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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-01-12                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
Jan. 12, 2004
Four Convicted in Trumpeter Swan Shooting Case
LUBBOCK, Texas -- When Game Wardens Mark Collins and Jay Oyler drove to 10 Texas cities in eight days and interviewed 51 people, driving a total of 2,802 miles, they didn't think about the fact that poaching cases like this one are rarely solved.
"You've got a situation where four people show up in the middle of nowhere and shoot and then run off. It was very difficult. When I showed up, we had five dead and wounded trumpeter swans laying there and I am scratching my head," Collins said.
But he and fellow warden Oyler solved the case and four people have since pleaded guilty to 20 charges and will pay a total of $17,000 in fines, court costs and veterinary bills.
The swans were found on Dec. 13 at a wastewater treatment pond in the City of Lockney east of Plainview. Evidence indicated the birds had been shot with a shotgun. After the shooting, the three that were still alive at the scene were cared for at the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Lubbock.
In all, three of the five birds have died and the other two have been sent back to a captive breeding program in Iowa, from which they originally were released, according to bands on their legs. The program there added $1,000 to the 'Operation Game Thief' (Texas' crimestoppers program) reward money of $1,000 that had been offered for information from the public that would help solve the case.
But it was solved by good old-fashioned police work this time.
During interviews, Collins talked to Harry G. Crawford, 53; James Cade Crawford, 25; Cristy Leann Crawford, 23; all from Paris, Texas and Joshua P. Lambert, 25, from Lockney.
"Eventually, I heard every kind of excuse or denial of why they did it. One said he thought they were someone's pet ducks, which is a really a stretch to mix up these swans with ducks. But playing along anyway, I said, 'so you'd go around shooting people's pets?' He didn't like that logic too much."
They have each pleaded guilty to five counts of hunting a state-protected non-game migratory waterfowl (trumpeter swan), Class C misdemeanors, and were ordered to pay the maximum in fines -- ($17,000).
"Folks like these give the majority of law-abiding hunters a bad rap," Collins said. "It's hunting license dollars that pay our salaries, so we're proud to represent the hunter conservationists when we go after the lawbreakers."
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 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]
Jan. 12, 2004
TPWD Awards More Than $400,000 Worth of Outreach Grants
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sixteen organizations across Texas plan to introduce children around the state to camping, fishing, and conservation through the Community Outdoor Outreach Program grant program.
The CO-OP program began in 1996 as a way to help tax-exempt organizations introduce new constituents to outdoor recreation and environmental education. These grants are awarded twice yearly, with application deadlines of Oct. 1 and March 1. There is currently $800,000 available for the year, a decrease from the $1.25 million available last year.
Grant writing workshops for this summer will be announced in late spring. For more information about the workshops and the CO-OP grant program, visit the program Web page (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/grants/), where a grant application can be downloaded. Or, contact Darlene Lewis at (512) 912-7145 or Dana Lagarde at (512) 912-7056.
The following is information about the organizations recently awarded grants:
--(Austin) The Chautauqua Foundation, Inc. -- 300 students in grades 4-6 in Travis County will experience river-related outdoor adventures. ($30,000)
--(Austin) Asian Chamber of Commerce -- Funding will be used to support the first phase of a five-year plan to combine hands-on heritage education about Asian migration to Texas with outdoor skills training, fishing, birding and camping. ($29,905)
--(Collegeport) The Nature Conservancy -- Students and teachers will experience fishing, camping, birdwatching, wetlands exploration, bay studies, nature photography and more. ($29,445)
--(Copperas Cove) America's Drug Free Production -- 865 participants will learn about wildlife conservation programs, gun safety, camping and visits to state parks. ($29,832)
--(Dallas) Clean South Dallas/Fair Park, Inc. -- More than 360 parents and children in South Dallas will experience camping and fishing adventures in state parks. ($29,047)
--(Dallas) Turning P.O.I.N.T. Dallas -- Physically challenged participants will experience water activities, fishing, hunting and camping. ($28,100)
--(Fort Worth) City of Fort Worth -- An outdoor wildscape will be used as a field study site for biology and environmental science students at Paschal High School. ($8,603)
--(Hamilton) Police Activities League of Texas -- 1,200 children from Conroe, Uvalde, Webb and Harris counties, Corpus Christi and El Paso will get to learn and experience the outdoors by learning orienteering, mountain biking, archery, camping and Project Wild.($30,000)
--(Houston) Korima Foundation -- Inner-city kids from Houston will experience West Texas by camping in Big Bend State Park and studying geology, archeology, survival skills and visiting Fort Leaton State Historical Park. ($30,000)
--(Houston) City of Houston -- "Houston Wild" is a collaborative, community-based approach to nature education and conservation awareness for urban youth. More than 1,500 participants will study the ecosystem. ($30,000)
--(Houston) East Harris County Youth Program -- 850 students will get an education in Texas history, native wildlife and vegetation, angler education, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recreation. ($30,000)
--(Lometa) Cedar Ridge Charter School, Inc. -- Funding will be used to provide camping and fishing supplies, conservation passports and transportation for field trips and camp outs for 160 students and staff. ($20,000)
--(San Antonio) City of San Antonio -- 400 students will explore nature, hiking, camping, fishing, birdwatching and mountain biking. ($30,000)
--(San Marcos) San Marcos Rive Foundation -- Community-schools from several counties will study river conservation and other water-related programs. ($30,000)
--(Tyler) Tyler ISD -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens, Biologists, Park Rangers and Wildlife experts will join other staff and volunteers to teach participants how to survive the outdoors, canoe/kayak, hunt, fish, and about laws and ethics. ($30,000)
--(Weslaco) The Valley Nature Center -- 250 participants will learn about South Texas flora and fauna, wildlife viewing, and take nature hikes. ($17,327)
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
Jan. 12, 2004
50th Game Warden Cadet Class Starts
AUSTIN, Texas -- The 50th Game Warden Cadet class started on Jan. 1 and cadets this round come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Meanwhile, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Law Enforcement Division is working to recruit even more Spanish-speaking wardens for another class slated to start in the fall.
Of the 40 cadets who just started, 14 have Criminal Justice degrees and 21 have Wildlife-related degrees. One is an entomologist, one worked Internet crimes in Texas and one was a Nevada Game Warden.
"This is a particularly large class," said Randy Odom, chief of training at the academy. "There is a need to fill the slots left by those who have retired (as part of a statewide incentive last August).
The six-month academy brings the cadets from throughout the state to Austin where they will live until graduation in mid-June. The academy includes 1,200 hours of instruction -- including the 576-hour basic peace officer course. Game warden cadet training also includes hunting, fishing, and boating safety regulations, fish and wildlife identification, search and rescue and public speaking. The academy includes field trips to ranches and lakes for training using mock scenarios.
The wardens must also take 16 hours of Spanish as required by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, which is the licensing department for peace officers in the state.
The first full week of training included the U.S./Texas Constitutions, Code of Criminal Procedures, swimming, public speaking, and the history of policing/game wardens.
And if you speak Spanish, TPWD needs you for the next class!
Lt. Col. Pete Flores of the TPWD law enforcement division, who is bilingual, says, "The ability to speak a second language is a great tool in a profession that requires the warden to communicate with people of all cultures as they hunt and fish in our state. Spanish is our predominant second language in Texas and an officer that understands the language and the culture is more effective and safe due to the increased ability to communicate. The knowledge of the culture allows the warden to avoid confrontation by recognizing cultural issues that, left ignored, might lead to a potential misunderstanding," he said.
For more information, about becoming a cadet, for information about becoming a Game Warden, call (877) 229-2733 or visit the Web at (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/involved/jobvac/gwcadet/).
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
Jan. 12, 2004
TPWD Implements New Marine Dealer/Boat Registration Rules
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has begun implementing new Marine Dealer and Boat Registration rules in order to comply with House Bill 2926, passed during the recent legislative session. Some of the new rules address the following issues:
--License regulations for Marine Dealers, Distributors, and Manufacturers.
--Registration decal placement for specific circumstances.
--Defining acceptable situations for the issuance of bonded tiles for vessels or outboard motors.
"This legislation provided administrative cleanup and expansion to laws that protect the consumer and provide for the collection of existing fees outlined by law," said Frances Stiles, manager of boat titling and registration at TPWD.
There are a variety of new rules. Some began to be enforced Jan. 1, and some will start on March 1. Following is a breakdown by those dates of some new key rules.
Jan. 1, 2004:
--Owners must register U.S. Coast Guard-documented vessels with TPWD and must display a (registration) validation decal. Registering a U.S.Coast Guard documented vessel requisites include:
--An Application form from TPWD (Form PWD 143);
--Current USCG Documentation certificate (or copy);
--Verification of sales tax payment (if acquired after Oct. 1991);
--Payment of (2-year) registration fee to TPWD.
--Exempt vessels include US Coast guard documented vessels exceeding 115 feet long, and documented commercial vessels engaged in coastal shipping.
--For antique boats, the registration decal may be placed on the windshield. If the boat does not have a windshield, the decal may be attached to the wallet-sized certificate of number and carried on board.
--There will be a new "Bonded Title" process, with a title fee of $35. This security bond must be purchased by the owner and provides another avenue for the consumer to transfer ownership when there is lack of documentation, like a non-signed title transfer.
March 1, 2004:
--There will be mandatory licensing process for all marine dealers and an increase in the license fee from $130 to $500. The new process allows Game Wardens to inspect records held by anyone selling boats and motors.
"In the past, we have not had a tool to monitor unethical business practices in the industry -- it was a voluntary system but they didn't have to buy a license if they didn't want to," said Alfonso Campos, Chief of Marine Enforcement at TPWD. "Effective March 1, a license is required if the business sells five or more boats or outboard motors during a calendar year."
Campos said it's difficult to estimate how many people were actually doing business as Marine Dealers, since it's been a voluntary licensing program. There are about 1,700 Marine Dealer's Licenses issued in Texas.
For more information, call Frances Stiles at (512) 389-4860 or Campos at (512) 389-4624.
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 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 ] [SA]
Jan. 12, 2004
Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Workshops Set for 2004
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sharon Fahlberg and her twin sister have always loved the outdoors. "My parents took us camping when we were 6 months old," she said. "I think we have old pictures of diapers spread across clotheslines."
But when she moved to Texas several years ago, she "didn't know where to go or what to do." Then Fahlberg heard about Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, a workshop put on several times a year by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to introduce women to hunting, fishing, horseback riding and other outdoor activities. She went with her sister and was hooked on what the Lone Star State has to offer.
Fahlberg is one of more than 3,000 women who have participated in one of the workshops since they began in Texas in October 1993. The program, which just celebrated its 10th birthday, will be holding four workshops across Texas in the spring and fall of 2004 with topics ranging from plant and animal ecology, map and compass skills, and outdoor cooking to mountain biking and flyfishing.
Upcoming locations include Camp Buckner, near Marble Falls (March 12-14), Prude Ranch in Fort Davis (April 16-18), and the Texas Baptist Encampment in Palacios (May 21-23). Camp For All, near Brenham, will hold a fall workshop Oct. 29-31.
Ashley Mathews, TPWD's BOW coordinator, said she sees a diversity of women attend each conference, from 18 years of age to 80. Participants can choose four classes to take out of the 15-20 offered at the workshop. Mathews said it's rewarding to see something like a woman catching her first fish at age 52.
"A lot of people come to overcome fears: fears of firearms, fears of horses, fear of water," Mathews said. "Most of them are amazed this is as easy as it is. We see a huge surge in women's self confidence."
The workshops have become so popular in Texas that several women were coming back again and again because they couldn't find people at home to join them in the outdoors. And the Texas Outdoors Woman Network was born to give BOW graduates the chance to continue hiking and camping with other women in their cities.
"We're hoping to teach them skills, build their confidence, then gently push them out of the nest," Mathews said. As for Fahlberg, she enjoyed the Texas outdoors so much she founded the Dallas TOWN chapter a few years ago.
"It just took a little time to find out, 'wow, there really are things to do,'" she said. Now her chapter has kayaking and camping trips, outdoor survival classes and more each year.
"We go just about everywhere."
For more information about a conference, call Mathews at (512) 389-8198 or visit the Web site (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/edu/baow/).
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
Jan. 12, 2004
Nominations Sought for Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame
ATHENS, Texas -- Each year Texans have a chance to nominate their favorite fishing icon for consideration as an inductee to the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Nominations are now being accepted and will be until Feb. 20.
The Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, housed at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, honors legendary anglers, fisheries professionals and organizations who have made a lasting contribution to freshwater fishing in Texas. One nominee will be chosen by an independent selection committee and formally inducted during the annual Hall of Fame Banquet in May. The new inductee will join a legendary group of fishing Hall of Famers including Floyd Mabry, Jackie Hewlett, R.D. Hull, Bob Kemp, Nick Creme, Sugar Ferris, Leonard Ranne, Earl Golding, Kathy Magers, the Sabine River Authority and Skeeter Boats.
The rules are simple. The public may nominate any Texas resident, living or deceased, who has made a lasting beneficial impact on freshwater fishing or fisheries management in Texas. Texas-based organizations and Texas offices of national organizations are also eligible.
Nominations may be submitted in any of the following categories:
--Legislative/state or federal agency
--Angler
--Fishing or tackle industry
--Communicator
--Educator
To submit a nomination:
--Obtain an official nomination form available from (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fish/infish/) or from the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center by calling (903) 676-2277.
--Complete the nomination form and mail it to the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, c/o Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, 5550 FM 2495, Athens, Texas 75752, or fax to (903) 676-3474.
--Deadline for nominations is Feb. 20. Nomination forms postmarked after that date will not be accepted.
--Include copies of supporting documentation (testimonials, videos, photos, samples, etc.)
--Nomination forms and all materials submitted with them become the property of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and will not be returned.
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
Jan. 12, 2004
2004 Texas Big Game Awards College Scholarships Now Available
SAN ANTONIO -- Applications for the 4th Annual Texas Big Game Awards' $20,000 Wildlife Conservation College Scholarship Program are now available. The $500 scholarships sponsored by Carter's Country Outdoor Stores will be available for the 2004-05 school year.
For more than 12 years, the TBGA program, a partnership of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Wildlife Association, has been recognizing the contributions that landowners, land managers and responsible hunters make to managing and conserving wildlife and wildlife habitat on Texas' private lands. The program is designed to help citizens realize that "Hunting Equals Habitat."
Any entering college freshman (graduating high school senior), or entering college sophomore or entering college junior pursuing any field of study is eligible to apply for one of more than 30 available scholarships.
In addition, the partners are offering one $1,000 overall scholarship that will be awarded at the TBGA's Statewide Awards Banquet, held in conjunction with the
Texas Wildlife Association's 19th Annual Convention.
The 2003 Statewide Banquet is slated for June 26 at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort here. The scholarship applications will be reviewed and ranked by a statewide scoring committee using set criteria. Although students do not have to participate in the TBGA to be eligible for the scholarships, those who have entered the TBGA will receive a preference point during the scoring process. Other contributors may also donate to the scholarship fund, therefore increasing the amount of each scholarship.
In order to receive a TBGA scholarship, recipients must be able to attend the Regional TBGA Banquet in their home region.
To determine when and where each Regional Banquet is being held, as well as to download the application, please visit (http://207.235.25.248/).
Applications are available on the TBGA website or by calling the Texas Wildlife Association at (800) 839-9453, ext. 114. Applications will soon be available through certain college agriculture and wildlife departments and high school agriculture departments. All applications must be postmarked by March 1.
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[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
Jan. 12, 2004
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
500 Sharks Killed -- A Cameron County Game Warden responded to a call from the U.S. Coast Guard pertaining to the capture of three Mexican fishing vessels fishing in U.S. waters. After all gear was recovered and transported to the shore, it took four game warden trucks to load all the net. More than 500 sharks were destroyed by the illegal netting.
Huge Catch in Boat Probe -- A Cameron County Game Warden did some boat transfer investigations that revealed an individual had not declared the full amount at time of sale. After a little digging, the warden discovered an additional $9,000 needed to be added to the invoice. The customer was notified of his oversight and had to return to pay additional taxes and penalty fees.
Game Warden Do-Gooders -- A Madison County Game Warden, a Wildlife Investigator, a Burleson County Game Warden, a Walker County Game Warden and a Montgomery County Game Warden assisted with the annual Madison County Youth Hunt. A total of 16 young people between the ages of 11-13 participated in the hunt. A total of 20 deer were harvested along with a wild hog. All of the young people seemed to have had a great time hunting, camping, and eating around the fire.
Wardens See it All -- Walker County Game Wardens were patrolling the Sam Houston National Forest for deer violations when they discovered a couple camped in a no-camping area. As they spoke with the husband and wife, the familiar odor of marijuana became apparent. The wardens also noticed some mushrooms inside their tent. A check of the van revealed marijuana and paraphernalia. The subjects were arrested and while the wardens were inventorying their property, a large storage box was opened revealing numerous witchcraft books, gowns, face masks, more drug paraphernalia, numerous swords, double edged knives, brass knuckles and several cards with "spells" on them. The suspects informed the wardens that they were witches and that they were being arrested for their religious beliefs. However, they could not explain how prohibited weapons were a part of their religion. They were placed in jail for possession of prohibited weapons, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and camping in a non-designated area. More charges pending the chemical analysis of the mushrooms.
Never Underestimate a Warden -- Howard and Midland county Game Wardens observed a couple of elderly gentlemen fishing and catching trout. When one warden approached the men and asked them how they were doing, one of the men stated, "Just fine," but he wasn't fishing. "I'm just helping my friend get this bird's nest out of his line." The warden told the gentlemen, "I bet your left hand not only smells like fish but will also have an evergreen scent on it too as you just caught a trout (using this rod) and threw it back at 4:45 p.m. and reached over and grabbed a branch of this tree right here (officer pointed to the exact branch) and stripped your hand down it to get the slime off your hand." At this point the elderly gentleman gasped (with eyes and mouth wide open) and stated, "Holy moly. I'm in trouble!!!!!!"
Five Houston Men Begin 2004 with a Surprise -- On Jan. 5 in Refugio County, a Game Warden apprehended five Houston men taking deer on FM 774. At 11:45 p.m., the warden observed a pick-up truck stop near a buck deer grazing on the side of the road. Freezing temperatures and 25 mile-per-hour winds made it very difficult for the warden to hear what was going on. The warden watched through binoculars as the suspects moved in front of their vehicle's headlights several times. The warden went to the suspects' location and as he got closer, he could see antlers sticking up and out of the truck bed. The warden found five suspects inside the vehicle and three freshly killed buck deer in the bed of the truck. The suspects were arrested and transported to the Refugio County Jail. Several charges and civil restitution are pending against the suspects at this time. The warden asked the suspects why they had shot so many deer. Their response was that they wanted some meat for the freezer. When asked why they shot bucks instead of does, their response was, "we knew it was against the law to hunt does at night."
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[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
Jan. 12, 2004
TPWD Calendar
The following meetings may be of interest to the public.
Check the master calendar for all TPWD events.
White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee, Jan. 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Commission Hearing Room, TPWD Headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
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[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ] [KE]
Jan. 12, 2004
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 about 100 Texas stations. Airing the week of Jan 12-16, we'll celebrate the birthday of the last President-of Texas. Join us when also walk in the footsteps of some of the state's oldest residents.
For more information, visit the Web (http://www.passporttotexas.org/).
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. This month's stories include: a look at man's best friend when it comes to hunting; the annual winter trout stocking program brings fishing to new anglers and veterans like 3-year-old Zachary; biologists head out to catch fish to make even more fish; and a profile on one of the newest state parks near Dallas.
Television
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. Stories airing the week of Jan. 11-18: Transporting water across the Texas Panhandle; a visit to the Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site-National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg; kids from inner city Houston learning about nature; and turkeys in the Panhandle.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tv).
Magazine
The January issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine takes readers rainbow trout fishing in the cold, reservoir-fed waters of the Guadalupe River. Also in the January issue, hunt blue quail in West Texas, learn to take care of your hunting dog, read about Texas' wintering sparrows and take a wild bike ride through San Angelo State Park.
Texas Parks & Wildlifeazine 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 at (http://www.tpwmagazine.com/).
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