Archive for February, 2012

Wildlife Trail Maps

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Late February is not too early to begin planning for spring break. As spring breakers often like to experience the wild side on their week away from classes, we’d like to suggest they blaze a trail by following a special set of maps to the best spots for wildlife in Texas.

07—Through this series of maps, we now have over 950 sites, statewide, that show you the best places to see all kinds of wildlife.

You do know we’re talking about actual wildlife—not questionable behavior.

07—From bighorn sheep to monarch butterflies to migratory song birds, to nesting shorebirds on the Texas coast.

Shelly Plante oversees nature tourism for Parks and Wildlife.

30—Fifteen years ago we started with the Great Texas Coastal Birding trail, which was a series of three trails on the Texas coast: the upper, central and lower Texas coast. With the success of those, we moved on and did the Heart of Texas, and Panhandle Plains, and those were so successful we then moved on to the Prairies and Pineywoods. About two years ago, I started partnering with the Texas Mountain Trail and Texas Pecos Trail regions of the Heritage Trails of the Historical Commission to create the final map of the series. And that is the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail map.

Download any of the nine Great Texas Wildlife Trail Maps from the Texas Parks and Wildlife website…and have a wild spring break—the kind you can tell your folks about.

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

Wildlife: Quail on the Prairie

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Bobwhite quail used to be abundant in the eastern third of the state, but habitat loss sent this small game bird packing in search of hospitable environs.

05—Private landowners are the key to increasing habitat.

More than 90 percent of the state is privately owned. Jim Willis, who owns the WW Ranch, improved the habitat on his property, and rallied his neighbors to do the same; together they created the Wildlife Habitat Federation.

36—The Wildlife Habitat Federation applied [to the USDA] for a conservation innovation grant. And with this grant, we received a hundred twenty thousand dollars, which was the seed money for getting some major wildlife conservation programs off the ground. We matched that with funds that we received from the landowners that are participating. We got a lot of help from Texas Parks and Wildlife. I can tell you that we’ve been blessed with the technical and the financial help we’re getting from them. With that assistance, we’re getting landowners to sign up to put in a wildlife corridor.

At seven miles long and at least a hundred fifty feet wide, the corridor runs from the WW ranch to the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge.

Willis says he hopes their efforts reestablish wildlife in the area.

That’s our show, with support from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program… providing funding for the Private Lands and Pubic Hunting Program.

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

Stewardship: Land Management

Monday, February 27th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Al Brothers, of Berclair, Texas, views hunting as an outdoor experience; the opportunity to harvest deer is simply bonus.

Mr. Brothers, a ranch manager, values thoughtful white-tailed deer management on private land, and recognizes that sound conservation practices lead to sound economics.

52—The whole idea of quality deer management is: let’s maintain a healthy herd; and what you would term as a trophy animal is basically a by-product of maintaining a good, healthy herd. When you have a good herd, and have good buck doe ratios, good age structure, good recruitment, and the numbers are in tune with the habitat, and then you have quality animals out there.

Not that you’re necessarily going to get them…

And that shouldn’t be your primary objective, although it is for a lot of people. To me, the outdoor experience – camping out or being with your friends in hunting camp, the camaraderie, and you going out and knowing what plants to look for that deer prefer, knowing how to track, knowing how to read signs and decide where is the best place for you to hunt — all of those things go into the hunting experience to me.

I have a quality experience every time I go out. And occasionally I’ll fire a shot.

Find landowner assistance programs on the parks and wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series, and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motorboat fuel.

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

Celebrating Texas Independence

Friday, February 24th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

This year on March 3, you have two chances to celebrate Texas Independence at historic state parks. Our State Park guide Bryan Frazier has the details.

64—One of them of course is Washington-on-the Brazos State Historic Site which is considered the birthplace of Texas. So, they’re going to pull out all the stops as they always do for Texas Independence Day at Washington-on-the Brazos State Historic Site which is just outside of Brenham, if people are looking to go there.

Every year thousands of people show up and there’s lots of different activities; there’ll be re-enactors in period costumes there. Food vendors. So, check it out. If you’re a Texan that needs to be something you add to the list to do sometime. This year would be a great year.

We’re also doing it at Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site, and that’s in Jacksboro, TX, which is west of Fort Worth about an hour and a half. And the interesting thing about Ft. Richardson is the re-enactors they have are going to be in period costume from various periods throughout Texas.

The fort was from 1860s to 1870s; there are seven restored frontier fort buildings at Ft. Richardson. So it makes an even neater backdrop to celebrate Texas independence Day. So, check it out on our website at

That’s our show for today…with funding provided by Chevrolet, supporting outdoor recreation in Texas; because there’s life to be done.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Recreation: Rock Climbing

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Brad Bell doesn’t think twice when you ask him why anyone would climb a rock.

04—Why would someone wanna…Because it’s there (laugh)…

The Austin resident teaches the sport of rock climbing. He says although you don’t need rock-hard abs to climb — before you attempt this sport — a little weight training may be in order first…

13—Upper body strength is good and leg strength is even more of a plus. (Nat sound) “There ya go…push your hand and then move your hand up to the next one…there ya go (screams) pull on up…good!

And even though rock climbing offers climbers a feeling or solitude, it’s critical – whether you’re a novice or a seasoned climber — never go alone.

12—You should always have team partners… because you have to have a partner to help you belay and help you repel down and basically it’s a team effort all the way up.

Four Texas state parks offer rock climbing: Enchanted Rock, north of Fredericksburg, Hueco Tanks, just north of El Paso, Caprock Canyons southeast of Amarillo and Lake Mineral Wells.

When you log onto the Texas Parks and wildlife Web site, you’ll find more information about ways to enjoy the great Texas outdoors.

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