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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2013-03-14                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than a year 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]
March 14, 2013
Lingering Aftereffects of Drought Could Impact Turkey Hunting
AUSTIN -- Turkey hunters can focus their attention on coaxing old boss toms during the upcoming spring season, with relatively few gullible two-year-old birds available, but will also have to contend with curious jakes, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists.
Rio Grande spring turkey hunting season in the 54-county South Zone runs March 16-April 28. In the 101 counties comprising the North Zone, the season opens March 30 and runs through May 12. A special one-gobbler limit season opens April 1 and continues through April 30 in Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee and Milam counties.
"We had phenomenal production in 2010, which means there should be good hunting opportunities this spring for big old gobblers," said Jason Hardin, turkey program coordinator for TPWD,
"Going into last year many of these hens put forth tremendous nesting effort following a mild winter and late winter-early spring rains," he added. "This led to average to above average production so there will also be a large number of jakes on the landscape this spring."
"The drought of 2011 wreaked havoc on wild turkey production," Hardin continued. "There was almost zero nesting effort and the handful of hens attempting a nest were almost all unsuccessful. This will be obvious this spring with almost no two-year-old gobblers across Texas' Rio Grande turkey range."
Eastern spring turkey hunting in the 28 counties having an open season runs April 15-May 14.
According to Hardin, the Eastern turkey population remains stable, but is not expanding to the degree that biologists have hoped.
"Easterns across most of Texas have not shown much growth outside of a few areas stocked in 2007-2008," he said. "Those stocked sites were part of a research project examining a new stocking strategy known as super stocking."
This method calls for flooding the best available habitat with 80 turkeys (60 females and 20 males). The old stocking method only placed 15-20 birds per site. Following the positive results of this "super stocking" research, TPWD is now looking for large, high quality sites to be evaluated as potential future releases sites. These sites can be single ownership or a cooperative on private or public lands.
Hunters are reminded all harvested Eastern turkeys must be taken to a check station within 24 hours. To find the check station nearest you, contact a TPWD field office or call (800) 792-1112.
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[ Note: This item is more than a year 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]
March 14, 2013
Possum Kingdom Fish Survey Results
ATHENS -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries office in Wichita Falls recently completed fall electrofishing and spring gillnet surveys on Possum Kingdom Reservoir. Fisheries biologists use information from these surveys to develop plans for managing fish populations.
Electrofishing surveys examine populations of largemouth bass and prey species such as sunfish and shad. Gillnet surveys monitor the catfish, white and striped bass populations.
Possum Kingdom has periodically been affected by fish kills caused by golden alga, but the last major kill occurred in spring of 2010. Surveys indicate that fish populations have done relatively well since then.
While the largemouth bass catch rate for young bass 10 inches and less in length was down from 2010, the catch rate for legal length bass was up. "To help the bass population, we have developed a plan to increase habitat in the Cedar Creek area," said fisheries biologist Robert Mauk. "The plan includes sinking cedar trees along the shoreline to increase fingerling bass survival. Native vegetation plantings and sunken constructed habitat structures will aid adult bass and congregate them for anglers. We also have requested that the reservoir be stocked with Florida largemouth bass this year. The last stocking occurred in 2011."
The gizzard shad catch rate matched the historical average for the reservoir, but a majority of the shad were too large for most predators to consume. Bluegill numbers were up compared to 2010 but were still below the historical average. Threadfin shad were found in low abundance.
Spring gillnetting found the catfish populations to be in good shape. Blue catfish abundance was the highest documented for the reservoir, and they ranged in length from 10 to 33 inches. The channel catfish catch rate was unchanged from the previous survey and was above the historical average for the reservoir. Catfish were found throughout the reservoir, but the biggest blue catfish were observed in the Caddo Creek area.
The gillnetting survey showed low numbers of striped bass; sizes ranged from 22 to 26 inches in length. "Their catch rate was the lowest we have seen, though this is not surprising since the last stocking occurred in 2010 after a major fish kill caused by golden alga," Mauk said. "Striped bass have been requested annually, but the hatcheries have not been able to produce enough to meet the state's needs. This year we hope to get some stocked into the reservoir."
White bass numbers were up from the 2011 survey but were slightly below the historical average. "Fish ranged in size from 7 to 15 inches in length with good body condition," Mauk noted. "Most were located between the Peanut Patch and Costello Island."
Currently there are only three boat ramps available for launching, those at North and South D&D (also known as BRA Areas #4N and #4S) and one lane at Possum Kingdom State Park. Shoreline access is available for anglers at all public access areas. For information on lake access, contact the Brazos River Authority at (940) 779-2321. A water recreational use water permit from the BRA is required for boats.
For fisheries-related questions, call Robert Mauk at (904) 766-2383, e-mail Robert.Mauk@tpwd.texas.gov , or visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Parks-and-Wildlife-Inland-Fisheries-Wichita-Falls/462038887171703?ref=hl.
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