|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2007-07-30                                    |
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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 ] [RM]
July 30, 2007
Water, Water Everywhere, But State Parks Still Going Strong
AUSTIN, Texas -- August is usually one of Texas' hottest months, parching the landscape and shrinking the state's lake and rivers. This year it is shaping up to be one of the best months for getting outdoors.
Despite continuing storms and some flooding that have wreaked havoc with a few state parks, such as Mother Neff near Waco and Palmetto near Gonzales, most Texas state parks are open for business and sporting an atypical lush look.
State park officials report, too, that flowing rivers and full lakes are bringing out legions of boaters and anglers. They caution, however, that visitors engaging in water sports should be ever-vigilant of floating hazards and other dangers brought on by high water. But the upside of summer's torrential rains outweighs the negatives in most parts of the state.
"Last year at this time, our state was experiencing terrible drought conditions almost everywhere," said Walt Dabney, director of Texas state parks. "While this year's rains have certainly reduced visitation on some weekends, Spring Break and recent holidays, when the rains resume a more normal pattern, the parks are going to be the greenest and the rivers and lakes the best they've been in many years. It should make for an outstanding park experience."
At Garner, one of the state's most popular parks, Superintendent Craig VanBaarle reports that despite periodic heavy rains and a little mud, campers have been enjoying swimming and tubing on the Frio River, which has been running four to six inches above normal most of the summer. The usual four-hour float trip is now taking only two hours, he said.
"Visitors are advised and pulled off the river during floods, but everything returns to normal within a couple of days," VanBaarle said. "This has been a good year for river activities, but a bad year for occasional heavy showers and a little mud in camping areas. All in all, our park visitors have been a bit inconvenienced, but they're having a whole lot of fun."
East Texas parks, too, have had their share of heavy rain, but it hasn't been all bad news for water recreation, according to Ellen Buchanan, regional director of Texas state parks in Tyler. "We are green and beautiful, and the fish are biting," she said, adding that all the East Texas lakes are at or above pool level.
Buchanan noted, for example, that Cooper Lake northeast of Dallas, which was down 18 feet in December, is full again. And, she said that Lake Bob Sandlin State Park's boat ramps, which had been closed all spring and half the summer due to low water levels, are operational.
Even in West Texas, which can be quite parched and hot this time of year, regional state park director Mike Hill reports cactus blossoms are the showiest in decades and grasslands are looking great.
"Images from the movie 'Giant' not withstanding," Hill said, "the grasslands in West Texas are green, green, green. Purple sage has already started blooming around Devils River State Natural Area and Seminole Canyon State Park and promises to put on a spectacular display for weeks to come."
Though stormy weather has caused temporary weather closures at Kickapoo Cavern State Park and Devil's River State Natural Area, cooler temperatures are making visits to Big Bend Ranch State Park near Presidio and Davis Mountains State Park, both of which sit at above 4,800 feet elevation, quite pleasant.
"West Texas parks are open for business," Hill said.
For Texas anglers, the higher-than-normal rainfall throughout much of the state is good news, said Dr. Gary Garrett, a fisheries biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
"Floods," Garrett explained, "are natural events and fishes can move to new habitats and re-colonize areas they could not get to before, such as upstream of small dams. Heavy rains also add nutrients into streams, help clean them out and reset the environment."
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
July 30, 2007
High Expectations for Upcoming Dove, Teal Seasons
AUSTIN, Texas -- The outlook for September's early migratory bird hunting in Texas looks promising, according to wildlife biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Dove and teal are expected to flourish as above-normal rainfall through the summer has yielded excellent range conditions throughout much of the state.
"Above-average precipitation statewide has created ideal habitat conditions for doves," said Jay Roberson, TPWD dove program leader. "I expect above-average production this year and hunt success should be higher provided doves are not dispersed."
Roberson explained that the abundant seed production, predominately sunflower and croton, will help recently fledged birds to rapidly put on weight. But, quality range conditions could also cause doves to disperse as food sources become readily available and make managed fields less attractive early in the season.
Dove season in the North Zone is set for Sept. 1-Oct. 30, with a 15-bird bag and not more than two white-tipped doves; the Central Zone runs Sept. 1-Oct. 30 and reopens Dec. 26-Jan. 4, with a 12-bird bag and not more than two white-tipped doves; and the South Zone is set for Sept. 21-Nov. 11, reopening Dec. 26-Jan. 12 with a 12 bird bag and not more than two white-tipped doves. Possession limit is twice the daily bag.
The Special South Texas Whitewing Zone, which now encompasses land west of I-35 and south of U. S. Highway 90, is open to white-winged dove afternoon-only (noon to sunset) hunting the first two Saturdays and Sundays in September. The daily bag limit is 12 birds, not more than four (4) mourning doves and two (2) white-tipped doves.
The early teal season runs Sept. 15-23 in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit and Sept. 15-30 in all other Texas counties. The daily bag limit for teal is four.
"There is lots of rain and water on the coast and we're looking at the third highest population of bluewings on record heading this way, so it could be unbelievable," said Dave Morrison, TPWD's waterfowl program leader. "Greenwings are also at near record highs. But, with all the water we have, it could spread the birds out. Everybody is going to get some of the gravy."
Both greenwing and bluewing teal numbers this year are about 50 percent above the long-term population averages, said Morrison. "The September teal season has the potential to be one of the best in the last several years," he added.
Because hunting conditions are so good, TPWD anticipates a large turnout for the dove season opener in the North and Central Zones and is urging hunters to purchase their hunting license early to avoid last-minute delays. Licenses go on sale Aug. 15 and can be purchased at all TPWD law enforcement offices and from more than 1,200 retail outlets statewide.
Hunters are also reminded a state migratory game bird stamp is required for doves, waterfowl and sandhill cranes and in addition, a Federal Duck Stamp is needed to hunt teal.
Dove and teal hunters should take note they may only use "plugged" shotguns capable of holding no more than three shotshells and if you are hunting teal be sure to carry only approved nontoxic shotshells into the field as lead shot is prohibited.
If you don't have a place to hunt, TPWD offers opportunities for both dove and teal on managed public lands and leased private land. For $48, the price of an Annual Public Hunting Permit from TPWD, hunters can access more than a million acres of public hunting lands, including 155 units covering more than 56,000 acres leased primarily for hunting dove and other small game. TPWD's public hunting program leased the land using money generated by permit sales.
While public hunting lands can be found throughout the state, most of the dove and small game leases occur along the I-35 and I-10 corridors within easy driving distance of the major metropolitan areas. Some areas offer special hunting opportunity for youth.
For the latest dove hunting conditions across Texas, check out TPWD's Weekly Migratory Game Bird Report on the Web starting in early September.
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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 ]
[ Additional Contacts: David Turner, 940-839-4331, or david.turner@tpwd.texas.gov ]
July 30, 2007
Copper Breaks State Park To Host Summer Art Show
QUANAH, TX.--Hank the Cow Dog illustrator Gerald L. Holmes joins 22 local young artists for the annual Summer Art Exhibition at Copper Breaks State Park. The unique theme for this year's exhibition is "Refrigerator Art."
Gerald Holmes is beloved by many as the illustrator of the wildly popular children's books Hank the Cow Dog. For more than twenty years, and with more than 50 books in print, he has introduced ranch life in Texas to millions with his watercolor and pen and ink drawings of the ranch where Hank serves as head of security. His selections in the Copper Breaks art show reflect a range of experiences from the comical as in the "Hank" prints, to the practicalities of working cattle on the Texas range, to the park's own Longhorns ranging through the ruggedly beautiful breaks along the Pease River.
Holmes is showing prints and original water colors mounted on the wooden panels normally used for the art show. Many of his works are for sale. Holmes is joined by 22 youngsters who are showing their art mounted with magnets on refrigerators.
The annual Summer Art Exhibition began in1997 with an exhibit of Frank Reeves Chuck Wagon Chronicles. Since then, the park has played host to a wide range of art and artists including the native American style flat painting of Quanah Parker Tracy, the vivid watercolors of internationally-known mouth artist Joe Urquizo, the well-known equestrian images of Anita Palmer and the unique representations of Indian motifs by archaeologist-turned-artist Stephen Harmon.
The Summer Art Exhibition has a proud tradition of spotlighting professional artists as well as amateurs, and while the predominant theme is western art, a diverse and eclectic group of artists from throughout the region has responded to the opportunity to reach a new audience in a unique venue.
The art exhibition is the annual fund raiser for the Quahadi Society, Friends of Copper Breaks State Park. The exhibition is showing every day in the park headquarters/museum through August 25.
For more information on the Summer Art Exhibition, other park programs, or facilities, call 940-839-4331 during regular business hours.
Copper Breaks State Park is located 12 miles south of Quanah and eight miles north of Crowell on State Highway 6.

[ 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 ] [RM]
July 30, 2007
Fall Digital Photo Workshop Slated for Big Bend Ranch
PRESIDIO, Texas -- Learn how to better capture the grandeur of the Lone Star State's natural landscapes at a fall digital photography workshop Sept. 14-16 at Big Bend Ranch State Park in far West Texas.
Veteran photographer Jim Carr of Houston will teach the hands-on, three-day workshop at Texas' largest state park located northeast of Presidio.
"I'll be showing how to properly compose and best take advantage of lighting to produce a professional-looking image," Carr said. "After some time in the field, I'll be teaching what to do with your pictures after they have been taken and stored on the memory card. Workshop participants will learn how to store, organize, delete, edit and resize the image for e-mailing, printing or posting on a Web site."
Carr is not only a professional commercial photographer, but also is knowledgeable about what makes Big Bend Ranch such a special place. He has been conducting trail rides and photo workshops at the 300,000-acre state park and working cattle ranch for 11 years.
Participants will meet at 10 a.m. on Friday at Fort Leaton State Historic Site three miles east of Presidio on FM 170. Each person will need to provide his own lunch on Friday. On Saturday at the ranch, photographers will go into the field to take scenic and candid shots. The last morning is reserved for a discussion about what to do with the hundreds of photos that have been taken. After lunch on Sunday, participants are free to take photos on their own anywhere on the ranch before heading home.
The $400 workshop cost 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 Big Bend Ranch.
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 or send an e-mail to jcpic@sbcglobal.net.
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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 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Zoe Ann Stinchcomb, (903) 670-2238 or Zoeann.stinchcomb@tpwd.texas.gov ]
July 30, 2007
Texas Youth Takes Top Honors in National Fish Art Contest
Eagle Lake student's work will help fund conservation projects
ATHENS, Texas--Clayton Bowen of Eagle Lake won the Art of Conservation Award in Wildlife Forever's 2007 State-Fish Art Contest, it was announced Saturday at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bowen's watercolor on canvas paper of a Guadalupe bass diving into the water will be reproduced as a stamp for sale to collectors; proceeds will be used to fund conservation education and aquatic restoration projects across America.
Two other Texas students also placed in the national competition.
Third place in the grades 4-6 category went to Stanislav Nedzelskyi of Keller, Texas, a home-schooled sixth grader. His acrylic drawing of two Guadalupe bass is titled "The Underwater Meeting."
Nikita Samarin of Victoria placed third in the grades 7-9 category with "Down in the Blue," a black-and-white pencil drawing of a catfish. Samarin attends Profit Magnet High School in Victoria. His art teacher is Melanie Burns.
Bowen is a 2007 graduate of Rice High School in Altair, where his art instructor was Debbie Christ.
"I read about the contest in the Houston Chronicle," Bowen said. "I'd never done a wildlife picture before, so I researched the fish and put a lot of information together. I had seen pictures of fish under water, and I wanted to do something different, so my drawing has the fish jumping into the water."
Bowen will enter the University of Texas at Austin this fall, where he will major in fine arts.
The Texas division of the national contest is headquartered at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Initial judging took place at TFFC, and winning entries were sent to Wildlife Forever headquarters in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, for judging at the national level.
"Wildlife Forever is pleased to honor the talented young artists, educators and parents who make the State-Fish Art Contest a memorable event," said Douglas H. Grann, president and CEO of Wildlife Forever. "Together, we are using art to empower a new generation of conservationists. By sharing their fish art with family, friends and the general public, our young people are becoming ambassadors for the good stewardship of fish and wildlife habitat."
Educators and students in Texas embraced the State-Fish Art Contest so enthusiastically that the number of entries from Texas alone, 580, amounted to one-fourth of the entries for the entire country. "The large number of entries from Texas meant that many pieces of art of very high quality did not advance to the next round of judging," said Zoe Ann Stinchcomb, education team leader at TFFC and Texas coordinator of the contest. "Currently we are seeking sponsors for awards for Texas students so that more can be recognized at the state level, and ultimately we hope to be able to award scholarships to Texas winners."
To enter the contest, students create an illustration of an officially recognized state fish and write a composition about its behavior, habitat and efforts to conserve it. The Texas state fish is the Guadalupe bass, but contestants may depict any state fish of their choice. Entries are due at TFFC March 31 of each year; for contest details visit the TFFC Web site.
Wildlife Forever is a non-profit multi-species conservation organization dedicated to conserving America's wildlife heritage. Wildlife Forever has funded conservation projects in all 50 states. It supports habitat restoration and enhancement, land acquisition, research and management of fish and wildlife populations.
Sponsors for the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest include Cheap Joe's Art Stuff, The Art Institutes International Minnesota, Mall of America, Minnesota Twins, North American Fishing Club, Rapala, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region.
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