PARKS AND WILDLIFE CODE


TITLE 5. WILDLIFE AND PLANT CONSERVATION


SUBTITLE B. HUNTING AND FISHING


CHAPTER 61. UNIFORM WILDLIFE REGULATORY ACT


SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 61.001. TITLE. This chapter may be cited as the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1983.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 22, ch. 9, art. I, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 29, 1983.

Sec. 61.002. PURPOSE. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a comprehensive method for the conservation of an ample supply of wildlife resources on a statewide basis to insure reasonable and equitable enjoyment of the privileges of ownership and pursuit of wildlife resources. This chapter provides a flexible law to enable the commission to deal effectively with changing conditions to prevent depletion and waste of wildlife resources.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 22, ch. 44, art. I, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 29, 1983.

Sec. 61.003. APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER. This chapter applies to every county, place, and wildlife resource in the state, except as otherwise provided by this code.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 71, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.005. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(1) "Wildlife resources" means all wild animals, wild birds, and aquatic animal life.

(2) "Depletion" means the reduction of a species below its immediate recuperative potential by any cause.

(3) "Waste" means the failure to provide for the regulated harvest of surplus wildlife resources when that harvest would allow, promote, or optimize a healthy and self-sustaining population of a species.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 439, ch. 184, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2740, ch. 748, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1981; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 72, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.006. CRAYFISH. Except for Section 61.022 and Chapter 68 of this code, this chapter does not apply to crayfish, other than in public water.

Added by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 399, ch. 161, Sec. 3, eff. May 20, 1981.

SUBCHAPTER B. PROHIBITED ACTS


Sec. 61.021. TAKING WILDLIFE RESOURCES PROHIBITED. Except as permitted under a proclamation issued by the commission under this chapter, no person may hunt, catch, or possess a game bird or game animal, fish, marine animal, or other aquatic life at any time or in any place covered by this chapter.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 506, ch. 213, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2740, ch. 748, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1981.

Sec. 61.022. TAKING WILDLIFE RESOURCES WITHOUT CONSENT OF LANDOWNER PROHIBITED. (a) No person may hunt or catch by any means or method or possess a wildlife resource at any time and at any place covered by this chapter unless the owner of the land, submerged land, or water, or the owner's agent, consents.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a person who violates Subsection (a) the first time commits an offense that is a Class A Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor and is punishable in addition by the revocation or suspension under Section 12.5015 of hunting and fishing licenses and permits.

(c) A person who violates Subsection (a) the first time by killing a desert bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, or white-tailed deer commits an offense that is a Parks and Wildlife Code state jail felony and is punishable in addition by the revocation or suspension under Section 12.5015 of hunting and fishing licenses and permits.

(d) A second violation of Subsection (a) shall be classified as one category higher than the first violation or a Parks and Wildlife Code felony, whichever is lesser, and is punishable in addition by the revocation or suspension under Section 12.5015 of hunting and fishing licenses and permits.

(e) A third or subsequent violation of Subsection (a) shall be classified as a Parks and Wildlife Code felony and is punishable in addition by the revocation or suspension under Section 12.5015 of hunting and fishing licenses and permits.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 507, ch. 213, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2740, ch. 748, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1981; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 73, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1002 (H.B. 506), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 61.0221. DISPOSITION OF SEIZED PROPERTY. (a) If a person is finally convicted of an offense under Section 61.022, the court entering judgment may order that a weapon or other personal property used in the commission of the offense be destroyed or forfeited to the department.

(b) If the department receives a forfeiture order from a court under this section, the department may:

(1) use the property in the department's normal operations;

(2) sell or transfer the property; or

(3) destroy the property.

(c) The department shall deposit money from the sale of forfeited property under this section in the game, fish, and water safety account.

(d) This section does not apply to a vehicle, aircraft, or vessel.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 603 (H.B. 2037), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 61.023. APPLYING CONTRACEPTIVES TO WILDLIFE RESOURCES. No person may intentionally apply contraceptives to any vertebrate wildlife resource unless the person first obtains written authorization from the department.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 74, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

SUBCHAPTER C. REGULATORY DUTIES


Sec. 61.051. DUTY TO INVESTIGATE AND STUDY CERTAIN WILDLIFE RESOURCES. (a) The department shall conduct scientific studies and investigations of all species of game animals, game birds, and aquatic animal life to determine:

(1) supply;

(2) economic value;

(3) environments;

(4) breeding habits;

(5) sex ratios; and

(6) effects of any factors or conditions causing increases or decreases in supply.

(b) The studies and investigations may be made periodically or continuously.

(c) The commission shall make findings of fact based on the studies and investigations of the department.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 75, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.052. GENERAL REGULATORY DUTY. (a) The commission shall regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in or from the places covered by this chapter.

(b) The commission shall regulate the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in or from the places covered by this chapter.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 507, ch. 213, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 76, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.053. OPEN SEASONS. The commission shall provide open seasons for the hunting, taking, or possession of game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life if its investigations and findings of fact reveal that open seasons may be safely provided or if the threat of waste requires an open season to conserve game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 507, ch. 213, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 77, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.054. PROCLAMATIONS OF THE COMMISSION. (a) Regulation of the hunting, taking, or possession of game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life under this chapter shall be by proclamation of the commission.

(b) A proclamation of the commission authorizing the hunting, taking, or possession of game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life must specify:

(1) the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed;

(2) the means or method that may be used to hunt, take, or possess the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life; and

(3) the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 507, ch. 213, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 78, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.055. AMENDMENTS AND REVOCATIONS. (a) If the commission finds that there is a danger of depletion or waste, it shall amend or revoke its proclamations to prevent the depletion or waste and to provide to the people the most equitable and reasonable privilege to hunt game animals or game birds or catch aquatic animal life.

(b) The commission may amend or revoke its proclamations at any time it finds the facts warrant a change.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 507, ch. 213, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 79, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.056. PROCLAMATIONS CONCERNING CERTAIN DEER AND ANTELOPE. A proclamation of the commission authorizing the taking of antlerless deer or antelope in this state is not effective for a specific tract of land unless the landowner or the landowner's agent agrees in writing to the number of antlerless deer or antelope permits authorized for the property.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 1860, ch. 439, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 863, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.057. ANTLERLESS DEER AND ANTELOPE. (a) Except as provided in Subsection (c) of this section, no person may hunt an antlerless deer or antelope in this state without first having acquired an antlerless deer or antelope permit issued by the department on a form provided by the department.

(b) The permit may be distributed by the landowner or landowner's agent for land which is subject to an agreement under Section 61.056 of this code. A landowner or landowner's agent may distribute permits only for the land the person owns or the land for which the person is an agent.

(c) When conditions warrant, the commission may allow hunting of antlerless deer or antelope in this state without a permit. The proclamation allowing hunting without a permit must be specific as to the county or portion of a county to which it applies.

(d) No person may sell or trade a permit authorized by this section for anything of value.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 1860, ch. 439, Sec. 4, 5, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 863, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.058. YOUTH HUNTING AND FISHING. (a) The commission may provide for special open seasons during which the taking and possession of game animals and game birds are restricted to persons under 17 years old.

(b) The commission may provide for special means and methods for the taking and possession of aquatic animal life by persons under 17 years old.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 80, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.060. DEFENSE TO PROSECUTION: HUMANE DISPATCH OF CERTAIN GAME ANIMALS AND BIRDS. (a) In this section:

(1) "Dispatch" means to kill by any humane method.

(2) "Game animal" has the meaning assigned by Section 63.001.

(3) "Game bird" has the meaning assigned by Section 64.001.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution for a violation of this chapter or of a regulation adopted or proclamation issued under the authority of this chapter by the commission that the actor dispatched a game animal or game bird that:

(1) was mortally wounded, not through the actor's conduct; or

(2) behaved in a manner that:

(A) is inconsistent with the manner in which a game animal or game bird that is not diseased typically behaves; and

(B) leads a reasonable person to believe that the game animal or game bird poses a substantial risk of serious harm to itself, a person, or other wildlife.

(c) The commission may adopt rules, including rules concerning the disposition of a game animal or a game bird that has been dispatched under this section, to implement this section.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 157 (H.B. 2555), Sec. 1, eff. May 24, 2005.

SUBCHAPTER D. ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES


Sec. 61.101. LOCAL HEARING ON PROCLAMATION. (a) Before a proclamation of the commission may be adopted, the department shall hold public hearings in the county to be affected by the proclamation if the director or the director's designee receives a petition for a public hearing signed by not less than 25 persons who reside in the county.

(b) The hearing may be conducted by a member of the commission or by any designated employee of the department. This subsection does not require the presence of a member at any local hearing.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 267, art. 1, Sec. 58, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 81, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.102. NOTICE ON LOCAL HEARING. Notice of the hearing must be given in a newspaper published in the county in which the hearing is to be held at least 10 days before the date of the hearing. If no newspaper is published in the county in which the hearing is to be held, the notice must be given in a newspaper published in an adjoining county and having wide circulation in the county in which the hearing is to be held.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 267, art. 1, Sec. 59, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 61.103. ADOPTION OF PROCLAMATIONS. (a) A proclamation under this chapter must be adopted by a quorum of the commission at a meeting of the commission held in the commission's office in Austin.

(b) A proclamation may be adopted at any special or regular meeting of the commission, for which the date and time are designated by the commission.

(c) Any person interested in a proclamation is entitled to be heard at the meeting and may introduce evidence on the imminence of depletion or waste.

(d) For the purpose of adopting a proclamation under this chapter, a quorum of the commission is five members.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 267, art. 1, Sec. 60, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 61.104. EFFECTIVE DATE AND DURATION OF PROCLAMATIONS. (a) Except as provided in Subsection (b) of this section, a proclamation takes effect at the time determined by the commission. The time designated by the commission may not be earlier than 20 days after the day the proclamation is adopted by the commission.

(b) If the commission finds that there is an immediate danger of depletion in any area as to a species, the commission may declare a state of emergency, and a proclamation issued under the state of emergency takes effect on issuance.

(c) A proclamation of the commission continues in effect until it expires by its own terms or until it is amended or repealed.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 549, ch. 260, art. 2, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

Sec. 61.106. JUDICIAL REVIEW OF PROCLAMATION. (a) The venue for any suit challenging the validity of a proclamation of the commission under this chapter is in Travis County.

(b) The party complaining of a proclamation has the burden of proof to show invalidity.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975.

SUBCHAPTER E. PROVISIONS AFFECTING LIMITED AREAS


Sec. 61.201. LIVINGSTON DAM FISHING PLATFORM. (a) No person may permanently anchor a barge, boat, or other fishing platform on the Trinity River downstream from the Livingston Dam within the area between the restricted area boundary that is 1,000 feet from the dam and a point 1,500 feet downstream from the dam. A barge, boat, or other fishing platform is considered permanently anchored if it is anchored in the described area:

(1) for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period without moving 100 feet or more during that time; or

(2) for five or more consecutive days, whether or not it has been moved.

(b) No person may leave a barge, boat, or other fishing platform unattended for any period of time if the barge, boat, or platform is within the area described in Subsection (a) of this section.

(c) A barge, boat, or other fishing platform that is left unattended for any period of time within the area described in Subsection (a) of this section may be impounded and may be reclaimed only by payment of both the fine imposed under this chapter and the cost of impoundment.

(d) Property impounded under this section that has not been claimed within the time period specified in Section 683.002, Transportation Code, for disposition of an abandoned automobile is considered abandoned and may be disposed of in the same manner as an abandoned automobile in accordance with Chapter 683 of that code.

(e) This section may be enforced by any peace officer listed in Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 130, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.234, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.204. BIGHORN SHEEP COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS. The department may enter into cooperative agreements with landowners for the purpose of restoring, protecting, and managing bighorn sheep. A cooperative agreement may provide that any person holding a valid bighorn sheep hunting permit may hunt on land owned by the landowner and covered by the cooperative agreement.

Added by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 267, art. 1, Sec. 61, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 61.205. BIGHORN SHEEP HUNTING PERMITS. (a) No person may hunt a bighorn sheep without first having acquired a bighorn sheep hunting permit issued by the department on a form provided by the department. A holder of a bighorn sheep hunting permit may hunt only on those lands for which the permit is valid.

(b) The permit may be distributed by the department or by a party to a cooperative agreement with the department for the restoration, protection, and management of bighorn sheep. A party to a cooperative agreement may distribute permits only for land that he owns or is in charge of or that is designated in the cooperative agreement.

(c) Permits distributed by the department shall be distributed to parties to a cooperative agreement and other members of the public by means of a fair method, subject to the limitations of the maximum number of permits to be issued.

(d) The department may authorize the sale, trade, auction, or donation of a bighorn sheep hunting permit if the proceeds of the sale, trade, auction, or donation are used to restore, protect, or manage bighorn sheep.

Added by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 267, art. 1, Sec. 61, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1256, Sec. 82, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 61.206. BIGHORN SHEEP IDENTIFICATION. A person may not possess a mounted or unmounted head of a bighorn sheep taken in this state unless identification items and tags are attached as prescribed by the commission. The commission may establish fees for tags or other identification items issued under this section.

Added by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 267, art. 1, Sec. 61, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

SUBCHAPTER F. PENALTIES


Sec. 61.901. PENALTIES. (a) Except as provided in this section, a person who violates any provision of this chapter or any proclamation or regulation of the commission issued under the authority of this chapter commits an offense that is a Class C Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor.

(b) A person who violates a proclamation of the commission relating to the daily catch, retention, and size limits for redfish or speckled sea trout taken for noncommercial purposes is guilty of an offense and is punishable for the first and subsequent offenses by the penalties prescribed by Sections 66.2011(d) and 66.218 of this code.

(c) Repealed by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 992, Sec. 32(1), eff. June 18, 2005.

(d) If it is shown at the trial of the defendant for a violation of a proclamation of the commission that regulates the use and possession of nets, seines, trawls, traps, or other devices used for catching aquatic life, except shrimp, in the inside water of this state that he has been convicted within five years before the trial date of a violation of the proclamation for which he is being prosecuted, on conviction he shall be punished for a Class B Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor.

Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 1405, ch. 545, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 381, ch. 190, Sec. 1, 2, eff. May 20, 1977; Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 507, ch. 213, Sec. 4, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2698, ch. 735, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2740, ch. 748, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1981; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 970, ch. 229, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 267, art. 3, Sec. 39, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 992 (H.B. 2026), Sec. 32(1), eff. June 18, 2005.