Archive for July, 2015

Save Snags for Wildlife

Friday, July 31st, 2015
Dead standing tree, or snag, serves as habitat for wildlife. Image courtesy University of Missouri Extension.

Dead standing trees, or snags, serve as habitat for wildlife. Image courtesy University of Missouri Extension.

This is Passport to Texas

A snag is a standing, dead tree.

08— Most homeowners don’t like them because they can be a problem if it’s about to fall on the house, or the car, or the playscape.

Texas Parks and Wildlife ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, recommends removing snags that pose risks to safety. However…

13— If that dead tree is not going to fall on anything—it’s full of life. It’s where the woodpeckers are feeding because there are beetles therein; it could be where the owl is going to perch that is going to eat the rodents on your property.

Cliff shares how he handled two dead trees in his yard.

17— We measured how far they were from falling on anything—like the house. So, one of them was 21 feet from the house; I made them cut it down to 19 feet. So, that way, if it fell over, it wasn’t going to be able to even jump that extra two feet and hit the house.

Cliff Shackelford says his reward for sparing the snag is great wildlife viewing and extra money in his pocket.

14— When we left that trunk of the three—that 19 feet—we saved money. Because, that’s the heaviest part of the tree to haul off. So, we saved several hundred dollars by just leaving that 19 foot of the trunk; and the wildlife love it.

Plus, he chipped the broken limbs, mixed them with horse manure, and once it aged, had garden mulch. Find more wildscaping tips on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show…Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

Invasive Tilapia: Defeating by Eating

Thursday, July 30th, 2015
Blue Tilapia

Blue Tilapia

This is Passport to Texas

When you hear the word tilapia, you may think of a savory meal with lemon and butter sauce, but you probably don’t think of the term “invasive species.”

11—The tilapia are great to eat. They’re raised as a food fish, and they’re quite tasty. They’re quite popular in restaurants. But the problem is when they’re in our natural waters they are upsetting the ecosystem.

Tilapia, found in Texas for decades, originally came here as a food source, and raised in fish farms. Eventually the fish ended up living wild in Texas waters.

What makes them invasive? Gary Garrett, former inland fisheries biologist with TPW, said tilapia pose a potential threat to largemouth bass and other native species.

16—They build big pit nests and in doing that they stir up a lot of the settlement. And it’s been shown, for example, with large mouth bass, all that sediment stirred up and settling back down will often kill largemouth bass eggs.

When the tilapia does this, they can potentially damage the entire ecosystem because of the intricate nature of the food chain.

Parks and Wildlife has state regulations for tilapia, but because they exist throughout Texas, they are difficult to control. But if you like to fish, Garrett says there is a way you can help.

03—Don’t throw them back. If you catch them, keep them.

Next time you catch a tilapia, turn on the grill and get cooking. You’ll be doing yourself and the Texas ecosystem a flavor.

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

Hunt Harvest APP

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
Download the Hunt Harvest APP

Download the Hunt Harvest APP

This is Passport to Texas

The My Hunt Harvest APP, which allows hunters to report their harvests, debuted in time for spring turkey season. Hunters who bag Eastern Wild turkeys must report their harvest at physical check stations, which can be miles from their lease.

16—And we did great this year. We had a lot of reports through that app. And next year it’s actually going to be the only alternative. You can use the app on your phone, or you can actually go on Parks and Wildlife’s website; go to our turkey page and report your harvest that way.

Jason Hardin is upland game bird specialist with Parks and Wildlife and turkey program leader for Texas. One goal for the app was higher reporting compliance.

12— We’re always concerned that if we have a check station in the county, and it’s halfway across the county—or all the way across—are our hunters taking the time to go across the county to report that bird. So, with the app, the check station is in the hunter’s hand.

Preliminary results are positive; even Rio Grande hunters used the app. The My Hunt Harvest App provides real time data, which benefits researchers and hunters, alike—whether hunting turkey, quail or deer.

17— It helps us understand and track how the harvest is going throughout the season. If something is going slow, we might be able to look at weather patterns, and try to explain some of that. It also just helps us with our relationship with the hunters. This day and age people want immediate information, immediate data, and we’re able to provide that more efficiently using this technology.

Download the My Hunt Harvest app free from the Apple app store and Google Play. The Wildlife restoration Program supports our series.

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

Need for Spanish Speaking Hunter Ed Instructors

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Youth Hunt

Preparing for Youth Hunt

This is Passport to Texas

The average age of Texas hunters is mid-forties. As these hunters decrease their time in the field, some increase their time in the classroom.

05—Some become [hunter education] instructors, and really want to give back to something they’ve enjoyed all throughout their lives.

Nancy Heron is director of outreach and education at parks and wildlife. She said the program has a need for instructors with special skills.

12—Parks and Wildlife has a lot of constituents who are bilingual, and who just speak Spanish. We are looking for bilingual instructors that are able to teach the hunter education program in Spanish and English.

The Spanish speaking population in Texas is growing, and Parks and Wildlife wants to ensure this group has easy access to hunter education, and a great outdoor experience.

11—We certainly could use those instructors to help us reach those constituents that we normally wouldn’t be able to reach. And, we do want to offer them [Spanish speaking constituents] an opportunity to get out in the outdoors and enjoy it.

We have information on becoming a volunteer Hunter Education instructor at

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Hunting License Deferral

Monday, July 27th, 2015
Hunting for white-tailed deer.

Hunting for white-tailed deer.

This is Passport to Texas

People interested in hunting, born on or after September 2, 1971, must take a hunter education training course. However, Nancy Herron, says there is a way around it—at least temporarily.

09—Anyone who has not been certified by the time they turn seventeen, can go and get a deferral. They must buy a hunting license, and ask for deferral type 1-6-6 at the point of sale.

Herron is director of Outreach and Education. The deferral allows people to hunt as long as a certified licensed hunter accompanies them.

05—And if you like it, go get certified; you have by August 31st of the current license year to do that.

It costs $10 for a deferral. The deferral program started in 2005, and about 10-thousand people sign up each year.

14—It offers an opportunity for someone who has not hunted before to give it a try and it brings in lapsed hunters. If they’ve been out of hunting for awhile, and didn’t get certified, they can come in, take the deferral, and then have an opportunity to get back into the outdoors.

A deferral may only be obtained once and is only valid until the end of the current license year; after that, hunters must complete the certification course.

Find hunter education information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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