Archive for March, 2012

State Parks: Spring Awakenings

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

It feels good to be outside in a state park again after the miserable heat and drought of this past summer and the chill and wet of winter. But as our state park guide, Bryan Frazier, tells us, we aren’t the only ones stirring this spring.

65—The animals and bugs and things that live in our parks all the time, this is their first time to get out and stretch their legs and see the sunshine and do all that. So we want to encourage people of some basic safety tips when they’re going outside to remember.

When you’re in and around water—thankfully we’ve gotten rain in a lot of places—just be aware when you’re in and around water, that a lot of these animals haven’t seen water in awhile either, and they’re anxious to get there.

Amphibians and things that like the water and the things that like to eat the amphibians—they might be in and around the water.

So just, again, take some precautions. And we always encourage people to hike and get out on the trails—to see the nature and explore. But remember, when possible, we try not to disturb our wildlife.

So, more than anything, a modest amount of practical sense and just respect for nature will keep everybody safe and [create] a happy, enjoyable outdoor experience for you and for the residence of the four-legged kind that live there all the time.

Thanks, Bryan.

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.

Outdoor Stories: Snakes Alive!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

When David Guthrie was a boy growing up in Round Rock, he and his buddies regularly camped out in the woods and fields around his parent’s home.

David told his Texas Outdoor Story of a particularly memorable camp out.

51—In the middle of the night it started to rain. So we packed up our things, and just took off and went back to my parent’s house and then we crashed on the living room floor. And the next morning I remember feeling something on me – it was moving across my leg – and I woke up and I looked down and there’s this enormous bulge around my leg.

And across my stomach was the tail of a snake. And I woke up the kid next to me and I said, hey! You know, you’ve got to get this snake. You’ve got to grab him by the head so he can’t bite me. And his first reaction is, I’m afraid of snakes.

But he reached over and he grabbed it and clamped down on it and it started thrashing in my pants leg. And so finally I got him to let go. The snake came out of my pants and went under a chair in the living room. And it turns out we had to go get a neighbor, and he came over and ultimately, trapped the snake in the house, and it was a non-poisonous snake.

It was a three foot one inch long black racer; it was a rather memorable experience. I had a lot of sleepless nights as a kid after that (laughter).

Have your own Texas outdoor adventure to share? Just go to and click on the outdoor stories link.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish restoration program supports our series…and is funded by your purchase of hunting and fishing equipment and motor boat fuel. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Outdoor Story: Message in a Bottle

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Terri McDonald of Rockport, responded to our request for listeners’ stories about their favorite Texas State Parks, historic sites or wildlife management areas. Her favorite is Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area.

09—Absolutely love it. There’s no cars…very few people…it’s just like going back in time to a beach a hundred years ago.

The slow pace leaves a lot of time for one of Terri’s favorite pastimes — beach combing.

09—We’ve found tons of seashells, beautiful driftwood, four messages in bottles…. You just never know what you’re going to find out there.

Terri says she’s contacted three of the people whose message she found in the bottles.

28—The oldest one was from 1969. A soldier in the Vietnam War had dropped it off of Cape Canaveral. And we found it at the bottom of a dune that had been sheared off by a storm. So it had been buried under sixteen feet of sand for years and years. So we got in touch with him through the help of the Corpus Christi Caller Times Military Reporter. And it was a long time ago – he had almost forgotten doing it.

Thank you Terri. Now it’s your turn. Go to and click on the outdoor stories tab and share your tale of the great outdoors…because Life’s Better Outside.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Wildlife: Animal Calls

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Kissing the palm of your hand may sound like what a kid might do to practice for their first lip lock. But it’s also useful for attracting wildlife…the four legged variety.

:10—[kissing sound] I can do that to a bobcat that’s sitting out there behind a bush at a hundred yards, and it’ll start him towards me almost immediately. It just sounds delicious.

Gerald Stewart is a consultant for Johnny Stewart wildlife calls. Gerald’s dad, Johnny, created the business, which featured recorded animal sounds.

:23—Dad realized early on in the development of the business, that these sounds could be used by quite a wide variety of people. Photographers, nature lovers, bird watchers, hunters, researchers, or people that just want to simply show their grand kids [raccoon call] the eyes of a raccoon coming through the grass at night…just for the joy of being able to see something wild, literally a few feet away from them.

Screech owls are common in residential neighborhoods, and are a good animal to call when you’re with children.

:15—[screech owl] It’s easier to call screech owls with children around. Screech owls are a gregarious little bird, very social. And will put up with human presence. After a minute or two of being there, humans can just start talking and milling around and the little screech owl just sits in the tree.

Learn about native wildlife by logging onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife web site.

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

TPWD TV: The Crappie Guys

Monday, March 19th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Crappie is a fun fish to catch, and a tasty fish to eat. This month on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series, meet two men, in a story called The Crappie Guys, who use the fish as a teaching tool and as a way to bring families together. Series producer, Don Cash.

61—We focus a little bit on a guy named Tommy Tidwell, who is a High School science teacher in Georgetown. Tommy’s also a part-time fishing guide for crappie at Lake Granger. So, for Tommy, crappie are not just a fish to catch, but they’re also something that helps him in his science classes.

Here’s a parasite. Who’s got some tweezers? Here you go. Is he moving? Yeah, he’s moving. Look guys. Ewwww.

The other crappie guy is Wally Marshall who lives up around Dallas. He is also known as Mr. Crappie. Wally had been, in the past, a fishing guide, but now he’s sort of a crappie entrepreneur. The main thing Wally does is every year he puts on a family friendly fishing tournament called the Mr. Crappie Big Crappie Classic.

The fish is a bonus actually, but spending time in the outdoors is really what it’s all about.

The whole point of catching crappie is to take them home and eat them. Our very own Texas Parks and Wildlife boating safety director, Tim Spice, cooks up some crappie. And I can tell you from experience Tim does a great job—they tasted wonderful.

Thanks, Don. The show airs the Week of March 18. Check your local listings.

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