Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Big Time Gator Hunt

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019
American Alligator

American Alligator

This is Passport to Texas

It’s hard to find a hunt that will make your eyes wider and your heart beat faster than looking for alligators in the swamps of East Texas.

American Alligators are a really a conservation success story.

Justin Dreibelbis [Dry-bul-bis] is the Private Lands and Public Hunting Program Director at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Their populations were very low not very long ago. We now have huntable populations in a number of different places and especially in the Eastern part of our state.

Managing those populations is necessary, and now you have a chance to participate in this conservation effort by entering the Big Time Texas Gator Hunt. One lucky winner and their guest will enjoy three days pursuing legendary alligators at the premier J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area.

With the Big Time Gator Hunt, the winner and a hunting guest will be able to enjoy a lot of time out on the airboat with the WMA staff. Be able to get assistance cleaning their gators and also get the opportunity to squeeze in an early Teal hunt, which is a cool opportunity there on the coast.

Like all Big Time Texas Hunts, food and lodging is provided along with on-site transportation and expert guides. To enter online, just go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and search for Big Time Texas Hunts.

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

Dealing with Snakes

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019
Albino Garter Snake

Albino Garter Snake

This is Passport to Texas

What should you do if you see a snake around your home?

You can run into a snake anywhere. I’ve seen snakes in downtown Houston.

Like all animals, snakes need food and shelter, so if you’re attracting these unwanted guests, you may need to make a few changes to your immediate environment. Paul Crump is a natural resources specialist for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

We recommend that you modify your yard to minimize the attractiveness of your yard to snakes. You can do things like remove any brush piles, old fence posts, or a shed that’s falling apart. Remove the objects that snakes are seeking cove under.

Snakes often settle near an abundant food source. For many snakes, that means small rodents. Minimize close encounters of the snake kind by making areas around your home unappealing to mice and rats: cover open trash bins, clean up debris piles and keep your lawn trimmed.

We encourage people to take a look at their environment and see what they can do. [Eliminate] things like bird food or deer corn, any of that kind of stuff that could be attracting rodents or other things.

Avoid the urge to kill any snakes that you may see. Snakes play a key role in the balance of nature. If you give a snake some space, more than likely you won’t see it again.

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

Feline City Slickers

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019
Bobcats serve an ecosystem function.

Bobcats serve an ecosystem function.

This is Passport to Texas

According to the US Census Bureau, the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area leads the nation in population growth. But this growth has fragmented wildlife habitat, and as a result wildlife have become more visible. Now sightings of one particular species has citizens concerned.

There have been some neighborhoods in the DFW area that have seen a lot of bobcats.

Richard Heilbrun is the urban wildlife program leader at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

If you’re in an urban area and you happen to see a bobcat, the most important thing you can do is to stop and enjoy the moment. Keep your distance. Take a photo, but don’t approach it. The bobcat will probably run away.

To answer growing public inquiry, Texas Parks and Wildlife partnered with Utah State University to capture and study urban bobcats.

We caught 12 bobcats in the middle of the metroplex and we radio-collared 10 of them. And we followed them for a year. We found out that bobcats are good at living in the city. They use greenbelts and golf courses, cemeteries, river corridors, and when you stitch all those habitats together they actually form a functioning ecosystem for a wide variety of wildlife.

Understanding urban bobcats is an important first step in achieving a conflict-free coexistence with humans.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds bobcat research in Texas.

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

Rebuilding Texas’ Oyster Habitat

Thursday, June 27th, 2019
Sampling Gulf Oysters

Sampling Gulf Oysters

This is Passport to Texas

Texas has been one of the country’s top oyster producing states since the late 1800’s. Oysterman, Mauricio Blanco has worked the Port Lavaca region for over 30 years.

It’s been a pretty good place over the years. We got so much salt in our blood. That’s what I love to do

But, declining limits on commercial harvests have been signaling a problem for years.

Most oyster reefs are operating on the border of sustainability. Everyone realizes that something needs to be done.

Bill Rodney is a costal ecologist

They’ve been suffering from a number of stressors including drought and hurricanes. On top of that, there’s a lot of fishing pressure being put on.

A historic restoration plan is now in place to rebuild the reefs. A new law requires oyster dealers to recycle their old shell or pay a restoration fee.

The key to restoring the habitat is putting fresh cultch out there. Cultch can be any material that oysters can grow on.

Crushed limestone and recycled oyster shells make an excellent substrate for oyster larva to attach to and grow into spat, which are baby oysters

The site will be closed to commercial harvest for two years, allowing the baby oysters time to grow to adulthood. By the fall, there should be millions of baby oysters growing on this rock out here.

The sport fish restoration program supports our series.

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

Benefits of Conservation License Plates

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Whitetail deer conservation license plate

This is Passport to Texas

Established in 2000, Texas Parks & Wildlife’s conservation license plate program has raised millions of dollars for wildlife conservation.

Grossing more than $1.2 million dollars since it launched back in 2002, the White-tailed Deer plate benefits big game management and hunting programs in Texas. This past April, a Desert Bighorn Sheep plate joined the lineup.

15- The revenue generated from those two license plates goes directly towards the research and management of big game species in Texas. Which means the research and management of white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep and javelina.

Mitch Lockwood is the Big Game Program Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife

We’re very fortunate to have this revenue that we can use to leverage more federal Pittman Robertson funds. We’re basically able to quadruple the revenue generated from this license plate.

The Texas desert bighorn sheep restoration program has been one of the most successful wildlife restoration programs of its kind.

The population was extirpated from the trans Pecos region back in the sixties and we acquired some animals from western states. Those two populations have responded very well to those early reintroduction efforts. So, now were taking those surplus animals and we’re starting to put sheep into mountain ranges that haven’t seen sheep in decades

Learn how to obtain your conservation license plate at

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