Woods, Wings & Water: Be good, obey the law

Sept. 1, 2013 at 4:01 a.m.

Before you head out for ducks or dove, make sure you are current with your 2013-14 license and stamps.

Before you head out for ducks or dove, make sure you are current with your 2013-14 license and stamps.

Increased traffic in the outdoors because of the holiday will have Texas game wardens out in force.

That's a good thing if you are a respectable civilian but not if you choose reckless behavior instead of sound judgment.

With all of the excitement of the dove season and Labor Day weekend on the water, here is your reminder to be a good citizen and a few tips to remain a law-abiding citizen.

I purchased my 2013-14 Super Combo hunting and fishing license this week before it expired Sunday.

When buying your new license, remember to ask the license provider to make sure you are HIP (Harvest Information Program) certified.

I was asked how many ducks I shot last year.

How many geese?

How many doves?

Just like that, I was HIP certified.

Also, if you plan to hunt sandhill cranes in December and January, ask for the free permit.

Yes, you can be ticketed if you do not have the permit.

Federal officials gauge the pressure on the gray birds by how many hunters seek the excellent table fare of the crane.

You can't obtain a permit from your local Wal-Mart or Academy. Sandhill crane permits are only available at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offices, by calling the TPWD at 1-800-792-1112 or on the web at tpwd.state.tx.us.

If you plan to hunt any migratory game birds, you need a specific stamp.

If you choose to purchase the Super Combo, you are covered, except for the purchase of a federal duck stamp ($15).

If you hunt and do not have the Super Combo, be sure to buy a dove stamp to hunt doves and a state and federal duck stamp for ducks and/or geese.

You can fish any public waterway with a fishing license, but you must have a saltwater stamp to wet a line in the brine.

Again, if you purchase the Super Combo, you are covered for all stamps, both hunting and fishing. A Super Combo with a federal duck stamp is $85.

Since dove season opens this weekend, this is a good time to go over some of the rules most often violated by shotgunners.

First, unlike a "boat limit" of speckled trout or any other game fish, all migratory game birds cannot be comingled between hunters. That means you must shoot your own birds and must keep your own birds in your possession at all times.

Yes, I know - it is aggravating to follow the law to your best ability only to have a federal game warden cite you for not having your birds separated.

I can testify - I was not cited, but I was sternly warned.

That means when you shoot your 15 doves, you must quit shooting, even if your buddy on the bucket next to you only has five in his pile - and if his five and your 15 are in the same pile, both of you could receive a citation.

The same goes for ducks and geese.

In the old days, if we had five hunters in the blind and the limit was six ducks a piece, the hunt was over when we had 30 ducks in a pile.

Now, we separate our ducks into individual piles, so when a warden walks up and asks who shot what bird - and they will ask - we are abiding by the law.

These are the basics.

Buy a license, know the law and be good people.

Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (binkgrimes@sbcglobal.net).



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