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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-08-22                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
Aug. 22, 2005
Dove Hunters Get Expanded Whitewing Zone, Required Stamp
AUSTIN, Texas -- Depending upon where you plan to hunt, the upcoming Texas dove season could be hit or miss, but it won't be for a lack of birds. Those areas of the state that got hit with recent rain showers could pose a challenge, while drier environs should be promising, according to wildlife biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Field reports in mid-August suggest above-average dove populations and continued dry conditions throughout much of South Texas, and despite recent rains, in the Panhandle and West Texas as well. If current range conditions persist, say biologists, hunters should expect to find doves concentrating near watering holes and preferred food sources such as annual weeds and agricultural seed crops.
"The majority of the area has been in a state of drought throughout spring and summer except for only a recent flurry of rainfall events," says biologist Joe Herrera, TPWD's wildlife district leader for South Texas. "Weather conditions in South Texas had been excellent with above-average rainfall for nearly three straight years until about early March of 2005. Dry conditions have persisted since with little or no rainfall."
Despite dry range conditions, Herrera and his staff of biologists report excellent stands of annual weeds like croton, sunflower, and ragweed and some farm crops left standing due to drought, which are providing crucial food sources for doves.
"These food sources along with available watering holes or stock tanks will concentrate the birds and might allow hunters to more accurately predict where to hunt doves this coming hunting season," he notes.
Conversely, the Hill Country and many counties to the north have received abundant rainfall in recent weeks, which likely will disperse doves and make locating large flights of birds more difficult for hunters, biologists suggest.
"Much of north-central Texas was pounded with torrential rains recently, making surface water plentiful and potentially scattering doves that would otherwise be more concentrated," reports Kevin Mote, TPWD district biologist in Brownwood. "Reports from across the district seem to indicate that there are good numbers of doves currently present. Extremely dry conditions during early summer may have reduced wild food availability (native sunflower) so a good feed patch may be a hunter's best bet to a successful hunt this year in our area of the state."
Dove season in the North Zone is set for Sept. 1-Oct. 30, with a 15-bird bag and not more than two white-tipped doves; the Central Zone runs Sept. 1-Oct. 30 and reopens Dec. 26-Jan. 4, with a 12-bird bag and not more than two white-tipped doves; and the South Zone is set for Sept. 23-Nov. 10, reopening Dec. 26-Jan. 15 with a 12 bird bag but not more than two white-tipped doves. Possession limit is twice the daily bag.
Dove hunters in South Texas will have more opportunities in early September, thanks to an expanded Special South Texas Whitewing Zone, which now encompasses land west of I-35 and south of U. S. Highway 90. This means a 20 percent increase in the size of the special zone that is open to white-winged dove afternoon-only (noon to sunset) hunting the first two Saturdays and Sundays in September. Also new is a bag limit increase from 10 to12 birds, allowing not more than four (4) mourning doves and two (2) white-tipped doves.
Although the change drops the mourning dove bag limit from five birds to four during the special season, it does mean more hunting opportunity along the Highway 90 corridor.
"The good news is people who've traditionally hunted between I 35 and Highway 87 south of 90 now have the option of hunting the first two weekends," says Jay Roberson, TPWD dove program coordinator. "Those folks in the Special Whitewing Zone also have a 12 bird limit compared to 10 last year; the only downside is the mourning dove limit had to be dropped from five to four so hunters have to be more vigilant about shot selection particularly in more rural areas where more of the birds are mourning doves."
Sportsmen are reminded that a new Migratory Game Bird Stamp to help fund mourning dove conservation is now required of all Texas dove hunters. Senate Bill 1192 this year consolidated the state's game bird stamps. The white-winged dove stamp and the waterfowl stamp are now combined into a single Migratory Game Bird Stamp ($7), which will be required to hunt all migratory game birds, including ducks, geese, white-winged doves, mourning doves, white-tipped doves, sandhill cranes, woodcock, snipe, rails, and gallinules.
Hunters are also reminded to be on the lookout for banded birds. As part of a research effort to monitor movements of mourning doves, some birds have been marked with metal leg bands containing a unique number and a toll free telephone number (800-327-BAND or 2263) that hunters can call to report the band. Bands may also be reported on the Internet at (www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl). Hunters may keep the bands. It only takes a minute and doesn't cost a cent and hunters receive a certificate of appreciation that identifies when and where the dove was banded.
Hunters are cautioned that a valid Texas hunting license and HIP (Harvest Information Program, a federally mandated survey of migratory bird hunters) certification are required to hunt doves. Hunter education certification is also required, depending on your age; check the Outdoor Annual of hunting and fishing regulations booklet for details.
Dove hunters should take note they may only use "plugged" shotguns capable of holding no more than three shotshells.
For $48, the price of an Annual Public Hunting Permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, hunters can access more than a million acres of public hunting lands, including 143 units ranging in size from 23 to 5,860 acres and covering more than 59,000 acres leased primarily for hunting dove and other small game. TPWD's public hunting program leased the land using money generated by permit sales.
While public hunting lands can be found throughout the state, most of the dove and small game leases occur along the I-35 and I-10 corridors within easy driving distance of the major metropolitan areas. Some areas offer special hunting opportunity for youth.
For the latest dove hunting conditions across Texas, check out TPWD's Weekly Migratory Game Bird Report on the Web at www.tpwd.state.tx.us starting Sept. 1.
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Aug. 22, 2005
Super Combo Promotion Offers Prize Drawings
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is announcing a new promotion in which buyers of the Super Combo hunting and fishing license will automatically be entered in a series of drawings to win outdoor gear shopping sprees and state parks passes.
Anyone who buys a Super Combo hunting and fishing license by Dec. 31 will be automatically entered for a chance to win one of 10 $1,000 gift cards donated by Academy Sports and Outdoors, plus a $60 Texas State Parks Pass donated by Toyota.
A total of 10 drawings will be held every two weeks until the end of December, and everyone who buys a Super Combo will be entered in all subsequent drawings. This means the earlier a person buys, the better their chances.
No purchase is necessary to enter; entrants can enter online via the department Web site or can pick up an entry form at a TPWD Law Enforcement license sales office.
"We're doing this mainly to give something back to the hunters and anglers who have historically paid for wildlife conservation by buying licenses," said Robert L. Cook, TPWD executive director. "Also, we want to give folks an incentive to buy early in the season, which creates cash-flow timing that helps our agency and therefore helps the conservation cause. Finally, if anybody's on the fence wondering if they're going to hunt or fish this year, we hope this could be a reason for them to say yes."
New season licenses in Texas went on sale Aug. 15, and hundreds of thousands of hunters and anglers are expected to buy licenses in coming weeks. Dove season starts Sept. 1 in most of the state, and hunting seasons for deer, quail, turkey, waterfowl and other game follow in stages over the fall and winter.
Purchasers of four different license types are automatically entered in the promotion. These include the $64 Super Combo package, which has everything a person needs to hunt or fish in Texas (except the federal duck stamp, needed to hunt waterfowl), as well as the Resident Senior Super Combo, Resident Disabled Veteran Super Combo and Resident Active Military Super Combo.
Anyone can buy a Super Combo by visiting any of the close to 2,000 retail establishments that sell Texas hunting and fishing licenses, by phoning toll-free (800) TX-LIC-4-U (895-4248), or by going on online to the TPWD Web site.
Entrants for the drawings must be at least 17 years old, and employees of TPWD, Academy and Toyota are not eligible. Complete rules are on the department Web site.
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On the Net:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/combo
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Aug. 22, 2005
McCarty Becomes TPWD Deputy Executive Director
AUSTIN, Texas -- A former coastal fisheries biologist who started with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a fisheries technician in 1978 and rose up through the ranks has been named the agency's new Deputy Executive Director for Administration.
Gene McCarty graduated from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches in 1977 and went to work the next year at TPWD's Dundee Fish Hatchery near Wichita Falls. He became hatchery superintendent at Huntsville Fish Hatchery in 1981.
In 1982, McCarty switched gears to saltwater and until 1987 was a biologist at what was then called the John Wilson Marine Fish Hatchery in Corpus Christi. He later was statewide director of fish hatchery programs for TPWD, and in 1994 he assumed the top spot in coastal fisheries. He was coastal fisheries division director until 1997, when be became chief of staff, working in the Austin executive office as right hand man to the executive director.
McCarty played a major role in steering TPWD through two legislative sessions, working with all divisions to track bills, provide information and respond to lawmaker's requests. He also worked directly with the TPW Commission, the nine-member board appointed by the governor to oversee the state agency. Both roles drew him into the often complicated and difficult agency budget process.
"Gene McCarty brings field savvy and also in-depth knowledge of headquarters operations," said Cook, "he knows TPWD inside and out. He is exactly what we need in this role--someone who understands the needs of our field staff from first-hand experience, and who also knows the administrative, legislative, regulatory, and policy ropes, and can get things done in Austin. McCarty understands the value and importance of TPWD working closely and openly with oversight agencies such as the Legislative Budget Board, the State Auditor's Office and the State Comptroller's Office. Finally, the person in this job must be totally trustworthy and honest. We have the right man."
In his new role, McCarty supervises four divisions: Administrative Resources, Communications, Human Resources, and Information Technology. That includes the people who handle finance and budgeting; communication, education and outreach; employee hiring and training; and computers and telecommunications.
"These administrative functions may be less known to many Texans, but they're critical," McCarty said. "Without good financial management and budgeting, you can't function. Good communication and education are essential to have public understanding and support for conservation. Parks and Wildlife is known for the caliber of its people, and good hiring and training are the key to that. We live in the technology age and would be crippled without good IT support. My goal is to make sure there is effective teamwork and understanding between the admin side and the field operations side of the department."
McCarty's new position is effective immediately. The position of chief of staff will not be filled as a cost-savings measure, and those duties will be spread out and re-assigned to various division directors and other employees.
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
Aug. 22, 2005
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Heroic Effort -- A Grayson County Game Warden was patrolling the no wake zone at Eisenhower Yacht Club Marina on Lake Texoma, which was one of the checkpoints for a poker-run being held one recent afternoon. As the 100-plus mile-per- hour speedboats were starting to arrive, an acrobatic stunt plane began making several illegal low-altitude passes over the marina and arriving speedboats. On one of the passes, the game warden noticed that the plane's engine sputtered a couple of times as it passed by. A few minutes later, the warden heard the plane again and looked up in time to see the plane coming down toward the marina at a steep angle with smoke coming from the engine. The warden saw the plane crash into the water in the middle of one of the marina coves, narrowly missing the roof of one boathouse and coming within 40 yards of another boathouse on the opposite side of the cove. The plane hit within 150 yards of where the game warden was. The warden immediately radioed Grayson County requesting emergency personnel. Then, with the help of numerous boaters in the marina, the warden began trying to rescue the pilot. The warden tied the sinking plane to his patrol boat to keep it from sinking in the 50-foot water while the volunteers in the water frantically attempted to remove the pilot from the plane. Within a few minutes, a marine barge with a crane arrived and lifted the plane out of the water far enough to remove the deceased pilot. It was determined that the pilot died upon impact. After interviewing numerous witnesses, it was determined that just before the crash, the pilot had performed a Hammerhead Stall maneuver over the marina, had engine problems and never recovered from the maneuver.
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ] [KE]
Aug. 22, 2005
Stay Tuned
Information from Texas Parks and Wildlife is available on radio and television, as well as the newsstand.
Radio
Passport to Texas, TPWD's radio series of weekday, 90-second stories, is broadcast on more than 100 Texas stations. Airing this week, we'll tell you how anglers can help coastal fisheries by doing what they love most - fishing. TPWD Biologist Robert Adami explains the Gulf Coast Roundup. Plus, TPWD staff is literally putting one foot in front of the other to take inventory of every single trail in the state park system. We'll talk to TPWD Natural Resources Coordinator Greg Creacy about the project. For more information, visit the Web.
Video News
TPWD provides video news reports that run in newscasts on numerous Texas stations, as well as on cable and satellite outlets around the nation.
Television
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. This week on PBS: See how an unprecedented partnership of diverse groups is helping preserve the pristine habitat of Government Canyon State Natural Area. Deirdre Hisler, Jack Bauer, Erik Holmback, Trey Cooksey, John Freeman are just a few of the many TPWD employees that have been working long and hard to make Government Canyon a reality. According to park manager Randy Ferris, Fort Richardson State Historic Site in Jacksboro is a great place to discover history, relax, or ride your bike at. Pick a sleeping bag that fits the camping conditions. At Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near Glen Rose, a wildlife veterinarian takes care of a rhino, a kudu, and an egg. This week's postcard takes us canoeing on some of Texas' best rivers.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web.
Magazine
Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is always available on newsstands throughout the state and by subscription for $19.95 a year. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393 or order online.
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On the Net:
Passport to Texas: http://www.passporttotexas.org/
TPWD on PBS: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tv
TPW Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/
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