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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2014-01-23                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than eight months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Ken Kurzawski, 512-389-4591, ken.kurzawski@tpwd.texas.gov; or Mike Cox, 512-389-8046, mike.cox@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Jan. 23, 2014
Parks and Wildlife Commission Approves Expansion of Zebra Mussel Rules
AUSTIN - In the state's ongoing effort to combat the spread of invasive zebra mussels, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Thursday approved expanding rules requiring anyone leaving or approaching public waters in 30 counties in Central and North Texas to drain their boats.
Anglers and boaters leaving or approaching public water will be required to take all reasonable steps to drain all water from their vessel, including live wells, bilges, motors, and any other receptacles or water intake systems. This applies to all types and sizes of boats, whether powered or not, personal watercraft, sailboats, or any other vessel used on public waters.
The new rule applies to all public waters in Archer, Bastrop, Bell, Bosque, Burnet, Clay, Comal, Comanche, Coryell, Eastland, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fayette, Freestone, Hamilton, Hays, Henderson (west of Highway 19), Hill, Johnson, Leon, Limestone, Llano, McLennan, Navarro, Robertson, Somervell, Travis, Wichita, and Williamson.
Similar rules are in effect for 17 counties in North Texas -- Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Fannin, Grayson, Hood, Jack, Kaufman, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Stephens, Tarrant, Wise, and Young.
The Commission's actions on Thursday also modified rules that affect participants in fishing tournaments holding off-site weigh-ins. The changes allow anglers participating in a fishing tournament confined to one water body during a single day to transport live fish in water from that water body to an identified weigh-in location, provided all water is drained from their vessels before leaving the weigh-in location. Anglers will be required to possess documentation provided by tournament organizers that would identify them as participants in a tournament.
The rules to add the 30 counties and the allowance for off-site tournament weigh-ins will take effect in late February or early March.
Anglers are allowed to transport and use commercially purchased live bait in water provided they have a receipt that identifies the source of the bait. Any live bait purchased from a location on or adjacent to a public water body that is transported in water from that water body could only be used as bait on that same water body.
Movement from one access point to another on the same lake during the same day does not require drainage and there is an exception for governmental activities and emergencies. Marine sanitary systems are not covered by the new regulations
"Unfortunately, zebra mussel larvae, called veligers, are not visible to the naked eye," said Brian Van Zee, TPWD Inland Fisheries regional director based in Waco. "You could be transporting them on your boat and not even know it. This is why it's particularly important to always Clean, Drain, and Dry your boat and gear before heading to another water body."
Zebra mussels became established in Texas in Lake Texoma in 2009. Over the last two years, zebra mussels have been found in Lakes Belton, Bridgeport, Lavon, Lewisville, and Ray Roberts. They can expand their range even farther by hitching a ride on trailered boats that have been immersed or moored in waters where they have established populations.
The zebra mussel is a small, non-native mussel originally found in Eurasia. It has spread throughout Europe, where it is considered to be a major environmental and industrial menace. The mussel appeared in North America in the late 1980s and within 10 years had colonized all five Great Lakes and the Mississippi, Tennessee, Hudson, and Ohio River basins.
The rapidly reproducing mussels, can have serious economic and recreational impact to Texas reservoirs. They can clog public-water intake pipes, harm boats and motors left in infested waters by covering boat hulls, clog water-cooling systems, annoy boat-dock owners by completely covering anything left under water, and make water recreation hazardous because of their sharp shells.
For more information on zebra mussels and how to clean, drain and dry a boat, visit http://www.texasinvasives.org/
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[ Note: This item is more than eight months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Mike Cox, 512-389-8046, mike.cox@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Jan. 23, 2014
Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
--Over the Limit A Lubbock District captain and a Garza/Lynn County game warden were about to call off their patrol efforts for the day because of heavy rains, when they saw the headlights of an all-terrain vehicle going in to a ranch near Lake Alan Henry. The wardens gave the ATV a head start, then entered the ranch and tracked the vehicle's muddy prints. With windows down, the wardens soon heard the squawk of an injured rabbit, scanned the area, and saw two men hunting coyotes and hogs over two white-tailed deer carcasses. One of the wardens checked the men's licenses and asked when the two bucks, both with sawed-off skullcaps, had been killed. The man soon confessed to killing one of the bucks the day before, his second of the season in Garza County, a one-buck county. The wardens were led back to a nearby house, where multiple citations were issued and the illegal buck and skullcap were seized. Criminal charges and civil restitution are pending.
--Joyride Leads to Trouble A Titus County game warden received a call about riders of seven ATVs that were tearing up the road, throwing beer cans everywhere, and trespassing. The warden located the ATVs in a camp close to the area. Ten adults were found on the scene, two of whom were under 21. Citations were issued for minor in possession of alcohol, evading arrest, and operating an ATV on a public roadway. An investigation is pending on criminal trespass and burglary of a deer camp in the same area.
--Two Youths Earn Once-in-a-Lifetime Hunt A Dallas county game warden organized a once-in-a-lifetime red deer hunt on a local ranch for two youths. Working with the landowner, the TPWD Hunter Education office, and the Dallas Safari Club's Ecological/Education Foundation, the group developed criteria for this opportunity by developing prerequisites that not only educated each hunter, but showed the importance of hunting and conservation. To qualify for selection, each hunter was required to be currently enrolled in his/her high school's outdoor education program, complete a hunter education course, show firearm proficiency, and write a one-page essay on wildlife conservation. Both hunters were chosen from a competitive group and were accompanied by their fathers. Both were successful in taking two mature red deer stags, and one feral hog.
--Tossing up a White Flag A McCulloch County game warden was staking out Brady Lake when he saw an SUV stop nearby. After several minutes, the passenger tossed an empty bottle out of the window. After contacting the vehicle occupants, the warden discovered the driver and passenger had active arrest warrants for theft by check in McCulloch, Mason, Llano, and Burnet counties. Both individuals were booked into McCulloch County Jail.
--Tag, You're ItWhile checking a father and his two daughters, who were hunting in Harris County, a warden found both daughters had multiple tags missing from their licenses. The girls said they had never harvested a deer before and that this was their first time hunting this year. The father said he knew nothing about the missing tags on their licenses because both girls live with their stepfather and mother. After a lengthy interview with the stepfather, citations were issued for hunting under the license of another and over the bag limit of white-tailed deer. Cases pending.
--Swimming to SafetyWhile checking a fisherman in a kayak in a fairly remote location, a Comal County game warden noticed something in the water swimming towards his patrol boat. After closer inspection, the warden saw that it was a dog. He grabbed the pup and brought it aboard. The warden saw that the dog had no collar, was in need of a meal and since the water was about 53 degrees, he offered the pup a ride back to the shore. The dog was turned over to the New Braunfels Humane Society.
--Wrong Time, Wrong PlaceA Starr County game warden was informed about an ATV theft that had occurred. When the warden arrived on scene, a description of the missing ATV was obtained, but was not found. The next day while returning from a routine patrol, the warden noticed an ATV that matched the description of the one reported stolen the previous night. Contact was made and the ATV was identified as the one that was stolen. The operator was placed under arrest and the ATV was recovered.
--South Texas Peyote BustTwo Starr County game wardens were notified about hunters trespassing on a ranch. When the subjects returned to their vehicle, the wardens, who were waiting on scene, discovered that they were harvesting peyote on the property. The subjects were found in possession of 32 pounds of peyote and admitted that they were harvesting the plant and were intending to deliver it. The two subjects were charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a first-degree felony.
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[ Note: This item is more than eight months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Mike Cox, 512-389-8046, mike.cox@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Jan. 23, 2014
Game Warden Named "Texas Wildlife Officer of the Year" by National Wild Turkey Federation
AUSTIN--Game Warden Daniel Roraback has been named the 2013 Texas Wildlife Conservation Officer of the Year by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Director Carter Smith presented the award to Roraback at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting Thursday.
Roraback began his career with TPWD when he graduated with the 54th cadet class at the Texas Game Warden Training Academy in 2009. He is currently stationed in Red River County in northeast Texas.
As the president of the Pioneer Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Roraback organizes numerous Jake events for local schools, as well as organizing trips for local youth to experience turkey, waterfowl and deer hunting.
As a warden in a county bordering Oklahoma, Roraback learned the various hunting and fishing laws of that state, and has teamed up with Oklahoma wardens on numerous occasions to enforce game and fish laws on the Red River.
Roraback has also been involved with cases including a range of crimes involving aerial permit violations, criminal trespass and animal cruelty. He also makes numerous hunting cases annually and consistently maintains a high rate of conviction.
He was also selected to be a part of the department's highly specialized SCOUT team, serves as a Glock armorer and a role player for simunitions training.
The NWTF was founded in 1973 and strives to uphold hunting traditions and the conservation of more than 9.6 million acres of wildlife habitat. Since 2000, the NWTF has annually recognized game wardens from North America for enforcement activities related to wild turkeys. This marks the 14th year this award has been presented to a Texas game warden.
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