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Texas Game Wardens & Tech Tools By Matt Williams Outdoors Writer

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exas Parks and Wildlife’s 500-plus game wardens get spread pretty thin at times as they patrol the woods and waters to keep a watchful eye on our natural resources, but not near as thin as they once were. In 1919 there were only six game wardens to cover the entire state, a massive chunk of real estate spanning nearly 270,000 miles. The number jumped to nearly 50 1923 and 80 just ahead of the Great Depression. As time has progressed, so have of the responsibilities of the men and women in the green trucks. It’s not just about chasing brazen game thieves, performing search and rescue and assisting other agencies during with natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and flood events, anymore. Modern game wardens deal with drug dealers, perform border patrol and even render assistance to federal agencies like the U.S Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard to help keep country safe from outsiders up to no good. There are no set hours and very few boundaries when the duty bell rings for game wardens.

They are out there day and night. Amid fair weather and foul. On big water and small. In tall woods and amid wide open prairies and extensive bay systems that in some cases gobble up more real estate than some states. And they are often times alone in remote areas while in pursuit of brazen criminals with no concept of the law, let alone any respect for it. Donning the silver and blue badge is an inherently dangerous gig. However, advancements in technology have helped make the job safer than it used to be while simultaneously providing wardens with some nifty tools to help make them more effective than ever when it comes catching the bad guys, nipping potentially dangerous situations in the bud and saving lives. “Back when I became warden in the 1980s we didn’t have anything compared to what our game wardens have today in the way of technology,” says Donnie Puckett, a retired Captain game warden from Lufkin. “Thirtyfive years ago the only red light we had on our trucks to alert somebody we wanted to stop was a spotlight with a red lens on it, and the light didn’t even blink. We were issued a pistol, shotgun and a pair of binoculars and told to get get ‘em.

Photo courtesy of TPWD

Drones and night vision are two of the high tech tool used by Texas game wardens. “Things have changed a lot since then,” Puckett added. “We’re in a high-tech age and it’s great that there are so many useful tools available to our wardens today. You’ve got to use everything you can get out there.

It can save lives on both sides of the aisle. That’s a good thing.”

High Tech Cowboys Texas game wardens make use of all sorts of crafty tools and instruments in the field and on

the water. The advancements in technology are particularly useful to wardens stationed along the Texas Coast — a sprawling complex of sandy, soggy land mass dissected by a host of

See TPW, Page 5

Scarecrow Trail set for Firearms October in Jacksonville industry makes

By Jo Anne Embleton

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Jacksonville Daily Progress

popular annual fall event will have a new twist to it this year: The Oct. 5 kick-off of 2019 Scarecrow Trail will include a one-day plant sale. “This year, instead of necessarily having performers and entertainment, we’re holding a (Cherokee County Master Gardener) plant sale at the same time,” said Cherokee County horticulturist Kim Benton, explaining that while both events are hosted by CCMG, funds collected from the trail – along with donated canned goods – will benefit The H.O.P.E. Center. The plant sale will feature a variety of fauna and foliage well-suited for growing in East Texas, with money raised to benefit the Master Gardeners. Together, the sale and the trail will create an atmosphere of fun for those attending, Benton said of the event, which begins Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Ruth Bowling Nichols

Arboretum, 1015 SE Loop 456 in Jacksonville. On opening day, both the Scarecrow Trail and the gardening sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the trail additionally will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday,with the final day slated Oct. 17. The display of scarecrows is a popular event, Benton said, noting that “like many things, there’s always an ebb and flow with the number of scarecrows we have, but it remains a really popular thing. “We still have busloads of kids who come see it, and we love that. During that two-week period that we’re open, there’s a lot of opportunity for people in the area to come see,” she said. The trail, launched in 2010, “is still really popular,” and participants’ imagination are limitless, she said. “I love how the theater club’s scarecrow is always related whatever play is going on downtown here; the scarecrows that the local schools enter, are always so entertaining to me, seeing the creativity and the curiosity that the students have – it really comes out and shines. There’s so much great opportunity for local color, and I love that a lot.” The location loans itself to the event, serving not only as a window to people’s creativity, but as a learning experience as well: “At the arboretum, we have historic trees on the trails, so it’s fun going around, reading signs along the way,” Benton said. “So, it was really natural to put it there because the trails are already there. And we love leading people through the Demo Garden so they can see what grows naturally well out there, and it’s a more positive experience all around. It’s perfect (for Scarecrow Trail).” The deadline to enter is Oct. 3, although Benton admitted “we never know how many scarecrows we’ll have until literally the day before, because we can have six entries and then 60 people show up on Friday to set up their scarecrows. The real answer to how many scarecrows? We always answer that the Saturday morning of, because those Thursday and Friday set up days always bring a lot of surprises!” Applications can be found at the Cherokee County AgriLife Extension office in downtown Rusk, at The HOPE Center in Jacksonville or on Facebook at “Cherokee County Texas Scarecrow Trail.”

See Scarecrow, Page 6

big impact on economy, conservation

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new report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) indicates the total economic impact of the firearms and ammunition industry in the United States increased from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $52.1 billion in 2018, a 171 percent increase. Over that same time period, the total number of full-time equivalent jobs rose from approximately 166,000 to almost 312,000, an 88 percent increase. “Our industry is proud to be one of the steady and reliable producers and manufacturers in our economy as Americans continue to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms and to safely enjoy the shooting sports,” said Stephen L. Sanetti, NSSF CEO. “Our workforce is steadily adding good jobs to our local economies averaging $50,000 in wages and benefits. In addition, since 2008 we increased federal tax payments by 164 percent, Pittman-Robertson excise taxes that support wildlife conservation by 100 percent and state business taxes by 120 percent.” According to the report, excise taxes on guns and ammunition alone in 2018 generated $653,764,800 million for on-the-ground conservation work. The top five states in generating excise taxes were Texas, California, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. Since 2008, excise taxes on guns and ammunition raised $5.78 billion for conservation.


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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Outdoor Guide

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

September-October 2019

PR Equipment wins Spartan Mowers award By Michael Kormos

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Corsicana Daily Sun

avarro County’s PR Equipment recently won its first Spartan Mowers award at a national dealer meeting in Batesville Arkansas. PR Equipment, which offers Ag products, parts and service, has sold 100 Spartans within its first year of business. Spartan builds an affordable top-of-the-line mower with simplistic design and functionality, leading the zero-turn mower industry. Owner Nick Pomeroy said he had many options of high-quality mowers to offer on his lot but Spartan was the one he really liked. “The company is family-owned and the folks that stand behind it whole-heartedly believe in making a great product that is among the best in the business,” Nick said. “Not only that but they look super cool and they’re built really heavy duty.” PR Equipment opened its current facility, right next to the Powell and Kerens city limits sign, in May 2018 and the business has already surpassed their expectations. The four-acre site also showcases Yanmar tractors, Rhino Ag cutters, Ag Spray sprayers and Quickie implements. Find PR Equipment on Facebook and Instagram. www.5starrbuilders.com

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903-407-7627

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September-October 2019

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Outdoor Guide

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

Labor Shortage In Agriculture?

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inding labor is the $64 question. The cattle business is not performing—and the cost of raising the animals is way high. And for many of our East Texas landowners, it’s awful difficult to find labor when help is needed. Many of our young folks have no interest in feeding cows, repairing fences, mowing pastures and the other “musts” on our farms and ranches. Thank goodness for those great agriculture teachers at our high schools who provide lots of direction for those students who have a work ethic and want to excel. Like many other farmers, we have used high school students part time for

several years. One student that worked for us several years has graduated and moved to a full time occupation off the farm. Another graduated from Texas A & M and moved back to East Texas for employment full time in Lufkin. Ag teachers at local high schools provided some names of students they would recommend. But as one teacher told me, “most of my students who want to work already have jobs”. We have a high school senior who will start with us next week—and he has another part time job at a local feed store on Saturday mornings. He plans to work for us 8-10

hours a week—and that will be a blessing. We will pay him well and look forward to his coming on board. We are not alone in the need for on farm help. Many of our friends and neighbors are in the same boat. One cattleman friend in Mississippi told me some years ago that he decided to go another route for farm labor. He now hires pastures sprayed and mowed, fences built and repaired, cattle worked and hay baled. Using custom operators for these farm tasks, he said he was relieved that he no longer had to own big tractors, trailers, baling equipment and the other pieces of iron most

farmers and ranchers believe is necessary. Hiring local cowboys to work our cattle and haul to the sale barns is a relief for many of us. A local feed dealer provides pasture spraying with good equipment. This is more economical than doing it yourself—at least it pencils out better. As for fence building and repair we are lucky in our area to have a number of folks who can do the job fast and at a reasonable price. As for those do-gooders who cry to send our undocumented Hispanics back to Mexico, who will take their place?

That’s –30—horace@valornet.com

Clinic readies kids for stock show

By Rich Flowers

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Athens Daily Review

s the name implies, “Youth Livestock 101” was a chance for Henderson County youth to get a head-start on preparing their animals for the shows in the fall and spring. The new event, sponsored by the Henderson County Sheriff ’s Posse was held Sept. 14 at the Living For the Brand Cowboy Church Arena on Loop 7. On a warm day, when the afternoon temperatures climbed to the mid-90s, organizers say a large crowd of youth came out to gain some expertise. “I feel very pleased about the turnout,” Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said. “I’m sure we’ve got some things to work on next year, but this is going to be a great event. After taking office in 2016, Hillhouse re-established the Sheriff ’ Posse for community outreach and inmate labor programs. The clinic was a project that came readily to mind. “I wanted to do it in 2016,” Hillhouse said. “I just now, finally got it off the ground. I couldn’t have done it without the extension office. They got all of the instructors here.” Many young exhibitors start with rabbits and smaller animals before moving to hogs or steers and there were many of the long-eared variety at the clinic. “We had more than 50 kids come out to participate with the instructors,” Hillhouse said. “But not just the kids, but their parents were involved. It was a real good day.” Henderson County AgriLife Extension Agent Spencer Perkins said the day will be beneficial to the students who took part. “I’m excited about the number that showed up today,” Perkins said. “It’s our first time doing this event, thanks to the Sheriff ’s Posse for sponsoring.” School Ag departments helped to get the word our for the new date on the calendar. “We hope to continue to do this for years to come,” Perkins said. “We tried to get it done before any of the fall shows began kicking off. We had participation of all species.” A few years ago, about the only place big enough to host this type of livestock activity would be the Henderson County Fair Park arena. The facility built by the Cowboy Church offers an attractive venue that’s just the right size. The first arena built on a 10-acre property, next to the church on Loop 7 measured 140 feet by 300 feet, which is almost exactly the size of a football field. The present arena is about 400 feet by 280 feet. It has a covering and large fans to keep it comfortable on a warm September Saturday. The name above the gate is Aubrey Daniel Memorial Arena. Daniel was a deacon who had a dream for the church to have its own arena. He died in 2007. “We’re fortunate in the county to have such great facilities,” Perkins said. “Living For the Brand has always tried to help the community. Now that this is covered and has the nice fans in it, it’s a great place to have the event and not have to stress about the weather. As you can tell standing in the sun is a lot different from standing under the roof with the fans going.” Buckle sponsors for the show included Hillhouse Black Herefords, Purity Spa, BMiers Farm, CKC Steel Building Cooperation, Mike Rimple, Tuley Karaoke, Schleimer Ranch, Brad Skiles, Rod and Melody Milsap and County Commissioner Chuck McHam.

For students who’ve progressed to the major shows the Fort Worth Stock Show in late January is the first big one to attract. Henderson County 4H and Future Farmers of America students. After Fort Worth, county students will visit shows in San Antonio and Houston before the Henderson County Livestock Show rolls out in late March. By the time an animal is shown in

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a major competition it represents months of work and preparation on part of the presenter. In between dates between the major shows, the students may compete in jackpot shows. A jackpot show is a single-day competition that an organization might put on as a fundraiser that offers a cash prize to the winner.


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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Outdoor Guide

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

September-October 2019

Cherokee County Master Gardener plant sale W

hether its the Spring temperature variability, the sweltering heat of summer, or the flood/ drought cycle, there is no question that East Texas gardening can be difficult. Finding plants that thrive in our climate is worth celebrating, and that is exactly what the Cherokee County Master gardener plant sale is all about. Plants that our Master Gardeners have proven can survive, through their own trial and error, so that you are one step closer to having the right plant in the right place. Fall is the best time to plant perennials, bulbs, rhizomes, and trees, which makes the fall plant sale uniquely different from Spring. The available plants will be predominantly perennials, which are near and dear to my heart. Plants that you plant once and enjoy for years to come are perfect additions to a lowmaintenance landscape. There will be some classics – like Althea (all white, white with red center, pink with red center, double pink), Salvia ‘Hot Lips’, and rosemary, plus some unexpected treats, like Brazos blackberries, strawberry plants, Firebush (Hemelia patens) and Cestrum ‘Orange Zest’, as well as some trees – Live Oak, Vitex and Redbud, to name a few. Cestrum aurantiacum ‘Orange Zest’ is a fun one. It blooms from April to November and is extremely hardy, blooming through the summer heat all the way until the first hard frost. The plants are full and shrubby with dark green leaves. Tubular flowers in large clusters on a woody shrub with dark green leaves. While the flowers are not usually fragrant in the day, plants fill the air with a sweet citrus flavor once evening comes around. This shrub can get quite wide and tall, so they are best put where the size isn’t a problem. Altheas, or Rose of Sharon, are classic beauties. Dr. William Welch’s description is perfect: “Altheas grow quickly and need little attention. They thrive in the heat of summer and require only occasional deep watering to keep them growing and blooming. Native to China and India, they have been cultivated as long as records exist. The Chinese used the flowers and leaves for food. Thomas Jefferson grew them from seed, and was documented to have planted them at all three of his homes.” It forms an upright leggy crown with late spring or early summer mallow-like flowers in a range of colors are the primary attraction. It is great to see edibles showing up at the fall sale as well. Brazos blackberries, a Texas A&M variety released in 1959, is an erect thorned blackberry. Its healthy canes produce a high yield of large fruit. The sweet tangy fruit is wonderful for cooking and canning. Also there should be some strawberry plants to snag and take home. This is the perfect time to plant strawberries in East Texas, and they can be difficult to find. With winter protection, and a sharp eye for pests in the spring, you can be eating your own strawberries sooner than you think. They work very well in containers. The Spring and Fall plant sale are the primary fund raisers for CCMGA, and it is very exciting to be having the sale during the grand opening of the Scarecrow trail. Also, CCMGA will continue to feature a single checkout point, just like you see at other area plant sales, to make it easier for the customers. The Fall sale will be on Saturday October 5th, from 8am to 4pm. Come out and check out the Scarecrows while you shop for some plant happiness for your gardens.

Kim Benton

Cherokee County Horticulturist

New app lessens response times for stranded boaters From BoatUS Reports

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hen boats break down on the water, run aground or run out of fuel, many recreational boaters use the free BoatUS App to summon TowBoatUS for routine on-water assistance. The app’s new Connect feature will automatically link app users with the closest local TowBoatUS captain, eliminating the need to call to BoatUS national dispatch and providing better service to boaters by shortening response times from the nation’s largest 24-hour, onwater towing fleet. “At BoatUS, we know what it’s like to have to make a phone call for on-water assistance when conditions are not optimal,” said Mike Vatalaro, BoatUS digital innovation manager. “We have now eliminated that need, speeding up the dispatch process to get you service more quickly.” On average, more than 70,000 boaters a year request onwater assistance from the TowBoatUS fleet. “We are going to shave thousands of minutes off dispatch times,” added Vatalaro. “And that’s good for boaters.” When a recreational boater requests on-water assistance by tapping the BoatUS App’s “Request a Tow” button on his or her smartphone, the app automatically provides the nearby TowBoatUS responder with the disabled boat’s confirmed GPS location. The

boater will be asked to answer a few short questions to confirm the vessel type, the number of passengers aboard, anchoring status, the nature of the boat’s disablement, and the preferred destination. Within seconds, a text message to the customer on the disabled boat will confirm the request was received. A follow-up text a few minutes

later provides an estimated time of arrival. “The next communication is a call or text message from the local TowBoatUS towing captain advising he or she is underway,” added Vatalaro. The app also offers hurricane alerts, weather and tides; helps BoatUS members find discounts on fuel, transient slips, and marine services;

and makes it easy to file an insurance claim, pay bills, and update policy information. BoatUS offers onwater Unlimited Towing Memberships for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $85 a year and $159 for saltwater. In addition to towing, both offer more than 25 benefits and services. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face

costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying into the thousands out of pocket. BoatUS Towing Services provides assistance for routine on-water assistance. In the event of an emergency, boaters should contact the U.S. Coast Guard or a local government agency.


September-October 2019

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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Outdoor Guide

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

In the Doghouse I

t’s not easy being a missionary distributing religious pamphlets door to door. Home-owners will go to extremes to avoid listening to you. Audrey and her husband, Walter, have a ranch in British Columbia around Fraser Lake. They are cattle people and run the place pretty much by themselves. Walter had gone out to check the cows one morning. After doin’ breakfast dishes, Audrey headed out to the shop to get somethin’. Midway she was surprised by a sneeze. It dislodged her upper plate and

they hit the gravel six feet away. In the time it took her to blink, Daisy, her new pup raced in, scooped up the dentures and was off like a shot! “Here Daisy . . . here, Daisy . . . good dog . .. yer a good puppy . . . give mama her teeth. Come, Daisy . . . sit . . . stay . . . Daisy! Come here you miserable little excuse for mongrel’s offspring. You paper eatin’, cat chasin’, slipper chewin’, sorry no good . . . Here Daisy, No! No! Git over here before I pound you into taco meat . . . !” Daisy and the old dog, Blue, were makin’ big circles in the yard with Audrey hot on

their heels alternately coaxing and cussing the canine teeth thief! Daisy dropped the teeth. Just as Audrey dove for the slobbery dentures, Blue swooped in and scooped ‘em up. Out into the driveway the three of them raced. Back and forth between the shop and the garden fence. “Blue, come here. Whoa, Blue . . . drop those teeth or you’ll be bear bait! Come on, Blue . . .” Blue smiled at her. He looked like Miss America. Then he dropped the teeth but Daisy intercepted before Audrey could make her move. Daisy

raced to the dog house situated by the back door porch and dived in. Audrey followed till she was waist deep and wrestled the precious dentures from Daisy. Just as she started to back out she heard gravel crunch and a car door slam. Footsteps tromped

up to the back door. The voices of two women were introducing themselves and asking Audrey personal questions about her religion. Actually they were talking to Audrey’s protruding backside. Audrey had her teeth in her hand. They were slippery, sticky and covered with dirt. She had a short conversation from inside the doghouse and very quickly the ladies departed. As Audrey breathed a sigh of relief she heard one of the ladies say, “You know, some people will go to any lengths . . . “

TPW, continued from page 1 brackish estuaries and massive bay systems that collide with the fish-rich saltwater giant that is the Gulf of Mexico. Spanning more than 360 miles, the Texas coastline is the sixth longest in the nation and the vast waters that join it pump hundreds of millions of dollars annually into the state’s economy through commercial fishing, sport fishing, hunting and other recreational activities. Roughly half of the seafood consumed in the United States comes from the Gulf with more than $400 million in shellfish and fin fish passing through Lone Star ports every year. Texas game wardens stationed along 16 coastal counties have a huge responsibility policing all of that, not to mention performing search and rescue, natural disaster relief and working tirelessly to corral the Mexican longliners that frequently poach our waters. Additionally, they are also called upon to assist in heading off drug smugglers as well as the threat of radiological or nuclear material smuggling into the U.S. waters. TPWD’s Maritime Tactical Operations Group (MTOG) is particularly active when it comes to chasing down bad guys along the Texas coastline. MTOG is a specialized unit of highly trained officers that respond during critical waterborne incidents or special maritime details. The department has several other units dedicated to special investigations and tactical operations. These units use of all sorts high-tech gear during the course of duty. Here’s a list of that gear and how it is put to use: Night Vision Goggles: NVG’s are optoelectronic devices that allow images to be produced in levels of light approaching total darkness. Game Wardens along the coast use NVG’s to help them move around their rural environments undetected while identifying or watching potential violators in the act. Thermographic Cameras (Handheld/Vessel Mounted): Thermographic

TPWD Special Units

• Resource, Environmental & Critical Incident Investigations - Investigators specialize in resource, environmental and critical incident Investigations. • Marine Theft Investigations Unit (MTIU) Focus on marine related theft, title, registration and tax fraud, as well as licensed marine dealer inspections. • Underwater Search & Recovery (DIVE) Work water related incidents involving victim and evidence recovery. • Forensic Reconstruction & Mapping (STORM) - Focuses on marine related accidents involving serious injury or death. STORM has worked hunting accidents, officer involved shootings and other critical incidents. cameras use infrared radiation to form an image known as thermography. The higher an object’s temperature, the more infrared radiation it emits. Game Wardens along the coast are equipped with handheld thermographic cameras. In addition to the handheld thermographic cameras, Game Warden vessels classified as midrange patrol vessels are all equipped with vessel mounted thermographic cameras. These cameras allow Game Wardens to detect any heat source, human or animal, in and around environments such as thick brush that may conceal a person and/or evidence, which could be missed with NVG’s. Radar: Radar uses radio waves to identify an object and determine its distance. Game Wardens along the coast rely on this piece of equipment to identify possible fishing vessels offshore and for navigation when visibility is poor. Radar equipment provide Game Wardens with a real time display of what lies around them whether it is a vessel, a navigational aid, or land mass. This piece of equipment in combination with a chartplotter/GPS system, allow Game Wardens to operate safely and avoid vessel accidents on the water during night time, thick fog, or any other condition causing poor visibility. Also, Game Wardens are able to use Radar to scan open bodies of water, such as the Gulf of Mexico, for several miles,

seeking possible targets of interest that may be engaged in recreational or commercial fishing. Chartplotter/GPS: Chartplotters/GPS devices are used for navigation. These devices provide Game Wardens with global positioning, heading, speed, and charts or “maps” of the area they are patrolling in. As mentioned earlier, this device in combination with Radar, allows Game Wardens to compare the chart “picture” of the layout of the land with real time images provided through Radar to navigate safely. Chartplotters/ GPS units provide Texas Game Wardens with their exact global position to: navigate from origin to destination, report their whereabouts should they need assistance, capture the location of violations for evidence documentation and court proceedings. Side-Scan Sonar: Used on most TPWD vessels, this sonar system is used to create images of the seafloor. Side-San emits acoustic pulses down towards the seafloor, receives the reflections of the seafloor, and forms an image of the sea bottom. It is used to gauge water depth, detection of hazards, and/or detection of objects of interest. Radiation and Nuclear (Rad/Nuc) Detection Devices: Game Wardens are the first layer of security with capabilities of detecting and assessing unauthorized attempts to import, posses, and/

or transport nuclear and radiological material for the use against our state and nation. They rely on several devices to do it, including personal radiation detectors, Rad/ Nue detection backpacks and Radiation Isotope Identification Devices (RIID). The personal radiation detectors are pagers worn on the duty belt. Rad/Nuc detection backpacks are capable of scanning large open areas, and the RIIDs are capable of isolating the direction of radiating source. In addition to these devices, the long range patrol vessels along the coast are equipped with vessel mounted Rad/Nuc Detection Devices. Every Rad/Nuc detector deployed by Texas Parks and Wildlife is capable of detecting Rad/ Nuc activity, identifying the source, and generating a spectrum sample to submit to the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office for further examination and

enforcement action. Vessel Entanglement System: This is a non-lethal, air compressed weapon assigned to the Marine Tactical Operations Group (MTOG). This system deploys a net capable of stopping small vessels by entangling the vessels propeller with the net. MTOG members train with this equipment to be proficient with it should it be needed during Harbor Security details and/ or vessel pursuits and interdiction. Aerial Drone: Use in search and rescue missions. Drones are equipped with a camera that transmits a live video feed to the operator. This drone can assist officers in gathering intel in certain large scale search and rescue areas. Body Worn Cameras: Records audio and video of the interaction between our Game Wardens and the public to gather video evidence at crime scenes and provide officer and/or

Tactical Operations

• K9 - Specialize in human scent, human remains, resource, and narcotics detection deploy statewide conducting standard patrol, specialized operations, emergency call outs and public outreach. • Aviation - Assets deploy statewide for enhanced patrol, specialized operations, emergency call outs and public outreach. • UAS Program - Texas Game Wardens have a set of eyes in the sky — an Unmanned Aircraft System or UAS — that enhances their ability to quickly and safely surveil hard to access areas during natural disasters and search and rescue operations. The team has over a dozen devices positioned statewide. • Marine Tactical Operations Group (MTOG) - MTOG conducts marine related training and operations statewide specializing in border security, port security and resource protection. • * Search & Rescue (SAR) - SAR personnel serve as trainers and operators in swift water technician, swift water boat operations and helicopter rescue technician positions during disaster and hazardous events.

public accountability. Laptops/IPad/IPhone: Every warden is issued a Laptop, IPad, and IPhone with connectivity to the department’s intranet and various mobile applications. They use a variety of software and mobile applications to access, send, and/or store information crucial to the enforcement of the state’s laws and the prosecution of those who violate them. Software and Mobile Apps used for enforcement and data storage: Pocket Cop: Used for access to the Criminal Justice Information System data sources to include local, state, and the National Crime Information Center. This data gives Game Wardens a quick snapshot of whom or what they are encountering, if they are wanted, and if there is any criminal history. Interact: Allows access a Records Management System used to create offense reports, document field contacts, share law enforcement data with other officers, or search for data by other Texas Game Wardens. Hunter/Boater Education Mobile Apps: Used for verification of hunter or boater education course completion. Fisheries Enforcement Mobile App: Used for capturing the patrols, inspections and enforcement actions taken during the course of the day on federal waters. The data allows the department to generate a report documenting the state’s enforcement as per our Joint Enforcement Authority agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Daily Activity Report: Used for recording patrols, enforcement actions, and expenses during the course of their day while working federally funded operations.


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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Outdoor Guide

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

SCARECROW, continued from page 1

September-October 2019

Experts hosted at Tomato Town event

They may be emailed to scientistgonemad@ yahoo.com, or mailed to Scarecrow Trail, Extension Service, P.O. Box B, Rusk TX 75785. They may also be dropped off at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, located at 536 E. Commerce St. Cost to participate is $5 for businesses, organizations, churches, families and individuals; school-related groups may set up free of charge.

Lydia Holley

Master Gardener

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Rules for entry: • No scary/gory entries • No weapon of any kind • No loose items that might be blown around • No signs larger than 22- by 28-inches • No exhibits larger than 6- by 8-feet • No direct or hard advertising • While patriotic themes are welcome, no political statements are allowed. The CCMGA reserves the rights to remove any display that violates these rules. Scarecrows will be set up Oct. 3-4, from noon until 6 p.m.; participants will take them down between noon and 6 p.m. Oct. 18 and 8 a.m. until noon Oct. 19. Displays not removed by Oct. 19 automatically become property of the CCMGA.

enderson County Master Gardener Association will host numerous experts at Tomato Town, an all-day event from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Saturday, Oct. 26, Athens Country Club, 500 Park Drive. Tickets are on sale now and there is limited seating.   Purchase tickets through https:// hendersonmgejoinme.org/tomatotown or by calling 903-675-6130. The program includes four experts who will explain all you need to know to grow fat, juicy, flavorful tomatoes. Breakfast and lunch are also included in the $75 ticket price.  Email questions to tomatotown2019@gmail.com. Robert “Skip” Richter,  Harris County Extension Agent, will explain the tomato’s history, how hybrids came about, the definition of an heirloom, and more.  Richter holds a master’s degree in horticulture from Texas A&M University and serves as a contributing editor for Texas Gardener magazine.  He appeared weekly on the Central Texas Gardener television program for over a decade and is author of the book “Texas Month by Month Gardening.” Erfan Vafaie, Extension Program Specialist in the Department of Entomology in Integrated Pest Management at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton, will present “When Bad Things Happen to Good Tomatoes.”  Vafaie received a master’s degree in pest management from Simon Fraser University.  You can keep up with Vafaie on his website, http://

sixleggedaggie.com and the FaceBook account under the same name. Tom Leroy, Montgomery County Extension Agent Emeritus, will detail grafting and seed starting.  Leroy served as an Extension Agent for 35 years.  He holds a master’s degree in plant breeding from Texas A&M University.  During his time as an Extension Agent, he start the first Master Gardener Program in Texas.  You can read tips on gardening at Leroy’s website, https://www. gardeningwithtomleroy.com. Of course, gardeners grow tomatoes for their flavor, so William D. “Bill” Adams, Harris County Extension Agent Emeritus, will present “What Tomato is Best for a BLT?”  The different tastes of yellow, purple, red, and other types of tomatoes will be discussed.  Adams holds a master’s degree in horticulture from Oklahoma State University and served as an Extension Horticulturist for 31 years.  He has authored or co-authored numerous books, including “The Texas Tomato Lover’s Handbook.” This event is one of only two annual fundraisers for Henderson County Master Gardener Association (HCMGA).  The proceeds allow HCMGA to fund demonstration gardens, offer free educational programs, and assist with school’s children’s gardens.  Please join us for an exciting day.  Do not miss this chance to get the information you need to grow beautiful and bountiful tomatoes.  For more information, call 903-6756130, email hendersonCMGA@gmail. com, or visit txmg.org/hendersonmg.

Blast From the Past:

Texas Conservation Act, helicopters and East Texas whitetail By Matt Williams

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As told by Roger Dudley

t was fall of 1986, roughly three years after state legislators adopted the Texas Conservation Act giving the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authority to manage fish and wildlife across the state. Prior to passage of the TCA, all hunting and fishing laws in 13 Texas counties and certain laws in 72 counties were decided by the Texas Legislature. Meanwhile, regulations set by TPWD in other counties were subject to approval or veto by local commissioners’ courts. According to Roger Dudley, it wasn’t uncommon at the time for two adjoining counties to have different harvest regulations on white-tailed deer. Often times, the regulations were based more on what local hunters wanted rather than what was best for the deer.  Dudley, a 69-year-old deer hunter from Nacogdoches County, says giving TPWD “regulatory control” was an equalizer in deer management that marked the beginning of a new era for the sport statewide. In short, the road to the good ol’ days of Texas deer hunting was off and running. “Beginning in 1970, I hunted on large tracts of land along the Angelina River in both counties in Nacogdoches and Cherokee counties, including a 13,000 acre tract in Cherokee County,” says Dudley. “We had lots of hunters on the club and they shot plenty of deer. About 65 bucks were shot each year, but does were not legal to shoot until fall of 1983. In years prior, bucks were getting smaller and smaller due to overpopulation.”  Dudley said things began to change during the 1983 season. That’s when the timber company that owned the land implemented club rules to reduce buck harvest to 15 per year. Antler restrictions protecting bucks with fewer than 8 points were part of the deal. Plus, members were instructed to begin shooting does as part the deer management plan. Dudley, who was the club’s pasture rider at the time, had a hand in making sure the new policies were followed.  “Spotlight surveys had found the buck/doe ratios were way out of whack -- about one buck or every 15 does,” Dudley said. “Ideally, it should have been closer to one buck to two does.” Dudley said wildlife biologists had already learned that deer herds could overgraze their habitat, just as too many cows can overgraze pastureland. It was also known that deer could not be “stockpiled,” Dudley said the timber company entered into an agreement with Dr. James Kroll, head of the Institute for White-tailed Deer Management at Stephen F. Austin State University, to evaluate and establish management plans and goals. Under Kroll’s management plan, several hundred does were to be killed over the next several years, Dudley said. Furthermore, it was required that each deer be taken to the “jaw bone station” for weighing and aging. “To further assist in gaining understanding of its deer herd, the timber company in 1986 brought in two helicopters to assist in catching live white-tailed deer,” Dudley said. The project was built around the use of a huge “catch net” roughly 400-feet long and six feet tall. The net was equipped with supports every few yards to keep it erect.

Kroll provided dozens of his wildlife students to help with the mission. Students were spaced along the net every few yards. When a deer ran into the net, the students closed in and wrapped the net around it. Dudley said the helicopters flew for two days trying to run deer into the net. Several does were caught, tagged and fitted with tracking collars. Catching bucks, however, wasn’t so easy. Due to the dense brush and tall trees, Dudley said the pilots were unable to get low enough with the helicopters to push the bucks, as might be done in South Texas. In many cases they saw bucks lie down in the brush and hide. Dudley said only one buck was caught the entire weekend, a 5 1/2-year old 13 pointer. Scientists used telemetry gear to follow the buck off and on over the next two years. Interestingly, the buck spent a significant amount of time within a home range, but would travel up to three miles in each direction during the rut. The buck eventually died of natural causes. “It was interesting and exciting to be part of this ‘harvest,”’ Dudley said. “My late wife, Sara Bess Dudley, and I were invited to fly in these early helicopter chases.”  Dudley said he can recall being told by a friend about a large nut that holds the helicopter propeller in place. “He called it the ‘Jesus Nut.’ On one occasion I actually talked to Jesus and admitted to being the “nut” for fooling

around with deer in a helicopter.” It’s been 33 years since that memorable weekend on the Delbert Jones Hunting Club and Dudley says the deer herd is doing better today than ever. In looking back, the veteran hunter said he feels fortunate to have been part of the some of the earliest deer management endeavors -- efforts that have since helped change the scope of deer hunting and played a key role in turning eastern Texas into one of the state’s top deer hunting regions.  Editor’s Note: Roger Dudley, 69 is lifelong sportsman and veteran East Texas deer hunter.

Photos by Roger Dudley

Dr. James Kroll and his wildlife students with a 13 point, 5 1/2 year old buck captured by nets and fitted with a tracking device. The buck eventually died of natural causes.


September-October 2019

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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Outdoor Guide

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2019-20 Hunting Forecast

Experts say conditions point towards banner year for Texas By Matt Williams

F

Outdoors Writer

all is just around the corner and with it comes long string of popular hunting seasons that won’t roll to a close until the end of the spring squirrel season next May. Hunting a big deal in these parts that beckons more than a million Texans and thousands of outof-staters to the woods and water to play their respective games across a diverse landscape rich with all sorts of wildlife and abundant with hunting opportunity. They spend bunch of money, too. Economic studies funded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation show the sport is a multi-billion industry in Texas. In 2011, hunting generated more than $2.1 billion in retail sales statewide resulting in an economic impact of $3.65 billion with an economic multiplier figured in. Only two states — Wisconsin and Michigan — generated more, according to the study “Hunting in America – An Economic Force for Conservation. There’s a reason hunters drop so much dough around here. Even in a bad year, Texas hunting ranks among the best in the country for deer, dove, turkey, waterfowl, squirrel and other small game. Though quail numbers continue to struggle, hunting the dapper little game birds remains an economic cash cow for small towns across the Rolling Plains and parts of South Texas. According to Texas Agrilife Extension Service figures, Texas quail hunters averaged spending about $8,606 for 8.8 days of quail hunting during the 2010-11 season. There’s nothing like favorable hunting forecast to whet the appetite of Texas’ hunting fraternity. And judging from reports gather from wildlife biologists across the state, there is plenty for hunters to look forward to in coming months. Here’s the 2019-20 Texas hunting for forecast by region, as reported by wildlife biologists around the state:

Post Oak Savannah Biologist: Larry LeBeau, Tyler The Post Oak region of the state has been blessed this year with an abundance of rain that continued right on into the dog days of summer. Range conditions from the Red River valley on the Texas /Oklahoma border and south to the Brazos Valley near College Station are experiencing excellent native habitat production. This is great news for wildlife but can create a challenge for hunters as they prepare their hunting strategies for the fall season. White-tailed Deer: The overall health of the Post Oak deer herd is strong. Fawn recruitment over the last several years has been good, and this year’s class of newborns should be well above average based on excellent native habitat conditions. With multiple years of antler restrictions in place for all Post Oak counties, dividends are showing with older age class bucks more frequently represented in the harvest. As a result, the number of mature bucks exceeding 125 gross Boone and Crockett points is increasing as well. Because antler size isn’t maximized in bucks until at least 6 1/2 years of age or older, hunters wanting to increase buck antler size in their deer herd should be selective in the deer they harvest by minimizing harvest of juvenile deer. Antler quality should be aboveaverage for areas that have older age class bucks. Several counties will see an expansion of Doe Days from the four days over Thanksgiving weekend to the first 16 days of the general season. Hunters should plan accordingly as does will no longer be legal to harvest over Thanksgiving in these counties. The benefits of doe harvest are many, and hunters wishing to improve their deer herds should consider increasing antlerless harvest. Dove: Although the Post Oak is not a

Photo by Matt Williams

A wet spring and fairly mild summer resulted in optimum antler growing conditions on whitetail bucks. Biologists are predicting average to above antlers on bucks in many areas of the state. traditional destination for dove hunters, there are some quality opportunities for wing shooting in select areas around the region. There are multiple small game leases that provide dove hunting under the TPWD Annual Public Hunting Permit (APHP). Hunters purchasing this permit will receive a detailed map booklet that provides all the information needed to plan a dove hunting trip Many agriculture fields in the region are fallow this year due to wet conditions that prevented planting earlier this spring. Several of these fields are now full of croton, ragweed and common sunflower and will be like ice cream for dove as seeds mature closer to September 1. Abundant seed production and water will potentially keep birds scattered, but good scouting and planning will pay off for hunters that put time in to explore new hunting locations. Waterfowl: The abundance of rain and associated increased water availability could be both a blessing and a curse for area waterfowl hunters. Initially, one might think that more water should result in increased numbers of ducks and geese this fall. But as most wetlands were flooded during the spring and summer, emergent plants were likely inundated, thus decreasing plant survival and seed production — the key to holding waterfowl in an area. A similar situation may exist for field-feeding geese and cranes as many crops could not be planted this year. The good news is acorn production should be strong in the river bottoms and lowland areas. This should provide abundant forage, assuming ample water availability over winter. Waterfowl numbers have rebounded nicely this past year and there should be an abundance of birds this fall and winter, although they could be scattered. Hogs: The best guidance for hunting feral hogs is… Shoot them! Feral hog populations continue to increase and expand across the region, and property damage from hogs often create significant financial burdens to landowners. Never pass up the opportunity to kill a hog.

Edwards Plateau Biologist, Joyce Moore Abundant and timely rains combined with relatively mild temperatures created a banner year for wildlife across the Hill Country. Soaking rains and big floods began the scenario in late Fall

2018. This drenching was followed by a wet, mild winter and spring with good growing conditions. The improved range conditions created full-flowing streams, abundant wildflowers, tremendous insect production and elevated fawn recruitment. As a result, local economies are reaping the rewards right along with the wildlife. Here are some thoughts by species:

fronts push the birds farther South. An abundance of water holes and full stock tanks may hold the birds longer but will also scatter them across the landscape for hunting. This availability of water may also cause the birds to abandon a site quickly if exposed to heavy hunting pressure. Field hunting may prove more productive early in the season due to the abundance of both food and water.

White-tailed Deer Population densities will again be on the increase due to excellent range conditions. Tender, young vegetation and an abundance of concealing woody cover provided excellent cover for fawns, which should spur above average survival rates. Significant improvements in antler quality have been reported.  Hunters may notice an increase in the number of mature bucks available for harvest due to a significant carryover of animals from 2018-19. These bucks will be one year older and hopefully display improved antler quality. ‘Nutritionally-inferior’ bucks should not be an issue in 2019 due to the increased availability of natural forage. These bucks should be easier to identify for removal, although a banner crop could prevent them from feeders visiting feeders on a regular basis. Hunters may be frustrated early on if good range conditions continue into fall. However, they could be rewarded with older bucks sporting larger antlers if they are patient.

Pineywoods

Rio Grande Turkey While populations of adult turkeys remained stable over much of their range in 2018, populations in the central and western Edwards Plateau suffered major setbacks due to habitat loss and lack of recruitment. Total numbers of birds declined, particularly in western counties where historic flooding caused large flocks to break or abandon traditional roost sites. Major alterations to riparian habitats combined with low hatching success/ recruitment (since 2014) have negatively impacted turkey populations in this area. Shift to 2019. Excellent nesting and brood-rearing conditions resulted in a super hatch. In most areas, there is a positive scenario for recovery. Turkey hunters can expect to see a limited number of mature birds available for harvest, but large numbers of young birds. Bobwhite and Scaled Quail  A cool spring and early summer improved range conditions allowed bobwhite quail to begin somewhat of a comeback. Landowners and local biologists are reporting increases in calling activity, visual sightings and reproduction in the western Hill Country. Although bobwhite populations may still not warrant huntable numbers in many areas, reports do represent positive trends. Scaled quail numbers on the other hand, appear to be quite stable, with huntable numbers expected in the far western counties. Range conditions in this area rival that of many eastern Hill Country counties.

Dove Biologists are anticipating plenty of doves winging their way through TPWD Graphic the Hill Country this fall. Continued rains increased the availability of seed White-tailed deer hunters are reminded of a 13 inch minimum inside bearing grasses, forbs and agricultural spread antler restriction on bucks that is effect across 117 counties. A crops needed to attract mourning and experimental 20 inch minimum outside spread antler restriction goes whitewing dove. In areas with farming into effect on mule deer in Lynn County this fall, as well. Check the 2019- operations nearby, short-term dove 20 Texas Outdoor Guide for regulations in your county. hunting should be excellent until cool

Biologist: Rusty Wood As with any good hunting forecast, this one is predicated on the weather. It’s been an exceptionally wet year across much of Texas, and the Pineywoods has been no exception. Starting in fall of 2018 and continuing well into 2019, the region has seen more than adequate rainfall. Coupled with a mild winter, spring and early summer, things are shaping up for a potentially great season ahead. As of mid-July, there were no areas of drought reported on the eastern side of Texas and no fire bans. As we all know in Texas, the weather can change on a dime, but I remain cautiously optimistic. Here’s the hunting outlook: White-tailed Deer The 2018 season saw good production and carryover. Better than average mast crops and a mild winter set the stage for an average whitetail harvest in the Pineywoods. The mild winter and great early moisture put the range in great condition for late winter/post rut recovery and early fawning. Based on early observations from the field, we have had a very good year for fawn production. If this moisture continues into the fall, I think we will have the potential for a very good season. Waterfowl Waterfowl hunting continues to be a crapshoot in East Texas. If you put in the time to find the elusive ”X” then you can still have some great shoots. Many of our river bottoms were still flooded and backwoods sloughs full well into the summer. Range conditions are above average and habitat should be in great condition come early fall. Blue winged teal numbers have been at alltime highs for the last few years and I am hopeful that they will provide some good early season hunts. Squirrel Squirrels tend be a boom or bust type of critter. In 2018 we saw a good mast crop and a mild winter. The carryover from last year, coupled with good springtime breeding conditions, should have the region in good shape for a better than average squirrel season. Dove Dove hunting in East Texas can be good on any given day, but spotty at best. A mild year with good rainfall should have habitat in optimal condition to attract a few birds. Good areas to target are recent cutovers with abundant goat weed near a water source. Early reports are that a fair amount of birds are hanging around. Let’s hope that we don’t get our annual September 1 tropical disturbance that pushes them all out. Matt Williams is a freelance writer based in Nacogdoches. He can be reached by e-mail, mattwillwrite4u@yahoo.com.


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September-October 2019

Qualifying for finals as rodeo season nears end

T

he Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s 2019 regular season is almost over. Some competitors have secured a berth in the Dec. 5-14 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas or the Nov. 22-23 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Kan. Others are on or near the bubble and they are traveling relentlessly as they attempt to earn a National Finals berth. In order to qualify for a National Finals, a competitor must finish within the top 15 in an event when the regular season concludes on September 30. With that in mind, cowboys and cowgirls are competing in pro rodeos this weekend in Amarillo, Texarkana, Ark., St. George, Utah, Pasadena, Texas, and other cities as they attempt to earn a National Finals berth or to move up in the world standings. For example, Jake Cooper of Monument, N.M., entered the Sept. 19-21 Tri-State Fair & Rodeo in Amarillo, Texas, as he attempts to earn another National Finals berth in team roping. Cooper was ranked No. 12 in the team roping heading world standings that were released on Sept. 16 with $72,389 in regular season earnings. If Cooper finishes within the top 15 when the regular season concludes on Sept. 30, he will earn a third trip to the National Finals. Cooper also qualified for the Las Vegas championships in 2007 and 2015. Rookie Shad Mayfield of Clovis, N.M., entered the Amarillo rodeo as he attempts to qualify for the National Finals in tie-down roping. He was ranked No. 15 in tie-down roping (Sept. 16) world standings with $79,758. Mayfield is the son of Sylvester Mayfield of Clovis who qualified for the NFR in tie-down roping twice in the late 1980s. Superstar Trevor Brazile has entered the Amarillo rodeo after finishing third in the steer roping title race at last weekend’s

renowned Pendleton (Ore) Round-up. Though Brazile is semiretired, he has been diligent about competing this season in PRCA steer roping competitions and pro rodeos that feature the event. Brazile, who has a record 24 PRCA world titles (in multiple categories), was ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2019 steer roping world title race with $67,242 (in the Sept. 16 standings). Texas Tech graduate Vin Fisher Jr., a 15-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier from Andrews, Texas, was ranked No.2 with $58,098. Tuf Cooper was ranked No. 3 with $50,275. Texas Tech

graduate J. Tom Fisher, a six-time NFSR qualifier from Andrews, was ranked No. 4 with $46,380. Vin and J. Tom Fisher have entered the Amarillo rodeo.

Race update Stetson Wright, the 20-year-old rookie from Milford, Utah, is ranked No. 1 in the world allaround title race and he is attempting to qualify for the National Finals in two bucking stock riding events. Wright was ranked No. 2 in the PRCA’s 2019 bull riding race (in the Sept 16 standings) and he has enough earnings to qualify for the Las Vegas-based National

Finals in the sport’s most dangerous event. But he was ranked No. 20 in saddle bronc riding and has a mathematical chance of qualifying for the nationals in the sport’s classic event. So, he must rally in dramatic fashion between now and Sept. 30 in order to move into the top 15 in saddle bronc riding. If Wright can qualify for the NFR in both bull and saddle bronc riding, he will have a much better chance of clinching the 2019 world all-around title. Wright is entered in the Amarillo rodeo in only saddle bronc riding. Four-time world champion Tuf Cooper, who

has homes in the Texas towns of Weatherford and Decatur, is entered in the steer roping and tie-down roping at the Amarillo rodeo. Cooper was ranked No. 4 in the world all-around (Sept. 16) standings with $130,454. Wright was ranked No. 1 with $181,269. Oklahoma cowboy Clay Smith was ranked No. 3 with $155,068. Caleb Smidt of Bellville, Texas, was ranked No. 3 with $145,189. Cooper has secured berths to both the November National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane and the December National Finals Rodeo (in tie-down roping). That makes the 2017 world all-around champion a serious contender for the 2019 world all-around title because a competitor can win way bigger money at a National Finals. Clearly, Cooper has a great chance of clinching the 2019 all-around buckle because he will qualify for the National Finals in two events. Smith, a team roper, and Smidt, a tie-down roper, will qualify in only one event. And if Wright fails to qualify in saddle bronc riding, he will compete at the NFR in only one event (bull riding).

New TV deal

The PRCA and Rural Media Group (RMG) announced a multi-year TV agreement, which means that the venerable Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) will move to The Cowboy Channel (TCC) and RFD-TV beginning in 2020, according to prorodeo. com. It means the sport’s equivalent of the World Series will be viewed live simultaneously on two national TV networks. Also included in the deal is a wide variety of other PRCA programming, including expanded live coverage of the ProRodeo Tour and the PRCA’s Xtreme Bulls Tour events. In recent years, the NFR broadcasts have been featured on the CBS Sports Network.

PBR update

Jose Vitor Leme, a Brazilian who lives in the Decatur, Texas, area, clinched the title at last weekend’s Professional Bull Riders tour stop in Springfield, Mo., and

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades. Email him at bchoffman777@earthlink.net.

earned $37,445 throughout the Sept. 13-15 show. It was the second consecutive week that Leme has snared a title on the Unleash The Beast, the PBR’s top tier tour. He also finished No. 1 at the Sept. 6-7 UTB tour stop in Anaheim, Calif. Leme was ranked No. 1 in the PBR’s 2019 world title race with 5,901.66 points (in the world standings released on Sept. 15). Jess Lockwood, the 2017 PBR world champion, was ranked No. 2 with 5,080 points. Chase Outlaw was ranked No. 3 with 4,362.5. Dalton Kasel of Muleshoe, Texas, was ranked No. 20 with 1,067.91. He has earned $111,001 at 2019 PBR shows. This weekend, the UTB tour stops in Fairfax, Va. The 2019 PBR World Finals is scheduled for Nov. 6-10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

WRCA update

The World Champions Rodeo Alliance organization will offer a $1 million bonus to any athlete who can win a title at three consecutive WCRA rodeos that offer a $1 million purse. The promotion is called the WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo. The current 2020 schedule includes three major rodeos where athletes can qualify for the TCR $1,000,000 bonus, beginning Feb. 28 in Kansas City, Mo., at the Royal City Roundup. The other two are the May 17 Stampede at Guthrie, Oklahoma, and the Aug. 28 Puget Sound Showdown at Tacoma, Wash.


September-October 2019

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Outdoor Guide

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Hunting Safety in Texas

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Hunting accidents hit all-time low in 2018, but expert say there is still room for improvement By Matt Williams Outdoors Writer

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e’re on the cusp of another long line of hunting seasons in Texas. As players in the party, we owe it to ourselves, the sport and our hunting brethren to hunt ethically, responsibly and, most importantly, safely. Nothing can put a damper on a great hunting trip like an accident can. The best case scenario for a hunting accident is one built around a close call that ends with a lesson learned. The worst is that somebody loses their life. There is no room for error where firearms are concerned. All it takes is a split second to forever change your life or ruin someone else’s. There is no bringing a bullet back once the trigger is pulled. The good news about hunting accidents is they don’t happen near as often as they used to. Not in Texas, anyway. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department began keeping annual logs on hunting accidents in 1966. The worst year ever was 1968, when 105 accidents and 37 hunting-related fatalities were reported. There were around 855,000 TPWD Photo by Chase Fountain Texas hunting licenses sold Hunter education teaches new hunters all about game laws, hunting ethics and safety with a strong emphasis on proper that same year. firearm handling and safety awareness. Every hunter (including out-of-state hunters) born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, must In 1972, the department successfully complete a state-approved hunter education course to hunt legally in Texas. began a hunter education point a firearm of any certification program. high percentage of Texas second man slipped as he you aren’t careful with at all times. If you are kind at something that The course was strictly hunting accidents, Hall descended from the stand firearms. It also outlines unsure’re unsure, don’t you do not intend to voluntary through 1987. says the number of and hit the firearm. The some safely measures shoot. Never swing shoot. Avoid horseplay Most who took the incidents involving hog firearm fell over and fired, that likely would have your gun or bow out around guns and make course didn’t volunteer. hunters is on a slow rise. lodging one bullet into the prevented the accidents of your safe zone of sure the safety stays in They usually enrolled to “The only species where victim, the man that had from occurring had they fire. You can’t call back the on position until meet requirements to hunt we have seen a slight rise in exited the stand first. been followed. a discharged bullet. the run is ready to be elk, mule deer and other incidents this past twenty Prevention: Always Fatality 1: The report While not mandatory discharged. big game in western states years is by hog hunters, point the muzzle in a says three Leon County except on public lands, 3. Always be sure of your hunter education was which is growing and has safe direction; keep your three squirrel hunters it’s a good idea to wear target and of what is already mandatory at the become more and more finger outside the trigger had returned to a vehicle daylight fluorescent in front of and beyond time. popular, especially with the guard until you are ready when the 7 year old’s .22 orange so you can be your target: More than In 1988, Texas legislators rifle discharged as he was newer, younger generations to shoot; handle firearms seen from a distance or one hunter has been did the responsible thing and out-of-staters,” he carefully; always unload attempting to unload it. in heavy cover. shot as the result of and voted Texas as the 38th The bullet struck the youth’s when no longer hunting said. “Being able to hunt 7. Control your emotions: being mistaken for state with a mandatory hogs year around, and at father, who standing behind and especially prior Don’t let the excitement some sort of game night, adds to the factor of hunter education law. to exiting any stand – the tailgate. of a potential shot animal by another Under that law, every ground or elevated; always rising incidents. We have Prevention: Always cause you to react in hunter. Never shoot even had two helicopter hunter (including out-ofplace firearm against point the muzzle in a safe an unsafe manner. without being sure the incidents involving hog state hunters) born on or direction, especially when a secure rest, making Don’t swing the gun at target is what you think hunters, probably the only after Sept. 2, 1971, must sure action is open and loading or unloading the it is. Never shoot and hunting companions state to record helicopter successfully complete a firearm is unloaded; firearm; keep your finger sound or movement.. crashes as part of the state-approved hunter always maintain three outside the trigger guard and never run with a Look the target over hunting accident reports.” education course to hunt points of contact when and unload immediately loaded firearm toward with binoculars to be Hunter education legally in Texas. climbing up/down a after the hunt, prior to a downed animal with sure. Also, never shoot teaches new hunters all Trend data shows ladder; complete hunter returning to a vehicle; the gun safety off. Pass at animals standing on about game laws, hunting a significant decline handle firearms carefully; education, even if not up andy shots that hilltops or other places ethics and safety with a in hunting-related required. prior to transport, place could be unsafe. where a stray bullet strong emphasis on proper accidents since Texas There is no guarantee unloaded firearm into 8. Wear Hearing and Eye or pellets might travel firearm handling and safety hunter education became taking a hunter education secure case with action Protection: Hunters outside your hunting awareness. A big part of the mandatory. In fact, the course will make a better open and separate from should wear ear plugs area. curriculum is built around number of hunting the ammunition; parents/ or more successful hunter, to avoid hearing loss 4. Unload firearms and accidents reported but Hall feels certain it will the 10 Commandments of guardians should stay due to loud outbursts of unstring recurve Shooting Safety. statewide dropped to result in safer hunter. within arm’s length and noise from gun blasts. bows when not in use: As always, the best way “Hunting incidents have an all-time low in 2018, constantly supervise Safety glasses will help Guns should always hit an all-time low in Texas, to work around hunting according to Steve Hall, youngster’s handling of a protect the eyes from be unloaded with accidents is to prevent due mainly to hunter TPWD’s Hunter Education firearm, especially when escaping gases, burnt the actions left open them before they occur. education efforts since Coordinator. loading/unloading. gunpowder and other when not in use. Keep Adhere to 10 golden rules 1988, when a mandatory TPWD’s 2018 Texas Fatality 2: Two hunters debris. firearms locked in a safe that follow and the chances hunter education bill Hunting Incident Analysis were hunting deer in Webb 9. Don’t drink alcohol or well out of reach of of being involved in a was passed by the Texas shows there were 17 County when the shooter or take drugs before youngsters, preferably hunting accident are sure Legislature,” he said. “Data hunting-related accidents discharged his rifle. The or while handling with gun or trigger to go down: shows that the decline over reported last year with 1.23 bullet hit the victim, who firearms: Alcohol locks place. 1. Treat every firearm time, as we have reached million hunting licenses was sitting in a tripod 5. Handle firearms, arrows with the same respect and drugs impair more and more hunters sold. That’s three less than hunting stand about 300 and ammunition you would show with hunter education, has the former all-time low of yards away. Investigators normal physical and carefully: Never engage a loaded gun. The been a remarkable success 20 recorded in 2015 with learned that both hunters mental body functions in or allow horseplay same is true for bows story for hunting and 1.25 million licenses sold. had consumed alcohol. and must not be with firearms. Be sure and crossbows: Just hunters, not only in Texas, “That’s great news,” Hall Prevention: Always used before or while to unload guns before because you think a but throughout North said of the new all-time low point the muzzle in a safe handling firearms or crossing ditches, gun is unloaded doesn’t America. in accidents. “But the bad direction; clearly identify archery equipment. climbing trees, stand mean it really is. When “Hunting is safe and news is we still had three the target, what is in front These substances affect ladders or crossing you pick up a gun, getting safer because of of it and beyond it; use fatalities last year.” emotions, making it fences. Never face or keep it pointed at the hunter education, and binoculars to identify The 2018 report easier to lose control. look down the barrel ground or overhead this year we have reached identifies the three shooters game; wear hunter/blaze 10. Be aware of additional from the muzzle and always be sure the an all-time low of 17 orange to be seen; obey involved in the fatalities as circumstances that end. Be sure the only chamber and magazine incidents as a result of such hunting laws; do not take males, including a 7-year require added caution: ammunition you carry are empty. Be sure awareness and efforts,” he mood-altering alcohol, old and 49-year old and Just because something correctly matches the action remains added. “That’s 1.4 incidents medicines or drugs when one of unspecified age. isn’t listed under these the shotgun gauge or until you are ready to per every 100,000 hunting hunting; complete hunter One of the victims was Ten Commandments of rifle caliber you are discharge the firearm. licenses sold. We would education. squirrel hunting, one was Shooting Safety doesn’t shooting. Keeping the action like to get that down below Fatality 3: Three hog deer hunting and the other mean you can ignore it 6. Know your safe zone open is sure to make 10 per year, beyond that, hunters were together in a was hog hunting when the if it is dangerous. There others in a group more we probably can’t stop ladder stand. The first man accidents occurred. All of fire and stick to it: might be “special rules” comfortable. some behaviors, since we (victim) exited the stand. were shot by rifles. The safe zone of fire is regarding archery, 2. Always keep the muzzle As the second man began to are human, after all.” A synopsis of the that area or direction muzzleloading or or business end of a While deer and accident reports behind the exit, he handed his firearm in which you can safely firearm pointed in individual shooting to the first man, who placed wingshooters after dove, three fatalities illustrates fire a shot. If hunting a safe direction: It is just how quickly things can it against a chair at the base quail, duck and pheasant ranges that should be with companions, never a good idea to usually account for a of the hunting stand. The go wrong out there when know where they are followed as well.


10

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Big Time Hunts:

Lotto-program gives hunters shots at world class package hunts at an affordable price by Matt Williams Outdoors Writer

W

hether you’re a blue collar hunter on a really tight budget or rich guy who is just feeling particularly lucky, here’s a good deal that’s too good to pass up. It’s called Big Time Texas Hunts. BTTH is lottery-style program run the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Difference is, there are no cash prizes on the table. Hunters buy inexpensive chances to win top notch hunting packages instead. Winners are selected by computer drawing. The lucky ones get to go on premium hunting trips on some of the best private ranches and wildlife management in the state. A common conclusion among many past winners is the program provided the opportunity to enjoy outdoor experiences they otherwise could not have afforded. There are hunts for white-tailed deer, mule deer, desert big horn sheep, turkey, waterfowl, dove, exotics, alligator, turkey, pronghorn antelope, pheasant and quail. The program has 10 categories including a total of 14 different hunts. Guides, lodging, food and on-site transportation are provided on most hunts. Winners are allowed to bring companions on some hunts. Entering the sweepstakes is simple. Chances can be purchased anywhere Texas hunting/fishing licenses are sold, by phone, mail or over the Internet. The cost per entry depends on the method of purchase. In-store, mail and phone entries cost $10. There is $5 administrative fee for phone-in entries. Online entries are $9 with a $5 administrative fee.

There is no limit on how many chances you can buy and you do not need a hunting/fishing license to enter. However, a valid license is required to participate in the hunts. All entrants must be at least 17 years old. The BTTH sweepstakes isn’t new. The program has been around in 1996. It is arguably one of the most successful programs ever launched by a state agency and one of best money makers ever introduced by TPWD. The program has generated more than $15.2 million for the state agency. TPWD uses the money to bolster public hunting opportunities and for wildlife conservation projects all across the state. BTTH funds have a played key role in the reestablishment of desert bighorn sheep populations in three West Texas mountain ranges. Some categories always generate more interest than others. The Texas Grand Slam hunting package is routinely the program’s hottest seller. The package includes four separate hunting trips for desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer and pronghorn antelope. Edmiston said more than 27,000 Grand Slam entries were sold last year. “It is a special hunt package,” he said. BTTH program has continued to grow over the years with new categories or twists coming about regularly. Entries the BTTH package went on sale earlier this summer and will continue to be accepted through Oct. 15, 2019. Winners will be notified within two weeks following the entry deadline. Each winner has five business days to claim their package. Here’s a synopsis of this year’s

September-October 2019

TPWD Launches New Desert Bighorn Sheep Conservation License Plate

T

exans can help the Texas Parks BTTH packages: and Wildlife Texas Grand Slam: One one Department in its wildlife winner of four separate hunts for big conservation efforts game, with non-hunting companion. through their purchase of Texas Nilgai Antelope Safari: One the new Desert Bighorn winner of a hunt, with one hunting Sheep conservation license guest. plate. Texas Exotic Safari: One winner of The plate sells for $30 a hunt for exotics, with one hunting per year, with $22 going guest. directly to TPWD to help Texas Whitetail Bonanza: Five fund wildlife management, winners of a hunt for buck whiteresearch and restoration tailed deer, with each winner projects for bighorn sheep, permitted to bring one hunting guest. pronghorn, white-tailed Texas Waterfowl Adventure: One deer, mule deer, javelina, winner of two separate hunts for alligator and more. waterfowl, with up to three hunting The new plate design is a guests on each hunt. first for TPWD. Texas Big Time Bird Hunt: One “Our longtime plate winner of three separate hunts for artist, Clemente Guzman, game birds, with three hunting guests retired, so we decided on the dove and quail hunts, and one to use a photograph of a hunting guest on the spring turkey majestic Bighorn Sheep hunt. proudly looking into the Texas Premium Buck Hunt: One desert — and perhaps winner of a hunt for buck whiteits future,” said Janis tailed deer, with one hunting guest. Johnson with the TPWD Texas Gator Hunt: One winner Conservation License Plate of a hunt for an alligator, with one program. “We conducted hunting guest. an online survey with Texas Wild Hog Adventure: One thousands of hunters and winner of a hunt for feral hog, with conservationists and had up to three hunting guests. them rank several designs Ultimate Mule Deer Hunt: One for a Bighorn Sheep plate winner of a hunt for buck mule deer and a Pronghorn plate. with one hunting guest. The Bighorn Sheep was the 4 Ways to Enter BTTH overwhelming favorite.” License Vendor: Available wherever TPWD has been fishing/hunting licenses are sold. involved with Bighorn Phone: Toll-free 1-800-895-4248. sheep restoration efforts Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. since 1954 and is working Mail: Download entry form from with Texas Bighorn Society, the TPWD website. Mail check or and other conservation money order to: BIG TIME TEXAS organizations, to restore HUNTS, Texas Parks and Wildlife desert bighorn sheep to Department, P.O. Box 17427, Austin, their historic mountain Texas 78760-9946 ranges in the Trans-Pecos region. Since December

Regulation Changes

2010, more than 400 desert bighorn sheep have been captured and moved from surplus populations to other mountain ranges. Transplanted sheep have done well and have expanded their range. They are equipped with GPS collars, to provide valuable data that will enhance future restoration efforts. To learn more about these programs and how revenues from sales of the Desert Bighorn Sheep conservation license plate will be used, please visit: http://www. conservationplate.org/ projects.phtml. The Desert Bighorn Sheep plate is one of nine specialty plates that support the department’s mission. “We expect this plate will appeal to a variety of people, including wildlife conservationists, hunters, people who have a fondness for desert wildlife, and the obvious Dodge Ram truck owners,” added Johnson. The new Bighorn Sheep plate will be available on TPWD’s website, www. conservationplate.org, the TxDMV website, or your local county tax assessor-collector’s office. You do not have to wait until renewal; you can order at any time and the cost will be pro-rated. All conservation plates are available for cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers and RVs.

New laws for hunters, anglers and boaters take effect September 1 by Matt Williams

S

Outdoors Writer

eptember 1 always marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. It’s also the date when any new regulation changes pertaining to Texas hunting and fishing become effective. Last spring, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted several new laws that hunters and anglers need to be aware of before heading to the woods and certain waters this fall and winter. Additionally, the 86th Texas Legislature passed several new laws — one pertaining to hunting license requirements for the take of feral hogs and another regarding the mandatory use of engine cutoff devices on motor boats up to 26 feet long. Here’s the rundown: White-tailed Deer ~ Increased “Doe Days”: White-tailed deer hunters in 20 counties in Post Oak Savannah region are now allowed to take two antlerless deer during the first 16 days of the general deer season. The change means an increase of 12 days of antlerless deer harvest opportunity in counties where doe harvest previously was limited to four days around the Thanksgiving holiday. Counties included: Bell (east of IH 35), Burleson, Delta, Ellis, Falls, Fannin, Franklin, Freestone, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Limestone, Milam, Navarro, Rains, Smith, Titus, Van Zandt, Williamson (east of IH 35), and Wood. ~ New “Doe Days”: Hunters in 21 counties in south central Texas are allowed to take two antlerless deer during the four-day period spanning Thanksgiving Day through the following Sunday. Counties included are: Austin, Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Comal (east of IH 35), De Witt, Fayette, Goliad (north of U.S. Highway 59), Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays (east of IH 35), Jackson (north of U.S. Highway 59), Karnes, Lavaca, Lee, Travis (east of IH 35), Victoria (north of U.S. Highway 59), Waller, Washington, Wharton (north of U.S. Highway 59), and Wilson. Hunters who take antlerless deer in the 21 counties are required to report the harvest within 24 hours to the department website or using a mobile phone application. Mule Deer ~ Antler Restrictions: A experimental 20 inch minimum outside spread antler restriction is now in effect in Lynn County. The county was first opened to mule deer hunting in 2018. ~ MLD Refusal: TPWD now has the authority to refuse program participation in Managed Lands Deer Programs (MLDP) to non-compliant properties in areas where chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing is required for all harvested deer. TPWD says denial will be contingent on a number of factors, including whether the applicant advised hunters of any mandatory check station requirements in effect at the time a deer was harvested on property owned or managed by the applicant; whether the applicant encouraged, advised, or directed a person who killed deer on property owned or managed by the applicant not to present a harvested deer at a mandatory check station at any time that harvested deer were required by rule or statute to be presented at a mandatory check station; the number of harvested deer harvested on a property owned or managed by the applicant that were not presented at mandatory check stations; and any other aggravating or mitigating factors the department deems relevant.

Wild Turkey ~ Proof of Sex: Proof of sex is required for turkeys taken during seasons when the bag limit is gobblers only or gobblers and bearded hens (not either sex). It must remain with the turkey -- attached or detached -- until the bird reaches the hunters permanent residence or a cold storage facility. Javelina ~ New Season: A five month javelina season now applies for six South Texas counties -- Borden, Dawson, Gaines, Hardeman, Scurry, and Terry counties. The limit is two. Freshwater Regs Alligator Gar A series of restrictive regulations were put in place to provide more protection for alligator gar, particularly in the Trinity River between Interstate 30 in Dallas and Interstate 10 in Chambers County. The Trinity is believed to be one of the country’s premier destinations for trophy-class alligator gar known to grow longer than eight feet, reach weights of 300 pounds and live beyond 75 years. ~ Big Fish Permit Drawing: The creation of a lottery style drawing for 150 free permits that will allow anglers to harvest one fish per year over 48 inches from the Trinity. The non-transferable permits are valid for taking fish using any legal means, including bow or rod-and-reel, day or night. Anglers can enter the drawing for free on the TPWD website. Applications for permits will be taken through the end of September, according to Ken Kurzawski, manager of regulations and information with TPWD’s inland fisheries division. ~ 48-inch Max Limit: The maximum length limit on alligator gar harvested from the Trinity River is now 48 inches; it is illegal to kill an alligator gar longer than four feet on the Trinity without a permit. The new rules do not impact rod and reel catch and release fishing of large gar year-round on the Trinity River. Catch and release is not allowed in bow fishing. The current one-fish, no-size limit put in place in 2009 statewide will remain in effect on other Texas freshwater except Falcon Lake, where anglers are allowed to take five alligator gar per day. ~ Mandatory Reporting: Persons who take an alligator gar from Texas’ public waters are required to report the harvest via the department’s website or by mobile app within 24 hours of take. Falcon Lake anglers are exempt from mandatory reporting. Biologists are hopeful that mandatory reporting will help them learn more about where and how many of the long-lived fish are harvested each year statewide. ~ Nighttime Bowfishing: The take or possession of alligator gar on the Trinity River at night while using archery gear or crossbows is prohibited, unless using a harvest authorization through the drawing system. Largemouth Bass ~ Southeast Texas Waters: The minimum length limit on largemouth bass is now 12 inches on portions of the Sabine and Neches rivers, and their backwaters, in Liberty, Hardin and Newton counties. The new regulation mirrors the bass limit that went into effect in 2016 on the lower reaches of the Sabine and Neches rivers and adjacent bayou systems located in or in close proximity to a six-county area including Orange, Jefferson, Galveston, Liberty, Hardin and Newton counties. ~ Mill Creek Lake: A 16 inch maximum length limit

replaces the 14-21 inch slot limit. All fish 16 inches or larger must be released, except that one bass 24 inches or greater may held for weighing or possible submission to the Toyota ShareLunker program. Anglers may retain fish fish daily under 16 inches. ~ Alan Henry Reservoir: Anglers may harvest up to five Alabama bass daily of any size. The current fish-fish daily limit, of which only two bass less than 18 inches may be harvested, still applies to largemouth bass. Alabama bass are native to the Mobile River basin of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. The 2,900-acre west Texas lake near Lubbock is the only lake in Texas where Alabama bass have been stocked. Saltwater Regs ~ Spotted Seatrout: The daily limit on speckled trout is reduced from 10 to five along upper coast -- including Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake. The change brings the entire coastline under the same limit on the popular game fish. A five-fish limit was implemented across two sections of the lower Texas coast in 2014 and 2017. ~ Sharks: Anglers must use non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for sharks in state waters, except when fishing with artificial lures. ~ Cobia: The minimum length limit on cobia (also called ling) increases from 37 to 40 inches. ~ 97 day Red Snapper Season: TPWD executive director Carter Smith announced an agreement between TPWD and the National Marine Fisheries Service allowing for a 97-day “private boat” red snapper fishing season in federal waters off the Texas coast. The season began June 1. Boat Engine Kill Switches Also beginning Sept. 1, boat operators of vessels up to 26 feet long that are equipped with an emergency engine cutoff switch will be required to make sure the switch is functional and attached whenever the boat is moving at more than headway speed. Better known as a “kill switch,” the device is typically a cord or lanyard with a special clip at one end. The clip attaches to a button or switch that enables the boat’s engine to run. The opposite end secures to the boat driver’s lifejacket, belt loop or around the wrist. The law also contains language allowing for the use of functional wireless attachments, which activate the engine kill switch electronically should the boat operator fall overboard. AutoTether or FELL Marine Man OverBoard are among the most popular wireless kill switch models. No license for hog hunters A valid hunting license is no longer required to take feral hogs in Texas. The new law is meant to loosen the noose on feral hog harvest and hopefully aid in the war against the nuisance swine that are wrecking the landscape and costing Texas agricultural enterprises an estimated $52 million in damages each year, according to reports from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Experts say the Texas feral hog population is estimated at 2.6 million, accounting for more than half of the nationwide population of 4-5 million. Stormy King, TPWD assistant commander of wildlife enforcement, says hunters should be aware that the blanket licensing exemption may or may not be applicable on some public lands. “While there may be area specific regulations, generally, the blanket exemption does not apply to public land,” King said. “It’s best to check with the managing entity ahead of time.”


September-October 2019

11

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Outdoor Guide

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From Scratch with Love Seared venison backstrap with blackberry sauce

Venison Roast Recipe:

Ingredients

Venison roasts are often labeled tough and boring, which usually leads them to the meat grinder. With the right recipe, these overlooked cuts of venison can be tender and very good table fare.

• 3 lb venison backstrap, whole • 3 tsp salt • 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper • 1 tsp ground nutmeg • 6 oz fresh or frozen blackberries • 3/4 cup white sugar • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar • 1/4 cup cider vinegar • Juice & zest of one lemon • 2-4 cloves • 1-2 star anise (optional) • Thyme sprigs for garnish

Instructions 1. Spray a large slow cooker with vegetable oil. Add the cream soup, onion soup mix, beef broth, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley together; whisking until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in the mushrooms. 2. Place the venison roast into the slow cooker and spoon some of the mixture over the roast. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours (8 hours on low). If the roast is frozen, cook on high for 8 to 10 hours; or until meat falls apart. If you don’t have a slow cooker, just bake the roast at 275 degrees for 4 to 5 hours or until tender.

Ingredients • 3- to 4-pound venison roast • 2 (10 ¾-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup • 5 tablespoons homemade dry onion soup mix • 2 cups homemade beef broth • 1 tablespoon homemade garlic powder • 2 tablespoons homemade onion powder • Salt and pepper, to taste • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)

Instructions

3. Serve over buttered noodles, cooked rice, mashed potatoes or bread slices. Recipe by Raschell Rule via MissHomemade.com

Recipe by Jess Pryles via jesspryles.com

1. Preheat oven to 350f/180c. 2. Combine salt, pepper, nutmeg in small bowl. Dry off surface of backstrap with paper towels and sprinkle spice mix liberally on top. 3. Heat an oven proof skillet on high. Once smoking hot, place backstrap into skillet to sear, turning every minute or so to make sure all sides are cooked. Then place pan in the oven for 7-10 minutes. 4. Remove from oven and pan, place into foil and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing into medallions.

5. To make the sauce - combine berries, sugar, vinegar, zest, juice, cloves and anise in a pan, and bring to boil. Add an optional pinch of salt. 6. After about 5 minutes of boiling, you should be able to ‘smash’ the berries on the side of the saucepan using a wooden spoon. Continue rapidly simmering sauce a further 5-10 minutes to thicken. 7. Place medallions on a plate, spoon over generous portions of sauce and top with sprigs of thyme.

East tExas stock PricEs

ANDERSON COUNTY LIVESTOCK

EAST TEXAS LIVESTOCK INC.

Updated: 9/18/2019 Head Count: 313 Buyers: 28 Sellers: 41

Updated: 9/24/2019 Feeder Calf Buyers: 19 Sellers: 225 Feeder Calf Companies: 33

STEERS

STEERS

200lb - 300lb

1.30

1.90

300-DOWN

1.38

1.92

300lb - 400lb

1.22

1.75

305lb - 400lb

1.35

1.80

400lb - 500lb

1.12

1.65

405lb - 500lb

1.25

1.71

500lb - 600lb

1.10

1.40

505lb - 600lb

1.19

1.41

600lb - 700lb

1.00

1.32

605lb - 800lb

1.14

1.39

700lb - 800lb

0.90

1.20

200lb - 300lb

1.20

1.65

300-DOWN

1.27

1.80

300lb - 400lb

1.15

1.47

305lb - 400lb

1.23

1.72

400lb - 500lb

1.10

1.45

405lb - 500lb

1.16

1.57

500lb - 600lb

1.00

1.27

505lb - 600lb

1.12

1.32

600lb - 700lb

0.95

1.15

605lb - 800lb

1.07

1.27

700lb - 800lb

0.70

1.10

Cows

0.30

0.57

Cows

0.43

0.62

Bulls

0.55

0.90

Bulls

0.70

0.78

PAIRS

$650

$1300

PAIRS

HEIFERS

HEIFERS

SLAUGHTER

STOCKER COWS GOATS

SLAUGHTER

$500hd

$1100hd

$25hd

$150hd

TRI-COUNTY LIVESTOCK MARKET Updated: 9/21/2019 Head Count: 1269

STEERS UNDER 300lb

1.25

2.05

300lb - 400lb

1.20

1.85

400lb - 500lb

1.15

1.70

500lb - 600lb

1.10

1.42

600lb - 700lb

1.05

1.36

700lb - 800lb

1.00

$1100

BRED COWS

NACOGDOCHES LIVESTOCK EXCHANGE

HUNTS LIVESTOCK EXCHANGE

Updated: 9/19/2019 Head Count: 770 Buyers: 66 Sellers: 76

STEERS

$1025/hd

ATHENS COMMISSION COMPANY

Updated: 9/16/2019 Head Count: 1050

STEERS

$650/hd

$1275

Updated: 9/20/2019 Head Count: 1245 Sellers: 167

STEERS

UNDER 300lb

1.30

2.05

200lb - 299lb

1.00

2.01

300-DOWN

1.00

2.10

300lb - 400lb

1.22

1.82

300lb - 399lb

1.00

1.73

300lb - 400lb

1.00

1.70

400lb - 500lb

1.10

1.76

400lb - 499lb

1.00

1.63

400lb - 500lb

0.80

1.45

500lb - UP

0.95

1.38

500lb - 599lb

1.00

1.35

500lb - UP

0.80

1.35

1.25

600lb - 700lb

N/A

N/A

600lb - 699lb

1.00

1.23

HEIFERS

700lb - 899lb

1.00

1.23

300-DOWN

1.00

1.70

UNDER 300lb

1.20

2.05

HEIFERS

300lb - 400lb

0.85

1.45

300lb - 400lb

1.10

1.62

200lb - 299lb

1.00

1.63

400lb - 500lb

0.80

1.30

1.00

1.60

300lb - 399lb

1.00

1.49

500lb - UP

0.70

1.25

HEIFERS

HEIFERS

UNDER 300lb

1.20

1.75

300lb - 400lb

1.15

1.30

400lb - 500lb

1.10

1.24

400lb - 500lb

500lb - 600lb

1.05

1.30

500lb - UP

0.75

1.30

400lb - 499lb

1.00

1.45

SLAUGHTER

1.19

600lb - 700lb

N/A

N/A

500lb - 599lb

1.00

1.29

Cows

0.25

0.60

0.95

1.06

SLAUGHTER

600lb - 699lb

1.00

1.25

Heavy Bulls

0.55

0.82

Cows

0.35

0.60

700lb - 899lb

1.00

1.12

PAIRS

Cows

0.15

0.63

Bulls

0.60

0.84

SLAUGHTER

$1000

$1350

Heavy Bulls

0.70

0.79

PAIRS

$850

$1300

Cows

0.275

0.565

Low-Middle

$500

$1000

$1100

STOCKER COWS

Bulls

0.625

0.750

PAIRS

$820

$1310

STOCKER COWS

0.45lb

1.20lb

600lb - 700lb 700lb - 800lb

1.00

SLAUGHTER

PAIRS BABY CALVES STOCKER COWS LOW-MIDDLE

$950 NA $500/hd NA

NA

$450hd

$1200hd

GOATS

$35hd

$250hd

$1150/hd

BABY CALVES

$50hd

$200hd

STOCKER COWS

NA

HORSES

0.40

BABY CALVES

0.30

Top

$150hd NA

GOATS

$35hd

$150hd

$1460hd

BABY CALVES

$10hd

$250hd

NA

HORSES

$45hd

$500hd


12

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Outdoor Guide

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

Texas 4-H Clubs

September-October 2019

Smith Ag Service shares a look back Bridging the gap between old and new at Corsicana history By Shelli Parker By Guy Chapman

Athens Daily Review

Corsicana Daily Sun

H

enderson County 4-H hosted an open house Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Texan. The Open House allowed families who may or may not be familiar with 4-H to come and get a first-hand look at what 4-H is and what it can offer their family. Children from Kindergarten to twelfth grade can enroll in programs such as food and nutrition, photography, archery, small animals, marksmanship and robotics. The wide range of activities are offered in a hands-on environment led by adult mentors and is represented in each county nationwide. According to 4-h.org, In the late 1800s farmers were not as receptive to new agricultural trends, but their young people were. So they needed a way to bridge the gap and bring new techniques in to fix agricultural challenges. A. B. Graham, the founder started the youth program in Clark County, Ohio, in 1902. This was considered the birth of 4‑H in the United States. The first club was called “The Tomato Club” or the “Corn Growing Club”. T.A. Erickson of Douglas County, Minnesota, started local agricultural after-school clubs and fairs that same year. The hands-on learning method came as a desire to bring public education to the rural community. Jessie Field Shambaugh later developed the clover pin with an H on each leaf in 1910, and by 1912 they were called 4‑H clubs. 4‑H currently serves youth in rural,

W

urban, and suburban communities in every state across the nation. 4‑H’ers are tackling the nation’s top issues, from global food security, climate change and sustainable energy to childhood obesity and food safety. 4‑H out-of-school programming, in-school enrichment programs, clubs and camps also offer a wide variety of STEM opportunities – from agricultural and animal sciences to rocketry, robotics, environmental protection and computer science – to improve the nation’s ability to compete in key scientific fields and take on the leading challenges of the 21st century.

hile Smith Ag Service is still a young company in Corsicana’s agricultural service landscape, the building that houses the business has enjoyed a long history with the city at 1506 S. Seventh St. Smith Ag Service has been in business since 2016, specializing in service parts and repair of all types of agricultural equipment. Customers can bring their repairs to the shop, or can schedule a “house call” for in-field fixes. Smith specializes in tracking down hard to find pieces for the “do-it-yourself customer,” offering both new and used parts for all lines of equipment, including hydraulics, electrical engines, and transmissions to restore a customers’ farming equipment to its original and fully functional state. “As big or small as your problem may be, we will try to figure it out,” Smith said. The building was once Stroube Implements and the John Deere dealership, which opened July 24, 1948, sold tractors and farm equipment. The business’ grand opening celebration drew the attention of locals, including then Texas Governor Beauford Jester. While the other businesses closed down

years ago, Smith Ag Service owner, Shawn Smith, likes keeping the memories alive. Smith showed off some of the old John Deere tractors still on-site, that he has been restoring over time. In his office, Smith keeps an old photo album of the business during its early days, an inherited gift left by the previous owners when he started his own business at the shop. Stop by to take a look and share some memories of a landmark of Corsicana’s agricultural history. Smith Ag Service is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mon-Fri and 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, closed Sunday. They are located at 1506 S. Seventh St. Corsicana and can be reached at (903) 641-7370.

Courtesy photo

Stroube Implements opened at 1506 S. Seventh St. on July 24, 1948, as the local dealership for John Deere tractors. The business’ grand opening celebration drew the attention of locals, including then Texas Governor Beauford Jester.

Game Warden Field Notes

The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.

Wardens Catch Up to East Texas Poaching Ring Game wardens in Smith and Wood counties recently put a halt to a massive poaching network involving 12 individuals responsible for the illegal killing of at least 28 white-tailed deer and 50 feral hogs. The investigation began in February with information about a deer that had been shot off a county road at night. Game wardens conducted several interviews and soon learned this was not an isolated incident. In fact, it was just the tip of the iceberg. By the summer, investigators had documented evidence that a dozen subjects collectively committed more than 600 violations during the last two years, ranging in severity from Class C misdemeanors to State Jail felonies. All the deer and hogs had been killed on private property at night; shot from public roadways with the aid of spotlights. The dead animals were left to rot where they fell. Cases are pending.

Taking Trouble off the Road On Aug. 17, a couple of Van Zandt County game wardens encountered an ATV operating on a public road near Lake Tawakoni. As wardens made contact with the four-wheeler operator they observed a Land

Rover coming to a stop close behind and the driver exit the vehicle. While one warden made contact with the operator of the four-wheeler, the other made contact with the driver of the Land Rover. As the warden approached the Land Rover, he noticed the driver make an effort to re-enter the vehicle and ordered him to step away. The subject ignored the commands and tried to reach inside the door, at which time the warden restrained him with handcuffs. Wardens soon found a loaded pistol in a magnetic holster inside the driver’s door frame, where the man was reaching. They also discovered an M4 rifle and various narcotics. The investigation went on to show that the ATV was stolen, the pistol was stolen, and the rifle was also flagged as stolen. The driver of the Land Rover was also a convicted felon. Pending charges include a pair of third degree felonies, and three state jail felonies.

Game Wardens Cracking Down on Boat Thefts The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Marine Theft Investigation Unit recently conducted a saturation patrol of Galveston and Harris counties that resulted in the seizure of seven vessels and issuance of numerous citations. The patrol focused on licensed marine dealer inspections, dock checks, and boat ramp patrols. The special unit of Texas game wardens began ramping up efforts in January 2018 and

since then has seized 104 vessels with a combined value of over $555,000. The unit’s investigations have resulted in 149 boat tax evasion cases, recovering more than $128,000 in revenue, and issuance of over 200 citations. While conducting the saturation patrol, the game wardens received overwhelming support from the general public for their efforts. With these results, it is clear that the Marine Theft Investigation Unit is an effective tool for assuring dealer compliance, preventing boat theft, tax and title fraud, and recovery of stolen vessels.

End of a Long Tail Texans don’t abide cheaters, particularly in their fishing tournaments. An individual was recently sentenced to jail time, restitution of nearly $3,000, suspension of his fishing license for a year and banishment from fishing in tournaments after he was caught cheating. The court decision was the culmination of a game warden investigation into bass fishing tournament fraud on Decker Lake in Travis and Bastrop counties. The individual used a unique sleight of hand during a catch-and-release kayak fishing event that used photos taken by contestants out on the water of their catches placed on a measuring board, with the angler having the most inches of bass in the aggregate declared the winner. Upon inspection of the violators vessel, a cut tail of a bass was found in the paddle well of the kayak. The violator initially stated he found the cut tail in the reeds and was taking it to shore

to turn it in. Later the violator confirmed to have used the tail to place over another bass, using his hand to cover the questionable area, to make the fish look longer on multiple occasions.

was charged with fishing without a license, failure to ID, and resisting arrest. At the jail, three warrants out of Dallas County were discovered, two of which were for resisting arrest.

The Pool is Closed

No Fame, No Shame

An Abilene game warden received information about a family in Hamlin possessing an alligator. The concerned citizen stated that he saw photos posted on Snapchat. The warden drove to the suspect’s house, asked if he could see the alligators, and was led to the back yard where he discovered five baby alligators in a small swimming pool. The warden seized the alligators and took them to the Abilene Zoo for holding until arrangements could be made. Case is pending further investigation.

Just before midnight back in July, a Van Zandt County game warden approached three individuals as they were wrapping up their night of fishing on the Sabine River. The warden asked if they had any luck and after a long pause and some blank stares one of the individuals spoke up and said they did well. The warden had them open their ice chest, which contained 27 striped and hybrid bass, 12 over their limit. All three individuals were cited for over their daily bag limits. On a side note, all three individuals claimed to be huge fans of the Texas game warden TV show “Lone Star Law.” However, when asked if they wanted this incident to be filmed, they declined.

A Repeat Offender While checking bank fishermen along the East Fork of the Trinity River near Forney, a game warden approached a group of three individuals he observed fishing. An inspection of their catch revealed undersized catfish as small as 6 inches in length and undersized white bass, as well as game fish being used for bait. During an explanation of the regulations, one of the men became increasingly belligerent toward the warden. When told that he was going to receive a citation he grew even more agitated and refused to give his name. The game warden then attempted to place the subject under arrest for failure to ID, but the man pulled away and was taken to the ground. The subject

Oh, Deer! A Hill County game warden acting on a tip paid a visit to a residence and located two whitetailed deer fawns being held in an enclosure on the property. It was later determined that the fawns had been found in Arkansas and transported to Texas. The fawns were seized and turned over for disease testing. Charges are pending for Interstate Transport of White-Tailed Deer to Texas without Authorization and Possession Live Game Animal.


September-October 2019

Great 8’s

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More points don’t always add up against a whopper 8 pointer By Matt Williams Outdoors Writer

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ight pointers usually don’t command much respect in hardcore deer hunting circles. Some hunters call them culls. Others say they are inferior in comparison other bucks genetically programmed to stack on more points. I don’t buy into all that junk. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And in my book, there is nothing more impressive than a pot-bellied 8 pointer with tall, thick tines, a pudgy neck, buggy eyeballs and a studly demeanor. Eight pointers are those bucks that grow four matching points on both sides. In some deer, it’s a genetic trait that will never be outgrown, regardless of age or diet. As a rule, eight pointers will usually represent a high percentage of the bucks in a given deer herd, unless steps are taken to reduce their numbers. Deer managers commonly refer to mature eight pointers as “management bucks” -- bucks that are removed from the herd because of one or more undesirable antler traits. Many landowners are firm believers in the philosophy that more points are better. In their eyes, eight pointers are pretty to look at. But the 10 and 12 pointers have the better potential when it comes to running up higher Boone and Crockett scores. B&C is the most widely accepted system for evaluating big game animals. On large ranches and clubs, mature management bucks (eight pointers or less) are typically offered to package hunters at a reduced rate or shot as “cull bucks” by lease members. Some large landowners may even leave the dirty work to hired guns, usually referred to as “designated shooters” among the deer management fraternity. The idea is try to remove as many “inferior” bucks from the

herd as possible so that bucks with more desirable antler characteristics (10 points and up) will do most of the breeding. By doing so, deer managers believe they can ultimately improve the gene pool on a given piece of real estate. I’ve chased down several stories behind some monster eight pointers over the years. The two biggest ones were shot during back-back-back seasons in Cherokee County by Tyler ophthalmologist Leo Mack of Tyler and Esteban Gonzalez of Alto. Mack’s buck, which carries one kicker off its left brow tine, was shot behind high fence near New Summerfield. Mack came across the deer by fate after one of his eye patients, Joe Parsley, invited him out to his 1,000-acre ranch one morning to check out his deer farming/dairy operation. The ranch had only seen minimal hunting pressure through the years and Parsley needed to remove some bucks. Mack is an experienced whitetail hunter and Parsley had asked him to help evaluate which deer needed to be shot. As they were making their rounds, Mack and Parsley came across a giant buck standing in an opening. Parsley recognized it as a deer he’d seen before, but only briefly. Mack could tell the buck was fully mature and estimated it would easily score above 160. Later that afternoon, Mack took a seat in a box blind near the location where they had seen the buck. About 6 p.m., a corn feeder went off. The buck stepped out of the woods about 250 yards away but disappeared before Mack was able to get off a shot. The deer reappeared about 45 minutes later, this time standing broadside about 150 yards away. Mack took the shot and dropped a remarkable eight pointer that is slightly largely than Gonzalez’s buck. But not by much. The New Summerfield buck nets 168 4/8 as a typical. It takes

Courtesy Photo

David Perkins chased his monster Angelina County 8 pointer for four years before finally closing the deal in 2014. The buck scores 146 4/8. great beam length, exceptional tines and loads of mass for an eight pointer to run up scores like those, and Mack’s deer has it all -- main beams measuring 27 1/8 and 27 7/8 inches, 13 2/8 and 13 1/8 inch G2s, 10 5/8 inch G3s, 6 7/8 inch brow tines, a 21 3/8 inch inside spread and 35 inches of circumference measurements. Gonzalez’s buck showed up open range just outside Alto. The buck is a slick eight pointer (with no kickers) that nets 166 B&C even. It’s the highest scoring eight pointer ever reported on open range in East Texas. Gonzalez, who was 19 at the time, shot the deer while hunting on a 500-acre pasture in Cherokee County. The land belongs to Freddy Wallace, also of Alto. According to Wallace, Gonzalez’ employer at the time, Gonzalez approached him on the evening of November 9 and asked for permission to go hog

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Perkins got the first pictures of a 3 1/2-year-old buck he eventually nicknamed “The Old Man.” The name was befitting of the crafty ol’ whitetail. The deer was 7 1/2-years old before Perkins was finally killed him. The buck scored 148 6/8, outstanding for an eight pointer. Perkins hunted the buck relentlessly for four consecutive seasons. In 2012, he dedicated the entire season to hunting a buck that he never laid eyes on. He confessed that his game cameras made him do it. “There’s no telling how many hours I hunted that deer over the years,” Perkins said. “If I ventured to guess it would probably make me mad.” Obviously, the effort was well worth it. A buck needn’t be bristling with more points than you can count to be considered a trophy. In some cases, eight is plenty.

hunting on his land the following morning. “He said he needed to kill a hog, because his mother was wanting to make some tamales, “ Wallace said. “I don’t hunt and there wasn’t anyone else hunting on the place, so I told him it was fine. I also told him he could shoot a deer if he happened to see one. I couldn’t believe it when he showed up with this buck. He had no idea what he had.” The story gets better. Gonzalez killed the buck despite a badly misplaced shot. He aimed at the shoulder of the buck, but the 9mm bullet struck the animal in the head, killing it instantly. David Perkins’ big Angelina County eight pointer taken during the 2014 season isn’t the same league with either of the aforementioned bucks. But it’s a bruiser just the with same with a good cat and mouse tale behind it. The game began in 2010, when

Advertising in East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Helps with Great Turnout The East Texas Farm Ranch Wildlife Expo was a new event held in Crockett in September and we advertised in this publication. We were very impressed with the results of our ad and give a lot of credit to it helping us get a great turnout at the event. We will definitely become a repeat customer to East Texas Farm and Ranch Living! It was a perfect fit for us and will be for you too! The sales staff was very professional and personal in helping us achieve our goal of making our event a success.

Dan Huggins, Executive Director, Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce. East Texas

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Co-op Power

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September-October 2019

Hunting clubs working towards common goals lead to bigger bucks, better relationships By Matt Williams Outdoors Writer

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eer and deer hunting have come a long way in eastern Texas over the years. Back when I first moved here in the early 1980s, not many hunters shot does and just about any deer with antlers had a bullseye on its back. A buck whitetail that was able to live beyond 3 1/2-years old on open range without getting shot was more of an anomaly than ordinary. An 8 pointer with an 18-inch inside spread was considered a really good buck. That’s not the case anymore. Life is good for deer and deer hunters in eastern Texas. And it appears to be getting better. That’s because more hunters and landowners are learning the benefits of letting young deer walk, spending their antlerless tags, caring for habitat and managing their herds with quality in mind.

The Co-op Advantage Many hunters have found it is much easier realize the benefits of deer management when multiple land managers are on the same page rather than just one or two. Thus the beauty of a “hunting cooperative.” A hunting cooperative is formed when a group of landowners or hunters on opposite sides of the fence voluntarily work together for the purposes of improving the quality of an existing deer herd and ultimately enhancing their hunting experiences. Co-ops generally consist of several adjoining properties following similar guidelines with common management goals in mind. While there is no limit on how small or large a hunting co-op should be, the more folks that join in the effort the merrier the party will usually be. Don Dietz knows thing or two about deer hunting co-ops. Dietz is veteran wildlife biologist and deer hunter from Lufkin who has had a finger in managing some of the region’s very best hunting clubs over the years. Among others, he currently oversees 25 hunting clubs along both sides Neches River that form the North Neches Management Co-op. The clubs range in size from 653 acres to more than 9,000 acres. With roughly 79,000 acres under its umbrella, the NNMC is arguably among the largest

hunting co-ops in the state. Dietz, a recreational lease manager with Forestry Resource Consultants, has been been overseeing the operation since its inception in 2005. Not surprisingly, he has witnessed hunter attitudes blossom and seen the hunting quality improve exponentially with time. “When we first started, hunters acted like we raised the rent and took away their bucks!” Dietz said. “Two years later they were showing me game camera pictures of mature bucks they had let walk the past season. When I asked them why they passed on legitimate bucks they all said the same thing - `I want to see what he looks like next year!’” I recently caught up with Dietz and asked him to share some insight on the ins and outs of forming a hunting cooperative. Here’s what he had to say: What is the process of starting a hunting coop? Dietz: ~ Pick a large area that has good connectivity, with very few inholdings of other property. It was easy for us since we manage 1.1 million acres in East Texas. I would look for a block at least 10,000 acres in size. ~ If there is multiple ownership, everyone has to buy into the program or it will not work. Landholdings within a designated deer management association or co-op that won’t participate will just create turmoil and the co-op will fail. ~ Come up with your goals and a strategy. Do you want to manage for trophy bucks are quality deer? Trophy buck management is much harder to sell, because too many hunters will not get to harvest a buck. Quality buck management allows hunters to shoot 3 1/2-year-old bucks for several years until the program starts producing more 4 1/2-year-old and older bucks. ~ Also, make a conscious effort to harvest an adequate number of antlerless deer. If the property is large enough, consider getting involved with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Managed Lands Deer Program. From your experience, what are some of the most common obstacles a landowner/game manager can expect to encounter when starting and maintaining a coop? Dietz: Members shooting “mistake bucks” that aren’t old enough is a big one. Another is failure

to adequately punish a member for consistently shooting mistake bucks. Some clubs try to impose a fine for harvesting the wrong buck. That never works. The most effective way to deal with this problem is to prohibit the hunter from taking a buck the following year. How big do you think a co-op needs to be to have noticeable impact on the deer herd? Dietz: At least 10,000 acres. Following the rules and keeping everyone on the same program is imperative for a hunting co-op to work. How do you deal with a co-op member who bends the rules or doesn’t follow them? Dietz: When you have control like we do we threaten to cancel the lease. We have only had to cancel one lease in the North Neches Co-op since 2005. However, once clubs get used to Managed Lands Deer Permits under the conservation option, they cherish hunting bucks early. You can threaten to take that away. Some land managers may be reluctant to join a co-op due to feeling restricted about what they can and cannot do/shoot. In your opinion what are the best ways coax a “hold out” into joining the group? Dietz: I would guess that the promise of better bucks and therefore increased lease revenue could help. If they are just in it for friends and family, then being able to hunt during the rut with a rifle is enticing. The bottom line is that under the TPWD Land Management Assistance Program, where you can get Managed Land Deer Permits, your deer season can go from just two months to five. A successful co-op isn’t just about managing the game. It’s also about managing the habitat. What are your thoughts on that? Dietz: If you manage your deer population through harvesting doe and culls you will naturally improve your habitat. However, I am a big believer in both fall and spring food plots. I also support feeding protein but with one consideration — once you start you can’t quit. If you do need to stop feeding protein then do it gradually. Supplemental feeding, even food plots for that matter, allows you to artificially carry more deer. Taking it away will cause you to have more deer than

your habitat can naturally support. The NNMC went to 4 1/2-year-old minimum requirement last season on quality bucks. What was the minimum prior to that, and for how long? Dietz: In 2005, I made it mandatory to only harvest bucks that were 3 1/2 years old or older or those with an inside spread of at least 15 inches. In 2011-12, I dropped the spread rule and went with a straight 3 1/2-year-old limit. Our hunters had learned how to age bucks on the hoof by then and the average age of bucks harvested was already at four-years-plus. Did the change meet with much resistance? Dietz: The change met hard resistance in certain clubs, but after I told them I would try to find them another lease they accepted it. After a few years the most resistant clubs became the most protective of their bucks, often letting mature bucks walk just so they could see what they looked like the following year. next year. How have you seen things change as far as deer and deer hunting quality within the co-op from 2005 to 2019? Dietz: Lactation (doe in milk) went from 50 percent to 70 percent. Buck ages jumped from an average 3.6 to 5 years old while inside spread went from 14 1/2 inches to 16.6 inches. Basal circumference grew from 3.6 inches to 4.3 inches and buck live weights jumped from 112 pounds to 130 pounds. I did not require the clubs to score bucks until a few

That buck qualified for alltime Boone and Crockett records.

years back, but the 2017 bucks (200-plus) averaged 126 B&C, including culls. The observation data indicated 3.9 does for every buck in 2005. Last it showed 1.3 does per buck.

Communication is key in a hunting coop. How often do NNMC members get together for meetings? Dietz: We meet annually where my team and I present the harvest data and our expectations for next season.

Co-op success doesn’t happen overnight. Moreover, the amount of success can vary from one year to the next. How long did it take to see a noticeable difference on the NNMC? Dietz: We noticed a difference in one year and have seen continuous success every year. We have had bucks harvested that scored in the 170s, 180s and 190s, including a 199 5/8 net non-typical taken on Bobcat Ridge in 2015.

What is primary advantage of a hunting co-op? Dietz: If you are shooting the right bucks and letting the young bucks walk you know your neighbor is doing the same thing.

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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living Outdoor Guide

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articipants young and old alike had fun at this year’s Lone Star Antique Tractor & Engine Association tractor pull, held Saturday in Whitehouse. A variety of tractors were on display, as were engines, including a 1916 “hit or miss” United Engine Co. 4.5-horsepower engine operated by Harry Hamilton and grandson Jacob Dygert, both of Tatum, to demonstrate how corn was ground 100 years ago. Events included arts and crafts for children, barrel train rides, coin searches and a tractor “display” where parents could snap pictures of their children. The annual event is held the first weekend after Labor Day in Whitehouse.

Progress photos by Jo Anne Embleton

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September-October 2019

World-class taxidermy at Sportsman’s Memory By PennyLynn Webb Palestine Herald-Press

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obby Shaw and Robin “Trap” Coppedge, both from East Texas, opened The Sportsman’s Memory Shop 40 years ago. The two friends shared a passion for hunting, fishing, and taxidermy. Today, the taxidermy shop employs four full-time taxidermists: Bobby Shaw, Trap Coppedge; Bobby’s son, Nathan Shaw; and Nathan Rodriguez. Together, they have more than 100 years of taxidermy experience and put out roughly 500 mounts a year. Their work has earned more than 30 state, national, and world competition awards. “We’ve done so many deer mounts over the years, its almost like being on autopilot,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a series of steps. Once you learn the steps, it’s muscle memory.” Bobby Shaw said bird mounts are time consuming, rabbits are fragile, and alligator gars are challenging. Still, there’s nothing they can’t do. All four of the guys enjoy the challenge of bringing their clients’ vision to fruition. Over the years, they have created polar bears on snow and ice, lions in attack mode, a Gerenuk eating out of a tree, an alligator attacking an alligator gar, a bear killing a moose, and birds in flight. Not only are they mounting the animal, but also creating the mount’s environment, or setting. Foam mountains, water made from fiberglass resin, or snow and icicles made from glues and resins – all are used to recapture the look and feel of outdoors. Among their newest projects is perfecting animatronics. They have a rattlesnake in house, for example, whose tail rattles by remote control. This isn’t Picasso, but it’s definitely art. Restoring color to a dead fish and making a cured hide look real requires real skill and creativity. The guys at Sportsman’s pride themselves on making their mounts lifelike. Among other things, that requires painting and adding epoxies, covering scars, and fixing broken antlers. Mistakes made after the kill can make the difference between a good and great

mount. “The biggest mistake we see is hunters cutting the capes of a their deer too short,” Bobby Shaw said. “Once you cut it off too short, it’s almost impossible for us to fix that.” Their suggestions for best practices include treating the cape and skin with care and keeping them cold. And don’t cut in a spot where you don’t want to see sewing. If you don’t know what to do, the guys at Sportsman’s will teach you. Better to bring it to us for the best results than to cut it wrong and not get the mount you were hoping for,” Bobby Shaw said. Decades ago, paper formed the inside of a mount. Today, most mounts have some kind of foam mannequin inside. “They make them in an array of styles,” Bobby Shaw said. “We no longer do shoulder mounts, unless that all we have to work with.” Unlike many of their competitors, Rodriguez said, they cut the foam to fit the skin. “If you’re making the skin fit the mannequin, then you are taking stuff away from the quality of the mount,” he said. They’ve done animals, birds, and fish – not only from East Texas and the United States, but also the world, including Canada, Africa, Australia, Russia, New Zealand, Afghanistan, England, France, and Spain. Although they have social media pages, including a web page, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, they rely mostly on word-of-mouth advertising. “Our customers have always been good about telling others about our work,” said Rodriguez. Their clients range from everyday hunters and fishermen to governors, state senators, representatives, movie stars, movie producers, authors, CEO’s of major corporations, secret service agents, and Texas rangers. The Sportsman’s Memory Shop, a mile north of Grapeland on US Highway 287, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Hours are extended during deer season to accommodate hunters. The shop also processes wild game during hunting season.

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F&R Living Outdoor Guide September 2019  

A special supplement to the Palestine Herald-Press focusing on East Texas Farm and Ranch Living.

F&R Living Outdoor Guide September 2019  

A special supplement to the Palestine Herald-Press focusing on East Texas Farm and Ranch Living.

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