|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2006-10-30                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 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. 30, 2006
Texas Waterfowlers Can Expect Good Hunting
AUSTIN, Texas -- With lots of ducks on the way and plenty of new water to greet them, conditions are shaping up for an above average waterfowl season in Texas, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists.
"This year's duck season is shaping up to be good," predicted Dave Morrison, TPWD waterfowl program leader. "Based on reports from Canadian waterfowl biologists in Saskatchewan, this fall has seen the largest numbers of ducks in the last 20 years or so."
Morrison went on to note that because duck production was very good, there should be a lot of young in the fall flight. "Add to this the fact that a lot of the country north of us has experiences dry conditions many birds will be winging all the way to the Texas coast before they find abundant water," he said.
The first split of the general duck season in the North and South Zones runs Nov. 4-26 and reopens Dec. 9 through Jan. 28. In the Panhandle's High Plains Mallard Management Unit, duck season is set for Nov. 3 through Jan. 28.
Hunters should be aware that this is the first year under the Hunter's Choice bag limit. The daily bag limit for all ducks is now five with the following species and sex restrictions - 2 scaup, 2 redhead, 2 wood duck; only 1 from the following aggregate bag: 1 hen mallard, or 1 pintail, or 1 canvasback, or 1 dusky duck (mottled duck, Mexican like duck, black duck and their hybrids), all other ducks not listed- 5.
The purpose behind Hunter's choice is to limit harvest on species needing special harvest management consideration, but at the same time maintain hunting opportunity on abundant species, especially drake mallards. Also Hunter's Choice should minimize season closures and provide an alternative to seasons-within-seasons. Under this bag configuration a variety of combinations are possible so long as only one of the aggregate species is taken in any given day.
Although conditions are pointing toward excellent hunting in some areas of the state, Morrison said there are still places that could use some help from Mother Nature. "Here in Texas we have experienced our fair share of dry conditions, particularly in the East Texas and the Oak/Blackland Prairie regions," he explained. "Portions of northeast Texas will need a lot of rain to make their duck season." Recent rainfall has been beneficial to Toledo Bend and Rayburn but we still have a long way to go to have good conditions for Waterfowl hunting in East Texas."
In stark contrast, the coastal region has had a lot of rainfall since late last summer with reinforcing rains the last week or so. "This has provided a lot of wetlands and things are looking pretty good," said Morrison. "Add to this the several small cold fronts that have resulted in birds showing up on the coast."
Elsewhere across the state, Morrison reported South Texas is wet again and will provide good wintering habitat that could draw some birds away from the coast if pressure is constant and unrelenting. Portions of the Panhandle have good water conditions, like areas north of Lubbock.
Goose numbers are up as well, according to Morrison. "This year's white-fronted goose counts increased by over 40 percent when compared to last year. Young birds equal a good season," he said. "Snow goose reports are also strong. Select areas like Cape Henrietta Maria and Akiminski Island have indicated juvenile rates as high as 40 percent, which equates to a lot of young birds available for harvest."
In the Eastern Goose Zone, white-fronted geese may be hunted Nov. 4-Jan. 14; Canada and light geese from Nov. 4-Jan. 28. The daily bag limit is three Canada, two white-fronted and 20 light geese.
In the Western Goose Zone, the season for all geese runs Nov. 4-Feb. 6 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 is set to start at the close of the regular goose seasons and run through March 25 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.
TPWD offers a weekly report of waterfowl hunting conditions across the state throughout the season. The report is posted each Wednesday on the TPWD Web site.
Hunters are reminded to use common sense when cleaning ducks. TPWD and the rest of the country continue to test birds for Avian Influenza. The U.S. departments of Agriculture and Interior are working with states to collect between 75,000 and 100,000 wild bird samples in addition to more than 50,000 environmental tests throughout the United States.
"Even though the high pathogenic avian influenza strain H5N1 has not been detected, low path varieties have been found in several states," Morrison noted. "A low-pathogenic strain, which produces less disease and mortality in birds than does a high-pathogenic version, poses little to no threat to humans. It is common for mild and low pathogenic strains of bird flu to appear in the United States and other countries and has been around for a long time."
The U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center has issued guidance to follow routine precautions when handling wild birds. The Center recommends that people handling wild birds:
--Do not handle birds that are obviously sick or birds found dead.
--Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game, wash hands with soap and water (or with alcohol-based hand products if the hands are not visibly soiled), and thoroughly clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game.
--Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling or cleaning birds.
--Cook all game meat thoroughly (155 to 165 degrees) to kill disease organisms and parasites.
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 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]
[ Additional Contacts: Bruce Hysmith, (903) 786-2389, bruce.hysmith@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Oct. 30, 2006
Zebra Mussel Introduction Thwarted on Lake Texoma
Alert marina employee finds infested boat, calls TPWD game warden
AUSTIN -- Lake Texoma narrowly avoided the introduction of zebra mussels the week of October 10 thanks to the efforts of employees of Highport Marina in Pottsboro.
Service technician Tim Ray was inspecting a boat that had just arrived from Wisconsin when he noticed clusters of mussels attached to the trim tabs and outdrive of the 27-foot power boat.
"There were probably a thousand or so of them," Ray said. "They were hard to see, because the boat had not been washed and they had slime covering them. I picked one off and cleaned it up, saw stripes on it and figured it was a zebra mussel. I'd seen warnings about them, and figured I might see some one day."
Ray looked up information on zebra mussels on the Internet and confirmed his suspicions. "I showed one to the service manager and said we needed to call someone."
The service manager placed a call to Grayson County game warden Dale Moses, who inspected the boat with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries biologist Bruce Hysmith. The two positively identified the shellfish as zebra mussels.
The boat was immediately quarantined indoors with a tarpaulin beneath it to prevent any mussels from reaching the water.
Moses contacted the owner of the boat, who had recently moved to Texas, and informed him of the situation. The owner agreed to follow TPWD's instructions for decontaminating the boat and was issued a warning citation for possession of a prohibited exotic species.
"Mr. Ray is to be commended for being aware of what zebra mussels are and for stopping the process of putting the boat into the water," said Moses. "Most people in his position would probably not have noticed or cared enough to stop and identify them, and would have launched the boat."
Zebra mussels are about 5/8-inch long and are named for the striped pattern of their shells, though the stripes may sometimes be absent. Native to the Black, Caspian and Azov seas of Asia, zebra mussels spread across Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries as canals were built. They were first discovered in North America in 1988 on the Great Lakes and have since spread to more than 20 states in the Mississippi River basin.
Zebra mussels have been reported to be one of the most important biological invasions into North America, and there has been tremendous effort to halt their spread to the Southern states.
Overland dispersal via boats being trailered from one body to another is known to have occurred. Under cool, humid conditions, zebra mussels can survive for several days out of water.
Zebra mussels are notorious for fouling the water supply pipes of power plants, water supply plants and industrial facilities. As many as 700,000 zebra mussels per square meter have been observed at a Michigan power plant. Such large concentrations of mussels restrict water flow, reducing intake. Zebra mussels on boats increase drag and can get into engine cooling systems and cause overheating. Zebra mussels attached to metal or concrete structures can cause corrosion and affect structural integrity. The mussels feed on the tiny organisms that form the base of the food chain for fish and may negatively impact a number of aquatic species.
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TB]
Oct. 30, 2006
Sebastopol House Celebrates 150 Years of Texas History
SEGUIN, Texas -- Sebastopol House State Historic Site will celebrate 150 years since its construction with a public open house and event featuring the "Remember Me" exhibit that debuts with a free celebration Nov. 4 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit continues through May 15, 2007.
The exhibit will be photo-intensive and feature objects that tie in with the lives of those who inhabited the house along with their place in history.
One object is a Civil War-era flag made by a group of Seguin women in the late 1850s, now housed at the Center for American History. The flag was flown by Hood's Brigade, Fourth Infantry in several Civil War battles including Bull Run, Sharpsburg and Gettysburg, to name a few. Joshua Young, Sebastopol house's builder, lost a son who fought under this flag, along with several other young men from the Seguin area.
"[The flag is] the showpiece of this exhibit, one of the items we're most excited about," said Georgia Ruiz Davis, Sebastopol House superintendent. "We hope the flag in particular will draw people in to see the house and exhibit."
The focus at the Nov. 4 event is a celebration of the house itself and also of the people who passed through there, from the man who built the house to the families who rented it in the 1950s, Davis said.
The event will begin with brief talks and stories by Sebastopol House family representatives, followed by live period music and refreshments.
"The house itself is really the artifact," Davis said.
The 3,000-square foot house, built in the mid-1850s, sits in the middle of 2.2 acres of land comprising Sebastopol House State Historic Site. The house resembles a Greek temple and its limecrete construction, an early form of concrete, makes it architecturally unique in Texas.
After the house was built, Young sold it to his sister, who then sold it to Joseph and Nettie Zorn. Joe Zorn later served as mayor of Seguin for 20 years. After their deaths, their granddaughter rented the house out to families, including the family of Robert and Mary Ybarra, a large local family who lived in the house for several years in the 1950s. The Ybarras are still around and have memories of when they lived in the house.
The house's grounds have certainly changed since its early years. Several pink rose bushes surround the perimeter of the house along with a white picket fence. In the 1980s, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department restored the house to its 1880s appearance and it remains in good condition.
On the first weekend in December, Sebastopol House will be featured on the Seguin Conservation Society's 2006 Tour of Homes, a tour of several historic homes in Seguin decorated for the holidays. The tour provides a good opportunity to visit Sebastopol House.
Tickets for the tour of homes can be purchased through the Chamber of Commerce in Seguin.
"It will be a very special day," Davis said of the celebration. "It's going to be a tribute to the house, its families, and their times."
Although the Nov. 4 celebration is free to the public, Sebastopol House charges $2 per adult, with free entry for children under 6 years old. For more information, including driving directions, maps, hours and fees see the Sebastopol House Web page.
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