Archive for October, 2009

Texas Snakes: Rattling Around

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas parks and Wildlife and the Wildlife Restoration Program

[SFX—western Diamondback Rattling] Hear that? That’s the sound of a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, the deadliest venomous snake in North America. You hear that sound when you’re out hiking, and you better rethink your next step.

The rattle serves the snake well in warning us that, ‘Hey, there’s snake over here; please mind your business and leave me alone.’

Of course, that’s hard to do when they’re hiding from you. Nevertheless, Andy Gluesenkamp, a Parks and Wildlife herpetologist, says rattlesnakes would rather leave you alone.

Unless you’re a mouse.

Right…well…assuming you’re not a mouse, you’re safe. Now here’s something you might not know—other snakes rattle.

A rattlesnake rattles its tail with a rattle on the end that makes a very distinctive buzzing noise that once you’ve heard it you’ll never forget it. However, a lot of snakes will rattle their tail in the same way, and will even back their tail up against some dried leaves or something to give it more effect.

They’re faking? Well, I guess we’ll call those lying snakes.

Snakes that do that a lot include the Texas Rat Snake; Bull Snakes which are another large non-venomous snake; King Snakes. A lot of other snakes that are otherwise harmless use this tail rattling to try to scare away would-be predators.

Find information on Texas snakes at the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show… we receive support from the Wildlife Restoration Program…working to restore native habitat in Texas…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Texas Snakes: Closer Thank You Think

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

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

Now that triple digit heat has given way to mild fall weather, you may decide to spend more time outdoors. If you do—my advice—watch your step.

Probably most people who spend any amount of time hiking in Texas have been within arm’s reach of a diamondback and never knew it.

Andy Gluesenkamp is a herpetologist with TPW. Don’t let what he just said about the big, scary venomous Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (the deadliest snake in North America) keep you locked up indoors.

Diamondbacks would by and large much prefer to avoid contact than get in some sort of fisticuffs with a large animal like a human.

These snakes play defense. They usually hang out in the vicinity of fallen logs, brush piles, rocks. If they think you don’t see them, they’ll lie perfectly still and let you do a Dionne Warwick and walk on by.

If they feel threatened by you, the first thing that they’ll do is buzz that rattle. [SFX—western Diamondback Rattling]. On rare occasions when somebody reaches their hands into a crevice, or is picking up firewood and grabs a snake or steps on a snake—then they’re going to react violently. And that’s when people tend to get bitten.

Yeah, so don’t do that. We’ll have more fun with snakes tomorrow.

That’s our show… we receive support from the Wildlife Restoration program…working to restore native habitat in Texas…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

J. David Bamberger on Drought

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas parks and Wildlife and the Wildlife Restoration Program

A drought should end when it starts to rain, right? Well, not necessarily.

This is a major drought we’re in right now. A lot of people think it’s just right now. No it started three years ago.

That’s J. David Bamberger. Two streams at his fifty-five hundred acre ranch dried up ten months ago. At his ranch, Bamberger has created water trapping systems that help make efficient use of water. But even with his conservation system, he couldn’t keep the streams alive.

So, Bamberger says, when the rain cuts back, people need to cut back on their water and land use. Before the drought, Bamberger had two hundred and twenty-five cows on his land. He keeps selling them and now has only sixty-five.

Part of our mission here is to say to landowners, “You can have your cattle. You can have your sheep, your goats, horses. You can be a farmer. You can be a rancher. And you can be a protector of all the species. It’s just being able to manage your land and read natures’ signals and signs that she gives to you.”

Bamberger says he’ll need a lot more rain before his streams flow again.

We’d probably have to have sustained rain up in the twenty to thirty inches in order to get back to that.

…and that could be a while.

That’s our show…with research and writing help from Gretchen Mahan. The Wildlife Restoration program supports our Series. For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

November TPW Magazine Preview

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

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

The November issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine puts the spotlight on a land steward and a rugged bike ride. Louie Bond is managing editor.

We’re going to feature our newest Lone Star Land Steward this month, who is none other than the inimitable, beloved, David Bamberger from Selah Ranch. He has such a poignant story, yet such a great story of success and a love of the land that we’re really happy to share. And I think everyone’s really going to enjoy that. And we have another great adventure this month. Our own Karen Blizzard, who is a publication manager here at Texas Parks and Wildlife [magazine], went out on a big bike ride at Big Bend Ranch State Park; and she’s been exploring the new mile and miles of trails out there. There’s a whole lot more available for the public. Now, this is not for the faint of heart—this is some rugged terrain. But the payoff is what she calls “fall off your bike views in every direction.” And if you want to see it for yourself, there’s going to be a Big Bend Ranch State Park fiesta, Saturday November the 14th. There’ll be all sorts of tours. If you’re rugged and you love to outdoors, then get out there and try it for yourself.

That’s our show… with support from the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program…funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motorboat fuels. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV New Season: Carp & Buffalo Fish

Monday, October 19th, 2009

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

Carp is considered a desirable sport fish in Europe…and Buffalo fish, which resemble carp, also win praise from outsiders. This month, TPW TV Series takes a closer look at these species and the people who catch them. Producer Alan Fisher.

In this segment we meet some folks who’ve come to Texas to catch Carp and Buffalo.

The European anglers want to catch a big fish.

And a guide in the Dallas area who actually started a business to cater to people who are interested in coming here. It’s a high tech pursuit; they’ve got alarms on their fishing rods.

[alarm] Looky there…he’s got a fish. That didn’t take long. That was quick.

The fish can get quite large, so it’s a good sporting fight.

Texas carp fight extremely hard.

I saw a guy catch a 43 pound new state record carp right in the middle of Austin on Ladybird Lake.

[Fish in water] Nice.

Buffalo…they’re this interesting fish that people in Texas may not know much about, but they’re quite sought after by folks that live elsewhere.

And buffalo get really big here. They’ve been captured at over a hundred pounds.

They’re readily available and a lot of fun to catch.

Thanks, Alan.

That’s our show…the Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.