Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Ask a Game Warden: Is it Okay to Shoot Snakes?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
Timber Rattlesnake

Timber Rattlesnake

This is Passport to Texas’ Ask a Game Warden

Some wildlife can be alarming. Twitter follower Julie Davis-Raley sent us a tweet (on Twitter) asking if it is legal for citizens to shoot snakes they see in the road. We turned to Game Warden Kevin Davis, chief of wildlife enforcement, for her answer.

You know, there’s a state law that prohibits discharging firearms of any type from a roadway. What’s perplexing, though, is the thought that a snake needs to be shot. There are a lot of good snakes out there. Snakes are part of our ecosystem. Some are quite fascinating. Some are quite beautiful to look at. But, we do encourage safety around homes, and around things where snakes don’t need to be. And we certainly don’t want to discourage someone from keeping themselves safe. However, most snakes are put together something like this: if you leave them alone, they’re going to leave you alone. And so, we hope that by simply leaving that animal alone, that it goes on about its business and doesn’t need human intervention.

Send us a tweet with your questions for our game wardens. Use the hashtag #askagamewarden. We’re @passporttotexas. Your question could get answered on the radio.

Until next time…for Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV – Rescuing History

Friday, July 15th, 2016
Bison at Caprock Canyons State Park

Bison at Caprock Canyons State Park

This is Passport to Texas

For the past 30 years, PBS viewers have experienced the Texas outdoors through Texas Parks and Wildlife’s television series. To celebrate, show producers, including Karen Loke who’s been with the series 24 years, share their favorite stories from the past.

And my favorite story is called Rescuing History. It’s about the capture and relocation of the last of the Southern Plains bison herd.

[Narrator Jim Swift] Doug is helping capture and relocate the last few descendants of the Southern Plains Bison. A pure, genetic strain of buffalo found nowhere else in the world.

[Doug Humphreys] But what makes this one different is that another buffalo has never been brought into this herd. There’s been no outside gene source introduced into this particular bison herd. So we’ve got a distinct genetic strain of buffalo that doesn’t exist anywhere else.

Producer Karen Loke said this touched her due to something rather unexpected that happened during filming. You can see for yourself when you tune into the Texas Parks and Wildlife television series on PBS the week of July 17.

[Roy Welch] To those of us involved in this project, it’s turned into be something quite more than just a simple matter of capturing a bison herd and relocating them over here to Caprock Canyons, in essence, we’re literally capturing a living piece of Texas history.

The award-winning Texas Parks and Wildlife Television series celebrates 30 years on PBS all season long. Check your local listings.

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

Getting to Know Dabblers and Divers

Thursday, July 14th, 2016
The Mallard is the most common of the dabbling ducks.

The Mallard is the most common of the dabbling ducks.

This is Passport to Texas

What do gadwalls…pintails…teal…wigeons… redheads and shovelers have in common?

That’s right. They’re ducks…waterfowl. They’re also game birds. But the similarities don’t end there. These fowl are further grouped by another characteristic.

There’re two different types of ducks, there’re dabblers and there’re divers.

Dave Morrison is the waterfowl program leader at Parks and Wildlife. Neither of the descriptions—diver nor dabbler—fully conveys what to expect from these birds.

And the difference is the way they feed. How they’re bodies are made up. Dabblers tend to have their feet more centered, whereas, divers are in the back of the body. Dabblers jump, spring into the air, whereas diving ducks pitter patter along the water.

Still not sure whether you would be able to distinguish a dabbling duck from a diving duck? Then, consider the following next time you see a flock of fowl feeding at a lake, stock pond or reservoir:

Dabblers feed at or near the water’s surface by filtering food… and they often tip upside down in the water to reach food at the bottom of a pond.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Wildlife Viewing in State Parks

Friday, July 8th, 2016


Prairie Dog at Lake Arrowhead State Park, copyright Texas Parks  and Wildlife Dept.

Prairie Dog at Lake Arrowhead State Park, copyright Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

This is Passport to Texas

There’s no telling the diversity of wildlife that will cross your path—from birds to bison—when you spend time outdoors.

If you missed the May issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine, you can find it online at In that issue, writer Dale Blasingame put together a list of state parks that offer some of the best wildlife viewing in Texas. We mention some of them here.

If you want to set eyes on one big mammal—the bison—you can do that at Caprock Canyons State park, where the official herd of Texas roams freely. These majestic animals will leave you in awe.

Brazos Bend and Sea Rim State Parks are known for their alligators—which have a prehistoric look about them. The park also boasts a wide array of beautiful bird species.

Speaking of birds, Choke Canyon State park in South Texas has been recognized by the American Birding Association for the diversity of species one can see there.

If you prefer to keep your eyes to the ground, Lake Arrowhead will charm you with its prairie dog town. But you have to be patient, as those little guys are shy—but it’s worth the wait when you see them pop up from their burrows.

Find the complete list of the nine best state parks for wildlife viewing at 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.

Coastal Fisheries Gets Social (Media)

Friday, June 24th, 2016
Crab clutching TPWD Coastal Fisheries hat. Photo by Braden Gross.

Crab clutching TPWD Coastal Fisheries hat. Photo by Braden Gross.

This is Passport to Texas

Social media has improved Texas Parks and Wildlife’s ability to communicate with the public.

I think Social Media is just a great way to network and connect with people.

Julie Hagen is the social media specialist for the Coastal Fisheries Division.

Right now we just have a Facebook page, and we also use the Texas Parks and Wildlife main [social media] pages to also get out some pictures and different videos that we’re doing. But, our Coastal Fisheries Facebook page is a great place for people to come and ask questions; we answer all your questions. Or, just [come by] to see what other people are doing. Tell a story. Like a picture. Send us your own pictures. If you catch a nice fish and you want to show it off, send it to us—we’ll post it on the page.

Visitors to the Coastal Fisheries Facebook page enjoy behind-the-scenes photos of researchers in action.

It’s fun to see what they do. They have very different jobs; they get to go out on the water every single day—collect data. And it’s really interesting to see a different side of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Julie Hagen encourages community among Facebook fans.

I want to create a community on Facebook where people can go and respond to other people’s comments. If they ask a question and an angler knows—‘Oh, where’s the best fishing spot in Rockport?”—well, I’d love someone in the Facebook community to come along and say: “Hey, I’m from Rockport. This is where I love to fish.’ Those interactions are my favorite because sure we can give you some ideas, but there’s so much knowledge people have on their own, and having a space for them to come and share that with other people is really important to us as well.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program support our series.

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