There is some big news from Boerne Birders! They recently saw an immature bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) last Saturday at Boerne Lake. As far as they can tell, this is a first for Boerne Lake and southern Kendall County. Several birders got a good look at the bird as it flew across the Lake. Delmar Cain first spotted an unusually large bird over the water and Tom Inglet got an especially good view through his spotting scope. Jerry McFarlen thinks it is most likely a second-year bird because there was some white on its back near the head and no light color on the head.
There is a lot of speculation with regard to what the bald eagle is going to do next. Will this bird find Boerne Lake to be a good source of winter food and stay around for a while? Will it be the beginning of more bald eagles wintering here? Might it eventually mate and nest in beautiful Boerne? By the way, bald eagles usually pair bond in their 4th year and then breed and nest for the first time in their 5th year.
Bald eagles are about 29 to 42 inches long, can weigh 7 to 15 pounds, and have a wingspan of 6 to 8 feet. They have a life span of up to 40 years in the wild. Bald eagles are in a group of birds known as fish-eagles and they are thought to be more closely related to kites than to the golden eagle. When it comes to eating, bald eagles are opportunists that catch and eat surface fish but also rabbits, turtles, coots, and carrion. To survive, they must live near permanent water. Continue reading
Apply! The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is seeking qualified applicants for a game warden cadet class scheduled to start November 1, 2009. Applications will be accepted from February 2 through April 30, 2009. More than 400 people applied for the 55 positions in the current cadet class that will graduate this June. Game warden applicants must be 21 years old on or before November 1 and have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. The degree requirement must be met prior to September 1. To be accepted, applicants must meet the minimum eligibility requirements and successfully complete a regional interview, a physical readiness test, and an extensive background investigation. Applicants must successfully complete each step before advancing to the next step.
After graduation, the new game wardens will be assigned to vacant stations throughout Texas with the responsibility of protecting the state’s natural resources, such as white-tailed deer, migratory game birds, and alligators. Game wardens also protect lives by enforcing the Water Safety Act and conducting standard peace officer duties. More information on game warden cadet requirements may be obtained on the Law Enforcement Career Opportunities page on the TPWD Web site or at TPWD Law Enforcement offices.
For additional information, contact Texas Game Warden Recruiter Royce Wells via e-mail at Royce.firstname.lastname@example.org or toll-free by phone at (877) 229-2733.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is look at changing up the State’s hunting regulations. The white-tailed deer proposals are part of statewide proposed hunting and fishing regulation changes for the upcoming 2009-2010 season. One key proposed change involves further expansion of the department’s successful antler restriction regulations into 52 additional counties where biologists have identified a need to provide greater protection of younger buck deer. In these counties, data indicates more than 55 percent of the harvested bucks are two-and-a-half years of age or younger, which creates an imbalance in the deer herd age structure.
According to Clayton Wolf, TPWD big game program director, the antler restrictions have improved age structure while maintaining ample hunting opportunity, based on data to date in the 61 counties where the rule is currently in effect. The impacted counties are listed below: Continue reading
The South Plains Agriculture Wind and Wildlife Conference will take place February 13, 2009, at the American Wind Power Center and Museum in Lubbock, Texas. The event is sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Wildlife Association, and Texas AgriLife Extension. The conference is intended to provide an objective overview of wind energy development trends and how they could affect wildlife and natural resources. Conference agenda topics include:
• The Way the Wind Blows: History and Current State of Wind Energy
• The Past, Present, and Future of Wind: Energy in the South Plains
• Anatomy of a Wind Turbine and Construction of Wind Turbines
• Wind and Wildlife: What We Know and Don’t Know
• Wind and Lesser Prairie-Chickens: The Role of a Candidate Species
• Wind Development and Wildlife Associated with Playa Wetlands
• Catered Lunch—Legislative Presentation
• CREZ and Transmission
• Land Appraisals and Real Estate Impacts
• Community Wind – Small Tract Landowners and Wildlife Concerns
• Wind Development and South Plains Land Uses: Are They Environmentally & Economically Compatible?
• TPWD Voluntary Wind Guidelines and Federal Wind Guidelines
• Landowner Panel- Multiple Perspectives
• What Does the Future Hold?
• Optional- Wind Power Center Tour
The conference $50 late registration fee includes a catered lunch, with late registration through February 3 and door registration possible afterward. Conference details and registration instructions are on the TWA Website. For more information, contact Heather Whitlaw at Heather.Whitlaw@tpwd.state.tx.us or (806) 742-4968.
Texas is hoping to add to the mountain of more than 24,000 abandoned crab traps it has hauled from Texas bays since 2002. And yes, it’s crab trap cleanup again! Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials are gearing up for the 8th Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program, running this year from Febrary 20 to March 1. Over this 10-day period, all Texas bays will be closed to crabbing with crab traps, and any traps left in the bay will be presumed to be abandoned and considered litter, thus allowing volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the numerous wire mesh traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup. Abandoned crab traps pose a problem to both humans and ocean critters alike. People see the traps as nuisance and can hurt themselves by getting poked or even hung on their motors. Abandoned crab traps also work as ghost traps, catching sea life even without bait. Continue reading
Waterfowl hunting reports have rolled in from Texas’s High Plains Mallard Management Unit and it seems goose hunting has been very good, especially with colder temperatures. However, limits of Canada geese have been taken over corn and wheat. Snow geese have been cooperating over salt and pepper spreads. Goose season runs through February 8. Duck numbers continue to improve with each passing front. Freezing and iced waters to the north have pushed many more mallards to the High Plains: however, few duck hunters have taken advantage of plentiful ducks on playa lakes. Good ducks hunts have been had around Knox City for mallards, wigeons, gadwalls, and other puddle ducks. Duck season ends on January 25 and it with the cold weather ahead it looks good from here on out!
Mallard numbers have improved on area lakes and reservoirs in the North Zone. Freezing temperatures and frozen ponds in the northern states have prompted ducks to move south across the Red River. Hunters working backwater sloughs and timber ponds have scored limits of mallards. Lake and reservoir hunters have had to find secluded potholes to bag their birds. Continue reading
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been present in the wild for decades in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming. CWD can effect white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk. Since that time, CWD has spread through some of the state’s elk ranches in 2001 after an operation with some infected animals shipped elk around the state. Since there is no vaccine for cervids, thousands of captive elk were slaughtered in Colorado to prevent spread of the disease.
Consumers are being warned not to eat some retail elk meat sold at a recent farmers’ market in Longmont, Colorado. State and Boulder County health officers issued a recall Wednesday for elk meat sold on December 13 at a farmers’ market at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. The meat comes from an elk found to have chronic wasting disease from a ranch in northern Colorado. Though the disease is thought to be harmless to humans, health officials still warn against eating meat from infected animals. Continue reading