|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-10-04                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 12 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]
Oct. 4, 2004
Wildlife Management Areas Offer Prime Quail Hunting
AUSTIN, Texas -- If access to a good place to hunt is the only thing keeping you from experiencing what wildlife biologists suggest will be the best quail hunting season in years, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has some excellent opportunities for hunters.
"Some of the best quail hunting in Texas this season will be on public land," said Dennis Gissell, TPWD wildlife management area facilities coordinator.
With the purchase of a $48 Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit from TPWD comes access to tens of thousands of acres of quality quail country. Finding a place to hunt is simple using the detailed map booklet that comes with the APH hunting permit. The booklet explains all the rules pertaining to hunting on public land in Texas, along with locator maps of all the hunting areas and the dates each site is open to hunting.
Quail season opens Oct. 30 statewide and runs through Feb. 27. The daily bag limit is 15, with a possession limit of 45 quail.
Field reports from TPWD biologists indicate good prospects for the WMAs offering quail hunting, but there are a handful of areas that stand above the rest. The Chaparral WMA along the Dimmit and LaSalle County line in South Texas leads the pack.
"We've probably got the best quail crop since 1987 when our hunters bagged more than 5,000 birds on opening weekend," said David Synatzske, area manager at the Chaparral WMA. "Because conditions are so good we've added 20 additional days that we'll be open for quail hunting. We'll only be closed basically during our special drawing hunts for deer and javelina."
The Chaparral WMA will be open to public hunting Oct. 30-Nov. 14 and Jan. 15-28. And, while Synatzske anticipates seeing a lot of hunting activity on those days, it is the early youth/adult quail hunting weekend of Oct. 23-24 that draws most of the attention.
"That's really our opener," he said. "In recent years we've gotten as many hunters during the youth weekend as we do on opening weekend, but the neat thing is they have to have a youth in the group in order to qualify."
The youth/adult concept began in 1995 as a way to introduce young hunters to quail hunting. Thirty-eight young hunters participated in the first event at the Chaparral WMA and the interest has grown, with 158 youth last season. "Most of the hunters bring a bunch of kids and follow the spirit of what we intended for the hunt," Synatzske noted. "We don't require that the youth hunt, our main objective is to get them out in the field to enjoy the experience. We welcome families to come out and if some in the group don't want to hunt, we issue them a pass to go along."
There are primitive campsites available on the Chaparral and the gates will open on Friday, Oct. 22 at 8 a.m. to allow groups to get settled prior to the opening weekend of the youth/adult hunt. There are no water or electrical hook-ups, but bathrooms and showers are available onsite. All hunters must check in and out of the area, but otherwise are allowed to hunt anywhere on the 15,200-acre WMA.
As with all public hunting for quail, everyone is required to wear hunter orange headgear and vests, and a valid Texas hunting license and public hunting permit are required. "About half of our hunters pay the daily use fee ($15 available at the WMA), which tells me we are reaching hunters who aren't in the public hunting program," Synatzske said.
While some hunters do bring dogs on the hunts, Synatzske said they aren't necessary for success. "Our quail are distributed around the area fairly uniformly and we have a lot of access roads, about 30 miles of paved roads, so you can get around. We have a couple of pastures where some folks like to work their dogs because it's wide open, but most of the hunting is in brushy cover."
The James Daughtrey WMA, located east of Tilden around Choke Canyon Reservoir, will also be offering excellent quail hunting opportunity through the APH permit on Oct. 30-Nov. 7, Nov. 20-28, and Dec. 4-8.
Most of the hunting in South Texas will be for bobwhite quail, but hunters can also take advantage of another subspecies on public land, the scaled quail. Two wildlife management areas in the Trans Pecos hold excellent prospects for scaled quail this year, according to Mike Pittman, area manager at Black Gap and Elephant Mountain WMAs.
Black Gap WMA covers 119,000 acres and will be offering hunting access for bobwhite and scaled quail Oct. 30-Nov. 26, Dec. 13-25, Dec. 30-Jan. 8, and Jan. 13-Feb. 27. There are 50 primitive camps scattered throughout the management area and along the Rio Grande.
On the 23,000-acre Elephant Mountain WMA, quail hunting will be available Oct. 30-Nov. 25 and Dec. 13-Feb. 27.
Both areas will have an early youth/adult weekend for quail on Oct. 16-17. For more information call (432) 837-3251.
"If ever someone wanted to give scaled quail hunting a go, this is the year to get out there and do it," Pittman noted. "We have an excellent crop of birds this year."
In the Panhandle, the Gene Howe WMA and Matador WMA are also prime quail territory. Last season, upwards of 5,000 quail were harvested off the 28,000-acre Matador WMA near Paducah; more than on any other public hunting area in the state. According to area manager Chip Ruthven, this year's outlook is equally promising.
"It ought to be better than last year, we're seeing decent numbers of birds," said Ruthven. "I'm not sure the Gene Howe can repeat last year's success rate per hunter, but they have birds."
For more information on public hunting and the $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit, visit the Web pages or call (800) 792-1112.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [LH]
Oct. 4, 2004
'Splash' Lives Up To Name
ATHENS, Texas -- When Cody Mullennix pulled the new world record blue catfish from Lake Texoma in January 2004, she threshed around in the water so much he dubbed her "Splash."
The 121.5-pound fish's name is doubly appropriate, for she has made a giant splash at her new home, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center here.
Largely due to people coming to see Splash, attendance at TFFC during the year ended Aug. 31 was 73,447, the second highest since the facility opened in 1996. Revenue for the year did set a new record.
Perhaps dreaming of the day when they, too, might see their name in the record book, 38,460 visitors fished in TFFC's 1.5-acre casting pond, and 469 people caught their first fish ever. Visitors ranked fishing as the activity they enjoyed most while at the center. Watching Splash and other fish eat from a diver's hand during the daily dive show ran a close second.
Splash recently added a new item to her usual diet of frozen smelt. "Smelt are small for a fish her size, and they don't have a lot of smell or juice," said exhibits coordinator Wayne Heaton. "We put a big piece of the chicken we feed the alligators in a plastic bag, and when the diver opened it up in front of her and she smelled the juice, she took the chicken right out of the diver's hand. That was a really good sign."
Whether Splash thinks chicken tastes like fish, or vice versa, is not known.
The largest of the three Budweiser ShareLunkers in the dive tank also has a healthy appetite, said Heaton. "It probably weighs 16.5 or 17 pounds, and it eats seven or right koi every dive show." The big bass positions itself near the diver and stares at him until fed.
Other fish in the dive tank include a flathead or yellow catfish, spotted bass, black crappie, small-mouth buffalo, longnose and alligator gar, bowfin and hybrid striped bass. While the individuals of those species are permanent residents in the tank, the five or six kinds of sunfish are a constantly changing cast of characters. "They are there mainly to provide snacks for the bigger fish," Heaton explained. "The yellow catfish usually sleeps during the day, but it is the big feeder on sunfish when it comes out at night."
TFFC is at 5550 F.M. 2495, four miles east of Athens. Fish in the dive tank may be viewed any time the center is open. Hours are 9 a.m.-4p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. on Sundays. Dive shows are at 11 a.m. on weekdays, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/fish/infish/hatchery/tffc/) or call (903) 676-2277.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
Oct. 4, 2004
Historic Fulton Mansion Closing for Interior Painting
FULTON, Texas -- Fulton Mansion State Historic Site will be closed to the public from Oct. 4 through Nov. 2 so the first floor can receive a fresh coat of paint just in time for the holidays.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is spending $12,800 to repaint the ground floor interior of the Victorian home built in the 1870s by George and Harriet Fulton on Aransas Bay about 20 miles up the coast from Corpus Christi.
The impressive, three-story villa was one of the first houses in 19th century Texas to feature advanced mechanical systems that included indoor plumbing, as well as central heating and gas lighting. It was built in the French Second Empire architectural style.
The mansion will reopen for public tours on Wednesday, Nov. 3. For more information, contact the park at (361) 729-0386.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Oct. 4, 2004
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Foiled Scheme -- Recently, Palo Pinto and Wise county Game Wardens, along with Federal Wardens went onto a ranch that had been suspected of being baited in years past. Upon entry, there were 15 hunters in the field. The area in which the hunters were hunting was a wheat field that had been shredded. A careful examination of the field showed it to be baited. Two hundred twenty-three doves were seized, and a federal citation was issued to the landowner.
And More Illegal Baiting -- State and Federal Game Wardens made a sweep recently on a baited dove field in Western Coryell County. The landowner had spread out 5,000 pounds of milo for his guests. There were 17 state violations for which citations were issued. In addition, the landowner was filed on by the federal officials for putting bait out for the hunters.
Wardens Didn't Come 'Down the Shoot' Yesterday -- Recently, a Cooke County Game Warden filed a hunting case where the subject made a u-turn in front of the warden and shot dove off the highline wires from the road. When stopped, he had freshly killed birds in his truck and empty shotgun shells caught in his windshield wipers; yet he insisted he was not road hunting.
Deserved Honors --
--Hockley County Game Warden Jay Oyler was honored as the State Employee of the Year for Texas Parks and Wildlife by the Lubbock Regional Director's Round Table. Regional directors from 15 state agencies sit on the round table and select an employee from each of the agencies. A plaque and certificate were presented to Jay by Representative Pete Laney at the State Employees Picnic held at Reece Center in Lubbock. Sen. Robert Duncan and Rep. Delwin Jones were also present.
--Congrats to Goliad County Game Warden Jesse Garcia, who was named Game Warden of the Year by the 2004 Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
--Also, congratulations to Hale County Game Warden Mark Collins for being selected as the Shikar Safari Club Texas Game Warden of the year for 2004.
Caught in the Act -- Galveston County Game Wardens working off of a 65-foot patrol boat caught two gulf shrimp boats pulling four nets within two miles of the beach. A total of 12,288 pounds of shrimp were confiscated and sold for $15,000. Charges for shimping in a closed area are pending.
Daily Limits Means ONE DAY -- A Taylor County Game Warden was checking an evening dove hunter who was cleaning his birds. He thought he had killed a limit but only had 11. The warden commented that the birds were flying really well in that location. The man commented that they were even better that morning. The warden asked if he had gotten any that morning. He advised that he had taken a limit that morning. The warden advised that 12 was the "daily limit." It took a minute to sink in, and then the man said, "I don't guess I will be seeing the wife and kids tonight."
Big Bust -- Pecos and Reagan county game wardens assisted Department of Public Safety officers in a vehicle pursuit, which led to two vehicles being stopped and 350 pounds of marijuana being recovered.
You Can Plan but You Can't Hide -- A Hale County Game Warden learned that a bull elk had possibly been killed from the roadway. He suspected it was the same elk that had been spotted a couple of weeks back. After a lengthy investigation several charges were filed on two subjects who admitted to killing the elk after they had learned the warden was going out of town for a few days. They learned the hard way that just because the game warden can't be seen doesn't mean the suspects will get away.
Helping Out -- Gonzales County Game Warden Jason Davis and Caldwell County Game Warden Joann Garza assisted in the 18th Annual Double D Youth Hunt in Bastrop County. The hunt was a 100 percent success with 18 youth hunters harvesting a trophy animal. The hunters included handicapped and underprivileged children. The Double D event includes hunting, fishing, lunch, and the Ranch provides each of the children with a shoulder mount of their trophy animal. A special thanks to all the staff at the Double D Ranch.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Oct. 4, 2004
TPWD Calendar
The following meetings may be of interest to the public. Check the master calendar for all TPWD events.
--Historic Sites Advisory Committee, Oct.8, 9a.m. to1 p.m., Bass Conference room, TPWD headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
--Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Board, Oct. 12, 10 a.m., Bass Conference Room, TPWD headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
--Landowner Incentive Program Advisory Committee, Oct. 19 12-5 p.m. and Oct. 20, 8 a.m. to 5 pm., the Arrington Ranch House Lodge, Canadian, Texas.
--Quail Technical Committee, Oct. 25, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Commission Hearing Room, TPWD headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
--Joint Game Bird Advisory Board and Texas Quail Council, Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Commission Hearing Room at Austin HQ.
--Wildlife Diversity Policy Advisory Committee, Oct. 29, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Bass Conference Room, TPWD headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Oct. 4, 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 Oct. 4-8, State park history doesn't begin when the gates open for the first time. We'll tell you how archeologists are digging deep to discover the historic origins of them. Plus, scientific minds come to Texas to talk about protecting the state's wildlife species.
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/).