The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has approved changes to the hunting and fishing regulations. There are new freshwater fishing, hunting and saltwater changes for the 2021-2022 season.
These changes will go into effect Sept. 1, 2021.
This process is an annual affair and the state has a diplomatic way of reaching these changes. The TP&W accepts input for proposed changes from experts, biologists and the public at locations reasonably accessible to all interested. Lake associations, groups of guides or anyone with concerns about the resources or laws can come to these meetings and express themselves. After the information gathering, studies and data are compiled, recommendations are proposed.
To explain how these proposals become regulations, we will look at the new catfish regulations. Currently, statewide regulations for blue and channel catfish consist of a 12-inch minimum length limit and a 25-fish daily bag limit that combines both species. The new changes will remove the minimum length limit and retain the 25-fish daily bag.
However, of the 25 blue or channel catfish that could be harvested per day, anglers will be limited to harvesting no more than 10 fish that measure 20 inches or longer. Back in 2018 the TP&W tasked a team to evaluate the catfish regulations. Providing a high quality catfish fishery, meeting anglers needs and reducing regulations was the goal of the research. The team turned in their data and submitted possible improvements. Back in July of last year, the TP&W then solicited input from the public.
The public’s two cents were added to the commission’s data, and a new public meeting was held in February to receive comments on the final proposed changes before any changes were made. March 25, the Commission met again and approved the new changes.
There were changes for hunting regulations as well. New for the upcoming hunting season are the following changes:
Add crossbow to the definition of lawful archery equipment.
Remove the prohibition on trailing wounded deer with dogs in Angelina, Hardin, Nacogdoches, Orange, Shelby and Tyler counties; In addition, allow the trailing of wounded deer to no more than two dogs on a leash in Jasper, Newton, Sabine and San Augustine counties.
Eliminate the experimental pronghorn season in the northern Panhandle.
Extend the general pronghorn season from 9 days to 16 days statewide.
Close Panola County to hunting eastern turkey season during the spring in 2022.
Implement mandatory reporting for spring turkey hunting (April 1 – 30) in the “Western 1 Gobbler” counties in southcentral Texas in 2022.
Add two days of hunting opportunity in the Special White-winged Dove Days within the South Dove Zone.
Establish season dates and daily bag limits for all migratory game bird hunting seasons.
Modify the muzzleloader definition to clarify only the bullet or projectile and powder must be loaded through the muzzle.
Modify opening day for chachalacas to be concurrent with quail season.
Align spring and fall wild turkey hunting seasons with consistent North and South Zone boundaries along Highway 90 starting in the fall of 2021.
Allow squirrel hunting statewide by opening the remaining closed counties to a year-round hunting season. Traditional East Texas squirrel season, May 1-31 and Oct. 1 to the last Sunday in February remains unchanged.