It looks like the spring hunting season for eastern turkeys is a changing. Well, not so much changing as in going away, at least in some cases. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is considering closing spring eastern turkey hunting in 11 East Texas counties, restructure the season in two other counties and extend the youth-only fall turkey season. The recommendations are among a brief slate of proposed turkey hunting regulation changes for 2015.
If adopted, hunting season for eastern turkey would be closed in 11 counties (Angelina, Brazoria, Camp, Fort Bend, Franklin, Harrison, Hopkins, Morris, Titus, Trinity, and Wood) and on National Forest lands in Jasper County. While closed, TPWD wildlife biologists will evaluate the prospects for future eastern turkey restoration compatibility and restocking efforts. The agency’s goal is to reopen hunting should the eastern turkey populations in the affected counties become capable of sustaining harvest.
TPWD is also proposing to restructure the existing spring turkey hunting season in Wharton and Matagorda counties. The proposal would continue to allow for a 30-day spring only, one gobbler season and eliminate mandatory harvest reporting. In an effort to expand hunting opportunity for youth and reduce regulatory complexity, the department is proposing to expand by 14 days the late youth-only season in counties having an open Rio Grande fall turkey season, to run concurrent with the late youth-only season for white-tailed deer.
Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Robert Macdonald (512) 389-4775; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. Comments may also be submitted through the department’s web site and at the following public meetings. Comments may also be submitted through the department’s Internet web site www.tpwd.texas.gov in February once the proposals have been published in the Texas Register and at the following public meetings.
Public hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. in Zapata at the Zapata County Technical and Advance Education Center, Room 128, 605 N. US Hwy 83, and in Lufkin at the Angelina County Courthouse, 159th District Courtroom, 215 E. Lufkin Avenue. A live online public hearing via webinar will also be held at noon on Friday, March 6. Details and instructions for participation in the online public hearing webinar will be made available on the TPWD website.
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