Cowboy Action Shooting

July 9th, 2019
rifle range sign

Image courtesy of Green Mountain Regulators.

This is Passport to Texas

Gun smoke, six-shooters, boots and black powder. All ingredients of cowboy action shooting.

We shoot with the guns of the Old West. Styles of gun that were made before 1899.

Brian Curtsinger, aka Chili Petin, is president of the Green Mountain Regulators, a sport shooting club affiliated with SASS, the Single Action Shooting Society.

SASS began in 1987. There are now over 97,000 members, 50 states, 17 countries and 700 clubs.

Once a month the Regulators put on their Western duds and compete at a range that mimics an old ghost town. For David Harper, known as Abilene, it’s mostly about the fun.

There are some people here that are world class competitors. The rest of us—I’d say the majority of us—are in it more for the fun than the competition. [Shelly] The people that do the sport are just awesome.

Shelly Curtsinger’s alias is Holly-Peña.

It’s a great way to be able to come out and shoot in a safe environment, learn all the different guns, and be able to dress up and have fun at the same time.

Next time you have a hankering for the Old West, consider cowboy action shooting.

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

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

Virus from Imported Bait Shrimp

July 4th, 2019
Bait Shrimp

Always be sure to read the package.

This is Passport to Texas

It’s tempting to use frozen shrimp from the grocery store as bait for your next fishing trip…but don’t do it. They may be imported and possibly harmful to our native crustaceans.

We don’t want any kind of imported shrimp being used as bait, because the potential of diseases that could be there that could impact our native stock.

Robert Adami is a TPW coastal fisheries biologist based in Corpus Christi.

One of the diseases we’re concerned with is white spot syndrome virus. We saw this way back in the early 90s in the Asian countries. And then it slowly moved on to Latin American countries. And back in 1995, we did see one [shrimp] farm with a small amount of white spot in South Texas. But we have not seen anything like that since then.

Check labels when buying bait shrimp to verify they’re from the Gulf of Mexico. While farmed shrimp are at highest risk of infection, wild shrimp and crustaceans are not immune. But, humans are.

The white spot virus doesn’t affect humans in any way. The only thing is can affect is the crustaceans: your shrimp, crawfish, crayfish, [crabs]. It won’t even transfer to fishes.

The virus could have severe consequences for native crustaceans if introduced via infected non-native shrimp.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

TPW TV: Coastal “Parkitecture”

July 3rd, 2019

UT School of design on TPW TV.

This is Passport to Texas

A dozen UT Austin Architecture students and their professor spent a long, hot summer on Galveston Island SP.

We’re getting a Master’s in Architecture but we’re getting a Ph.D. in craft supplies. It’s been like Santa’s little workshop in here.

That’s because, as student Hugo Reynolds tells it, they spent hours at craft stores buying supplies to build various models for their project. Coleman Coker is the Director of Design Lab at the UT Austin School of Architecture.

This is a project we have to do in a very short time. Ten weeks from the first day to the last day. It will be an interesting summer for these students.

Working closely with park rangers, the students’ assignment is to design and build a new educational pavilion for the park, which also provides some of the only shade on the park’s bay side.

They’ll be camping very close to where they’re going to build. It gets them immersed in the climate they’re going to be working within. The mission of the Design Lab is to try to increase ecological literacy, particularly of the coastal environment.

Watch the process this week on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

We receive support in part from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

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

Picnics with Personality

July 2nd, 2019

Pack a picnic and head to a Texas State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

There’s nothing like a picnic in a Texas state park; and picnics—like picnickers—have personalities.

There’s the Texas classic: a wicker basket on a red and white tablecloth spread on a picnic table. Think: buttermilk fried chicken, potato salad and creamy coleslaw heaped onto grandma’s fiesta ware.

Fiesta? Now we’re talking. Your picnic becomes the life of the party with its savory carnitas, roasted tomatillo salsa, warm tortillas, and accoutrements…as well as an ice chest filled with a variety of agua frescas…all enjoyed from the comfort of a screen shelter.

Yet, some picnics are intimate. This outdoor dining experience may include a crusty French baguette, goat cheese, thin-sliced cured meats and juicy red grapes. When enjoyed from the comfort of your truck’s tailgate, while parked near a grove of ancient oaks, your soundtrack becomes the melodic songs of cicadas.

Other picnics are basic, but still magical. A frill free picnic may involve spreading a vintage felt blanket from the thrift store along a creek bank before diving into a tin of freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies from mom.

Whether your al fresco fun is for a family reunion, a church gathering… or just an afternoon escape with your best four-legged friend, there’s a picnic-perfect Texas state park near you.

Picnicking at state parks reminds all of us that life’s better outside. Find picnic recipes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Our show receives support in part from RAM Trucks: Built to serve.

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

Rebuilding Texas’ Oyster Habitat

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.