Archive for the 'Hunting' Category

Habitat and Turkey Restoration

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019
A fine looking turkey gobbler.

A gobbler in its natural habitat.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas has three sub-species of Turkey: the Rio Grande is the most abundant, followed by the Eastern and then by the Merriam. Without good habitat, none will thrive.

They have to have good structural cover.

Jason Hardin, Turkey Program Leader at TPW, says this may include low-growing, woody cover for nesting.

It provides like an umbrella that they sit underneath to protect from avian predators and then also weather elements. And then also, grasses, weeds, forbes growing up to provide vertical cover.

Think of woody cover as you would a deer blind: you can see out, but nothing sees in. This feature is critical when hens are on nests and raising poults. The biggest threat to good turkey recruitment (nest success and poult survival) overall is weather.

Because that nesting rate, re-nesting rate, poult survival—all that’s driven essentially by moisture and the climate. So, if we have three years of drought, you’re going to see that Rio Grande type turkey population begin to decline. So, it’s something we try to pay attention to. And over a long term—five ten years—is there something beyond weather that’s causing a shift in that population.

In addition, the lack of fire to burn out dense understory growth from an abundance of rain, impacts Eastern turkey habitat. The value of fire when managing habitat—that’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration Program Supports our Series.

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

Hunting to Feed the Hungry

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

Beautiful, yes. But also an important protein source for hungry Texans.

This is Passport

Feeding Texas is a non-profit association that represents area food banks. Hunters for the Hungry is one of the programs it oversees.

The way it works is, we recruit meat processors to help us get venison out to the families that we serve. For hunters it’s an opportunity to donate back to their communities. And, for our food banks, it’s an opportunity to have access to a really great lean source of protein that the families that we serve really need.

Celia Cole is Executive Director of Feeding Texas. Hunters for the Hungry enjoys enthusiastic hunter participation among deer hunters. Yet, Cole says they need more processors.

Our greatest challenge is bringing in enough processors. So, in all of the areas where there is a lot of hunting, we are in need of more processors. And that is the key to making this program work.

Cole says it’s easy for processors to sign up.

We have our website, huntersforthehungry.org, and processors can go there to sign up. Really, all they need to do is enroll with us
and show a copy of their inspection and be willing to package the meat in the packaging that we provide. So, it’s fairly simple for a
processor to register and become involved in the program.

Tomorrow: how Hunters for the Hungry benefits processors, hunters, and the community.

We receive support from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve

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

Women Afield

Friday, November 30th, 2018
Woman Hunter

More women are becoming hunters to spend time in the outdoors and to put fresh nature-raised meat on the table.

This is Passport to Texas

I once acted as an observer on a women only Hill Country hunting trip. Tami Moore served as hunt coordinator.

We’re trying to get women involved in the outdoors, and to take some of the mystery out of the sport of hunting. Before it’s just been something that the guys go do.

The female hunters’ skills varied from novice to pro. Each woman brought a guide with them; first time hunter, Millissa Salinas of Austin, brought her father Ralph.

I’ve always wanted to experience the outdoors, and I thought the perfect opportunity to bond with my father would be this event so he could show me the ropes and spend some special memories together.

Like all the women on the trip, Salinas was enthusiastic about the opportunity.

We’d been preparing for it for about a month. He had taken me target shooting, I had borrowed a rifle. So I’d been anticipating for some time now. So when the actual moment came, it was extremely exciting.

Salinas harvested two deer on that trip. After the experience of being with the other women, and sharing the weekend with her father, Salinas vowed it was just the beginning.

We definitely want to get involved more in the outdoors. And I have a younger sister that we’re going to try to encourage to join us.

Find hunter education classes and mentored hunting opportunities on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Women on the Hunt

Thursday, November 29th, 2018
Women relaxing after the hunt. Image from National Shooting Sports.

Women relaxing after the hunt. Image from National Shooting Sports.

This is Passport to Texas

[Rifle shot]

That’s how a group of ten women started a weekend hunting trip at a Hill Country ranch – by taking practice shots at targets. Ranch manager Troy Calloway explains.

Sometimes we get people out here who have never shot before, so we set ‘em up and assess the situation….. But everybody here is nailing it; we’re good to go it looks like.

Hunt coordinator, Tami Moore, told me that women make up less than 10% of all licensed hunters, and she thinks she may know why.

I think a lot of women are afraid that they’re going to fail, because they’re just scared. And going out with another group of ladies, in a situation like we are this weekend, takes a lot of that out of it.

Kathy Keller of Austin is an experienced hunter. We spoke in her deer blind.

Oh, this is really great. And it’s exciting to see that women are getting into this sport and learning about hunting and wildlife.

Kathy explains what it was like the first time she harvested an animal.

It was something that made me think. I’ve taken this life, and I had to think about why I was doing it. And I realized that it is a big responsibility.

Find hunting information and resources on the Texas parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and works to increase hunting and shooting opportunities in Texas.

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

How to Talk Turkey for a Successful Hunt

Thursday, November 15th, 2018
The turkey of your dreams.

The turkey of your dreams.

This is Passport to Texas

Making sounds like a hen turkey can mean the difference between bagging a bird this fall and going home empty handed.

Now you want the call of a hen turkey to try and attract the Tom, or male turkey, over to your position.

Steve Hall, oversees hunter education at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Using a box call, you can make enticing sounds.

One is called the basic cluck [clucks]. Now, a cluck is a call that says: ‘Hi. I’m here.’ And if you put the cluck in a series of calls, it would be a yelp [yelps]. Now a yelp call says: ‘Come over here; I’m having fun.’ Now, a slate call is much the same as a box call and you can make that basic ‘cut’ sound [cut sound]. And, you can also make a purr, which says ‘I’m on my daily rounds.’

Now, I like to use a diaphragm call; it’s a little more complicated call. But it allows me, if I’m hunting, to move my arms and hands with my bow or my gun. It fits in the top of your mouth, and you can do it quite easily [cackle]. That was a cackle or a yelp. If you hear a ‘put’ though, that’ll scare a bird away – and that’s the alarm call [put call]. Put them all together and you can have fun imitating a flock of turkeys. [07-of turkey calls…fade under last script]

Fall turkey season runs through January 6th in the North zone and January 20th in the South Zone. Check your Outdoor Annual for more information.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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