|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-08-16                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
Aug. 16, 2004
Web License Sales Offer Convenience
AUSTIN, Texas -- Starting this fall, folks can buy a Texas hunting or fishing license over the Internet for the first time.
When new season licenses go on sale Aug. 15, hunters and anglers can buy online via a new service from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department through Texas Online.
It costs an additional $5 to buy on the Web, which covers shipping, handling and processing.
However, buyers can purchase licenses for as many as five different people in one transaction. This means five hunting buddies or family members could split the cost of the $5 fee. But be aware that all licenses must be shipped to a single address, and whoever places the order will need to have all the personal data for each buyer, including one of the following forms of identification: their TPWD customer number, Texas driver's license number or Social Security number.
Web buyers can go to the TPWD Web site (http://tpwd.texas.gov/) and click the "Online License Sales" link in the Licenses box near the top of the TPWD home page. They can then click through the links and pages to get to Texas License Online. The first time a customer goes there, they'll need to register and setup a user account. Web customers may pay by Visa, Mastercard or Discover credit card.
It should take a few days to a week for licenses to arrive to Texas addresses after shipment. Customers can pay an additional fee for second day delivery.
However, for fish or game animals that do not require a tag, customers won't have to wait for the hard copy license to arrive to start hunting or fishing. For each license purchased, buyers will receive a Smart Number by e-mail that uniquely identifies the license and will allow them to hunt or fish before licenses are received in the mail. (This does not cover deer, turkey, red drum and other species where the hunter or angler must tag the animal after it's taken-hunters or anglers for those species must wait for the tags to arrive in the mail.)
Lifetime licenses cannot be purchased online.
Web buyers will need to have Internet Explorer version 5.5 or higher or Netscape 6.1 or higher and have Java script enabled. For technical assistance, see the license sales Web page.
Hunters and anglers still have the option to buy licenses the old fashioned way at more than 2,000 vendor locations throughout Texas. These include sporting goods stores, gun shops, department stores, bait and tackle shops, grocery stores and similar locations, plus all TPWD Law Enforcement (game warden) offices. General information about hunting and fishing licenses is also online at (http://tpwd.texas.gov/licenses/public/). Or, call the TPWD toll free phone information line at (800) 792-1112.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
Aug. 16, 2004
BWI Arrests Up Statewide as TPWD Readies for Labor Day Traffic
Extra! Read All Aboat It!
AUSTIN, Texas -- So far this year, TPWD game wardens have arrested 231 people statewide for Boating While Intoxicated. Through the same time period (Aug. 9) of 2003, there were only 180 arrests.
TPWD wants to remind everyone that if they are caught drinking and operating a boat, and convicted, the penalties are the same as for DWI. The blood-alcohol limit is .08. And the myth about how everyone should refuse to be tested if pulled over -- that one does not pay. Your driver's license can be suspended if you refuse a blood-alcohol test.
However, it appears boating accidents, boating fatalities, and boating injuries are down this year so far compared to the same time in 2003.
"Although the 20 fatalities at this time is nearly half as many as the 39 Texas had thru early August in 2003, we still warn boaters to take every precaution to keep from becoming a fatality statistic," said Alfonso Campos, chief of marine enforcement at TPWD.
TPWD has made nearly 400,000 water-related contacts so far this year and Game Wardens are readying for the busy Labor Day weekend on the water.
When heading out to the water, remember don't drink and boat, wear your lifejacket even if you are a good swimmer (you can't swim if you are knocked out) and maintain a 50-foot distance when on personal watercrafts (jet skis).
Boating Safety Tips
--Always wear a life jacket.
--Avoid alcohol.
--Be especially careful on personal watercrafts.
--Children younger than age 13 must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket while underway.
--Enroll in a boater education class.
--Don't overload your boat.
--Operate at a safe speed.
--Always have a passenger serve as a lookout in addition to the operator.
--Watch out for low water areas or submerged objects.
--Always Wear A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or Life Jacket
--Only 9 percent of boating fatality victims were found wearing a PFD.
--Always carry extra PFDs in both adult and child sizes.
--The probability of being killed in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved.
--Operating a boat under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car after you have been drinking.
--Boating while intoxicated (BWI) is strictly enforced and carries penalties similar to driving while intoxicated penalties, including possible Driver's License suspension.
--It's a good idea for the whole family to enroll in a boater education course.
--52 percent of vessels involved in boating accidents are operated by persons 26-50 years of age.
--For information on classroom, home video and on-line course options, visit the TPWD Web site (http://tpwd.texas.gov/) or call (800) 792-1112.
--Be especially careful on Personal Watercrafts (PWCs)
--PWC operators and passengers must wear a life jacket.
--Before you borrow or rent a PWC, take the time to learn how to operate the vessel and the rules of the waterway.
--Obey the 50-foot rule! Maintain a 50-foot distance from other PWCs, vessels, persons, shore, or stationary platform or other object unless operating at headway (idle) speed.
--Although there are no numerical speed limits on the water, citations may be issued for excessive speed or reckless operation. Use common sense, and operate at a safe speed at all times -especially in crowded areas.
--Excessive speed is a rate of speed greater than is reasonable or prudent without regard for conditions and hazards or greater than will permit a person to bring the boat to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.
Boating Facts
--There are approximately 621,000 registered boats in Texas, ranking it 5th in the country.
--Texas has more square miles of inland water than any other state.
--Recreational boating safety is a primary area of responsibility of Texas game wardens.
The most common water safety citations are issued are for:
--Not having enough lifejackets on board the boat.
--Children younger than 13 not wearing a life jacket.
--Game Wardens enforce the Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) law. A person who either appears to be impaired and/or has a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher while operating a boat can be arrested for BWI.
--A person arrested for BWI may be jailed for up to 180 days, be fined as much as $2,000 or both. Additionally, the person's drivers' license may be automatically suspended.
--Alcohol plays a role in 50 percent of all boating accidents, according to BOAT US.
--The use of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket would eliminate nearly 85 percent of boating fatalities.
--A typical boating accident fatality involves:
--An open motorboat 83 percent of the time; weekends 59 percent of the time;
--The hours between Noon and 7 p.m. 59 percent of the time;
--The victim falling overboard, 34 percent of the time;
--An operator between 26-50 years of age 52 percent of the time; and
--A personal watercraft, 9 percent of the time.
Texas Boating Statistics
Year	Accidents	Injuries	Fatalities
1997	258	222	69
1998	252	187	53
1999	262	186	51
2000	257	173	55
2001	242	191	41
2002	249	153	61
2003	264	175	39
For more information, visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/boat/).

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
Aug. 16, 2004
Texas Giving Away Gun Safety Locks to Hunters
AUSTIN, Texas -- As part of a nationwide firearms safety initiative called Project ChildSafe, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is giving away 80,000 gun safety locks to hunters.
"We're issuing a free gun lock to each student who takes hunter education," said Terry Erwin, TPWD hunter education coordinator and president-elect of the International Hunter Education Association. "We have already distributed 40,000 locks to staff and instructors, and currently have 40,000 more locks to move."
TPWD will also make the gun locks available to hunters during the department's special drawing hunts on state parks and wildlife management areas this fall, and game wardens will be handing out locks to hunters during routine checks in the field.
Project ChildSafe is a nationwide program that's purpose is to promote safe firearms handling and storage practices among all firearms owners through the distribution of key safety education messages and free gun locking devices.
Project ChildSafe is an expansion of the Project HomeSafe program developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). It is supported by a U.S. Department of Justice grant and is a component of Project Safe Neighborhoods, the nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime to create safer neighborhoods. DOJ selected NSSF to administer Project ChildSafe based on its experience in operating Project HomeSafe. NSSF also provides funding to Project ChildSafe.
NSSF, with more than 2,500 members, is the shooting sports industry's largest and most diverse trade association. Formed in 1961, NSSF manages a variety of outreach programs with a special emphasis on efforts to promote firearm safety education to all gun owners.
Project ChildSafe partners with governors, lieutenant governors, U.S. Attorneys, community leaders and law enforcement officials to distribute free safety kits to gun owners in all states in order to promote safe storage of firearms in the home.
In addition to TPWD efforts to distribute the free gun locks, 403 police departments and 88 sheriff's offices in Texas are also participating in the program. More than 15 million free gun safety kits have been distributed in all 50 states during the past year.
More information about Project ChildSafe, including a list of law enforcement agencies where you can pick up a free gun lock kit, is available online (http://www.projectchildsafe.org/tours.cfm). Information about Texas' public hunting program and hunter education courses is also available on the Internet at (http://tpwd.texas.gov/).

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
Aug. 16, 2004
Master Naturalist Program Seeks Applicants
AUSTIN, Texas -- Twelve chapters of the Texas Master Naturalist program are offering fall training classes for volunteers who want to learn about and help conserve the state's natural resources.
The Texas Master Naturalist program -- now with 26 chapters statewide -- aims to develop a corps of well-informed citizen volunteers who educate their communities about the management of natural resources.
The main qualification needed to become a Certified Texas Master Naturalist is an interest in learning and playing an active part in conservation. Volunteers receive about 40 hours of training from educators and specialists from places such as universities, agencies, nature centers and museums. Training topics include interpretation and management of natural resources, ecological concepts, eco-regions of Texas and natural systems management. Volunteers are expected to give 40 hours of service a year in community education, demonstration and habitat enhancement projects. They are also expected to pursue a minimum of eight hours of advance training in areas of personal interest.
Texas Master Naturalist Chapters offering volunteer training this fall are listed below with contact information. Enrollment is limited in most chapters. Some registration deadlines have passed, but contact the chapter to see if space is still available.
--Amarillo -- Panhandle Chapter. Training begins Sept. 11. For more information, phone (806) 352-7463 or e-mail: SuThomps@tccq.state.tx.us
--Angleton -- Cradle of Texas Chapter. Training begins Sept. 8. For more information phone (979) 849-1564, ext. 112 or e-mail: r-tillman@tamu.edu
--Beaumont -- Upper Coast Chapter. Training begins Sept. 15. Phone (409) 835-8461 or e-mail: tslooney@tamu.edu
--Burnet -- Highland Lakes Chapter. Classes begin Sept. 9. For information phone (512) 756-5463 or e-mail: burnet-tx@tamu.edu
--Corpus Christi -- South Texas Chapter. Classes begin Sept. 16. For more information phone (361) 767-5217 or e-mail: wm-womack@tamu.edu
--Denton -- Elm Fork Chapter. Classes begin Sept. 7. For more information phone (940) 349-2883 or e-mail: jn-cooper@tamu.edu
--Fort Worth -- Cross Timbers Chapter. Classes begin Aug. 31. Phone (817) 355-4832 or e-mail: membership@ctmn.org
--Galveston -- Galveston Bay Area Chapter. Training begins Aug. 26. For details phone (281) 534-3413, ext.3 or e-mail: jk-massey@tamu.edu
--Houston -- Gulf Coast Chapter. Classes begin Aug. 28. Phone (281) 855-5600 or e-mail: gcmn@tamu.edu
--Kerrville -- Hill Country Chapter. Classes begin Sept. 8. For information phone (830) 634-2545 or e-mail: mn@penasco.net
--New Braunfels -- Lindheimer Chapter. Classes begin Oct. 10. For information phone (830) 620-3440 or e-mail: elee@gutc.com
--San Antonio -- Alamo Area Chapter. Classes start Sept. 16. For information phone (210) 698-2397 or e-mail: www.alamomasternaturalist.org
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Cooperative Extension co-sponsor the Texas Master Naturalist Program statewide. For more information about existing chapters or forming a new chapter contact Sonny Arnold, assistant program coordinator, 111 Nagle Hall, 2258, TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2258, or phone (979) 458-1099 or e-mail: sarnold@ag.tamu.edu.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [NT]
Aug. 16, 2004
Northernmost Texas Nest of Least Grebes Discovered
RICHLAND, Texas -- The most northerly least grebe nest ever recorded in Texas has been spotted at Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Hayden Haucke, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist, was surprised to see two least grebe adults and five half-grown chicks last month while visiting a pond in the south unit of Richland Creek WMA, where least grebes were first seen this past spring.
This northerly sighting is highly unusual because the birds are a non-migratory species and are predominantly found south of the Nueces River in South Texas. There is only one record of a more northerly nest globally, reported in California in 1946.
The least grebe is a water bird that resembles a small duck and is dark gray with a bright yellow eye as its distinguishing marker. Least grebes can fly but do not migrate. Once settled into a particular body of water, they generally do not move. While not rare, least grebes are sought after by ornithologists and birdwatchers, who travel to South Texas in order to pump up their life lists with species generally not found elsewhere in the United States.
"Least grebes breed almost any month of the year on the coast and in South Texas," Cliff Shackelford, TPWD Nongame Ornithologist said. "The climate is typically mild and the environmental cue there is the water depths in the wetlands and resacas."
Shackelford believes that the least grebe pair spotted at Richland WMA is likely a function of dispersal possibly in response to drought or overcrowding in the south. He is concerned though about the birds surviving when the first real cold front hits Texas this winter.
"Time will tell if they will survive there permanently or not," Shackelford said.
The Richland Creek WMA is located east of the Richland-Chambers Reservoir dam in Freestone and Navarro Counties. The area is split into two units. The north unit is located north of US Hwy 287 and the south unit is accessible from FM 488.
The public is welcomed to go and see the rare bird. Visitors 17 years of age and older must possess a $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH) or a $12 Limited Public Use Permit (LPU). Visitors who still have a Texas Conservation Passport may also enter the WMA until the pass expires. Entry to the WMA is permitted only during daylight hours and at designated entry sites.
For more information about Richland Creek WMA call (903) 389-7080 or visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/wma/).

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
Aug. 16, 2004
Stay Tuned
Information from Texas Parks and Wildlife is available on radio and television, as well as the newsstand.
Passport to Texas, TPWD's radio series of weekday, 90-second stories is broadcast on more than 100 Texas stations. Airing Aug. 16-20, love the outdoors and want to share that passion with others? We'll tell you how. Plus we'll tell you that there's more than lions, tigers and bears at several Texas zoos.
For more information, visit the Web (http://www.passporttotexas.org/).
Video News
TPWD provides video news reports that run in newscasts on numerous Texas stations, as well as on cable and satellite outlets around the nation.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. Stories airing Aug. 15-22 include: Houston's vital and vibrant urban parkland; Seminole Canyon; finding fishing regulations; the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle; and a Guadalupe River morning.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/tv).
Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is always available on newsstands throughout the state and by subscription for $19.95 a year. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393 or order online (http://www.tpwmagazine.com/).