Migratory Game Bird Definitions
Full-time military service in branches like the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Reserves, National Guard, or Texas State Guard. This includes full-time training and attending designated service schools.
A daily bag or possession limit that combines more than one species or applies a single limit across a group of counties.
Any mechanical or other devices used for flight, including unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). Restrictions apply to their use in hunting and related activities without proper permits.
Materials used to attract wildlife, ranging from salt to grains or minerals, are placed in various manners. Specific regulations govern the use of bait, especially concerning migratory game birds and certain public lands.
Any area where bait has been placed affects the legality of hunting there, particularly for migratory game birds and in certain public hunting lands.
The act of taking or attempting to take or kill wildlife.
An international agreement aiming to ensure that the international trade of wild animals and plants doesn't threaten their survival.
Daily Bag Limit (Hunters)
The maximum number of game animals or birds a hunter can legally take or possess in a single day.
Refers to all geese species other than light geese, such as Canada and white-fronted geese.
24 hours from midnight to the following midnight.
The act of causing damage or destruction to property, crops, or natural environments by wildlife.
Lawful Archery and Crossbow Equipment
Includes long bows, recurved bows, compound bows, or crossbows.
A shotgun not larger than 10-gauge fired from the shoulder, and incapable of holding more than three shells. Modifications may be required for certain hunting scenarios.
Includes snow geese (including blue) and Ross's geese.
Domesticated animals like cattle, horses, mules, sheep, goats, and non-feral swine.
Altering of natural vegetation or crops, subject to specific regulations, particularly for hunting doves.
Migratory Game Birds
Wild species including ducks, geese, coots, rails, and various other birds as defined by law, are subject to specific hunting regulations.
Migratory Bird Preservation Facility
A designated facility for storing or processing game birds.
Non-agricultural, native, or naturalized plant species growing in a specific area, are relevant to regulations on hunting and habitat manipulation.
Normal Agricultural Activities
Defined planting, harvesting, and post-harvest practices, particularly relevant for regulations on baiting and habitat manipulation.
A person who meets Texas's criteria for residency, including continuous living in the state for six months before license purchase, or certain documented members of indigenous tribes or U.S. military personnel and their dependents.
The act of transferring ownership or possession of an item, including wildlife parts, in exchange for consideration, barter, or trade.
A low-floating hunting device is prohibited due to ethical and safety concerns.
Upland Game Bird
Various terrestrial game birds such as wild turkey, quail, and pheasants, each subject to specific hunting regulations.
Any watercraft used or capable of being used for transportation on water, relevant to regulations on hunting from watercraft.
Includes ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots, each subject to specific migratory and hunting regulations.
All harvested migratory game birds not in the immediate possession of the person who harvested them must be tagged with a wildlife resource document until the birds reach the possessor’s residence and are finally processed. If a hunter’s birds have been finally processed at a cold storage or processing facility and the hunter transports someone else’s birds, then a WRD must accompany those birds until they reach the possessor’s permanent residence. A person may give, leave, receive, or possess (e.g. cleaning or storage) any species of legally taken migratory game birds, or parts of birds, that are protected by a bag or possession limit if the birds are accompanied by a WRD.
All hunters must keep migratory game birds included in their bag or possession limit separate and identifiable from other hunters’ birds while in the field or during transport to the possessor’s permanent residence unless accompanied by a WRD.
Processing Migratory Game Birds: Essential Guidelines
Transportation Requirements: When transporting migratory game birds, except doves, a vital regulation is to keep one fully feathered wing or head attached to the bird. This rule is in effect until the bird reaches one of the following destinations:
- The personal residence of the hunter.
- The residence of another individual receiving the bird.
- A migratory bird preservation facility.
The attached wing or head helps in identifying the species and ensuring adherence to legal hunting limits.
Exemptions and Special Circumstances: Cold storage or processing facilities operate under different sets of rules, often defined by a combination of state and federal regulations. Hunters utilizing these services must familiarize themselves with the relevant laws.
Dressing for Immediate Consumption: It is permissible to dress migratory game birds at a temporary location (e.g., a hunting camp) if the intention is immediate cooking. However, storing dressed birds in coolers or refrigerators for later consumption at non-permanent residences is not allowed. This regulation ensures the ethical consumption of the game, preventing wasteful practices and respecting the spirit of fair chase.
Understanding Local and Species-Specific Regulations: Regulations can vary significantly between bird species and regions. Hunters are responsible for being well-informed about the rules that apply to their specific hunting areas and target species. These guidelines help in maintaining healthy bird populations and promoting sustainable hunting practices.
Shipping Migratory Game Birds: Labeling Protocols
Identification and Tracking: For the legal shipping of migratory game birds, strict identification protocols must be followed. Every package containing these birds needs to be marked with essential details to ensure traceability and adherence to wildlife management laws. The required information includes:
Sender's Name and Address: The package must display the full name and address of the individual sending the birds. This helps authorities track the origin of the shipment and ensures accountability.
Recipient's Information: The name and address of the recipient must also be prominently displayed on the package. This is crucial for tracking the endpoint of the shipment and for verifying the legal receipt of the game birds.
Bird Count and Species: It's mandatory to specify the number of birds and the species of each bird contained within the package. Accurate count and identification are essential for monitoring bird populations and enforcing hunting regulations.
Importation Limits for Migratory Game Birds
Personal Importation Only: It is strictly prohibited to import migratory game birds belonging to someone else into the United States. This regulation ensures that each hunter is accountable for their own game and helps prevent illegal trade and exploitation of migratory bird populations.
Country-Specific Export Limits: When importing migratory game birds from Mexico or Canada, hunters must adhere to the export limits set by the state or province from which the birds were harvested. These limits are in place to control hunting pressures and sustain bird populations within each jurisdiction. Overharvesting in one region can have significant ecological impacts, thus strict adherence to these limits is essential for conservation.
Identification Requirement: Similar to domestic transportation rules, one fully feathered wing or head must remain attached to all migratory game birds imported from Canada or Mexico. This requirement facilitates species identification and legal compliance checks at points of entry into the United States. Ensuring that the bird can be identified helps in enforcing hunting regulations and protecting against the import of endangered or non-huntable species.
Hunting on Public Waters
Waterfowl hunters utilizing public water are encouraged to contact a local TPWD Law Enforcement office or reservoir controlling authority for information on rules or permit requirements before hunting. On public hunting lands owned, administered, or leased by TPWD, a person is required to possess both a valid hunting license and an Annual Public Hunting Permit to hunt migratory game birds. Licensed supervised youth under the age of 17 may hunt free of charge on these lands. For more information, check the TPWD Public Hunting Lands Map Booklet available at all TPWD offices, or visit the public hunting website.
Emergency Rule Changes
These rules may be modified to make them consistent with federal regulations or to protect wildlife resources through emergency action by the TPWD executive director.
- One-half hour before sunrise to sunset except during the Light Goose Conservation Order and the Special White-winged Dove Season.
- During the Light Goose Conservation Order: one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
- During the Special White-winged Dove Season: noon to sunset. See Sunrise/Sunset Computations.
A reasonable effort must be made to retrieve any killed or wounded birds and any wounded bird retrieved must be immediately killed and made a part of the bag limit. After retention, the birds must be kept in an edible condition.
Donation or Gifting of Migratory Game Birds: Compliance Guidelines
Permissible Transfers with Documentation: Legally taken migratory game birds, or parts thereof, can be given, left, received, or possessed, provided they are accompanied by a wildlife resource document from the person who harvested the birds. This requirement ensures traceability and compliance with hunting regulations, especially bag and possession limits.
Circumstances Requiring Documentation: A wildlife resource document becomes necessary under several conditions, including but not limited to:
- When the birds are transported by someone other than the hunter.
- If the birds are left at a facility for cleaning, storage, shipment, or taxidermy services.
This document is critical for verifying legal possession and facilitating responsible stewardship of game birds.
Exemptions from Documentation: The individual who lawfully harvested the birds is not required to carry this document for personal possession. Additionally, transfers of birds at the personal residence of the donor (giver) or donee (receiver) are exempt from this requirement.
Essential Details for the Wildlife Resource Document: The document, which can be a simple hand-written tag, must be comprehensive and include the following information:
- Harvester's Details: Name, signature, address, and hunting license number of the person who harvested the birds.
- Recipient's Name: Full name of the individual receiving the birds.
- Bird Description: A detailed account of the birds, including the number and species or parts thereof.
- Harvest Date: The exact date when the birds were harvested.
- Harvest Location: The specific location of harvest, including the ranch and county.
Violation and Penalty: Migratory Game Bird Regulations
Dual Jurisdiction and Penalties: Violations of state migratory game bird regulations are simultaneously violations of federal laws. This dual jurisdiction means stricter enforcement and broader implications for non-compliance. Individuals found violating these regulations face several penalties:
- Offenders may incur a criminal penalty ranging from $25 to $500 for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed. This fine underscores the seriousness of adhering to hunting regulations and the high value placed on wildlife conservation.
- In addition to criminal penalties, violators are subject to a civil restitution fee for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed. Civil restitution helps in the recovery and conservation of migratory game bird populations by compensating for the loss of wildlife.
- Violations can lead to the suspension or revocation of hunting licenses. This measure prevents repeat offenses and ensures that only those who follow regulations are allowed to participate in hunting activities.
Importation and Possession Compliance: Specific rules apply to the importation and possession of migratory game birds:
Importation Documentation: Individuals must produce a valid hunting license or equivalent documentation from the state or country where the bird was legally taken, upon demand by a game warden. This requirement ensures that the birds were hunted in compliance with local and international laws.
Identification Requirement: Those in possession of migratory game birds must also produce a valid driver's license or identification certificate upon request. This helps authorities enforce regulations and verify the identity of individuals involved in the hunting and transportation of game birds.
Alternate Documentation for Birds from Mexico: For birds imported from Mexico, a statement from the United States Customs Officer at the port of entry may serve as satisfactory proof of legal importation.
Closed Areas and Seasons for Migratory Game Birds
Restricted Areas: Certain areas are designated as off-limits for the hunting of migratory game birds to protect habitats and ensure safety:
State Wildlife Preserves and Sanctuaries: Generally, no open hunting seasons are allowed in these areas to safeguard wildlife habitats and species.
Public Roads and Highways: Hunting is prohibited on public roads, highways, and their rights-of-way to ensure public safety and prevent accidents.
National Wildlife Refuges: More stringent federal regulations may apply to hunting in National Wildlife Refuges that are open to public hunting. Hunters should consult specific refuge regulations before planning their hunt.
Closed Seasons: Understanding and adhering to closed seasons is vital for the conservation of migratory game bird populations and legal compliance:
General Rule: Hunting migratory game birds or possessing freshly killed migratory game birds outside of the designated open seasons is a violation of the law.
Open Seasons Reference: Hunters must refer to the "OPEN SEASONS, BAG, AND POSSESSION LIMITS" section of the regulations to determine the legal hunting periods for different species.
Default Closed Season: If no open season for a particular species is specified in the regulations, it is to be assumed that the season for that species is closed.
Regulations on Vehicle Use in Migratory Game Bird Hunting
Prohibitions on Hunting from Vehicles: The use of motor-driven vehicles and other conveyances in hunting migratory game birds is heavily restricted due to safety concerns and fair chase principles:
General Prohibition: It is unlawful to hunt migratory game birds from or using motor-driven vehicles, land conveyances, or aircraft of any kind. This rule is designed to prevent unsportsmanlike hunting practices and minimize disturbances to wildlife.
Exceptions for Disabled Hunters: Paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs are permitted to hunt from stationary motor-driven vehicles or land conveyances. This exception acknowledges the mobility challenges faced by these individuals while still maintaining ethical hunting practices.
Prohibitions on Using Vehicles to Manipulate Bird Behavior: Using vehicles to affect the behavior of migratory game birds is strictly prohibited:
- Concentration and Driving: It is unlawful to use motor-driven land, water, or air conveyances, or sailboats to concentrate, drive, rally, or stir up migratory game birds. Such activities are considered unethical and can significantly disrupt bird populations and behavior.
Public Roads and Rights-of-Way: To ensure public safety and ethical hunting practices, specific rules apply to public roads and their surrounding areas:
- No Open Season on Public Roads: Hunting migratory game birds is not allowed on public roads or the right-of-way of public roads. This prohibition ensures the safety of the public and hunters and maintains the integrity of roadways as non-hunting zones.
For more information on federal regulations, contact: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 329, Albuquerque, NM 87103. Phone (505) 248-7889 or visit the USFWS website.
Harvest Information Program (HIP) Compliance for Migratory Game Bird Hunting
Mandatory HIP Certification: Before hunting migratory game birds, individuals must become HIP-certified within the state:
State Requirement: In Texas, as in other states, no person is allowed to hunt migratory game birds unless they are certified under the Harvest Information Program (HIP). This certification is crucial for managing and tracking game bird populations.
Federal Mandate: HIP is a federally-mandated program designed to collect better data on game bird harvests across the country. The information gathered through HIP is instrumental in managing and conserving migratory game bird populations.
Enrollment and Data Collection: The process of becoming HIP-certified involves data collection about hunting activities:
Hunting Endorsement: Hunters purchasing a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Endorsement or Super Combos will be prompted to answer a few questions regarding their past migratory bird hunting activities. This data helps wildlife agencies assess hunter effort and success rates.
Simple Questions: The questions are straightforward and aimed at understanding the hunter's involvement and harvests in the previous hunting season. Accurate responses contribute to effective conservation strategies.
Reporting Bird Bands: An important aspect of conservation efforts involves the reporting of bird bands:
Band Checks: Hunters are encouraged to check all harvested migratory game birds, especially doves, for leg bands.
Reporting to reportband.gov: If a band is found, it should be reported to the official website, reportband.gov. Reporting this data is crucial for tracking bird movements, survival rates, and other important ecological data.
Means and Methods
- Shotguns, lawful archery equipment, falconry, dogs, artificial decoys, and manual or mouth-operated bird calls are legal.
- A shotgun is the only legal firearm for hunting migratory game birds. Shotguns must not be larger than 10-gauge, must be fired from the shoulder, and must be incapable of holding more than three shells. Shotguns capable of holding more than three shells must be plugged with a one-piece filler which cannot be removed without disassembling the gun, so the gun’s total capacity does not exceed three shells.
- Hunting is permitted in the open or from a blind or other type of concealment or from floating craft or motor boat provided that all motion resulting from sail or motor has ceased. Sails must be furled and motor turned off before shooting starts.
- A craft under power may be used to retrieve dead or crippled birds; however, crippled birds may not be shot from such craft under power.
- No person, while hunting waterfowl anywhere in the state, may possess shotgun shells containing lead shot or loose lead shot for use in muzzleloaders. Approved shot includes steel (including copper, nickel or zinc-coated steel), bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer (e.g. moly-shot), and any other nontoxic material approved by the Director of the USFWS.
Directly or indirectly placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of salt, grain, or other feed that could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on or over areas where hunters are attempting to take them is prohibited by federal law. Hunters are responsible for knowing whether an area is baited or not.
For further information on federal regulation regarding baiting:
A hunter may hunt migratory game birds including waterfowl, coots and sandhill cranes:
- on or over standing crops, standing flooded crops and flooded harvested crops;
- over natural vegetation that has been manipulated;
- on or over a normal soil stabilization practice that is defined as a planting for agricultural soil erosion control or post-mining land reclamation conducted in accordance with official recommendations of State Extension Specialists of the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA);
- on or over lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as a result of a normal agricultural practice which is defined as a planting, harvesting or post-harvest manipulation conducted in accordance with official recommendations of State Extension Specialists of the Cooperative Extension Service of the USDA. Does not include the broadcast spreading of seed that is normally drill-planted;
- over crops or natural vegetation where grain has been inadvertently scattered as a result of entering or leaving a hunting area, placing decoys or retrieving downed birds;
- using natural vegetation or crops to conceal a blind, provided that if crops are used to conceal a blind, no grain or other feed is exposed, deposited, distributed or scattered in the process.
A person may hunt doves over planted crops that have been manipulated for the purpose of hunting.
Waterfowl and sandhill cranes may not be hunted where grain or feed has been distributed or scattered as a result of manipulation or livestock feeding.
Unlawful Activities in Migratory Game Bird Hunting
When hunting migratory game birds, certain activities are prohibited to ensure ethical hunting practices, conservation, and safety. Here are some of the key unlawful activities outlined in regulations:
- It is illegal to hunt migratory birds with the aid of bait or in any baited area.
- Hunters cannot hunt over baited areas until 10 days after all bait has been removed and a game warden has verified its removal.
- Placing bait on or adjacent to hunting areas to attract migratory game birds is also prohibited.
Specific Crop and Manipulation Rules:
- Hunting waterfowl or sandhill cranes over manipulated planted millet in its first year after planting is not allowed.
- Hunting over manipulated crops is only permissible if the manipulation constitutes a normal agricultural post-harvest activity, as recommended by State Extension Specialists of the Cooperative Extension Service of the USDA.
Prohibited Weapons and Methods:
- Only legal shotguns are permitted for hunting; the use of traps, snares, nets, fishhooks, poisons, drugs, explosives, or stupefying substances is unlawful.
- The use of live birds as decoys, recorded or electronically amplified bird calls or sounds, or sinkboxes is prohibited.
Vehicle and Conveyance Limitations:
- Hunting from or by means of motor vehicles or aircraft, including stationary ones, is generally prohibited. Exceptions exist for paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs, who may hunt from stationary motor-driven conveyances.
- Using motor-driven land, water, or air conveyances or sailboats to drive or concentrate migratory game birds is illegal.
Hunting Near Tame or Captive Birds:
- Hunting in areas where tame or captive live ducks or geese are present is unlawful unless these birds have been confined in a way that substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and completely conceals them from wild migratory game birds for at least 10 consecutive days before hunting.
License Requirements for Migratory Game Bird Hunters
To ensure lawful hunting of migratory game birds, specific licensing requirements are established:
Valid Hunting License:
- All hunters pursuing migratory game birds must possess a valid hunting license. This requirement is fundamental for legal hunting and ensures that hunters are registered and understand the regulations.
- Non-Residents Under 17: Individuals under 17 years of age from outside the state are considered residents for licensing purposes and may hunt with a resident license. This provision facilitates youth participation in hunting while maintaining regulatory oversight.
- Hunters 17 and Older: All hunters aged 17 or older must carry a driver's license or a personal identification certificate while hunting. For Texas residents, this ID must be issued by the Department of Public Safety.
- Non-resident hunters must carry similar identification documents, such as a driver's license or personal identification certificate, issued by the relevant authority in their home state or country. This requirement ensures that all hunters, regardless of residency, can be properly identified and have verified their eligibility to hunt.
Permit Requirements for Hunting Migratory Game Birds on Designated Lands
In addition to standard licensing, specific permit requirements are in place for hunting migratory game birds on certain lands:
- Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH): This permit allows hunters to access designated state and federal lands, as well as private lands leased by the State for public hunting purposes throughout the hunting season.
- Daily Hunting Permit: For those who prefer not to commit to an annual permit or who hunt less frequently, a Daily Hunting Permit is available for temporary access to the same types of lands.
- The requirement for either an Annual or Daily Hunting Permit applies specifically to certain state and federal lands, as well as private lands that have been leased by the State for the purpose of public hunting. These lands are managed to provide hunting opportunities while also ensuring the conservation of wildlife and habitats.
Youth Hunting Privileges:
- Youth under the age of 17 are encouraged to participate in hunting and may do so free of charge on these designated lands. This exemption aims to promote outdoor recreation and hunting heritage among younger generations while still under the oversight of conservation regulations.
- A migratory game bird endorsement is required for persons 17 years of age or older to hunt any migratory game bird, including mourning doves.
- A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (commonly called a Duck Stamp) is required by Federal law for waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and over. The stamp is available at most post offices and TPWD offices.
- Harvest Information (HIP) Certification is required to hunt migratory game birds.
- A Federal Sandhill Crane Hunting Permit is required to hunt sandhill cranes.
- An upland game bird endorsement is required to hunt turkey, quail, pheasant, or chachalacas.
Harvest Information Program (HIP) Certification
For the ethical and legal hunting of migratory game birds, adherence to the Harvest Information Program (HIP) is mandatory:
- No person is allowed to hunt migratory game birds in Texas without being HIP-certified. This certification is a requirement across states to manage and monitor bird populations effectively.
- HIP is a federally mandated program designed to gather data on the harvest of all migratory game birds. This information is crucial for setting sustainable hunting limits, understanding population trends, and making informed management decisions.
- When purchasing a hunting license or any migratory bird hunting endorsements, hunters will be asked to answer a few simple questions about their previous year's migratory bird hunting activities. These questions are aimed at gathering data on hunting effort and success.
- Once certified, the letters "HIP" will appear on the hunting license, indicating that the holder is HIP-certified and eligible to hunt migratory game birds.
- For additional details or inquiries about the HIP certification or migratory bird hunting, individuals can contact the provided phone number [(512) 389-4505] for assistance.
Special Veterans and Active Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting Days
To honor and recognize the service of military personnel, a special waterfowl hunting season is established:
- This special season is exclusively open to veterans and current members of the US Armed Forces on active duty. This includes members of the National Guard and Reserve who are on active duty for purposes other than training.
- A "veteran" is defined according to section 101 of title 38, United States Code, as an individual who served in the active military, naval, or air service and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
Proof of Eligibility:
- Eligible participants must carry proof of their service and status while hunting. Acceptable forms of proof include:
- A driver’s license or other state-issued identification indicating veteran status.
- A copy of the DD214 or DD215 discharge documentation.
- Any other federal government-issued identification indicating veteran status or active military duty.
- Eligible participants must carry proof of their service and status while hunting. Acceptable forms of proof include:
Special Season Recognition:
- These special hunting days are set aside as a gesture of gratitude and recognition for those who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces. It provides an opportunity for veterans and active military personnel to engage in waterfowl hunting outside the regular hunting seasons.
Species Illegal to Hunt: Migratory Game Birds
Understanding and identifying migratory game birds that are illegal to hunt is crucial for ethical and legal hunting. Here's a guide to some species protected by law:
Whooping Crane (Endangered Species):
- Appearance: Adults are nearly 5 feet tall with pure white bodies, a red patch on the head, and a black "mustache." Juveniles have rusty feathers mixed with white.
- Wingtips: Black primary feathers, not extending fully to the body.
- Wingspan: Approximately 7.5 feet.
- Flight: Long necks and legs fully extended, slow and steady wingbeats.
- Grouping: Flocks of 2 to 7, may sometimes migrate with Sandhill cranes.
- Appearance: All white with a long neck and short legs.
- Wingspan: Over 6 feet.
- Flight: Legs do not extend beyond the tail, neck extended straight forward.
- Grouping: Typically in flocks of 2 to 10.
- Appearance: White with black only on the tips of the wings, long neck, and a slender, curved bill.
- Wingspan: Approximately 3 feet.
- Flight: Legs extend slightly beyond the tail, known for flapping and gliding.
- Grouping: Found in groups up to about 30.
Great Blue Heron:
- Appearance: Stands about four feet tall, dark grayish-blue with a wingspan of nearly six feet.
- Flight: Long neck typically folded, slow wingbeat, extends neck near take-off and landing.
- Grouping: Typically found singly or in pairs.
- Appearance: White with a black tail and black along the entire edge of wings, long neck extended straight, heavy bill curved down.
- Wingspan: Approximately 5.5 feet.
- Flight: Long legs extend beyond the tail, flaps slowly, glides and soars.
- Grouping: Found singly or in small groups.
White Pelican (Protected Non-Game Species):
- Appearance: White wings with black edgings extending almost to the body, long neck folded in flight, and a long yellow bill.
- Wingspan: Approximately 8 feet.
- Flight: Short legs do not extend beyond the tail.
- Grouping: Often in flocks of 20 or more.
Great Egret (Protected Non-Game Species):
- Appearance: An all-white heron with a 4.5-foot wingspan, bright yellow beak, and long black legs extending beyond the tail in flight.
- Flight: The neck is not extended; black legs extend beyond the tail.
- Size: Slightly smaller than Sandhill cranes when standing.
Double-Crested Cormorant (Protected Non-Game Species):
- Appearance: Goose-sized with a slender body, long neck, slender hooked bill usually tilted up while swimming, and an orange throat patch.
- Color: Dark, nearly totally black body.
- Flight: More rapid wingbeat and longer tail than geese.
Light Goose Conservation Order Guidelines
The Light Goose Conservation Order is established to manage and conserve light goose populations, including Snow, Ross's, and certain subspecies of the Lesser Snow Geese. Here are the rules and regulations effective from September 1, 2023, through August 31, 2024:
Bag and Possession Limits:
- There are no daily bag or possession limits for light geese during the conservation order. This measure aims to control burgeoning populations that are causing ecological harm.
- The use of electronic calls, which is typically prohibited, is legal during this conservation order. These calls can be used to attract light geese more effectively.
- Unplugged shotguns capable of holding more than three shells are legal. This relaxation of the typical restriction allows for more efficient harvesting of light geese.
- Extended shooting hours are in effect, from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. This provides hunters with more opportunity to harvest light geese.
Exclusivity to Light Geese:
- It is unlawful to take any other species of migratory game bird during the Light Goose Conservation Order. This regulation ensures that the focus is solely on the management of light goose populations.
Area Closed to Hunting: Certain areas are closed to light goose hunting after March 5, 2017. In Refugio, Calhoun, and Aransas counties on the seaward side of a specific boundary, it is unlawful to take light geese. This closure aims to protect certain habitats and bird populations in these regions. The specified boundary includes a line from the Gulf of Mexico at Port O’Connor, along highways, to the Aransas Channel and back to the Gulf. The Guadalupe Delta Wildlife Management Area is exempt from this closure.