Archive for the 'SFWR' Category

Invasives: Clean, Drain and Dry

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Box of zebra mussels.

Box of zebra mussels.



This is Passport to Texas

Arriving in the ballast of ships from Eastern Europe, zebra mussels reached the Great Lakes in the 1980s.

05— They’ve been pretty steadily moving across much of the eastern and central portion of the United States.

Inland fisheries biologist Brian Van Zee says they arrived in Lake Texoma in 2009; and occupy waters of 6 lakes in north and Central Texas.

10—They’re primarily moved from water body to water body by boaters, who don’t take the time to clean, drain and dry when heading from an infested lake to a non-infested lake.

As filter feeders Zebra Mussels impact the aquatic food chain and compete for plankton. They clog water intake pipes of municipal utility districts, causing significant increases in maintenance and operational costs. It’s vital boaters clean, drain and dry their boats after every outing.

19—We recommend boaters dry their boats for at least a week before they go from one lake to the next. If they pull the plug out of the bottom of the boat, lower the engines down, and make sure there’s no water in them, and make sure the live wells are empty, and open those compartments up and let them dry in between going from one lake to the next, you really reduce that risk of moving zebra mussels from one lake to another.

At this time, clean, drain and dry is the law in 47 Texas counties, and could expand to statewide. [NOTE: Since the program was first produced, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission met and approved a new regulation requiring that all boats operating on public fresh water anywhere in Texas be drained before leaving or approaching a lake or river to help combat the further spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species. The new measure takes effect July 1, 2014.]

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Fishing: Giving Fish a Hand

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Blue catfish - a fighter and biter for those who

Blue catfish – a fighter and biter for those who “noodle.”



This is Passport to Texas

Noodling or hand fishing is a preferred way to land big catfish, for some.

15— What they do is they find holes that are typically on the bank, or in structure timber, what have you. And, fishermen will search around in the water blindly, feeling in holes until they find these fish, and then they’ll pull them out with their hands.

Whether the anglers get the catfish, or the catfish get the anglers is up for debate.

07— Some of them will tell you they’ll be as gentle as a kitty cat, and some of them will meet you at the door, ready to snap on.

Kris Bodine is a research scientist at Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center.

09—They [hand fishers] tell me that actually blue catfish are a little more aggressive than the flat head catfish, and a lot of the hand fishers don’t want to catch blue catfish because they’re so aggressive.

Although hand fishing is not a new sport, it only became legal in Texas in 2011, which means researchers are in the beginning stages of studying this unique user group.

16—It seems at the outset right now, in terms of the data we’re collecting, that we don’t have a very big user group. There’s probably not a lot of folks going out there hand fishing. In fact, they don’t even have a very long window to do it. It’s typically during the spawning season, so they only have a couple months to hand fish.

A survey for hand-fishing enthusiasts. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and is funded by your purchase of hunting and fishing equipment and motorboat fuel.

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

Fishing: Tackle Loaner

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Rod and reel, image by Bryan Frazier

Rod and reel, image by Bryan Frazier



This is Passport to Texas

June 7 is National Free Fishing Day. Yet, when you fish in state parks – once you pay your entrance fee –fishing is always free. If you’re new to angling, though, you may not have tackle. But we do. And…we’ll share.

07— Many of our state parks that have water for fishing, have fishing poles that people can borrow.

Caleb Harris is an aquatic education training specialist. He says it’s easy to borrow rods, reels and tackle boxes with hooks, sinkers and bobbers.

09— [Just] sign a paper that says they’ll bring the fishing poles back, and they can borrow the fishing poles for up to a week, sometimes, as they’re camping in the park. Or, if they just come for the day, they can borrow them and return them back to the park.

You are, however, responsible for your own bait. Even so – what could be easier than fishing in state parks with borrowed tackle?

04— If people are interested in getting into fishing, we try to make that accessible as much as possible.

Find state parks with fishing opportunities and tackle loaner programs when you log onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motorboat fuel.

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

Wildlife: New Theories about Alligators

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

American alligator, image courtesy of www.exploreitnature.com

American alligator, image courtesy of www.exploreitnature.com



This is Passport to Texas

Drought affects different species in different ways. In the case of the American Alligator, recent dry conditions have affected this once-threatened species’ reproduction.

15— What we found was the size of the clutch of eggs – or the number of eggs in the clutch – that females lay doesn’t change during drought years. But, the number of hatchlings that are produced from a clutch of eggs decreases substantially.

Cord Eversole is a graduate student at A&M-Kingsville and a research assistant at Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. He studies gators.

12— We thought that what we were going to end up finding was during these drought years the clutch size would decrease, but the number of alligators produced from the clutch would stay constant across the years. We found the opposite.

He said turning old theories inside out is exciting.

26— The exciting thing about alligator research in general is that — believe it or not –there’s been very few studies conducted on them throughout their range, but more specifically in Texas, there’s only been a handful of studies conducted in the state. And so, a lot of the information we gather from my study and studies that are coming up in the future, they’re going to produce brand new information, put new twists on old thoughts of how things work with alligators in general.

The more we understand environmental effects on species like the American Alligator, the better able we are to manage them.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and funds diverse conservation projects throughout Texas.

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

Hunting: Turkey Hunting Isn’t Just a Fall Pursuit

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

A gorgeous gobbler.

A gorgeous gobbler.



This is Passport to Texas

Spring hunting season for turkey wraps up this month.

04— In Texas – the majority of the state – the western two-thirds of the state are going to be Rio Grande Turkey.

Robert Perez, upland game bird manager at Parks and Wildlife, says over the long term, Rio Grande turkeys are doing well in their range. Another sub-species is the Eastern Wild Turkey, which occurs in deep East Texas.

13— And it’s population, for many years, Texas Parks and Wildlife and partner –the National Wild Turkey Federation – worked very, very diligently to restore that bird. But there is a spring eastern season in certain east Texas counties only.

You can find those counties in the online version of Outdoor Annual on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. Meantime, if you plan to take advantage of the waning days of spring turkey season…

13— To hunt any upland game bird, there’s the upland game bird stamp – a seven dollar stamp – required to hunt pheasant, quail, turkey, or chachalaca. So, to hunt those species, you buy that stamp, and then that goes toward the conservation of that bird.

Find license, hunting and management information for all game species on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series, funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

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