Proposed 2014-2015 Migratory Game Bird Seasons

The online public comment period is 08:00 a.m. May 19, 2014, through 05:00 p.m. August 20, 2014.

PROPOSED 2014-2015 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD SEASONS

         PREFATORY NOTE: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is proposing the season dates for the take of migratory game birds for the 2014-15 hunting seasons.

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

         At present, the Service has not issued either of the annual regulatory frameworks for migratory game birds. Typically, the Service issues the preliminary early-season (dove, teal, snipe, woodcock, rails, gallinules) frameworks in late June and the preliminary late-season (ducks, geese, cranes) frameworks in early August. The Service typically issues the final early-season frameworks in early August and the final late-season frameworks in late September. Because no regular Commission meetings occur between May and August, the early-season regulations are normally adopted by the Executive Director in early July.

         Comments on the provisions affecting early-season species of migratory game birds will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on June 23, 2014.

         Comments on the provisions affecting late-season species of migratory game birds will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on August 20, 2014.

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Proposed Dove Seasons

The department proposes to adjust the opening day in all three dove zones, including the Special White-winged Dove Area (SWWDA) regular season, to preserve the season structure from last year; however, in the North and Central zones, the season would close three days earlier in the first segment (compared to last year) and those days would be added to the end of the second segment.  In the South Zone and SWWDA, the first segment would be shortened by five days compared to last year, and those days would be added to the end of the second segment.  The new season structure is intended to provide additional hunting opportunity around the Christmas holiday. The bag and possession are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change. The number of zones and zone boundaries cannot be altered at this time.

         North Zone: September 1 — October 20, 2014 and December 19, 2014 — January 7, 2015.

         Central Zone: September 1 — October 20, 2014 and December 19, 2014 — January 7, 2015.

         South Zone: September 19 — October 20, 2014 and December 19, 2014 — January 25, 2015.

         Special White-Winged Dove Area: September 6, 7, 13, and 14, 2014 and September 19 — October 20, 2014 and December 19, 2014 — January 21, 2015.

Comment on Proposed Dove Seasons
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Proposed September Teal Season

The department proposes a 16-day statewide teal season to run from September 13-28, 2014, which must be approved by the Service before it can be implemented. If the Service does not approve a 16-day season, the department would instead adopt a 9-day season to run from September 20-28, 2014. The department cautions that the federal frameworks could alter the total number of days for teal hunting if population data warrant. By federal rule, the number of days in the September teal season count against the 107 days of total hunting opportunity allowed for ducks, coots, and mergansers. The bag and possession are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change.

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Proposed Early Canada Goose Season

The department proposes a 16-day early Canada goose season in the Eastern Goose Zone to run from September 13-28, 2014 (with the proviso that if a nine-day teal season is selected, the early Canada goose season would run concurrently). The bag and possession are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change.   The zone boundaries cannot be altered at this time.

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Proposed Gallinule and Moorhen Seasons*

September 13-28, 2014 and November 1 — December 24, 2014.

*The bag and possession are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change.

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Proposed Rail Seasons*

September 13-28, 2014 and November 1 — December 24, 2014.

* The bag and possession are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change.

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Proposed Woodcock Season*

December 18, 2014 — January 31, 2015.

* The bag and possession are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change.

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Proposed Wilson’s snipe (Common snipe) Season*

November 1, 2014 — February 15, 2015.

* The bag and possession are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change.

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Proposed Duck, Coot, and Merganser Seasons*

         (A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit:

                         (i) all species other than "dusky ducks": October 25 — 26, 2014 and October 31, 2014 — January 25, 2015.

                         (ii) "dusky ducks": November 3, 2014 — January 25, 2015.

         (B) North Zone:

                         (i) all species other than "dusky ducks": November 1 — December 7, 2014 and December 20, 2014 — January 25, 2015.

                         (ii) "dusky ducks": November 6 — December 7, 2014 and December 20, 2014 — January 25, 2015.

         (C) South Zone:

                         (i) all species other than "dusky ducks": November 1 — 30, 2014 and December 13, 2014 — January 25, 2015.

                         (ii) "dusky ducks": November 6 — November 30, 2014 and December 13, 2014 — January 25, 2015.

*The department proposes to retain the season structure and bag limits from last year and adjust the season dates to account for calendar shift.  The bag and possession limits are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change. The number of zones and zone boundaries cannot be altered at this time.

Comment on Proposed Duck, Coot, and Merganser Seasons
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Proposed Goose Seasons*

         (A) Western Zone.

                 (i) Light geese: November 1, 2014 — February 1, 2015.

                 (ii) Dark geese: November 1, 2014 — February 1, 2015.

         (B) Eastern Zone.

                 (i) Light geese: November 1, 2014 — January 25, 2015.

                 (ii) Dark geese:

                         (I) White-fronted geese: November 1, 2014 — January 11, 2015.

                         (II) Canada geese: November 1, 2014 — January 25, 2015.

*The department proposes to retain the season structure and bag limits from last year and adjust the season dates to account for calendar shift.  The bag and possession limits are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change. The number of zones and zone boundaries cannot be altered at this time.

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Proposed Sandhill Crane Seasons*

         (A) Zone A: November 1, 2014 — February 1, 2015.

         (B) Zone B: November 21, 2014 — February 1, 2015.

         (C) Zone C: December 20, 2014 — January 25, 2015.

*The department proposes to retain the season structure and bag limits from last year and adjust the season dates to account for calendar shift.  The bag and possession limits are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change. The number of zones and zone boundaries cannot be altered at this time.

Comment on Proposed Sandhill Crane Seasons
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Proposed Special Youth-Only Waterfowl Season

         (A) High Plains Mallard Management Unit: October 18-19, 2014;

         (B) North Zone: October 25 — 26, 2014; and

         (C) South Zone: October 25 — 26, 2014.

*The department proposes to retain the season structure and bag limits from last year and adjust the season dates to account for calendar shift.  The bag and possession limits are the maximum currently allowed under the federal frameworks and are not proposed for change. The number of zones and zone boundaries cannot be altered at this time.

Comment on Proposed Special Youth-Only Waterfowl Season
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Proposed Special Light Goose Conservation Period*

                         (A) Eastern Zone: January 26 — March 22, 2015;

                         (B) Western Zone: February 2 — March 22, 2015.

*The department proposes to retain the season structure and bag limits from last year for all species of migratory game birds and to adjust the season dates to account for calendar shift.

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Proposed Extended Falconry Seasons*

                 (A) Early Season Species:

                         (1) mourning doves, white-winged doves and white-tipped doves: November 8- December 14, 2014.

                         (2) rails and gallinules: January 26 — February 9, 2015.

                         (3) woodcock: January 26 — February 9, 2015.

                 Ducks, coots, and mergansers:

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

                         (2) North Duck Zone: January 26 — February 9, 2015;

                         (3) South Duck Zone: January 26 — February 9, 2015.

*The department proposes to retain the season structure and bag limits from last year for all species of migratory game birds and to adjust the season dates to account for calendar shift.

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