|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-08-01                                    |
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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 ] [TH]
Aug. 1, 2005
Texas Waterfowl Seasons Proposed For Public Comment
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas waterfowlers will have a liberal season with ample hunting opportunity for the ninth consecutive year, based on proposals announced by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department after meetings with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The duck season will again be a liberal package that's the same as last year, consisting of 74 days and a 6-bird bag limit in the North and South Zones and up to 97 days in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit.
Despite the liberal option, biologists still have some concerns for select species of ducks. Scaup population estimates this year are the lowest ever recorded. As a result, the USFWS is considering bag limit restrictions for this popular diving duck. Texas has the biggest scaup harvest in the Central Flyway. Canvasback estimates declined this year and biologists anticipate a shortened season similar to last year's 39 days. Pintail numbers exhibited rebounds from last year but continue to be well below the long term average. Even though the harvest management plan would allow for a pintail hunting the entire season, the Central Flyway has recommended continuing the 39-day season this year to complete a 3-year evaluation of the season within a season. This is part of the "Hunter's Choice" assessment that the Central Flyway has been investigating to eliminate the proliferation of more restrictive seasons within the main season, like Texas has had for canvasbacks and pintails. Texas' own mottled duck was a point of discussion and the USFWS has indicated that they are concerned about declining numbers. They have charged all states and the USFWS to investigate the decline and develop a management plan to address this issue prior to the next regulatory cycle. As a result of this concern, TPWD is recommending a slight modification to the mottled duck bag. The bag limit will be one "dusky duck." Only one mottled duck or one black duck or one "Mexican-like" duck could be taken daily.
Another change that will affect Texas hunters is restricted framework options for white-fronted geese. This year, the USFWS plans to move from liberal hunting frameworks for this popular species back to what has been described as the "base" regulations. Under this option Texas can select an 86-day/one-bird bag or 72-days and two birds.
How the season structure will unfold is still being discussed, but TPWD has developed a proposal and is seeking public comments prior to presenting recommendations to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for final approval on Aug. 25.
According to federal guidelines, the general duck hunting seasons in Texas can only occur between Sept. 24 and Jan. 29. In making its recommendations, TPWD takes into consideration calendar shifts to maximize weekend and holiday hunting opportunity, and factors in years of survey data on bird migration and hunter harvest. Following is a rundown of the TPWD recommendations being considered:
South Zone -- TPWD proposes the following dates: youth-only season Oct. 29-30, regular season Nov. 5-27 and Dec. 10-Jan. 29 *. This season format will provide a two-week split giving hunters and ducks a rest, while maximizing opportunity during peak historic migrations. It will also provide hunting opportunities until the end of the framework, something many hunters have requested.
North Zone -- TPWD proposes a season structure identical to last year, simply adjusted for the calendar shift. Duck season dates would be Nov. 5-27 and Dec. 10 through Jan. 29, which would give the birds a two-week rest between splits. This format would create an opportunity for a true second split opening day. The youth-only season would run Oct. 29-30.
High Plains Mallard Management Unit -- The HPMMU offers one of the longest duck hunting seasons in the nation with up to 97 days. To provide a season that takes advantage of this lengthy opportunity, TPWD is recommending season dates of Oct. 15-16 for the youth-only season and Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 28-Jan. 29 for the regular season. This second split would open on a Friday, giving Panhandle hunters a 3-day weekend to scout and hunt ducks.
Pintail and canvasback seasons would be the same statewide and would open on Dec. 22 and run through the last day of the season (Jan. 29).
The proposed daily bag limit for all ducks is six and may include no more than five mallards (two hens), two redheads, two scaup, two wood ducks, and, in a change from last year, one "dusky duck" (includes mottled duck, black duck or "Mexican-like" ducks). One pintail, and one canvasback would be allowed during the last 39 days in each zone.
As for geese, TPWD is proposing a season similar to last year, but is taking into account restrictions outlined by the USFWS for the white-fronted geese.
Eastern Goose Zone -- Nov. 5 through Jan. 15 (White-fronted segment); Nov. 5 through Jan. 29 Canada and "light geese" (snows, blues and Ross's geese). The daily bag limit is three Canada, two white-fronted and 20 light geese.
Western Goose Zone -- TPWD's recommendation would allow for maximum hunting opportunity by running the season into the first week of February. Dates for the West goose zone are proposed to be Nov. 5 through Feb. 7 with a daily bag limit of three Canada, one white-fronted and 20 light geese.
The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit for Canada and white-fronted geese and no possession limit for "light geese."
The Light Goose Conservation Order would start at the close of the regular goose seasons and run through March 26 in both zones. This allows relaxed regulations to hunt through various atypical means in order to control light goose overpopulation that has caused damage to Canadian habitat.
Public comment about the waterfowl proposals will be accepted through Aug. 19. Comments should be sent by e-mail to dave.morrison@tpwd.texas.gov or by regular mail to Dave Morrison, TPWD Waterfowl Program Leader, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744. Input may also be made online via the Public Comment link on the TPWD Web site home page.
* Correction, Aug. 2, 2005: The original version of this news release incorrectly stated the South Zone regular season dates as "Nov.5-27 and Dec. 10 and Jan. 29." The correct dates are Nov. 5-27 and Dec. 10-Jan. 29.(Return to corrected item.)
On the Net:

[ 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]
Aug. 1, 2005
Time To Apply For Drawings On Public Hunting Lands
AUSTIN, Texas -- With the fall hunting season looming on the horizon, now's the time to apply for drawn public hunts. For over 50 years, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been offering quality, affordable hunting experiences through the special drawings for hunts offered through the department's Public Hunting Program.
During the upcoming hunting seasons, more than 5,000 hunters will be selected through random computer drawings allowing access to some of the state's high-quality managed wildlife habitat. Wildlife management areas, state parks and leased private property will be offering quality supervised hunts for white-tailed deer, mule deer, exotics, feral hog and spring turkey.
Through an application process, hunters can select from among 24 different hunt categories and choose a preferred hunt date and location from 67 hunt areas stretching across the state. There's even a provision for hunting buddies to apply as a group-- in some cases four hunters can apply together on one application.
Free youth-only hunt categories are available to hunters who are between the ages of 8-16 at the time of application. All hunt positions are randomly selected in a computer drawing from all correctly completed entries received by the specified deadline.
There are also some unique guided hunt opportunities on Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, including hunts for waterbuck, white-tailed deer, scimitar-horned oryx and gemsbok.
Hunters who have been drawn in the special permit hunts are not required to use a tag off their hunting license on white-tailed or mule deer that are taken. The hunters will be issued the free TPWD Legal Deer Tag at the area when they bring their harvested animal to the check station. This will allow the public hunters additional opportunity to use their license tags.
The application fee for adult applicants in most of the public hunt drawings is $3 per adult person on the application. Guided hunts and private lands hunts cost $10 per adult person on the application. Successfully drawn hunters pay for a Special Permit ($75-125 in most cases) for a one-to-four-day hunt. A Special Permit fee does not apply to hunts for pronghorn antelope, guided hunts at Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area and on private land.
The application deadline for alligator hunts is Aug. 2. For pronghorn antelope hunts on the Rita Blanca National Grasslands north of Dalhart, the deadline is Aug. 18. Bow hunters also have until Aug. 18 to apply for special drawn public archery hunts. Entries for the general (gun) season deer hunts must be received by Sept. 9.
Last year TPWD received 65,179 applications for the 6,199 positions offered in special drawn hunt categories.
Application booklets are currently being mailed to hunters who applied for hunts by Special Permit last year. The booklets also are available at TPWD law enforcement offices. Information about drawings for hunts by special permit can be found on-line or by calling toll free (800) 792-1112.
In addition to the special drawn hunts, hunters can enter for the opportunity to win one or more of TPWD's Big Time Texas Hunts exciting hunt packages.
The BTTH program offers some of the finest guided hunts in the state. Proceeds from BTTH pay for wildlife conservation work and additional public hunting opportunities in Texas. Last year TPWD received 80,599 entries in the BTTH drawings.
This year's BTTH line-up offers the following hunt packages:
--Texas Grand Slam -- one winner experiences a series of four separate hunts for desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope.
--Texas Exotic Safari -- two winners get to hunt a choice of African plains antelope species.
--Texas Whitetail Bonanza -- 10 winners receive a high-quality 3-5 day white-tailed deer hunt.
--Texas Premium Buck Hunt -- one winner gets the chance to hunt trophy mature white-tailed deer.
--Texas Waterfowl Adventure -- one winner receives a coastal prairie goose hunt and East Texas and coastal duck hunts.
--Texas Big Time Bird Hunt -- quality quail, pheasant, dove and turkey hunts in some of the best places Texas has to offer.
--Texas Gator Hunt -- a rare experience for a 3-day alligator hunt on a State Wildlife Management Area.
All Big Time Texas Hunts packages include food, lodging and a hunting guide. Some packages, such as the Texas Grand Slam and Texas Exotic Safari provide taxidermy of harvested game. For each BTTH hunt package, the winner can bring along one or more guests, and in some cases guests may also hunt or enjoy other benefits--see the Web site or brochure for details.
Entries for the BTTH hunt packages are still only $10 and hunters can purchase them at any license vendor location or with a credit card online or by phone at (800) 895-4248. Participants must be age 18 or older to enter and may apply as many times as they like. The deadline to apply in the BTTH drawings for 2005-06 is midnight Nov. 5.
Please send comments, suggestions, or questions to:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744
or send us an e-mail.
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Last modified: November 29, 2004, 9:03 am -->
On the Net:

[ 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]
Aug. 1, 2005
Man Gets Life In Prison For Shooting Warden And Killing Another Person
AUSTIN, Texas -- In the 47th district Court in Amarillo last week, Seledonio Sanchez Cabrera was sentenced to two life terms for a December shooting that left one person dead and a game warden seriously injured.
Game Warden Billy Hefley was responding to 911 call near the Canadian River about a woman being shot. The suspect pulled out a .38-caliber weapon and shot Hefley in the cheek and arm. The suspect shot and killed one other person before Hefley arrived.
The suspect pleaded guilty to all charges, which were murder and assault on a public servant.
Maj. Mokey McCrary, Hefley's Regional Director, said "We're real fortunate he's still alive. Because of his training and quick response, he survived an encounter most people would have not. He intervened and saved a woman. So yes, we are pleased with the convictions."
Hefley graduated from the Texas game warden academy in 1988 and has been stationed in Potter County his entire career.

[ 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 ] [KD]
Aug. 1, 2005
New Maps Show State Parks Within 60 Miles Of Metro Areas
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has just made it a little easier for city folk to enjoy life outdoors with the launch of a series of urban maps called "State Parks Near You."
The maps, which can be found on the TPWD Web site, show all state parks, state natural areas and state historic sites within 60 miles of each of the major metropolitan downtown areas. "Most people living in the big cities like Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio don't realize that there are actually quite a number of state parks that are only an hour's drive away, which hopefully will make it easier for them to find time to get out more often to enjoy the relaxation of a day in a park's natural setting or a visit to a state historic site," said Darcy Bontempo, TPWD marketing director. The 60-mile maps also contain links to each of the parks' Web pages. Visitors can click on a park and read about its available activities and natural resources and get directions.
"There's no need to pack a suitcase, plan for months or even save up a lot of money," Bontempo said. "Just hop in the car and take a day trip to a state park nearby for a few hours of hiking, fishing, canoeing, mountain biking and more."
On the Net:

[ 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 ] [KD]
Aug. 1, 2005
Austin Teen Raises Money For Bird Conservation
AUSTIN, Texas -- Walter Heymann was a two-time winner in this year's Great Texas Birding Classic. Not only did his team take first place in the Gliders Division (birders age 14-18), but he also personally raised $956 that he recently donated this summer to the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, an unprecedented achievement in youth fundraising during the classic.
"I decided that it would make sense to combine the classic with fundraising, so I just asked family members and close family friends if they would pledge to donate $.05 to $2 per bird my team correctly identified," Heymann said.
Heymann, 17, started birding as a child and said that his parents tell him he used to look at bird books when he was little.
"Just to spend and entire day focused on birding is a good way to get away from it all," Hemann said of the Birding Classic.
The Classic is the world's longest birding competition and has been organized by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department since 1997. This year, for the first time, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in Lake Jackson came on board as organizing co-sponsor of the classic. The competition takes place on Texas' Upper, Central and Lower Coasts, where teams compete in their age groups to correctly identify as many species of birds as possible. The winning teams each year select projects that buy, restore or improve Texas coastal bird habitat to receive prize money.
This year, TPWD partnered with the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory to co-host the Birding Classic and coordinate the grant money for the conservation projects associated with the Classic.
The two organizations are already gearing up for the 10th annual Great Texas Birding Classic, set for April 22-30 on the Texas Coast. Anyone can learn more or request a brochure about the 2006 event by contacting the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory at (866) 482-2527. Information is also on the Web sites for TPWD and GCBO.
On the Net:

[ 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]
Aug. 1, 2005
Reminder: Important Boating Facts
Extra! Read All Aboat It!
--There are approximately 621,000 registered boats in Texas, ranking it fifth in the country.
--Texas has more square miles of inland water than any other state.
--Recreational boating safety is a primary area of responsibility for Texas game wardens. The most common water safety citations are issued for: (1) Not having enough lifejackets on board the boat. (2) Children younger than 13 not wearing a life jacket.
--All children younger than age 13 must wear a life jacket while in a boat underway.
--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 .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 suspended.
--Alcohol plays a role in 50 percent of all boating accidents, according to BOAT US.
--Nearly 85 percent of boating fatality victims were not wearing a life jacket.
--A typical boating accident fatality involves:
--An open motorboat;
--Weekends between the hours of Noon and 7 p.m.;
--The victim falling overboard; and
--An operator between 26-50 years of age
Texas Boating-Related Statistics on Public Waterways (does NOT include non-boating related drownings)
Calendar Year	Accidents	Injuries	Fatalities	BWIs
1997	258	222	69	164
1998	252	187	53	185
1999	262	186	51	154
2000	257	173	55	217
2001	242	191	41	216
2002	249	153	61	190
2003	264	175	39	193
2004	209	155	35	279

[ 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]
Aug. 1, 2005
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. 1-5, when funding is tight, non-profit organizations can turn to Texas Parks and Wildlife to get folks in the outdoors. We'll talk to Darlene Lewis about the Community Outdoor Outreach Grants. Plus if you see an intoxicated boater or an environmental crime being committed, there will soon be an easier way to report them. Chief of Wildlife Enforcement, David Sinclair tells about the new, expanded Operation Game Thief Hotline.
For more information, visit the Web.
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.
For more information, go to the Web.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. Airing July 31 to Aug. 2, as the population of the Snow Goose booms, these birds are eating themselves out of house and home. According to Vernon Bevill, Game Bird and Habitat Assessment Program Director, drastic measures are needed to protect the geese and their habitat. Whether it's hiking to Gorman Falls or fishing for white bass in the Colorado River, Colorado Bend State Park is an ideal place for family fun. For park manager Cory Evans it's the perfect place to work. Fish and Wildlife Technician Jeff Winchester has some tips on how to fish the jetties along the gulf coast. Meet one man who's determined to keep the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers alive for a new generation. Ken Pollard is one of the driving forces behind the resurgence in interest in this almost forgotten piece of history. This week's 'postcard' looks at the geology of Big Bend.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web.
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.
On the Net:
Passport to Texas: http://www.passporttotexas.org/
TPWD Video News: http://tpwd.texas.gov/news/tv/vnr/thismonth/
TPWD on PBS: http://tpwd.texas.gov/tv
TPW Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/