Monthly Archives: February 2010

Lake Livingston, Amistad Produce Big Bass

Bass fishing is always fun, but every angler hopes hook into a truly large, wall-worthy bass. Putting a big fish on the wall is great, but putting donating a Sharelunker to improve largemouth bass fishing in Texas is even better! To qualify for the program administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department bass must weigh 13 or more pounds. This past weekend, two Texas anglers did just that—one at Lake Livingston and the other at Lake Amistad.

Fishing on Lake Amistad, Robert Robles of Del Rio caught Toyota a 13.5 pound bass. At almost the same time, Robert Laird of Livingston set the hook on a 13.19 pound bass. Robles was fishing in about 30 feet of water in Evans Creek using an Amistad Tackle Flutter Spoon. Laird was fishing in 6 to 8 feet of water beside the U.S. 190 bridge across Lake Livingston. He was using a Bagley crankbait.

Largemouth bass

Laird’s fish is the first ShareLunker ever entered from Lake Livingston and is the new lake record for largemouth. The fish also was the big fish in the Polk County Bass Club tournament Laird was fishing in and helped him win. The fish bested Lake Livingston’s previous largemouth record of 12.45 pounds caught February 16, 1987.

Lake Livingston is not known as a big bass lake, and some of Laird’s friends doubted him when he said he had a fish over 10 pounds to weigh in.

“They didn’t want to believe me on Lake Livingston,” he said. “When I pulled her out of the bag, all their eyes flew open.”

Any angler legally catching a 13 pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling program manager David Campbell at 903-681-0550 or paging him at 888-784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code.

Funding to Pay for Cowbird Trapping

Nest parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird is one of the reasons for the decline in songbird numbers across North America. Trapping of cowbirds has proven to be effective in increasing successful reproduction of many songbird species including the black-capped vireo. As such, participants in EQIP or WHIP may receive payment for trapping cowbirds according to the guidelines developed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

The payment for this wildlife management practice will be made annually for three consecutive years at the rate of $6.00 per acre for a 100-acre trap unit, or the equivalent of $600 per year for three years. If a participant enrolls less than 100 acres, the payment is $6.00 per acre. The payment is intended to provide an incentive for the construction of the trap as well as maintenance and operation of the trap. This payment is intended to cover about 50% to 60% of the total cost of trapping during the three year period. Continue reading

Big Horn Sheep Habitat Preservation Rewarded

Texas Bighorn Sheep

Habitat managment is the cornerstone of willdife restoration, but an important component of managing habitat can be simply preserving it. This has never been more true when it comes to managing Texas’s bighorn sheep herd. Recently, Texas Bighorn Society members David and Theresa Wetzel of Irving have received the Wild Sheep Foundation’s prestigious Gordon Eastman Grass Roots Award.

The late Gordon Eastman of Eastman’s Outdoor World created the award to be presented at the Wild Sheep Foundation’s (WSF) national annual convention, held this year in Reno, Nev. Eastman’s intention was to honor the hard-working members of the various WSF chapters and affiliates who get almost no recognition for their unending efforts to further the existence of North American bighorn sheep. Continue reading

Photos of Rattlesnakes Mating!

Rattlesnakes "dance" during breeding

When it comes to heading outdoors, you just never know what you will see. That’s the great thing about getting outside and walking around diverse habitats. Not only do healthy plant communities provide great wildlife habitat, but they also hosts the really cool stuff—the wildlife! I’ve always found that the best time to view any wildlife species is during the breeding or mating season. This is because animals are on the move and often times not paying much attention to things, such as me, around them.

I guess before I continue much further, I understand that many people do not enjoy snakes, especially rattlesnakes, but they are actually very interesting animals. But once you get over “they can kill you” thing, I think most people will appreciate the role that rattlesnakes play in their environment. Well, at least to some extent. These cold-blooded killers are not really the aggressive, come-and-get-you reptiles that people make them out to be. Continue reading

Moose Excited Over Buffalo Statue!

Wild animals, like people, will always have the urge to do what comes naturally—and it all depends on how the mood strikes! Luckily for wildlife biologist, wild animals usually have no trouble keeping the population growing if suitable habitat is available for the species. Every wildlife species has a defined breeding period, and during this time animals act much different than they do during the remainder of the year. 

Apparently the breeding season was in high gear and the desire to mate was striking this moose right between the, uh, eyes, because this moose definitely had eyes for this buffalo. Well, not exactly a buffalo, but more like a buffalo statue! Some pervertedly lucky photographer was able to capture this young, bull moose mounting an unreceptive buffalo statue! Like every young male, he was just ready to jump on anything that would sit still!

Deer Hunting is Big Money in Texas

How big is the economic impact of whitetail deer hunting in Texas?

More than 1.1 million hunters take aim at Texas wild game species in each. Ninety percent  fo those hunters are state residents. So while hunting is more popular among rural Texans, more than 600,000 hunters trade urban sprawl for the great outdoors on an annual basis. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that hunting is worth $2.2 billion annually to the Texas economy, so it looks like hunting is big business.

On average, each hunter spends $1,984 to hunt over an average of 13 days each year. And white-tailed deer are the most popular target, and an increasing target for folks interested in wildlife management. From big spenders who pay thousands for a guided trophy buck hunt to weekend hunters looking for a fat whitetail doe for the freezer, two-thirds of hunters in Texas head out in search of white-tailed deer. Continue reading

Cedar Control and Management

Wildlife Management: Cedar with berries

There will be a short-course on Cedar Biology and Management on Saturday, February 20, 2010, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Cibolo Nature Center near Boerne, Texas. There will be habitat and wildlife management presentation from local ranch owner Darwin Ressel, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife biologist Rufus Stephens, and Hoyt Seidensticker with the KC Conservation District.

This habitat-based workshop presents methods, equipment and choices for cedar clearing recommended by the Forest Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Cooperative Extension Service. On a ranch in western Comal County, they have cleared 3 demonstration areas for range improvement, forest ecology and wildlife conservation. Attendees will get to see cedar management in action and choose the best combination of methods for their land. Those attending the cedar management workshop should wear sturdy shoes because walking will be on uneven ground, but not strenuous.

The cost to Cibolo Nature Center members is $20 per person; non-members $25/person. Pre-registration is required so please call 830-249-4616. The class is limited to 30 people.