Archive for December, 2013

Fishing: A New Year Resolution for Anglers

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Resolve to take a child fishing in 2014

Resolve to take a child fishing in 2014

This is passport to Texas

We’re on the threshold of 2014, a time when a lot of us make resolutions to do better and be better in the New Year. If you’re wondering what to resolve this year—we have a suggestion:

09—Today we have so many things competing for our time, and fishing can be such a wonderful activity…resolve to take a child fishing.

Gary Saul is Director of Inland fisheries. He says while grownups take kids fishing to stir their imaginations—we get just as much satisfaction from the experience.

14—When a child catches a fish…to watch them reel it in…to pick it up and to look at you and then get excited about when are we going fishing again… it’s great fun.

And if you’ve resolved to remain faithful to a budget in 2014, you’ll be glad to know it’s free to fish in state parks. Some locations even have a tackle loaner program. So resolve to take your kids fishing soon—a good time will be had by all.

15–Woo…you’ve got a bass.

Whoa…that’s bigger than mine…I think.

Did ya get him in? Woo, okay.

Get a catfish?

No, it’s a bass.

Whoa…my dad gonna be happy.

Our show is made possible with a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration Program…working to increase fishing, and boating opportunities in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…Cecilia Nasti

Nature: Crawdads — the Gateway Species

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Blue Crawdad

Blue Crawdad

This is Passport to Texas

It all starts with the first catch…

08—Kids don’t start with large mouth bass, they start with crawdads. This is what I call a gateway species; it leads to greater nature appreciation in adults.

…but first, you have to go out to get one. Nathan Johnson is coauthor of the field guide, Texas Crawdads. He’s worried kids today spend too much time indoors and are missing out on the fun of nature. A lifetime creek adventurer himself, catching crawdads seems the perfect way to open kids’ doors to the outside.

16—It’s more than just catching crawdads. They’re going out there and their adventuring. It’s discovery. When I was a kid, the geography of my life was defined by which creeks and woods were within bicycling distance of my house. We’d considered those creeks our creeks and our woods and we’d explore.

And taking that sense of ownership a step further; he’s encouraged young folks to contribute to conservation efforts as well.

17—I talk to cub scouts and I tell them: you can make a difference, you can begin to record the crawfish of your state so that you can increase the awareness and the knowledge and the biodiversity. The work you do is just as important as the work that state biologist does with their inventories. All we gotta do is put it in their hands and say go.

Leave a comment with your crawdad catching adventures at

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

Hunting: Lily Pulls the Trigger

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Call of the Mild by Lily Raff McCaulou

Call of the Mild by Lily Raff McCaulou

This is Passport to Texas

When you grow up in a hunting family, you learn to (at least) appreciate the tradition.

06—It was so different from what I grew up with and from anything I knew, that I wanted to know more about it.

Journalist Lily Raff McCaulou moved from NYC to Bend Oregon to write for a small newspaper, many readers of which were anglers and hunters. To connect with them and the food she ate, Lily learned to hunt.

22—You know, the locavore movement was starting to take hold, and I’d been a meat eater my whole life, and was wondering: do I really have what it takes to hunt and kill my own meat. And wanting to know what I could get from that experience — and that closeness to my food. So, it was a combination of all these different factors that made me decide this is something that I want to try.

It took a year from the time she completed hunter education, to participating in a pheasant hunt during a Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop. Even so, she wasn’t sure she’d take a shot, but then…

25—All the other women in my group had shot a bird, and I just started feeling like, ‘Hey, I’ve come all this way and it’s been a year in the making, and I want to take a shot, too.’ Eventually, all the stars aligned and the dog that I was with sniffed out a bird and held it on point [and when it flushed], and I got it; I took the shot and the bird fell immediately. Rather than feeling all the guilt and remorse, I felt empowered.

Lily Raff McCaulou writes about her experience in her book Call of the Mild.

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

Hunting: Call of the Mild

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Lily Raff McCaulou Photo Marisa Chappell

Lily Raff McCaulou Photo Marisa Chappell

This is Passport to Texas

When Lily Raff McCaulou moved from NYC to Bend, Oregon to pursue a career in journalism, her beat covered a large rural area.

05—I was there hoping to write about stories that mattered to them and their community.

Something that mattered to the community was hunting.

14—I didn’t know any hunters growing up – and this was just so far from what I was used to. And there was a little bit of a danger element. These were people who knew how to use guns. People who owned guns. There was something kind of scary bout that to me.

It didn’t take long for Lily to appreciate how hunting and land stewardship went hand-in-hand, or that her new neighbors were committed conservationists who had great compassion for the lives of the animals they harvested.

23—So, when I was meeting these hunters, I realized a huge part of hunting for them was being out in the environment and interacting with the natural world. And that, as hard as it was to understand, and hard as it is to explain, they actually had a huge amount of love for the animals that they hunted. There was not hate – it was actually the opposite of that – it was love and respect for these animals.

Tomorrow – Lily takes the plunge and pulls the trigger.

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

History: Time off in Early Texas

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Barrington Farm Christmas

Barrington Farm Christmas

This is Passport to Texas

We have something in common with early Texans.

06 – Christmas and the month of December—in large part—was the time when Texans gathered.

Cynthia Brandimarte is program director for Texas historic sites. Unlike today when a short trip by car or plane will get us to our holiday destination, travel was difficult for early Texans.

09 – And so when you traveled, you tended to stay. People had time at Christmas to do that—to travel and spend weeks.

Which makes the few days that most of us get off at Christmas seem like a rip off. And early Texans made good use of this block of time.

08 – It was then that they celebrated not only Christmas, but other special events, and planned weddings for the month of December.

Since Texas was mostly rural in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, and there wasn’t a lot of farming that could happen in December…

15 – It almost gave 19th Century and early 20th Century rural Texans an excuse not to work. And thus to play a bit more, and socialize a bit more, than they had time to do many other months of the year.

How will you spend your time off this holiday season? How about making a little time to enjoy the great outdoors?

From all of us at Passport to Texas, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.