On March 26, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted changes to hunting and fishing regulations designed to create additional recreational opportunities while effectively managing the state’s natural resources.
As part of the annual regulations review process, public input and discussion among agency staff two proposals related to upland bird hunting were withdrawn. Staff recommended turning to the Commission’s newly appointed Game Bird Advisory Committee for further discussion on potential changes to quail and pheasant regulations.
One other proposal, which would have extended regulations allowing the take of catfish by means of bow and arrow, was also withdrawn. As of September 1, 2008, taking of catfish by means of bow and arrow will no longer be legal.
Meanwhile, the following changes were approved by the Commission:
Carp Bag Limit
Anglers fishing Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) in Austin will be allowed to retain only one common carp 33 inches or larger per day. There will remain no limit on common carp measuring less than 33 inches in length.
Community Fishing Lake Pole Limit
Anglers will be limited to using two fishing poles on designated community fishing lakes. This new rule addresses hoarding of limited bank fishing access. The change affects impoundments 75 acres or less totally within a city limits or a public park, but will not be enacted on any waters inside a state park.
Lake Nacogdoches Bass Limit
This rule changes the largemouth bass regulations on Lake Nacogdoches to a 16-inch maximum size limit. The daily bag will be five bass under 16 inches, although one bass 24 inches or larger can be retained temporarily in a livewell and then weighed using handheld scales for possible donation to the Budweiser ShareLunker program.
Purtis Creek/Lake Raven Bass Limit
This rule changes the largemouth bass temporary retention length limit to 24 inches on Purtis Creek State Park Lake and Lake Raven (Huntsville State Park). Both lakes are catch and release only for largemouth bass, although currently one trophy bass may be retained temporarily for weighing purposes and donation to the Budweiser ShareLunker program.
Lake Texoma Spotted Bass
This rule removes the 14-inch minimum length limit for spotted bass on Lake Texoma consistent with the Texas statewide regulation (no length limit) and the limit for the Oklahoma side of Texoma.
Lake Nasworthy/Colorado City Red Drum Limit
This removes the harvest exceptions for red drum on Lake Nasworthy and the 20-inch minimum length limit for red drum on Colorado City Reservoir. Both water bodies revert to the statewide limits of three fish per day and a 20- 28-inch reverse slot limit.
Expand Panhandle Mule Deer Season
This adds Sherman and Hansford counties to the northern Panhandle mule deer season (16 days beginning the Saturday before Thanksgiving) and in Gaines, Martin, and the eastern portion of Andrews counties to the southwest Panhandle season (nine days beginning the Saturday before Thanksgiving). These counties, wildlife biologists believe, have mule deer populations sufficient to allow the harvest of a few buck mule deer.
Eliminate Bowhunting Minimum Draw Weight
This removes the requirement of a 40-pound minimum peak draw weight on bowhunting equipment.
Deer Proof of Sex Requirement Change
This allows special deer permit tags, including Managed Land Deer Permits, Landowner Assisted Management Permitting System, antlerless mule deer, special public hunting and Antlerless and Spike Control, to satisfy proof of sex tagging requirements.
Lower Minimum Age for Hunter Education Certification
This lowers the minimum age a student may receive hunter education certification from 12 years to 9 years.
Quota for Commercial Catch of Gulf Menhaden in State Waters
This rule establishes a quota for the commercial catch of Gulf menhaden in state waters. The move is a precautionary measure that basically limits the fishery at its current level. The total allowable catch from state waters would be set at 31,500,000 pounds
The changes will take effect after the required posting period or as specified in the rule. Stay tuned for more updates!