Archive for the 'Hunting' Category

Talkin’ Turkey via Wildlife Restoration

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Turkey release.

Turkey release.

This is Passport to Texas

In the 1930s, it became evident that certain game animals were in decline due, in part, to unregulated overharvest.

In 1937, the Federal Government passed the Pittman-Robertson Act, thus creating an excise tax on the purchase of ammunition and hunting equipment.

Today, millions of dollars of funds generated by these taxes are used to manage and restore both game and non-game species.

One of Texas’ ongoing restoration projects involves the eastern wild turkey. Historically, the species occupied nearly 30 million acres in eastern Texas, but unregulated overharvest of both turkeys and timber led to their near extinction from that region. In 1942 there were fewer than 100 eastern wild turkeys remaining.

From 1979 to 2003, Texas parks and Wildlife Department translocated an estimated 7,000 wild-captured birds into 58 counties in central and east Texas, eventually seeing the population climb to 10,000–which is slow progress.

In 2014 the agency began a “Super Stocking” initiative, translocating 80 eastern turkey at a time at selected sites. Production and survival of the birds has vastly improved with this method. Thus, creating a brighter future for this big bird in Texas.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and provides support for the translocation and surveying of eastern wild turkey.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Deadline for Big Time Texas Hunts Nears

Monday, October 8th, 2018
Big Time Texas Hunts Grand Slam

Big Time Texas Hunts Grand Slam

This is Passport to Texas

Hunters hoping for a chance at premium guided hunt packages through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Big Time Texas Hunts program have until midnight Monday, Oct. 15 to enter. That’s the deadline for the opportunity to be selected for these top shelf hunting adventures.

Big Time Texas Hunts provide opportunities to win one or more of nine premium guided hunt packages with food and lodging provided, as well as taxidermy in some cases.

The crown jewel of the program is the Texas Grand Slam hunt package, which includes four separate hunts for Texas’ most prized big game animals — the desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer and pronghorn.

In addition to the Grand Slam, there are several quality deer hunting packages available, as well as opportunities to pursue alligator, waterfowl, upland game birds, wild hog and exotics. New to the program this year is the Nilgai Antelope Safari in South Texas.

Enter online through October 15 at the Texas Parks and Wildlife website; it’s $9 per entry. You’ll pay a $5 online administrative fee, but it allows unlimited entries in a single transaction.

Proceeds from Big Time Texas Hunts support public hunting opportunities and wildlife habitat conservation in Texas.

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

TPW TV — K9 Game Wardens

Friday, October 5th, 2018

K-9 Game Warden Ruger ready to protect and serve.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Game Warden, Christy Vales says her partner has a knack for sniffing out illegal items. Of course he does. After all, her partner is a K-9 police dog named Ruger.

He is a certified Peace Officer, you know he’s been commissioned. His badge number is K-9-5. All of our dogs are very high drive, they need a job. The job that we give them is to use their nose. You know it’s just a win-win for everybody.

Catch Officer Vales and Ruger in action the week of October 7 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS.

So I got a call this morning from Sonny, the Game Warden out of Bastrop County, and he entered a property to check a group of dove hunters. Sonny felt maybe there is, there was a chance that they hid a shotgun, so, I was going to assist with Ruger to do an article search. [Christy] How’s it going Sonny? [Game Warden Sonny Alaniz] We’ve got a 13-year-old that just came out right now. He claimed that he wasn’t hunting. [Christy] How y’all doing? State Game Warden Christy Vales. So are you doing any hunting today? [Hunter] Uh, no ma’am. [Christy] Do you have a hunting license? [Hunter] No I do not. [Christy] Okay. So I’m going to get my K-9 partner out Ruger just to clear the area. What we’re going to do is if you can just go back there and just stay with Officer Alaniz and then I’m going to get my K-9 out, okay? (dog barks).

See Officers Vales and Ruger in action the week of October 7 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS….and find out of the young man was telling the truth.

Our show receives support from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

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

Mule Deer Antler Restrictions

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018
Mule deer at sunset.

Mule deer at sunset.

This is Passport to Texas

When Mule Deer season opens mid-November hunters must abide by antler restrictions on bucks in six counties in the southeast panhandle.

We’re using the same model as the white-tailed deer.

Restrictions implemented in the early 2000s in six east Texas counties for white-tailed bucks prevented hunters from taking very young animals from the landscape. The experiment saw an increase of bucks, and more natural buck age structure and sex ratios.

Shawn Gray is the state’s mule deer program leader. For white-tail bucks hunters use an inside spread restriction.

But, for mule deer—to protect the age classes that we want to protect, and to allow hunters harvest of the animals that we would like for them to harvest—instead of an inside spread, we’re going to use an outside spread of the main beam.

Which is ear tip to ear tip. There’s a 20-inch minimum restriction on the outside antler spread of the main beams on mule deer bucks.

And, we’re going to monitor that through voluntary check stations. Also, through our population surveys to see if we can improve our age structure of the buck segment of that population over there.

When hunting is not a factor, natural selection determines which bucks reach maturity. Antler restrictions on mule deer bucks are in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Motley, and Hall counties

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds Mule Deer management in Texas.

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

“Citified” White-winged Doves

Monday, September 24th, 2018
White-winged dove

White-winged dove hanging out in a suburban backyard.

This is Passport to Texas

White-winged doves, originally associated with the Lower Rio Grande Valley, have expanded their range. Changes in land use practices sent the species farther north into urban areas. Suitable habitat kept them there.

Probably 80-85% of the white-wing dove population in Texas is associated with urban and suburban areas.

Nesting white-winged doves prefer established residential neighborhoods with large live oak, pecan, and ash trees. The availability of consistent food and water sources (birdbaths and bird feeders) make the living easy. Owen Fitzsimmons, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s web-less migratory game bird leader says Texas Parks and Wildlife staff conducts yearly urban dove surveys. He encourages citizens to share their observations of the species, too.

That being said, there are a number of citizen science information collection methods—things like eBird. That’s something that is not run by states or by fish and wildlife service, but it’s something I guarantee, that everybody looks at. It’s a very valuable information source. So, while we don’t have citizens of Texas doing the urban dove survey, I encourage them to report whatever they find on eBird. You know, because, that information is looked at as well.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds research on White-winged Dove Density, Distribution, and Harvest.

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