AUSTIN, Texas — Expanded hunting opportunities for mule deer and pheasant in the Panhandle are among the proposed changes to the state’s hunting and fishing regulations.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission’s Regulations Committee, at its Jan. 23 meeting, authorized agency staff to take these proposed regulation changes and others out for public comment and will make a final determination at its March 25-26 meeting.
Following is a rundown of the proposals:
Carp Bag Limit
Anglers fishing Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) in Austin would be allowed to retain only one common carp 33 inches or larger per day. There would be no limit on common carp measuring less than 33 inches in length. This proposed rule change would promote carp as an untapped fishing opportunity, particularly for bank fishing in an urban area.
Community Fishing Lake Pole Limit
Anglers would be limited to using two fishing poles on community fishing lakes having special catfish regulations. This proposed rule change would address hoarding of limited bank fishing access. The change would affect impoundments 75 acres or less totally within a city limits or a public park.
Lake Nacogdoches Bass Limit
This proposed rule would change the largemouth bass regulations on Lake Nacogdoches from its current 14- 21-inch slot limit to a 16-inch maximum size limit. The daily bag would be five bass under 16 inches, although one bass 24 inches or larger could be retained temporarily in a livewell and then weighed using handheld scales for possible donation to the Budweiser ShareLunker program. This rule change would provide greater protection of trophy bass, while encouraging harvest of some of the smaller fish.
Purtis Creek/Lake Raven Bass Limit
This proposed rule would change the largemouth bass temporary retention length limit from 21 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 proposed rule would remove the 14-inch minimum length limit for spotted bass on Lake Texoma consistent with the Texas statewide regulation (no length limit) and the proposed limit for the Oklahoma side of Texoma.
Lake Nasworthy/Colorado City Red Drum Limit
This proposal would remove 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 would revert to the statewide limits of 3 fish per day and a 20- 28-inch reverse slot limit.
Expand Panhandle Mule Deer Season
This proposal would consider adding Sherman and Hansford counties to the northern Panhandle mule deer season, and Gaines, Martin, and the eastern portion of Andrews counties to the southwest Panhandle season. These counties, wildlife biologists believe, have mule deer populations sufficient to allow the harvest of a few buck mule deer. Such a buck-only harvest would not have any effect on the overall population in those counties. Opening these counties will result in increased hunter opportunity.
Panhandle Pheasant Season Expansion
The proposal would expand the season length to 37 days.
Quail Season Closing Change
This proposal would change the close of quail season to the last day in February.
Eliminate Bowhunting Minimum Draw Weight
This proposal would remove the requirement of a 40-pound minimum peak draw weight on bowhunting equipment.
Deer Proof of Sex Requirement Change
This proposal would allow 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 proposal would lower the minimum age a student may receive hunter education certification from 12 years to 9 years.
The public is urged to comment on these proposals during a series of public meetings scheduled across the state during February and March. Comment may also be made online at the agency Web site or by mail to TPWD Regulations Public Comment, attention Robert Macdonald, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744.