Archive for the 'Hunting' Category

Mentored Deer Hunt for Adult Novices

Tuesday, 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.

Processing What You Hunt

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
Making sausage in the Feral Austin Commercial Kitchen.

Making sausage in the Feral Austin Commercial Kitchen.

This is Passport to Texas

Chris Houston of Austin is a hunter and home cook; he butchers and processes what he harvests; but that’s not always been practical.

We have a decent sized [kitchen] counter space, but certainly a limited area and limited equipment.

Hunters, says Houston, go to processors because of limited workspace, equipment, and a lack experience. He adds processors are decent folks who provide a good service – but he still wonders what comes back to him.

Am I getting back my animal in the sausage? Am I getting all the meat that I had taken in there?

Houston taught himself to butcher and process, and excels at it now. To empower others to do the same, he offers a fully equipped commercial kitchen and his knowledge as Feral Kitchen, a wild food workspace.

Butchering and sausage-making tends to feel complicated. However, it can be really simplified. And so, we really want to pass on that education and that confidence to others. We’ve been offering some classes on general game butchering, and some other classes on sausage-making to kind of help people take that step in the learning curve to doing it themselves. And, really, to just try and simplify the entire process.

Learn more about butchering and processing wild game on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Economics of Hunting

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
Hunting big bucks (and other game) means big bucks for Texas.

Hunting big bucks (and other game) means big bucks for Texas.

This is Passport to Texas

If you haven’t been deer hunting yet, according to wildlife biologist Alan Cain, you have a good season ahead of you.

Hunters can expect a great season this year. The deer population—we estimate—around four-million white-tailed deer.

Cain is white-tail program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Because of well-timed rainfall this year, habitat in Central and South Texas is in great shape, and sets the stage for prime white-tail hunting. Out west, that region’s habitat and wildlife benefited from rainfall as well.

Hunters that are out in West Texas pursuing mule deer and pronghorn will have an excellent year.

And who else will have an excellent year? The small towns whose economies depend on hunting and hunters.

Deer hunting in Texas is a thriving industry, and it brings in about two billion dollars to the state’s economy. And it really helps the rural towns out there where deer hunting is a big part of their everyday life.

Download the Texas Outdoor Annual APP onto your smart phone. Before going on your hunt. It will help you find hunting season dates and bag limits for your county and a whole lot more. Find it on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series.

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

Forecast for Duck and Geese in Texas

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016
Duck hunting

Duck hunting

This is Passport

Although waterfowl numbers are expected to be somewhat lower than last year, they’re still near record when compared to the long term average; the total number of ducks headed south looks promising

Conditions on the coast this year are going to be better for the ducks. What’s better for the ducks is not necessarily better for duck hunters. When you have dry conditions, birds are concentrated. Now there’s going to be good habitat conditions across the coast so everybody is going to be sharing in the wealth this year.

Dave Morrison is Small Game Program Director at Texas Parks and Wildlife. He expects an above average duck season with broader distribution of birds, despite a slight down turn in overall populations compared to last year. Having said that, the outlook for goose is should be better.

I actually had the good fortune of going to the breeding grounds this summer. We spent two weeks up there in Manitoba banding geese and from what I saw, it looks like goose numbers are going to be better than last year. We saw quite a bit of young of the year in there and so production looks like it’s going to be up. When production is up for geese, it means you got a bunch of young ones coming down that have not seen this game before, makes them more available to the hunters. So hopefully, our goose season may be a little bit better this year than last.

For complete waterfowl hunting information in Texas, get the Texas Outdoor Annual. Find it on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Monitoring for Chronic Wasting Disease

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
Deer suffering from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Deer suffering from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

This is Passport to Texas

The outlook for deer season is outstanding thanks to plentiful rainfall. White-tail program leader, Alan Cain.

The rainfall that’s been very prevalent across the state this year, has also provided great vegetation for the mule deer and the pronghorn out there in West Texas. Hunters that are out there pursuing mule deer and pronghorn will have an excellent year [too].

To maintain healthy herds, biologists want hunters to help monitor deer for Chronic Wasting Disease [CWD]—a neurological disease that kills deer, but has no known effect on humans.

Chronic wasting disease has been a concern in Texas since 2012—since the first discovery in the trans Pecos. We also had a new positive discovered in the Panhandle this past hunting season 2015.

Texas Parks and Wildlife created mandatory containment and surveillance zones for Chronic Wasting Disease testing and rules for transporting harvested deer in parts of west Texas.

Hunters in those Chronic Wasting Disease zones that harvest a deer, are required to bring those deer to the check stations so our staff can pull a CWD sample. We do have another CWD zone in portions of Medina, Uvalde and Bandera counties; and that is a voluntary surveillance zone. So, we would appreciate all the help we can get from our hunters out there to bring deer in so we can monitor for CWD.

Find more information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series.

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