Some changes are made in the name of progress and some are made out of necessity.
As we are well aware 2020 has brought more changes to the way things are done, locally, nationally as well as globally. Our Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is one to be proud of in my opinion, not that I always agree with every one of its rules, but the TPWD does seem to have our resources and our best interest.
I have hunted and fished in several other states and I believe Texas has the best system, hands down.
With all that being said, the pandemic has delivered another change that was perhaps a surprise to very few. The annual publication of the TP&WD, the “Texas Outdoor Annual Hunting, Fishing and Boating Regulations” will only be available in digital form this year. This booklet has every piece of information, regulation and rule for the current season. Previously this little booklet was a mainstay in glove boxes, bass boats, campers and dashboards of nearly every hunter or angler in the state.
Last year 2.3 million of the booklets were distributed throughout the state. With that information, consider this, 2.8 million visited the Outdoor Annual website. Digital versions have been available for years but obviously not everyone has taken advantage of them.
Change is the only constant but the TP&WD states that the printed copies will be available again post pandemic.
I downloaded the app this week (Apple App Store and Droid Versions are available), and I am surprised to say, I may not get a hard copy when they do start printing them again. The Outdoor Annual mobile app of course has more capabilities than the print version. One really cool feature is the remote location ability to view regulations while offline.
Another advantage is the ability to purchase a license or endorsement online then save it to your app. Showing the electronic copy to the authorities is needed. There is location function that could be awesome if a hunter or angler were in unfamiliar territory. Using your location one could ask questions like, “seasons and regulations for my current location” or “what is the limit for crappie at my current location?”
There is even a game and fish identification function. I am still playing with the app but it seems extremely helpful and user friendly. The app will be updated and in the event of any emergency news or regulation changes will be in the users hands immediately.
If none of this appeals to you and a printed copy is the only way for you, fear not.
Go to https://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/. Find your desired information and simply print everything you want. The current 2019-2020 season which expires August 31st as well as the 2020-2021 versions are available so be aware.
All of the new regulations will be updated on the website and the app on Aug. 15, which is when new licenses go on sale.