Archive for August, 2011

A Mischievous Past of International Proportion

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

We all come from somewhere, and Chris Holmes, who oversees the Texas Outdoor Family in State parks program, comes from England. From the time he was a boy, Chris had a passion for the outdoors. It made sense that when he became an adult, he would seek a career that kept him close to nature. He has followed that career to several continents and two hemispheres. He shares a favorite memory.

I was a park ranger once in Australia. And we had some monitor lizards that were fairly aggressive—similar to the raccoons here in Texas—they would go after food. And it was always very funny to watch these monitor lizards slinking up towards tents, and smelling the food. These lizards were about five to six feet long. So, having a monitor lizard stick their head through the tent—a lot of people are not used to seeing that. So that was a lot of fun. And sometimes, maybe we had some mischievous young adults that have kept us awake at nighttime, so we may have encouraged the lizards to go see them in the morning.

Monitor lizards are like raccoons. I don’t think so. Thanks, Chris.

Do you have a fond memory of time you’ve spent in the Texas outdoors…a mischievous moment…a tale of terror…tell us. Go to and click the Outdoor Stories link and tell us all about it. We may use it in the show.

That’s our show…for today. Remember: Life’s Better Outside… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

White-winged Dove Expands its Range

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Corey Mason is dove program leader at Parks and Wildlife, and says once limited to South Texas, white winged doves are on the move.

You know, we find mourning dove and white-wing dove—both—all the way from Far West Texas in the trans Pecos Region into the Pineywoods of East Texas. And we’ve recently actually this year found new colonies of nesting white wing dove deep in East Texas. Why is that unusual? Historically, white wing dove were found along the lower Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, really associated with South Texas brush, some of the citrus groves in the 80s. But since that time, there’s been a huge range wide expansion of these birds all across the state. White wing dove can basically be found in any county in the state now. What do we attribute this movement of the white wings to? A lot of it can be triggered back to a hard freeze in the eighties.. Kind of lost some of those types of nesting habitat; those birds adjusted and moved from that. So we kind of have two populations of white wings now. We have the historic south Texas—south of San Antonio—populations of white wing doves. And then we have north of that line, a population of white wing dove that are all across the state now, that are really kind of moving these transient movements from one urban population to the next. And from there spreading out and out and out. It’s really occurred over the last ten or fifteen years. And like I said, these birds can nearly be found pretty much anywhere in the state now.

The North and Central Zone dove season opener is Thursday, September 1. The South Zone opener is Friday, September 23.

The Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program… supports our series and works to increase fishing, hunting, shooting and boating opportunities in Texas.

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

TPW Magazine Hunting Issue

Monday, August 29th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas…

Whether it is your fiftieth or first time hunting, Texas Parks and Magazine’s September issue has something for everyone. Editor, Louie Bond.

In September we do turn our focus to hunting, And this year we’ve split our hunting forecast into two sections to give our whitetail experts a little more time to come up with more accurate predictions. So this year in September we’ll have a dove and teal forecast all by itself. We’ll also have a special feature on public hunting by Ben Reeder. I know a lot of people want to hunt but just don’t know where to go and can’t afford to get their own lease. So, we have a variety of options through Texas Parks and Wildlife public hunting program, and I think there will be a lot of good information in there for hunters. And we also have kind of an interesting take on hunting, I think, in that we’re looking at modern day flintknappers. And flinknappers, of course, they’re rock enthusiasts who go about trying to recreate Clovis and Folsom points and they get together at knap-ins. They learn from each other and, as they say, they bust a lot of rocks. And they have a lot of fun rediscovering the old ways of hunting. It’s quite a fascinating read. So, as you get ready for hunting pick up the September issue and we’ll give you all the information you need.

Thanks, Louie.

The Sport Fish and Wildlife restoration program supports our series and works to increase fishing, hunting, shooting and boating opportunities in Texas.

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

New and Improved: Tyler State Park

Friday, August 26th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Tyler State Park in the east Texas Pineywoods is ready for its close-up. After a great deal of planning and hard work, the park more of what folks expect in a great outdoor destination. Bryan Frazier explains.

It was part of the Capital Campaign that we did at Tyler State Park.

And we made some four million dollars in renovations. And that’s everything from converting screen shelters into little mini-cabins with air conditioning, to complete renovation to the group dining hall with air conditioning with new appliances, to renovating campground loops with new blacktop roads and new water and electric hookups and new tent pads.

So, the experience that people are going to find there is even better.

Tyler is a great park. It’s known for its biking trails. It’s known for its great 60-acre fishing and swimming lake there. It’s the beautiful Pineywoods of East Texas…it’s actually not that far from the DFW area. But, it’s even better with these upgrades and improvements. It just makes people’s experience on the other side of the park gate more of what they love. And we’re proud to offer that at Tyler SP.

Reserve your campsite online when you log onto the Texas parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today…with funding provided by Chevrolet…building dependable, reliable trucks for more than 90 years.

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

Hangin’ With Houston Toads

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

SFX [Houston toad call]

The Houston toad makes that sound, and it’s become a rare sound over the past two decades. Years of drought and habitat destruction have diminished the Houston toad population to only a few hundred.

Michael Forstner is a professor at Texas State University.

Through the Texas parks and Wildlife Landowner Incentive Program (LIP), he’s worked with private landowners in Bastrop County to restore habitat for the Houston toad.

10—Most of the people in Bastrop want to live in Bastrop County because it looks a certain way. And if it keeps looking like the lost pines, we keep the toad.

So what do these “lost pines” look like?

21—Imagine a cathedral forest. Most of the habitat that we find Houston toads doing the best in, whatever that means for its current levels, are gallery forests. Those are the forests that you see in the images for computer desktop wallpapers. Those are large-trunked trees with open space beneath them.

By planting the fast-growing loblolly pine trees, a habitat can be restored in about twenty years.

So if current efforts are successful, Forstner says the Houston toad population could make a comeback.

07—The best thing about the Houston toad is they make 6,000 eggs at a time. Those babies just need a place to grow up.

Find more information on endangered species, including the Houston Toad, on the Texas Parks And Wildlife website.

The sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.