|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2008-05-19                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
May 19, 2008
Party Boat Operator Licensing and Inspection Reg Goes Into Effect June 1
AUSTIN, Texas -- A regulation requiring inland party boat operators to be licensed and their vessels inspected goes into effect June 1. A party boat operator license is required of operators of charter vessels more than 30 feet long and carrying more than six passengers on inland waters.
Operators who hold a United States Coast Guard Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) License, often referred to as a "6-pack license," or a Master's license issued by the USCG, are exempted.
"Game Wardens will be working throughout the summer to bring all party boats into compliance," said Maj. Alfonso Campos, chief of marine safety enforcement for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "The focus of the regulations is the safety of the passengers. Any party boat operators that have not been contacted are encouraged to call TPWD to make arrangements for operator licensing and inspection of their party boats."
A "party boat" is defined as a vessel operated by the owner or an employee of the owner, and rented or leased for a group recreational event for more than six passengers.
The regulation does not apply to a boat that is less than 30 feet in length, a sailboat, a livery (uncaptained rental) vessel, any vessel used for training or instructional purposes while it is not being used as a party boat.
Most fishing guides will not be affected.
"Basically, anyone who is operating a head boat or charter boat on navigable coastal waters should already be covered by their captain's license and federal certificate of inspection, if applicable," said Campos. "This regulation is really aimed at making our lakes and reservoirs safer for everyone."
The licensing process involves documented on-the-water experience, independent study and completion of an approved boater education course and a proctored exam, as well as a fee of $125.
Vessel inspections, also $125 and performed by a game warden or authorized inspector, are required annually.
For complete information and party boat operator license and vessel inspection applications, visit the TPWD Web site.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
May 19, 2008
Free Web Service Connects Hunters With Places To Hunt
AUSTIN, Texas -- Research surveys show that finding a place to hunt is a barrier for many people in today's Texas, which is why Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has created the Hunt Texas Online Connection, a new, free Web service that allows anyone to view hunting opportunities posted by private landowners across the state.
In the first half of 2008, the department invited landowners to list hunting lease opportunities in Texas for free, including last-minute openings. Now, hunters can search more than 150 hunting opportunities by lease type, county, game animal, cost per hunter and other parameters. The service is free to both hunters and landowners.
"We want to make it easy for people looking for a place to hunt to connect with landowners offering hunts on their property," said Mike Berger, TPWD wildlife division director. "This is one way we're trying to better serve our license-buying public. It's important to keep the Texas hunting tradition strong, since hunting supports wholesome family recreation, pumps more than a billion dollars per year into Texas local economies, and provides an economic incentive for private land stewards to protect wildlife habitat."
To register, landowners can visit the main Hunt Texas Online Connection Web area on the TPWD Web site. Click "Get Started," select a username and password, log in, and start looking at hunting opportunities. Leases can be seen without registering and logging in, but users must register in order to contact landowners.
After users fill out the online registration form, they'll get an email with a long URL ending in the word "activate"-users must click this link to complete registration. If users don't receive the activation email, it might be because a security system is blocking it. In that case, users could try placing hunt.texas@tpwd.texas.gov in their address book or allowed e-mail rules.
Hunters and landowners will determine if they are the right fit for each other, and all transactions will be between landowners and hunters. The new service also provides links to privately operated hunting lease Web sites on as a convenience for the public. TPWD does not independently verify, endorse or warrant any of the information posted on Hunt Texas Online Connection, or any information contained on the privately operated hunting lease Web sites that are linked from the service.
Anyone can e-mail questions, comments and suggestions about Hunt Texas Online Connection to hunt.texas@tpwd.texas.gov. The TPWD Wildlife Information staff at (512) 389-4505 can also provide basic assistance with the service.

[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
May 19, 2008
Boaters Reminded 'Nobody's Waterproof -- Play it Safe!'
AUSTIN, Texas -- While boating fatalities dropped nationwide in 2007, they climbed in Texas -- despite one of the wettest summers on record that closed many lakes and reservoirs for a portion of the boating season.
Texas had 52 boating fatalities in 2007, the highest number since 2002. The overall number of accidents (260) and injuries (181) were up, too, from 2006.
Most of those tragedies were preventable, authorities say, since on average 85 percent of boating fatality drowning victims who drowned were not wearing a life jacket when recovered, and more than 50% of boating and water related fatalities involved alcohol.
With those sobering facts in mind, and the summer boating season gearing up, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and its partners are kicking-off the second year of a public education and water safety initiative.
"Nobody's Waterproof™" is a fun, interactive social marketing campaign targeting 18-to-34-year-old boaters, especially young men, whom statistics show are most at risk. It is sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). The campaign was developed in 2006 by the LCRA and EnviroMedia Social Marketing, Inc. and has won state, regional and national awards over the last two years. For the second year, through an agreement with LCRA, TPWD is working to expand the initiative outside the Colorado River watershed to other Texas waterways.
"Texas Parks and Wildlife sees this as a chance to really take the message to the people on the water, with fun activities and educational items that will continue to remind boaters and swimmers that "Nobody's Waterproof -- Play it Safe," said Brandi Bradford, TPWD boater education coordinator. "We'll be continuing this education effort on Texas waters this summer, with a great boat and a fun, engaging outreach team who will be handing out safety items and information at some of the most popular party locations around the state. Look for us on the water and shoreline at a lake, river, or bay near you!"
The "Nobody's Waterproof" outreach boat, donated to TPWD by the Britteny Sage Lindt Fund, will be out for special events on Lake Joe Pool and Lake Lewisville near Dallas, Clear Lake and Lake Conroe near Houston, Canyon Lake near San Antonio, and Lake Travis near Austin. Some events will feature shoreline activities co-hosted by partners, including LCRA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Texas Water Safety Coalition, North Texas Water Safety Coalition, Galveston Bay Association, and others.
Nobody's Waterproof outreach events will emphasize these safety messages:
--Always wear a life jacket in the water and on a boat.
--Alcohol and water don't mix. Be responsible if you drink and designate a sober driver for both your boat and a safe ride home.
--Always swim with a friend and ask friends and family to watch each other.
--Take a boater education course, either online or in person.
--Drink lots of water to stay hydrated -- especially if you are also drink­ing alcohol.
--Follow boating and water safety rules and obey signs, markers and buoys.
--Have a VHF-FM marine radio or cell phone, GPS or map, proper safety equipment, and appropriate clothing on board or with you on the water.
--Know where you are on the water or shoreline.
"If boaters remember nothing else while they're playing on Texas waters this summer, we hope they'll remember "Nobody's Waterproof -- Play it Safe!" Bradford said. "Wear a lifejacket -- they even come in smaller, inflatable models that won't ruin your tan or be hot and uncomfortable. If you're going to drink, do so responsibly and designate a driver for your boat and the ride home. "Boat with class. Boating safety courses are available online and in person through the TPWD Web site. Pay attention to your party. Keep an eye on family and friends while on the water or enjoying the shoreline, and make sure everyone gets home safely."
In addition to the campaign, TPWD game wardens are preparing to enforce boating laws and provide proactive safety guidance, working with lake rangers, sheriff's deputies, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron, regional water safety coalitions, and many other local boating enforcement agencies and public interest groups.
TPWD and local partners will also be hosting news media announcements and opportunities for news crews to ride with game wardens and local officers on patrol at high-profile lakes near major metropolitan areas.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than nine 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]
May 19, 2008
Fun Family Events Highlight Free Fishing Day June 7
AUSTIN, Texas -- A "Free Sportfishing Day" will highlight National Fishing and Boating Week, allowing anglers to fish any public waters in Texas without a fishing license on Saturday, June 7.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials said the special day in this state, authorized by the Texas Legislature, is intended to promote fishing and encourage people to enjoy the state's fishing resources. Both resident and nonresident recreational anglers will be allowed to fish without a license and will not be required to have special stamps such as the saltwater or freshwater fishing stamps.
The eighth annual National Fishing and Boating Week is June 1-8 with thousands of local events in communities across the country. Events will provide hands-on opportunities for families and friends to share fun, quality time together while learning about two of our nation's favorite pastimes -- boating and fishing.
Numerous youth fishing activities are scheduled around the state during National Fishing and Boating Week, including special fishing events in state parks and fish stockings in community lakes. Park entry and facility use fees will still apply for those who wish to fish in state parks. Camping reservations are recommended.
National Fishing and Boating Week is a key component of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation's national awareness campaign, Take Me Fishing. Funded by the federal government's Sport Fish Restoration Program, the non-profit Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation was created to increase participation in fishing and boating and focus attention on the need to protect the nation's aquatic resources.
Similarly, TPWD fisheries and state park officials began the Free Fishing in State Parks program a few years ago to encourage folks to fish and visit state parks. This year marks the fifth year of the Free Fishing in State Parks program that waives fishing license and stamp requirements within more than 50 Texas state parks.
To capitalize on the program, which has been extended through Aug. 31, 2008, a dozen state parks are hosting "Free Fishing in State Parks" events where participants learn fishing skills, angling rules and regulations, have a chance to hook a fish and perhaps win door prizes such as rods and reels.
Texas also offers a wide variety of neighborhood fishing opportunities. Looking for a place to fish (or try fishing) on Free Fishing Day, there's probably no better place than at a neighborhood fishing lake. In some cases, local parks and recreation departments will be holding special Free Fishing Day events in cooperation with TPWD. Check out any of the following neighborhood fishing lakes:
--Amarillo -- Medical Center South
--College Station -- Central Park Pond #1
--Duncanville -- Lakeside Park
--Hurst -- Chisholm Park
--Katy -- Mary Jo Peckham Park
--San Angelo -- Oakes Street Park
--San Antonio -- Miller's Pond
--Waco -- Buena Vista Park
--Wichita Falls -- Plum Lake
--Austin -- Bullfrog Pond, Travis County East Metro Park
In addition to these lakes, there are numerous community fishing lakes available in urban areas with easy bank fishing access. Information, including locations, about these lakes is available on the TPWD web site.
Shore fishing sites can be found along the bays and the Gulf of Mexico. Some sites have public piers and handicap access, and are set up to accommodate large groups, such as at state parks, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens and Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson.
Following is a calendar of major special events coordinated by TPWD during Free Fishing Day on June 7:
--Eisenhower State Park -- 4-H Kids Fishing Derby -- Come and fish beautiful Lake Texoma with the experts for fun, awards and prizes. This is a great way for families to take kids fishing for free with everything provided, including lots of help from expert anglers. Tackle available or bring your own. Accessible for the mobility impaired. Fishing 8 a.m.-noon, prizes and activities noon-2 p.m. (903) 465-1956.
--Lake Arrowhead State Park -- 16th Annual Kids Fish -- Kids ages 3-16 years old are welcome to enter contest for prizes. Fishing poles and bait provided as long as supplies last. Prizes, donated by a local business, will be awarded in different age categories. Sign up at Group Dining Hall. 2-4 p.m. (940) 528-2211.
--Lake Arrowhead State Park -- Annual Adult Rough Fish Contest -- Prizes that have been donated by a local business will be awarded in different categories. Sign up at Group Dining Hall. For ages 17 years and older. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; sign up fee $2 per person (940) 528-2211.
--Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historical Site -- Annual Fishing Day -- This year's events are dedicated to Lyndon B. Johnson "Celebrating the Life of a Man & the Land that He Loved" in the 100th year of his birth. Bring the children for a morning filled with fun, fishing and a fantastic fishing clinic held on the banks of the Pedernales River. Fishing equipment and worms provided or bring your own equipment and favorite bait. We hope you get lucky and catch a "BIG ONE" or get drawn for door prizes. This event is co-sponsored with Fredericksburg Wal-Mart and is held in conjunction with the National Free Fishing Day. 10 a.m.-noon (830) 644-2252.
--Purtis Creek State Park -- Adam Reilly's Take a Kid Fishing Day -- Fishing is only half the fun! The day will also include a free hot dog lunch, door prizes, fishing clinics, kid fishing tournament, archery and paddle boats. 8 a.m.-noon (903) 425-2332.
--Sea Center Texas -- Youth Fishing -- Pack your sunscreen, hat, lawn chair and fishing gear for a couple of hours of catch and release fishing at our marine fish hatchery and visitor education center. This event is open to guests 16 years old and younger accompanied by an adult. Anglers must bring their own gear and bait with barb-less hooks-no artificial bait or treble hooks. Volunteers and staff will be on hand to assist first-time anglers. Accessible for the mobility impaired. 8-10 a.m. (979) 292-0100.
--Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center -- Free Fishing Day -- Celebrate the start of National Fishing Week with a day of free fishing. Fishing contests, door prizes, free hot dogs and drinks. Accessible for the mobility, visually and hearing impaired. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; free admission for children 12 and under (903) 676-BASS.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than nine 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: Steve Lightfoot, TPWD, (512) 389-4701 or steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov; Jeanie Almond, Elm Fork, (214) 682-4210 or www.elmfork.com/nscaevents ]
May 19, 2008
Texas Youth Target Shooting Gala Event Set June 21
DALLAS -- Young target shooters from across Texas and their families are invited to spend a day of fun and competitive target shooting during the first annual Texas Youth Invitational June 21 at the Elm Fork Shooting Sports complex.
The day-long festivities will include competitive shotgun clay target shooting for youth ages 9-18, regardless of experience, and a host of fun target related activities and other outdoors related events and exhibits. The non-profit Youth Target Foundation is producing the event, in cooperation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the National Shooting Sports Foundation's Scholastic Clay Target Program, Texas 4-H Shooting Sports and a host of sponsors.
Similar events will be planned at ranges throughout Texas in the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009.
The Texas Youth Invitational will feature a 100 target, five-stand sporting clays competition, where shooters test their shooting skills at clay targets resembling bird or small game hunting scenarios, such as a flushing quail or a passing dove. This competition will serve as an official event for the Texas 4-H Shooting Sports and the Scholastic Clay Target Program and features a Lewis-based scoring system providing additional trophy award opportunities.
"This event partially represents the efforts of a new statewide coalition of shooting sports programs, ranges, agencies and organizations coming together to provide even more opportunities for getting youth involved in the outdoors," said Steve Hall, education director for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "Top Texas ranges like Elm Fork in Dallas, and youth shooting sports programs such as 4-H, the largest of its kind in the country, and the Scholastic Clay Target program, a program aimed at getting more schools and youth groups involved in the shotgun sports, are combining their efforts to introduce thousands more to fun, healthy, lifelong outdoor pursuits."
As one way to accomplish the goal of the coalition, a new kid's clinic will be held for first-timer shooters, who can then compete on an abbreviated rookie course.
"Our motto for this event is 'No Kid Left Indoors,'" said Jeanie Almond, event coordinator and founder of the Youth Target Foundation. "We're making this a fun, family-oriented event with everything from clay target shooting to fly fishing instruction and dog handling exhibitions. Any kid that shows up and wants to shoot will not be turned away."
There will also be an opportunity for young shooters to pair up with an adult shooter of their choosing for a Pro Kid/Pro Am adult team competition to help raise funds for future youth target shooting events and programs.
"In this event, the kid gets to select the adult they want to shoot with and earn tickets they can use toward merchandise raffles," said Almond. "We're also inviting disadvantaged youth from Big Brothers, Big Sisters and the Exodus Foundation to participate."
In addition to the shooting events, attendees can try their hand at pellet gun shooting, archery and a variety of free fun games.
Competitors will be treated to a free wild game harvest and barbecue dinner prepared by the Dallas Woods and Waters Club.
Registration sign-in will be held Saturday, June 21 at 7:30 a.m. followed by a mandatory safety orientation at 8:15 a.m. The shoot starts at 8:30 a.m. Registration fee is $75 and includes Sporting Clays Five Stand, BBQ Dinner and awards, including drawings for merchandise and shotguns to be given away. Practice rounds and games cost $10 per round. Concessions (breakfast and lunch) will be available at the range. Additional dinner tickets for non-competitors cost $10.
Registration and more information about the event is available online at www.elmfork.com/nscaevents or by calling (972) 556-0103.

[ Note: This item is more than nine 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: Lois Balin, TPWD/El Paso, (915) 774-9603, lois.balin@tpwd.texas.gov ]
May 19, 2008
Small Acreage Land Management Workshop Offered June 7 in Alpine
ALPINE, Texas -- For more than a century, rural Texas land has been owned mainly by farm and ranch families who lived there. In recent decades, the countryside has been fragmented into smaller tracts owned increasingly by former urban dwellers or absentee owners seeking closeness to the remaining pastoral lands of Texas. A workshop to be held June 7 will help West Texas landowners learn more about managing for wildlife habitat on smaller properties between two and 2,000 acres.
The workshop is designed to address the growing problem of Texas rural lands being fragmented into smaller tracts, often involving owners who are interested in wildlife conservation but may lack experience in wildlife or land management. Land fragmentation is one of the main threats to wildlife in Texas. It crowds and impairs necessary living space, blocks travel corridors and disrupts access to feeding areas.
The Alpine workshop will focus on helping landowners achieve their individual goals while managing property to benefit wildlife. Wildlife professionals from various agencies will give presentations concerning land and wildlife ideals, land-use in the Trans-Pecos, creating and improving habitat that benefit humans and wildlife. A session will include a landowner's experience providing wildlife habitat. The workshop also includes a field visit to learn about native plants and water for wildlife.
Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD), Tierra Grande Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists, Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, Borderlands Research Institute for Natural Resource Management at Sul Ross State University and Sul Ross State University Range and Wildlife Club are sponsoring the event, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., June 7 at Turner Range Animal Science Center, room 130, Sul Ross State University East Highway 90.
The cost for the workshop is $25 per person which covers lunch, refreshments and materials. Registration is required by June 2. For registration information, please contact: Borderlands Research Institute for Natural Resource Management Sul Ross State University, PO Box C-16, Alpine, TX 79830, 432-837-8488.
For local contact, call Steve Elfring (432) 364-2673. For workshop information, contact Lois Balin, TPWD at (915) 774-9603 or lois.balin@tpwd.texas.gov or see the Landowner Workshops calendar on the TPWD Web site.