Hunt | Fish | Cook: Getting Wild in the Kitchen

February 3rd, 2015


Grilled boar chops.

Grilled boar chops.

This is Passport to Texas

If you’re a regular listener of this series, you’ve heard me talk about cooking and eating wild game and fish. This native protein is natural, sustainable, and plentiful; if you shot it or reeled it in – or know who did – you don’t have to guess about quality or freshness.

One down side is that game can have a strong flavor some find off-putting. But it doesn’t have to when you follow proper handling protocols in the field and in the kitchen.

That’s why Texas Parks and Wildlife created a variety of online resources for new and seasoned hunters and anglers who want to eat what they harvest. Find videos on our website and YouTube channel that illustrate field dressing, proper storage, butchering and cooking your harvest.

We have a growing list of wild game and fish recipes on the website to help you discover new, inventive ways of enjoying this healthy, natural food source. And the digital hunting and fishing issues of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine often have game or fish recipes for your enjoyment.

In addition, Texas Parks and Wildlife partners with Central Market Cooking Schools statewide to offer demonstration and hands on wild game and fish cooking classes every other month. In fact, there’s one coming up February 10 at most of the schools that features oysters,
pheasant and venison. Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Find information about upcoming classes on the Central Market website.

And, make 2015 the year you get wild in the kitchen.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

History: Enduring Spirit – African Americans in 19th Century Texas

February 2nd, 2015


This is Passport to Texas

Enduring Spirit: African Americans in 19th Century Texas is a yearlong exhibit at the Texas Star of the Republic Museum in Washington-on-the-Brazos.

08—It actually started from a recent acquisition that we acquired. It was about 15-hundren documents from a gentleman names Asa Hoxey.

Houston McGaugh, director of the museum for Blinn College, says Hoxey moved to Washington County in the early 1830s, and brought black slaves with him.

14— And that prompted us to wonder if there are any descendants of those slaves still in Washington County. And we were able to identify some. So, that really made us start thinking about, more of – well, gosh, there’s an awful lot of African American history that you don’t hear about.

A question the museum wanted answered: when did Blacks first arrive in Texas?

10— And we were surprised to find out they started coming in the 1820s when this was still part of Mexico; and they were actually trying to get land grants like some of the Anglo settlers were in Austin’s Colony.

Mexico abolished slavery in 1829, so Blacks here before Texas Independence were free. That changed when Texas became a republic.

07— And, actually, the free blacks that were here, were given one year to either go back into servitude, or leave the Republic.

Many of these free Blacks went to Mexico where their ancestors live today. Learn more about the exhibit and special events and speakers at

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

TPW TV: Save Our Sharks

January 30th, 2015


SOS: Save Our Sharks

SOS: Save Our Sharks

This is Passport to Texas

As marine predators go, sharks swim at the top of the food chain.

08—Without having these top end Apex predators, you have the ecosystem that gets out of balance, These predators help control everything below them.

But they can’t control what’s below them if they’re gone.

07—Worldwide, sharks have been depleted by overfishing. Between 30 and 70 million sharks [are] killed by humans every year.

Dr. Greg Stunz is a marine biologist with the Harte Research Institute, and appears the week of February 1 on a For Texas Parks and Wildlife PBS TV segment called SOS: Save Our Sharks.

08—One of the things that has contributed to a decline in sharks is shark finning: fishermen actually catch the sharks, cut their fins off, and discard the body.

Illegal in American waters since 1993, finning remains active in foreign waters, as fishermen earn up to $900 a pound for the fins. Illegal fishing on gear called long lines occurs close to home, too; it’s the most immediate threat to sharks in the U.S. says Game Warden Sgt. Luis Sosa.

12—We’ve got Mexican commercial fishermen that come into US water – Texas waters – on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the most common type of species that is being caught on this illegal gear is sharks.

Save Our Sharks airs the Week of February 1 on PBS stations. Check Local listings. The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series, and receives funding through your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel…

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

Game Wardens: Illegal Fishing in the Gulf

January 29th, 2015


Texas Parks & Wildlife patol in the Gulf of Mexico near the Mexican border.

Texas Parks & Wildlife patrol in the Gulf of Mexico near the Mexican border.

This is Passport to Texas

Gillnets are vertical panels of netting used by some commercial fishermen; they arbitrarily catch fish and other wildlife, and are illegal in Texas waters. During an enhanced marine patrol last fall, Texas Game Wardens seized roughly 8,000 feet of gillnet.

07— The gillnets were actually in the Rio Grande River, which is a fertile ecosystem that feeds to the Gulf of Mexico.

Captain James Dunks, a Game Warden in the Brownsville District in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, says they made no arrests in this Class B misdemeanor case, but he’s certain who owned the nets.

27— There’s a commercial fishing village just south of the Mexico border; it’s called La Playa Bagdad. And basically all it is, is a commercial fishing camp; they have a bunch of boats and captains that are fishing out of that area. We chase them, and we catch a few. The coast guard catches a few. And every time you interview one, you ask them why do you keep coming over here. And they’ll tell you they don’t have any fish left. So, they’re having to utilize our resources for their personal gain.

Captain Dunks says these fishermen are after whatever they can sell, saying bull sharks are close to shore these days, and with shark fin soup a delicacy…

06— They’ll take them right up to the beach, cut the fins off, and I’ve heard of them discarding the actual shark – just to cut the fins off.

Anyone who witnesses alleged illegal commercial fishing activity is encouraged to call their local game warden or Operation Game Thief.

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

Game Wardens: Wardens on the Water

January 28th, 2015


Texas Game Wardens on the water.

Texas Game Wardens on the water.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Game Wardens cover a lot of ground; and sometimes that “ground” is water.

07— Basically what we are looking for is anything out of the ordinary that you could find out in the water; it could be a coke bottle floating.

Those bottles may look like trash, says Captain James Dunks, Game Warden in the Brownsville District in the Lower Rio Grande Valley—but they’re not.

09— Sometimes you’ll have a line tied to the coke bottle, and it will go all the way to the bottom; it could be a two mile section of long line that is on the bottom, and it’s just marked by a coke bottle.

Texas waters extend nine nautical miles offshore, and game wardens patrol all of it. When they find long lines, which are illegal in Texas and US waters, they pull them up.

25— Basically what it is, it’s a bottom line. And they’re usually set a mile long, and they have a series of hooks that are baited. And, it sits right down on the bottom, and whatever comes by and eats that bait is going to get hooked. And typically what they’re after is sharks, reef fish such as snapper; occasionally you’ll find a tarpon hooked on them. I’ve seen sea turtles; I’ve even seen blue marlin hooked on these long lines within our nine mile jurisdiction.

By thwarting illegal gulf fishing, Game Wardens help preserve Texas’ ecosystems and resources. But long lines aren’t the only threat to marine species; details tomorrow.

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