|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2013-12-30                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than three 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]
Dec. 30, 2013
Lake Fork Produces Second ShareLunker of Season; Lake Athens Piles On
ATHENS--Lake Fork produced its second Toyota ShareLunker of the season December 27. The fish is also the second entry into the program during the current season.
On December 30 Lake Athens produced its second ShareLunker ever, a 13.76-pound fish caught by Jason Lee Hanson of Athens shortly after 9:00 a.m.
Blake Eppinette of Downsville, Louisiana, caught the 13.6-pound Lake Fork bass about 5:00 p.m. and took it to the Minnow Bucket, an official Toyota ShareLunker Weigh and Holding Station. The fish was in great distress from an overinflated swim bladder after having been pulled from 30 feet of water. Despite valiant efforts by the angler, Minnow Bucket and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff, the fish did not survive.
The fish was 21.5 inches in girth and 25.825 inches long. It is ShareLunker entry number 550.
Hanson was fishing in 12 to 14 feet of water near the City of Athens water intake using a Norman DD-22 when Toyota ShareLunker 551 hit. He had been catching good fish all morning despite temperatures near freezing and knew he had a 13-pounder when the fish surfaced. Length of the fish was 27.75 inches, and girth was 20.25 inches.
The last ShareLunker from Lake Athens was caught in 1987 and weighed 13.81 pounds. The lake record, 14.19 pounds, was caught in 1988 but was not entered into the ShareLunker program because it was not caught during the season, which runs from October 1 through April 30.
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. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. The person who catches the season's largest entry will be named Angler of the Year. If the Angler of the Year is a Texas resident, that person also receives a lifetime fishing license.
The number to call to report a ShareLunker catch is (903) 681-0550. If poor cell phone service prevents use of the voice number, anglers can leave a phone number (including area code) at (888) 784-0600.
Official ShareLunker weigh and holding stations have been established at a number of reservoirs; a list is at http://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/sharelunker/holding/.
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 tpwd.texas.gov/sharelunker/. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, will be posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram. "Like" this page and you can receive notification and photos of catches as soon as they become available.
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. Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.
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. Toyota also sponsors the Toyota Texas Bass Classic world championship of bass fishing, which will be held at Lake Fork in May 2014.

[ Note: This item is more than three years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Dec. 30, 2013
Public Comment Sought on Use of Toxic Substances to Collect Nongame Wildlife
AUSTIN - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is proposing an amendment to the Parks and Wildlife regulations that would make it illegal to use noxious or toxic substances to disturb or collect nongame wildlife as well as prohibiting the possession of nongame wildlife collected using these substances.
The technique, often used to collect rattlesnakes, is commonly referred to as "gassing." Persons engaged in structural or agricultural pest control activities would be exempted from the rule.
Using noxious or toxic substances such as gasoline or ammonia to force wildlife from burrows, dens, and other places of concealment has come under increasing scientific scrutiny as questions arise concerning negative ecological impacts to associated ecosystems, populations, and non-target species.
If the amendment is approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, Texas would become the 30th state in which the practice is partially or completely prohibited, including the four states sharing a border with Texas -- Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
Six meetings to allow for public input on this proposed amendment have been set for January:
--Jan. 7: 7p.m. at Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, 9601 Fossil Ridge Road, Fort Worth.
--Jan. 8: 7p.m. at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Regional State Parks Office, 14200 Garrett Road, Houston.
--Jan. 13: 7 p.m. at Lion's Field Adult and Senior Citizen Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio.
--Jan. 17: 10a.m. at The Center, Texas State Technical College, 300 Homer K. Taylor Drive, Sweetwater.
--Jan. 23: 9 a.m. at Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Meeting, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
Public meetings will also be held in San Antonio and Taylor. Dates, times, and locations for those meetings will be posted online at tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/wildlife_diversity/meetings as they become available.
Comments regarding the proposed amendment may also be made online at tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/ or submitted to Andy Gluesenkamp, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-8722; email: andy.gluesenkamp@tpwd.texas.gov.
Current literature supports the conclusion that the use of noxious substances to collect or harass nongame wildlife negatively affects not only those animals that are being pursued, but other animals that co-inhabit or subsequently use a treated refuge. For instance, researchers investigating the effects of one-time "gassing" on gopher tortoise burrows (under variable exposure intensities and durations) demonstrated that the practice resulted in significant mortality in four species of snake and one species of mammal. Laboratory experiments conducted on seven species of snakes, lizards, and toads in 1989 determined that a 30-minute vapor exposure produced a "dramatic and obvious" effect on the test subjects and resulted in a range of outcomes from short-term impairment to death. Other studies have shown a strong correlation between exposure to petroleum products and mortality in various species.
In addition, use of noxious chemicals to flush or capture wildlife is a demonstrable threat to species that use karst environments as habitat, which is of particular importance in Texas. Karst environments are typically created by the long-term chemical action of water on calcareous rocks such as limestone, which creates sinkholes, caverns, and other features that then become habitat for highly specialized aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Many of these species are extremely rare and several are currently considered threatened or endangered. Karst ecosystems and the species they host, by their nature, are fragile and especially sensitive to pollutants.
In addition to prohibition on the use of gasoline, or any other stupefying, noxious or toxic chemical or substance to take, harry, flush, or dislodge nongame wildlife, the proposed amendment would also prohibit any person from knowingly possessing wildlife that was captured as a result of the use of gasoline or another stupefying, noxious, or toxic chemical or substance. The department's reasoning is that if a specimen of nongame wildlife was collected by use of an unlawful method, no person who knows that the specimen was unlawfully collected should be permitted to possess it.
The proposed amendment also would create an exception for pesticides being used in accordance with labeling instructions by persons licensed under certain provisions of the Occupations Code or the Agriculture Code. The department has determined that the rules should not apply to persons licensed to conduct structural or agricultural pest control activities. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is expected to take action on the proposed amendment at its January 23 meeting.
On the Net:
Research: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/news_roundup/environmental_impact_of_petroleum_compounds/

[ Note: This item is more than three years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Dec. 30, 2013
Off-Duty Game Warden Shot While Hunting
SULPHUR SPRINGS - An off-duty Texas game warden was shot Sunday evening while bow hunting on Cooper Wildlife Management Area in Delta County.
Listed in stable condition in intensive care at Dallas's Parkland Hospital Monday is Game Warden Chris Fried, 31, of Cooper. He was transferred to the hospital from Hopkins County Memorial Hospital in Sulfur Springs late Sunday. The warden suffered a gunshot wound to the upper right arm, with the bullet lodging in his chest.
Fried was wounded between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday. He was able to use his cell phone to call for help. A TPWD wildlife biologist reached him first, did what he could to help him, and then went for additional help.
The 14,160-acre WMA is open for archery-only whitetail deer hunting by licensed hunters with a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Annual Public Hunting Permit.
The incident is being investigated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Internal Affairs and game wardens assigned to the Department's Criminal Investigation Division as well as the Delta County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Rangers. A game warden forensics team was on the scene Monday to gather data which can be used to reconstruct what occurred.
Fried is based in Delta County and has been a game warden since June 2009.