|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2012-03-30                                    |
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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]
March 30, 2012
TPWD Opens Deer Season in Metro Dallas Counties, Approves Silencers
AUSTIN -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved opening a hunting season for deer in Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and Galveston counties as part of changes to the 2012-13 Statewide Hunting Proclamation.
Under the new regulations, the current season structure in Grayson County will be altered to allow full-season, either-sex whitetail harvest. The amended Grayson County archery-only deer season structure will also be implemented in Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall counties. In addition, the Commission approved implementing the current Harris County season structure in Galveston County.
The deer season in Collin and Rockwall counties has been closed since 1976 after agricultural development had virtually eliminated deer habitat. Since that time, agriculture has been gradually displaced by the extensive urban, suburban, and exurban growth of the Metroplex, which has resulted in highly fragmented habitat and minimal populations of white-tailed deer, mostly in riparian areas surrounding lakes and streams.
The Commission also adopted rules permitting the use of firearm silencers for the take of alligators, game animals or game birds.
"These devices are already legal for hunting exotic animals, including feral hogs, and there is no resource- or enforcement-related reason to prohibit these devices for hunting alligators, game animals or game birds," said Scott Vaca, TPWD Assistant Chief of Wildlife Enforcement.
The regulation change does not relieve any person of the obligation to comply with applicable federal, state, or local law governing the possession or use of firearm silencers. Firearms silencers are regulated under the National Firearms Act. They are legal for individuals to possess and use for lawful purposes in 39 states, including Texas. However, a prospective user must go through an application process administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which requires a Federal tax payment of $200 and a thorough criminal background check.
The Commission has also decided to close the pheasant hunting season in all counties along the upper Texas coast. In 1976 the department stocked pheasant in seven counties along the upper coast in an effort to create hunting opportunity. By 2002, surveys indicated no pheasant populations in four of those counties, and the seasons in those counties were closed. Surveys now indicate that there are no pheasants remaining in Chambers, Jefferson, or Liberty counties, either.

[ 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 ]
March 30, 2012
Donations Received to Help with Bastrop State Park Recovery
AUSTIN -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Thursday acknowledged $134,600 in donations to assist with the ongoing wildfire recovery efforts at Bastrop State Park.
The historic park suffered significant losses to its natural resources last September during the state's worst ever wildfire. As soon as the fire had been controlled, work began to remove hazardous trees, rehabilitate campgrounds, repair roads and develop new trails, but in January flash flooding caused further damage to the park's sensitive ecosystem by washing away most of the topsoil from heavily burned hillsides. That soil contained most of the remaining loblolly pine seeds.
"Although many aspects of the recovery and restoration efforts are eligible for some federal reimbursement, the most costly elements of the restoration efforts including erosion control and reforestation are not eligible for these disaster relief funds," TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith said. "TPWD has allocated funds to support a short-term emergency erosion project, however there is a large financial gap left to fill in order to complete the work."
Drought-hardy loblolly pine seeds will soon be sown in private nurseries and nurtured until next winter when the first wave will be ready for planting. It is estimated that 400 acres will be planted with over 200,000 pine seedlings the first year with the next 4 years doubling to 800 acres and 400,000 seedlings each year.
"Soon after the smoke settled, it became a reality that TPWD could not afford the monumental costs associated with the tasks without some serious financial assistance," Smith continued. "Three organizations have stepped up to the plate to present TPWD with generous donations to help us move forward with these critical projects."
The Encana Corporation has made a $50,000 donation toward the erosion mitigation project and has committed to future assistance with replanting efforts.
Immediately after the fire, the Friends of Lost Pines State Parks began soliciting donations, pledging that all money raised would be used solely in the restoration efforts of Bastrop State Park. The group has committed $64,600 for erosion mitigation, hazardous tree removal, purchase of a greenhouse, trail markers and supplies for volunteers.
Finally, the Apache Foundation will be covering all of the costs of seedlings for the first year for not only the state park but the entire area burned within Bastrop County for a total of $60,000. Of this amount, $20,000 will be used for the purchase of approximately 200,000 seedlings for Bastrop State Park.