Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Hunt: Antlers, Horns and Habitat

Thursday, December 11th, 2014


Whitetail deer in snow.

Whitetail deer in snow.

This is Passport to Texas

Hunting is about more than trophies. It’s about creating healthy habitat.

05—That’s exactly right. And our tagline at TBGA [Texas Big Game Awards] is Hunting equals Habitat.

Justin Dreibelbis is Hunting Heritage Program Director at the Texas Wildlife Association, which coordinates the Texas Big Game Awards, or TBGA.

25— Those big deer are not an accident. They are a direct response to the habitat that they were grown on. And that’s why we celebrate antlers and horns at Texas Big Game Awards. Not because it’s some big trophy and that’s what’s important. We celebrate antlers and horns because we recognize that’s a direct result of the habitat that that animal was raised on – and that’s what we’re trying to get back to. It’s all about habitat and our hunting heritage.

The TBGA is currently accepting entries of white-tailed and mule deer, pronghorn antelope, Desert Bighorn Sheep and javalina. Find a list of certified volunteer scorers at

18—Contact them and they’ll get the animal scored for you. You fill out the form and send it in to us – it’s completely free. If it’s a youth or first harvest category, you don’t even have to contact a scorer. All you have to do is go to, print out a copy of the youth and first harvest form, fill it out and send it in. And that’s all there is to it.

Deadline for entries if February 15, 2015. Three Regional Sportsman’s Celebration banquets will be held to honor winners and program participants. Find more information at

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Hunt | Habitat: Texas Big Game Awards

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014


Big Buck at Choke Canyon State Park

Big Buck at Choke Canyon State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Big Game Awards started in 1991 as a partnership between the Texas Wildlife Association and Texas Parks and Wildlife as a means to document the native big game resources we have in the state.

05—And also, to celebrate our hunting heritage and recognize young and new hunters.

Justin Dreibelbis is Hunting Heritage Program Director at the Texas Wildlife Association.

12— We have scored entries that have to meet a certain scoring criteria for that particular region. And then we also have unscored categories which are our youth division and our first harvest division.

Texas Big Game Awards recognizes white-tailed and mule deer, pronghorn antelope, Desert Bighorn Sheep and… this was a surprise… javalina.

08—At this point it’s still kind of a well-kept secret. But it’s something that we do want to publicize that javalinas are actually able to be scored and entered into TBGA, too.

The awards showcase quality big game in Texas, and prove thoughtful land management can produce big healthy game animals, especially deer, anywhere. And, Justin says that makes landowners take notice.

19—It kind of opens up people’s eyes to going, hey, you know what – we’ve never grown any big deer around here before, but it’s possible. And that’s something we’re constantly telling people: if you let a deer get old enough, and you manage the habitat so that it has plenty of groceries at every point during its life, you have the ability to grow a big deer anywhere in the state.

More on the Texas Big Game Awards tomorrow. That’s our show… with support from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV: Home Again (Desert Bighorn Sheep)

Friday, December 5th, 2014


Relocating Desert Bighorn Sheep, photo by Earl Nottingham, TPWD

Relocating Desert Bighorn Sheep, photo by Earl Nottingham, TPWD

This is Passport to Texas

There’s a special quality about Far West Texas; and, as Froylan Hernandez can tell you, when the Desert Bighorn Sheep is on the landscape, it’s awe-inspiring.

08—When I’m up on top of Elephant Mountain, my first glimpse of them, it’s overwhelming. Even if it’s just a single animal.

Hernandez is Desert Bighorn Sheep Program Leader for Texas Parks & Wildlife. Meet him on an upcoming segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV Series airing the week of December 8.

20—Historically, the native Texas Desert Bighorn Sheep occurred in about 16 mountain ranges out here in the Trans Pecos. Mainly due to unregulated hunting, diseases associated with the introduction of domestic sheep and goats, and net wire fencing – they brought the demise of the Desert Bighorn. And by the early 1960s, they were all gone from Texas.

For more than fifty years, Texas parks and Wildlife and partners have worked to restore the Bighorn to its home range in Texas.

08—Luckily, the population in Texas is now big enough, we’re using those sources to transplant the animals to Big Bend Ranch State park.

And Big Bend Ranch SP superintendent Ron Trevizo welcomes them to a new home on the range.

07—When we started talking about the release coming in – to release the Desert Bighorn Sheep at Big Bend Ranch, I’m like – Yea, that’s great!

See how agency biologists translocate Desert Bighorn Sheep to Big Bend Ranch SP on a segment of the TPW PBS TV series, the week of December 8.

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

Wildlife: Excluding Snakes

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
Coral Snake

Coral Snake

This is Passport to Texas

Late summer and early fall newly hatched snakes are on the landscape. As fall progresses they slither off to find a place to hibernate until warmer days arrive. Sometimes, however, those days come early, says state herpetologist, Andy Gluesenkamp.

18—We have a lot of variation in our weather this time of year. So, we may have a really hot, sunny day in the middle of a long cool spell. Snakes that picked a poor place to hibernate can get warmed up and woken up on those warm days. And then, people will find a snake wandering around in November that should be long to bed.

Most snakes are non-venomous and beneficial overall, and we should learn to coexist with them. Yet, if you want to keep them from relocating in or under your home, consider the following:

19—I tell people if they’re concerned about snakes in and around and under their house that they need to get out now while the weather is comfortable and screen those access areas. So, screen around the porch; screen those crawl spaces underneath the house. Use whatever sort of mechanical approach you need to exclude wildlife.

Learn about the snakes of Texas when you visit the Texas parks and wildlife website.

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.

Wildlife: Good Snakes, Bad Choices

Monday, November 17th, 2014
Timber rattlesnake

Timber rattlesnake

This is Passport to Texas

Have you noticed fall seems to bring with it small snakes?

04— Snake encounters may increase, although those animals are usually juveniles.

Late summer and early fall snakes hatch and feed before finding a place to hibernate, says TPW herpetologist Andy Gluesenkamp. Young snakes can make bad choices when it comes to where they spend the winter.

14—They may confuse a concrete floored garage, or someone’s limestone front porch with a bluff or a crevice that they can hang out in. And that’s where we wind up with these unwanted snake encounters in neighborhoods.

I told Andy that a rat snake lives under my house.

08—Cecilia, I’ll point out – it’s one thing to have a rat snake under your house, it’s another thing to have a skunk. So, I’ll take the snake over the skunk any day.

I have skunks, too. Andy Gluesenkamp says snakes near the front door or in the garage will find a new place to live on their own. But what if they get into the house?

11—The best advice I can give is a broom and a bucket. There’s no need to hurt the snake. They’re generally not difficult to collect if you just scoop them into a bucket and put them outside. They don’t want to be in your house.

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.