Hunting rule changes a reality

HARLINGEN — Federal officials yesterday confirmed the anticipated major changes to the hunting rules at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.

Applications to hunt the refuge will will be processed through Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s online-only public hunt draw system.

Officials yesterday touted the new system as being more efficient, saying TPWD’s system will allow hunters to create an account that can be used for permit applications to all public hunts available in Texas.

“All TWPD managed hunt areas and U.S. Forest Service lands in Texas are currently using this system with great success, and by being part of this system, LANWR hunters can easily apply for many hunts throughout Texas,” a statement said.

The TWPD does require a $3 application fee for adult hunters applying for permits under the new system.

“Selected hunters will be notified by e-mail and will then have to pay an online permit fee of either $80 for standards hunts (1-3 days) or $130 for extended hunts (4 or more days),” the officials said.

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– Allocating all hunts on a lottery system

(currently first-come, first-served)

– All hunts would be three- or five-day hunts (archery hunts all are five days now, firearms hunts three days)

– Pricing would be $80 for a three-day hunt and $130 for the five-day (all hunts are $80 now)

– Limiting hunters to one firearm and one archery hunt per season (one firearm, two archery now)

– Up to four hunters can apply as a group