Archive for November, 2016

TPW TV – ADA Hunt at Inks Lake State Park

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

This is Passport to Texas

Hunting blinds aren’t typically designed for people with disabilities. Inks Lake State Park tackled that issue by building four hunting blinds accessible to people with physical limitations. Chris Hall is with Inks Lake State Park.

We have dropped the windows down to access the height and level of the wheelchair. The carpet is nonskid surface, very good noise dampener.

Elias Brown, a first-time hunter, and his dad Chase were among the first to try the new accessible blinds.

My son has a prosthetic leg. So, it’s more accessible to get into it. Even if you can get a person with a disability up into a traditional blind, it’s going to be almost impossible for them to move around. So these things are eight foot by eight foot, with plenty of head space.

Elias bagged a deer on his first try.

It was my first hunting trip, first shot, and he dropped. So, that was great.

Dad, Chase Brown, says the family will be back.

I have a daughter in a wheelchair and she could easily get there with me and her brother or her mom. It just opens up worlds.

And Inks Lake’s Chris Hall predicts more accessible blinds are in the park’s future.

With the increased popularity, the success of this year already, I don’t know exact numbers but I can assure you we’re going to start constructing a few more.

View a segment on Inks Lake State Park’s accessible hunting blinds the week of December 4 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV Series on PBS.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series.

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

Watch the Birdie (at the Feeder)

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
Project Feeder Watch

Project Feeder Watch

This is Passport to Texas

The Christmas Bird Count, a project of the National Audubon Society, is December 14 through January 5. Volunteers count birds during a 24-hour period inside defined 15-mile diameter circles throughout the state.

But there aren’t any on December 25th—you can’t compete with family time and ripping open presents.

Nongame ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford says if you’re unable to participate in a Bird Count circle, you can still contribute to the count as a feeder watcher.

That’s someone that just merely watches out their back window and looks at the birds coming to the feeder and just counting those things. It’s a really good niche for someone that’s not able to get out if it’s too cold, or you’re just not physically able to get out, or maybe you have a newborn at the house, These are people that might have their eyes open watching the feeder and can contribute.

Get in touch with your area Audubon Christmas Bird Count Compiler through the Audubon website.

Contribute to the world of citizen science all year long as a feeder watcher. Just go to for details.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and funds diverse conservation programs in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Count Birds, Help Science

Monday, November 28th, 2016
Christmas Bird Count participants. Photo: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

Christmas Bird Count participants. Photo: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

This is Passport to Texas

More than a hundred years ago people participated in a time-honored Christmas tradition.

People would go out and do what was called a side hunt, and the winning group would come back with the biggest pile of dead critters.

Most of the critters in those piles were birds. Cliff Shackelford, non-game ornithologist with Parks and Wildlife, says conservationists had a better idea.

Early conservationists thought that we ought to count birds and not try to collect birds.

Today we have the Christmas Bird Count, December 14th through January 5th. Volunteers, armed with a bird list and binoculars, head into the field on a specified day to count birds over a 24-hour period.

What people do is they get into teams, and they have a defined 15 mile radius circle that they’re counting in, and that circle never moves. The hope is that you would count that circle for decades and decades and over time you would see trends.

Everyone turns in their data to a compiler who sorts it out and sends it to researchers; they use it to assess the health of bird populations, and to guide conservation action.

Go to for more information and to register.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Food Week: A British Cook Discusses Wild Game

Friday, November 25th, 2016
Simon  Majumdar, Pilgrim Party, Image courtesy The Cooking Channel.

Simon Majumdar, Pilgrim Party, Image courtesy The Cooking Channel.

This is Passport to Texas

British food writer and judge of Food Network TV cooking competitions, Simon Mujumdar, hunts and eats game.

I love hunting. And hunting really speaks to the American identity, because without the first Pilgrims coming here and being taught how to hunt by the Native Americans, the Wampanoags, America wouldn’t exist.

Based on personal invitations, Mujumdar traveled the US exploring regional food traditions for his book Fed, White and Blue: Finding America with My Fork.

I did actually do a little bit of hunting in Mississippi; I went out into the delta, and it was dove hunting season. We did some wild hog hunting. We didn’t catch much. I say, no animals were harmed during the making of my book.

For Mujumdar, hunting is about putting meat on the table.

I would never go hunting just for sport. But if it’s to put food on the table… And actually, during the economic downturn, I have friends all over the country who used hunting to fill their family’s stomachs. And again, so that proves it is part of the American identity.

I asked Food Network TV’s Simon Mujumdar if he would ever hunt in Texas.

Well, I go wherever I’m invited. So, if people invite me, then I’ll go. I’m not claiming to be any good. But I’m safe. And I love doing it. I love the companionship of hunting.

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

Food Week: The First Thanksgiving Texas-Style

Thursday, November 24th, 2016
Palo Duro Canyon, Lighthouse Peak.

Palo Duro Canyon, Lighthouse Peak.

This is Passport to Texas

Spanish Explorer Coronado and his expedition celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Palo Duro Canyon in May 1541—80 years before the Pilgrims.

And they celebrated by eating the wild game in the area: buffalo, wild fowl, and other things.

Jeff Murrah is an author and sixth generation Texan who writes extensively about Texas history.

They [Coronado’s expedition] had been traveling up into New Mexico and across Texas. When they finally made it to Texas, they had been in the Palo Duro Canyon area. And there had been some rough weather they had recently experienced. They had made it through that with the shelter of the canyon, and they wished to express thankfulness.

Murrah says there were 300 in the expedition and their Thanksgiving celebration took place over several days.

I like this Thanksgiving. Not only was it large, but I think it captures more the idea that many cultures contributed to. Because when you stick with the whole idea of the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving, you’re either a Pilgrim or an Indian. But here you’ve got Indians, Spaniards, Portuguese, French, Italians, Scots, and Blacks in the party. You had people from many different backgrounds all coming together to give thanks.

Why do Pilgrims get all the credit for this feast day?

They did a better marketing campaign?

Happy Thanksgiving from Passport to Texas

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