Monthly Archives: February 2008

Rocky Mountain Wolves Not Endangered Anymore!

Grey wolf

Gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains are increasing in population size and no longer requires the protection of the Endangered Species Act, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett announced today. As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will remove the species from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. Scarlett said:

“The wolf population in the Northern Rockies has far exceeded its recovery goal and continues to expand its size and range. States, tribes, conservation groups, federal agencies and citizens of both regions can be proud of their roles in this remarkable conservation success story.”

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Sharelunker Caught at Toledo Bend Reservoir

Thirteen pound bass
Example of a 13-pound bass.

The second lunker bass of the current Budweiser ShareLunker season was caught Sunday on Toledo Bend Reservoir on the Texas-Louisiana border. Angler James Manasco of Hemphill caught the 13.75-pound largemouth bass and donated it alive to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the program, which uses big “lunker” bass caught by anglers as a source of genetic material for fish hatchery and stocking programs.

An interesting aspect about the big bass — state fisheries biologists say it appeared Sunday’s lunker may have already spawned, a little unusual for this early in the year when waters are typically still cold. If spawning has taken place, it’s likely the result of recent up and down temperatures.

Permit Auction Helps Texas Bighorn Sheep

A permit to hunt a desert bighorn ram at Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area was auctioned for $70,000 last week at the annual meeting of the Wild Sheep Foundation. In recent years such permits have brought more — the last two auctioned for $77,000 and $85,000.

Regardless of price, permit sales still raise important funding for sheep research, management and restoration. Also at this year’s meeting, longtime department employee Clay Brewer was inducted into the foundation’s Wild Sheep Biologist Hall of Fame. Continue reading

Ducks Found in the Highland Lakes of Central Texas

Ducks Found in the Highland Lakes of Central Texas

Ducks abound in the Highland Lakes area, and are found, basically, in two varieties — the puddle duck and the diving duck. According to Derrick Wolter, wildlife biologist with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the puddle duck species include mallard, gadwall, wigeon, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, shovelers, and pintail. Diving ducks include ring-necked, lesser scaup, greater scaup, canvasback, redheads, and buffleheads.

Probably the best known of the puddle ducks in this area are the mallards, pintails, blue-winged teal, and green-winged teal. Puddle ducks are so named because of their feeding habits. These waterfowl prefer to dine on submerged vegetation in shallow puddles or along the shores of lakes and rivers in water no deeper than about 12-inches.

Ducks Found in the Highland Lakes of Central Texas
Puddle ducks feeding in shallow water

Their diet, in addition, includes lots of seeds — from corn, wheat, bulrushes, wild rice, primrose, willow, water elm, oak, hackberry and other trees along streams. And they also dine on mollusks, insects, small fish, tadpoles, freshwater snails, and fish eggs. Continue reading

Llano Eagle Nest Still Going Strong

Llano Eagle Nest Still Going Strong

This year, the famous eagles’ nest east of Llano has lost one of its adult eagles. However, since there were three adults tending the nest for the past several years, life goes on for the others. A male and female adult pair already have laid eggs in the nest, which sits in a large native pecan tree right on the banks of the Llano River.

In fact, one of the eggs probably already has hatched, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist said, and the eagles are on their way to another successful nesting season. “The way the adults have been acting, with lots of activity and looking down into the nest, I think one of them has been hatched,” said TPWD wildlife biologist Dale Schmidt of Llano.

“I drive by there every day and there’s been a big difference in the activity in the nest.”

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TPWD Looks to Expand Panhandle Mule Deer Season

TPWD Looks to Expand Panhandle Mule Deer Season

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is considering adding Sherman and Hansford counties to the northern Panhandle mule deer season, and Gaines, Martin, and the eastern portion of Andrews counties to the southwest Panhandle season.

These counties, wildlife biologists believe, have mule deer populations sufficient to allow the harvest of a few buck mule deer. Such a buck-only harvest would not have any effect on the overall population in those counties. Opening these counties will result in increased hunter opportunity.

Proposed Regulation Would Put Limits on Carp at Lady Bird Lake

Proposed Regulation Would Put Limits on Carp at Lady Bird Lake

There is a proposed regulation by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department that anglers fishing Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) in Austin would be allowed to retain only one common carp 33-inches or larger per day, but there would be no limit on common carp measuring less than 33-inches in length.

This proposed rule change would promote carp as an untapped fishing opportunity, particularly for bank fishing in an urban area.