Mentored Deer Hunt for Adult Novices

January 17th, 2017
Workshop organizer, Chris Hall, and workshop attendee, Ralston Dorn.

Workshop organizer, Chris Hall, and workshop attendee, Ralston Dorn.

This is Passport to Texas

The week before Christmas, five men and two women—myself included—met at Inks Lake State Park in Burnet for the first of its kind mentored hunt for adult novices. Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Justine Dreibelbis was an organizer.

Chris and I are both really excited to have a program that allows them to get that knowledge and come out here—and feel comfortable asking questions, so they can learn how to do it. Now they can go take their kids, and hunt with their friends and family and enjoy the outdoors.

Chris Hall is lead ranger and hunt coordinator at Inks lake state park.

We set out to allow an opportunity and an experience for individuals later in life who have not had the opportunity to hunt or to enjoy the experience of the outdoors in that capacity. And, to give a total turn-key experience—start to finish—of ethics, proper care and maintenance. As well as the hunting experience, itself.

Hunter Ed Coordinator, Steve Hall took us to a shooting range at a nearby ranch where we learned safe firearm use. We shot balloons and paper targets until we got it right.

Now, with the deer tomorrow, though, the first shot is the one that you want to count. You try to do any sighting in or practice right before the hunt, because then you get out all the ‘ooga boogas’ out that you can on the range. So that when tomorrow morning shows up—the shot counts.

Tomorrow—hunters put their newfound skills to the test.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Improvements at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

January 16th, 2017
Enjoying the amenities at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

Enjoying the amenities at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, one of the crown jewels in the Texas State Park system, just got a little polish.

If you haven’t been to Palo Duro in a while, consider getting out there to see what’s new. Because—like all Texas state parks—it’s getting better all the time.

Last fall, Texas Parks and Wildlife unveiled comfort and safety improvements at the park, made possible through a joint effort with the Texas Department of Transportation.

The more than 27-thousand acre park got a new camping loop with some sweet amenities, as well as a series of bridges constructed to provide safe passage across flash-flooding hazards on some of the park’s roadways.

The new Juniper camp loop features 20 rebuilt campsites, a group camp area, an indoor group hall and comfort stations with bathrooms and showers.

In addition, six bridges were constructed over water crossings on Palo Duro Canyon’s main roadway to enhance park visitor safety by providing access to higher ground areas of the park during flash flooding events.

Palo Duro Canyon State park offers camping, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, and equestrian trails. And for lovers of musical theater, there’s the summer production of the musical Texas!

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

TPW TV – Moving Bees

January 13th, 2017
Moving bees for their safety and yours.

Moving bees for their safety and yours.

This is Passport to Texas

Urban wildlife biologist, Kelly Simon, says if your yard is the neighborhood hangout for bees, that’s a good thing.

If you find bees in your backyard you should count yourself lucky, because all of our plants in Texas require pollination. Some are pollinated through wind but many are pollinated by our native bees, honey bees, wasps, butterflies and other pollinators.

Yet, if they establish hives in inappropriate places they can become mildly inconvenient to potentially dangerous. As they were at Whitney Nolan’s home in Austin.

A few years back I installed two owl houses. One in the front yard and one in the backyard. And I had screech owls that inhabited both boxes for about two years. Then after that bees started taking over the box in the back. One year the hive was so big they broke off and they swarmed and they inhabited the front owl house.

Whitney wants her neighborhood and the bees to be safe. To ensure everyone’s well-being, she called in Payden Price.

I am a bee specialist with the American Honey Bee Protection Agency. We are at a client’s house. She has a hive in an owl box in her front yard in a tree. We are removing it today. We are going to take it out to one of our apiaries and give it a new home.

And you can see the process from start to finish the week of January 8 – 14 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series.

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

Some Changes in the Toyota Sharelunker Program

January 12th, 2017
ShareLunker No. 564 Caught by Roy Euper of Lufkin, TX November 2, 2015 in Sam Rayburn 30 feet of water 13.2 pounds, length 25.5 inches, girth 22 inches

ShareLunker No. 564 |Caught by Roy Euper, Lufkin, TX | November 2, 2015 | Sam Rayburn 13.2 pounds | length 25.5 inches | girth 22 inches

This is Passport to Texas

Largemouth bass weighing 13 or more pounds are eligible for the Toyota Sharelunker program, which runs October 1 through April 30.

It has to be legally caught in Texas waters.

And weighed on a certified scale. Kyle Brookshear coordinates the program, and taught me something new about ShareLunkers.

The males typically don’t get that large. So, they’re normally all female.

Something new this year is only the 13+ pound largemouth caught during the “spawning window of January 1st through March 31st are eligible to participate in the selective breeding program.

So, if an angler catches a fish outside of that window. We’ll come to them with a certified weight, and enter them into the program, and then release that fish back into the lake.

Brookshear says they anticipate improved efficiencies and outcomes as a result of the change.

Through our analysis of our spawning results over the past 30 seasons, and 30 years of the program, we’ve determined January through March provides us with the greatest opportunity to attain good candidates for spawning…meaning that most of those fish that come in are healthy and capable and ready to spawn.

Find information about the Toyota Sharelunker program on the TPW website. The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and helps fund the operation of the TFFC in Athens.

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

Toyota Sharelunker Program

January 11th, 2017
ShareLunker No. 565 Caught by Bruce Butler of Canyon, TX April 13, 2016 in Alan Henry 13.13 pounds, length 26 inches, girth 21 inches

ShareLunker No. 565 | Caught by Bruce Butler of Canyon, TX | April 13, 2016 in Alan Henry | 13.13 pounds | length 26 inches | girth 21 inches

This is Passport to Texas

The Toyota Sharelunker program is in full swing.

It’s an angler recognition program and it’s a selective breeding program.

Kyle Brookshear coordinates the program for Texas Parks and Wildlife. For the past 30 years, anglers who reeled in 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass, caught legally in Texas waters, could donate their fish to the program.

We bring that fish back to the Texas freshwater Fisheries center in Athens and then attempt to spawn that fish. Once the fish is successfully spawned, we return the fish to the angler. The angler releases the fish back to the reservoir [where it was caught]. We will raise those fry up, and then stock them back into the public waters of Texas.

By breeding the big bass Texas Parks and Wildlife creates a better bass fishery in Texas with more potential for trophy fish. New this season, only largemouth bass caught between January and March may be entered into the breeding program.

Through our analysis, we’ve determined that not only do we get more candidates during that time, but those candidates actually do spawn successfully.

Brookshear says fish caught outside this window may still be certified as a sharelunker, and then released back into the reservoir. Anglers who have lunkers accepted into the Toyota Sharelunker program receive a fiberglass replica of their fish.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and helps fund the operation of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.

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