|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2009-09-29                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than seven 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]
Sept. 29, 2009
Texas students to compete in National Archery in Schools Program world tournament
AUSTIN, Texas -- Twelve Texas students from St. Mary's Catholic School in Sherman will be attending the first National Archery in the Schools Program World Archery Tournament at Disney World in Orlando, Florida on Oct. 8-11.
The students, grades 4-12, also attended the NASP National Championship tournament May 8 and 9 in Louisville, Kentucky, an event which shattered the world record for largest archery tournament, drawing 4,565 students on teams from 35 U.S. states from Alaska to New Jersey, as well as a team from Canada. Altogether, participants in the national tournament shot off more than 182,600 arrows.
The St. Mary's Catholic school team is made up of Collin Adami, Bryson Buckner, Mary Claire Cogbill, Hannah Cornelison, Sarah Ennis, Lauren Khoury, Emily Kirkpatrick, Jonathan Maniet, Nick Pena, Jordyn Wedell, Dalton Wieck and Coaches Nathan Wieck and Bill Cogbill.
Disney World has provided a special NASP World Tournament Package for participants, families and fans, which includes include lodging and tickets to Disney theme parks.
NASP has invited students from United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa to compete in the world tournament, and expects as many as 2,000 students to attend.
NASP archery is a co-gender discipline in which all teams are made up of both boys and girls. The organization is a non-profit funded by donor support.
The in-school target archery program started in 21 Kentucky schools on March 3, 2002 with the mission of teaching target archery skills to students in grades 4-12 as part of their in-school curriculum. The rapidly expanding program is currently taught by nearly 16,000 teachers in more than 5,000 schools across 46 U.S. states and five countries. Archery is ranked safer than every ball sport taught in schools except table tennis.
The 2010 NASP national tournament will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky on May 7-8.
For information about the Texas-National Archery In The Schools program, contact Burnie Kessner with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at burnie.kessner@tpwd.texas.gov or (979) 862-7341, or see the TPWD archery in the schools Web page.
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[ Note: This item is more than seven 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: Billy Tarrant, (432) 837-2051 or billy.tarrant@sbcglobal.net ]
Sept. 29, 2009
West Texas Ranchers, Sportsmen, Researchers Partner to Address Pronghorn Loss
ALPINE, Texas -- The newly formed "Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Working Group" is turning to laboratory science for answers concerning diminishing numbers of pronghorn antelope in West Texas.
During the first weekend of October, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists, Sul Ross State University -- Range and Wildlife Club students and cooperating landowners will be sampling numerous pronghorn harvested by hunters throughout West Texas. These samples will be analyzed for diseases, internal parasites and mineral levels to uncover potential barriers to survivability and reproduction.
Every year, TPWD biologists issue permits to Trans-Pecos landowners to allow hunters to harvest buck pronghorn. Even during extremely low population cycles, a conservative harvest of buck pronghorn has no effect on the viability of the entire herd. However, these harvested animals can provide an excellent source of information to biologists.
Another sampling effort will occur later in the winter by capturing live does and examining them as well. Both the West Texas and Paso del Norte Chapters of Safari Club International have provided significant funding to assist with the costs associated with the collection and analysis of samples.
These actions should provide information to help pronghorn managers identify specific diseases and/or parasites that may be negatively impacting Trans-Pecos pronghorn populations.
The Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Working Group is a team of West Texas landowners, outfitters, TPWD biologists, Borderlands Research Institute personnel and wildlife veterinarians that recently organized to review population information and possible reasons for recent declines. This panel created a plan to better identify potential disease or parasite problems with this important wildlife resource.
Pronghorn historically occurred over most of Texas, but because of habitat loss and over harvest during the late 1800s and early 1900s, populations plummeted. Through the conservative actions of Texas landowners, and protective measures implemented by the Game, Fish and Oyster Commission (the predecessor of TPWD) populations rebounded during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Currently, pronghorn are found in the grasslands of West Texas and the Panhandle.
Trans-Pecos pronghorn numbers typically ebb and flow with precipitation patterns and reached an estimated high population of over 17,000 animals in 1987. The drought of the 1990's affected populations tremendously, and numbers bottomed out in 2001 at around 5,000. Increased rainfall bounced numbers back to over 10,000 in 2007. However, pronghorn numbers in the Marfa area declined dramatically by summer of 2008 (adult mortality and low fawn production). An eight-month dry period, a hard late freeze, and increased predation were thought to be the primary culprits. Range conditions improved with increased rainfall, but landowners still reported some loss of adult pronghorn. Additionally, fawn crops in this affected area were extremely low this last summer, despite intensive predator control and favorable range conditions. With many herds so low already, future dry conditions may lead to a complete loss of some pronghorn populations.
Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Working Group Participants: Jon Means (owner, Moon Ranch), Bobby McKnight (owner, McKnight Ranch), Albert and Bill Miller (owners, Miller Ranch), Dr. Dan McBride (DVM; hunting guide), Dr. Ken Waldrup (DVM, Texas Department of State Health Services), Ernie Davis (retired TPWD biologist; hunting guide), Billy Tarrant (TPWD District Leader), Johnny Arredondo (TPWD biologist-Jeff Davis County), Mike Sullins (TPWD biologist-Presidio County), and Dr. Louis Harveson (Director, Borderlands Research Institute, SRSU).

[ Note: This item is more than seven 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]
Sept. 29, 2009
Bowhunters May Need To Go Native during Archery Season
AUSTIN, Texas -- An early and abundant acorn crop may force Texas bowhunters to seek out native food supplies during archery season, which runs Oct. 3-Nov. 6.
Reports from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department field biologists indicate above average mast crop production and an early acorn drop. Recent rains across much of the state have also helped generate forb production, adding to the availability of native food sources for deer.
By some accounts, the number of Texas bowhunters has grown during the last l5-to-20 years and those ranks are likely to grow even more now that crossbows are allowed during the archery-only season.
For the first time since 1975 when Texas implemented a Special Archery Stamp requirement, hunters will be allowed to use crossbows during the archery-only hunting season.
Previously, crossbows could only be used during an archery-only season by persons with an upper-limb disability. Recent legislative action gave authority to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to allow any person, regardless of physical ability, to use a crossbow during the archery-only season.
One exception is that crossbows may be used in Grayson County during the archery-only season only by hunters with an upper-limb disability who possess a physician's statement attesting to the permanent loss of the use of fingers, hand or arm in a manner that renders a person incapable of using a longbow, compound bow or recurved bow. Any licensed hunter may use a crossbow during the regular deer season.
Bowhunters are reminded that an archery stamp and a valid Texas hunting license are required. Hunter education requirements must also be met.
While recent rains will help improve current range conditions, whitetails in South Texas are battling through an extended stress period that started with last year's rut, according to biologists.
"Last season the rut was later and more spread out than normal and this did not fare well for mature deer," said Daniel Kunz, TPWD biologist in Alice. "By the first of February bucks were extremely drawn down and numerous reports of early antler shedding were occurring; an indication that bucks could be in poor shape. This will likely affect antler quality."
Hunters should expect a reasonable number of 2 ½ year old bucks and 5 ½ to 7 ½ year old bucks as 2002-2004 and 2007 were good fawn production years resulting in good carry over, added TPWD biologist Dustin Windsor in Cotulla.
One region of the state that is entering the fall hunting season in prime condition is the Panhandle, according to Calvin Richardson, TPWD district biologist in Amarillo.
"The Panhandle deer herds -- -both mule and whitetail -- -are in great condition and should go into the fall in great shape," said Richardson. "With harvest being down last year, we should have some older aged bucks carry over into this year's season. My guess is that both mule deer and white-tails are not going to have to move around much to find quality forage, so hunting feeders might not be as productive as in years that we have been dry.
"Probably, the only downside that I could imagine is that we probably are going to have a heck of a mosquito crop at the beginning of archery season with all of the playas full," he added.
Bowhunters in 52 counties this season will be joining those in 61 existing counties having buck antler restrictions. Legal bucks in those counties are those with at least 1 unbranched antler (e.g., spikes and 3-pointers) or having an inside spread of at least 13 inches.
Newly affected counties include: Anderson, Angelina, Archer, Atascosa, Brazos, Brown, Chambers, Clay, Cooke, Denton, Ellis, Falls, Freestone, Grayson, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Henderson, Hill, Hood, Hunt, Jack, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Kaufman, Liberty, Limestone, Madison, McLennan, Milam, Mills, Montague, Montgomery, Navarro, Newton, Orange, Palo Pinto, Parker, Polk, Robertson, San Jacinto, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Trinity, Tyler, Van Zandt, Walker, Wichita, Wise, and Young.
Archers should also note whitetail bag limits have changed in several counties across the state. Be sure to check the county listings in the 2009-2010 Outdoor Annual of hunting and fishing regulations for the county hunted.
Also, bowhunters taking advantage of opportunities on TPWD managed public lands under the $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit should take note that crossbows are legal on those sites open for archery season, unless otherwise stated in year's Public Hunting Lands map booklet.
The crossbow restriction allowing only hunters with documented upper limb disabilities remains in effect in all six units in Public Hunting Region-4 Dallas /Ft. Worth (Cooper Wildlife Management Area, Sulphur Unit of Cooper Lake State Park, Caddo National Grasslands WMA both units, Tawakoni WMA and Pat Mayse WMA) and three of the 14 units in Public Hunting Region-5 Pineywoods (White Oak Creek WMA, Caddo Lake WMA and Old Sabine Bottom WMA).
"Most of these WMAs have moderate deer densities and because TPWD does not control the number of hunters for APH access hunts, we do not have direct control over the harvest numbers on these areas," said Kevin Herriman, TPWD district biologist in Tyler. "We do not have data available that provides us with a clear understanding of what effect the use of crossbows will have on total harvest numbers."
Herriman went on to add that on public hunting areas having drawn public hunts during the archery season where hunter numbers and harvest can be monitored, crossbows will be allowed.
"We will be investigating the effect crossbows have on their deer harvest," he said. "Once we are able to better determine what effect crossbows will have on archery deer harvest rates we will re-evaluate the season restrictions on the WMAs that allow archery season through the APH."

[ Note: This item is more than seven 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]
Sept. 29, 2009
Hunter education classes filling up fast
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is encouraging hunters in need of certification to enroll soon as fall hunter education courses are filling up fast. As hunting seasons draw closer, demand for hunter education classes is expected to increase.
"It would be much better to enroll early and avoid the rush right at the beginning of hunting seasons," said Terry Erwin, Coordinator for Hunter Education at TPWD. "If you wait, you might find that getting into a course will be more difficult."
Hunter education courses are conducted by certified volunteers all year across the state of Texas. Courses cost $15 and students can either take the free classroom study portion on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Hunting Education Web site plus a one-day field course component or take the traditional two-day course that averages 14 hours of instruction. Anyone born on or after Sept. 2, 1971 must complete the education program to legally hunt or be accompanied by an individual who is at least 17, who is certified or exempt by law (born before Sept. 2, 1971). The minimum age to receive certification is 9. Certification is not required to purchase a license.
Hunters who are at least 17 years of age and have not completed the hunter education course can purchase a one-time-only year-long deferral for $10 and must be accompanied. Hunters who opted for "deferral" last year must complete the hunter education course to hunt legally this year.
"The deferral is only available once. The license point-of-sale vendors are not allowed to sell a deferral once it has been purchased by an individual," Erwin said. "The database keeps track of the sale, and will not allow a sale to occur with the same individual."
More than 30,000 aspiring hunters become certified every year in Texas and since 1972, and more than 820,000 Texans have completed the hunter education course, which is mandatory in all 50 states and 10 Canadian Provinces. Currently, hunter education courses are taught by 2,900 volunteers comprised of game wardens, professional educators and TPWD volunteers.
Hunting is safe and getting safer because of hunter education," said Erwin. "Make sure you are one of those responsible individuals who wish to continue the heritage of hunting for generations to come."
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