|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-11-01                                    |
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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]
Nov. 1, 2004
Pair of Firefighters Claim Desert Bighorn Sheep Hunts
AUSTIN, Texas -- There may not be "fire on the mountain" in the Trans Pecos this winter, but there will be two firefighters there anyway. Instead of fighting fires and smoke and rescuing folks, they'll be hunting desert bighorn sheep after being selected for a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department hunt giveaway in a random computer drawing among licensed hunters in Texas.
Flower Mound firefighter Kelley Cato and Kerrville firefighter Jerremy Hughes were picked from among more than 668,000 hunters who purchased a hunting type license by the Oct. 17 deadline for the bighorn sheep drawing. One non-hunting companion may accompany each winner on the hunt with meals and lodging included in the package. The fully guided package hunts will take place by the end of the year.
TPWD officials had difficulty contacting Hughes to let him know he was selected. "He was actually out hunting on one of our special drawing archery hunts at Devil's Sinkhole State Natural Area near Rocksprings," said Kelly Edmiston, TPWD Wildlife Division information specialist. "It took awhile for our personnel on the area to locate him for us."
"Me and a bunch of other firefighters were drawn on an archery hunt at Devil's Sinkhole," recalled Hughes. "It was kind of funny; I was already on a hunt one minute and looking forward to an even bigger hunt the next. I couldn't believe I got selected, especially after seeing that everybody that bought a hunting license was eligible."
The coincidence that both hunters happen to be firefighters didn't escape Cato. "That's exciting that we're both firefighters," he beamed. "I really didn't appreciate the rarity of the bighorn, but I know a whole lot more about them now. Just winning a drawing of this size, it's just incredible. I am very excited about this opportunity."
TPWD Wildlife Division director Mike Berger noted that without the support of Texas sportsmen like Hughes and Cato through their purchase of hunting licenses, one of the state's premier wildlife restoration efforts could not have happened.
"Going from no sheep in the 1950s to a very strong, sound, expanding population over several mountain ranges now gives us the opportunity to give something back to the sportsmen who have supported this program since the beginning," Berger said. "This is our way of saying, 'thanks for helping' the recovery of the desert bighorn sheep."
Berger said the decision to offer the hunts was based on evidence of additional surplus bighorn sheep observed during recent aerial census surveys. By conducting annual helicopter survey counts, TPWD biologists can ascertain not only how many animals are present, but also if there are surplus bighorn rams. This year's survey documented 104 more sheep than last year, a 22 percent increase.
More than a century ago, wildlife biologists estimated there were about 500 desert bighorn sheep in Texas. About 50 years later, there were none. Today there are nearly 700 of these majestic animals in the state.
Coincidentally, one of the guided permit hunts will take place on the Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Area (WMA), where the last sighting of a native Texas bighorn sheep occurred in 1958 and where restoration efforts began. The other hunt will be held on the Black Gap WMA, where a major transplanting effort in 2001 brought in 43 bighorns from the Elephant Mountain WMA; that population of sheep has nearly doubled in size.
Since 1988, when TPWD reinstated hunting for desert bighorns on an extremely conservative basis, 53 permits have been issued. More than half of the rams harvested in Texas have qualified for the Boone and Crockett Club's big game record book, including the new state record taken earlier this year by Glenn Thurman of Mesquite.
Bighorn sheep program director Clay Brewer points to the impressive increase in population as well as the record-book quality of Texas' bighorns as indicators of the success the restoration effort is having.
In addition to the permits being offered in the drawing among Texas hunting license buyers, TPWD offers the chance to hunt a bighorn through the Big Time Texas Hunts Grand Slam hunting package. For a $10 fee, hunters can enter in a drawing for the opportunity to hunt all four of Texas prized big game animals: the desert bighorn, white-tailed deer, mule deer and pronghorn antelope. Permit applications are available wherever hunting licenses are sold. Permits may also be purchased using a major credit card through the TPWD Web site or by calling (800) 895-4248. Deadline to apply for the Big Time Texas Hunts is Nov. 6.

[ 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 ] [KE]
Nov. 1, 2004
TPWD Gets $1 Million To Protect Coastal Habitat
AUSTIN, Texas -- U.S. Department of Interior officials announced Oct. 28 that Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and its partners will receive a $1 million grant towards a $1,508,000 project that will acquire 1,500 acres in the West Bay Conservation Corridor, which is adjacent to West Bay in Galveston County.
The land includes marsh and coastal prairie that provide habitat for many migratory birds, finfish and shellfish. In addition, another 42 acres of shallow open water will be restored to an estuarine marsh. Partners in the project include Harborwalk-Watkins Properties, Trust for Public Lands, Scenic Galveston, Inc., Galveston Bay Estuary Program, the Galveston Bay Foundation, the Texas Nature Conservancy and the landowner. Partners will provide matching funds of $508,000, as well as inkind services.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding more than $13 million to 10 states for fiscal year 2005 under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. The grants provide funding for 16 projects.
Coastal wetland loss in the Galveston Bay system is a continuing concern because of the essential roles that wetlands perform for water quality as well as for fish and wildlife species. "Galveston Bay has one of the highest rates of wetlands loss compared with other coastal estuary systems. The funds will help us and our partners recover from that loss. It's a welcome addition to a whole range of efforts we're working on," said Larry McKinney, Ph.D. and director of TPWD's coastal fisheries division.
National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grants are awarded to states through a competitive process. The program is funded by the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act. Funding for the program is generated from excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat and small engine fuels. These taxes are deposited into the Sport Fish Restoration Account of the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund.
To date, the Service has awarded almost $152 million in grants to states and a U.S. territory under the program. Almost 189,000 acres will have been protected or restored since the wetlands grant program began in 1990.

[ 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 ] [KE]
Nov. 1, 2004
Landowners Need License To Conduct Hunts
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department would like to remind landowners that a hunting lease license is required for certain hunting operations. The owner of a hunting lease or the landowner's agent may not receive pay or anything of value from hunters unless the owner or agent has acquired a hunting lease license from the department. This law applies to all hunting leases.
There are three types of lease licenses: (1) hunting lease license; (2) hunting cooperative; and (3) wildlife management association. The license is required to be displayed on the hunting lease property.
The fees for the first type, the hunting lease license, are as follows. This license is for the total amount of property in a county owned by an individual, partnership, firm, or corporation.
--less than 500 acres--$75
--between 500- 1,000 acres--$140
--1,000 acres or more--$240.
The second type of license listed above, the hunting cooperative lease license, means a cooperative enterprise in which participating landowners pool their acreage and lease it for hunting purposes under the authority of a hunting lease license and in which the leasing profits are distributed to the landowners, according to the landowners' participation.
The fees for that license are as follows:
--Less than 10,000 acres -- $60 + $5 per participating landowner
--Between 10,000-50,000 acres-- $120 + $5 per participating landowner
--More than 50,000 acres-- $240 + $5 per participating landowner.
And the third type listed above is the wildlife management association area hunting lease license. The department may designate two or more contiguous or proximate (a tract of land within one-half mile of another member tract) tracts of land as a wildlife management association area if:
1. each owner of the land applies for the designation;
2. the land is inhabited by wildlife;
3. the department determines that observing wildlife and collecting information about the wildlife will serve the purpose of wildlife management in the state; and
4. the landowners agree to provide the department with information regarding the wildlife under Section 81.302 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code.
The fees for licensing of this type of area are as follows:
--Less than 10,000 acres--$36 plus $5 per participating landowner;
--Between 10,000 and 50,000 acres--$72 plus $5 per participating landowner;
--More than 50,000 acres--$144 plus $5 per participating landowner.
A hunting lease license is valid for the period from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31.
"A person who violates any provision of the hunting lease license requirements or who fails to comply with any provision of the hunting lease license requirements commits an offense that is a Class C Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor, which carries a fine of between $25-$500," said David Sinclair, chief of Wildlife Enforcement at TPWD.
For more information, call (512) 389-4854.

[ 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 ] [TH]
Nov. 1, 2004
Oliver North To Speak at Veteran's Day Ceremony
FREDERICKSBURG, Texas -- Oliver L. North, combat-decorated Marine, author, and host of War Stories With Oliver North on the Fox News Channel, will recognize America's veterans for their contributions in keeping our country free and strong as a speaker at the annual Veteran's Day commemoration at the Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site--National Museum of the Pacific War.
The ceremony, which honors all veterans who have served our country, will be Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. in the Plaza of Presidents. It is open to the public without charge. Since the ceremony will be outdoors, participants are encouraged to dress for the weather.
Col. North will be joined on the program by Maj. Gen. Edward R. "Buster" Ellis, U.S. Air Force Commander, 19th Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Gen. Ellis is responsible for the day-to-day training of approximately 2,000 U.S and allied students. The students range from entry-level flying training through advanced combat crew training. They ultimately become fully qualified aircrew personnel for the war-fighting commands.
Col. North, who served as the U.S. government's counter-terrorism coordinator, is the author of three best-selling books. Immediately after the commemoration, he will autograph copies of his latest book, War Stories II: Heroism in the Pacific, which will be released Nov. 15.
At 2 p.m. that day, the museum also will host a book signing session with veterans of the Sino American Cooperative Organization (SACO), a guerilla organization that worked behind the Japanese lines in China during World War II, rescuing downed pilots and providing information to the allies. SACO--The Rice Paddy Navy, has been out of print and was recently re-issued.
Commemorating Veterans Day is a long-standing tradition at the National Museum of the Pacific War, the only museum in the continental United States dedicated to telling the story of World War II in the Pacific Theater. The commemoration ceremony includes music by the Ambleside School Chorale from Fredericksburg, a joint color guard, and a 21-gun salute to veterans from all wars.
The National Museum of the Pacific War is managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and supported by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation. For additional information about the Veteran's Day program, please phone (830) 997-4379.

[ 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 ] [KE]
Nov. 1, 2004
Big Game Awards Kick Off With Contest for Lifetime Hunting License
SAN ANTONIO -- For more than 13 years, the Texas Big Game Awards (TBGA), a partnership of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), have recognized the contributions that landowners, land managers and responsible hunters make to managing and conserving wildlife and wildlife habitat on Texas' private lands.
The Texas Big Game Awards program is designed to recognize the quality of big game animals in Texas, the hunters who harvest these animals, the land managers who produce these animals through their management efforts, the importance of our hunting heritage, and the achievements of young and new hunters.
Although the TBGA program offers no prizes for entries other than recognition, this year the TBGA will again continue the "Early Entry Special" program which will allow hunters who mail in their completed entry form early and include a photo for promotional purposes, to be automatically entered in a drawing for some great prizes.
Hunters who harvest a white-tailed deer, mule deer, or pronghorn antelope this season meeting the minimum Boone and Crockett requirements for their respective region may be eligible to receive recognition in the Scored Entry category and so can the landowner from where the trophy was taken. Hunters of any age who harvest their first big game animal in Texas are eligible for the First Big Game Harvest category. And any youth hunter (younger than age 17 when they purchase their hunting license) with a Special Resident Hunting License who harvest a white-tailed deer, mule deer, or pronghorn antelope are eligible for the Youth Division whether they harvest a buck or doe, regardless of score.
For those hunters who harvest Scored Entry qualifying animals and have their completed entry form in by the 30th of each month beginning in October through December, prizes are available. Entries must include a quality field photo of the hunter and their trophy and entry forms must be complete. It is preferred that photos be emailed in to (tbgaphotos@texas-wildlife.org) or hunters can mail in their photos with their entry forms.
There will be one winner chosen for each of the three months. For the Early Entry Grand Prize, everyone who has their completed entry form in by Jan. 30, including First Harvest and Youth Division entries, will be eligible for a Texas Lifetime Hunting License! Photos for this drawing are not required but encouraged. The license reward is proudly sponsored by Smith's Abrasives and Hunter's Specialties.
For more information about the Texas Big Game Awards, entry information, or for a local certified TBGA scorer, please call (800) 839-9453, ext. 114 for more information. The final deadline to enter the Texas Big Game Awards for the 2004-05 season is March 15. The Texas Big Game Awards would like to thank Leupold and Stevens, Gerber Legendary Blades, Horton Manufacturing, Smith's Abrasives, and Hunter's Specialties for their support of the "TBGA Early Entry Special."

[ 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 ]
Nov. 1, 2004
TPWD Calendar
The following meetings may be of interest to the public. Check the master calendar for all TPWD events.
--Operation Game Thief Committee, Nov. 10, 10:30 a.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 ]
Nov. 1, 2004
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Close Call -- A Dallam County Game Warden reported that a landowner was moving his private elk herd from one pen to another when a bull elk gored the man. The elk's antler penetrated nine inches into the man's chest. Emergency surgery saved the man's life.
Good Works -- Walker County Game Warden Zak Benge helped organize a Kidfish event for special needs children through the Bayes Achievement Center on the Jordon Ranch near Huntsville. The children caught more than 240 fish in 90 minutes using cane poles and worms. They were then treated to a dinner and numerous door prizes. Game Wardens Sophia Hiatt, Keith Foltermann, Brannon Meinkowski, Anthony Corcoran, Dean Fitzpatrick, Ernie Garcia, Dornell Crist, and retired Game Warden Larry Benge helped with the event. The Texas Game Warden Association donated money for food and t-shirts.
And More Good Works -- Milam County warden Mike Mitchell joined with three other agencies in community education. The Department of Public Safety, the Thorndale Police Department, the Milam County Sheriff's Office and TPWD educated 388 schoolchildren in Thorndale. Through assemblies by grade level (kindergarten through high school), they presented a variety of topics to the youths. Mitchell covered water safety, gun safety, and law enforcement careers.
The Fish Gave Them Away -- A Nueces County Game Warden responded to a call concerning undersized trout. Upon contact with the individuals, all were license-compliant and when asked if they had caught anything all replied, "No, but we are trying real hard." As the conversation continued, the warden questioned what the thumping from the ice chest was, at which time the individuals hung their head. When all were counted and measured, 12 undersize trout were located and appropriate charges are pending.
100 Snakes Seized -- Abilene-area wardens and a TPWD Wildlife Investigator executed a search warrant and seized 75 venomous snakes and five turtles. Nongame permit violations were identified as well as city ordinance violations dealing with the prohibition of venomous reptiles. Later in the day, another residence was identified as being suspected of containing venomous snakes. An investigation resulted in another search warrant being executed and 25 more venomous snakes being seized.

[ 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 ] [KE]
Nov. 1, 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 the week of Nov. 1-5, We'll tell you about a state park tour not recommended for claustrophobics. Plus, on this election day week we'll tell you about a Texas politician who wanted to be known as anything but.
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/).