Archive for January, 2018

Field Dressing Game

Monday, January 15th, 2018
Tagging legally harvested deer.

Tagging legally harvested deer.

This is Passport to Texas

Lee Smith comes from a hunting family. This longtime Austin resident and avid home cook, says from the start, he’s hunted for meat not trophies.

Once you’ve pulled the trigger and you’ve got an animal down, the work really begins.

As soon as the animal’s down, the clock starts ticking; field dressing the animal is a race against spoilage.

Meat spoils due to three things: heat, moisture and dirt. Getting those internal organs out is going to immediately start to let that carcass cool. Second thing is: the skin. Taking that skin off is going to get that animal cooler, and also allow it to dry quicker. Once you’ve got it back [to camp], and taken the skin off, you rinse out the interior chest cavity, and get it into that cooler.

If you’re hunting on public land, or there’s no walk-in cooler at your lease, after field dressing and skinning the animal, quarter it.

That’s taking off the four quarters, the two backstraps, and the rear legs. That’s what you are legally bound to take. If you don’t take that, you can be ticketed for waste of game.

Put the quarters into tall kitchen garbage bags, and then into coolers with ice. How to handle game when you get it home – that’s tomorrow.

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

After the Shot: From Field to Kitchen

Monday, January 15th, 2018
Whitetail in a clearing.

Whitetail in a clearing.

This is Passport to Texas

Handled correctly from field to kitchen, venison can be tastier than store bought meat. Keep it cool and dry immediately after harvest.

15—And then, the real poetry begins in the aging of that meat. If you can hang that meat for three to six days, some of the enzymes in the meat start to break it down, and you really get that tender, good tasting, concentrated flavor.

Austin resident, Lee Smith, is a hunter and home cook. He recommends vacuum sealing the meat to keep it usable for up to a year in the freezer. While you may wish to elevate a venison dish, Smith says, simple has its merits.

23—You’re legally – depending upon what county you’re hunting in – able to take five deer in Texas. And that can be a lot of meat. So, I can understand after a while, how you might want to change it up and have a little horseradish sauce, or some kind of port reduction with some mushrooms. But, I want to taste the meat; I don’t want to throw a heavy sauce on it. In fact, tonight, we’re having venison fajitas.

Lee Smith says he usually marinates venison back strap briefly in olive oil and soy sauce, grills it, and ends up with something the whole family enjoys.

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

TPW TV–El Paso Envoy

Friday, January 12th, 2018
Hueco Tanks pictograph

Hueco Tanks pictograph

This is Passport to Texas

If you’ve been to Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site in El Paso, count yourself among the lucky.

Hueco Tanks isn’t the smallest state park, but it’s definitely the most exclusive. It’s capped at 72 people a day.

Next week the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS explores the park with an enthusiastic El Paso native.

I’m Clara Cobb, and I run a couple social media sites here in El Paso. What you really do [in social media] is tell stories. And that’s my attraction—absolutely—to Hueco Tanks. It’s a place where people have been telling stories for 10,000 years.

The stories are still being told with the rock art left behind by early inhabitants who were drawn to the site because of the rainwater pooled in natural rock basins, or huecos. You can learn more on a pictograph tour…

 [Clara] Which takes you behind the scenes to some of the more exclusive places.

[Interpreter] Welcome to site 17. This is lower 17—also known as newspaper cave. You have above us these cream colored shapes that date back to Apache era, roughly, somewhere around two to 400 years old. A bit more recently than them, this orange-ish horse shape right here. Everyone always thinks that is native American cave art. It’s not.

Acquaint yourself with Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site on next week’s Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

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

Another Texas Park Gets Dark Sky Designation

Thursday, January 11th, 2018
You can see the Milky Way at Big Bend Ranch State Park

You can see the Milky Way at Big Bend Ranch State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Good news for star gazers: Big Bend Ranch State Park is the latest Texas State Park designated as a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association—or IDA.

It joins neighboring Big Bend National Park to form one of the largest contiguous areas under dark-skies protection in the United States.

This designation is an important step forward in the conservation of some of the darkest night skies remaining in the lower 48 states.

Now let this sink in: With the inclusion of Big Bend Ranch State Park , we have secured the protection of natural nighttime darkness in Texas over an area larger than the U.S. state of Rhode Island. Mind blown, right?

Big Bend Ranch SP, located in the remote and rugged Trans-Pecos region, is known for giving visitors an untamed, wilderness experience. Preserving the dark sky is key to that experience and something all visitors treasure.

BBRSP joins Copper Breaks State Park, South Llano River State Park and Enchanted Rock State Park in holding the prestigious IDA designation.

Find more information about the Dark Skies program on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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.

Laughter Lifted Spirits on a Mountain

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018
Image by Tyler Priest

Image by Tyler Priest

This is Passport to Texas

Tom Harvey had a personal reason for backpacking the rugged Rancherias Loop at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Well, frankly, I turned 60, and I wanted to do some adventures before I got too old.

Tall, lean and fit, Harvey is deputy communications director at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Joining him on the hike were 10 former state park youth ambassadors, all more than half his age.

It’s really, really beautiful to meet these young people that are just drawn to nature and wilderness. A lot of them are newbies to this—but they’re drawn to it.

Tom shares his experience in the current issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

We settled on this because it seemed like something that was a big adventure, but doable. And the trail had been blazed. There was a clear route. And it was a classic that hadn’t been written about much in the magazine—so I thought: why not? You know, we’ll write about the Rancherias Loop.

No stranger to wilderness backpacking, Tom says the first night they scrambled to set up camp ahead of a storm.

Well, it was scary when it was happening. We barely got those tents up when the rain hit. And it was blowing a gale. It was very tense.

Find out what happened to the backpackers in the January/February of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine; on newsstands now.

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