+-------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2014-06-10                                    |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|  This page contains only plain text, no HTML formatting codes.          |
|  It is not designed for display in a browser but for copying            |
|  and editing in whatever software you use to lay out pages.             |
|  To copy the text into an editing program:                              |
|    --Display this page in your browser.                                 |
|    --Select all.                                                        |
|    --Copy.                                                              |
|    --Paste in a document in your editing program.                       |
|  If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send            |
|  an e-mail to webtech@tpwd.state.tx.us and mention Plain Text Pages.    |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------+

[ Note: This item is more than a month old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Mike Cox, 512-389-8046, mike.cox@tpwd.texas.gov ]
June 10, 2014
Five Persons Sentenced in Connection with Texas Game Warden Assaults
AUSTIN -- One of two men arrested last fall for assaulting two Texas game wardens following a high-speed pursuit in Limestone County has been sentenced to 30 years in prison following guilty pleas to five felonies stemming from the case. Four other individuals whose role in the case became apparent after further investigation also have entered pleas and received sentences.
"We greatly appreciate the hard work that many officers with numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies put into this case, not to mention prosecutors and judges in Limestone and Freestone counties," said Game Warden Capt. Bradley Chappell, who coordinated the investigation for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "Not only has justice been served, we believe the sentences handed down in this case will serve as a strong reminder that Texans will not tolerate those who would harm Texas game wardens just doing their jobs."
Two game wardens had been doing surveillance in response to complaints of illegal road hunting on the morning of Oct. 5, 2013 when they saw a vehicle operating on a public road without headlights and followed it. They watched the vehicle as it entered private property in Limestone County. After hearing breaking glass, the wardens suspected a burglary was taking place. When the vehicle started to leave the property, the wardens tried to stop it.
Instead of stopping, the driver of the vehicle struck the state vehicle and sped away. As the pursuit continued along county and farm-to-market roads, the passenger in the vehicle shined a bright light into the eyes of the game wardens, temporarily blinding them. The state vehicle went off the roadway and struck an embankment and a tree, injuring both officers.
Mart resident Teddie Wayne Davenport, 44, was identified as the driver of the vehicle and Groesbeck resident Richard Fraser as the passenger. Davenport was arrested two days later in a wooded area near a residence in Freestone County.
Later taken into custody at the Limestone County sheriff's office, the 52-year-old Fraser entered guilty pleas to five felony counts Friday in 87th State District Court before Judge Deborah Oakes Evans. The charges and sentences include one count of third-degree degree felony evading arrest with a deadly weapon, 10 years; one count of third-degree felony burglary of a building with a deadly weapon, 10 years; one count of third-degree felony burglary of a habitation with a deadly weapon, 10 years; and two counts of first-degree felony aggravated assault of a public servant with a deadly weapon, 30 years on each count. The sentences will be concurrent.
On May 16, a Limestone County jury found Davenport guilty on four felony charges: Two counts of first-degree felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; third-degree felony burglary of a building; and third-degree felony evading arrest. The 77th District Court jury assessed his punishment at 50 years for each of the aggravated assault counts and 10 years for each of the third-degree felony counts. The terms will run concurrently.
A follow-up investigation by TPWD Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and Internal Affairs investigators led to additional charges and arrests of seven other individuals in connection with the case. Three are still awaiting prosecution.
Also on June 6, 48-year-old Larry Thompson of Groesbeck pled guilty in 87th District Court to one count of third-degree felony hindering apprehension of a known felon and was sentenced to four years in prison.
On May 22, 52-year-old Buffalo resident Lewis Dean Cagle pled guilty in 87th District Court to one count of third-degree felony hindering apprehension/prosecution of a known felon and was sentenced to seven years deferred probation, a $2,000 fine and 192 community service hours.
Five days later, 37-year-old William A. (Trey) Davidson III of Teague pled guilty in 77th District Court to one count of third-degree felony hindering apprehension/prosecution of a known felon and was sentenced to four years in prison and one count of second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance greater than 4 grams and less than 200 grams of methamphetamine and was sentenced to four years in prison. Both sentences will run concurrently.
The same day, 38-year-old Teague resident Tanya Marie Lee pled guilty in 77th District Court to one count of third-degree felony hindering apprehension/prosecution of a known felon and was sentenced to six years deferred probation, a $2,000 fine and 192 community service hours. She also pled guilty to one count of second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance greater than 4 grams and less than 200 grams of methamphetamine and was sentenced to six years deferred probation, $1,500 fine, 192 community service hours, and attendance at Narcotic Anonymous and Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.
-30-

[ Note: This item is more than a month 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]
June 10, 2014
TPWD Public Hunt Drawing System Going Paperless
AUSTIN - Effective with this summer's applications, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's popular Public Hunt Drawing System will be online-only.
The Public Hunt Drawing System offers affordable hunting experiences in more than two dozen different hunt categories, including eight specifically for youth only.
Applications will only be accepted online -- no "Applications for Drawings on Public Hunting Lands" booklets or application forms will be printed and mailed out.
With the new paperless system, hunters will be able to browse the drawn hunt catalog by hunt category and location using interactive maps, as well as complete the application and pay online. Selected applicants will be notified by email and can accept permits and pay any fees online. Permits will be issued by email and can be printed at home or stored on a mobile device. Those applicants who are not selected may still be eligible through a secondary drawing if any permits are unclaimed by the payment deadline. There may still be opportunities for traditional standby hunts at some locations.
In addition to now being able to apply for multiple hunt areas within the same hunt category (i.e. apply for a Gun Deer -- Either Sex hunt on more than one hunt area), the online system will give hunters more time to apply. Application deadlines start in August and wrap up in January. Applicants will have until midnight on the day of the deadline to apply.
Non-refundable application fees for drawn Special Permit hunts range between $3-10 for each adult applicant 17 years of age or older. Selected adult hunters pay an additional permit fee of $80 for regular hunts and $130 for extended hunts. There are no application fees or drawn hunt permit fees for youth age 8 to 16. There are no application fees for the e-postcard hunt or the U.S. Forest Service Antlerless Deer permits.
Applicants will also retain and continue to accrue Preference Points, now called Loyalty Points, as in the past. Points will stay with the category and be applied to each application equally.
The new online-only system will begin accepting electronic applications in July for 2014-15 Drawn Hunts, including Special Permit hunts, E-Postcard hunts, and US Forest Service Antlerless Deer Permits.
For more information about the new online system, visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/drawnhunts.
-30-

[ Note: This item is more than a month old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Jonah Evans, 830-249-2131 or Jonah.evans@tpwd.texas.gov ]
June 10, 2014
Good News for Texas Bats
AUSTIN-- Recent surveys in Texas for white-nose syndrome, a devastating fungal disease that has killed more than six million bats across eastern North America, found no evidence of the disease in the state.
Bat Conservation International conducted the surveys through a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and in cooperation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of California in Santa Cruz.
Samples to test for the presence of the fungus that causes WNS were taken from caves in parts of the Texas Panhandle. This region was identified to be the most susceptible to harboring the disease. The tested caves were in Childress, Cottle, and Hardeman counties.
BCI biologists swabbed cave walls and individual bats for the fungus. The majority of bats sampled were cave myotis, though Townsend's big-eared bats, tri-colored bats, and big brown bats were also encountered. This Texas effort is part of a larger national effort to monitor the spread of WNS as it continues to move westward across the United States.
In addition, a sample from Oklahoma that preliminary tests indicated was positive for the fungus responsible for causing WNS, has now been confirmed to be from a similar but harmless fungus. This was the only possible occurrence of WNS in Oklahoma and the state has now been removed from the list of areas with confirmed or suspected WNS. The nearest confirmed occurrence of WNS to Texas is now in north-central Arkansas.
Despite these glimmers of hope for Texas bats, WNS, first noticed in 2007 in New York, has since been confirmed in 25 states and five Canadian provinces. In some caves, 90-100 percent of the bats have died from the disease. Although the origin of the fungus is unknown, it has also been found in parts of Europe. There is no known cure at this time, though research is ongoing.
Bats play a crucial role in the environment through consuming insects, pollinating plants, and dispersing seeds. Some species of bats can consume as many as 1,000 insects an hour. Many of the insects eaten by bats consume agricultural plants. Researchers estimated that bats in the United States save farmers nearly $4 billion annually in prevented crop damage and reduced pesticide costs.
TPWD will continue to work with partner agencies and organizations to monitor Texas caves for WNS.
-30-

[ Note: This item is more than a month 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]
June 10, 2014
Video Recounts History of First ShareLunker, a Fish Called Ethel
ATHENS--A seven-minute video about the most famous largemouth bass ever caught in Texas is now available for viewing on YouTube.
"The Legend of Ethel" tells the story of how a 17.67-pound bass caught in November 1986 became the first fish entered into Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's ShareLunker Program and went on to become the featured attraction at the original Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri.
Ethel became the "poster fish" for catch-and-release fishing and was viewed by an estimated 20 million people before her death in 1994.
Her memorial service was attended by 1,500 people and made national news.
The video includes interviews with Mark Stevenson, the angler who caught Ethel; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists who cared for the fish; and Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. It features video of Ethel in the aquarium in Springfield. It may be viewed at http://youtu.be/ZKTKCdm0gjw.
An obituary of Ethel may be seen at http://articles.mcall.com/1994-09-11/sports/2987633_1_largemouth-ethel-bass-aquarium.
---
On the Net:
http://youtu.be/ZKTKCdm0gjw
http://articles.mcall.com/1994-09-11/sports/2987633_1_largemouth-ethel-bass-aquarium
-30-

[ Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
June 10, 2014
Nominations Sought for Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame
New deadline for submission of nominations is November 1
ATHENS, Texas -- Individuals or organizations that have made a lasting contribution to freshwater fishing in Texas may be nominated through November 1 for induction into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.
The nominee must be a Texan or Texas organization. Individuals may be either living or deceased. Selection will be made by an independent committee; induction will take place during the annual Hall of Fame banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens.
Videos about prior inductees may be viewed in the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame at TFFC; some are also available on YouTube. Brief biographical sketches and links to videos may be found at.
Nomination forms and instructions are available on the TFFC web site at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/freshwaterfishinghalloffame or by calling (903) 670-2255.
---
On the Net:
http://tpwd.texas.gov/freshwaterfishinghalloffame
http://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/visit/virtualtour/halloffame/inductees.phtml
-30-