|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-04-02                                    |
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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 ]
April 2, 2010
Cody Hatfield named Texas Wildlife Officer of the Year
AUSTIN -- Cody Hatfield, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden stationed in Mason, has been named Texas Wildlife Officer of the Year by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith presented the award to Hatfield at the April 1 meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
"Cody has enjoyed tremendous success in fish and wildlife investigations and prosecutions," Smith said. "Additionally, he is seen as a pillar of each of the communities he has served."
Hatfield graduated from the 49th Texas Game Warden Training Academy in July 2003. His first duty station was Edwards County, but he was transferred to Mason County in March 2008.
"Mason County spans 932 square miles of arguably the best and most utilized white-tailed deer and turkey hunting terrain in Texas," Smith said. "Although Cody is busier than most, he is always glad to be there."
Last year, Hatfield investigated more than 165 violations of Parks and Wildlife or Penal Code statutes. He also logged more than 260 hours of boating patrol, including kayak patrol of rivers in his area.
One of Hatfield's investigations early last spring led to multiple charges filed against two persons for hunting turkeys during the closed season. The hunters, discovered on the San Saba River in nearby Menard County, had illegally taken three Rio Grande turkeys.
Not all of Hatfield's conservation efforts involve law enforcement. Last year, he played a role in introducing 49 area youngsters to hunting and fishing. He regularly presents wildlife, hunting, fishing and safety programs to schools, churches and civic groups in Mason and surrounding communities.
Hatfield and his wife Jamie have one son.
Founded in 1973, the NWTF is a national nonprofit conservation organization that has worked with wildlife agencies to restore American wild turkey populations from 1.3 million to nearly 7 million today. Foundation volunteers raise funds and strive to improve critical wildlife habitat, increase access to public hunting land and introduce people to the outdoors and hunting.
The foundation began honoring wildlife officers in 2000. In addition to playing a crucial role in helping to convict wildlife criminals, many wildlife officers volunteer their own time to help educate youth about the importance of wildlife, conservation and hunting traditions.

[ 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 ]
April 2, 2010
TPWD proposes extension of Redfish Bay seagrass protection
AUSTIN -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is proposing to indefinitely extend protection of seagrass from uprooting by outboard motor propellers within the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area along the mid-coast between Rockport and Port Ingleside.
The recommendation presented to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission's Regulations Committee, which will now go out for public comment, would remove the termination date from the regulation prohibiting uprooting of seagrass within the protected area. If adopted as proposed the regulation would be reviewed periodically like all regulations to determine how well it is working or to determine if any changes are needed.
Seagrass is critical to the coastal environment in that it serves as a nursery for juvenile game fish, crabs and shrimp. It also is a source of food for sea turtles, shorebirds and waterfowl, helps with erosion control and has a biological filtering role in the fragile coastal ecosystem.
TPWD designated a large triangle-shaped area taking in all of Redfish Bay as a state scientific area in 2000. A key goal was to allow submerged seagrasses time for recovery from extensive damage caused by outboard motor propellers as well as preventing further harm to the delicate aquatic plants. When voluntary compliance with no-prop zones proved ineffective, the commission in 2006 made it illegal to uproot seagrass in the scientific area with a submerged propeller.
Extensive studies by TPWD's Coastal Fisheries Division have proven that the no-prop rule has been successful in protecting seagrass in the scientific area. By eliminating a June 30, 2010 expiration date for the scientific area set five years ago, the prohibition against uprooting seagrass would continue in effect.
TPWD staff also seeks to update the names of two species of seagrass in its regulations to be consistent with the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
Public comment on the proposals may be made during upcoming public meetings scheduled for 7 p.m. April 20 at the Aransas County Courthouse, 301 N. Live Oak, Rockport and 7 p.m. April 27 at the Lion's Field Adult and Senior Community Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio or by contacting Jeremy Leitz, TPWD Coastal Fisheries program specialist, by emailing jeremy.leitz@tpwd.texas.gov.
For more information on seagrass and boating in the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, see http://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/water/habitats/seagrass/

[ 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]
April 2, 2010
TPWD Finalizes Short List of Hunting and Fishing Regulation Changes for 2010-2011
AUSTIN -- Expansion of mule deer hunting opportunities tops a short list of regulatory changes adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission as part of the 2010-2011 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation.
The commission approved an open general hunting season for mule deer in Dawson and Wheeler counties, and added a day to the mule deer season across the Trans Pecos region. The change addresses a priority goal in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Land and Water Resource Conservation and Recreation Plan to increase access to and participation in the outdoors.
The commission finalized a nine-day, buck-only season in Dawson County and a 16-day, buck-only firearm season in Wheeler County and a 35-day archery-only season to offer increased hunter opportunity without adversely impacting mule deer reproduction or distribution.
The extra day of hunting for mule deer in the Trans Pecos region is being tacked onto the front end where the season will now begin the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving and continue for 17 days.
According to TPWD wildlife biologists, mule deer populations in these counties are limited, but are present in some areas having suitable habitat and implementation of a buck-only season will not have any measurable impact on herd productivity or expansion.
The Commission also adopted changes strengthening commercial fishing reporting requirements and administrative reorganization to split the commercial and recreational hunting and fishing regulations apart, as well as a clarification of rules regarding catching and possessing fish within protected length limits or in excess of bag limits.
The Texas Outdoor Annual, a complete digest of all Texas hunting and fishing regulations, including seasons and bag limits, will be available Aug. 15, 2010 wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold and on the TPWD Web site http://tpwd.texas.gov/.