Archive for the 'Hunting' Category

On the Hunt for Snipe

Monday, February 8th, 2016
Wilson's Snipe (Common Snipe or Jacksnipe)

Wilson’s Snipe (Common Snipe or Jacksnipe) Photo credit: USFWS


This is Passport to Texas

An invitation to participate in a snipe hunt fills young hearts with anticipation and anxiety. In my youth, snipe hunts were cloaked in mystery; and that’s what made them deliciously terrifying.

Taken at night to a wooded area and outfitted with a burlap bag…a flashlight with weak batteries…and a whistle to call for help… hunters enter the woods alone in search of dreaded snipes. And how would they recognize them? They would know them when they saw them.

Before long, panicked whistles and screams from deep within the woods pierced the silence, as vivid imaginations got the best of the young snipe hunters. Eventually everyone, including the hunter, had a good laugh.

Today we know snipe are small, long billed, brownish shorebirds in the sandpiper family. Their habitat includes freshwater marshes, ponds and flooded fields. They breed across much of North America, but like to spend their winters in the southern states, including Texas.

Snipe are game birds here, and the season to hunt snipe ends on February 14th. So if you want to go snipe hunting, and not be left holding the bag, time is running out.

Learn more about snipe and see an image of this not so terrifying creature when you log onto our web site: passporttotexas.org.

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

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

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More about Snipe:

Snipe winter throughout Texas and huntable numbers can be found in suitable habitat. Generally hunting of snipe is in association with waterfowl hunting, but it has the potential of providing more recreational sport hunting days. Most hunters are unaware of the quality hunts provided by this species. Federal harvest surveys estimate a total statewide harvest of 5,000 birds annually.

Can You Eat Snipe?

Of course you can. But, be prepared for how small they are.  Hank Shaw, who curates the blog Hunter*Angler*Gardener*Cook and is author of three game focused cookbooks, including “Duck, Duck, Goose” says: “[Snipe] is a bird with a flavor all out of proportion to its size. As small as it is, one bird makes a great appetizer, and four a hearty meal. They taste like a combination of squab and duck, with something else. Maybe its the wormy things they eat?”

Hank says the smaller the bird, the higher the heat for cooking. His preparation of snipe is simple: He says he sets his oven to the highest setting (most go to 500° F),  greases up the birds with lard or butter, sprinkles them inside and out with salt, and places them in an oven proof pan with a little bit of water  in the bottom of the pan to help keep the snipe moist.

He says he puts the pan with the snip into the oven for about 5 minutes; after which time he removes the birds from the oven and bastes them with more butter or lard, before putting them back in the heat for another 5 to 7 minutes. He removes the birds from the oven, and lets them rest a few minutes before plating them. He says right before serving, give them a good dusting with black pepper and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Tree Stand Safety

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016
Safety first when using a tree stand.

Safety first when using a tree stand.

This is Passport to Texas

To be “up a tree” is usually a bad thing—unless, of course, you’re a hunter in a tree stand.

Did you know that the number one cause of hunting injury and fatality in North America is falls from tree stands?

In this instance, being up the tree isn’t the problem… falling from it is. Steve Hall, Texas Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education Coordinator, offers three simple rules to prevent falls.

One, use a good climbing system. Two, a harness while you’re in the stand. And three, a haul line to haul up your equipment and lower it back down to the ground.

Hall says climbing to the tree stand is when most accidents occur.

You want to make sure you have three points of contact while you’re climbing on a ladder or into a stand. You also want to step down onto the platform of that stand before you strap yourself in, in terms of the tree and the harness.

Once a hunter is in the stand, Hall says he or she needs to be sure the tether is nice and taut.

If he does happen to fall off the platform, this will keep his legs near the platform.

This allows the hunter to easily step back onto the platform. There’s more hunter safety information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and works to increase hunting and shooting sports in Texas.

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

Lily Pulls the Trigger

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015
Lily Raff McCallou

Lily Raff McCallou, photo courtesy www.oregonlive.com


This is Passport to Texas

When you grow up in a hunting family, you learn to appreciate the tradition.

It was so different from what I grew up with and from anything I knew, that I wanted to know more about it.

Lily Raff McCaulou moved from NYC to Bend Oregon to write for a small newspaper, her readers included anglers and hunters. To connect with them and her food, Lily learned to hunt.

You know, the locavore movement was starting to take hold, and I’d been a meat eater my whole life, and was wondering: do I really have what it takes to hunt and kill my own meat. And wanting to know what I could get from that experience — and that closeness to my food. So, it was a combination of all these different factors that made me decide this is something that I want to try.

After hunter education and learning to shoot, she attended a Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop, which included a pheasant hunt. She thought she might not have the nerve to pull the trigger.

All the other women in my group had shot a bird, and I just started feeling like, ‘Hey, I’ve come all this way and it’s been a year in the making, and I want to take a shot, too.’ Eventually, all the stars aligned and the dog that I was with sniffed out a bird and held it on point [and when it flushed] , and I got it; I took the shot and the bird fell immediately. Rather than feeling all the guilt and remorse, I felt empowered.

Lily Raff McCaulou wrote a book about her experience entitled: Call of the Mild.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

How a Non-Hunter Changed Her Tune

Monday, December 21st, 2015
Woman Hunter

More women are becoming hunters to spend time in the outdoors and to put fresh nature-raised meat on the table.


This is Passport to Texas

When Lily Raff McCaulou moved from NYC to Bend, Oregon to pursue a career in journalism, her beat covered a large rural area.

I was there hoping to write about stories that mattered to them and their community.

Something that mattered to the community was hunting.

I didn’t know any hunters growing up – and this was just so far from what I was used to. And there was a little bit of a danger element. These were people who knew how to use guns. People who owned guns. There was something kind of scary bout that to me.

It didn’t take long for Lily to appreciate how hunting and land stewardship went hand-in-hand, or that her new neighbors were committed conservationists who had great compassion for the lives of the animals they harvested.

So, when I was meeting these hunters, I realized a huge part of hunting for them was being out in the environment and interacting with the natural world. And that, as hard as it was to understand, and hard as it is to explain, they actually had a huge amount of love for the animals that they hunted. There was not hate – it was actually the opposite of that – it was love and respect for these animals.

Tomorrow – Lily pulls the trigger.

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.

SB 1978 Will Help Feed Hungry Texans

Thursday, December 17th, 2015
Hunter in Texas

Hunger in Texas is real, and the problem is growing.


This is Passport to Texas

Last legislative session, SB1978 passed into law, which is good news for hungry Texans. Justin Halvorsen, Parks and Wildlife Revenue director explains.

SB 1978 is a legislatively mandated bill that mandates that Parks and Wildlife allow a hunter to opt-in to donate to the Feeding Texas nonprofit, when they purchase a hunting license. And that money would go to that nonprofit, and to their program Hunters for the Hungry.

Halvorsen and Feeding Texas are working out the details of the program, including how much hunters may donate.

This would be at the time of purchase at the very end of the transaction. Either online or through any of our license agents—they will ask would you like to make a donation. It’s almost like when you check out at the super market and they ask if you want to chip in a couple of bucks.

Currently hunters pay a fee to processors when they donate an animal. Processors grind, package and then distribute the meat to local hunger relief agencies. Celia Cole is Executive Director at Feeding Texas.

And right now, typically, when a hunter donates a deer, they pay up to $40 to cover the processing. So, we hope ultimately we’ll have enough revenue to be able to offset some of those costs, which also, I think, will increase the donations.

Last year Texas hunters donated more than 100,000 pounds of healthy, lean venison to Hunters for the Hungry. Learn how to help at feedingtexas.org.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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