|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2012-05-01                                    |
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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 ]
May 1, 2012
Game Warden Col. Pete Flores Retiring
Legacy Includes Training, Equipment for 21st Century
AUSTIN - Col. Pete Flores, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Division Director, has announced his retirement effective May 31 after more than 27 years of state service.
"Pete Flores has had a long, proud, and very distinguished career serving the department and the state of Texas as a state game warden," said agency executive director Carter Smith. "As colonel, he has been an exemplary and strategic leader of the Law Enforcement Division and has set the bar high for conservation law enforcement across the country. His colleagues respect him immensely and justifiably so."
Flores graduated from the Game Warden Training Academy in January 1985 and as a newly commissioned state game warden began his career in Chambers County. He later worked in Brazos County and after promotion to captain, assumed supervisory duties in Beaumont. Later he served as captain in San Antonio and then as a major in San Angelo. In March 2005 he was promoted from lieutenant colonel to the division's top position.
"Besides the births of my children and grandchildren, the day that I had the blue badge pinned on my chest at the TPWD headquarters in Austin was the most memorable day of my life," Flores said. "I am extremely proud of the men and women in our ranks. They will take us into the future with competence, professionalism, passion and a clear sense of purpose."
Smith said the colonel's successor would be announced as soon as possible.
"I am most proud of all Pete has done to ensure our game wardens are the best trained, the best prepared, the best equipped, and the best outfitted they can be to meet the modern day challenges, complexities, and dangers of law enforcement across our state," Smith continued. "The new Texas Game Warden Training Center in Hamilton County is a reflection of Pete's vision and professional commitment to helping our wardens be the absolute best they can be. Throughout his tenure, he has never settled for anything else."
As TPWD Law Enforcement Division director, Col. Flores oversees 532 game wardens who provide "law enforcement off the pavement" across the state. Though state game wardens focus primarily on conservation laws, they are fully commissioned peace officers authorized to enforce all state statutes.
Under Flores' leadership, state game warden training moved from an outdated 1978-vintage, 6.2-acre facility in central Austin to a new 220-acre campus with 39,000 square feet of state-of-the-art building in Hamilton County. The Texas Legislature initially authorized $3.6 million from the sale of the Austin property to begin constructing the new Texas Game Warden Training Center. The rest of the funding for the $20 million project is coming from private donations, with more than $10 million raised to date.
Beyond an expanded role that includes environmental crimes enforcement, undercover investigations of interstate wildlife crimes and extensive outreach to build rapport in local communities, game wardens also assumed greater border security duties on Flores' watch, adding more "boots on the ground" and new types of boats, vehicles, and firepower.
"All of us who care about the future of our lands, waters, fish, and wildlife owe Colonel Flores a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless service, tireless leadership, and unyielding commitment to the law enforcement profession and to the state he loves," Smith said.
A native of Laredo, Flores went to work for TPWD following his graduation from Texas A&M University.

[ 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 ] [LH]
May 1, 2012
Texas State-Fish Art Contest Winners Announced
ATHENS--Officials at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center have announced the winners of the Texas division of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest.
The annual contest is open to all Texas students in public, private and home schools and is judged in four grade-level divisions: K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. First-place winners in each grade-level division advance to the national competition. National winners will be announced at the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest Expo to be held in Little Rock, Arkansas, in June.
The Toyota Texas Bass Classic funds cash prizes for Texas winners: $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place and $500 for third place in the 10-12 division. Prizes in the K-3, 4-6 and 7-9 grade levels are $100 for first; $75 for second; $50 for third.
First-place Texas winners also receive a travel allowance for themselves and their family to attend the Texas division contest expo to be held at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens on June 9.
Texas winners in the K-3 grade level division are: First Place, Allister Huang, Sugar Land; Second Place, Nancy Shao, Sugar Land; Third Place, Rohun Kulshrentha, Flower Mound.
Texas winners in the 4-6 grade-level division are: First Place, Erin Werner, Santa Fe; Second Place, Jin Lee, Plano; Third Place, Candice Ma, Sugar Land.
Texas winners in the 7-9 grade-level division are: First Place, Nasa Xu, Katy; Second Place, Sebastian Beil, Houston; Third Place, Josue Montemayor, Pasadena.
Texas winners in the 10-12 grade-level division are: First Place, GiGi Barker, Village Mills; Second Place, Peyton McCown, Willow Park; Third Place, Luis Castillo, Irving.
Honorable Mentions were awarded by the Texas judges to the following students.
Grades K-3: Austin Purvis, Corsicana; Codi Dulworth, Corsicana; Branch Brooks, Corsicana; Andrew Smith, Corsicana; Austin Naylor, Corsicana; Jeddie Barker, Village Mills; and August Herbrich, La Grange.
Grades 4-6: Kaufman Riddle, Corsicana; Bryce Harrison, Corsicana; Jennifer Li, Sugar Land; Daniel Pahutan, Richmond; Kayla TreviƱo, Richmond; Cassie Chen, Richmond; and Tanmay Karandikar, Coppell.
Grades 7-9: Tyler Jones, Warren; Sujal Manonar, Coppell; Charlie Neuendorff, Fayetteville; Loran Lockhart, Liberty; Shellby Salt, Stephenville; Kylie Ting, Sugar Land; and Kriti Sinha, Irving.
Grades 10-12: Jessica Seagroves, Dallas; Coreena Rego, Plano; Magdalena Bohanos, Liberty; Alexis Ambriz, Houston; Aubrey Clemens, Dallas; Holli Harris, Liberty; and Bonnie Leung, Spring.
The State-Fish Art Contest is a project of Wildlife Forever. Located in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Wildlife Forever is a non-profit multi-species conservation organization dedicated to conserving America's wildlife heritage. Working at the grassroots level, Wildlife Forever has funded conservation projects in all 50 states, committing millions of dollars to "on-the-ground" efforts. Wildlife Forever supports habitat restoration and enhancement, land acquisition, research and management of fish and wildlife populations.
EDITORS NOTE: Images of all first, second and third-place winners in the Texas division of the State-Fish Art Contest can be found at http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/news_images/.
On the Net:

[ 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 ] [LH]
May 1, 2012
Toyota ShareLunker Season Ends
ATHENS--April 30 marked the end of the 26th season of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's ShareLunker program.
Thirteen largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more were entered into the program during the season, bringing to 536 the number of big bass entered since the program's inception in 1986.
The season also saw the end of an era with the retirement of David Campbell, who had guided the program since its beginning and personally picked up most of the fish. Campbell was "Mr. ShareLunker" to hundreds of anglers.
Campbell handed over responsibility for the program to TPWD fisheries biologist Juan Martinez at the end of March.
The largest fish entered into the program this season was a 14.39-pounder caught from Falcon International Reservoir by Gary Wingate of Amarillo. Falcon was named the number one bass fishing lake in the nation by the editors of Bassmaster magazine.
Wingate's catch earned him Angler of the Year honors. In addition to the replica of his catch and ShareLunker clothing received by all anglers in the program, Wingate also will receive a lifetime fishing license and a prize package from G. Loomis valued at $818. The package includes a G. Loomis NRX854C jig and worm rod, a Shimano ChronarchD1007 casting reel and 150 yards of moss green Power Pro super-braid fishing line.
The six lakes producing entries this season will also be winners. Each will receive a share of the offspring produced by the fish that spawned. To date Wingate's fish and a fish caught by Stan Lawing from Ray Roberts have produced more than 132,000 fry. These fish will be divided among Lakes Fork, Falcon, Austin, Toledo Bend, Ray Roberts, and O.H. Ivie.
One fish, Toyota ShareLunker 528, was a repeat entry. Originally caught by Carl Adkins from Lake Austin in 2010, it was recaught by Landon Glass on February 14. ShareLunkers have an electronic tag injected so that they can be identified.
Lake Austin was the top-producing reservoir this season with five entries. Lakes Fork, Falcon and O.H. Ivie each had two. Ray Roberts and Toledo Bend each had one.
It is known that some bass grow larger than others, but why remains unknown. TPWD is planning to conduct research to try to identify the gene or genes that may influence size in Florida largemouth bass. This research has never been done before. If this effort is successful, TPWD will be able to use that information to guide its breeding and stocking of largemouth bass in the future.
"If we can identify the genetic markers that result in maximum growth, we can select broodfish that have those markers," said Allen Forshage, director of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. "The goal of the ShareLunker selective breeding program is to increase the occurrence and size of eight-pound or larger bass, and this research is the next step in that process."
Following is a chronological list of this season's entries.
Toyota ShareLunker 524 was caught from Lake Fork December 27, 2011, by Andrew Watson of Highland Village. The fish weighed 13.51 pounds and was 25.5 inches long and 21.25 inches in girth. The top producer of big bass in Texas, Fork came in at number 26 on Bassmaster's list of top trophy bass lakes.
Toyota ShareLunker 525 was caught December 28 from Falcon International Reservoir by Jason Brudnicki of Salt Lake City, Utah. The 13.36-pound fish was 26.25 inches long and 21 inches in girth.
Toyota ShareLunker 526 came from Lake Austin on January 29, 2012. It was caught by Brett Ketchum of Austin and weighed 13 pounds even. It was 25.75 inches long and 20.25 inches in girth.
Toyota ShareLunker 527 also came from Lake Austin. Wesley Hayden of Round Rock caught the 13.22-pounder on February 11. It was 26 inches long and 21.25 inches in girth.
Toyota ShareLunker 528 made it three in a row from Lake Austin on February 14. The Valentine's Day fish was caught by Landon Glass of Jarrell; it weighed 13.03 pounds and was 25.75 inches long and 21.75 inches in girth.
Toyota ShareLunker 529 was caught by Ryan Pinkston of Center on February 25 from Toledo Bend Reservoir. The fish weighed 14.2 pounds. Due to an error the fish was released before it could be picked up, so length and girth are not known. Toledo Bend was named the number 15 bass lake in the U.S. by Bassmaster.
Toyota ShareLunker 530 came from Lake Ray Roberts. Caught by Stan Lawing of Poetry on March 3, the 13.06-pound fish was 25 inches long and 21 inches in girth. The pickup and care of this fish will be featured on the World Fishing Network's Reel Fishy Jobs on May 31. The fish spawned and produced more than 39,000 offspring.
Toyota ShareLunker 531 was caught by Gary Wingate of Amarillo from Falcon International Reservoir on March 16. The 14.39-pound fish was 26.5 inches long and 20.75 inches in girth. ShareLunker 531 spawned twice and produced more than 93,000 offspring.
Toyota ShareLunker 532 was caught by Michael Justus of Garland from Lake Fork on March 18. It weighed 13.1 pounds and was 25.75 inches long and 21 inches in girth.
Toyota ShareLunker 533 took the ShareLunker flag back to Lake Austin. Corey Johnson of Cedar Park caught the 13.18-pound fish March 21. It was 26.5 inches long and 20 inches in girth.
Toyota ShareLunker 534 also came from Lake Austin on the same day as 533. The 13.59-pound fish was caught by Charles Whited of San Marcos and was 26.125 inches long and 20 inches in girth.
Toyota ShareLunker 535 marked O.H. Ivie's return to the ShareLunker program. Stacy Brookings of Midland caught the 13.22-pounder on March 25. It was 26.5 inches long and 20 inches in girth. O.H. Ivie occupies the number 88 spot on the Bassmaster list of top bass lakes.
Toyota ShareLunker 536 brought the season to a close on April 6. Kyle Johnson of Abilene caught the 13.36-pounder from O.H. Ivie. It was 27.5 inches long and 20 inches in girth. This fish was the only mortality of the program this season.
Toyota ShareLunker anglers will be recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens on June 2.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 or paging (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year's season, see http://tpwd.texas.gov/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available as well as answers to frequently asked questions about the program.
Information on catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, is posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
EDITORS NOTE: Images of ShareLunker entries suitable for download and publication, where available, can be found at http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/news_images/; scroll down to find the Toyota ShareLunker photos listed by number.