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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-04-04                                    |
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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: Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KD]
April 4, 2005
San Jacinto Day Festival, Battle Re-Enactment Will Be April 23
LA PORTE, Texas - The San Jacinto Day Festival will be held April 23 to celebrate the 169th anniversary of the battle that earned Texas' independence from Mexico in 1836.
The historic Battle of San Jacinto will be commemorated with a two-hour re-enactment, complete with hundreds of uniform-clad, musket-toting performers re-creating everything from the Runaway Scrape -- when Texian settlers fled to the east to escape advancing Mexican troops -- to the surrender of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to Gen. Sam Houston and his troops on April 21, 1836.
The Saturday festival lasts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission to the San Jacinto Monument and the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is free. It takes place on the original site of the battle, 22 miles east of downtown Houston. The re-enactment begins at 3 p.m. Lawn chairs and blankets will be allowed.
In addition to the battle, visitors can freely explore both Mexican and Texian "camps" and learn about military and civilian life during the 1830s.
Horses, cannons, pyrotechnics, and narration will also be part of the performance. Vendors, known as "sutlers" in the 1800s when they sold their products at military posts, will be on hand throughout the grounds to sell and demonstrate their goods for the public.
Other events during this year's festival include master symphony musician Dean Shostak playing a fiddle purportedly owned by Davy Crockett, history activities and crafts for children, and a dig site hosted by the Houston Archeological Society, where visitors can search for artifacts. Children can also participate in 1830s games.
Historian Dan Barth will host a performance with audience participation using a full-sized antique medicine show wagon, and revisionist historian Jim Crisp will discuss the "true identity" of the Yellow Rose of Texas.
Texas-style foods and beverages will be offered for sale at the park. K. R. Woods and the Fathers of Texas Band will provide period musical entertainment. Parking is available, with shuttle buses transporting park visitors from designated areas throughout the day.
On April 21, state Rep. Wayne Smith will be the keynote speaker at the traditional San Jacinto Day ceremony to be held at 11 a.m. on the steps of the San Jacinto Monument. Ron Stone will serve as the master of ceremonies.
In conjunction with the festival, the Battle of San Jacinto Symposium will be held on April 16 at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Houston. Several speakers will lecture on various topics related to this turning point in Texas history. The symposium lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with on-site registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. For more information on the symposium, call (281) 496-1488.
The festival is hosted by Kirby Corp., the San Jacinto Museum of History Association, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the San Jacinto Volunteers.
For more information, please call (281) 479-2421.
---
On the Net:
http://www.sanjacinto-museum.org/
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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]
April 4, 2005
Experienced Anglers Sought for Coastal Fisheries Bay Team
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is looking for some skilled anglers to help catch spotted sea trout and flounder for its hatchery breeding program. Rough work, but someone's got to do it, and TPWD is dangling some nice bait--one angler at each of four special tournaments coming up on the Texas coast will win a lifetime fishing license.
With the new Coastal Fisheries Bay Team program, TPWD is working with coastal conservation groups to recruit experienced folks who have the skill to handle fish so they arrive alive and well at the hatcheries.
"This all ties in to genetic diversity--the more fish we have for hatchery broodstock, the better it will be for the millions of fish we stock in Texas public waters to improve fishing each year," said Robert Adami, TPWD coastal fisheries biologist in Corpus Christi.
"Avoiding inbreeding is an essential component of any hatchery breeding program. You don't want the same fish siblings year after year after year. You want at least 25 percent of your brood stock to be new fish each year, and this program is helping us do that."
Two of the four tournaments will focus on catching spotted seatrout, and the other two will focus on southern flounder for this year. For tournaments focusing on spotted seatrout, only one fish more than 25 inches may be turned in per angler.
Each Coastal Fisheries Bay Team tournament is open to 30 two-person teams, 60 people total, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration takes place on-site the day of each tournament. There is no entry fee, but all entrants must be 21 years old or older. Participants may turn in three fish per tournament.
At each tournament, anglers who bring in fish will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a lifetime fishing license worth $600. Participants who do not bring in fish will be entered into a drawing at each tournament for a fishing gear prize package--a Texas Tackle Factory rod and Shimano Curado reel combo, Boga grip and a Garmin GPS unit. Every participant will receive a shirt and cap.
The prizes, equipment, and program are made possible through support from Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Since 1991, Anheuser-Busch, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, has contributed millions of dollars in funding to support conservation causes and fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation programs in Texas.
Since TPWD began enlisting anglers to help catch fish for hatcheries at special tournaments eight years ago, more than 1,200 people have helped catch more than 1,500 fish.
All of the tournaments listed below will take place from 6 a.m.-12 p.m.
--April 9 -- South Padre Island, Sea Ranch Marina -- Spotted Seatrout
--April 23 -- Corpus Christi, Marker 37 -- Spotted Seatrout
--Oct. 29 -- Sabine Lake, S.A.L.T. Club -- Southern Flounder
--Nov. 12 -- Texas City, Texas City Dike -- Southern Flounder
Anglers interested in becoming a member of the Coastal Fisheries Bay Team can contact Adami at the CCA/CPL Marine Development Center at robert.adami@tpwd.texas.gov or (361) 939-7784.
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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: Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov ] [RM]
April 4, 2005
'Texas State Parks Pass' Popularity Grows As It Enters Second Year
AUSTIN, Texas-- Campers, anglers, cyclists, hikers and other state park users are snapping up the new $60 Texas State Parks Pass in growing numbers as the busy spring and early summer seasons beckon folks to the great outdoors.
Launched Jan. 1, 2004, the parks pass's first-year sales reached almost 60,000, generating $3.7 million in revenues for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's state park operations.
The Texas State Parks Pass replaced the old Texas Conservation Passport window decal with the new credit card-style parks pass that provides greater access to state parks and historic sites, as well as camping and park store merchandise discounts and other benefits. More importantly, the pass provides free entry to all 120 state parks and historic sites for members and their guests traveling with them in their vehicle. With park entries ranging from $2-5 a person, frequent park users are finding the parks pass a bargain. Pass monies collected by the state parks go to fund park maintenance that helps keep them safe and ensure that the visitor has a quality experience.
Mel Gideon of Doss didn't hesitate to purchase the new park pass when it became available.
"It's certainly economical. We have a state park that we frequent that's close by," Gideon said. "We love to take our family to just have a picnic or hike in. We go there often so it pays to have the pass, because you used to have to pay a per-person fee to go in. Another reason I bought the pass is because it helps support our state park system."
The revamped annual pass is good for a year from the time of purchase. Families who often visit state parks and arrive at different times or in more than one vehicle may opt to make a same-day purchase of a two-card pass package for $75.
The Texas State Parks Pass was designed to be easier to use and to provide greater value to park users than the previous annual parks pass. Some of the Texas State Parks Pass' "extra perks" include:
--Discounts for camping, state park store merchandise, recreational equipment rentals and more
--The Getaway Planner, a quarterly e-newsletter customized to the cardholder's areas of interest, such as mountain biking, hiking and Texas history, and quarterly updates about special member discounts
--A 73 percent discount off the cover prices of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine
--A free copy of the Texas State Park Guide
--A bumper sticker that reads: "Our parks won't be the same without you. Texas State Park Member."
The new parks pass replaced the gold Texas Conservation Passport, the sales of which were discontinued on Dec. 31, 2003. The 48,000 TCP holders were able to use their old card through Dec. 31, 2004 and were eligible to receive a $10 discount off the purchase of their first Texas State Parks Pass.
According to Texas State Parks Director Walt Dabney, the new parks pass not only represents a great value for the money but also addresses concerns expressed by TCP-holders, supports parks directly and builds customer loyalty. He noted that the new pass, unlike the TCP, allows pass members and their guests not only to get into historic sites for free, but also allows them a self-guided tour of the sites' featured attractions at no cost. "The new Texas State Parks Pass is more user-friendly and a better all-around value for state park users," Dabney said.
The Texas State Parks Pass can be purchased at all 120 Texas state parks and historic sites and through TPWD's Customer Contact Center at (512) 389-8900.
Pass purchasers initially will receive a temporary card and plastic mirror hanger that will be replaced within 30-45 days by a plastic card bearing the purchaser's name. Customized cards will be mailed in a special package that includes discount coupons for camping, a bumper sticker and information on how to sign up for the Getaway Planner e-newsletter.
---
On the Net:
For more information, or call (800) 792-1112 or visit the TPWD Web site: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/parkpass/
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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 ] [LH]
April 4, 2005
Funding Sought To Save State Fish of Texas
ATHENS, Texas--When the Texas Legislature named the Guadalupe bass the state fish of Texas in 1989, it did so because of the fish's distinctive nature. Found nowhere else in the world outside the San Antonio, Guadalupe, Colorado and Brazos river systems, the Guadalupe bass exemplifies the qualities and resources of the Texas Hill Country.
Ironically, the same conditions that developed the Guadalupe bass also made it vulnerable to change.
Two main factors have led to a decline in the number of Guadalupe bass: habitat loss and hybridization with introduced smallmouth bass. The latter has been by far the more serious.
"These fish lived so totally separated from each other that they never developed mechanisms to avoid hybridization," said Gary Garrett, Ph.D., a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fisheries biologist who has studied the problem for the last decade at TPWD's Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center near Ingram.
Following the stocking of smallmouth bass into Hill Country streams beginning in 1974, scientists began finding hybrids resulting from interbreeding between the two species.
"We didn't know it was going to happen," Garrett said. "We became concerned, and I took on research into the problem as part of my job in the mid-1980s. We did a wide-range survey and found the problem was more serious than we thought. About 30 to 40 percent of the fish were already hybridized."
"As soon as we found out hybridization was occurring, we began moving to try and reverse the process," said Phil Durocher, director of TPWD's Inland Fisheries Division.
"The first thing we did was prohibit any further stocking of smallmouth bass into the native range of the Guadalupe bass to make sure things didn't get worse. Secondly, we began looking at producing and stocking Guadalupe bass to reverse what had already occurred. Dr. Garrett has led those efforts."
TPWD biologists decided the best approach was to fight fire with fire by stocking Guadalupe bass in such numbers that their offspring would overwhelm the hybrids. That approach presented its own difficulties.
"First we had to figure out how to raise a riverine fish adapted to living in fast-flowing streams in a hatchery environment," Garrett recalled. "A muddy bottom and still water didn't work. Our hatchery expert, Bobby Wienecke, came up with a modified nesting box we called Guadalupe bass condos. His idea was that the fish wanted to be shaded, since they tend to hang around cover such as large rocks, cypress roots and stumps in the wild. So he built boxes with screened bottoms, filled them with gravel and put a roof over them supported by two posts. The fish took to them immediately."
TPWD began stocking hatchery-raised Guadalupe bass in 1992. Luckily, the ideal test site ran right by Heart Of The Hills: Johnson Creek. Hybrid bass had spread from the Guadalupe River up into the lower reaches of the creek, but none had yet penetrated far upstream. "We found that for the first five or six years, we didn't seem to be having much of an impact," Garrett said. "What was happening was that we were pouring large numbers of fish into the creek, and they were moving out into the river. That diluted the effect in the creek, but it spread it over a much larger area, and it took longer to have an effect than we anticipated."
In retrospect, Garrett says, nature was pointing the way to success. "If we had been stocking Guadalupe bass into all arms of the river all along, we would be much farther down the road than we are now."
Stocking the main stem of the river and its north and south arms, however, would require more fish than Heart Of The Hills could produce.
"Tripling the number of Guadalupe bass produced would put a strain on the hatchery system," Garrett said. "Fortunately, in the last two or three years a number of things have happened that now make it possible. A cooperative effort by TPWD, the Upper Guadalupe River Authority, Hill Country Fly Fishers, Southern Council of Fly Fishers, Texas Association of Bass Clubs, the Federation of Fly Fishers and the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau will enable us to stock up to 225,000 Guadalupe bass fingerlings each year for the next five years."
One other piece of the puzzle that fell into place was the availability of pond space at the federal fish hatchery in Uvalde.
"The Upper Guadalupe River Authority is seeking grant funds to pay for the fish from the federal hatchery," Garrett explained. "Our department will continue to produce 75,000 fish each year, and the grant will purchase 150,000 annually from the federal hatchery. Thus there is no increase in cost to TPWD."
"This program is important to us, and we want to thank everybody who is helping," Durocher said.
Garrett looks forward to the day when Guadalupe bass once again reign supreme in the Hill Country streams that gave them life.
"I expect we will be able to reduce hybridization to near zero if not zero," he said. "It's going to be very hard to do, but we're not going to walk away from this. If we can get the rate of hybridization to near zero, I think nature can finish the job from there."
In yet one more twist, the same traits that let the Guadalupe bass develop, and made it vulnerable to hybridization, will ultimately prove to be its salvation.
"These fish are adapted to whatever it is that makes Hill Country streams unique," Garrett said. "They are able to out-compete other species, including the hybrids. Once we get the situation stabilized, these fishes' special characteristics will let them hold their ground."
Although they never get very large--the state and world record is 3.69 pounds--Guadalupe bass are a popular sport fish. Fishing for these agile, scrappy fish in fast-flowing waters is said to be similar to fishing for trout in mountain streams.
Anyone who has ever fished for Guadalupe bass in scenic Hill Country streams that remain the most pristine rivers in Texas can appreciate one other quality of the fish. "One of the nicest things about Guadalupe bass is you can't catch one in an ugly place," Garrett said. "That alone makes them worth saving."
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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 ] [KD]
April 4, 2005
TV Series To Feature State Park Equestrian Trails
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas horses and riders will make a television appearance in July, in a new television series featuring several of Texas' equestrian trails and facilities.
The Texas Horse Council, based in Houston, invited producers for Best of America By Horseback to ride at private ranches and other sites across the state, including Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera, Big Bend Ranch State Park in Presidio, Parrie Haynes Ranch in Killeen, Cooper Lake State Park in Sulphur Springs, Isle du Bois Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park in Pilot Point and Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon. *
Producers say the show, which began filming in February, will air on both Dish TV Network and DirecTV. The weekly series will feature trail ride destinations from across America, as well as stabling locations and area attractions.
The Texas trails being filmed for the series offer diverse surroundings and amenities.
The Panhandle-area Palo Duro Canyon State Park is home to red, gold and lavender geologic formations, as well as an abundance of plants and wildlife.
Approximately 20 miles of trails run along the river's edge and through the canyon land. There are primitive equestrian sites and four pens for stabling horses. The park's Old West Stables provides guided horseback rides in the canyon and to the park's world famous "Lighthouse" formation.
At the Isle du Bois Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park north of Dallas, there are more than 26 miles of sandy-surfaced trails through wildflower-covered prairies and scenic lake views. Fourteen overnight campsites are available, complete with picnic table, lantern hanger, fire ring with grill and hitching posts.
Lovers of more southern parts of Texas can find plenty of horse-back riding adventure in Hill Country State Natural Area west of San Antonio, where approximately 40 miles of multi-use trails wind up grassy valleys, cross spring-fed streams and climb limestone hills. Primitive and backcountry campsites are available to equestrian and non-equestrian campers.
The Parrie Haynes Ranch near Temple, managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, functions as a conference, environmental and equestrian center, particularly focusing on providing opportunities to the youth of Texas.
Big Bend Ranch State Park offers daily horseback rides at the Sauceda Ranch Headquarters with park staff guiding visitors through some of park's canyon trails.
The Buggy Whip Equestrian Trail at Cooper Lake State Park covers more than 10 miles, with panoramic lake views and rides through forest shade.
For more information about horseback opportunities in state parks, call (800) 792-1112.
* Correction, April 11, 2005: The original version of this news release incorrectly referred to Best of America By Horseback as Best of American Horseback. (Return to corrected item.)
---
On the Net:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/activities/equine/
http://www.bestofamericabyhorseback.com/
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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: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
April 4, 2005
Love Is in the Water at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS, Texas--If you think all it takes to raise a baby bass is a momma bass, a poppa bass and a cozy pond, you'd be wrong.
March is the month when catches of big bass peak in Texas, and it's also the month when Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fish hatcheries begin raising the next generation of lunkers.
Texas bass fishing is among the best in the nation, and no small part of the reason is the stocking of hatchery-raised fish into public waters all over the state. TPWD operates five freshwater hatcheries, but few people are aware of the complexity and artistry of the process of rearing fish.
And at any rate, most people care only about the hoped-for result: a lunker bass rising to smash their lure.
Making it possible for that to happen often enough to become almost commonplace is the job of TPWD hatchery managers and fisheries technicians.
This is how they do it.
The recipe for baby bass reads like a magic potion: acres of water, miles of plumbing, ozone, Astroturf, sodium bicarbonate, calcium chloride, sodium sulfite, cottonseed meal, phosphoric acid, the right mood lighting and a laser--not to mention two willing fish and anxious humans superintending the whole process.
Hatchery bass spawn in response to the same stimuli as their wild counterparts: warming water and lengthening days in the spring. Temperatures from 59-71 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal. Juan Martinez, the biologist who supervises the spawning of Budweiser ShareLunker bass at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, thinks that a rising barometer also helps trigger spawning. Thus spring storms may play a part. To maximize the effects of longer days, hatchery building doors are kept open from sunup to sundown during the spawning period.
Martinez points out one other factor key to the success of the ShareLunker program, which spawns angler-donated 13-pound-plus females and stocks the offspring into public waters in an effort to improve the quality of bass fishing. "The program depends on the anglers," he says. "If they catch a fish and keep it in good condition, it will probably spawn, so it's very important for them to care for the fish properly when it is caught." Guidelines can be found on the TFFC Web site (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fish/infish/hatchery/tffc/sharelunker.htm#Tips).
When a ShareLunker arrives at TFFC, ShareLunker program manager David Campbell gives it what amounts to a fishy physical and treats it for any apparent problems such as fungus or bacterial infections. It's then kept in isolation for two days to be sure it is healthy.
ShareLunker females are paired with three or 4-year-old males that are themselves descendants of prior ShareLunkers. The male fish spend the bulk of the year in outside hatchery ponds and are brought into the indoor hatchery for spawning. Size matters. The big females snack on rainbow trout while getting ready to spawn. A male largemouth that is too small may end up as lunch for the female instead of becoming her mate.
As befitting fish worth their weight in gold, ShareLunkers are pampered. Water in their 475-gallon private tanks, drawn from Lake Athens, is kept at a constant 63 degrees and is treated with ozone to kill any potentially harmful organisms. Technicians add sodium bicarbonate and calcium chloride to the soft lake water to bring its hardness to 75 parts per million, and the pH is adjusted to range between 8-9. "The eggs depend on calcium to activate motility," says Martinez, "and the fish tend to do better in hard water than in soft."
As the spawning season approaches in mid-March, technicians place "spawndominiums" and Astroturf mats in the lunker tanks. The spawndominiums are two-sided frameworks of plastic pipe holding black mesh. The Astroturf mat is placed inside the spawndominium. It's not for the sake of privacy; bass simply like to have some structure to relate to, much as they would a submerged log or boulder in the wild.
Bass are very territorial, and the male soon stakes a claim to the mat and begins trying to attract the female to join him by rubbing his body against her underside in a kind of courtship dance. If she likes the cut of his jib, she rolls onto her side and releases eggs, and he fertilizes them. The eggs fall onto the Astroturf mat, which are checked the first thing every morning.
Technicians collect mats with eggs and rinse them in a sodium sulfite solution for about 20 seconds to release the eggs from the mat. Fresh water is then used to flush the eggs out, and they are run through a piece of equipment called a Jensorter, which uses a laser beam to count them.
The 7,000-12,000 eggs from each spawn are placed in a separate cylinder called a McDonald jar, which has ozonated water constantly circulating through it. The eggs hatch in two to five days, depending on water temperature, and the fry are transferred to one-foot by eight-foot metal troughs, where they feed off their egg sac until they are big enough to swim, at about age 8-12 days.
At this point the fry have one thing on their mind: food. While spawning has been going on, Tony Owens, the manager of the outdoor hatchery ponds, and his crew have been busy growing that food. After filling ponds with lake water, they add cottonseed meal, phosphoric acid and liquid ammonium nitrate to the water to fertilize it. The pond is then "inoculated"--zooplankton-rich water from another pond is added. The tiny organisms multiply at a tremendous rate, and by the time bass fry are added, there is abundant food for them to eat. The fry from each ShareLunker get their own private pond--spawns are not mixed.
"We continue to fertilize the ponds two or three times a week and sample the fish to check their growth," Owens says. "In 25 to 30 days the fry will have reached fingerling size, about 1.5 inches, and will have eaten all the zooplankton. At this point we stock them into rearing ponds."
In yet another aspect of this complicated dance, Owens and crew have also been growing millions of koi carp to just the right size to be eaten by tiny bass. The koi are put into rearing ponds about 10 days before the bass fingerlings are stocked at the rate of 100,000-150,000 per acre. "The whole trick is to get the bass the food of the right size at the right time to keep them from eating each other," Owens says.
The ShareLunker fingerlings are raised to 6-inch size before being stocked into public waters. Growing them to that size requires the rearing of tens of millions of koi carp for food, but the survival rate of the larger fish when released is much better than for small fry.
Some fingerlings from each spawn are held back to be used as broodfish in the future. This allows TFFC to carry on a selective breeding program in which big bass genes are concentrated from one generation to the next, and it also ensures genetic diversity.
At press time, the fish caught by Rickey Williams of Lubbock from Lake Alan Henry on Jan. 29 was showing signs of getting ready to spawn. Her mate was hovering just beneath her over the Astroturf mat. It has taken dedication, teamwork and more than a little luck to bring these two fish together to make more fish.
And somewhere out there is an angler who will, someday, pull one of those fish from the water and rejoice over the fish of a lifetime, never realizing that the bass on his line is also on the end of another, much longer line, one that has touched the lives of many other fish and people.
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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 ]
April 4, 2005
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
E-Bay Bust -- Recently, investigators found a fish shocking device offered for sale on EBay, made contact with the seller, and became the high bidder. Undercover investigators then made contact with the seller at his residence in Erath County. Before the deal was completed, the seller bragged about killing 12 ducks after sunset the day before and gave the breasted ducks to the officers. Additionally, he gave them several homemade "fish bombs" with wet fuses and told of his latest invention, a way to shock doves off a highline. The person was "charged" with selling an electricity-producing device designed to shock fish, a Class B Misdemeanor, and was placed in the Erath County Jail.
Tragic Courthouse Shooting -- Game Wardens were driving toward the Tyler office recently, to discuss a major case in Wood County. They heard one of the district judges on the radio describing shots fired at the courthouse. A pursuit began involving sheriff deputies and Tyler Police officers. Dispatch called for all officers, all agencies to rush to the courthouse where the man had been shooting, not knowing if other assailants were present. Game wardens assisted other officers in working perimeter security around the courthouse, which became one large crime scene. A Tyler man embroiled in a bitter child support dispute had opened fire with an AK-47 rifle killing his ex-wife and a good Samaritan on the East side of the courthouse, wounding two deputies, one police officer, and the shooter's oldest son. Others were injured from flying glass. The 43-year-old suspect, wearing body armor, died in a gun fight with officers after a vehicle pursuit. The good Samaritan, a private citizen and a concealed handgun license holder, had critically wounded the suspect. This citizen is credited with saving the life of the wounded 23-year-old son of the assailant. One 28-year-old Smith County Deputy Sheriff remains in critical condition with multiple rifle wounds. Other wounded officers were treated and released. The Smith County Courthouse was closed Friday as the investigation continued.
Bald Eagle Death Being Investigated -- An Angelina county Game Warden recovered a mature bald eagle on Easter Sunday on an FM road south of Lufkin. It had been run over. The bird was sent to a federal repository in Colorado for an autopsy to make sure it was an accident.
Don't Let Personal Views Lead to Law-Breaking -- Game Wardens were inspecting the trapping operation in Sun City when, on two separate occasions, Sun City residents began honking their horn at one of the trap sites to scare the deer away. The wardens stopped the residents and advised that this was illegal under the hunter harassment law as this was a permitted process. The residents were issued warning citations. The wardens then asked the trappers if they could move their trap site so the public would not have easy access to it and to avoid future incidents. The trappers complied, and the rest of the operation went smoothly. Sun City had a permit to remove up to 150 deer by the end of March.
Game Wardens Like to Fish Too -- An Aransas County Game Warden was wadefishing in Aransas Bay on a day off recently. The speckled trout were being cooperative, as the game warden was catching a few keeper fish and releasing the undersize schooling fish. A neighboring fisherman not far from him was not being as conservative. The game warden waded his way toward the unsuspecting subject and asked if his day was going all right. The subject stated that everything was just fine as long as the game warden did not show up. A very surprised and very shocked subject got a real close up look at the badge, and the subject now has a date with the Justice of the Peace in Rockport.
Congrats! Wichita County Game Warden Pat Canan was awarded Officer of the Year for Texas at the recent National Wild Turkey Federation Conference. The award was based upon: public relations, positive attitude, professionalism, enthusiasm, dependability and investigative skills.
And More Kudos -- Williamson County Game Warden Brad Guinn and Milam County Game Warden Mike Mitchell were presented with Life Saving Awards from the Milam County Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2010. The honors recognized their efforts during a flood on Nov. 22, 2004. Guinn and Mitchell had retrieved a woman, her dog, and her horse from rising waters that morning in southwest Milam County.
Big Bust -- Galveston County Game Wardens caught a commercial snapper boat in possession of 3,493 pounds of undersize red snapper, or a total of 2,726 undersize fish. While conducting the inspection of the vessel, a hidden compartment was located which contained all of the undersize red snapper and an additional 2,128 pounds of fish, for a total of 5,641 pounds of hidden red snapper. Cases are pending.
Unauthorized Used of TPWD Logo -- A Motley County Game Warden received a call from a concerned landowner about a Web site that she had visited. The Web site, advertising a guide service, listed TPWD as a sponsor. Game wardens had previously filed charges on one of the owners of the guide service and his family members related to a scheme to exceed the bag limit on deer. The landowner was wondering why TPWD would sponsor a known violator. TPWD attorneys handled the matter.
"$10 or $19,000 -- What's the dif?" -- A Cameron County Game Warden completed a boat fraud investigation where two individuals purchased a 33-foot sailboat for $19,000. The subjects reported on the registration paperwork that they had only paid $10 for the vessel. Charges were filed for falsifying state documents and a total of $1,400 was recovered in taxes and penalties.
Boat Busts -- Marine Theft investigators have been busy. From December through February, they seized seven personal watercrafts, 10 boats, 11 trailers, and six motors. Of these, five personal watercrafts, four boats, two trailers, and two motors have already been awarded to the department and additional property hearings pending.
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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]
April 4, 2005
TPWD Calendar
The following meetings may be of interest to the public.
--The TPW Commission will meet April 6-7 and anyone can listen to it live via the TPWD Web site.
--Education & Outreach Advisory Committee, noon to 3 p.m., April 5, GSD&M Ad Agency, 6th and Lamar, Austin.
--Wildlife Diversity Policy Advisory Committee, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. April 12, Bass Conference Room, TPWD Headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
--Operation Game Thief Committee, 10:30 a.m., April 21, location TBA.
--Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Board, 10 a.m., April 26, Bass Conference Room, TPWD Headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin
--White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27, Commission Hearing Room, TPWD Headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
--Texas River Conservation Advisory Board, 1-4 p.m., April 29, Commission Hearing Room, TPWD Headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
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