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Legal Jargon for Hunting Migratory Birds

duck huntingHunting and fishing is regulated in Texas and duck hunting is no doubt  a favorite sport in the state of Texas. If you are planning to hunt for ducks, Mergansers, Coots, geese, and cranes, you should be familiar with the rules and regulations that will keep you hunting safe and legal.  Understanding the legal terms used in the legal jargon will help you to enjoy the sport of hunting legally.

Any area where salt, grain, or other feed has been placed, exposed, and scattered to serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds should be designated as a baited area. Baiting is the direct or indirect 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. A bag limit is the maximum number of birds specified for each species which may be taken during the legal shooting hour of any given day. Possession limit is the maximum number of birds that can be possessed at one time.

There are several species identified for the purpose of legal regulations.  Snow and blue geese are known as light geese. All other geese, including Canada and white-fronted geese, are known as dark geese. All migratory game birds include wild species of ducks, mergansers, geese, brant, coots, rails, gallinules, plovers, Wilson’s snipe or jacksnipe, woodcock, mourning doves, white-winged doves, white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, red-billed pigeons, band-tailed pigeons, shorebirds of all varieties and sand hill cranes. Waterfowl are ducks (including teal), geese, mergansers and coots.

Longbow, recurved bow or compound bows are legal archery equipment.  Crossbows are unlawful.  A legal shotgun is one that is not larger than a 10-gauge that is fired from the shoulder and is 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 the alteration of natural vegetation or agricultural crops, including but not limited to mowing, shredding, discing, rolling, chopping, trampling, flattening, burning and herbicide treatments. Manipulation does not include the distributing or scattering of grain, seed or other feed after removal from or storage on the field where grown.

Natural vegetation is any nonagricultural, native or naturalized plant species that grows at a site in response to planting or from existing seeds.  Natural vegetation does not include planted millet. However, planted millet that grows on its own in subsequent years after the planting is considered natural vegetation.

There are many laws and regulations that govern duck hunting in Texas.  It is imperative to learn the terminology that is used in the legal descriptions.

Source: “Definitions for Waterfowl Hunting.” TPWD: Web. 29 Apr. 2013.

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