TPW TV – Paragliding

October 28th, 2016

This is Passport to Texas

Franklin Mountains State Park is the only Park in Texas and one of the few parks in the United States that encourages paragliding.

So, the Franklins are a great source of what we call lift from the air coming in. And, they’re also a great source of thermals; two ways we get up. All here in the Franklins.

A paraglider is a lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure.

It’s a soaring aircraft, which means we generally don’t have a motor; and we find air that’s going up. And we go up…and up…and up.

During the week of October 31, the TPW TV Show on PBS features a segment on Paragliding at the Franklin Mountains.

It’s a pretty obscure air sport. I think there’s are maybe 4,000, 5,000 pilots in the US. There are sites all over the country. And this one looks pretty awesome.

Paragliding may look intimidating, and while paragliders exercise caution, it’s usually a fairly gentle ride.

Most people think we jump off of a cliff and its life or death. You just step off and you float. You feel the wing flying. It’s really just floating off. It’s relaxing fun. It’s a lawn chair in the sky, and you enjoy life.

See the segment on paragliding the week of October 31 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

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

Benefits of Hunters for the Hungry

October 27th, 2016
Donated Venison via Hunters for the Hungry program, Image courtesy of

Donated Venison via Hunters for the Hungry program, Image courtesy of

This is Passport

Texas meat processors can help feed fellow Texans by distributing hunter-donated venison to needy families through the Hunters for the Hungry program.

Well, this is a wonderful program that helps us both fight hunter and promote environmental stewardship.

Removing deer from the landscape each year promotes healthier habitat and deer populations. Celia Cole is Executive Director of Feeding Texas, which facilitates Hunters for the Hungry. She says the key to making the program work is an active network of processors.

We ask them to provide the processing at a minimal cost—we suggest around $40—and then the hunter makes that donation. So, let’s say the hunter drops off a deer, the processor will package it. And then, we provide them with a list of hunger relief agencies in their area. And they can either contact that agency to come pick it up, or they can drop it off. And, of course, they receive a tax deduction for their donation, as well.

Hunters who donate deer to the program should check with their tax preparers to see if they can claim a deduction as well. Meanwhile, Hunters for the Hungry encourages meat processors to join the program. Find more information at

And processors can go there to sign up. We also recruit directly off of lists that we have from the health department. So, we will reach out and ask processors to participate.

Hunters and processors who participate in the program are responsible for providing more than 9 million servings annually of venison to needy families.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Meat Processors Help Feed Hungry Texans

October 26th, 2016
Huinters for the Hungry

Hunters for the Hungry helps feed Texans

This is Passport

Feeding Texas is a non-profit association that represents food banks in the state. Hunters for the Hungry is one of the programs it oversees.

The way it works is, we recruit meat processors to help us get venison out to the families that we serve. For hunters it’s an opportunity to donate back to their communities. And, for our food banks, it’s an opportunity to have access to a really great lean source of protein that the families that we serve really need.

Celia Cole is CEO of Feeding Texas. She says Hunters for the Hungry enjoys enthusiastic hunter participation among deer hunters. Yet, Cole says they need more processors.

Our greatest challenge is bringing in enough processors. So, in all of the areas where there is a lot of hunting, we are in need of more processors. And that is the key to making this program work.

Cole says it’s easy for processors to sign up.

We have our website and processors can go there to sign up. Really, all they need to do is enroll with us and show a copy of their inspection and be willing to package the meat in the packaging that we provide. So, it’s fairly simple for a processor to register and become involved in the program.

Tomorrow: how Hunters for the Hungry benefits processors, hunters, and the community.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Turkeys on the Move

October 25th, 2016
Randall Kroll, a TPWD wildlife biologist, releasing wild eastern turkey. Image: Houston Chronicle

Randall Kroll, a TPWD wildlife biologist, releasing wild eastern turkey. Image: Houston Chronicle

This is Passport

East Texas once had abundant wild turkey populations. Then, around the turn of the 20th century over harvesting by European settlers nearly wiped them out.

There were no regulations to stop them from harvesting those animals and no law enforcement out there to enforce the few regulations that we did have.

With new regulations in place, turkey restoration got underway. Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist, Jason Hardin, says decades of restocking Eastern Wild Turkey has been successful for some East Texas counties.

The early efforts began with wild trapped Eastern turkeys in 1979. Dr. Roel Lopez coined the phrase ‘super stocking’. He said if we put large numbers of birds on the ground—up to 70 to 80 birds—that even under the worst case scenario, you’d have a really good opportunity for success as long as you’re focusing on quality habitat.

Thirty-one turkeys from Iowa, recently released in the Angelina National Forest, brought the total number to 80 birds. Outfitted with GPS transmitters, researchers plan to track them to determine their preferred habitat.

Essentially, we’re just going to be looking at the movement behavior. We’ll start doing vegetation sampling at each nest site. And then, that will go into this first years’ worth of data, and then we’ll come back and do it again next year.

Since 1979, more than 7,500 Eastern Turkeys have been released into 56 counties in East Texas on wildlife management areas, private lands and national forests.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Pokémon Guide to State Parks

October 24th, 2016
Nathan Adams and his kiddos searching for Pokémon.

Nathan Adams and his kiddos searching for Pokémon.

This is Passport

Since adding a Pokémon Guide to the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine APP, the publication’s art director, Nathan Adams and his sons, have spent a lot of time in Texas State Parks.

So, every day when I come home, my boys who are six and 10, they want to see what’s been added to the APP–what new parks have been added. And as they flip through the APP on my iPad or my iPhone, [they give me] a laundry list of ‘here’s where we have to go this weekend.’

Through augmented reality, the Pokémon GO APP by Niantic, Inc., populates the outdoors with creatures suited to their locales. Texas Parks and Wildlife’s guide helps to find them in Texas State Parks.

They’re tied to geographic locations. So, if there’s a lot of water in a park, for example, then more water type Pokémon would be there. If there’s a lot of rocks in the park, then you’d have more rock-type Pokémon. So, what you’d find at Hueco Tanks is going to be very different than what you’d find at McKinney Falls.

Parks can harbor some rare Pokémon, but that’s not all.

More than that, going to the park lets you encounter non-virtual creatures who are stunning and beautiful in their own right, and are not pixilated. My children refer to it as Pokémon IRL—or Pokémon in real life. Where suddenly it’s like: ‘Hey, Dad—what is that?’ And it’s caused them to look at other things. It’s caused them to be outside more.

Download the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine Pokémon APP for free from the Texas Parks and Wildlife website…and get outside.

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