|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-08-23                                    |
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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 ] [SL]
Aug. 23, 2004
Conditions Right for Dove Season
AUSTIN, Texas -- While there may not be as many hunters in the field for the start of dove season in the North and Central Zones because of a Sept. 1 midweek opener, there should be no shortage of birds, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Dove season opens in the South Zone on Sept. 24.
As opposed to last year's Labor Day opener, the Wednesday start to dove season is expected to bring about 10 percent fewer hunters to the field, according to Jay Roberson, dove program leader with TPWD. "For those who want to get out early, there should be a little less competition," he said. "But that also will mean less movement of the birds. All in all the quality of hunts should be good for those who have good locations and have put in time scouting."
Dove hunting prospects for this fall are above average once again, Roberson projected. Moisture conditions have been good for feed production throughout most of the state. "I think we'll see good dove production this year despite the heavy rains in some areas," he said. "We're seeing a lot of young birds collected during our banding efforts. Hunting success should be good, provided feed conditions remain good."
Those good range conditions could also disperse birds across larger areas during the first part of the season, Roberson noted. "Hunter success rates may drop off some because when the birds get disturbed, they scatter. They don't have to look far for food and water. If they aren't pressured, they don't move. Then it becomes a matter of getting to the birds and staying on them."
The major change to this year's dove regulations involves a shift of the Central Zone boundary to include areas within San Antonio's South Loop (FM 1604), which will give hunters earlier access to a huge population of white-winged doves.
"In those portions outside the city limits where discharge of firearms is allowed, hunters can capitalize on those feeding flights of whitewings," he said. TPWD conservatively estimates San Antonio's whitewing population to be in excess of 1.25 million birds. "Make sure you are outside the city limits because the City of San Antonio does have a firearms discharge ban. Our game wardens and local law enforcement will be working that area to make sure the laws are enforced. We want people to have a safe and enjoyable hunt and that's not going to happen if they're hunting within the city limits."
Hunters are also reminded to be on the lookout for banded birds. As part of a research effort to monitor movements of mourning doves, some birds have been marked with metal leg bands containing a unique number and a toll free telephone number (800-327-BAND or 2263) that hunters can call to report the band. Bands may also be reported on the Internet (http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl). Hunters may keep the bands. It only takes a minute and doesn't cost a cent and hunters receive a certificate of appreciation that identifies when and where the dove was banded.
Hunters are cautioned that a hunting license and HIP certification is required to hunt all migratory game birds. HIP stands for "Harvest Information Program," a federally mandated program aimed at improving the harvest surveys for migratory bird. The license vendor should ask you several questions related to your last year's harvest of doves, ducks and geese. This is NOT the survey, but helps qualify for the survey should your name be drawn for the 2004-05 harvest survey. Good harvest data is one of three essential management tools needed to assure future hunting regulations are well founded. Dove hunters are required to be HIP. Also, remember that Hunter Education Certification is required, depending on your age; but a deferral is available for new hunters accompanied by a certified hunter. Check the Outdoor Annual of hunting and fishing regulations booklet for details.
A white-winged dove stamp is also required to hunt white-winged doves in Texas and since whitewings have expanded their range throughout much of state, it's a good idea to invest in a stamp. The stamps may be purchased anywhere hunting licenses are sold and cost $7 if purchased separately along with the basic hunting license, however all stamps are included in the Super-Combo Hunting license.
Finally, TPWD hunter education officials remind hunters to be sure to only shoot at doves within range less than 40-yards and in a "safe zone of fire." Communicate frequently with those around you, and be sure to alert anyone who moves too close to your position or who may not know you are near, and caution anyone shooting at low birds about this type of unsafe practice. Remember that shotguns must be plugged, never transport a loaded firearm in a vehicle, and wait to load when you are at your hunting location and unload before leaving the field.
With schools usually ending the day about 3 p.m., dove hunting offers great opportunity to wait until the afternoon so you can take a youngster hunting with you. Afternoon feeding and watering is usually in full swing after 5 p.m., so many Texans live close enough to good bird hunting to wait and take a young hunter with them. Terry Erwin, hunter education coordinator at TPWD, said, "We encourage hunters to be role models for conservation, act ethically and to take a youngster or someone new to hunting along with them."
2004-2005 DOVE SEASONS
--North Zone: Sept. 1-Oct. 30 with a 15-bird daily bag limit.
--Central Zone: Sept. 1-Oct. 31 and Dec. 26-Jan. 3 with a 12-bird daily bag limit.
--South Zone: Sept. 24-Nov. 10 and Dec. 26-Jan. 16 with a 12-bird daily bag limit. In the Special White-winged Dove Area in the south zone, the season would run Sept. 4, 5, 11, 12 then Sept. 24-Nov. 10 and Dec. 26-Jan. 12. During the special whitewing season, the bag limit would be 10 in the aggregate, and no more than 5 mourning dove or 2 white-tipped dove.

[ 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. 23, 2004
TPWD Leases Offer Affordable Access to Dove Hunting
AUSTIN, Texas -- How much would you pay for a share of the dove and small game hunting privileges on more than 55,000 acres of private land? What if they tossed in another million or so acres of hunting access for other game, like deer, turkey or waterfowl? If you said less than $50 you're in luck.
For $48, the price of an Annual Public Hunting Permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, hunters can access more than a million acres of public hunting lands, including 148 units ranging in size from 25 to 2,000 acres and covering more than 55,000 acres leased primarily for hunting dove and other small game. TPWD's public hunting program leased the land using money generated by permit sales.
While public hunting lands can be found throughout the state, most of the dove and small game leases occur along the I-35 and I-10 corridors within easy driving distance of the major metropolitan areas. Some areas offer special hunting opportunity for youth.
"In some places the units are clustered close by so hunters will have alternatives if their first choice is occupied," said Vickie Fite, TPWD public hunting coordinator. "The prime areas will be crowded during the first few weeks of the season and hunters should be considerate and safe."
Fite added that it is important that hunters consider themselves guests of the private property owners and treat the land with respect by not littering. "Make a special effort to pick up trash such as spent shot shells, empty shell boxes, paper and plastic sacks and other debris," she said.
Annual Public Hunting permits may be purchased wherever hunting licenses are sold, by phone at (800) 895-4248 or online (http://tpwd.texas.gov/). A map booklet and supplement of dove lease maps will be mailed within 10 days of purchase of the permit at retail outlets; however, the map booklet and supplement can be obtained immediately by purchasing the permit at a TPWD law enforcement office. The map booklet and supplement may also be viewed on the Internet (http://tpwd.texas.gov/hunt/public_hunting/).

[ 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. 23, 2004
Olympian To Train Texas Teachers in Archery for Schools
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas teachers will have an opportunity to learn from one of the world's elite archers, former Olympic gold medalist Rod White, and pass those skills on to their students as part of a new National Archery in Schools program.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is seeking interested participants to be the first National Archery in Schools program instructors and teachers trained in Texas. The pilot workshop will be held in Austin, Sept. 14-16 at Ojeda Junior High School, next to the department's headquarters complex at McKinney Falls State Park.
The program, targeting middle and high school students, is a skills-based archery program emphasizing life-long opportunities. Started in Kentucky, and in only its third year, the program is now in 32 states and growing.
National and regional competitions have been held recognizing top schools and individuals but the program is geared toward teaching youngsters skills that involve discipline, focus, precision and fundamentals -- like any sport.
"What's great about archery," according to Roy Grimes, the national director who helped developed the program, "is that everyone can participate and excel at the sport. Those inclined to go on and compete can do so; those that simply want to have fun can be involved, too."
Two levels of instruction will be presented during the three-day workshop. Advanced training will be offered during the first two days of the workshop for participants familiar with archery fundamentals, range setup and coaching techniques is designed for those who want to train teachers statewide in the program. The third day will focus on basic level training specifically for teachers wanting to use the program within their school curricula -- primarily physical education, agriculture science and outdoor education courses.
As a popular Olympic sport, archery has enjoyed a renewed interest, especially among school children. "The program is really taking off and it shows that youngsters have an interest in archery as an integral sport taught in gym classes across the United States," said White. "Everyone can compete, everyone can be successful, and everyone can have fun learning how to shoot with bow and arrow."
The archery course can be set up in a school gymnasium in a safe, easy fashion, and the equipment is available at reduced rates to teachers. TPWD is providing loaner sets to the first 10 pilot schools. Other schools that come on board will be able to purchase the basic sets at the reduced rates directly from the manufacturers sponsoring the program at the national level.
Grimes summarized, "Educators love the program because it engages a large percentage of the student body in the educational process -- early data demonstrate that attendance, behavior and self-esteem are improved through this program."
The maximum number of participants for both training units is 20, and reservations will be taken on a first-come-first-served basis. Those who do not get into this pilot opportunity will be placed on a list for future training workshops to be conducted throughout Texas.
There is no cost for this pilot program except for lodging and some meals. TPWD is covering the cost of the instruction, materials and lunches, sponsored by the Texas Hunter Education Instructor's Association.
Free lodging is available upon request, but is farther away from the hotels located a few minutes from the school.
If you would like to be included, please call Steve Hall, education director, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (512) 389-4568 or e-mail him at steve.hall@tpwd.texas.gov. The program is part of the state's hunter and bowhunter education efforts; programs that are supported from the sales of archery equipment through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration" efforts.

[ 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 ] [MM]
Aug. 23, 2004
Wise Prize Winner Seeks Boater Education
HOUSTON -- Adhering to boating safety laws is the single greatest factor in reducing boating accidents, injuries and fatalities, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Each year TPWD coordinates hundreds of classes across the state. If you plan on operating a boat, whether you own one, rent one or win one, a boating education class is a good idea.
The need for boater education was quickly recognized by Houston-area veterinarian Julie Henson-Hiser, who registered for class after she won a new Blue Wave 220 Super Tunnel in the 2004 State of Texas Angler's Rodeo (STAR) tournament this year. The private, non-profit group Coastal Conservation Association of America holds the contest and offers big prizes to anglers who catch tagged redfish.
"I was so thrilled that I ran through the marsh, kicking mud up in the air and on my husband," said Henson-Hiser. Fortunately, her excitement didn't stop her from acting responsibly.
"She said she was s novice to the boating experience and desired some training so she could actually run the boat for herself,-- said Warren Steffen, a Boater Education Instructor at TPWD.
Henson-Hiser's husband drives a boat, but she didn't assume she had driving know-how because she'd ridden in one. There are distinct differences between automobile laws and boating laws, said Jack Dyess, Boater Education Coordinator at TPWD.
"Unfortunately, most boaters seem to think that because they know the laws pertaining to the operation of automobiles, they somehow know the laws pertaining to boat operations," said Dyess. "This is similar to thinking that because one knows how to speak English they automatically know how to speak Swahili."
For more information about boater education, go to (http://tpwd.texas.gov/edu/boated/). For a list of boating laws, go to (http://tpwd.texas.gov/boat/wsdigest.phtml).

[ 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. 23, 2004
Frequently Asked Questions about Boating Laws
Extra! Read All Aboat It!
UNDATED -- Does the "Open Container" law apply when I'm in my boat?
No. This law, effective Sept. 1, 2001, prohibits the possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. It does not apply to watercraft.
Can my driver's license be suspended if I'm arrested for operating a boat while intoxicated?
Yes. Effective Sept.1, 2001, a person's drivers license will be automatically suspended if the arrested person:
--Is operating a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer's rating of 50 horsepower or more; and
--The person refuses to provide a specimen (breath or blood) to determine intoxication.
The period of suspension for first time offenders is 180 days.
Who reports boating accidents to your department?
It is the responsibility of the boat operator who is involved in the accident. Each operator must file a boating accident report if the accident:
--Results in death; or
--Injuries to a person requiring medical treatment beyond first aid; or
--Causes damage to vessel(s) or property in excess of $500.
Report forms can be downloaded from the TPWD Web site under the BOATING link.
How do I find out if there are any special water safety regulations on a lake I want to visit?
The rules in the Texas Water Safety Act apply to all public water in Texas. The local governing body of incorporated cities or towns, county commissioner's courts, and political subdivisions can pass rules relating to restricted areas and the operation and equipment of boats it deems necessary for the public safety. You must contact the entity in charge to determine if any special rules apply.

[ 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. 23, 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. 23-27, where can you buy a trophy hunt for 10-bucks? We'll tell you. Plus, we'll celebrate the birthday of a US president who never forgot the place he always called home.
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.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web (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/).