|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-08-08                                    |
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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]
Aug. 8, 2005
New Hunting, Fishing Licenses On Sale Aug. 15
AUSTIN, Texas -- New hunting and fishing licenses for 2005-06 will be available beginning Monday, Aug. 15, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is reminding customers to be aware of some significant changes. All current annual hunting and fishing licenses expire on Aug. 31.
Two significant changes in special stamp endorsements passed during the last legislative session will affect game bird hunters this year. Rather than individual stamps for various game bird species, TPWD has consolidated the special endorsements into two categories: upland and migratory.
The white-winged dove stamp and waterfowl stamp are now combined into a single Migratory Game Bird Stamp ($7), which will be required to hunt all migratory game birds, including ducks, geese, white-winged doves, mourning doves, white-tipped doves, sandhill cranes, woodcock, snipe, rails, coots and gallinules.
The turkey stamp has been replaced by the Upland Game Bird Stamp ($7), which will be required to hunt all non-migratory game birds, including turkey, quail, pheasant, chachalaca and lesser prairie chicken.
Anyone who purchases the Super Combo license package automatically gets these needed stamps.
In addition to the migratory stamp endorsement, Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification is required of all migratory game bird hunters. HIP certification will be printed on the license at the time of sale only after the purchaser answers a few brief migratory bird questions. Lifetime license holders must also be HIP-certified to hunt migratory birds and these new stamp changes are automatically included in all lifetime licenses.
A sizable share of game bird hunters -- those who hunt mourning dove exclusively and quail hunters -- will be buying stamps for the first time. License sales data show that about 60 percent of all dove hunters already purchase the white-winged dove stamp. TPWD also estimates that only about 40 percent of quail hunters would feel an impact from the new Upland Game Bird Stamp, since most quail hunters already buy combination type licenses that include all needed stamps. The department estimates that the two new stamps will generate up to $1.5 million per year in new revenue for conservation work.
Also new this year, TPWD is waiving all fees for hunting and fishing licenses for Texas residents currently on active military duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, including members of the Reserves or National Guard on active duty. A Texas resident is defined as a person who has resided continuously in the state for more than six months prior to applying for a license. Active duty military personnel must show a current military identification card and proof of Texas residency. The free military license may be obtained at any license vendor location, but not by phone or on the Internet. Activity duty military personnel will get a "Super Combo" Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package (Type 510), which includes all five state stamp endorsements (archery, freshwater fishing, and migratory game bird, saltwater fishing with a red drum tag and upland game bird). The Federal Waterfowl (duck) Stamp is not included.
Texas issues 3.2 million hunting and fishing licenses annually through 28 TPWD field offices, more than 100 state parks and at many retailers across Texas.
Hunters and anglers can also purchase licenses by calling (800) 895-4248. The phone license operation serves both Texans and non-residents, enabling hunters and anglers to buy licenses by phone using a major credit card. Call center hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday -- Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
A license confirmation number is issued at the time of purchase for online and phone orders, and the physical license is mailed separately. Confirmation numbers will verify that a license has been purchased but will not allow hunters to take fish or wildlife that requires a tag. A $5 convenience fee is charged for ordering online or by phone.
Wherever licenses are sold, several other items for the 2005-06 season are also available, including Annual Public Hunting Permits and entries in Big Time Texas Hunts drawings.
The Big Time Texas Hunts program offers the opportunity to win one or more guided hunts with food and lodging provided. Proceeds are dedicated to providing more public hunting opportunities and funding wildlife conservation and/or research programs in Texas. Entries in the Big Time Texas Hunts drawings are $10 each. 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 old or older. Information about the Big Time Texas Hunts and an entry form is available at http://tpwd.texas.gov/bigtime/.
The entry deadline on all categories is midnight Nov. 5. Entries may be purchased year-round, but entries received after the deadline will be entered in the drawing for the following year.
The $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit allows hunters access to about one million acres of public hunting lands, including land leased exclusively for hunting dove, pheasant, waterfowl and other small game. Youth younger than age 17 may hunt on public hunting lands without the permit if they have the $6 Special Resident Hunting license and are hunting with a permitted adult. A Public Hunting Lands map booklet and supplement of dove lease maps will be mailed within a week 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.

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
Aug. 8, 2005
Heat, Low Oxygen Cause Fish Kills On Texas Coast
HOUSTON -- State biologists are asking coastal anglers, boaters and homeowners to report fish kills occurring on the upper and central Texas coast caused by summer heat, low water flow and resulting low dissolved oxygen in the water.
"The summer doldrums, hot, dry and still weather, has settled on the coast during recent weeks," said David Buzan, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department coastal conservation biologist. "These conditions can create potentially lethal effects on fish and other aquatic animals inhabiting Texas coastal waters."
Buzan explained that water salinities (salt content) rise as rainfall is reduced and human water use increases and these factors in combination reduce freshwater inflows to coastal estuaries where rivers meet the sea. High temperatures and salinities reduce the amount of oxygen water can hold. Smaller tidal changes and the absence of typical strong winds further reduce the amount of oxygen normally added to water by wave action and physical mixing. Natural physical mixing of the water is even more reduced in man-made residential boat canals, where some kills have been reported this month.
Recent fish kills this month in Chocolate Bayou, the old mouth of the Colorado River and several small incidents in the Corpus Christi area typify these low oxygen fish kills.
Biologists are closely watching the situation in the Colorado River near its mouth. This is an area where 60 million small fish died in a similar low dissolved oxygen incident in 1995. Early this month, fish kill numbers here were in the thousands, but biologists are concerned that the situation could get worse.
Fishermen and beachgoers often observe low oxygen conditions early in the morning when they see fish swimming slowly at the surface of the water.
"Fish can appear to be 'gasping' for air as they try to get oxygen in the surface of the water," Buzan said. "During severe low oxygen conditions, the fish 'gasping' behavior can be seen throughout the day.
The types of fish usually killed in high numbers by these incidents include menhaden, a forage species that provides food for larger fish. Menhaden are also commercially harvested for pet food, so they are important ecologically and commercially.
Buzan said Menhaden can die in high numbers, but they are the type of fish that tends to reproduce in the millions, so their population can bounce back in a year. Other types of fish are also affected, but biologists rarely see large kills of highly mobile game fish such as red drum, speckled trout and flounder because these fish are less likely to be trapped in areas of low oxygen.
TPWD biologists continue to investigate these fish kills and keep track of what is happening. Biologists are asking the public to continue to contact the department's 24-hour hotline at (512) 389-4848 if they see fish, shrimp or crabs that are dead or appear to be stressed.

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
Aug. 8, 2005
Partner Efforts Decrease Exotic Water Weed Hydrilla
AUSTIN, Texas -- Years of work to control the nuisance exotic plant hydrilla in Lake Austin on the Colorado River have reduced the hydrilla infestation to its lowest level since it was discovered here in 1999, a result that bodes well for dozens of other Texas lakes facing similar threats.
Hydrilla is currently present in only about nine acres of Lake Austin, according to the July survey by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This is a decrease from 26 acres in May and 201 acres in July 2004. At the highest point in 2002, hydrilla covered more than 300 acres of the lake.
The TPWD survey also showed that Lake Austin has about 75 acres of other vegetation, primarily pondweed and Eurasian milfoil. These plant species provide beneficial cover for fish and are not posing a nuisance to lake users.
"An important lesson from Lake Austin that applies statewide is that we did not rush the solution," said Phil Durocher, TPWD inland fisheries director. "Our goal from the beginning has been to address the problems caused by hydrilla for landowners, boaters, swimmers and others while protecting the interests of anglers who enjoy the enhanced fishing opportunity provided by vegetation cover."
TPWD, the City of Austin, the Lower Colorado River Authority and Friends of Lake Austin (a lakeside homeowner group) in 2002 agreed on a plan to battle hydrilla. Tactics agreed on included lake drawdowns, stocking of sterile grass carp and the release of hydrilla flies to eat the hydrilla, approved pesticides, mechanical harvesting and bottom barriers.
"The temptation in situations like this is to over-react," said Earl Chilton, TPWD's leading expert on exotic aquatic plants. "It might have been tempting to stock thousands of grass carp immediately. But, the partners created a plan incorporating several strategies, including research to make sure the carp would work as intended. The result is we still have adequate vegetation of other kinds and a healthier fishery and ecosystem. The steady, deliberate approach is better in the long run."
First discovered in Texas three decades ago, hydrilla has since been found in nearly half of the 200 public water bodies managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fisheries biologists, particularly those in the eastern part of the state.
Hydrilla was originally introduced in the United States as an aquarium plant, and has since spread throughout the South. Because it grows rapidly from fragments, hydrilla can be unintentionally transported from lake to lake attached to boat trailers or boat motor propellers. It can grow up to four inches a day in clear water, so it can establish quickly and spread rapidly.
A certain amount of vegetation, especially native plants that evolved in Texas waters, is healthy. However, exotic plants like hydrilla can get out of control, and can limit boating and swimming and other recreational access, restrict flows in canals and rivers, interfere with power plant intakes and other industrial water uses, and harm fish and wildlife.
In 2001, floods made worse by hydrilla created new and expensive problems on Lake Austin. Homes that had never been flooded were inundated by hydrilla that slowed water flow along the Colorado River. Huge mats of uprooted hydrilla made their way downstream and clogged hydroelectric power generators operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority, resulting in an estimated loss of $300,000 due to plant shutdowns.
Lake managers or communities with exotic aquatic plant problems have several control options available. A law passed earlier this decade by the Texas Legislature requires individuals or organizations to submit an Aquatic Vegetation Treatment Proposal to TPWD for approval. The department recommends a comprehensive approach known as Integrated Pest Management, which advocates choosing the best tools for the situation. Complete information is on the TPWD Web site.
On the Net:

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
Aug. 8, 2005
Becoming An Outdoors-Family Weekend Set For Sept. 16-18
DING DONG, Texas -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is pilot testing a new program called Becoming An Outdoors-Family, offering a weekend workshop Sept. 16-18 at TPWD's Parrie Haynes Ranch near Killeen for first-timers who want to learn camping, fishing, backpacking, shooting, mountain biking and more.
The new program is based on TPWD's popular Becoming An Outdoors-Woman workshop series, which began 13 years ago and has since graduated 2,567 women and developed a database of more than 13,000 women interested in continuing their outdoor experiences.
"Everyone in today's mostly urban world, not just women, is getting further from the outdoors," said Ashley Mathews, who coordinates Becoming An Outdoors-Woman for TPWD. "Those traditional skills that were fundamental for Texans 100 years ago are being lost. It's harder to imagine doing these things when you don't have that tradition in your family and you don't have the basic skills."
Mathews said TPWD has for years been considering ways to offer a family-based outdoor learning program. The final spark came in part from the Becoming An Outdoor Family weekend offered each summer in Vermont, now in its 8th year. The University of Vermont Extension and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources provide that program.
The weekend starts at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16 and continues through lunch on Sunday, Sept. 18. Course topics include Camping 101 (for adults), Texas Explorers (for kids), Fishing Basics, Hit the Trail (day hikes), Mountain Biking, Air Rifle, Family Nature Walks, Water Wonders, Wildlife Detectives, Insect Investigation, Fly Fishing, Backpacking, Geocaching, Outdoor First Aid, Kayaking Basics, Dutch Oven Cooking, and Archery.
The weekend costs $175 for a family of four, plus $15 for each additional person. That covers all meals, lodging, demonstration equipment and instruction.
"We realize this is a real bargain, and prices may change later, but we want to make this attractive and easy for families to get involved," Mathews said.
The workshop is recommended for the family that has "never tried outdoor activities but would like an opportunity to learn" and has "never camped, fished, hiked, etc. or is completely new to the outdoors." It is designed for families with children ages 5-to-12. There should be one adult over 18 for every two children. Children under 12 may not attend an outdoor activity without a parent or guardian.
"This does not have to be a traditional family with mom, dad and kids," Mathews explained. "It can be any combination--grandmother and grandchildren, uncle and nephew, as long as there's an adult and a child with a family connection."
Workshop enrollment is limited to 18 families on a first-come, first-served basis. A second workshop is planned for spring 2006, and TPWD encourages families to register to get on a list to learn about future workshops.
To request a brochure with workshop details and an application form, send e-mail to ashley.mathews@tpwd.texas.gov or regular mail to TPWD/BOW, ATTN: Ashley Mathews, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744.
There is no Web page for Becoming An Outdoors-Family yet, since the program is still in the pilot stage. Information on Becoming An Outdoors-Woman and other Texas outdoor recreation and education opportunities is on the TPWD Web site.
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 ]
Aug. 8, 2005
Reminder: Boating Safety Tips
Extra! Read All Aboat It!
--Always wear a life jacket.
--Avoid alcohol.
--Be especially careful on personal watercrafts.
--Children younger than age 13 must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket while underway.
--Enroll in a boater education class.
--Don't overload your boat.
--Operate at a safe speed.
--Always have a passenger serve as a lookout in addition to the operator.
--Watch out for low water areas or submerged objects.
Always Wear A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Or Life Jacket
--Most boating fatality victims were found (recovered) NOT wearing a PFD.
--Always carry extra PFD's in both adult and child sizes.
--Children younger than 13 years old must wear a PFD while underway.
Avoid Alcohol
--The probability of being killed in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved.
--Operating a boat under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car after you have been drinking.
--Boating while intoxicated (BWI) is strictly enforced and carries penalties similar to driving while intoxicated penalties, including possible Driver's License suspension.
Enroll In A Boater Education Course-Regarless Of Age
--It's a good idea for the whole family to enroll in a boater education course.
--A majority (52 percent) of vessels involved in boating accidents are operated by persons 26-50 years of age.
--For information on classroom, home video and online course options, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Web site at tpwd.texas.gov or call (800) 792-1112.
Be Especially Careful On Personal Watercraft (PWC)
--PWC operators and passengers must wear a life jacket.
--Before you borrow or rent a PWC, take the time to learn how to operate the vessel and the rules of the waterway.
--Obey the 50-foot rule! Maintain a 50-foot distance from other PWC's, vessels, persons, shore, or stationary platform or other object unless operating at headway (idle) speed.
Operate At A Safe Speed
--Although there are no numerical speed limits on the water, citations may be issued for excessive speed or reckless operation. Use common sense, and operate at a safe speed at all times --especially in crowded areas.
--Excessive speed is a rate of speed greater than is reasonable or prudent without regard for conditions and hazards or greater than will permit a person to bring the boat to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Aug. 8, 2005
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Heroic Effort - A Madison County Game Warden was traveling east on State Highway 30 in eastern Brazos County recently and as he neared the Navasota River he observed a vehicle on fire off in a field near the highway. A subject was walking around the van acting strange. The warden tried to talk him away from the van. The subject avoided the warden. The subject kept saying he was going to kill himself as he circled the burning van. The subject suddenly jumped into the burning van through the opened side door. The warden rushed to the open door, grabbed the subject's leg and pulled him from the burning van. The subject was suffering from severe burns to his head, chest, arms and legs. The warden was not injured.
On the Job
--Game Wardens caught a shrimper in Galveston Bay with his Turtle Excluder Device and his Bycatch Reduction Device tied shut. About 365 pounds of shrimp were confiscated and sold. The TED case was documented and will be turned over to the National Marine Fisheries Law Enforcement Division in Galveston.
--Jefferson and Orange County Game Wardens received a call about two boats shrimping in Texas before the season opened. The captains were arrested and 4,000 pounds of shrimp were confiscated and sold for $7,398.
--A Game Warden was patrolling the Rio Grande River and associated canals when he observed two males sneaking away from a canal where a vehicle was parked. After the dust had settled and the chase was over, he and the U.S. Border Patrol had captured three male suspects and confiscated 228 pounds of marijuana that was being backpacked in.
Broadcasting Your Crimes?
--A Franklin County Game Warden worked a case on a lady offering to sell an American alligator. The warden had received information that a Franklin County resident was advertising the alligator in the Thrifty Nickel newspaper. After a short conversation with the lady at her home, several cases were filed for possession and sale of the gator. She was attempting to sell it for $150.
--A Harris County Game Warden answered a complaint regarding illegal sale of raccoons in Northeast Houston. The suspect was advertising the sale of wild hog meat with signs on his van, but after inspecting his freezer it was discovered that he had hidden 17 processed raccoons. The suspect did not have a trapper's license and gave a written confession of the offense. Case pending.
Helping Hands - Garza County Game Warden Benjie Smith, along with the Post Masonic Lodge organized a Kidfish event in Post. Approximately 65 children from foster homes in the Lubbock area participated. The kids enjoyed a morning of fishing and a hot dog lunch. Other game wardens attending were Andy Carr, Brent Satsky, Mel Reed, Randy Bullard, Ted Davey and Captain Rick Gully.

[ 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 ]
Aug. 8, 2005
TPWD Calendar
The following meetings may be of interest to the public.
Game Bird Advisory Board, Aug. 22, 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 ] [KE]
Aug. 8, 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 this week, hunting season starts this month--will you be ready? Terry Erwin oversees TPWD Hunter Education and has a few tips on what you can do to prepare yourself for your time in the field. Plus buy a Super Combo license and you could receive more than just a great hunting and fishing experience--how about a $1,000 outdoor gear shopping spree from Academy Sports and Outdoors? We'll tell you how.
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 this week, hikers, horseback riders, and school kids find plenty to see and do at San Angelo State Park. Park manager Pat Bales spends a lot of his spare time biking the trails in this Concho Country park. Volunteers are vital to keeping our state parks operating smoothly. Meet some folks who are helping build safer trails at Enchanted Rock State Park. As Corpus Christi grows, so does its need for water. Learn how this coastal city is planning for its water needs for both the present and the future. Ann Miller with the Outdoor Learning Programs helps dispel some of the myths surrounding bats on this week's 'Wild Things'. Follow famed photographer Wyman Meinzer as he shoots -- with a camera, the elusive coyote.
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 on PBS: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/tv/
TPW Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/