|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2006-03-06                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 11 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]
[ Additional Contacts: Elizabeth Slown 505-248-6909 (USFWS), Victoria Fox 505-248-6455 (USFWS), Tom Harvey (TPWD) 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ]
March 6, 2006
State and Federal Investigation Results in Convictions of Six Delaware Men
CALHOUN COUNTY, Texas -- In January, a concerned citizen contacted Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Kevin Stancik regarding the unlawful take of migratory waterfowl by several Delaware residents who own property in the Guadalupe River Delta.
Game Warden Stancik contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Agent in Victoria, Texas, Stacy Campbell, to initiate a joint investigation into the alleged violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
In late January, the law enforcement officers began their surveillance of two waterfowl hunting blinds located on a private waterfowl-hunting club in the Guadalupe River Delta.
During the surveillance operation, Game Warden Stancik and Service Agent Campbell observed the six individuals from Delaware commit the following violations:
Take over the daily aggregate bag limit, (41 ducks killed when limit for six people is 36); take over the daily bag limit of a single species, (17 canvasbacks killed when limit for six people is 6); wanton waste of migratory waterfowl, (36 ducks and 1 white-front goose left on water around blinds); hunting with an unplugged shotgun; possession of lead shot shells, (a total of 152 lead twenty gauge shot shells, not including spent hulls); hunting without a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp; hunting in violation of state law to include: no state hunting license and no state waterfowl stamp/endorsement; and take of migratory waterfowl in a closed season (two white-front geese).
The surveillance operation resulted in seizure of forty-one (41) ducks and two (2) geese, along with one hundred thirty four (134) 20-gauge lead shot shells.
Thanks to this combined law enforcement effort by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a total of thirty-two (32) federal violation notices were issued and $18,775 in fines was paid by the six individuals from Delaware.
In addition, they were assessed civil wildlife restitution of $4,009 by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
"The enforcement of waterfowl hunting violations continues to be vital to the core mission of the Service and as such should re-instill legal hunter ethics in all who hunt waterfowl," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Service's Southwest Region, Juliana Scully.
"We've had a great working relationship with US Fish and Wildlife Service agents that has helped us enforce laws to protect migratory birds in our region," said Capt. Rex Mayes with TPWD Law Enforcement in Victoria. "Game Warden Kevin Stancik has worked effectively in our area for many years. His experience and his diligence in working with US Fish and Wildlife Service enabled us to apprehend these individuals and charge them with multiple offenses."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations.
The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts.
It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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[ Note: This item is more than 11 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]
March 6, 2006
Digital Photo Workshop Slated at Big Bend Ranch State Park
PRESIDIO, Texas -- Wildflowers, scenic mountain vistas, desert springs, roadrunners and other visual delights await camera buffs this April who want to learn more about the "ins" and "outs" of digital photography from a veteran outdoor photographer.
Jim Carr of Houston will teach a three-day workshop, April 21-23, at Big Bend Ranch State Park in far West Texas. The workshop will concentrate on digital photography fundamentals and what equipment and computer software are available today to take quality pictures and enhance ones that need help, Carr said.
"One of the main disappointments that I hear from people who visit the ranch is their inability to capture the mountains and grandeur of the West Texas landscapes that make the Big Bend so special," Carr said. "While capturing such an image has always been possible, though not easily done, digital cameras and software programs have made taking quality panoramic photos much easier."
Carr knows Big Bend Ranch well. He has been conducting trail rides and photo workshops at the scenic 300,000-acre state park and working cattle ranch for more than 10 years.
Workshop participants will be divided into four groups of photographers at the ranch. Photographers will learn how to download their photos to a computer disc and how to adjust colors, size photos and perform other editing tasks using the latest photo editing software.
The workshop costs $400, which includes meals, lodging, all park fees and transportation in connection with the on-site workshop. Workshop participants will meet at Fort Leaton State Historic Site in Presidio and be transported to the state park.
To register for the workshop, call Big Bend Ranch State Park at (432) 229-3416. For additional information about the workshops, call Carr at (281) 486-8070.

[ Note: This item is more than 11 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]
March 6, 2006
San Antonio Workshop Offers Tips for Landowners
SAN ANTONIO -- Recognizing the growing problem of Texas rural land being fragmented into smaller tracts, often with new urban-based owners who haven't been exposed to wildlife or land management, wildlife experts are offering a workshop March 11 designed specifically for San Antonio-area urban owners of rural land.
Workshop topics will include: Quail Management, Prescribed Fire Management, How to Lease your Land, Feral Hog Management, and Updates on the Wildlife Tax Valuation Program. The workshop is jointly hosted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Alamo Area Master Naturalists.
"For the last few years, we have noticed a challenging trend affecting our Texas ranchlands," said Richard Heilbrun, TPWD urban wildlife biologist based in San Antonio. "In urban areas across the state, residents move further and further out, seeking refuge from big city living by purchasing rural lands on city fringes. Here in San Antonio, folks are moving northward into the hill country and southward into Wilson and Karnes counties. As these areas become too crowded to be called rural anymore, residents continue their outward migration, and the trend continues unchecked."
Meanwhile, Texas ranchlands are undergoing a conversion in size and ownership, especially in counties adjacent to large metropolitan areas, where the desire to purchase nearby rural land is strongest.
This conversion is changing Texas, which boasts more private land than any other U.S. state. According to a study by Texas Cooperative Extension, "privately owned farms, ranches and forestlands account for 144 million acres or about 84 percent of the state.
Since 1970 about 1,000 new farms and ranches have been established in Texas each year, even though the total area in farms and ranches has declined by almost 3 million acres over that time.
About 78 percent of our farms and ranches are smaller than 500 acres and these account for 14 percent of the state's farm and ranch acreage. Only 6 percent of all farms and ranches exceed 2,000 acres, but these account for about 63 percent of Texas' farm and ranch acreage.
The end result is less available ranchland owned by more and more people.
Heilbrun says a key factor is the type of people purchasing Texas ranchland. The percentage of land owned by traditional ranchers is rapidly decreasing.
"The majority of the new landowners are well educated families that have spent most of their lives saving money specifically to own a piece of rural Texas," Heilburn said. "Eighty percent of Texans currently live in 20 percent of the state, so it's no surprise that the majority of new landowners come from the city. It is interesting, though, that most of these landowners are not moving to the country simply to 'get away from it all.' These landowners have a strong desire to reconnect with the land, to use their land for recreation as opposed to an income source, and the vast majority of them want to manage their property correctly. They are interested in managing for wildlife and proper use of livestock to ensure their land remains in good shape."
The challenge, Heilbrun said, is this newest generation of Texas ranchers doesn't often have the benefit of prior knowledge passed down through generations. To help fill this knowledge gap, TPWD has begun hosting workshops in major cities.
The upcoming San Antonio workshop is open to any interested landowners. It will take place from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 11, in the Palo Alto College Performing Arts Building Auditorium at 1400 W. Villaret Blvd.
The cost is $20 per person or $35 for two and includes a box lunch. Walk-ins are welcome if space allows. To register please send a check made out to "Master Naturalist" to Richard Heilbrun, Attn: Wildlife Management Workshop; 12861 Galm Road, San Antonio, TX 78254. To be eligible for door prizes, pre-registration is required. For more information, call (210) 688-6444.
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