|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-02-26                                    |
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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 ] [SL]
Feb. 26, 2010
TPWD to Wrap up Dove Lethality Study
AUSTIN -- A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are content with the 1,360 birds collected during two years of field research comparing lead and non-lead ammunition effectiveness for doves.
Public concern about the incidence of lead in the environment is growing. This issue has been discussed by the Central Flyway for the past five years. It is conceivable that non-lead shot requirements could be proposed for the hunting of all migratory game birds, including doves at some future date. This could have considerable impact in Texas, which boasts the nation's largest dove population at an estimated 20-25 million breeding birds and a rich hunting tradition that sees from 300,000 to 350,000 hunters take to the field each fall. Texas hunters harvest about 6.4 million doves annually or roughly 30 percent of all doves taken nationally.
There is also an economic consideration. Based on a 2005 survey conducted for the U. S. Census Bureau and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Southwick and Associates, Texas dove hunting has an economic impact of $316 million annually. Texas dove hunting produces 3,145 jobs in the private sector and $21 million in sales tax revenue.
Given the popularity of dove hunting in Texas, TPWD is conducting a study to determine the effectiveness of lead versus non-lead shot on dove under real Texas hunting conditions. This study was designed by an internationally recognized shotgun ballistics expert, who has designed over a dozen similar studies involving waterfowl and upland game birds. This research is supported by many organizations, including the Central Flyway Council, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Wildlife Management Institute.
The goal of the dove lethality study was to collect between 1,050 and 1,500 one-shot-kill doves under real hunting conditions. Wildlife officials need fewer than 200 samples to reach the 1,500 benchmark, but say they will forego a third collection effort this year after preliminary statistical evaluations and discussions with ballistic and university consultants.
"Statistical analysis of the existing data indicates that one more year of dove collection will not significantly enhance our understanding derived from the data collected thus far. Additionally, given the cost and effort needed to obtain a couple hundred more samples, we feel that further collections are not warranted" said Corey Mason, TPWD Dove Program Leader.
The study parameters call for between 5,000 and 7,000 shots fired. After two years of collection, TPWD has recorded about 6,300 shots taken by 58 volunteer shooters.
Currently, 500 dove are being processed (x-ray and necropsy) and approximately 360 previously collected birds will be processed in 2011. TPWD Program Staff anticipates producing publications on the study findings in the summer of 2011.

[ 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 ] [RM]
Feb. 26, 2010
Land Deal Adds Old Baldy to Garner State Park
AUSTIN -- Almost 200 acres encompassing the iconic bluff, Old Baldy, overlooking the Frio River officially became part of Garner State Park on Wednesday with the signing of real estate documents transferring ownership to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Texas Parks and Wildlife's purchase of a 177-acre tract, which includes the knobby, 400-foot-high bluff popular with park visitors, increases the size of the Texas Hill Country park near Concan to roughly 1,600 acres. The new tract at the southernmost end of the park includes a hiking trail that climbs the river bluff and an additional 210 feet of riverfront property.
"The acquisition of the Old Baldy tract means that this signature natural feature historically identified with one of Texas' most popular state parks will be forever protected for future generations of Garner visitors," said TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith. "With the state's population putting increasing development pressure on our natural resources, it's more important than ever to work with willing, conservation-minded landowners to acquire landmark properties like Old Baldy."
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission earlier this year gave the go-ahead for the agency to purchase the tract owned by Barbara Muennink, whose family has owned the property for more than 80 years. She sold the tract to TPWD for a price considerably less than its appraised value to help keep the land in its natural state.
Over the years, Muennink has never tried to restrict public access to the rocky bluff overlooking the scenic Frio River that most park visitors assumed was already part of state park property. In reality, only a very small part of the bluff was state-owned. Texas Parks and Wildlife staff and real estate broker Morris Killough with Texas Land & Ranch Company in Utopia worked closely with Muennink and her family to structure the Old Baldy land deal.
Funds for the Garner State Park land acquisition comes from monies allocated last year by the 81st Texas Legislature and a matching grant from the National Park Service's Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Garner State Park, perhaps best known for its dance pavilion popular with summertime visitors, records approximately 400,000 visits each year. It ranks No. 1 among 93 Texas state parks in the percentage of park visitors who stay overnight in one of the park's many campsites, screened shelters or 17 cabins built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Garner State Park is open seven days a week. Entry fees are $6 per person 13 years and older visiting for day use only and $4 per person for individuals 13 years and older who are staying overnight. For camping fees and other information, contact Garner State Park at (830) 232-6132.
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