Comments are open for proposed hunting, fishing changes in Texas
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) Commission is considering a number of changes to hunting and fishing regulations in 2020. However, prior to making any decisions, the Commission wants input from constituents in Texas.
Among other things, TPWD is looking at implementing rules to administer an automated process for issuing pronghorn and antlerless mule deer permits, decreasing the daily bag limit for scaup and goose, and changing the hunting seasons for goose and snipe.
TPWD has posted details regarding all of these issues on its website and is accepting public comment on them until 9 a.m. on March 25. Constituents may also comment in person at the TPWD headquarters in Austin during the commission meeting at 9 a.m. on March 25.
In particular, the changes to bag limits and seasons for migratory bird hunting may be most significant changes under consideration. Under the current regulations, hunters may harvest three scaup and 20 light geese (Snow Geese & Ross’s Geese) daily.
However, wintering populations of light geese in Texas have steadily declined from their peak of 1 million in 2000 to less than 250,000 in 2019. Not surprisingly, hunter goose harvest has declined accordingly in recent years. Additionally, with a current scaup breeding population of 3.59 million, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service is enacting more restrictive hunting regulations for the species.
With those things in mind, the TPWD commission wants to adjust daily harvest limits for scaup and geese to levels more appropriate to current wintering population levels. Specifically, they’re proposing a reduction down to one scaup and 10 light geese daily for the 2020-21 waterfowl seasons.
Additionally, the state is also considering adjusting the western goose hunting season to open and close one week later. The season would still be the same length but would just be shifted one week later.
Based upon public input and observations from biologists in recent years, the goose hunting improved later in the season as more migratory birds arrived in Texas. With proposed season dates of Nov. 14, 2020, to Feb. 14, 2021, this potential change will hopefully result in improved experiences for waterfowl hunters by focusing the season during a timeframe with better overall goose hunting opportunities.
In that same vein, snipe hunters in Texas have also requested to hunt later into February. For that reason, the TWPD is also considering shifting the snipe season to later dates as well with a new proposed season of Nov. 7, 2020, to Feb. 21, 2021.
If you’re a hunter in the Lone Star State, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the proposed changes to the hunting and fishing regulations. Leave a comment and let the folks on the TPWD Commission know what you think. Remember: March 25 is the deadline to comment.
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