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Extra Bullets

By John Jefferson

“Lone Star Law” Rides Again

The third season of the cable TV show featuring Texas game wardens in action in the field is on the way. The program rated among the top 50 shows on cable last season, said Grahame Jones, TPWD Chief of Law Enforcement Special Operations. For additional information, visit facebook.com/LoneStarLaw.

PUTTING MUSCLE INTO SHAD COLLECTION

Effective April 13, 2017, new rules require a $60 permit to harvest shad from public fresh waters and use containers 82 quarts or larger in volume. No permit is required if the shad are used as bait on the lake where collected, or if a licensed fishing guide provides them to customers.

The spread of zebra mussels is the concern, explains Ken Kurzawski, TPWD Inland Fisheries Regulations Director. “Before this change, no permit was required if the shad were not sold, so there was less opportunity to inform those users of the risks of zebra mussel transfer,” Kurzawski said. Now they know.

Do-It-Yourself MLDP Tags

The Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP) that allows qualified properties to be hunted during extended seasons and with liberalized bag limits is being overhauled. With more than 10,000 ranches covering 26 million acres enrolled in the popular program, TPWD wildlife staff was stretched thin. Changes in the program help address part of the overload and expedite landowner participation.

Two options—Harvest or Conservation—will replace the former three levels of MLDP for white-tailed deer, mule deer MLDP and the Landowner Assisted Management Permit System (LAMPS). A major feature of the new MLDP will enable landowners or their agents to print their own MLDP tags through the Land Management Assistance online system. It will be operational before the 2017 hunting seasons.

Details and additional information about the MLDP are available at tpwd.texas.gov/business/permits/land/wildlife_management/mldp.

Kraken Now New Gulf Reef

Ancient Norwegian literature spoke of a scary sea monster, a giant octopus-like creature called “Kraken.” Herman Melville mentioned it in Moby Dick. It was sort of the forerunner of the Loch Ness monster. But that’s not what TPWD has found.

The current Kraken is also big—longer than a football field—but it’s actually a cargo vessel that recently sunk 67 miles off Galveston as the 21st and latest addition to TPWD’s Artificial Reef Program.Over time, it will serve as a reef, attracting fish, coral and other invertebrates—as well as divers and anglers. Kraken’s new address is 28 26.634 N; 94 17.168 W.

Does Matador Quail Bonanza Signal More To Come?

Public hunters shot a record 10,555 bobwhite quail on the Matador Wildlife Management Area northeast of Lubbock this past hunting season. That’s up from just 18 birds in 2012, when withering drought had dropped Texas quail numbers to all-time lows. The big Matador harvest exemplified good quail news across most of Texas, and it could bode well for the coming season—if rains continue. Matador manager Chip Ruthven says rainfall deserves much of the credit, but it’s also the payoff for many years of native grassland restoration using prescribed burns, rotational grazing, and brush control. “People shouldn’t get the idea that if it just rains we’ll have quail,” says TPWD quail expert Robert Perez. “We still need sizable land areas of suitable habitat so we can take full advantage of the rain when it comes.” Learn more at tpwd.texas.gov/quail.

John Jefferson is past president of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association and former executive director of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

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