|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-09-13                                    |
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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]
Sept. 13, 2004
Texas Big Time Hunts Offer Premier Opportunities
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Lone Star State boasts some of the finest hunting anywhere in the country, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Big Time Texas Hunts offer hunters a chance to experience the best of the best.
The Big Time Texas Hunts program offers the opportunity to win one or more top guided hunts with food and lodging provided, as well as taxidermy in some cases. The crown jewel of the program is the Texas Grand Slam hunt package, which includes four separate hunts for Texas' most prized big game animals -- the desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer and pronghorn antelope. There are several quality whitetail hunt packages available, as well as opportunities to pursue alligator, exotic big game, waterfowl and upland game birds.
Entries for the Big Time Texas Hunt drawings are $10 each and are available wherever hunting licenses are sold. They may also be purchased online for the first time (http://tpwd.texas.gov/dreamhunts/) or by phone (800) 895-4248. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may purchase, and entries may be purchased as gifts for others. Purchasers must be 17 years of age or older.
Proceeds from the Big Time Texas Hunts are dedicated to providing more public hunting opportunity and to funding wildlife conservation and research programs in Texas. Last year, more than 80,000 entries were received.
Here's a summary of the Big Time Texas Hunts offerings:
--The Texas Grand Slam -- This is truly the hunt of a lifetime. The bighorn sheep hunt is very exclusive; TPWD only issues a handful of permits a year, and one permit or this type recently sold for $102,000 at a bighorn sheep conservation fundraiser auction. The bighorn sheep hunt takes place on Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area, just outside of Alpine, in far West Texas. The other three hunts included in the Texas Grand Slam will be on some of the most exclusive private ranches in the state. The winner may also bring along a non-hunting companion to share in this awesome outdoor adventure.
--Texas Whitetail Bonanza -- 10 winners will each get to experience a high-quality white-tailed deer hunt, something legendary to Texas on popular ranches known to produce big bucks (150-plus Boone and Crockett scores). Guide service, food and lodging are provided on these 3-5-day trips during hunting season. Each winner can also bring along a companion to hunt as well.
--Texas Gator Hunt -- One winner and a guest will enjoy a rare and unique three-day trip pursuing alligators at the J. D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area on the Gulf Coast. Both hunters may harvest one alligator. All necessary equipment, expert guides, lodging and gator hide removal are included. The winner and guest will also be treated to an airboat tour of the marsh to view alligators.
--Texas Waterfowl Adventure -- One winner and as many as three invited guests will win a series of four exciting waterfowl adventures. The hunts are located on some of the best waterfowl areas in Texas. Trips include a Coastal Prairies guided hunt for snows, blues and white-fronted geese; a guided duck hunt in the Coastal Marshes; an East Texas hunt for wood ducks and mallards, and a guided trek in the Panhandle for Canada and snow geese.
--Texas Exotic Safari -- Two winners will experience the thrill of hunting African exotic game right here in Texas on the Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area in the Texas Hill Country. Each winner can take two exotic species, including waterbuck, gemsbok, scimitar-horned oryx, greater kudu, sable antelope and impala. Hunters may choose to shoot modern rifle, muzzleloader, archery or crossbow. Winners can also bring along a companion to hunt a management exotic. Food and lodging will be provided at the scenic Mason Mountain WMA lodge. Taxidermy service will be provided for the two winners. Proceeds go to benefit wildlife conservation and research on Mason Mountain WMA.
--Texas Big Time Bird Hunt -- One winner along with as many as three hunting buddies will enjoy a unique package of upland game bird hunts: two days of quail, two days of pheasant hunting in the Panhandle and two afternoons of dove hunting. There will also be a two-day guided spring turkey hunt for two included in the package. Food, guide service and lodging are included on all bird hunts, and pointing dogs are provided for quail and pheasant hunts.
--Texas Premium Buck Hunt -- This is the ultimate deer hunting experience-take a shot at a trophy white-tailed buck (160-plus Boone and Crockett score) in the rugged South Texas brush country. One winner and a guest will enjoy the finest deer hunting trip that Texas can offer. Professional guide service, food and high quality accommodations are included to provide each hunter comfort as well as great hunting.
The deadline to apply for this year's Big Time Texas Hunts is Nov. 6. Winners will be announced later in November.

[ 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]
Sept. 13, 2004
Youth Essay Contest Again Seeks Horned Toad Memories
AUSTIN, Texas -- What one species can bring the old and young together, evoke sympathy and superstition, illustrate changing ecologies and economies, and teach lessons in biology, social studies, history, and composition? The answer is Texas' official state reptile, the Texas Horned Lizard. For another year, Texas' most beloved lizard is the focus of an essay contest called Hometown Horned Toads.
Few species evoke as many fond memories as the Texas Horned Lizard. When Texas Parks and Wildlife Department began asking students, "What has happened to horned lizards in your town?" three years ago, the answers and remembrances began pouring in from older Texans, while younger Texans began to gain new appreciation for the once-common species.
"The first three years of the Hometown Horned Toads essay contest have provided some wonderful insights and have given students a great opportunity to get to know this species and learn new research techniques," notes Lee Ann Linam, Texas Horned Lizard Watch coordinator with TPWD. "However, we would still like to hear from many other parts of the state."
The first three years of the essay contest attracted more than 400 entries from around the state. Students used interviews with local residents and researched local records to hypothesize when and why the popular Texas horned lizard declined in their communities. The majority of the essays suggested that the official state reptile began declining in the 1970s and 1980s with red imported fire ants, urbanization, and pesticide use suggested as the major causes of decline.
With winning essays from Texarkana to Big Bend and Childress to Corpus Christi, winners have represented both urban and rural communities from all over the state.
The 2004-05 contest is open to Texas students in three age groups with the authors of the top three essays in each division receiving outdoor fun kits valued as much as $150. The top ten essays in each age group will also receive a horned lizard souvenir. The best classroom or group effort in each age group will win as much as $1,000 to cover expenses for a field trip to a TPWD Wildlife Management Area and a horned lizard souvenir for their classroom.
Prizes will be awarded based on a combination of criteria, including thoroughness of investigation, number of people interviewed, number of local written sources accessed, and quality of presentation, including historical perspective, scientific analysis, neatness and creativity.
Students should conduct interviews of local residents who have interesting memories of horned lizards and research local historical reports, such as newspaper articles, crop records and aerial photographs that might shed light into the history and ecology of the horned lizard. In counties where Texas horned lizards have declined, the overall goal should be to document when and perhaps why horned toads disappeared.
Contest entries in grades 3-5 should submit a 2-3-page paper. Grades 6-8 should submit a typed 3-6-page paper and grades 9-12 should submit a typed 5-8-page paper. Deadline for submission is Jan. 15. Submissions will be judged by participating organizations, including TPWD's Wildlife Diversity Program, the Texas Historical Commission, County Historical Commissions, and the Horned Lizard Conservation Society. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded by April 1.
Linam said TPWD values the insight that the essays can provide. In return, past participants have applauded the opportunity that the contest gives to students to connect to older members of the community. Said one mother of a participant, "It was a great conversation starter for our holiday gatherings-it really brought everyone together."
For more information about Hometown Horned Toads essay contest or to receive an entry form and set of participant guidelines, visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/htht/) or call (800) 792-1112 x7011.

[ 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]
Sept. 13, 2004
Adventures of the Game Warden Cadet Class of 2004
AUSTIN, Texas -- This year's game warden cadet class has fanned out across Texas since June and is encountering the tragic, the triumphant and the twisted.
Newly assigned game warden Ellis Powell was patrolling the north end of Newton County for night hunters and got behind some in their SUV on a dirt road. They had thrown their spotlight and gun and the chase was on.
"All I can say is our training really did kick in, I remained calm and did what I knew I had to do," he said. Powell lost them in the dark on the narrow road and got out and looked at their tire and skid marks and knew which way they turned. He also knew that had they turned that way, they would have to go through a certain intersection he knew a short cut to. "I high tailed to that intersection where I knew they would be. They thought they had gotten away," Powell said. He filed night hunting and felony evading charges against the men after the 12-mile pursuit, as well as a charge of making alcohol available to minor.
Or there's the story of newly assigned Callahan County Game Warden James Brown who, in July, after just days on the job, arrested two subjects and recovered three stolen pickup trucks, a Wave Runner Jet Ski and trailer, a utility trailer, TV, DVD player and numerous other stolen items. The value of the stolen items was in excess of $80,000.
"You do your job. That's all you can do. You don't really expect anything for it," Brown said.
And on July 29, Chris Stautzenberger, Zavala County, also a member of the 50th cadet class, was dispatched to a county road by the Nueces River, where a 12-foot-long gator had been ran over by an 18-wheeler. However, the gator was not dead, but was badly injured. Stautzenberger had to dispatch the gator.
"I felt bad. I still feel bad. I wish I didn't have to do that. Something that big, that lived that long -- though it had to be done. There were reports that he jumped up one time and bit the bumper of a truck."
It took a front-end loader to transport the carcass. The gator's head alone weighed 100 pounds.
Stautzenberber said he applied nine times in 13 years to be a warden before he was selected. "It is everything I thought and more."
July 10-11, new Montague County Warden Trent Herchman took six kids on an overnight trip to a private ranch near Forestburg. They were taught firearm safety and had the opportunity to shoot at clay pigeons. While out on the ranch, they came across a copperhead snake and were counseled on what action to take when encountering poisonous snakes. A good time was had by all, kids and the junior-high-age boys, who were from Wichita Falls.
On his second day on duty, Comal County Game Warden Billy Lucio assisted veteran Warden Kathleen Stuman. They rescued a 13-year-old girl who was holding on for her life to a tree in the raging waters of the Guadalupe River below Canyon Lake.
The six-month academy brought the cadets from throughout the state to Austin where they lived until graduation on June 17. The academy included 1,200 hours of instruction -- including the 576-hour basic peace officer course. Game warden cadet training also includes hunting, fishing, and boating safety regulations, fish and wildlife identification, search and rescue and public speaking. The academy included field trips to ranches for training using mock scenarios and to lakes for instructions in boat operations.
The wardens also took 16 hours of Spanish as required by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, which is the licensing agency for peace officers in the state.
Lt. Col. Pete Flores of the TPWD law enforcement division, who is bilingual, said, "The ability to speak a second language is a great tool in a profession that requires the warden to communicate with people of all cultures as they hunt and fish in our state. Spanish is our predominant second language in Texas and an officer that understands the language and the culture is more effective and safe due to the increased ability to communicate. The knowledge of the culture allows the warden to avoid confrontation by recognizing cultural issues that, left ignored, might lead to a potential misunderstanding."
For more information about becoming a game warden cadet, call (877) 229-2733 or visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/involved/jobvac/gwcadet/).
Powell, the first new warden described here, patrols a county that is 100 miles long and has two sheriff's deputies. He assists a lot -- and in many ways.
"There's this 65-year-old woman who calls me when she's cooking dinner and I eat dinner with her. She lives alone. There are a lot of good people out here and it's not a tribute to me, it's a tribute to them. Yeah, there's always going to be a handful of knuckle heads, but so be it," he said.

[ 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 ]
Sept. 13, 2004
TPWD Calendar
The following meetings may be of interest to the public. Check the master calendar for all TPWD events.
--Private Lands Advisory Board, Sept. 14-15 from 1 p.m. until noon on the 15th, Franklin Family Ranch near Blanco.
--Texas Rivers Conservation Advisory Board, Sept.17, 1:30-4:30 p .m. McKinney Roughs, Bastrop
--White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee, Sept. 21, 10 a.m., Commission Hearing Room, TPWD headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road.

[ 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]
Sept. 13, 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 Sept. 13-17, a Texas-style running of the bulls is underway in the state, we'll tell you more coming up this week. Plus, mark your calendars for the largest outdoors recreational expo in the country. It's free and it's right here in Texas.
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 (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/).