsimons, I had a 

          12  question.  Are we going to eliminate the canvasback 

          13  restriction this year as far as the limited -- I know last 

          14  year we had a limited window.  Are we going to continue that 

          15  this year, do we know? 

          16                 MR. MORRISON:  Again, that will be decided when 

          17  they do to the May counts.  That depending on canvasback 

          18  numbers are all tied to models.  And should the model indicate 

          19  that we have sufficient canvasback for an entire season, then 

          20  there will be that.  If the model suggests something 

          21  otherwise, that's going to be debated just like this season 

          22  within an season was debated last year.  Again, that's 

          23  something that will be decided later on after the counts come 

          24  in from the north country. 

          25                 COMMISSIONER RISING:  Thank you. 


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           1                 MR. MORRISON:  The mourning dove season 

           2  basically the Wildlife Division is recommending the same 

           3  season length and bag limit that the Commission adopted last 

           4  year.  This year September 1st happens to fall on a Sunday and 

           5  the proposal to open both the North and Central zone on 

           6  Sunday, September 1st.  Basically this is consistent with 

           7  actions that have been taken in the past when September 1st 

           8  was on a Sunday.  The season dates proposed are September 1 

           9  through October 30th in the North zone with a 15-bird bag 

          10  limit.  The Central zone would open from September 1 and run 

          11  through October 29th.  The winter segment would open on 

          12  December 26 and conclude on January the 5th.  And South zone 

          13  the season will be similar to last year with an open date of 

          14  September the 20th and run until November the 30th with the 

          15  winter season opened on December the 21st through January the 

          16  14th.  Both the Central and North zone would have a 12-bird 

          17  bag limit. 

          18                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Mr. Fitzsimons? 

          19                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Yes, sir. 

          20                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Did we get any input on 

          21  the change in the dove season in the Central zone?   

          22                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  With the long split? 

          23                 MR. MORRISON:  The discussions that I had with 

          24  Jay Roberson and Vernon Bevill just yesterday as a matter of 

          25  fact, very few comments came in either way with respect to 


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           1  that.  That there was six of one and a half a dozen of the 

           2  other.  They will be monitoring that very closely before we 

           3  come with the final presentation on these rules. 

           4                 CHAIRMAN ANGELO:  I personally had a little 

           5  limited input but it was favorable. 

           6                 MR. MORRISON:  From what they tell me, they 

           7  actually got more positive than negative but there was so few 

           8  they really didn't have a feel for it. 

           9                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  South Texas was 

          10  positive.  Because there were birds this time. 

          11                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Very positive. 

          12                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Go ahead, Dave.  You're 

          13  being interrupted, I apologize. 

          14                 MR. MORRISON:  For special white-wing dove 

          15  season we're proposing a one-week delay in the opening.  This 

          16  recommendation is consistent with past policies when September 

          17  the 1st fell on a Sunday and what we're recommending this year 

          18  is that we open on September 7th and 8th. 

          19                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  On white wing now?   

          20                 MR. MORRISON:  Yes, sir, I'm sorry.  Did I hit 

          21  that button?  September 7th and 8th and September 14th and 

          22  15th.  And the reason for this is that we can open on 

          23  September 1st which is a Sunday and opening the 1st and the 

          24  2nd and then the following 7th and 8th, but this is not 

          25  consistent with what we've done in the past so we are 


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           1  recommending the 7th and 8th and 14th and 15th.  

           2                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Those are Saturdays and 

           3  Sundays? 

           4                 MR. MORRISON:  Yes, sir.  We also propose 

           5  retaining the same length and bag limit for the special 

           6  white-wing season the Commission approved last year.  That 

           7  concluding this presentation.  If you've got any questions, be 

           8  happy to the answer them. 

           9                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Everybody is interested 

          10  in this as you can tell.  Chairman. 

          11                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Why do we have a special 

          12  white-wing season anymore? 

          13                 MR. MORRISON:  I -- it provides some 

          14  opportunity in that particular area for one? 

          15                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Why can't we -- why not do it 

          16  the same as the mourning dove like you do in San Antonio or 

          17  wherever. 

          18                 MR. MORRISON:  There are some problems with the 

          19  earliest you can open in the dove season based on the 

          20  framework and stuff is, if I recall, September 20th is the 

          21  earliest.  If without this special white-wing season you 

          22  basically could not have this hunting opportunity the way that 

          23  the framework of the dove framework is set up.  That in a 

          24  South zone when they first established these South zones you 

          25  had to open no earlier than September the 20th.  Now because 


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           1  mourning dove are tied to that, this is the opportunity to 

           2  shoot white wings and get that early hunt. 

           3                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  There's no way to get it to 

           4  jibe with the September 1 opening?  Well, we're in the South 

           5  zone. 

           6                 MR. MORRISON:  On this particular season now 

           7  you could, you could open on September 1st and 2nd and then 

           8  again on the 7th and 8th, but in the past when that Sunday has 

           9  fallen on the Sunday, the Commission has opted to move it to 

          10  the first two weekends. 

          11                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Is there good reason why I'm 

          12  confused? 

          13                 MR. MORRISON:  I'm confused, so, yes, ma'am, I 

          14  don't see why.  Honestly, my history in Texas is very short 

          15  but from what I can remember dealing with dove issues 

          16  elsewhere that the South zone was created to provide 

          17  opportunity.  They've done a lot of research at the time and 

          18  the reason why they pushed that mourning dove season to 

          19  September 20th was the concern of birds still nesting in these 

          20  southern regions.  That's the reason why the South zone can 

          21  open no earlier than September the 20th.  Now the special 

          22  white-wing season which is kind of unique to Texas because of 

          23  the difference in the way the birds nested and what have you, 

          24  they were allowed the special white-wing season in the 

          25  vicinity to take advantage of those birds.  Now there has been 


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           1  some discussions in the past from other states trying to 

           2  rearrange this, but at this time I think that it's going to be 

           3  rather difficult to get the Fish and Wildlife Service to --  

           4                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Something we're just going to 

           5  have to live with?  

           6                 MR. MORRISON:  In my opinion I believe that 

           7  would be correct. 

           8                 COMMISSIONER AVILA:  So I guess the question 

           9  would be why can't you not have the white-wing season with the 

          10  mourning dove season is what I think you're saying.   

          11                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Because he's saying that way 

          12  we couldn't take advantage of the opportunity within the 

          13  framework. 

          14                 MR. MORRISON:  Yes, ma'am.  Yes, ma'am. 

          15                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Their hands are tied. 

          16                 MR. MORRISON:  In essence this is kind of 

          17  bonus, I mean it really is.  It's a bonus season for us. 

          18                 COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Otherwise, it would be 

          19  taking away from our mourning dove because you're only allowed 

          20  so many dove days. 

          21                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  What I'm trying to figure out 

          22  is, is there a way to untangle this so that it's less 

          23  confusing but as I'm thinking it through I think you're right.  

          24  I don't there's much you can do.  

          25                 MR. MORRISON:  I don't think you can.  This is 


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           1  something, in essence, that is unique to Texas and that if we 

           2  wanted to push to do this, I think that what you're going to 

           3  do, you could lose these, quote, "bonus days." 

           4                 MR. COOK:  The trade-off in the discussion, I 

           5  think, with the Fish and Wildlife Service which Dave is 

           6  exactly right, it's a bonus season the way it is.  It's an 

           7  additional above and beyond what our normal would be.  But the 

           8  trade-off in the discussion that because of the way white-wing 

           9  dove populations have spread and done well would be that, you 

          10  know, if we give that up as extra bonus hunting, we would want 

          11  something in return.  That's where we get into the negotiation 

          12  with the Feds and other states of, well, wait a minute Texas, 

          13  you're wanting a gift.  But it's an ongoing --   

          14                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  We are wanting more. 

          15                 MR. COOK:  -- discussion. 

          16                 DR. GRAHAM:  What Vernon is doing as we speak. 

          17                 MR. COOK:  I suspect old Bevill is up there 

          18  wearing their ears plum out.  And he's getting that --  

          19                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  I'm not -- 

          20                 MR. COOK:  It's that type of thing that we 

          21  don't want to talk about giving it up unless they're going to 

          22  give us something else. 

          23                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  I know we're well 

          24  represented by Vernon up there.  We're just trying to get 

          25  educated. 


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           1                 MR. COOK:  He will wear them down.  We with 

           2  persevere.   

           3                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Mr. Ramos. 

           4                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Have we ever looked at the 

           5  fact that Labor Day may be one weekend or the other and look 

           6  at the getting in on the impact by moving the season one week 

           7  or another as relates to a longer week, a Labor Day weekend 

           8  where maybe more out of state hunters might come into Texas? 

           9                 MR. MORRISON:  Well, the bottom line is pretty 

          10  much our hands are tied because we can open no earlier than 

          11  September the 1st.   

          12                 MR. COOK:  We can't open in August. 

          13                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  But Labor Day typically is 

          14  on Sunday. 

          15                 MR. COOK:  But like say if Labor Day is like a 

          16  Friday, you know, you just can't open earlier than 

          17  September 1st.   

          18                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I think Labor Day is on a 

          19  Monday. 

          20                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  From an economic 

          21  standpoint it would make more to include that weekend. 

          22                 MR. MORRISON:  Well, the only option we would 

          23  have this year would be to open on Sunday September 1st which 

          24  is allowable under Federal statutes.  

          25                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  And lose Saturday.   


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           1                 MR. MORRISON:  Yes, sir.  But we can't do that 

           2  way because it's outside of September 1st treaty requirements.   

           3                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  If we could move that date 

           4  earlier to where we could incorporate the Labor Day weekend.  

           5  I'm looking again from an economic standpoint for the State to 

           6  maximize -- 

           7                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Let me ask one more question. 

           8                 MR. MORRISON:  Can I -- just so that 

           9  everybody -- the Migratory Board Treaty Act is September 1st 

          10  until March the 10th.  That a what we are tied to.  Ironically 

          11  there was some discussions at the House this year where some 

          12  representatives had recommended looking into the possibility 

          13  of opening outside of that framework open up the treaty 

          14  however that was talking about north of the 37th parallel.  

          15  And because the northern states lose their birds early in 

          16  September a lot of times they can't take advantage of it.  

          17  However, there's some disadvantages opening the treaty and 

          18  that's a long-winded discussion I'm not going to go into.  

          19  Currently we do not have that option. 

          20                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Thank you. 

          21                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Another think you have 

          22  to open the treaty to do what Commissioner Ramos is talking 

          23  about, it takes Congressional action to open the treaty. 

          24                 DR. GRAHAM:  There's a lot of caution about 

          25  reopening the treaty. 


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           1                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Mindful of the fact my 

           2  Regulations Committee is the most poplar committee and people 

           3  would rather talk about this all day than any of the other 

           4  things we have to do.  Are there any other questions about 

           5  dove season? 

           6                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  One more question. 

           7                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Madame Chair? 

           8                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Is there any biological reason 

           9  why the white-wing season couldn't be in sync with the 

          10  mourning dove season? 

          11                 MR. MORRISON:  No, ma'am, not that I'm aware 

          12  of.   

          13                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  There are plenty of them.  

          14                 MR. MORRISON:  The September 20th opening, no, 

          15  ma'am. 

          16                 COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Next question is why can't 

          17  it be from the 7th through the 15th back to the treaty.   

          18                 MR. MORRISON:  We are only allowed that many 

          19  days. 

          20                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  We keep bumping up 

          21  against this pesky treaty. 

          22                 COMMISSIONER AVILA:  This pesty treaty. 

          23                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Which has nothing to do with 

          24  biology.  

          25                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Don't get that confused 


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           1  with biology.  Thank you, David.   

           2                 No, I'm not going to ask one more question.  

           3  We've had enough on this issue.  Let's see, any others 

           4  questions at all for, David?  I don't really mean to rush 

           5  anybody.  And that's Jerry Cooke with his hand up.  He's all 

           6  right now. 

           7                 DR. COOKE:  I got it. 

           8                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Okay.  Very well.  If 

           9  there are no further questions or discussion, without 

          10  objection I authorize staff to publish this item in the Texas 

          11  Register for the required public comment period and then we 

          12  can ask for questions about it later.   

          13                 The next item the Commission Policy Manual 

          14  Resolution Designation Official Nonprofit.  Gene McCarty. 

          15                 MR. McCARTY:  Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my 

          16  name is Gene McCarty, I'm Chief of Staff for the Agency.  

          17  Today's item is a continuation of our implementation of 

          18  statutory changes enacted by the Senate Bill 305, our Sunset 

          19  Bill.  To accurately reflect the changes in statute as 

          20  established by the Department of Sunset Bill, the Commission 

          21  must adopt changes to its policy manual that update and 

          22  clarify Commission policy language.  These include language 

          23  that provides for public comment before any major decision, 

          24  provides for publication of the Commission's transcripts on 

          25  the official department web site and removes the consent 


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           1  agenda guidelines and provides -- and has several 

           2  nonsubstantive language changes.   

           3                 In addition, Senate Bill 305 requires the 

           4  Commission to designate a single nonprofit partner as its 

           5  official nonprofit partner.  Staff recommends that the Parks 

           6  and Wildlife Foundation of Texas be designated as the official 

           7  nonprofit partner.  As a stipulation of this designation, the 

           8  Foundation would be required to follow the best practices of 

           9  the official nonprofit partner and all Commission rules on 

          10  sponsorships.  It is further recommended that this designation 

          11  be made in the form of a new Commission policy, that would be 

          12  Commission Policy No. 15.  New Commission policies and 

          13  Commission policy amendments must be adopted by resolution, 

          14  and with your permission today, I would present a resolution 

          15  containing the proposed amendments and the new Commission 

          16  Policy No. 15 at the open public meeting tomorrow.  Any 

          17  questions? 

          18                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  We have any questions 

          19  for Gene.   

          20                 COMMISSIONER AVILA:  I guess the only question 

          21  I have will this supersede a policy we just never have done 

          22  this before? 

          23                 MR. McCARTY:  No, sir, there is a Commission 

          24  policy in place now.  This would -- this would amend it, 

          25  supersede it or just put -- it would basically amend the 


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           1  current Commission policy manual.   

           2                 COMMISSIONER AVILA:  On the foundation, that 

           3  what I'm asking.   

           4                 MR. McCARTY:  On the foundation that would be a 

           5  new policy.  That would be -- currently the Commission policy 

           6  manual contains 14 Commission policies.  We're going to be add 

           7  a 15th which would be the designation of the Foundation as the 

           8  official nonprofit partner of the agency.   

           9                 COMMISSIONER AVILA:  I understand.   

          10                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Any other questions?  No 

          11  further questions or discussion, without objection I'll place 

          12  this item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public 

          13  comment and action.  Thank you, Gene.   

          14                 And our final item for the regulations 

          15  committee, the Commercial Nongame Permits.  John Herron is not 

          16  here, I guess, and Gary Graham.  

          17                 DR. GRAHAM:  I'm Gary Graham, Director of the 

          18  Wildlife Division.  I recently had the privilege of being 

          19  nominated to chair the threatened and endangered species 

          20  committee of the international association that's meeting 

          21  today as we speak and John, given all the interesting and very 

          22  important topics today of this meeting, I opted to stay here 

          23  instead of going to Dallas and John is there in my place 

          24  today.  In his place Rosie Roegner, our new Director of the 

          25  Federal Aid Program in the Wildlife Division is going to give 


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           1  the presentation on the changes in the TD proclamations.   

           2                 MS. ROEGNER:  Mr. Chairman, members of the 

           3  Committee, my name is Rosie Regner and I'm formerly of the 

           4  Wildlife Permit Section in the Wildlife Division.  And filling 

           5  in for John Herron today.  We handle a variety of permits for 

           6  special use activities such as educational display, scientific 

           7  research, zoological collection, falconry and other uses of 

           8  wildlife.  We also handle the nongame collection and sale 

           9  permits and that's what I would like to brief you on today.   

          10                 I plan to give you a quick overview -- oops, my 

          11  apologies.  I plan to give you a quick overview of what we've 

          12  learned in the past three years, along with an explanation of 

          13  proposed changes we would like to make in order to simplify 

          14  these rules.  The nongame regulations were approved by the 

          15  Commission in June of 1998 and they were implemented on 

          16  January 1st, 1999.  We worked with an ad hoc nongame advisory 

          17  committee to develop reporting procedures for the rules and we 

          18  also told the Commission at that time that we would come back 

          19  in three years with information that we had gathered through 

          20  the permitting system.  The current permit requirements 

          21  include that reports are mandatory for anyone who sells any of 

          22  the animals listed in the regulation or who resells or 

          23  possesses more than ten specimens of any given species or more 

          24  than 25 animals in the aggravate.  There are about 210 species 

          25  that are affected by this rule.   


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           1                 This graph that I show you here shows the total 

           2  number of collection and dealer permits that were issued over 

           3  the past three years.  The sales have remained very constant 

           4  with a slight increase in the number of dealer permits that 

           5  you see.  And nearly half on our dealers are with large pet 

           6  store chains such as Petco and Pet's Mart and those types of 

           7  stores while relatively few are purchased by out-of-state 

           8  dealers.  This slide shows the 19 species most commonly 

           9  reported in commercial trade and this is based on three years 

          10  of report data that we've received.  The top two species each 

          11  have between 50 and 60,000 animals reported sold and the 

          12  remainder of the species listed had somewhere between 2,000 

          13  and 28,000 animals that were sold during the three-year 

          14  period.  As a result of these data we've realized that can get 

          15  the information we need from dealers and involve fewer species 

          16  for our reports.  So we propose to eliminate reporting 

          17  requirements for those not engaged in commercial activities 

          18  unless they have more than 25 animals in which case we're 

          19  going to assume that there's a commercial collection intent.   

          20                 We also propose to decrease the number of 

          21  affected species, prohibit certain means and methods of take 

          22  and require either a dealer or a commercial nongame permit for 

          23  export of animals from the state.  Other proposed changes 

          24  include simplifying the permit names.  We would like to call 

          25  them the commercial nongame permit and the dealer's nongame 


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           1  permit.  And require that only dealers can sell to the public 

           2  and that dealers can only purchase from permitted individuals, 

           3  people with nongame permits themselves.  Individuals who 

           4  collect, process then sell process products would also need a 

           5  new -- a permit under the new rules.  We propose to disallow 

           6  the use of vacuum powered devices which have been prohibited 

           7  by the U.S. Department of Agricultural.  As you can see in the 

           8  slide we have some concerns about impacts to nontarget species 

           9  that also utilize prairie dog dens.  We'd also like to propose 

          10  a tagging requirement for traps that are left unattended and 

          11  we would like to propose that turtle traps have an opening 

          12  above the water to prevent drowning of the animals and also to 

          13  distinguish them from what may be illegal fish traps.   

          14                 We would also like make a few changes to our 

          15  reporting requirements.  Reports must include the permit 

          16  number of the individual selling to the dealer and that way we 

          17  can kind of track who's out there collecting.  The reporting 

          18  period would change from its current period which is 

          19  September 1 through August 31 to August 1st through July 31st 

          20  and then we would like to change the report due date to August 

          21  15th in order that we can make sure everyone gets their 

          22  reports in before they get a new permit.   

          23                 The numbers of species affected has been 

          24  greatly reduced in our proposed rules from 210 to a total of 

          25  26.  The focus is on species of conservation concern and 


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           1  species that are most commonly in trade.  We don't want to 

           2  regulate anybody unnecessarily.  The take and sale of bats has 

           3  also been prohibited by Parks and Wildlife Code Section 63.101 

           4  so bats have been dropped completely from this rule.  An 

           5  additional item we propose to address is Parks and Wildlife 

           6  Code Section 65.173 which concerns allowing individuals to 

           7  temporary moved threatened and endangered species when found 

           8  near areas that are scheduled to be disturbed such as 

           9  construction sites, right of way maintenance, or those types 

          10  of activities.  We do have many requests for relocation of 

          11  these animals, but at this time no permit exists that will 

          12  allow the State to give them that authorization.  So we 

          13  propose to handle it through a letter of authorization issued 

          14  on a case by case basis.  The Department has the option of 

          15  issuing a letter based on the qualifications of the applicant 

          16  and the justification provided for the request.  The 

          17  individual must be experienced in the biological sciences and 

          18  they need to be an employee with the government or a paid 

          19  biological consultant.  I would also like to note that any 

          20  individual working with the Federally protected species would 

          21  also have to have a Federal permit.  And with that I would be 

          22  happy to answer any questions. 

          23                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Mr. Chairman, I recall 

          24  when this came up the first time three years ago that there 

          25  were quite a few people interested in and concerned about our 


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           1  overregulation.  Do you feel like you've addressed that by 

           2  reducing the species and changing some of the permitting 

           3  requirements or --  

           4                 MS. ROEGNER:  Yes, sir. 

           5                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  -- what has been the 

           6  input from the people that are involved? 

           7                 MS. ROEGNER:  Yes, sir.  That's been largely 

           8  the consensus and we did face a lot of opposition at the time 

           9  they were originally proposed but we found that people 

          10  realized it wasn't so bad and we really were just after report 

          11  information and we're dramatically dropping the numbers of 

          12  species so a lot of people will not even have to get a permit 

          13  at this point.  So I feel like that's been addressed. 

          14                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  There was some concern 

          15  earlier, as I remember, it was a few years ago when this first 

          16  came up of some people -- one of the reasons to gather this 

          17  information was 'cause there were a few people out there 

          18  commercially harvesting some of those nongame species.  Is 

          19  there any indication that that's increased, decreased or --  

          20                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:   

          21                 MS. ROEGNER:  I'm sorry, the harvest of which.   

          22                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Commercial.  Most people 

          23  there were people doing it for commercial purposes. 

          24                 MS. ROEGNER:  That still goes on. 

          25                 DR. GRAHAM:  Has it increased or decreased 


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           1  some.  

           2                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Increased, it's 

           3  decreased, the same. 

           4                 MS. ROEGNER:  I don't feel like there's been a 

           5  marked change in the last three years.  The same people who 

           6  were collecting previous to the regulation are still out there 

           7  doing that.  We haven't banned anything. 

           8                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Uh-huh. 

           9                 MS. ROEGNER:  Now we know who they are and what 

          10  species they're taking and in what number and we want to 

          11  continue to watch that but for the top group of species.  

          12                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  Okay. 

          13                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  When we issue or 

          14  require an issue -- someone is required to get a permit, 

          15  someone is required to get a permit, can we put in a deadline 

          16  on us to get them, so often the business it takes so long to 

          17  get permits?  Would you-all mind if we put in a time frame in 

          18  which we have to act, requirement on us to act within a 

          19  certain time frame once an application is in?  There are a 

          20  number of permitting requirements, like, see, put in a fairly 

          21  limited amount of time where we've got to take action. 

          22                 MS. ROEGNER:  We've got a pretty good 

          23  turnaround time right now.  We've been getting the permits out 

          24  within about a week. 

          25                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  That's great.  No way 


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           1  I'm being critical of now because I don't know. 

           2                 DR. GRAHAM:  It used to be a problem about a 

           3  year and a half two years ago and largely due to Rosie's 

           4  effort we've really focussed on that customer service issue 

           5  and provided the permit in a very short turnaround time. 

           6                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  These are going to be 

           7  around a long time, though, I would like to see it go into the 

           8  regs that there's actually some requirement that these --  

           9                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  I don't disagree with 

          10  you, Phil, it maybe more appropriate, though, to think of it 

          11  in general terms policy where we have a lot of different 

          12  permits not just these. 

          13                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  It's a very broad 

          14  point.  So I would be happy to take it broadly if you would 

          15  like. 

          16                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Yeah. 

          17                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Yeah.  This is a 

          18  customer service issue. 

          19                 MS. ROEGNER:  Yes. 

          20                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  We can take it up 

          21  just as a broad sense of a department.  I heard three or four 

          22  places that are adding more permitting requirements. 

          23                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  I don't disagree with 

          24  the objective. 

          25                 DR. GRAHAM:  If you don't mind, what I would 


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           1  recommend is that we take a look at that because it is so 

           2  broad the implications you get everything from TTT permits to 

           3  these permits and each of those has a slightly different time 

           4  frame associated with that.  I can't address right now.  The 

           5  general idea I think would be supportive of the time frame 

           6  associated with each if we had a chance to sort of analyze 

           7  that and make a recommendation. 

           8                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Fair enough.   

           9                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  In some areas if they're 

          10  deemed granted if not responded to.   

          11                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  I didn't that. 

          12                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  On some of the permits we 

          13  grant are pretty serious and we have to make sure we do have 

          14  enough time.   

          15                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Importation of 

          16  cervids we don't want to degrant. 

          17                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  We ought to be careful on 

          18  that one. 

          19                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  What's the penalty if you 

          20  don't report by August 15th or whatever deadline, how do we 

          21  enforce that or what do we do? 

          22                 MS. ROEGNER:  Well, we've had some problems 

          23  with that in the past because the only hammer we have, so to 

          24  speak, is to lock that individual out of our point of sale 

          25  system.  The problem is right now the deadline is 


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           1  September 15th and yet they can buy their licenses as of 

           2  September 1st.  So it really makes it impossible to block 

           3  people out for that following year if they, you know, if they 

           4  get a jump on it right away.  So that's why we wanted to move 

           5  that report due date into August so that we would have time 

           6  then we can lock them out of the system and they would have to 

           7  meet reporting requirements in order to purchase their 

           8  license. 

           9                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Other than knocking them 

          10  out of the system we don't have a penalty provision or some 

          11  teeth to encourage them to comply with that, in other words, 

          12  if I elected to drop out of the system I would just drop out 

          13  and we wouldn't have any remedy is what I'm saying. 

          14                 MR. COOK:  I think that's correct. 

          15                 MS. ROEGNER:  That's correct, although, if you 

          16  continued to practice in commercial trade and you could 

          17  certainly be cited for that and that would be a Class C 

          18  misdemeanor, I believe.   

          19                 DR. GRAHAM:  If you're transporting them across 

          20  state lines you could get into even serious Federal trouble.   

          21                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  The other issue you said 

          22  if you had more than 25 animals then you would be subject to 

          23  our jurisdiction on this. 

          24                 MS. ROEGNER:  Yes.   

          25                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Is that 25 of a particular 


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           1  species or it could be any 25? 

           2                 MS. ROEGNER:  It would be any combination of 

           3  the animals on the list for the effected species for that 

           4  regulation. 

           5                 MR. COOK:  Rosie, I believe I heard you 

           6  correctly somewhere between 50 and 60,000 of the top two 

           7  species? 

           8                 MS. ROEGNER:  For that entire three-year 

           9  period. 

          10                 MR. COOK:  Prairie dogs. 

          11                 MS. ROEGNER:  Prairie dogs, rattlesnakes. 

          12                 DR. GRAHAM:  Soft shell turtle.   

          13                 MS. ROEGNER:  Soft shell turtle. 

          14                 MR. COOK:  From a commercial standpoint, what 

          15  is prairie dog worth?  What do they do with the prairie dogs? 

          16                 MS. ROEGNER:  They send them to Japan 

          17  apparently.  I've been told they get $200 for them.  I don't 

          18  know. 

          19                 MR. COOK:  What's our permit cost? 

          20                 MS. ROEGNER:  The dealer permit if you're a 

          21  resident is a $50 permit so.   

          22                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  That's pretty good. 

          23                 MR. COOK:  I guess I'm asking the question 

          24  because I would like staff and the Commission to keep in mind 

          25  the issues that we have before us now in the commercial 


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           1  fishery permitting thing at least that we cover our cost in 

           2  the program and, you know, where we think it's necessary, yes, 

           3  permit people.  Where it's not necessary, let's don't have a 

           4  burden but let's have the program pay for itself and that's an 

           5  issue that, you know, we got dealt with on and I would want to 

           6  address that in this one.   

           7                 COMMISSIONER AVILA:  That's a very good point. 

           8                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Fifty dollar permit is 

           9  that for that animal? 

          10                 MS. ROEGNER:  It's for any of them.   

          11                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  For that dealer.  

          12                 MS. ROEGNER:  For a year for that dealer, yes, 

          13  sir. 

          14                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  So you can deal with 500 

          15  permits. 

          16                 MS. ROEGNER:  There's no limit on the number 

          17  you can take.  In fact, they're taking thousands, tens of 

          18  thousands. 

          19                 MR. COOK:  Vacuum cleaners.  

          20                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  What do they do with them in 

          21  Japan?   

          22                 MS. ROEGNER:  I understand they're pets.  It's 

          23  supposed to do be a -- 

          24                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I've known a -- 

          25                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  And the soft shell 


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           1  turtles, I remember there was that case in Houston they found 

           2  them trying to ship however many thousands of them and that's 

           3  for food. 

           4                 MS. ROEGNER:  Yes, sir, the Asian food market.   

           5                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  The Asian food market for 

           6  soft shell.   

           7                 DR. GRAHAM:  If I may comment.  Data are one of 

           8  our most valuable tools in all the business we do from deer 

           9  management to managing these permits and these -- this has -- 

          10  this three-year period has allowed us to gather some really 

          11  powerful data.  We've used it to preclude the listing of some 

          12  turtles on the dangerous species list and we're able to 

          13  address international trade issues with data that we can back 

          14  up.  So that's an important aspect of this and all of our 

          15  others too.  

          16                 MR. COOK:  We appreciate the Commission's 

          17  support in this. 

          18                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  They love the 

          19  Regulations Committee. 

          20                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Just one more.  You 

          21  mentioned that we dictate or we set parameters as to where the 

          22  trap the animals. 

          23                 MS. ROEGNER:  Well, that's on our new proposal.  

          24  We have not done that. 

          25                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  So that law enforcement 


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           1  would be in a position to ensure that they're being caught in 

           2  a humane fashion. 

           3                 MS. ROEGNER:  Yes, sir.  That's been a problem 

           4  in the past with the turtle traps. 

           5                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Thank you.   

           6                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  I don't completely 

           7  follow you.  You had some restrictions on the types of people 

           8  who could sell using these permits back through there 

           9  biologists and others.  What was that all about? 

          10                 MS. ROEGNER:  Okay.   

          11                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Just on the 

          12  endangered species. 

          13                 MS. ROEGNER:  You may be thinking of the 

          14  endangered species.  

          15                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  On the commercial 

          16  side there's no regulation of who can get a permit. 

          17                 MS. ROEGNER:  That's correct.  That's correct. 

          18                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Okay.  Strictly an 

          19  endangered species issue. 

          20                 MS. ROEGNER:  On the other, the threatened and 

          21  endangered species issue we've had come up quite a bit with 

          22  the Department of Transportation, for example, and it's 

          23  primarily to do with herps.  So in cases where there are 

          24  horned lizards or there are Texas tortoises or something that 

          25  may be right in front after a bulldozer they can't run over 


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           1  them but they can't legally pick them up and do anything with 

           2  them so we're trying to give them an option so that they can 

           3  relocate to animal to adjacent habitat where it's out of 

           4  harm's way.  Any other questions? 

           5                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMMONS:  Thank you.  Thank you, 

           6  Gary.  Any other questions?  No further questions or 

           7  discussion, without objection I authorize to publish this item 

           8  in the Texas Register for the required public comment period.  

           9  And any other comments, business to come before the 

          10  Regulations Committee?  Hearing none, I entertain a motion 

          11  adjourn.   

          12                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  So moved.   

          13                 COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Second.   

          14                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  In favor.   

          15                 ("Aye.") 

          16                 CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS:  All opposed, same sign.  

          17  We stand adjourned. 

          18   

          19   

          20   

          21   

          22   

          23   

          24   

          25   


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           1   THE STATE OF TEXAS )  

           2   COUNTY OF TRAVIS  ) 

           3        I, KIM SEIBERT, a Certified Court Reporter in and for 

           4   the State of Texas, do hereby certify that the above and 

           5   foregoing pages constitute a full, true, and correct 

           6   transcript of the minutes of the Texas Parks and Wildlife 

           7   Commission on April 3, 2002, in the Commission hearing room 

           8   of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, Austin, 

           9   Travis County, Texas.   

          10        I FURTHER CERTIFY that a stenographic record was made by 

          11   me at the time of the public meeting and said stenographic 

          12   notes were thereafter reduced to computerized transcription  

          13   under my supervision and control.   

          14        WITNESS MY HAND this ____ day of ____________________, 

          15   2002. 

          16    

          17    

          18                      ___________________________ 
                                  KIM SEIBERT, Texas CSR 4589 
          19                      Expiration Date:  12/2002 
                                  3101 Bee Caves Road 
          20                      Suite 220, Centre II 
                                  Austin, Texas  78701 
          21                      (512) 328-5557 

          22    

          23    

          24    

          25    


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           1    

           2    

           3    

           4   ___________________________ 
               JOSEPH FITZSIMONS, CHAIRMAN 
           5    

           6   ___________________________ 
               PHILIP MONTGOMERY, III 
           7    

           8   ___________________________ 
               DONATO D. RAMOS  
           9    

          10   ___________________________ 
               KELLY W. RISING, M.D.  
          11    

          12   ___________________________ 
               ERNEST ANGELO, JR. 
          13    

          14   ___________________________ 
               JOHN AVILA, JR. 
          15    

          16   ___________________________ 
               ALVIN L. HENRY 
          17    

          18   ___________________________ 
               KATHARINE ARMSTRONG IDSAL 
          19    

          20   ___________________________ 
               MARK E. WATSON, JR. 
          21    

          22    

          23    

          24    

          25   


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