Monthly Archives: March 2009

Wildlife Management: Soybeans for Deer

Soybeans can be great for supplementing white-tailed deer. Soybeans are warm season legumes that require more fertilization with additional phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in order to provide a high level of protein and growth. Forunately, soybeans can be easily planted from seed and will germinate in only a few days if adequate moisture is present. In addition, the beans can be fed directly to whitetail if purchased in bags. Whole soybeans can be purchased in the “raw” or roasted form.

Soybeans are often eaten in food plots by whitetail in both the foliage stage (green beans) and after the beans have matured. Some varieties of beans can easily reseed after the seed falls to the ground. A few varieties will produce plant material into the late season up until frost. Inoculation improves growth by allowing the plants to develop their own nitrogen. Continue reading

Great Land Management Takes Getting Involved

Learn how to manage habitats and wildlife 

It can be awful lonesome out there, facing the challenges and opportunities of working with the land. But holistic land managers have a tool that not only provides someone to talk to who really understands what they are doing, but a social and practical network of problem solving, brain-storming, and the camaraderie of like-minded friends. If you could use some input on the best wildlife management practices on your property, think about getting involved in a management club.

Management clubs all over the world have brought managers together in regional groups who are likely to face some of the same social, economic, and ecological challenges. The design of the clubs and what they actually do when they gather varies with the club. Each one designs itself. The Red River Graziers, for example, meet at a different member’s place each month. The host takes the group on a tour, pointing out the areas where he could use some ideas. Everyone chews on it awhile as they chew on lunch (usually self-provided or potluck). The afternoon is spent creating a list of practices that are working, those to stop doing, and those new one to incorporate. Continue reading

Choke Canyon Fishing: A Big Bass Bonanza!

 Choke Canyon produces another big bass

Choke Canyon Reservoir continued its big bass bonanza March 20 with another ShareLunker, a 13.12-pounder caught by Joseph B. Thoman, Jr., of Farmersville, Louisiana. The angler was fishing in the Texas Bass Club for the Deaf tournament when he caught the bass, which was 25.25 inches long and 21.25 inches in girth. At the same time, the Bass Champs South Region team tournament, also taking place on Choke Canyon on Saturday, weighed in two potential ShareLunkers at the Calliham Store. Store owner Brian W. Loy certified the weights as 14.47 and 15.27 pounds. Unfortunately, neither of those two fish survived.

No tournament has ever weighed in more than one 13-pound-plus fish, and the fact that two tournaments on the same lake produced three in two days is extremely good news for Texas fishing, especially Choke Canyon anglers. Big bass are there! However, the deaths of the two big fish has generated quite a bit of discussion both within Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the tournament industry about ways to avoid similar tragedies in the future. Continue reading

Neches River National Wildlife Refuge is a Go!

Neches National Wildlife Refuge versus Fastrill Reservoir 

Wildlife supporters have something to smile about. On Thursday, March 12, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision in favor of creating the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge. The court ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted legally in creating the refuge and denied an appeal by the City of Dallas and Texas Water Development Board, in effect precluding their ability to construct the proposed Fastrill Reservoir in the same footprint as the wildlife refuge. A coalition of environmentalists quickly hailed the court decision as a victory, but noted the legal battle may not be over.

However, the Dallas newspaper reported March 13 it was “unclear whether the city will attempt to have the case heard again by the entire panel of 5th Circuit judges or seek a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court.” We can only hope this ads to our great National Wildlife Refuge system.

Case Shows How Easy CWD Could Spread

CWD could spread easier than you think 

Criminal charges recently filed against a father and son who ran a Kent County deer farm provide a shocking look at just how easy chronic wasting disease (CWD) might have spread to Michigan’s wild deer herd. Michigan Department of Natural Resources agents say a day after CWD was confirmed in a deer from their herd, the pair crept onto their quarantined farm at midnight, tranquilized a deer and loaded it into a trailer. DNR agents watching the property say they saw it all. When stopped on a road, the two told DNR officers they planned to release the deer into the wild. They didn’t have proper paperwork for the deer, and wanted to get rid of it. However, tests later showed the deer free of CWD.

The DNR recently said that it may have found the source of the always-fatal disease that’s similar to mad cow disease. The taxidermy shop next to the Kent County deer farm had accepted two deer from customers who illegally brought them from CWD zones in South Dakota and Wyoming. Continue reading

Lake Fork Anglers Stumble Into a 14.68 lb ShareLunker Bass!

A 14.68 Largemouth Bass found on Lake Fork 

Guide James Caldemeyer was fishing with clients Brian Ketterer and Shannon Spear of Conroe on March 7, and they were looking forward to catching some big fish on Lake Fork. However, the anglers had no idea what they were about to get into when they pulled into a small cove with nearly a dozen other boats. Lake Fork is known for it’s lake management program that produces big largemouth, but what would the day bring? “With my polarized sunglasses I could see a fish swimming slowly near the surface, and it looked like she was struggling,” said Caldemeyer. “I caught her with my net. I could see she was a gigantic fish and that she was in trouble. My concern was for the welfare of the fish, so I netted her and put her into the livewell and told my clients that we needed to take her in so her air bladder could be punctured—I didn’t have a needle with me.”

Asking paying clients to give up hours of fishing time on Lake Fork during the peak lunker season in March might seem like a risky thing to do, but Ketterer and Spear shared Caldemeyer’s concern for the fish. “They couldn’t have been happier if they had caught her,” Caldemeyer said. “They were just thrilled to be part of the experience of helping this big fish.”

Caldemeyer immediately called Cameron Burnett at Lake Fork Marina, an official ShareLunker holding station, and told him they were on their way in with a fish that tipped his scale at 14.5 pounds. Burnett contacted David Campbell, and when the fish arrived, Burnett met Caldemeyer at the ramp with a bag to transport the fish to a holding tank. Burnett is experienced at “fizzing” bass, or puncturing the air bladder to release air so the fish is able to submerge and swim upright. Continue reading

Anheuser-Busch Pulls Out on Texas Parks and Wildlife

Anheuser-Busch will no longer sponsor Texas Parks and Wildlife 

Several Texas news outlets recently reported that Anheuser-Busch has ended its sponsorship relationship with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). In addition, the company has ended its cooperation with its official nonprofit partner, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. On Saturday, the Dallas Morning-News reported that late last year, Belgian-based InBev bought Anheuser-Busch and made some changes in their corporate relationships. The company’s history of support will leave a lasting conservation legacy in Texas. Since 1994, Anheuser-Busch has provided close to $15 million to support the department mission and keep Texas a great place to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors.

Over the years the company has supported a wide variety of sites and programs, including ShareLunker, Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo, Big Time Texas Hunts, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Coastal Fisheries Bay Team, Flat Out Fishing, Crab Trap Cleanup, Public Dove Hunting Program, Great Texas Birding Classic, Sheldon Lake Environment Learning Center, Government Canyon State Natural Area, tarpon research and the Texas Big Game Awards. The Dallas newspaper and other outlets have reported how the Anheuser-Busch departure offers new opportunities for companies or organizations that may wish to sponsor TPWD programs and sites.