Archive for the 'Regulations' Category

Don’t Get Caught in the Wild Web

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Items discovered and confiscated during a Wild Web investigation.

This is Passport to Texas

Operation Wild Web involves Texas Game Wardens patrolling the internet to uncover the illegal sale and exploitation of wildlife resources.

Wild Web is an operation that we run periodically in different parts of the state. And we try to saturate a certain area and try to do as many investigations or cases as we can of things being sold illegally online.

Captain Josh Koenig oversees the Game Warden’s Special Ops Criminal Investigations Division. Wardens discover a wide array of illegal wildlife resources online.

That might be anywhere from fish to live white-tailed deer, to stuff that’s been imported illegally, or something that might be threatened or endangered…Anything sold illegally online, we try to focus on.

This illegal activity is global and lucrative.

In the United States, and even in the world, wildlife trafficking is second only to drugs. So, wildlife trafficking, whether it be live animals or even dead animals and animal parts, is a very big problem. [Cecilia] I am shocked that wildlife trafficking—alive or dead—is only second after drugs. How can that be? [Captain] When here’s money behind it, people will go after it. There’s a lot of money, it’s a lucrative business, to get into the wildlife trade.

I meant to ask him about my lucky rabbit’s foot. Oh well.

That’s our show, brought to you in part by Ram Trucks… built to serve.

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.

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.

Dove Regulations

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018
Mourning dove striking a pose.

Mourning dove striking a pose.

This is Passport to Texas

Some dove hunters may be surprised to learn that Texas does not set the state’s dove season or its bag limits. That falls to the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

 And the do it by management unit.

Texas is in the central management unit, or flyway. Owen Fitzsimmons, is Texas Parks and Wildlife’s web-less migratory game bird leader, and says Texas still has a say in the process.

What they’ll do, is they’ll set a range of dates. And within that range we have a window, essentially. We have 90 days that we can set the season however we see fit within the state.

Texas controls where in that range of dates our dove season falls.

And we can split it once. But we don’t have any control over bag limits. We have limits on when we can start the season and when we can stop the season, and things like that. We have some leeway, but most of it is controlled by Fish and Wildlife Service.

Data collected in Texas assists the US Fish and Wildlife service when deciding seasons and bag limits.

We have our banding program, which is a nationwide banding program for mourning dove. But, Fish & Wildlife service also does a parts collection survey.

Parts collection surveys—that’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds Mourning Dove Density, Distribution, and Harvest surveys in Texas.

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