Archive for the 'Hunting' Category

TPW TV: Firearm Safety

Friday, June 26th, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Safety must remain top of mind for anyone who keeps firearms in the home, especially in homes with children.

09-It is unlawful to store, transport or abandon an unsecured loaded firearm where children can obtain unsupervised access to the firearm.

Certified hunter education instructor and former TPW TV producer, Lee Smith, reviews the basics of home firearm safety during a segment of the PBS Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series, which airs the week of June 28.

08- Firearms should not be stored alongside ammunition in an unsecured location. A locking gun cabinet or safe is a much better solution.

How one stores firearms, such as hunting rifles, may affect overall operation and safety of the gun.

10- Many people store them [rifles] with the barrels up. Over time, oils can drip down and clog your actions. It’s much better to store [rifles] with the barrels pointed down.

Clogged action can cause a misfire, which in turn can send someone to the emergency room. In addition, ammunition should be stored separately from firearms, under lock and key.

Learn about firearm care and handling in a hunter education class. And view the PBS TPW TV segment on firearm safety the week of June 28. Check your local listings.

That’s our show…funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram.

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

Wild Turkeys in the Cross-timbers Eco-region

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Turkey gobbler and hen.

Turkey gobbler and hen.

This is Passport to Texas

Using state of the art satellite technology, Texas Parks and Wildlife wildlife biologists–in conjunction with researchers from the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources at TX A&M–collect data from radio collared Rio Grande wild turkeys to develop accurate maps and recommendations for landowners who wish to manage for the species.

18- And so, we can see areas that [turkeys] avoid; we can see areas that they like to spend a lot of time. And, then we can actually take those maps and go out in the field and take pictures and take vegetation measurements on the exact spots where these birds were.

Biologist, Kevin Mote, says the technology can determine a bird’s position to within a few feet, which is important to know during nesting season.

13- By following that mother hen around while she has those chicks, and collecting information on the habitat that she used during that time frame, helps us better understand what they need to survive.

What they need to survive is healthy habitat, and landowners remain vital to ensuring its vigor. While the data Mote and his team collect helps, he says there is always more to learn.

12-No matter how much we learn, they’re still one of God’s creatures and we’re just not going to know everything there is to know. We know so much, but they’re still a wild animal, and they’re still just a wonder.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Radio Telemetry and Wild Turkeys

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey

This is Passport to Texas

Biologists knew Texas’ historical drought of 2011, in tandem with wildfires at Possum Kingdom SP, affected Rio Grande Wild Turkeys. But how?

06—Our biologists didn’t have much to draw on as far as experience in handling these situations.

Biologist, Kevin Mote.

08— None of us had ever lived through that; and there was really nothing even in the textbooks or the literature to tell us how to proceed from there.

These events became the impetus for a research project that traps and fits turkeys with state of the art transmitters before releasing them to monitor their movements and determine habitat preferences and needs.

21—We can put out numerous transmitters, and it sends a signal up to a satellite, and it collects an exact fix within six to ten feet accuracy. And we can collect eight to 10, 15 or 20
locations everyday on multiple birds without any human effort [to manually track them].

Prior to that, it took more manpower for less return. From this data, biologists form a snapshot—over time—of the turkey’s actual home range.

13—So, we overlay that over soils maps, highway maps, vegetation maps: all the things that we know affect the behavior and the movements of these birds.

Kevin Mote says biologists use this data to improve their ability to assist private landowners who wish to manage for turkeys.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Research: Using Browse Survey to Manage Deer

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
White-tailed buck

White-tailed buck

This is Passport to Texas

Biologists can estimate deer density by observing what they’ve eaten, or browsed. Browse survey results can help guide managers to maintain healthy herds and habitat.

15— Of course, we could go out and run one of a multitude of deer counts – whether that be spotlight counts, or camera counts. This is one we do fairly regularly in the wintertime on properties to get out there and get a look at deer densities.

Wildlife biologist, Heidi Bailey, says when deer browse less tasty plants like pines, overpopulation may be the cause.

15— For instance, on most properties, if I see five percent use on some of these pines and cedars and things that they really don’t like, that’s when I start getting a red flag and thinking, Hmmm…maybe we need to increase the harvest a little bit on this property.

Increasing harvest rates can help keep habitat in balance. But not all managers remove animals from the landscape.

16—A lot of people turn to planting food plots and putting out protein feed to supplement a deer’s diet. Of course, from the wildlife biologist’s standpoint, [we] always encourage people to manipulate their existing habitat as opposed to supplementing or putting a band aide on a problem.

Find landowner technical assistance information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and works to restore and manage wildlife for the benefit of
the public.

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

Hunt | Research: Browse Survey

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
Whitetail deer in snow.

Whitetail deer in snow.

This is Passport to Texas

An estimated four million whitetail deer roam Texas’ public and private lands; biologists help landowners determine deer density on their property by surveying what the animals eat, including “browse.”

10— Deer have all sorts of different things they’ll eat, browse being one of those items. So, essentially browse is the woody twigs and stems on plants and trees.

Heidi Bailey is a wildlife biologist in Northeast Texas. She says deer prefer some plants more than others, and calls those Blue Bell Ice Cream plants; their least favorites: Brussels sprouts. Everything in between: Meat and potatoes.

19— We go out and we look at these Bluebell plants, and we determine how much they’re eating those. Then, we’ll look at the meat and potatoes plants, and then we’ll get down to the Brussels sprouts and see how heavily the deer are eating those. And if they’re eating the Brussels sprouts plants – they’re eating a bunch of stuff they don’t care anything about – then you know you’ve got issues.

Issues like overpopulation. The browse plants that provide the best clues of this include…

12—Things like cedars, pines, American holly, sweet gum, post oak, and blackjack oak, wax myrtle. There’s lots out there, but boy, it’s not too tasty for them, for sure.

Recommendations biologists make based on browse surveys. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and works to restore and manage wildlife for the benefit of the public.

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