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Public input sought on Texas hunting regulation proposals

Feb. 29—AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is taking public comment until March 27 to the following proposed changes to the 2024-2025 Statewide Hunting and Migratory Game Bird proclamations:

Migratory Game Bird Regulations

— Eliminate the Light Goose Conservation Order from both Eastern and Western Goose Zones.

— Reduce the daily bag limit of light geese from 10 to 5 in both eastern and western zones.

— Extend the regular goose season for light geese to 19 days in the eastern zone.

— Standardize the light goose possession limit to three times the daily bag limit — similar to all other migratory game birds — during the regular hunting season.

— Change the Special White-winged Dove Days season structure due to calendar progression.

— Change the season structure of the second segment for doves in the north zone to allow later dove hunting.

— Change greater white-fronted goose daily bag limit restrictions from two in the aggregate to a dark goose daily bag limit of five in the western zone.

— Include Mexican ducks in the duck daily bag limits for all zones while deleting "Mexican like" verbiage.

— Calendar progression for all other migratory game bird hunting season dates.

Upland game bird regulations

— Require statewide mandatory harvest reporting for all harvested wild turkeys during all seasons and counties.

— Close the spring-only hunting season for wild turkeys south of Highway 82 in Fannin, Lamar, Red River and Bowie counties.

— Close all wild turkey hunting seasons in Bell and Williamson counties east of Interstate 35 (I-35) and in all of Milam County.

— Remove references to Rio Grande and eastern wild turkey subspecies in regulations and replace with "wild turkey."

— Reduce the wild turkey hunting season length and annual bag limit in all counties with an open season west of the Pecos River and that portion of counties falling east of I-35/north of I-10 to a spring-only season from April 1-30 and one gobbler (male turkey) annual bag limit.

Big game regulations

— Change Desert Bighorn Sheep hunting season from Sept. 1 — July 31 to Nov. 15 — Sept. 30.

— Remove references to "antelope" in regulations and replace with "pronghorn."

— For properties enrolled in the harvest option of the Managed Lands Deer Program, allow youth to take bucks with a firearm for the same days that correspond to the early youth-only season for county harvest regulations.

— Expand doe days in 43 counties in the Post Oak Savannah and Pineywoods ecoregions.

— Expand youth-only seasons in the fall to include Friday for white-tailed deer, squirrels and wild turkeys.

Additional details on the proposed regulation changes can be found on the public comment page and in the Texas Register.

For more information about the 2024-25 proposals an online zoom webinar will be held at 6:30 p.m. on March 6. TPWD Wildlife Division staff will present proposed hunting regulation changes and answer questions.

The public is encouraged to provide comment on the proposed regulation changes, and input will be considered before any action is taken by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its March 28 public hearing. Opportunities to provide comments for or against these proposals include:

Online: Comments on each of the changes can be provided on the TPWD public comment page until March 27.

Phone or Email:

— For Migratory Game Bird Proclamation comments, or comments regarding wild turkey hunting regulations, please contact Shaun Oldenburger, [email protected]

— For comments regarding big game hunting regulations or expansion of youth-only seasons, please contact Blaise Korzekwa, [email protected]

Commission Meeting: The TPW Commission will take public comment on the proposed changes at their meeting on Thursday, March 28, in Austin. Those wishing to provide public testimony are required to pre-register to speak. Public testimony is normally limited to three minutes per person.