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Texas finalizes 2011-12 hunting, fishing regulations

From the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

-- Hunting and fishing regulations for 2011-12 have been adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission with relatively few changes. All amendments take effect Sept. 1, 2011.

Topping the list are regulation changes impacting turkey hunting, and potential alteration of some size and bag limits in waters shared with Louisiana.

Effective for the 2012 season, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is closing spring turkey hunting in 15 East Texas counties in response to low populations and harvest numbers: Cherokee, Delta, Gregg, Hardin, Houston, Hunt, Liberty, Montgomery, Rains, Rusk, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Tyler and Walker.

Closing spring turkey seasons in these counties enables biologists to reassess Eastern turkey restoration efforts in areas having suitable habitat, restock sites and provide brood stock protection. The agency’s goal is to reopen hunting once the Eastern turkey populations in the affected counties are capable of sustaining harvest.

Also effective for the 2012 season, spring Eastern turkey hunting will be delayed in remaining counties by two weeks,  having an open season  from April 15 to May 14. Biologists say the delay gives hens time to begin nesting prior to the season opening.

Beginning in 2012, hunters may harvest any bearded Rio Grande turkey during the spring season in all counties having a bag limit of four turkeys.

A cooperative effort between TPWD and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to standardize fishing regulations on waters shared by the two states also received approval by the TPW Commission, pending adoption of similar changes by Louisiana in June.  A complete list of adopted rules is available at http://texinfo.library.unt.edu/texasregister/pdf/2011/0401is.pdf.

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