Hunting: Big Time Texas Hunts Deadline Nears

September 22nd, 2014

Big Time Texas Hunt at Black Gap WMA

Big Time Texas Hunt at Black Gap WMA

This is Passport to Texas

Big Time Texas Hunts offers entrants a chance to win any of eight premium hunt packages on some of the finest private ranches and prime wildlife management areas in the state.

09 —We bill it as once in a lifetime type of hunts. [We have] Really great hunting packages for deer, and birds, and waterfowl, alligator…

Linda Campbell is program director for Private Lands and Public Hunting at Parks and Wildlife.

13 — These are fully guided hunts, and so everything is provided: lodging and food; all the guiding is also provided. You just have to get yourself to the location. But other than that – everything is taken care of, including the taxes on the hunt, itself.

Each hunt package is a different drawing; enter as many of the drawings as many times as you like. Entries cost $9 online or $10 by phone, mail or at retail locations where you buy licenses. Deadline to enter is October 15.

Some Big Time Texas Hunt packages permit winners to bring along a friend.

16— The Whitetail Bonanza, for example. The Exotic Safari – you can bring hunting companions with you. The Grand Slam, which is the hunt for the premier big game animals in Texas – pronghorn, big horn sheep, mule deer and whitetail – you can bring a non-hunting companion on that one.

All proceeds from Big Time Texas Hunts benefit wildlife conservation, research and public hunting in Texas.

We record our series at The Block House in Austin, Texas and Joel Block engineers our program.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV: Kickapoo Cavern

September 19th, 2014
Inside Kickapoo Cavern

Inside Kickapoo Cavern

This is Passport to Texas

At Kickapoo Cavern State Park near Bracketville … nature is almost untouched, the way it used to be.

06— It’s a great place to just get away from it all. You can unplug from all the distractions of the city, and just get back in touch
with nature.

Mark Garrett, is a ranger at the park, which offers visitors 64-hundred acres of birding, hiking, and mountain biking. That’s just what’s above ground. Below, in the cavern, ranger Steve Blair says there’s even more to explore, and regularly takes park visitors down under.

17—You’ve got twin columns; the column on your right is the largest column in the state of Texas. It’s eighty feet high, which is a little over 8 stories. You can see the different colored drapery off of it – all the jellyfish looking stuff – I see Mother nature at its best.

From the depths of Stuart Bat Cave at Kickapoo Cavern State Park, Mexican Free tail bats emerge nightly throughout summer to the delight of visitors.

10— The bat flights are pretty spectacular. There are 500-thousand bats here at the cave. It takes approximately an hour and a half for all the bats to get out of the cave.

Ranger Mark Garrett says park staff works hard to keep the site as natural as possible so we can all…

03— Enjoy a part of Texas a lot of people have never seen.

View a segment about Kickapoo Cavern SP this week on the Texas Parks and Wildlife PBS TV series. Check your local listings.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Conservation: Lone Star Land Stewards

September 18th, 2014

Prescribed burning

Leopold Lone Star land Steward Award winner 2014, Winston 8 Ranch.

This is Passport to Texas

The key to healthy habitat and wildlife populations rests in the hands of landowners. In Texas, we honor their skillful management.

09—Lone Star Land Steward is an award program where we recognize those landowners in Texas who are doing an exemplary job of managing their habitats and their wildlife.

Linda Campbell oversees the state’s Private Lands and Public Hunting programs.

13—We have all kinds of focus on these landowners. We have a great diversity of people. We have a regional award for each of the ten eco-regions. And then we have an overall award, the Leopold Conservation Award, for the overall statewide land steward.

Nominations for the awards opened June first, and will continue until the end of November.

23—Nominations can come from the landowners themselves, or those that assist them. We will take nominations from any member of the public. All of those nominations are evaluated, and we do site visited on those. We just want to make sure that we hold up those who are doing such an excellent job managing the resources of Texas.

Find nomination forms on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series…and funds the Private Lands and Public Hunting programs.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Conservation: Powderhorn Ranch Acquisition

September 17th, 2014

Wetland bayous

Wetland bayous along Powderhorn Lake, image by Jerod Foster, courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

This is Passport to Texas

The 17-thousand acre Powderhorn Ranch in Calhoun County has a long, fascinating past, and a bright future, thanks to a coalition of partners that raised nearly 38-million dollars to help purchase the land.

04—This really took the proverbial village to help put this project together.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Executive Director, Carter Smith says the expansive tract of pristine coastal prairie will be preserved for all Texans, including native flora and fauna.

18— The Powderhorn Ranch has been the dream of the conservation community for almost a quarter of a century. And, everybody has recognized its scale, its incredible ecological integrity and biological uniqueness. And, as we see more development, more activity, we’ve recognized the criticality of protecting places that scale like the Powderhorn.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation raised most of the money for the $50 million project, which includes an $8 million endowment to fund ongoing habitat management and restoration.

17— Every single attitudinal survey shows that Texans care about their coast. They’re passionate about it. It’s conservation. They value the water that flows into it, and is present there. And so, this is one of those places that are going to be there for future
generations. And, there’s just a special comfort in knowing that.

For more information about the Powderhorn Ranch project, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Nature: Why Leaves Change Color in Fall

September 16th, 2014
Beautiful fall foliage in Texas.

Beautiful fall foliage in Texas.

This is Passport to Texas

Why is the sky blue? Why do birds sing? Why do leaves turn color in fall? We’ve got you covered on fall foliage. It begins with longer nights…

16— …which is a signal that winter is coming. And, a consequence of that is the leaf is no longer making chlorophyll and other pigments start to show up. Some are already there, some are produced after the leaf stops making chlorophyll.

Damon Waitt (WAIT) is senior director and botanist at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. Another part of the “coloring” process is when leaves seal themselves off from the trees.

22— And it’s during that time that the leaves are changing color. Because one of the coolest colors, of course, is red and purple. You know, the Big Tooth Maple colors. That’s actually a pigment called anthocyanin, and it’s produced when that leaf is cut off from the rest of the plant. And the sugars that are still left in that leaf will actually convert to this pigment and turn red.

A chemical process (triggered by longer nights) causes leaves to change color. However, other variables affect the depth of color.

10— So, there are a lot of things that can affect how deep the reds are: temperature, sunlight…all these things have an effect on the expression of these different colors. And, that’s why each fall is different.

Now, go forth and amaze your friends with your new found knowledge.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.