Archive for the 'wild turkey' Category

TPW TV –Game of Gobblers

Friday, September 21st, 2018
Turkey release.

TPW biologist Trevor Tanner releases a Rio Grande turkeys on Price 77 Ranch near Blooming Grove, Texas

This is Passport to Texas

When European settlers started coming to East Texas, turkeys were thriving. But those settlers quickly changed the landscape.

Around 1925, a hunter could harvest up to 25 turkeys a year. By the 1940s there were less than 100 eastern wild turkeys throughout East Texas. Over-harvest as well as habitat decline really led to the demise of the population.

Kyle Hand is a Texas Parks and Wildlife Natural Resource Specialist. In the 1970s, the agency started a program of bringing wild trapped turkeys from other states to Texas. The program looked promising. Over the next 20 years, more than 7000 eastern wild turkeys were stocked in East Texas.

Now we’re using a super stocking strategy where we release 80 turkeys onto one area of good habitat in hopes that the population will grow from there.

Thanks to the success of these stockings, hunters like Terrence Jackson of Houston have an opportunity to enjoy spring turkey hunting in parts of East Texas.

When I’m on these turkey hunts, basically I love to get away from the busyness of Houston and work and the crowdedness. The sound of the birds, the quiet in the morning and walking through the woods. It’s something that pulls at you.

Experience an East Texas turkey hunt the week of September 23 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.

2018 Spring Turkey

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
Wild turkeys in Texas

Wild turkeys in Texas

This is Passport to Texas

If you were in the field on opening day of spring turkey season, you might have wondered, “Where are the birds?

According to biologists with Texas Parks and Wildlife, field observations prior to the opener suggested hens were playing hard to get and showing little receptivity to Toms and breeding.

Jason Hardin, Upland Game Bird Program specialist, said hens’ interest picked up near opening day of the season, effectively hampering a hunter’s chances of luring love-struck gobblers.

He adds that by now, most hens should be bred and hunting ought to be good from the time the toms leave the roost until they go back up for the night.

Biologists report habitat conditions throughout the state look promising. One region of concern, however, is the Rolling Plains, where the landscape is very dry with limited rain in the last six months.

The regular spring season for Rio Grande turkey continues through April 29 in the South zone. The North Zone general season runs through May 13.

Eastern spring turkey hunting in counties with an open season is April 15-May 14. Hunters must report harvest of eastern turkeys electronically to TPW within 24 hours of harvest. Reports can be made through the TPW My Texas Hunt Harvest App or online from the Texas Parks and Wildlife turkey page

The Wildlife restoration Program supports our series.

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

Quail and Turkey Outlook for 2017-2018

Friday, December 15th, 2017
Wild turkey in Texas.

Wild turkey in Texas.

This is Passport to Texas

Last quail season, bobwhite were at an all-time high thanks to a few years of great weather in a row.

We saw something we hadn’t seen in over 10 years, and it was quite special. And what comes up, must come down.

Robert Perez is Upland Bird Game Program Leader.

This past winter and spring we had average winter rains. Average spring rains. And so, we did have some quail production over the summer—that wasn’t phenomenal. But what we did have was so many birds that are still alive from last year that they carried over to this year. So, hunters can expect—in the bag—a lot of adult birds.

The season for Bobwhite, Scaled (blue) and Gambel’s Quail runs through February 25, statewide.

Scaled quail were phenomenal as well. Way out west in the Trans Pecos. There will still be great hunting opportunities out west at our WMAs.

If turkey’s more your bag, Perez says Rio Grande Turkey season is looking good.

Rio Grande turkey hunting in Texas is top notch. Populations in our state are at an all-time high. We’ll have two year old, three year old birds. Maybe not so much production this past year—a little bit below average—but, overall, Texas populations of Rio Grande turkeys are just through the roof.

Refer to the Outdoor Annual for seasons and bag limits for all upland game birds.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and funds quail research in Texas.

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

Suggestions for Preparing Your Spring Turkey

Friday, February 24th, 2017
Roasted Wild Turkey Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Roasted Wild Turkey Recipe photo by Taste of Home

This is Passport to Texas

If you harvest a wild turkey, you can find techniques for preparing it from online experts who are hunters and chefs. A wild turkey has a rich flavor—some say gamey—and is quite lean, which makes it a little tricky to prepare.

Steve Rinella, the outdoorsman known as The Meat Eater, recommends brining wild harvested turkeys to keep them juicy.

Fill a large pot—one big enough to hold the turkey and brine—with a gallon of water. Next add 1 cup of Kosher Salt, 1/2 cup of sugar, the juice of three lemons, and a sliced onion. Heat the mixture to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let cool, and then submerge the bird in the brine and allow it to soak for 24 to 48 hours in the fridge.

Remove it from the brine, blot the moisture from the bird with paper towels, and then place it in a shallow baking dish on top of a rack, or on a bed of root vegetables. Rub the turkey with oil, and sprinkle it inside and out with your favorite seasonings.

Place it into an oven, preheated to 375 degrees. Roast the bird until an instant read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Let the turkey rest at least 10 minutes before carving.

Steve Rinella says a hunting license should say “all hunters must brine their turkeys before cooking them—no matter the cooking method.” I say that’s a good idea.

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.

Spring Turkey Bag Limits

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
Imagine seeing this sight when you go turkey hunting this spring.

Imagine seeing this sight when you go turkey hunting this spring.

This is Passport to Texas

Eastern wild turkeys thrived from the coastal prairies to the Red River until the early 1900s when commercial hunting and development drove the birds to near extinction. Hunting these birds was off limits until years of restocking efforts created a huntable population.

We’ve spent a lot of time stocking birds into East Texas. We’ve had some really good success in some areas, and not as much success in others. So, we don’t have the densities that we have of Rio Grande…and we’re trying to keep a real good record of what’s happening with that population.

Jason Hardin, Turkey program leader for Parks and Wildlife, says Rio Grande turkeys, found in most of the state are plentiful; this spring, hunters have a four bird bag limit.

The bag limit is one for the Eastern Turkey, and it must be reported on Texas Parks and Wildlife’s My Hunt Harvest app for smart phones or online at Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Wild Turkey Page. Physical check stations for Eastern wild turkeys are no longer open in Texas.

The data helps Parks and Wildlife manage the species. Need a place to hunt the Eastern gobbler?

Some of our WMAs provide good Eastern turkey hunting as well.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series; it’s funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

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