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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — May 20, 2009

New Art Work Takes Deer License Plate from Pink to Macho

Big Game Lovers Encouraged to "Show What Drives You!"

AUSTIN, Texas — The white-tailed deer specialty license plate that benefits big game management and research in Texas now sports new and improved artwork depicting a white-tailed deer, an image based fittingly on a trophy buck from a ranch served by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department technical assistance program.

The white-tailed deer license plate used to have art that was, well, pink. The new art portrays a true "venado macho" depicted in original hand-drawn art by TPWD artist Clemente Guzman.

The photo on which the art is based was obtained by TPWD Wildlife Biologist Jimmy Rutledge, who has worked with private landowners in South Texas on some of the state’s finest white-tail ranches for more than 20 years.

"John R. Nelson of Cotulla took that photo, a friend of mine and the department," Rutledge said. "He took it on the Wright Ranch in La Salle County, which happens to be one of our cooperators operating under a department-approved wildlife management plan. So to me, that photo really symbolizes our department philosophy of sound habitat management to achieve healthy wildlife."

Since it debuted in March 2002, the white-tailed plate has grossed more than $440,000 to benefit big game management and hunting programs. That includes helping fund efforts like TPWD’s Pronghorn Antelope Aerial Survey, Mule Deer Aerial Survey, Pronghorn Antelope Genetics Study, Comparison of Deer Survey Techniques for Small Acreages, White-tailed Deer Surveys and Texas Wildlife Information Management Services (TWIMS).

The deer plate is one of five specialty plates that support the TPWD mission. Others include the bluebonnet license plate benefiting Texas State Parks, the largemouth bass license plate benefiting largemouth bass management and production, the Texas horned lizard license plate benefiting wildlife diversity and the Ducks Unlimited plate benefiting wetlands habitat and diverse waterfowl. All told, the plates have raised more than $4 million for conservation work since 1999.

An expanded Texas Conservation License Plate Web site not only makes it easy to order the plates, but it includes a big section called Projects Funded: Where The Money Goes that details how the money from each plate is used.

All conservation license plates are available for vehicles, trailers and mortorcycles and cost just $30, with $22 going directly to help fund conservation efforts in Texas. The plate cost is an annual fee in addition to the vehicle registration fee. Motorists can order a plate anytime; it’s not necessary to wait for a renewal notice. Plates can be purchased online or at any county tax office in Texas, and should be ready about two weeks after the order is placed.

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