|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2008-03-17                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
March 17, 2008
TPWD Projects Active Season for Spring Turkey Hunting
AUSTIN, Texas -- Turkey hunters should get plenty of calling action this spring, based on field reports of an abundance of Rio Grande gobblers observed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists.
"I have been getting reports from many of our field biologist and they all agree that this is going to be a good season in Rio Grande turkey country due to the 2007 spring and summer rains and mild temperatures," said Jason Hardin, TPWD turkey program coordinator. "Some of the guys mentioned last year seeing new poults as late as August. That probably means these birds had ample opportunity to re-nest two to three times over the summer. So, there should be lots of jakes seen, making it a fun year to call in lots of birds. There will be plenty of mature gobblers, as well, so hunters should not hesitate to get in the field."
Rio Grande spring turkey hunting season opens in the North Zone March 29 and runs through May 11. Special youth-only weekends are set for March 22-23 and May 17-28. The South Zone opens March 15 and runs through April 27, with youth-only weekends set for March 8-9 and May 3-4.
The spring eastern turkey season is open in 43 East Texas counties from April 1-30.
TPWD harvest surveys estimate nearly 88,000 hunters take part in Texas' spring turkey season and take about 23,000 gobblers. Most of the state's spring turkey hunting activity occurs in South Texas and in the Hill Country, where Hardin noted timely rainfall could give the bird population a boost.
"It wouldn't hurt to get a little rainfall to green it up," he said. "We still have some herbaceous plants on the ground, but it has been extremely dry in South Texas. The birds are still going to be active, but some rain would kick things off faster."
On the other hand, Hardin noted, there was too much rain in East Texas and many of the Eastern turkey poults did not survive. "Too much exposure in the first few weeks will lead to low survival," he explained. "However, the population as a whole is stable and will probably provide an average hunting season."
Statewide regulations allow the use of shotgun, rifle, handgun, legal archery equipment or crossbow to take Rio Grande turkey; however, individual landowners and public hunting areas may further restrict the devices to be used. The bag limit for Rio Grande turkey is four turkeys per license year. Regulations and bag limits vary by county, so check the county specific rules where you are hunting. Only gobblers are allowed to be harvested during the spring hunting season. Consult the 2007-08 Outdoor Annual for season dates and bag limits in your area.
Eastern turkey hunting is limited to shotgun, lawful archery equipment or crossbow, with a one-gobbler bag limit. All harvested eastern turkeys must be taken to a check station within 24 hours. To find the check station nearest you, contact a TPWD field office or call (800) 792-1112.
"Hunters are probably not going to see a lot of young gobblers because we likely lost production due to rains throughout the nesting season last year," added Gary Calkins, TPWD district wildlife biologist in Jasper. "Where we have birds, we have birds."

[ Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
March 17, 2008
Applications Being Taken for Game Warden Academy
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is taking applications for a game warden cadet class scheduled to start Nov. 1, 2008. Applications will be accepted through April 30, 2008.*
It is anticipated that up to 55 cadets will be accepted into the 54th Game Warden Academy, which will begin its seven-month training in November**. More than 400 people applied for the 40 positions in the previous cadet class that will graduate in May.
Game warden recruiters say they are particularly interested in receiving applications from persons who are bilingual in Spanish and English. Bilingual game wardens receive additional pay of $50 per month.
Applicants must be 21 years old on or before October 2008 and have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. The degree requirement must be met prior to Sept. 1, 2008.
To be accepted, applicants must meet the minimum eligibility requirements and successfully complete a regional interview, an extensive background investigation, and a physical agility test held in Austin. Applicants must successfully complete each step before advancing to the next step.
After graduation, the new game wardens will be assigned to vacant stations throughout Texas with the responsibility of protecting the state's natural resources. Game wardens also protect lives by enforcing the Water Safety Act and conducting standard peace officer duties.
Applications and more information on requirements and compensation may be obtained on the TPWD Web site or from TPWD Law Enforcement offices.
For additional information contact game warden recruiter Royce Wells at 1-877-229-2733.
* Correction, March 20, 2008: The dates in the original release have been revised. The dates are now correct. (Return to corrected item.)
** Correction, March 24, 2008: The starting month of the academy has been changed to match the correction above.. (Return to corrected item.)
On the Net:

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[ Media Contact: Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov ] [RM]
March 17, 2008
CCC Veterans To Be Honored at Bastrop State Park March 28-29
BASTROP, Texas -- Bastrop State Park will host 100 or more former Civilian Conservation Corps members who helped build the foundation of the Texas State Park system back in the 1930s and 1940s. The March 28-29 event commemorates the 75th anniversary of the CCC, started by Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration in 1933 to address joblessness during the Great Depression years.
Most of the young men whose skilled hands worked on soil conservation and forestry projects, and helped build the structures that form the backbone of such outstanding state parks as Caddo Lake, Garner and Indian Lodge have passed on as the 75th anniversary approaches. Those CCC workers who are still alive today are in their 80s and 90s.
Registration begins at 1 p.m. Friday, March 28, in the Bastrop Refectory. The solid rock-and-timber structure is just one of several hallmark CCC-constructed buildings that helps make Bastrop State Park one of only six CCC-built state parks in the nation that have been designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Bastrop celebration will feature a recording of CCCers' oral histories, an antique tool demonstration of how CCC workers shaped rock and timber with hand tools, and skyline rigging demonstrations by members of the American Youthworks Environmental Corps, according to event organizer Janelle Taylor of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. There will be a swearing in of American Youthworks workers during the Friday night dinner program.
A group photo of the CCC veterans has been scheduled to be taken at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. That night's dinner will feature an appearance by actor Michael Harkin, who will portray President Roosevelt and deliver an FDR speech. Harkin will deliver an FDR speech.
TPWD and the Texas Wildlife Foundation are sponsoring the CCC celebration with assistance from a number of other organizations, including the U.S. Forest Service, Austin and Dallas Parks and Recreational departments and the National Park Service. TPWD currently operates 30 CCC-built state parks. All 30 parks will have displays set up and a new traveling exhibit of CCC architecture will be featured at the two-day event.
For more information about the 75th anniversary celebration, contact Janelle Taylor in Austin at (512) 389-4665.
On the Net:

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[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ] [SH]
March 17, 2008
Texas Hunting Accidents Continue Decline In 2007
AUSTIN, Texas -- Hunting accidents and fatalities in Texas continued their long-term decline in 2007, still down below three accidents per 10,000 hunters in recent years. That compares to about 12 accidents per 10,000 hunters in 1966, the year records began.
Short-term, Texas had 26 injuries from hunting accidents in 2007, two less than the year before. The state had four fatalities in 2007, the same as the previous year.
Although any fatality is tragic, Texas accident numbers are small compared to the number of hunters. According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national survey, 1,112,099 people hunted in Texas in 2007.
"The statistics show hunting is safe and getting safer in Texas," said Steve Hall, education director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "And we do believe that is directly related to hunter education."
The state's worst year on record for hunting accidents was 1968, when 105 accidents were reported, including 37 fatalities.
The steady decline in the number of accidents per 10,000 licensed hunters tracks the growing number of people who take hunter education in Texas. In 1972, 2,119 people were certified in hunter education. In 2007, more than 3,000 volunteer hunter education instructors trained more than 30,000 hunters across the state. In 1988, hunter education became mandatory in Texas for anyone born on or after Sept. 2, 1971.
Hall said even hunters who are not required to take the education course are more aware of basic safety principles than before.
"It's things like the '10 Commandments of Shooting Safety,' the very basic safety principles that are promoted a whole lot more now than 30 or even 20 years ago," Hall said. "Highlighting the accidents is an education in and of itself."
The 2007 hunter accident profile involved people who violated a cardinal rule of hunter safety, were usually Anglo males 29 years of age on average, were not under the influence of alcohol, had not taken hunter education, and did not wear hunter orange clothing. People involved in accidents exhibited behavior like swinging a shotgun on game outside of the safe zone of fire (if not self-inflicted), handling a firearm carelessly in a stand or vehicle (if self-inflicted), or carrying a loaded firearm in and around a vehicle. Victims were typically in light to open cover with clear weather visibility. Most accidents occurred towards dusk. Fatigue was a factor in most accidents.
According to Hall, all accidents were preventable if the hunters had followed basic safety principles like those taught in hunter education courses.
"You know you're not going to stop accidents altogether," he said. "But you're going to help people build knowledge and skills to avoid accidents."
The full report for 2007 is available on the TPWD web site.
On the Net:

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[ Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
March 17, 2008
Budweiser ShareLunker: Amistad, Richland-Chambers, Waco, Fork
ATHENS, Texas -- Three lakes produced Budweiser ShareLunkers March 9: Lakes Amistad, Richland-Chambers and Waco. Lake Fork sent its first fish of the season to Athens March 10.
The Lake Waco fish was the first ShareLunker from that lake and the heaviest largemouth bass reported from there. Caught by Ricky Culverhouse of Waco while fishing in a Robinson Bass Club tournament, the fish weighed 13.87 pounds, and measured 25.5 inches long and 21.5 inches in girth.
Since 1971, TPWD has stocked 400,000 largemouth bass and 543,496 Florida largemouth bass into Lake Waco. The previous Lake Waco record largemouth bass weighed 12.89 pounds and was caught in 1996.
Culverhouse caught the fish on a black-and-red flake Baby Brushhog in about six feet of water. He had cast to the same area half a dozen times before he felt a tick on the line and set the hook. "She took off like a bull," he said. "I told my partner, 'I don't know what kind of fish I have, but it's a FISH.' When I got her in she came to the top and rolled, and then I knew it was a bass."
While dealing with that fish, ShareLunker program manager David Campbell got a call from Chris McEntyre of Devine, who had landed a 13.39-pounder from Lake Amistad. McEntyre's fish was 26 inches long and 20 inches in girth. A truck was dispatched from the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos to pick up that fish. Catch details are not available at this time.
Campbell's phone rang again a short time later. Jeremy Bruton of Blooming Grove had landed a 13.05-pounder from Richland-Chambers Reservoir. The fish was 25.25 inches long and 22 inches in girth. Bruton was using a Stanley Wedge spinner bait in three to four feet of water. He was fishing in a Richland-Chambers Bass Club tournament.
Bruton's fish was the fourth Budweiser ShareLunker entry from Richland-Chambers. TPWD has stocked 3,992,469 Florida largemouth bass fingerlings in the lake since 1988.
Monday evening Cal Lamb of Forney pulled a 13.02-pounder from Lake Fork, the 237th Budweiser ShareLunker from that lake. Lamb was fishing about 8 feet deep among stumps when the fish took his jig. The fish was 25 inches long and 21 inches in girth.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or larger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between Oct. 1 and April 30 may loan or donate the fish to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for use in a selective breeding program. To enter a fish, page program manager David Campbell at (888) 784-0600 and call him at (903) 681-0550. Keep trying until you speak to Campbell personally. Fish will be picked up anywhere in Texas.
The Budweiser ShareLunker program is made possible through support from Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Since 1991, Anheuser-Busch, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, has contributed millions of dollars in funding to support conservation causes and fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation programs in Texas.

[ Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
March 17, 2008
Bass Anglers: Don't Leave Home Without ShareLunker Phone Numbers
ATHENS, Texas -- If you bass fish in Texas, these two phone numbers should be in your fishing license holder and programmed into your cell phone: (903) 681-0550 and (888) 784-0600.
Those are the numbers to use to report catching a largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more. Budweiser ShareLunker program manager David Campbell answers those numbers 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will drive anywhere in Texas to pick up a ShareLunker.
"If I don't answer, it's because I am somewhere where there is no service," Campbell said. "If you don't hear from me in half an hour, call back."
Cell phone service is spotty in many places where big bass live, so when leaving a call-back number, speak slowly and clearly and repeat your name and number several times.
Campbell also advises leaving messages at both the pager and cell phone numbers. "The pager does not tell us the number you are calling from, but the cell phone does," he said. "Even if you enter your number on the pager, some digits may be dropped if reception is poor. Don't assume you have been successful in contacting me until I speak to you personally."
The Budweiser ShareLunker program is made possible through support from Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Since 1991, Anheuser-Busch, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, has contributed millions of dollars in funding to support conservation causes and fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation programs in Texas.