Archive for the 'Hunting' Category

Quail and Turkey Outlook for 2017-2018

Friday, December 15th, 2017
Wild turkey in Texas.

Wild turkey in Texas.

This is Passport to Texas

Last quail season, bobwhite were at an all-time high thanks to a few years of great weather in a row.

We saw something we hadn’t seen in over 10 years, and it was quite special. And what comes up, must come down.

Robert Perez is Upland Bird Game Program Leader.

This past winter and spring we had average winter rains. Average spring rains. And so, we did have some quail production over the summer—that wasn’t phenomenal. But what we did have was so many birds that are still alive from last year that they carried over to this year. So, hunters can expect—in the bag—a lot of adult birds.

The season for Bobwhite, Scaled (blue) and Gambel’s Quail runs through February 25, statewide.

Scaled quail were phenomenal as well. Way out west in the Trans Pecos. There will still be great hunting opportunities out west at our WMAs.

If turkey’s more your bag, Perez says Rio Grande Turkey season is looking good.

Rio Grande turkey hunting in Texas is top notch. Populations in our state are at an all-time high. We’ll have two year old, three year old birds. Maybe not so much production this past year—a little bit below average—but, overall, Texas populations of Rio Grande turkeys are just through the roof.

Refer to the Outdoor Annual for seasons and bag limits for all upland game birds.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and funds quail research in Texas.

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

Food Week: Respecting the Source

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017
Venison burgers cooking in a cast iron skillet.  Image: Bruce Biermann

Venison burgers cooking in a cast iron skillet. Image: Bruce Biermann

This is Passport to Texas Food Week

Holly Heyser, Communications director for California Waterfowl took up hunting to spend more time with her boyfriend who is a hunter, author and chef.

I got sick of being alone on weekends when he was out duck hunting all day long. He would get up at two in the morning and be out forever….well…it didn’t take that for me to join him. What it took was for him to cooking a lot of ducks, and wild ducks, especially where we live in the Sacramento Valley. Amazing. Really great food.

It’s appropriate that on Thanksgiving, Holly shares that hunting deepened her respect for animals and the meat they provide, and not just the wild ones.

Since I started hunting, I am so much less wasteful of meat. Even if I’m at a restaurant, if there’s a burger on my plate, I will not leave one single bite of meat on my plate, because I know an animal died for that. And when it’s animals you hunt, especially…we invest a lot of time. We can spend 12 hours and a lot of money on gas, to go and maybe get two ducks one day. That’s a precious gift, and you don’t waste it. So it’s really made me understand the value of the food we eat. And, I appreciate it a lot more than I ever used to. And the fact that it’s wild food and it’s absolutely delicious is icing on the cake.

Wild game is free range, organic, sustainable, and nutritious.

Find game recipes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our show.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Passport to Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

2017-18 Deer Season Outlook

Monday, November 6th, 2017
White-tailed buck.

White-tailed buck.

This is Passport to Texas

According to Alan Cain, Whitetail Program Leader at Texas Parks and Wildlife, the 2017 deer season is shaping up to be a good one.

We started off the winter and early spring with good habitat conditions, which sets the stage for good antler growth and good body condition and fawn production.

Late spring and early summer, Mother Nature was stingy with rainfall across the state, which Cain says, may mean only average antler growth.

But the deer population is very healthy. We have a robust deer population in Texas.

A robust deer population is good news for some rural Texas towns.

Deer hunting in Texas is a thriving industry and it really helps the rural towns out there where deer hunting is a big part of their everyday life.

Cain says in counties where deer populations are high, he encourages hunters to take the full bag limit.

And by doing so, it helps improve the habitat. If they don’t want to put that meat in the freezer, they can certainly donate it to Hunters for the Hungry, or different charitable organizations around the state.

Whitetail season began November fourth in the north and south zones. The Texas Outdoor Annual provides hunters with necessary rules, regulations and bag limits. 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.

Texas Outdoor Story – The Squirrel and the Snake

Friday, September 22nd, 2017
Paddling Ladybird Lake.

Paddling Ladybird Lake. Image: Texas River School

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Ginger Turner enjoys paddling on Lady Bird Lake in Austin. Over the years, she says she’s witnessed her share of unusual incidents on the water.

The one that was really funny and sticks out in my head. My friend and I were paddling and we saw something swimming and we couldn’t figure out what it was. We get over there and it’s a squirrel swimming over one of the widest parts of the lake. We’re like, “let’s get closer; get closer.” So we follow him over and he ran up this tree that was leaning over in the water. As he was running up he ran smack dab into a snake that was curled up sunning on the tree. And it startled the squirrel, and it startled the snake and they both jumped about 10 ft. up in the air! And the snake plopped in the water and the squirrel we couldn’t even find. Later we heard a rustling and we saw the squirrel had made it over to the shore. But it was hilarious, it was funny. But I didn’t know that squirrels swam, but I guess they do. [laughs]

Thanks, Ginger. You never know what you might see when you get outside.

Do you have a funny or memorable Texas outdoor story to share? Go to, and let us know. We love to hear what you do outside!

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

Texas Brigades Inspire Careers

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
Bobwhite Brigade Cadets. Image:

Bobwhite Brigade Cadets. Image:

This is Passport to Texas

To categorize the Texas Brigades as “summer camp” is like calling a mountain lion “a kitty cat”.

This is not a normal summer camp. This is meant to be a lot more than that.

Writer, Aubry Buzek wrote a story about the Brigades for the October  issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

The editor of the magazine said, I want you to go to this summer camp and write about it. And I was thinking: Okay. There’s going to be fun stuff happening; I get there and it’s in the middle of a session on how conservation groups work in Texas….and conservation and hunters ethics. And I was like, Whoa!

The 5-day, cell-phone free, camps for youth build confidence and camaraderie with projects, public speaking and debates on conservation issues.

There are some really amazing instructors who come to this camp. There are instructors there who are wildlife biologists from Texas Parks and Wildlife, other private hunting ranches, water control authorities…just the gambit of [conservation] organizations in Texas. The kids get to meet people not easily accessible. Every instructor that I talked to said that they want these kids to pick up the phone and keep in touch with them. They want to help them grow now and into the future.

Aubry Buzek’s story on the Texas Brigades appears in the October issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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