Monthly Archives: March 2008

Wolverine Found in Tahoe National Forest

Wolverine

During ongoing research by an Oregon State University graduate student, the Forest Service, and California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), two additional wolverine photographs were captured this past week at Tahoe National Forest. A variety of hair, track and scat samples were also sent for analysis to determine if these were from a wolverine. After the initial photograph of a wolverine was taken by a remote camera on Feb. 28, 2008, in the Tahoe National Forest, researchers, biologists and volunteers intensified the search for more detections in the same general area, north of Truckee, Calif.

Dogs trained to identify wolverine scat were used to search the area. A large grid (approximately 150 square miles) with remote cameras and hair snares was established and monitored. Ground searches were made looking for wolverine tracks. Flights were conducted to detect possible radio telemetry signals from wolverines previously fitted with radio transmitters in studies in Montana.

The most recent photographs of the wolverine taken by remote camera, as well as photographs of the equipment including a wolverine hair snare and camera site, can be downloaded by clicking on the thumbnail images to the right. Continue reading

Texas Adopts New Hunting and Fishing Regulations

Channel catfish

On March 26, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted changes to hunting and fishing regulations designed to create additional recreational opportunities while effectively managing the state’s natural resources.

As part of the annual regulations review process, public input and discussion among agency staff two proposals related to upland bird hunting were withdrawn. Staff recommended turning to the Commission’s newly appointed Game Bird Advisory Committee for further discussion on potential changes to quail and pheasant regulations.

One other proposal, which would have extended regulations allowing the take of catfish by means of bow and arrow, was also withdrawn. As of September 1, 2008, taking of catfish by means of bow and arrow will no longer be legal. Continue reading

Texas Receives Kemp Ridley Sea Turtle Awards

Kemp Ridley

A myriad of organizations working to save the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle recognized Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees for playing key roles in helping to recover the turtle, which nests only in Texas and Mexico.

“The Kemp’s Ridley still the most critically endangered sea turtle in the world, but we’re moving in the right direction,” said Patrick Burchfield, Ph.D., director of the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, and a lead coordinator for the bi-national turtle recovery effort involving Texas and Mexico.

“In 1985, only 702 Ridley turtles came to nest on beaches at Rancho Nuevo in Mexico. Last year, at our six bi-national turtle camps in Mexico we had about 6,000 nesting turtles return. And in our state, a record 128 Kemp’s Ridley nests were found on Texas beaches. This could not have happened without the hard work of many people, including four Texas Parks and Wildlife employees who have consistently championed funding and support for this cause for many years.”

At the TPW Commission meeting March 27, Burchfield and several partners took turns recognizing the four TPWD employees. Several awards were presented from commercial shrimping organizations. A little history explains why shrimpers are applauding the Ridley’s recovery. Continue reading

Texas Rat Snake

Texas Rat Snake

The Texas Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta lindheimerii) is probably the most common large snake found in Texas. The snake is often given the common name “chicken snake,” probably because of of it’s fondness for eggs, particularly a hen’s eggs. This snake is often misidentified for several reasons.

This snake will vibrate its tail, and depending on what the tail is hitting against may make a sound that will make you think that you are dealing with a rattlesnake, even though they have no rattle! While the juveniles are colored with brown blotches on a gray background, the adult’s dark gray to black blotches will be on a red, orange, yellow, or even white background, giving the snake a wide range of possible color combinations. Continue reading

Predator Control and Quail Habitat Management Face Off

Bobwhite quail

The relative merits of predator control and habitat development as bobwhite quail management practices have long been debated. A recent study in North Carolina sheds some light on this contentious issue.

The study took place during 1997–1999 on the coastal plain. This region consists of about 40% farmland devoted to soybeans, corn, cotton, wheat, and tobacco. The researchers selected 3 areas. In each area, they selected 4 farms. One farm served as the experimental control (no management), one received only predator control, one received only field border development, and one received both predator control and field border development. Continue reading

Giant Salvinia Found at Lake Palestine, Sam Rayburn

Giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Upper Neches River Municipal Water Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are moving quickly to control small infestations of giant salvinia on Lake Palestine and Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Giant salvinia was found for the first time January 28 in Sam Rayburn in the back of Coleman Creek. On Lake Palestine, a citizen reported giant salvinia and water hyacinth in the vicinity of the Kickapoo Creek boat ramp on February 5.

The Upper Neches River Municipal Water Authority has temporarily closed the Lake Palestine Kickapoo Creek boat ramp, which is on F.M. 315 south of Chandler. The closure is expected to last at least a month. Continue reading

Louisiana White-tailed Deer Research Continues

Deer with radio collar

A study entitled “Population Characteristics of a White-tailed Deer Herd in a Bottomland Hardwood Forest of South-central Louisiana” has entered its final year. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Louisiana State University (LSU) Agriculture Center have spearheaded the study with help from various contributors.

The primary objectives of the study are to assess range and movements of male and female white-tailed deer, evaluate age and sex-specific harvest rates of white-tailed deer and evaluate survival and causes of death among male and female white-tailed deer in a Louisiana bottomland hardwood forest.

Researchers are conducting the study on approximately 40,000 acres of bottomland hardwood forest located west of Baton Rouge and east of the Atchafalaya Basin. The study area is currently leased to more than 30 private hunting clubs, and each club belongs to a cooperative that promotes quality deer management on the property. A. Wilbert’s Sons L.L.C. is the primary landowner and cooperator and is also providing technical, logistical and housing support for the researchers. Continue reading