|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2008-11-26                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than eight 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]
Nov. 26, 2008
TPWD Seeking Public Input on Possible Pheasant Season Changes
AUSTIN, Texas -- Any doubts that the Panhandle pheasant hunting season opener is a big deal need only spend some time at the Amarillo airport -- it's their busiest weekend of the year.
As multitudes of hunters descend upon the Panhandle for the Dec. 6 opener, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is asking folks to consider possible changes to the traditional first weekend in December opening date.
"The purpose of this discussion is to gain feedback from hunters and landowners regarding the possibility of opening future pheasant seasons the Friday after Thanksgiving to afford hunters a three-day holiday weekend to enjoy pheasant hunting," said Vernon Bevill, TPWD game bird program director.
The current pheasant season framework calls for opening the first Saturday in December for 30 consecutive days.
No immediate changes to the pheasant season framework are being considered in order to ensure the public has ample opportunity to weigh in on the discussion. TPWD will continue to gather public input through December and will conduct informal scoping meetings in the Panhandle during January before considering initiating a formal proposal.
TPWD will present all rule change proposals to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for consideration in January. The Commission will determine which rule change proposals will be published in the Texas Register for public comment and only after additional public comment is received next spring will the Commission decide whether or not to take final action.
Any change to pheasant season could take effect Nov. 27, 2009 or be delayed until Nov. 26, 2010 to give hunters and outfitters ample time to make travel plans.
The public is encouraged to participate in an informal online scoping survey available on the TPWD home page http://tpwd.texas.gov/ by clicking on the Public Comments link. Public input can also be made in writing to Vernon Bevill, TPWD Game Bird Program Director, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744 or at one of the upcoming scoping meetings; locations and dates to be determined.

[ Note: This item is more than eight 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]
Nov. 26, 2008
Deer Smugglers from Texas, Minnesota, Sentenced to Prison
AUSTIN, Texas -- A Texas man and a Minnesota man were both sentenced to federal prison terms yesterday for illegally transporting white-tailed deer across state lines.
On Nov. 24 in Plano near Dallas, Federal District Judge Richard A. Schell sentenced Robert Eichenour, owner of Circle E Ranch in Grimes County, Texas, to 18 months in federal prison. Eichenour must also serve 36 months probation after his release from prison and pay a $50,000 fine. Brian Becker of Minnesota was also sentenced to 33 months in federal prison and 36 months probation after his release.
During the probation period, neither man will be allowed to sell deer. The equipment used by both during their illegal endeavor was also forfeited. Both men were convicted of felony violations of the federal Lacey Act, which prohibits the transportation of illegally captured or prohibited animals across state lines.
The two men were caught on Oct. 22, 2006, in a smuggling sting operation conducted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Special Operations Unit and United States Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agents. Eichenour and Becker were caught smuggling 14 white-tailed buck deer from Minnesota to Eichenour's ranch in Grimes County.
Investigators say the plan was for Eichenour to bring in hunters and sell hunts for the trophy Minnesota bucks. After a lengthy investigation it was determined that, over a four year period, Becker and Eichenour had smuggled in approximately $300,000 worth of white-tailed bucks. Other investigations continue involving people Eichenour did business with as a permitted deer breeder in Texas.
"Texas game wardens and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents continue to work together to deter illegal trafficking in wildlife across our state and across America," said Col. Peter Flores, TPWD Law Enforcement Division director. "The illegal trade may be perceived to be profitable for some, but the price to pay is high when they are caught, and we hope that this type of penalty will deter those who would engage in the illegal wildlife trade."
The lead investigators for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department were the late Sgt. Adam Chrane and Sgt. Brad Chappell, both investigators in a TPWD special operations unit that focuses on large scale cases which cross regional lines. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service was represented in the case by Special Agent Mike Merida. The federal prosecutor was Assistant U.S. Attorney Shamoil T. Shipchandler in Dallas.
During the sentencing phase, former TPWD employee Brian Richards was called to testify about the threat of disease associated with the smuggled deer. Richards is currently employed by the U.S. Geological Survey as a Chronic Wasting Disease specialist.

[ Note: This item is more than eight 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]
Nov. 26, 2008
Winter Rainbows Arc Across Texas
Annual Rainbow Trout Stockings Begin Dec. 3
AUSTIN, Texas -- For an inexpensive, entry-level fishing experience the entire family can enjoy, it doesn't get much easier than winter rainbow trout fishing in Texas.
Beginning Dec. 3 and continuing until mid-March, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will stock upwards of 260,000 hatchery-reared rainbow trout at 119 sites across the state. Many of the fish stockings will be conducted at small community fishing lakes, state park lakes and popular river tailraces offering easy angling access.
TPWD has been stocking rainbow trout each winter since the 1970s, providing Texans a simple and economical opportunity to go fishing.
Catching these hungry fish can be easy, making the experience ideal for both novice anglers and kids. The fish will bite almost immediately after stocking and typically will take a variety of baits, from whole kernel canned corn or commercial soft bait to artificial flies and even small spinner baits.
Fishing gear can be as basic as an inexpensive spincast rod and reel combo, a small plastic bobber, a fishing weight and a hook. It's also a good idea to carry along a pair of needle-nosed pliers to help remove hooks, and a five gallon bucket, small ice chest or a fish stringer to keep your catch. Be sure to keep freshly caught trout cold on ice or refrigerated.
The complete 2008-2009 Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule is on the TPWD Web site. Here anglers can find stocking locations, stocking dates and driving directions to each site. Many locations offer special events for youth prior to allowing the public to fish. Check with local parks and recreation departments or water authorities for additional information. Most sites get an annual dose of more than 1,000 trout.
Among the winter trout stocking sites are 13 Neighborhood Fishin' locations in city suburbs across the state. These spots get trout stocked every two weeks in the winter, but catfish are also stocked there in the summer, making them year-round family fishing destinations. Details are on the Neighborhood Fishin' Web page, which lists the urban area, lake or pond, driving directions, and a TPWD name and contact phone number for each site. Money donated to TPWD from the Toyota Texas Bass Classic is being used to support Neighborhood Fishin'.
Other popular fishing holes like the Guadalupe River below the Canyon Reservoir Dam, which includes the tailrace, also receive multiple stockings from December into March. As the only fishable place in Texas where rainbow trout can survive during the summer months, the Guadalupe River will get almost 17,000 trout stocked this winter.
One public access point along the Guadalupe River has been leased by TPWD specifically for trout fishing, Camp Hueco Springs. A map and directions to this site are on the TPWD Web site.
Anglers should note there are special harvest restrictions in place along a 10-mile stretch of the Guadalupe River below the tailrace. In this area, anglers may retain only one trout per day, which must be at least 18-inches in length, and any trout harvested must be caught on artificial lures.
For additional details about the special harvest regulations and the location of that river stretch, please consult the TPWD Outdoor Annual. The special regulations zone does not include the area immediately below Canyon Lake Dam. There, as in other Texas waters, the daily bag limit is five trout and there is no minimum length.
A valid Texas freshwater fishing package is required to fish for trout. Youth ages 16 and younger and all anglers fishing from the bank in state parks are exempt from the fishing package requirement.
On the Net:
This release in Spanish: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20090130a

[ Note: This item is more than eight 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]
Nov. 26, 2008
Hill Country State Natural Area trail named 'Most Challenging Ride'
BANDERA, Texas-Texas Horse Talk magazine readers have named a limestone trail through Hill Country State Natural Area the "Most Challenging Ride" in Texas. The trail, named Stair Step, leads horseback riders up a hill of narrow limestone steps, guaranteeing a perilous and exhilarating ride.
"We [at the park] are proud of the fact that we cater to all levels of equestrian skills and that we are able to provide rides that are challenging as well those that are easier," said Paul David Fuentes, park manager at Hill Country State Natural Area. "The Stair Step actually gets you into the middle of the popular twin peaks area. Whether you are hiking, biking or horseback riding, it gives you a magnificent view of the beautiful vistas here at Hill Country State Natural Area."
Tucked away in the rugged terrain southwest of Bandera, Hill Country State Natural Area is an undeveloped and secluded retreat located 45 miles northwest of San Antonio. The natural area contains approximately 40 miles of multi-use trails where visitors can wind up grassy valleys, cross spring-fed streams, and climb steep limestone hills.
Equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy exploring the trails while the less adventurous can enjoy flora and fauna observation, as well as swimming and fishing. Primitive (no water and electric hookup) and backcountry camping areas are also available to equestrian and non-equestrian campers. Various adjacent ranches offer horse rentals, tours, and other accommodations to help visitors enjoy the natural area.
Texas Horse Talk magazine conducted a reader survey to decide the winners of their Best of Texas Awards for their November issue. Readers made nominations based on suggested categories as well as categories of their own.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than eight 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]
Nov. 26, 2008
Texas State Parks Celebrate The Holiday Season
AUSTIN, Texas -- For families seeking to spend time together during the holidays without spending a lot of money, try looking outdoors. Texas parks host plenty of activities during the holiday season that cater to all varieties of interests and age groups. From cookie decorating to Christmas concerts, there is something to interest every member of the family.
November 29, 2008 -- Fanthorp Inn SHS -- Twilight Firelight -- Visit the 1850s stagecoach inn bedecked with lanterns, luminaries and holiday decorations. The inn comes to life with dulcimer music, the dulcet tones of Latrelle Lindon, cowboy poetry, living history and period characters! Ride the stagecoach and wagon from the historic Grimes County Courthouse to the inn. Enjoy holiday fare and start the holidays off right. 3:30-7:30 p.m. (936) 873-2633.
November 29, 2008 -- Garner SP -- Holiday Open House -- This is an opportunity to enjoy Garner and pick up some much-needed stocking stuffers before Christmas. Festive refreshments will be served. Event sponsored by the Friends of Garner and held at the Visitor Center. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; for more information, call (830) 232-5999. (830) 232-6132
November 29, 2008 -- Lyndon B. Johnson SP&HS -- Centennial Celebration Series: Holiday Cookie Decorating and German Traditions -- 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. Have fun decorating cookies as it was done for a German Christmas tree in the 1900s at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. Enjoy hearing the legend of St. Nicholas and experience other German holiday activities and traditions such as wreath and candle making on the farm. Christmas shopping in the park gift store, and the other holiday traditions in the park and farm are sure to get you in the Holiday spirit. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (830) 644-2252
November 29-January 4, 2008/2009 -- Goliad SP -- History in Lights -- See this lighted display inside the mystical walls of the Spanish Mission Espiritu Santo de Zuniga that tells the story of the mission life as you walk the same path as Native American Indians and Franciscans Priest did over a century ago. 6-10 p.m. daily. (361) 645-3405.
December 2008 -- Battleship TEXAS SHS -- Yuletide TEXAS -- Christmas was a very special time for the sailors and officers who served aboard the Battleship TEXAS, and now you can get a glimpse at that history. See the battleship adorned with lights, ornaments and decorations in the spirit of the season, just the way the crew members who served aboard her did while serving their country. Accessible for wheelchairs on main deck only. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily (281) 479-2431
December 2008 -- Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery SHS -- Early German Christmas -- Get into the season's spirit with us! Walk along the fantastic quarter-mile trail overlooking the town of La Grange and be delighted by the thousands of lights that illuminate it. Experience the more traditionally decorated 1850s-era German home of H.L. Kreische, bedecked in Christmas splendor, in a Texas-German style. Enjoy the genuine seasonal hospitality of the Friends of Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery, who sponsor the event. Entertainment and refreshments provided. 6-8 p.m.; fee $12 per person; available by reservation only to groups of 30 or more, deadline November 15, 2008; call for more information (979) 968-5658
December 6, 2008 -- Battleship TEXAS SHS -- Pearl Harbor Ceremony -- Annual ceremony hosted by Battleship TEXAS and sponsored by the Texas Commandry of the Naval Order of the United States. The event commemorates the December 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, bringing the U.S. into World War II. Join us in paying our respects to those whose sacrifices saved our freedom. The San Jacinto Chapter Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will be featured in the ceremony. Accessible for wheelchairs on main deck only. 11 a.m.-noon (281) 479-2431
December 6, 2008 -- Brazos Bend SP -- Simple Christmas -- Escape the hustle and bustle of the season and enjoy the simple life: making smores, Dutch oven cooking, children's crafts, hayrides and more plus a visit from a "Southern Santa." Cap off the evening with "The Brazos River Pickers" old-time, bluegrass band. Refreshments available. Bring a picnic supper to enjoy while you listen to the performance at the outdoor amphitheater. Accessible for the mobility impaired. 3-7 p.m.; for more information, visit http://www.brazosbend.org. (979) 553-5101
December 6, 2008 -- Goliad SP -- Christmas Concert -- Experience the joyful music of the Beeville Community Chorus as they present their Christmas concert in the chapel of the Spanish Colonial Mission Espiritu Santo de Zuniga. 8 p.m. (361) 645-3405
December 6, 2008 -- Lake Mineral Wells SP & Trailway -- Cross Timbers Cowboy Campfire Christmas -- Bring the whole family to the Lone Star Amphitheater for a campfire program of cowboy music, poetry and sing-along with a Christmas theme. Accessible for the mobility impaired. 6-7:30 p.m. (940) 328-1171
December 6, 2008 -- Purtis Creek SP -- Christmas in the Park -- Join park staff for the lighting of the parks' Christmas tree. Stay for hot chocolate and hot cider, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and watch a Christmas movie by the campfire. Campers, decorate your campsites for prizes. Accessible for the mobility impaired. 6-9 p.m. (903) 425-2332
December 6, 2008 -- Tyler SP -- 3rd Annual Christmas Caroling and Pine Ride -- Sing carols as you ride through the park on a fragrant bed of pine enjoying all the sights and sounds along the way! And don't miss the opportunity to pick up some unusual Christmas gifts at the park store, while enjoying hot apple cider and cookies. 5-8 p.m. (903) 597-5338
December 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 2008 -- Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery SHS -- Trail of Lights -- Enjoy a fantastic quarter-mile trail illuminated with thousands of lights that decorate the Monument Hill and Kreische House portions of our park. Walk a trail overlooking the town of La Grange. Experience the more traditionally decorated 1850s-era German home of H.L. Kreische, bedecked in Christmas splendor, in a Texas-German style. Bring your children to tell secrets to Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and enjoy the genuine seasonal hospitality of the Friends of Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery, who sponsor the event. No pets please. 6-8 p.m.; fees $3 adults, $1 children 3-12 (979) 968-5658
December 11, 2008 -- Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center -- Christmas on the Border -- Join us in celebrating the holiday season in West Texas border fashion. Local community performers will provide the entertainment. Refreshments and treats will be served and we will have a special visit by Santa Claus for the children. Accessible for the mobility, visually and hearing impaired. 6:30-9 p.m. (432) 424-3327
December 12, 2008 -- Sebastopol House SHS -- Holiday Classic Movie -- There's nothing like a classic holiday film to get you into the holiday spirit. The parlor at Sebastopol has been turned into an old fashioned theatre in order to bring you a 1948 Holiday Classic-"Miracle On 34th Street," starring a very young Natalie Wood. If this warm family film doesn't soften the heart of the Grinch in your life-nothing will! Seating is limited. 6:30 p.m.; reservations required (830) 379-4833.
December 12-13, 2008 -- Cooper Lake SP/Doctors Creek Unit -- 2nd Annual Christmas in the Park -- Load up the family for a drive through the park and enjoy the holiday decorations. We will also have refreshments and Santa will be here for a visit. Sponsored by The Friends of Doctor's Creek. 6-10 p.m. For more information, call the Friends of Doctor's Creek at (903) 395-4314 or the park at (903) 395-3100
December 13, 2008 -- Barrington Living History Farm-Washington-on-the-Brazos SHS -- An Old-Fashioned Texas Christmas -- This is a time for gathering with family and friends, for singing carols around the open fire, for making surprises tucked away in pretty packages, for feasting on goodies made with love, and for making special memories. Join the farm staff in decorating, singing and celebrating this wonderful holiday season with many more surprises to come. Accessible for the mobility impaired. 3-8 p.m. (936) 878-2213
December 13, 2008 -- Battleship TEXAS SHS -- Santa's Swingin 40's Christmas -- Visit the Battleship Texas and enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Write and mail letters to Santa, enjoy hot wassail, meet and have your picture taken with Santa, and much, much more. Accessible for wheelchairs on main deck only. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (281) 479-2431
December 13, 2008 -- Cedar Hill SP -- Caroling Through Penn Farm -- We will begin the evening with a lantern lit tour of Penn Farm. Then have a Christmas carol sing-along around the campfire while enjoying hot chocolate, hot apple cider, cookies and other holiday favorites. 6-8 p.m. (972) 291-3900, ext. 232.
December 13, 2008 -- Fort Richardson SP&HS & Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway -- Christmas Fun -- Start the day with a fishing tournament from 9 a.m.-noon, then Santa Clause will come and visit from 1-2 p.m., and finish the day with Dianne Martin who presents her "The Night Before Christmas" collection of Victorian stories, books, antiques, figurines, object de art, etc. from 2-4 p.m. (940) 567-3506.
December 13, 2008 -- Lake Texana SP -- Christmas Caroling Around the Campfire -- Join in as we sing the songs of the season sure to get you in the holiday spirit by the light of the campfire. Held at the Amphitheater. Accessible for the mobility impaired. 6-7 p.m. (361) 782-5718
December 13, 2008 -- Lake Texana SP -- Christmas Crafts -- Make your own, unique crafts to keep or give using materials such as pine cones, paper and clothespins. Accessible for the mobility impaired. 2-3 p.m. (361) 782-5718.
December 13, 2008 -- Martin Dies, Jr. SP -- Holiday Celebration in the Park -- Help us celebrate the holidays with an afternoon of family fun! We provide all the materials needed to construct a gingerbread house and decorate a gingerbread man ornament. Join in and sing carols and holiday songs with a live band. 2-4 p.m. (409) 384-5231
December 13, 2008 -- Sheldon Lake SP -- Wildlife Christmas in the Park -- Children can make fruit wreaths, seed cones, and other special ornaments to be hung outside as a special treat for backyard wildlife. There will be a special tree in the park that ornaments can be hung on. Holiday music and treats will be provided at this free event. Accessible for the mobility, visually and hearing impaired. 1-4 p.m. (281) 456-2800
December 13, 2008 -- Stephen F. Austin SP -- Christmas Caroling Hayride -- Take a caroling hayride with us through the park and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate afterwards. 6-8 p.m.; admission is one canned good per person (979) 885-3613
December 13, 2008 -- Stephen F. Austin SP -- Pancake Breakfast with Santa -- Join Santa for a breakfast of pancakes with homemade syrup, sausage, juice and coffee and let him know all your dreams for this Christmas. 8-10:30 a.m.; fee $4 per person (979) 885-3613.
December 14, 2008 -- Bastrop SP -- Christmas in the Pines -- The Friends of the Lost Pines host this event featuring sugar cookie ornament decorating, clay ornament decorating, pine cone decorating, story corner and pine needle basket making. Santa Claus will visit from 3:30-5:30 p.m. with the opportunity for pictures. Refreshments will be provided. Held in the Refectory. 1-6 p.m.; fees $2 adults, free for children 12 and under (512) 321-2101.
December 18, 2008 -- Fort Leaton SHS -- Posada at the Fort -- Come celebrate Christmas with us with a traditional Mexican Posada. Walk and sing with Mary and Joseph as they search for shelter. Enjoy the play "Christmas with the Leatons" along with refreshments and see the historic structure come to life in the candlelight of 600 luminarias. Wheelchair accessible for most of the event. 6:30-9 p.m. (432) 229-3613
December 20, 2008 -- Goose Island SP -- Christmas Campfire -- Join us at the Recreation Hall for an evening of food and fun as we get ready for Christmas with an old-fashioned campfire gathering. Bring your s'mores fixin's and enjoy the hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows as we sing Christmas carols and share our favorite Goose Island holiday stories. 7-8 p.m. (361) 729-2858
December 20, 2008 -- World Birding Center -- Estero Llano Grande SP -- Breakfast With the Birds and Santa -- Come have breakfast on our magnificent covered deck situated right on one of our lakes and spend some time visiting with a special guest, Santa. There will be photo opportunities galore, with both Santa and the birds that often come very close to the deck. Join Santa as we have a light holiday breakfast on the deck and then follow our knowledgeable guides as they take you on a guided nature walk. 8:30-11 a.m.; fees $7 adults, $5 senior citizens, free for children 12 and under; reservations required (956) 565-3919
December 21, 2008 -- Lyndon B. Johnson SP&HS -- Centennial Celebration Series: 39th Annual Tree Lighting -- 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. Come join the Texas Hill Country community in this special tradition started 39 years ago by President and Mrs. Johnson. Enjoy carolers, a live nativity, Santa Claus, refreshments and of course, the spectacular tree lighting. Then step back in time to the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm for cookies amid glowing lanterns and a traditional candlelit German Christmas tree. LBJ Park Bookstore and Gift Shop will be open and many other things to help you get into the holiday spirit. Dress for the weather and bring a flashlight. Accessible for the mobility impaired. 6-10 p.m.; donations accepted (830) 644-2252.
On the Net: