Archive for November, 2015

City Girl Learns to Cook and Love Game

Monday, November 23rd, 2015
Evin's son, Tristan, with cottontail he harvested.

Evin’s son, Tristan, with cottontail he harvested.

This is Passport to Texas

Evin Cooper is a writer, cook and mom. She’s a city girl who shares her life with Steven—a country boy who hunts. Their family eats what Steven brings home.

07—I had to learn to deal with it. I had to figure out how to cook all the random stuff that he brought home.

To Evin, meat had always come wrapped in plastic from the market. That changed when Steven challenged her perceptions about meat and her culinary skills with an unusual wild protein.

27—He brought me a raccoon. And, he’s like figure out how to cook it. So, I Googled, and read to soak it in milk for a day before you cook it. So, I soaked it in milk overnight. And then I opened the fridge, and I looked at it and I was like: ‘Ah, one more night will do it good.’ I soaked in milk for more night. And then I thought a third night would be great. I soaked it for so long it went bad.

Do you think that might have been a subconscious thing of not really wanting to eat a raccoon?

I don’t even think it was subconscious. I think it was entirely conscious.

Since then, Evin has consciously and happily prepared a wide variety of wild game, including cottontails.

05—Cottontail’s a very lean meat. And you have to cook it for a long time to really get the best quality out of it.

Tomorrow: Evin Cooper shares her simple and delicious recipe for cottontail carnitas.

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

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

TPW TV: Finding Refuge in Nature

Friday, November 20th, 2015
Big Time Texas Hunt at Black Gap WMA

Hunting during the “Golden Hour.”

This is Passport to Texas

Difficulties in social interaction, anxiety, verbal and nonverbal communication are characteristic of individuals on the autism spectrum. Robin Bradberry lives with this condition.

06— You always know deep down, you know you don’t quite fit in, but you really want to, but you never will.

Robin, who is married to Steve, finds spending time hunting together calms her. Meet the couple in a segment on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS as they hunt deer on public land.

19— I like it, I’ve never hunted in any place quite this open before so I’m curious to see what shows up and how they move! Just getting settled in adjusting the blind windows, I think we’ve got it positioned where we can just ease the gun out there. Steve calls is nesting.

Robin does better away from the high energy, high stress world, which makes a quiet hunt on public land good medicine.

23—This is almost like therapy for me. It [autism] doesn’t exist out here. It’s more serene out here. You don’t have all of the movement of people, and distractions. You come out here and you can focus on your surroundings more. And listen. And you can listen. Exactly. There’s nothing. There’s wind. There’s crickets…

View the segment with Robin and Steve Bradberry on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV Series on PBS the week of November 29.

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

TPW Magazine: Ducks and Dogs

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
Jim and Lilly

Jim Remley and his new puppy, Lilly

This is Passport to Texas

A great hunting dog will leave an indelible mark on the heart of the hunter who owns it.

06—I hesitated to use the word love. But I don’t think there’s a better word than love for it.

David Sikes is the outdoor writer at the Corpus Christi Caller Times. He wrote about hunters and their dogs for the November issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

13—I’ve been duck hunting for a few decades now. So, I’ve sat beside many, many dog owners and their beloved hunting dogs, and I’ve become fascinated just by the relationship that they have.

Sikes says these highly trained animals are also loyal family pets. But when they’re in the field, they have a job to do. And when done well, they’re a source of pride.

26—The dog owners take such a sense of pride in what the dogs can accomplish. And, of course, they only take partial credit for that. Because they give the dogs credit for their intelligence. They do. The dogs that seem to perform best have more intelligence and more heart. And just more drive than others. And most of them, like some of the subjects of this story, have a special place for those special dogs they’ve had over the decades.

Such as Jim Remley’s black lab Kareem, or Rob Sawyer’s Chesapeake, Nellie, or even Harvey Evans’ Chesapeake named Taffy that also helped him sell crackers in the 1950s. Read about all of them in David Sikes piece in this month’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

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

Avoiding Woodpecker Damage

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015
Redbellied Woodpecker

Redbellied Woodpecker

This is Passport to Texas

As a rule, woodpeckers excavate cavities in dead trees, called snags, which they then live in. The exception to the rule occurs when in their home building zeal, they mistake dark colored house siding, for a snag. When they do—homeowners have problems.

And it looks like cannon balls have been shot through the house. Maybe two or three; and we’ve seen some with fifteen, sixteen holes.

Cliff Shackelford is a non-game ornithologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. He says woodpecker damage occurs most often in urban and suburban areas where homeowners removed dead wood from their property.

What we recommend people to do with problems with woodpeckers is to put a nest box. If you’re familiar with a bluebird box, it’s just a larger version of that custom made for woodpeckers.

Visit for a link to information and free blueprints to make your own woodpecker nest box.

People can build this in a couple of hours on the weekend, and put it up on the side of the house, and in all cases that we’ve done this – it’s worked. And the woodpecker stops chiseling on the home, and goes to this next box, and is very content.

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


Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

  • Floor – 6 inches by 6 inches
  • Depth – 12 inches
  • Entrance height above floor – 10 inches
  • Entrance diameter – 2 inches
  • Recommended height above ground – 10 to 20 feet


Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker
Photo by Terry Spivey, USDA Forest Service


Northern Flicker

  • Floor – 7 inches by 7 inches
  • Depth – 16 to 18 inches
  • Entrance height above floor – 14 to 16 inches
  • Entrance diameter – 2½ inches
  • Recommended height above ground – 6 to 20 feet



The Problem with Woodpeckers

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

This is Passport to Texas

If you live in East Texas, and have noticed strange holes in the wood siding of your home… don’t call the police; call an ornithologist.

08—There are fifteen species of woodpeckers in Texas, eight of which are in the eastern third of Texas. And that’s where we get most of our calls of woodpecker damage.

Non-game ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, says the pileated and red bellied woodpeckers are among the culprits inflicting the damage to these homes.

15—What happens a lot of time is that they see these houses that might be painted brown, they might have cedar siding, and this is very attractive to the birds to try to excavate a cavity. So, they’re not looking for food when they’re doing this; they’re looking to make a cavity to call home.

The pileated woodpecker, about the size of a crow, can excavate holes as big as a man’s fist — and not just in the outside walls of your home, either.

11—That’s right. We’ve documented pileateds going through into the sheetrock and into the room of the house. Of course, they’re very lost when they do that, they quickly go out. They’re not looking to make a mess of the house.

Keeping woodpeckers from damaging your home…that’s tomorrow.

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