Possible Changes to Texas Hunting Regulations

Possible Changes to Texas Hunting Regulations

During the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting on January 25, there was proposals for Texas hunting season changes. We will discuss the possible changes to Texas hunting regulations.

Possible Changes to Texas Hunting Regulations

There was a proposal by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to have a uniform statewide season. This is “to simply regulation while allowing time in the norther two-thirds of the state to conduct additional harvest.”

According to TPWD officials, the change to season length would not result in negative population impacts. Officials said that most deer hunters were in favor of the proposal.

However, there may be an impact on quail hunters. Many quail leases start when the general season for white-tailed deer ends. An extension could shorten the time quail hunters may hunt.

Proposal for Mule Deer Antler Restrictions in Texas

Counties in the southeastern Panhandle have issues with their mule deer herd. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department believes antler restrictions may be necessary to bring the herd back to health.

This change was among several proposals at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting earlier this year. The bag limit for buck deer in this area is one. According to department data, there’s an undesirably excessive harvest of bucks.

The proposal by TPWD suggests antler restrictions (beginning in 2018) for the following counties:

  • Briscoe
  • Childress
  • Cottle
  • Floyd
  • Hall
  • Motley

There’s been a harvest of too many young bucks. Therefore, the change arguably would help boost deer maturity and increase the overall age class of bucks. The antler-restriction rule would not apply on properties enrolled in the Managed Lands Deer Program.

In addition, another proposal by TPWD suggests opening a 9-day general mule deer season in Lynn County (no archery season). Most of Lynn County consists of large-scale farming and grazing operations. However, the department’s survey data indicate mule deer populations sufficient to sustain hunting pressure in areas where suitable mule deer habitat exists.

Air Guns and Air Blows for Big Game

Another proposal by TPWD suggests the legalization of air guns and air bows for taking alligators, big game and non-migratory birds. In response to a petition for rule-making and field demonstrations, the department determined that air guns of .30 caliber or larger and air bows are capable of reliably killing the following:

  • alligators
  • big game species (deer, pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep, javelina)
  • turkey

Therefore, the department believes there needs to be lawful means of take for those species.

Both air rifles and air bows would require power by an external charge source. The air bows would not be legal for use during archery-only seasons.

Eastern Turkey to Close in Two Counties

Under the current proposals, eastern turkey season would close in San Augustine and Upshur counties.

Also, the eastern turkey season would be shorter by seven days while maintaining the current close date of May 14. The proposal amendment is based on department harvest and population data. The intention is to protect hens from accidental or illegal harvest during incubation. Also, it’s to provide additional time for mating success.

Possession Limit Changes

The proposal amendments expand the possession limit of the following to three times the daily bag limit:

  • squirrel
  • pheasant
  • chachalaca

Public Comment

The proposals will be open for public comment. The Commission will most likely  decide on the proposals at its March 22 meeting. Approval of any changes would take effect on September 1.

 

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