Archive for the 'Shows' Category

Big Time Texas Hunts Exotic Safari

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

Mason Mountain WMA–location of the Big Time Texas Hunts Exotic Safari.

This is Passport to Texas

Have you ever dreamed of hunting the kind of game only found on other continents? Then Big Time Texas Hunts Exotic Safari may be for you. Janis Johnson.

The winner of the Exotic Safari Package gets to hunt two animals, he gets to choose between a gemsbok, a scimitar-horned oryx, an axis deer or new this year a common waterbuck. You get to bring a hunting companion along and he or she also gets to harvest an animal.

Johnson oversees marketing for Big Time Texas Hunts . The safari takes place at Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area.

What’s new this year, the winner will also take home a Ruger American rifle, and that’s a 300-win mag. We’re also including a Vortex Diamondback scope. So this is going to be an awesome hunt for the winner. It’s a real premium hunt, and the addition of the Ruger rifle and scope makes it even more special.

Those items courtesy of McBrides Guns of Austin. The hunt package also includes food and lodging, expert guide services by Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists, and if you harvest animals: up to two shoulder mounts to preserve the experience.

Add to that an opportunity to fish, harvest unlimited feral hogs, and to bring along a third guest as a non-hunting companion.

Deadline to enter Exotic Safari, and all Big Time Texas Hunts hunt packages is October 15; entries are $9 each on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, with a $5 administrative fee for online transactions.

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

TPW TV–Swift Saviors

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
Nesting chimney swift.

Nesting chimney swift.

This is Passport to Texas

Chaetura [KAY-tura] Canyon… is a chimney swift sanctuary of sorts, found in the growing city of Lakeway…just west of Austin.

Their numbers are declining dramatically, they’re down by probably fifty, sixty percent since the sixties here in the United States. And [in] Canada they are on the threatened and endangered list; they’ve lost ninety percent of their chimney swift population.

Paul and Georgeann Kyle, who oversee KAY-tura, say chimney swifts are unable to perch or stand upright, and so they rely on a type of habitat that’s been disappearing.

Historically they roosted in large hollow trees, and those are not allowed to stand anymore. They then moved into the brick chimney’s, but now most of those are aging and many are being capped or torn down.

In an upcoming segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series we meet the Kyles, and learn how they’re helping to save these small, endearing black birds by building them towers for roosting and raising young.

The perfect home for Chimney swifts, it’s a nice rough surface, little grooves for them to hold on to, attach their nest. Ya basically anybody that can use a few power tools and read a tape measure can build one of these chimney swift towers and just one structure can make a real big difference in the breeding success of the birds.

Learn more about the Kyle’s work with chimney swifts the week of September 29 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS.

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

Kayaking in Texas State Parks

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
Kayak fishing

Kayak fishing at Gum Slough, part of the Hen House Ridge Unit at Martin Dies SP

This is Passport to Texas

Have you always wanted to learn to kayak? Then we have some great news! Ten state parks teach the basics of this paddling sport to interested park visitors.

Getting out on the water is something a lot of people haven’t tried because they don’t have the equipment.

Ben Horstmann is with Texas Parks and wildlife. He says each park that offers these classes provide attendees with a kayak, paddle and life jacket for the duration of the lesson.

So, this is an opportunity for us to give them the equipment and show them how much fun it can be.

If you go, you’ll learn the basics in a safe, ranger-led environment.

At state parks, for the most part, you pay your entry fee when you go into the park and the program is free.

Each park is different and so each offers a unique experience. Yet, all offer instruction in safety and basic paddling techniques as well as tours with rangers.

A lot of them, when they get out, are saying … Hey, how can I do this again. And that’s really the goal of this, to introduce them to a great way to use the park. You’re going to see things that would never see hiking. Paddling out to some of the islands you can see that they are just filled with life. The best part of kayaking is giving people a look at those resources that they would just never see before.

Find paddling opportunities in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Alligator Gar and Thermonuclear Weapons Testing

Thursday, September 12th, 2019
Alligator Gar

Alligator gar: What a lovely smile.

This is Passport to Texas

Here’s a fish story about alligator gar, a curious biologist and thermonuclear weapons testing.

We’ve done a lot of work recently on the alligator gar. Being able to accurately age these fish is important. Because it tells us not only how long they live, but how they grow and in what years they were produced.

Dan Daugherty is a biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Fish have structures called otoliths that are like the bones in our inner ear – they accrue a layer of calcium carbonate each year of the fish’s life. If you remove the otolith and section it, you can see growth bands like the rings on a tree stump. Count the rings and estimate of the age of the fish. We estimate that some Alligator Gar caught in recent years at over 60 years old. But counting that many rings on a small structure is difficult. So, to verify our ages, we turned to radiocarbon.

You may know it as Carbon-14. But how is it used to age this fish?

Radiocarbon, or carbon-14, is a rare carbon isotope, naturally occurring at about 1 part per trillion. However, thermonuclear weapons testing in the 1950’s released massive amounts of this isotope into the environment, which was absorbed by all organisms at that time. Given that some of these fish were estimated to be over 60 years old, they would have hatched around that time. And, if the fish were truly that old, then we should measure high levels of radiocarbon in their otoliths. When we analyzed the radiocarbon concentrations in the otoliths, they matched the levels found in the environment in the 1950s, confirming the accuracy of these Alligator Gars’ age.

Now that’s a fish story for the ages.

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

State of Texas Longhorn Herd

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019
Texas Longhorn

Texas Longhorn

This is Passport to Texas

The longhorn is a true Texas icon. This distinctive breed has played a role in Texas’ heritage.

In the early 20’s Frank Dobie and a couple of other ranchers decided that the longhorn was so important that the state needed a herd.

Jim Cisneros is park superintendent at San Angelo State Park where a portion of the herd lives.

They took about 10 or 12 years and they went around all over Texas – down into old Mexico until they put together a good enough herd of historically correct animals as they could. And they gave the herd to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

In 1969, the Texas Legislature officially recognized the State of Texas Longhorn Herd. Currently the herd numbers about 200 animals. Groups of them are located at various state parks and historic sites.

We work real hard on getting the right bulls to keep them historically correct.

Bill Guffey is the herd manager at San Angelo SP.

The state herd is managed just like anybody else would. We breed them, vaccinate them, brand them and cull them just like any other place.

Get to know the Official State of Texas Longhorn Herd at San Angelo State park.

We provide a tour. We call the cattle up to the gates and we talk a little about the cattle where they come from, the history, their importance, and how they shaped Texas.

Learn more about Texas Longhorns on the TPW website. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.