Archive for April, 2007

Urban Coyotes: The Problem

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program

You know the story: rural land inhabited by wildlife, developed for suburban life, receives unwelcome visitation by the previous tenants.

We can coexist with the wildlife in the urban areas, but to do so – in many cases – we need a change of attitude.

Brett Johnson is an urban wildlife biologist in Dallas County; he educates communities about wildlife — especially coyotes – that occasionally visit the hood.

People tend to have one of two reactions when they see a coyote. And those two reactions are, either they are afraid and back away from it, and basically allow the coyote to continue doing whatever it’s doing at that time. Or, they get all excited and want to see how close they can get to it.

Neither reaction is suitable when developing an appropriate human / coyote relationship, says Johnson.

Either one of those two reactions are going to cause the coyote to become more and more comfortable around humans.

Once these animals lose their fear of humans, they can become a nuisance. Tomorrow: dealing with coyotes.

If the coyotes are coming into a residential area, and you see one, first off – try to scare it.

That’s our show… we had help today from Sarah Bibbs… the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration program supports our show…and it’s funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuels.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Becoming A Texas Game Warden

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Being a Texas Game Warden is an important and rewarding profession. Occasionally, though, it takes an outsider to recognize you have the right stuff to wear the badge.

When I was going to college, I studied a lot of science and as a Texan I grew up hunting and fishing. One of my professors actually was the one who thought I’d make a good Game Warden.

Kris Bishop, Assistant Chief of Fisheries Enforcement, outlines the steps involved in becoming a Game Warden.

To be a Game Warden, you have to have a four-year college degree. I would suggest anybody that’s interested in it look while they’re in college, even while they’re in high school, look into the program. We have internships and that would be helpful later on if you wanted to apply. Once you’ve finished your four-year degree, if you are accepted into the Academy, it’s about a seven month live-in academy, and they teach you everything about the Code of Criminal procedures, Penal code, and then animal identification.

Graduates of Game Warden Academy enforce all state laws.

Our primary objective is to enforce hunting, fishing, and water safety regulations. You’re a conservation enforcement officer, and then because you are a state peace office, you are responsible to know and be able to enforce all the laws of the state.

Details about Law Enforcement can be found on the Texas Parks & Wildlife website.

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

Wildlife Trail Maps

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

The mid-1990s saw the first wildlife trail completed along the Gulf Coast; today, with the help of detailed maps everyone can explore that first trail, as well as seven others that have followed it.

This summer we launched our final two Great Texas Wildlife Trail Birding maps. This brings the total of wildlife trail maps for the state of Texas to 8. We have 3 coastal birding trail maps, and then we (in 2004) launched 2 for the Heart of Texas, and one for the Panhandle. And now these final 2 are in the Pineywoods and the North Texas area of Dallas and Fort Worth. So we’re covering rural and urban areas state-wide.

Shelley Plant, Nature Tourism Coordinator.

The Great Texas Wildlife Trails are actually driving trails to sites along the road, so they’re things that you do in your car. They’re not a hiking or a walking trail. Texas was the first state that did birding and wildlife trails, and now many other states have followed that lead and there are wildlife trails throughout the entire nation now.

The trails provide economic incentive to landowners and communities to conserve habitat while providing ecotourism opportunities.

On the wildlife trail maps, there’s information about each site that tells you what time of year to go, what kind of habitat you’ll see, potential animals that you might run into while you’re at that site, and how to get there. Really this is the best way to discover everything that Texas has to offer in the outdoors.

Download or order your Texas Wildlife Trail map from the Texas Parks & Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today…with research and writing help from Loren Seeger.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Wildlife Viewing Tips

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

After a rough winter, spring is finally here! So, take this opportunity to discover the unique flora and fauna of Texas. Whether you travel to the Gulf Coast or the Panhandle, the following tips will enhance your experience.

Some of the best tips are to just wear camouflage colors. Wear natural, neutral colors, unscented lotions. Walk very, very softly- not snap twigs or trample the wildflowers. You want to be as invisible to the animals that you are trying to see as possible.

Shelley Plante, Nature Tourism Coordinator.

Dusk and dawn are the best times to go viewing. They’re wonderful for birds, as well as the dragonflies and butterflies. Although some animals you can see throughout the day. So even a picnic in the afternoon will take you to a great site for wildlife watching.

I bet you thought you would never hear this, but: DON’T SHARE! Sure, your lunch may be tasty, but don’t give it to any of the critters you see.

Let the animals also eat their natural foods. Don’t share any of your picnic with them. It’s great to help feed birds at your backyard- it’s a wonderful way to view wildlife, but when you’re out in the wilderness and actually take a hike or camping, clean up after yourself. Leave no trace. Do all those basic, good wildlife etiquette things that you should do while in the wild.

Find additional wildlife viewing tips on the Texas Parks & Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today…with research and writing help from Loren Seeger…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Snake Bit: Woman Meets Copperhead

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Snakes are shy, and not likely to slither about in the open. Even so, human and snake encounters do occur – even in backyards. To minimize unpleasant consequences from chance meetings, experts advise us to: wear boots, watch our step, keep our lawns mowed, and if we see a snake –don’t play with it.

The one thing that I did manage to do was not play with the snake.

Robyn Gammill is a stay at home mom and freelance writer living in rural Caldwell County. She shared her snake bite story in the March issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

For some reason, I was checking on the chickens – I think we might have had new chicks. And I remember about a third of the way across the yard looking at the sky and thinking, ‘I sure hope I don’t get bitten this time.’ And right about that time, I got bitten by a snake, which felt exactly like being bitten by a cat. So, I had no idea what had happened at first. And I turned around to look, and sure enough, it was not my cat. It was a copperhead…who was ready to bite again by the looks of him.

Robyn got help quickly, which included an anti-venom injection and an overnight hospital stay…which proved costly.

It was just over forty-thousand dollars. And when I cracked open the envelope, I started laughing. I thought surely this must be some huge mistake. I was expecting, you know, three-thousand…five-thousand. But, the anti-venom is really expensive; and the anti-venom treatment alone was thirty-six thousand dollars.

Which was another painful bite…

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