Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Research | Hunt: Learning From Dove Lethality Study

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

This is Passport to Texas

Lead shot is the most common load used when hunting dove in Texas. In high accumulations it is a potential environmental toxin. Texas carried out a two-year study to evaluate effectiveness of lead versus non-toxic shot, should ammunition regulations change in the future.

02—We went into this study no knowing what we would find.

Corey Mason, Wildlife Region Three Director says it was a double blind study.

23— Everyone that was in the field – the observer recording the data and the hunter pulling the trigger – they did not know what kind of ammunition they were shooting. All of the ammunition looked identical on the exterior: all in the same brass, the same hole. No one knew what they were shooting. So, it removed all of that potential bias so that the study results are as objective as they can possibly be.

Mason says Texas needed to determine if a non-toxic ammunition alternative would be as effective as lead.

19—Secondly, we needed to know that information because of our harvest management strategies in which we base the number of days, the daily bag [limit], the opportunities to hunt these birds based on current knowns. And so, if those efficiency and wounding rates were to change it could potentially have an impact on the number of days in dove season, the daily bag – all those sorts of things.

Mason says the final analysis shows virtually no difference in effectiveness of lead versus steel shot. So, for now, it’s hunter’s choice.

03— We believe in hunter choice, but we want that to be an informed hunter choice.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Research | Hunt: Dove Lethality Study

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Dove hunters at sunset

Silhouette of dove hunters at end of day with sunset

This is Passport to Texas

Texas leads the nation in dove hunting with roughly a quarter million hunters bagging 5 million mourning doves each fall.

03—Dove hunting is kind of a rite of passage for fall for many hunters.

Corey Mason is Wildlife Region Three Director. He says in December (2014), the agency released results of a two year study examining the lethality of lead versus non-toxic shot for mourning dove.

07— Long story short, what this [analysis] told us is that bagging, wounding and missing rates, they really did not differ across ammunition types.

Mason said the most commonly used shot is a 2 3/4-inch 12-guage shell, one and one-eighth ounce 7 1/2 lead shot.

10— We compared that to a one ounce seven steel, and a once ounce six steel. It came out with very comparable results. So that statistically speaking, there was really no difference.

Texas Parks and Wildlife staff, trained as observers, spent two years in the field collecting birds bagged by hunters at commercial hunting operations.

14—There were over 5-thousand shots fires; there were over 11-hundred birds bagged. Every bird that was shot was necropsied, x-rayed, and examined. We took information gained in the field – as well as the terminal ballistics – [to determine] the effects those particular pellets had on the birds.

Again, researchers discovered negligible differences between ammunition types. But why study this at all. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Nature: Who are Master Naturalists?

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015


South Plains Chapter Texas Master naturalists from Facebook page.

South Plains Chapter Texas Master Naturalists from Facebook page.

This is Passport to Texas

When you’re passionate about something, it’s hard to keep it to yourself. And when that passion leads you to become a Texas Master Naturalist, you don’t have to.

13— We develop a corps of well-informed volunteers that provide education, outreach and service around the state in the beneficial management of natural resources and the natural areas within Texas.

Mary Pearl Meuth with Texas Agrilife Extension is assistant state program coordinator. People of all ages and from all walks of life may train to become a certified Master Naturalists, although retirees are strong within their ranks.

27—We do ask that each Master Naturalist provides 40 hours of volunteer service yearly along with their continuing education of 8 hours of advanced training every year to maintain that certification. That is difficult to do on a full-time employee based status – if you’re a full-time worker. But, we do have many master naturalists who are able to juggle the load. So, we do have young and old.

Since the program’s inception in 1997, Master Naturalists have given back to Texas in millions of meaningful ways. We have details tomorrow.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

TPW TV: Save Our Sharks

Friday, January 30th, 2015


SOS: Save Our Sharks

SOS: Save Our Sharks

This is Passport to Texas

As marine predators go, sharks swim at the top of the food chain.

08—Without having these top end Apex predators, you have the ecosystem that gets out of balance, These predators help control everything below them.

But they can’t control what’s below them if they’re gone.

07—Worldwide, sharks have been depleted by overfishing. Between 30 and 70 million sharks [are] killed by humans every year.

Dr. Greg Stunz is a marine biologist with the Harte Research Institute, and appears the week of February 1 on a For Texas Parks and Wildlife PBS TV segment called SOS: Save Our Sharks.

08—One of the things that has contributed to a decline in sharks is shark finning: fishermen actually catch the sharks, cut their fins off, and discard the body.

Illegal in American waters since 1993, finning remains active in foreign waters, as fishermen earn up to $900 a pound for the fins. Illegal fishing on gear called long lines occurs close to home, too; it’s the most immediate threat to sharks in the U.S. says Game Warden Sgt. Luis Sosa.

12—We’ve got Mexican commercial fishermen that come into US water – Texas waters – on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the most common type of species that is being caught on this illegal gear is sharks.

Save Our Sharks airs the Week of February 1 on PBS stations. Check Local listings. The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series, and receives funding through your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel…

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

Birding: Making Backyard Birds Count

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015


Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

This is Passport to Texas

The Great Backyard Bird Count provides citizens a chance to collect data to help researchers understand birds.

15—You’re basically counting all the birds you see at that spot on the planet; and the best part is it’s in your backyard. You’re starting to really pay attention to what birds are there in the wintertime. And, it’s just a lot of fun – it’s a learning experience for everybody.

TPW ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, says the count, February 13 through 16, is like a snapshot of bird life.

08—You’re counting both the number of species and the number of individuals per species. So, you’re getting two different numbers. Both kinds of information are very valuable.

Register at or It’s free. Cliff suggests doing your “homework” before getting started.

20—Crack your field guide open and start learning what species are even possible for your area – which ones would be in big numbers and which ones might be something rarer that you would want to get a photograph of. So, if you had, say, a Rufus hummingbird in February that might be something you might want to get a picture of just in case.

By participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, and sharing your observations, you help expand the knowledge base of all… in the fascinating world of birds.

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

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