[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 139 (Wednesday, July 20, 2011)]
[Pages 43339-43340]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-18199]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-R-2011-N114; 1261-0000-29154-4A]

Hunt Fee at Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, TX

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Implement a Hunt Fee.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce our 
intent to implement a hunt fee at Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge 
(Refuge), located in Texas, as authorized by Federal Lands Recreation 
Enhancement Act (REA). The Refuge's proposed fee is $12.50 for lottery 
deer and feral hog hunt. Under REA provisions, the Refuge will identify 
and post the specific fee.

DATES: Submit your comments on this action by August 19, 2011. Unless 
we publish a notice in the Federal Register withdrawing this action, we 
will implement the hunt fee on January 16, 2012 at the Refuge.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments by one of the following methods:
     By U.S. mail to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: 
Visitor Services, 500 Gold Ave., SW., Room 4504, Albuquerque, NM 87102.
     By fax to: (505) 248-6621.
     By e-mail to: Ken_Garrahan@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ken Garrahan, at (505) 248-6635.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 
(TPWD) is the regulatory agency for wildlife in Texas. To monitor deer 
population dynamics throughout the state, TPWD has identified 33 unique 
Resource Management Units (RMUs) having similar soils, vegetation types 
and land use practices. TPWD collects, compiles, and analyzes deer 
population data from identified RMUs and associated ecoregions 
throughout the state and adjusts deer hunting regulations accordingly.
    Caddo Lake NWR is within RMU 16 where deer densities increased from 
8.7 to 15.1 deer per 1,000 acres and recruitment decreased almost 50 
percent from 2005 to 2008. The Refuge has worked in cooperation with 
TPWD biologists and staff to monitor the deer herd on Caddo Lake NWR.
    In 2008 and 2009, Refuge and TPWD staff conducted spotlight 
surveys, browse surveys, forest understory evaluations and review of 
historic and ongoing Army deer hunt data (prior to 2004, the land was 
under the jurisdiction of the United States Army, Department of 
Defense). The data indicate that the Refuge deer herd is at/near 
carrying capacity (K) levels, or that it exceeds K levels in certain 
areas of the Refuge. During this 2-year period, deer density on the 
refuge has increased from 34.3 to 58.9 deer per 1,000 acres. Estimated 
doe per buck ratio also increased from 2:1 to 3:1, while recruitment 
remained low, at near 0.15 fawns per doe. Accordingly, the proposed 
limited deer hunt will reduce the number of deer to obtain a more 
healthy and sustainable population on the Refuge.
    Feral hogs are an extremely invasive exotic species that is not 
considered a game species by the State of Texas. Texas is home to an 
estimated 2 million feral hogs. This is due in part to intentional 
releases, suitable habitat, disease eradication, limited natural 
predators, and high reproductive potential. There are very few 
inhibiting factors to curtail this population growth. The hunting of 
feral hogs has become a popular sport in the State, and the public 
interest would best be served by allowing this activity on the refuge. 
The damaging effects of feral hogs were present prior to the 
establishment of the refuge, and their numbers and damaging effects on 
the habitat and native wildlife species will continue to increase 
without a control mechanism. If a control mechanism (i.e. hunting or 
trapping) is not established and implemented, feral hogs will degrade 
the refuge habitat and have a negative impact on native wildlife 
    We announce our intent to implement a $12.50 hunt fee for a lottery 
deer and feral hog hunt at the Refuge under 16 U.S.C. 6802(g) of the 
REA. The Refuge plans to use collected fees to defray costs associated 
with a hunting program on the Refuge. Fees garnered through this 
program will be used to offset expenses in operating the hunt, 
including providing refuge hunt permits/brochures, boundary line/hunt 
area signage, maintenance of overtime by law enforcement officers, 
employee salaries dedicated to the administration of the hunts, and for 
expansion and improvement of parking areas, and improved accessibility 
for mobility impaired hunters. It is our policy to only allow 
activities that are appropriate and compatible with the Refuge's 

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Authorities and Requirements of the REA

    In December 2004, the REA became law (16 U.S.C. 6801-6814). The REA 
provides authority through December 2014 for the Secretaries of the 
Departments of the Interior and Agriculture to establish, modify, 
charge, and collect recreation fees for use at some Federal recreation 
lands and waters, and contains specific provisions addressing public 
involvement in the establishment of recreation fees. The REA also 
directed the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior and 
Agriculture to publish advance notice in the Federal Register whenever 

[[Page 43340]]

establish new recreation fee areas under their respective 
    Should public comments provide substantive reasons why we should 
not implement a hunt fee at the Refuge, we may reevaluate our plan and 
publish a subsequent notice in the Federal Register withdrawing this 
action. Otherwise, we will implement a hunt fee at the Caddo Lake 
Refuge on the date specified in the DATES section of this document, and 
the Refuge will post fee amounts and expenditures onsite.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 6801-6814.

    Dated: April 27, 2011.
Joy E. Nicholopoulos,
Acting Regional Director, Region 2.
[FR Doc. 2011-18199 Filed 7-19-11; 8:45 am]