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Published December 27, 2018

Learning from a Master

Elkhart students learn from Pam Denson, a Master Gardner, Page 2

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December 2018

Gardening students learn from a master By PennyLynn Webb


Palestine Herald-Press

he Elkhart Intermediate Garden is up and growing again. In her fourth year, Anderson County Master Gardener Pam Denson is teaching third-, fourthand fifth-grade science students in Elkhart about growing a garden, as well as the nutrition provided by these plants. Denson is joined by Extension Agent Holy Black, who teaches nutrition classes in winter. Students have also learned about seeds, companion planting, the water cycle, photosynthesis, and the history of tomatoes. This year, classes have planted six raised beds of vegetables. Students grew lettuce, radishes, green beans, yellow squash, broccoli, and cabbage. Each year, Denson adds something new to the mix. In the second year, she tried what is called a sister garden, grown by the Iroquois Indians, of corn, snow peas, and squash. “You put the corn in the middle, and the peas use the corn as a trellis,” Denson said. “Since corn sometimes falls easily, the vines of the squash tend to stabilize the corn.” Corn is a heavy feeder, taking nitrogen out of the soil; peas and beans put nitrogen into the soil, so it’s a symbiotic relationship, Denson said. The squash ringing the garden keeps coons and critters away, as the animals avoid prickly vines. The class also added a few herbs to its garden during the second year, including basil and peppermint. “The kids really enjoy smelling them, especially the peppermint,” Denson said. Last year the class tackled composting. This year, one bed was planted with Lady Bird Johnson Dwarf Cosmos seeds and marigolds. The planting aims to attract pollinators to the garden, increasing vegetable yields. “The bees aren’t the only ones enjoying the flowers,” Denson said. “All who pass the garden cannot help but notice the wonderful display of color.” Denson hopes to soon lay a concrete sidewalk on school grounds that connects other walkways to the garden. With each harvest, students get to sample the items they have grown. “Many students are surprised by the appealing flavor and crunch of a vegetable they previously considered unappealing,” Denson said. Elkhart is one of three schools in the county that participates in the Master Gardener program. Neches uses the produce grown by students in its cafeteria. Most of the herbs and vegetables raised are donated to the Stockpot, a nonprofit group in Palestine that serves daily meals to the less fortunate.

Vegetable Specialist

Pam Denson, a registered nurse from Brushy Creek, has been a Master Gardener for seven years. A certified vegetable specialist, she started the vegetable garden program at Elkhart Elementary. Denson continues to work with the program. The children receive hands-on experience gardening; County Agent Holly Black teaches nutrition classes. She was presented with the second-place award for Outstanding Individual Master Gardner of Texas in the small-group category last year. Denson helped start the Grow Your Own Garden Program, which helps charities and others start a vegetable garden on their land. Denson shares her knowledge by giving lectures to the community, garden clubs, and other Master Gardener groups, as well as writing for the Palestine Herald-Press. She also wrote an article, “Adventures in a School Garden Program,” published in Texas Gardner.

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Looking For a Great Year!


s 2018 fades away, thoughts are being directed to 2019. Our farmers and ranchers need some relief—not the government welfare kind. We need markets for our farm products that return a reasonable profit to our operations. What we have now offers pennies to the producer and dollars to the conglomerates that are in between the farmer and the consumer. Meat eat packers are a shining example of that. They are making more profit

in one day from our beef cattle than the farmer makes in a year. The consumer must wake up and understand that if our farmers and ranchers don’t make decent returns from their labors, future prices for food will skyrocket. Unfortunately, our farm organizations are just not doing the job. Just a few days ago, one of our largest farm magazines ran articles that recommended farmers and ranchers look at bypassing the local suppliers

of feed, fertilizer, seed and chemicals when buying those necessities. The writers concluded that the farmer could save mega-bucks by buying their supplies from large companies outside the local area. Bypassing the local stores may sound reasonable. But the consequences are not pretty. Buying locally keeps the communities thriving and servicing the needs of the local folks. I don’t see the reasoning of some folks that buy their new cars and pickups from

dealers a hundred or more miles from home. That nearby dealership owner wants your business—and probably will meet—or even beat—the “low, low” price advertised by the out-of-area dealers. Not bragging or complaining, but for the last 40-years we have bought our cars and trucks at dealerships that we can drive to in 30-minutes or so. Anyway, shopping at home— or nearby—makes sense to me! Enjoy the holidays!

The time is near to start pruning By Rich Flowers


Athens Daily Review

t’s just a few weeks before white blossoms will appear around Athens and Henderson County. Peach trees will be in bloom and then bear fruit. But while the bite of winter cold is in the air, this the time to prune those trees to help them stay healthy and bear their optimum amount of fruit. Henderson County AgriLife Extension Agent Spencer Perkins believes pruning should be an annual occurance. “If fruit trees are left unpruned, the result is weak trees, overproduction, increased disease, and most important, short tree life,” Perkins said. “The trees need to make good growth each spring and summer to ensure a crop for the next year.” If the trees aren’t pruned each year, the volume of fruiting wood reduces and the shoots move higher and higher until they’re out of reach.

If the peach trees are not pruned annually, the volume of fruiting wood reduces each year, and the fruiting shoots move higher and higher, becoming out of reach. Alternate-year pruning in most fruit trees results in excessive growth the year following heavy pruning, so annual, moderate pruning is essential for the long-term control of tree vigor and fruiting wood. Conversely, the producer should take care that the trees aren’t pruned too much. Excessive pruning will remove the fruiting spurs and reduce crop size. Excessive pruning can make the trees prone to the fire blight disease. According to AgriLife growers, only a few trees can wait until bud to prune. Growers with large crops will need to begin sooner but should not prune earlier than necessary. A good time to start is the middle of February. The average last freeze date for Henderson County is the later part of March. A good tool to use for pruning is lopping shears, which can cut wood from a quarter inch to one and a half inches diameter. The long handles enable someone standing on

the ground to prune limbs up to an eight feet above the ground. The long handles also allow extra leverage when cutting larger limbs. No other equipment is needed. For small plants, use hand pruners or when a lot of small limbs less than a half inch in diameter must be cut. The short handles give more control when doing detailed pruning. A pruning saw is needed for pruning limbs too large for the lopping shears. The first step in pruning is to remove any dead, broken or diseases branches. Branches should be cut back to the connection to another branch. “The main idea in pruning is to remove old, gray colored, slow growing shoots, which are non-fruitful,” Perkins said. “The second objective of pruning is to lower the fruiting zone to a height that makes hand harvesting from the ground possible.” A third objective is to open the center of the tree, which increases air circulation, reduces disease pressure, and allows sunlight into the tree to accelerate fruit color.

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Gardening Superheroes


ave you ever seen a gardening superhero? They don’t wear capes. They wear sweat, dirt under their fingernails and a smile. We call them Master Gardeners. The source of their power? Heart. The desire to serve, a belief in the absolute wonder of seeds sprouting and a love of the beauty of nature.   In Cherokee County, you can find these kind souls in the Demonstration Garden, in the H.O.P.E. Garden, in classrooms throughout our local school districts and even at historical landmarks like Caddo

Mounds. The Demonstration Garden is a jewel tucked away in the Ruth B. Nichols Arboretum. Full to the brim with native, vegetable, herb, perennial and pollinator beds, this garden is a great opportunity for visitors to see what thrives in our tough East Texas climate. The local Master Gardeners have been nurturing this garden with love and water, and it shows.  Or perhaps you will find them behind H.O.P.E. Center, tending the vegetable beds. All of the vegetables grown at

H.O.P.E. (and at the Demo Garden) go to feed the community through the nutritious food cooked up at H.O.P.E. You might find them at the outdoor garden at Rusk Primary, or Joe Wright Elementary, helping young gardeners plant their first seeds or learn about the cycle of seed to flower. Or, perhaps you can follow the sound of the children chanting “the plant people!” right into a classroom where Learn, Grow, Eat, Go! curriculum encourages young gardeners to grow and eat their own tasty veggies. 

At Snake Woman’s Garden, the Master Gardeners are a huge benefit to the educational programming that teaches Caddo gardening, foraging, history and culture through Caddo Mounds State Historical Site. They will be greeting you at educational conferences, welcoming you to the Scarecrow Trail, telling you about the plants they are selling at the Spring and Fall plant sales and answering gardening questions with aplomb.  The Cherokee County Master Gardeners return more than $40,000

Kim Benton

Cherokee County Horticulturist every year back to the county through the value of their volunteerism. Their love for the local communities shows in so many understated ways:

December 2018

Blooms on the Chaste tree at Conley park, wildflowers and sweet potatoes at the Annex building, vegetables served at H.O.P.E. Kitchen, and so many more. An upcoming Master Gardener training begins on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the conference room at the Cherokee County Courthouse Annex, 165 E. Sixth St. in Rusk. Cost is $100 per person. The training lasts January through March. To learn more, contact the Cherokee County AgriLife Extension office, 903-683-5416.

Care for Stock in an Emergency Have an emergency plan in place to deal with livestock evacuations in the case of an emergency. Consider these tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s procedures to prepare your farm or ranch for a successful evacuation: Determine where you will bring your herd until danger passes. You can check with local officials for livestock evacuation locations. Ensure your animals have some form of identification like a microchip or ear tag. Create an evacuation kit including items like medications, food, water and halters or leads to make transportation easier. Since you may not be given enough time to react to an imminent disaster, you can also take advantage of assistance programs to protect your livestock, as suggested by the United States Department of Agriculture. Forage Program This program is in place to benefit eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses for pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or that is planted specifically for grazing. To be considered for assistance, losses must be due to a qualifying drought condition during the normal grazing period. You should also keep in mind there are stipulations regarding ownership before you can qualify for the program. Livestock must have been owned, purchased or entered into a contract during the 60 days before a drought. The land in question must have been maintained for commercial use during a farming operating on the beginning date of a drought condition. The Farm Service Agency states farmers must make a claim within 30 days after the end of the calendar year in which the grazing loss occurred.

Indemnity Program To qualify for this program, eligible livestock owners must have experienced livestock deaths more than normal mortality caused by adverse weather, disease or attacks by animals reintroduced by the federal government. Farmers must file a claim within 30 days of when the loss was initially noticed and file an application for payment within 90 days of when the eligible loss condition occurred.

Get More from Your Ranch L

ife on a ranch can mean more than raising livestock and maintaining your land. With the right marketing and creative services, your ranch can create exciting financial opportunities.

Create an Exciting Getaway

Analyze your property to discover where land is going unutilized. You may discover you have the room to create an

enticing getaway for those looking for a relaxing vacation. Consider using your extra land to turn your ranch into a resort by developing these exciting additions: Winery: This investment won’t turn a profit overnight, in fact, the Cornell Horticultural Business Management and Marketing Program states it typically takes at least five years before vineyards produce mature yields. If you have the capital to back the beginning stages of a winery, it can be highly profitable later.

Horseback riding: Offer your guests an exciting way to view your property by investing in trained horses. Spa: Develop a signature retreat with massages, saunas and workout experiences for your guests to unwind after a day of exploring your ranch.

Market to the Public

Once you have designed an attractive guest ranch, you need to get the word out to entice the public to visit. To stand out in this competitive industry, follow

these tips from the North Dakota State University Agriculture Department. Make your advertising dollars count by analyzing the effectiveness of each ad. You can track these conversions by comparing dollars spent to the number of clients who visit based on your efforts. You can create a website which showcases the numerous services you offer. Highlight the different packages you provide for romantic getaways, family friendly events or weddings.

December 2018

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It’s Never Easy To... It’s Never Easy To: 1. Trim the hind feet of a short horse 2. Change a split rim tire 3. Patch an aluminum stock tank 4. Get the cockleburs out of your dog’s coat 5. Buy your spouse somethin’ they’d really like for Christmas 6. Get the lawn mower goin’ every spring 7. Round up a loose cow on the highway 8. Comfort a sick child 9. Start a cantankerous chain saw 10. Diagnose a horse lameness 11. Treat mastitis 12. Find the calf with the bloody stool 13. Start a Ford pickup in the winter 14. Pack out an elk 15. Rope five in a row 16. Find a parking space at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis 17. Find a friend twice at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas 18. Find the right open end wrench for anything 19. Stop a hot blooded horse from jiggin’

20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

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Local Students Experience “Underground” in Soil Tunnel By Becky Whisenant


Special to the Jacksonville Daily Progress

ourth-graders at Joe Wright Elementary went underground last week for an in-depth look at soil and its importance to our lives. A full-size inflatable soil tunnel provided by the Cherokee County Soil & Water Conservation District allowed students to learn about the Food Web, the Biology of Soil and life under the surface. The soil tunnel, approximately 12 foot long and 8 foot tall is a new educational resource which will be offered to county schools to allow teachers to lead students through a simulated underground tour of the soil. The goal of the soil tunnel is to teach the importance of conservation of soil as a natural resource by studying elements essential to soil health such as the Nitrogen Cycle, the Hydrologic Cycle, the Phosphorous Cycle, the Food Web and our connection to the land. Teresa Trantham, Joe Wright Elementary Enrichment teacher, works with first through fourth grades in science and for many years has utilized resources offered by the soil & water district to enhance her classroom studies. Ms. Trantham said, “The soil tunnel will be great for us to use because we talk about the layers of the soil, what is in it and the importance of soil. We received a grant a few years ago and we have a garden here on the campus every year. Everybody gets to pull some of the produce and take it home with them.” Joe Wright is officially designated as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) school and offers a variety of clubs focusing on various STEM related studies. Monica Gaskin, Instructional Strategist, oversees this program which includes an outdoor classroom for such pursuits as a weather station, rainwater collection system, technology for life, CAD (computer aided design), irrigation systems, animal husbandry, astronomy and many others. “Our goal is to offer all students the opportunity to belong to one of these enrichment clubs,” said Ms. Gaskin. Joe Wright puts a strong emphasis on STEM studies in order to give students the opportunity to experience hands-on involvement in those subjects which can be key to completing higher education. The soil tunnel is available for use to all grades in Cherokee County. For more information contact the Cherokee County Soil & Water Conservation District at (903) 683-4669 or cherokeecounty@swcd.texas.gov.

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December 2018

Bugs that bug me

Safeguard your home from winter pest invasion By Jo Anne Embleton Jacksonville Daily Progress


nug as a bug inside your home on a cold winter’s day, you notice a lone fly, buzzing about as if would on a hot summer day. Like other creatures seeking safe haven from the cold, it isn’t unusual inside your home, said Erfan Vafaie, Extension Integrated Pest Management specialist with Texas A&M University AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton. “You can find insects anywhere that they can find warmth and protection,” he said. “Lady beetles come inside in the winter, it’s how they survive, by finding a warmer climate. They’re considered invasive – they don’t really cause damage, but they can be a nuisance.” It’s tempting to smash or stomp on them, but Vafaie warned against doing so, “because they have a yellowish fluid in them and when we crush them, it can stain surfaces, so refrain from smashing them on walls or carpeting.” East Texas homeowners also may discover fire ants inside their residence during the winter. They generally aren’t a major issue, he said, “but if a mound’s near a house, or established under house, occasionally, they can find their way inside.” And those pesky houseflies? “As the weather starts to cool down, people bring in their houseplants from

outside, and if they are watered more than they need to be,” flies will find moist habitats where fungus might grow, and “that’s where they reproduce,” he said. The best strategy to combat unwanted insect guests is to be proactive. “It’s something you want to do beforehand,” he said. “If one sees ants coming in, then sealing those areas is a big step forward in prevention. From there, adapt strategy as needed – it’s part of a larger strategy. Just doing one thing won’t be fool-proof.” The best way to keep fire ants from sticking around is to check the area near the building for mounds, then applying treatment. However, if they do get inside your home, “refrain from leaving food out,” Vafaie said, explaining that these insects not only are looking for shelter, but are foraging. “So, no foods left around, such as sugary drinks or leftover coffee.” Sealing cracks and crevices will help prevent them from getting inside, as well as keep out lady beetles. However, if lady beetles do get your house, vacuum them up, then immediately dump the contents of the vacuum clean into a garbage bag and set the bag outside. “Don’t them keep inside the vacuum because they can stink it up,” Vafaie said. “Or, if they’re in reach, you can throw them in soapy water as you catch them.” Other smart suggestions are shared on the website https://today.agrilife.org, in the article titled “Exclusion is the best

protection from winter insect ‘home invasion’.” Tips include: • Keep debris and firewood away from the house. • Prune any trees or shrubs touching or hanging over the house. • Keep grass near or touching the house closely mowed. • Replace weather-stripping around doors and windows as necessary. • Fill weep holes in stone, brick or stucco homes with steel wool, copper mesh or screen wire. • Seal cracks, crevices and areas of pipe

penetration in exterior walls with sealant. • Keep window screens in good repair and make sure they fit tightly into the window frame. • Treat the foundation of the home with a pesticide with ingredients such as permethrin, cypermethrin or deltamethrin. • Apply pesticides around doors, windows, eaves and other potential points of entry. Indoor treatments should be directed at potential points of entry as well as corners, cracks and crevices. Follow label directions for dosage, mixing and application methods.

Tree-killing Insect Confirmed in Tarrant County


eports of the economically devastating emerald ash borer (EAB) in Tarrant County have been confirmed. EAB has infested and killed ash trees in the Eagle Mountain Lake area. Texas A&M Forest Service began inspecting ash trees in the high-risk area due to the discovery of a single EAB specimen found in 2017. Prior to adult beetle emergence in the spring, the state agency collected larvae that were over-wintering in area ash trees. Through positive DNA tests Texas A&M Forest Service confirmed the larvae to be EAB. All species of ash are susceptible to the destructive EAB. Infested trees die within two to five years after infestation. Texas A&M Forest Service urban tree canopy inventories estimate that ash trees comprise approximately 5 percent of the Dallas/Fort Worth urban forest. “There is no known stop to

this epidemic,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Urban Forester Courtney Blevins. “But we can help communities minimize loss, diversify their tree species and contribute to the health and resiliency of their urban forests.” Texas A&M Forest Service has resources available to help affected communities identify signs of EAB infestation, as well as make decisions about preventative measures they can take and how to handle tree management and removal. The agency will work with communities on any future state and federal quarantines of the movement of wood into and out of the area. These quarantines are standard protocols with such infestations and are set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Texas

Department of Agriculture. For more information on EAB in Texas, please visit http:// texasforestservice.tamu.edu/ eab/. EAB photos and resources can be viewed at http://ow.ly/ LIJi30lbBxz To report emerald ash borer, please call 1-866-322-4512.

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About EAB in Texas EAB is a destructive, non‐native, wood‐ boring pest that targets ash trees. Native to Asia, forest health experts have been monitoring its movement across the United States since 2002. It has spread to more than half the states in America — and killed millions of ash trees. The beetle was first detected in Texas in 2016 in Harrison County in northeast Texas. Last summer, adult EAB beetles were caught in survey traps in Marion and Cass counties, though no infestations have been reported until now in Tarrant County.

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December 2018

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Three-time champion finishes 16th in Wrangler National Finals


ost of the time, a 16th-place finish in the world standings in a single event at the end of the regular season on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit means a cowboy has missed qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas by one slot. But that’s not the case this year for three-time world bareback riding champion Will Lowe of Canyon who finished No. 16 when the 2018 regular season concluded on Sept. 30. Lowe is competing at the 2018 National Finals because veteran J.R. Vezain, who qualified for the NFR by finishing in 14th place, is not able to ride because he is nursing a broken back injury. “I hate the circumstances that

I’m here under,” Lowe said of competing at the 2018 NFR. “But we all know the risk that we take when we nod our head [in the chute for the bronc to turned out in the arena].” When Lowe learned that Vezain had been injured and probably would be sideline throughout the 2018 NFR, he became very aggressive and placed at multiple rodeos throughout the final week of the season to secure a the last slot in the Las Vegas championships. “I knew I had to go on a rampage,” Lowe said of competing during the last week of the 2018 regular season. “I was fortunate to draw the horses that I did. It all worked out and I’m glad to be here again.” Vezain was injured during

a late regular season rodeo in Pasadena. When word got out about his injury, Lowe pretty well knew that qualifying for the NFR would be less of a challenge for those cowboys who were on the bubble and just outside of the elite top 15 in the world standings. “All of us who were on the bubble knew that 16th place was probably going to be up” to qualify for the 2018 NFR in bareback riding, Lowe said. “We all were hoping for the best for J.R. But when you have an injury were it involves breaking bones and surgery, that’s usually a couple of months process at the minimum. We all prayed for J.R. and we wish J.R. was here riding. But we all knew that 16th was the last hole.”

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The 60th annual NFR began Thursday, Dec. 6, and runs through Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus. Lowe qualified for the NFR for 14 consecutive years (2002-15) and he clinched world titles in 2003, 2005 and 2006. Lowe did not compete in the NFR the past two years. But when he earned his 15th berth to the NFR this year, Lowe made his presence known immediately. He finished fourth in Round 1 on Thursday with a score of 85 and earned an $11,000 check. “It’s an honor to be back,” Lowe said. “I’m very fortunate, I’m very blessed and very grateful for the opportunity to be back.” One talented rider Tatum Rice of Weatherford has won the National Cutting Horse Association’s two most prestigious titles eight days apart. On Saturday, Dec. 1, he was crowned as the sport’s open division champion rider at the NCHA World Finals at Fort Worth’s W.R. Watt Arena. He clinched the coveted title on a stallion named Hashtags. The World Finals is the sport’s equivalent of the World Series for weekend warriors. On Sunday, Dec. 9, Rice and a filly named Crey Zee clinched NCHA World Championship Futurity open division title with a final round score of 222 at Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum. Crey Zee’s owners, Kevin and Sydney Knight of Weatherford, earned the coveted $183,074 prize. The Nov. 15-Dec. 9 Futurity was the sport’s most prominent annual show that featured the cutting horse industry’s most

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.

promising debuting 3-year-old horses. The Futurity, which is classified as an aged event, traditionally is the first jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series. When the 2018 Futurity title was at stake, Rice and Crey Zee, who were the first duo to compete during Sunday’s 21-horse finals, turned in the attention grabbing 222. The score held up for the rest of the performance. Adan Banuelos, 30, of Granbury, and a stallion named Badboonarising, which were the third duo to compete in the second bunch during the final, finished as the Futurity’s reserve champion with a 221. Badboonarising’s owners, Plantation Farms of Denham Springs, La., earned $161,539. After clinching the Futurity title, Rice, 33, said Crey Zee is a very fast athletic horse with lots of determination. “She’s named appropriately-she is crazy,” Rice said. “She’s wild. But she wants to be good. She’s incredibly fast and she tries.”

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December 2018

Big Bore Airgun hunting in Texas By Luke Clayton

Special to the Herald-Press


ig Bore airguns and arrow guns are now legal in Texas for taking big game animals. This past week, I used my 45 caliber ‘Texan’ with a big 350 grain lead bullet to harvest my first whitetail deer with the power of air instead of powder. I was hunting up at Ranger Creek Ranch in Knox County which has for many years been one of my favorite places to hunt. This is Cedar Break country and a hotspot for not only deer but all sorts of other game animals and birds, both large and small. I am frequently asked about using these powerful big bore air rifles for hunting. Because hunting with air rifles is brand new to many hunters, many questions obviously arise. For the past 8 years or so, I have been using big bore airguns for hunting wild hogs and exotics and hopefully my answers to these questions will help you decide if taking up the ‘new’ sport of airgun hunting is for you. What is the effective range of big bore airguns in real life hunting situations? When I first began killing wild hogs and exotics with big bore airguns, I kept my shots very close, inside 50 yards. After a bunch of range time shooting targets, I discovered I could double my shooting range and be effective on game. Because I shoot heavy, 350 grain bullets traveling about 850 fps., bullet trajectory falls quickly after about 75 yards. I have a couple of friends that have been hunting deer and exotics with airguns for years that stretch their shots on out to 150 yards. But doing so requires a very through working knowledge of which mil dot to hold at various yardages and the use of an accurate range finder. In theory, these longer shots with airguns are very doable but only for shooters that know exactly where the bullet will be at the extended yardages. For me, a 100 yard shot at game is the max I will take, that’s the comfort zone for which I have practiced but, I set up for shots half that distance. How effective are these slowly moving bullets on cleanly harvesting bigger animals? This was the first question I posed when I first began killing hogs and exotics with the power of air. It’s an old cliché I know but shot placement is of paramount importance. Think of it like this, with a center fire bullet weighing between 130 and 180 grains, whistling along at 3,000 fps., a great deal of hydrostatic shock occurs upon



impact. The bullet can be a big off and still result in great damage to internal organs. But a big chunk of lead weighing in the neighborhood of 300-350 grains traveling at about 800 to 850 fps., with very little shock, bullet placement is key. This is one of the reasons I keep my shots inside 100 yards. A big bullet traveling through both lungs or the heart will put any critter down. But, a hit anywhere other than in the vitals or spine will often result in a difficult recovery. Arrows (bolts) can now be legally used to hunt big game. I understand certain big bore air rifles do double duty as arrow guns. Is this correct? Arrow gun: Yes, a device that fires an arrow or bolt solely by the use of unignited compressed gas as the propellant is TPWD’s technical description of an ‘arrow gun’. The Dragon Claw by Air Venturi is one such air gun that fires both bullets or air bolts. Which animals may be taken with airguns?


Alligator, game animals, furbearers, squirrels, and nonmigratory game birds (except Eastern Turkey) may be hunted with air guns and arrow guns. Alligators, big horn sheep, javelina, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and turkey may be taken only with pre-charged pneumatic arrow guns, or pre-charged pneumatic air guns. What is the power requirements for big bore airguns?


Air guns must of at least 30 caliber in diameter and at least and bullets must be 150 grains in weight with a minimum muzzle velocity of 800 feet per second or any combination of bullet weight and muzzle velocity that produces muzzle energy of at least 215 foot pounds of energy. Squirrels, pheasant, quail, and chachalaca may be hunted with air guns that fire a projectile of at least .177 caliber (4.5mm) in diameter producing a muzzle velocity of at least 600 feet per second. Arrows or bolts used with an arrow gun must conform to the same standards for projectiles for archery. Arrow guns may not be used to hunt deer or turkey during archery season.


How does hunting with a big bore airgun compare to using a compound bow, crossbow or muzzleloader?

Photo by Luke Clayton

Luke will enjoying some prime venison from this fat doe harvested with his .45 caliber Airforce Airguns ‘Texan’ big bore air rifle last week at Ranger Creek Ranch.


Having hunted with bow and muzzleloader for many years and big bore airguns for the past several years, I’ve found that scoped airguns greatly extend the effective killing distance over bows of all sorts. Shots of 75 to 100 yards are very ‘doable’ with a quality big bore air rifle. But, as when hunting with a bow, it’s often necessary to ‘follow up’ after the shot by trailing the game. Most big game I’ve killed with airguns with properly placed bullets go no farther than 50 to 60 yards. But, because there is

no hydrostatic shock with airgun bullets, a bad shot that is not to the animal’s vitals can result in lost game. It’s important to know your shooting limits and keep shots close. An air rifle is not a long range hunting tool. For more information on hunting Ranger Creek Ranch, visit the website www.rangercreekranch.com Listen to ‘Outdoors with Luke Clayton and Friends’ on radio stations from Nebraska to Texas or anytime online at www.catfishradio.org.

Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Postpones Select a Fly Challenge Until January 12


ue to predictions of inclement weather, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center will be postponing the Select A Fly Challenge. The rescheduled event will be held from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12. A $40 donation to the Friends of Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center gives anglers an opportunity to catch rainbow trout using a single fly on one fly rod throughout the challenge. The tournament will use the catch-photo-release (CPR) format, meaning photos – not fish – will be submitted for live scoring. Each angler who catches a rainbow trout using any legal technique will take a picture of the fish on a provided ruler, submit the photo to tournament volunteers, and get right back to casting after releasing the fish. Anglers will be eligible for prizes in several categories, including the biggest single trout of the day, the biggest trout of each hour, a challenge championship for the most overall total inches caught during the day and a new youth-only division. But there is one catch – anglers will only be allowed to fish with a single fly on one fly rod


Founded in 1955 A reputation for reliable, on time performance with affordable quality products.

throughout the challenge. Donated pre-tied flies will be provided by Select a Fly tiers, and each angler will be allowed to purchase one “mulligan” fly for an additional $20 donation to the TFFC friends group.  Proceeds from the tournament will be used to support the development of a flyfishing education program at the TFFC.  Space is still available to participate. Anglers can pre-register for the event by contacting Rebecca Sellers at (903) 670-2266. Registration will also be open on-site before the tournament from 7:30 to 9 a.m.  The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is located at 5550 F.M. 2495, about 4 miles east of Athens. Regular admission is $5.50 for adults, $4.50 for seniors 65 and older, and $3.50 for children ages 4 through 12. For more information call (903) 676-2277 or visit tpwd.texas.gov/tffc.



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December 2018

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

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

PR Equipment offers ag products, parts and service By Michael Kormos


Corsicana Daily Sun

R Equipment owners Nick and April Pomeroy were looking for a place to buy some land, put down roots and become fully immersed in the “country

life.” They found their dream place right next to the Powell and Kerens city limits sign. Nick and April met while they were both working in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Their journey began about four years ago when they purchased the property and started their new life in Navarro County. “We’ve come to love it,” Nick said. “We’ve grown in the community.” Indeed they have, becoming one of the first couples to be married in a ceremony at the historical Corsicana Opry building downtown. They’re members of Grace Community Church in downtown Corsicana, and their 15-month-old son Toby was born at Navarro Regional Hospital. “We sold used equipment for about four years,” Nick said. “Since I graduated high school, I’ve had jobs that involved dealing and manufacturing farm equipment. It’s all I’ve ever done.” Continuing their efforts to become part of their new community, the Pomeroys had a booth at Derrick Days where they met many county residents, as well as having an opportunity to feature their equipment. They participated in the Chamber of Commerce Business and Career Expo, and had a booth at the Kerens Cotton Harvest Festival in October. On Halloween this year, they stood downtown handing out candy in the pouring rain, and they will showcase a new mower and new tractor in the Festival of Lights Christmas Parade. The couple opened their new facility in May and the business has already surpassed their expectations. They attribute their success to a commitment to customer service and community involvement. “We have been working hard to establish good business relationships that last a lifetime,” Nick said. “I will jump through hoops to take care of my customers, even if it means being out late at night.” “We are customer service driven,” April said. “We want happy customers who will come back and visit with us.” April said they ensure customers leave the lot with knowledge of the equipment they will be using. “They can be comfortable calling us at any time, with any questions,” she said. “We sell to a lot of women, which is great because I think some environments can be really intimidating to women. We can help them be comfortable with it.” Nick said he encourages people who aren’t quite sure what they need for their particular purpose to come to him. “We don’t think any questions are stupid,” April said. “We can educate them and make them comfortable with their purchase. We want to make sure what we sell is a good fit and they will want to come back and trade it in later.”

“We buy and sell new and used farm equipment, and service it as well,” Nick said. “We have a full-time, onsite mechanic.” PR Equipment’s four-acre site showcases Yanmar tractors, Rhino Ag cutters, Ag Spray sprayers and Quickie implements. What’s next for PR Equipment? The next phase will be to offer zero-turn lawn mowers. “We are a new Spartan mower dealer,” Nick said. “It’s not a really well-known brand but it’s going to be soon, we are going to make it that way. We are a full-warranty service and dealer for brands like Briggs and Stratton and Kawasaki. We can repair any make or model of mowers and tractors.” Nick said he could even help people who live in town find a quality mower that will last for over a decade. “We offer some moderately-priced mowers,” he said. “They’re not cheap because they’re not built cheap. Spartans are the best mowers in the business, in my opinion.” The couple is pleased with the brisk business they’ve done thus far. “That’s from a lot of great customers coming in and supporting us,” Nick said. “We are happy where we are right now and are looking forward to doing big things next year.” ————————— Find PR Equipment on Facebook and Instagram. On the Net: www.prequipmentsales.com

PR Equipment 772 E. State Hwy. 31 Kerens TX 75144 903-270-0877 www.prequipmentsales.com 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday


SA- Series

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YT 2 Series 34.2 Horsepower

YT 3 Series

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Commitment to Service • Customer Focus • Quality Products

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772 E. State HWY 31• Kerens prequipmentsales.com 903-270-0877 Hours Monday-Friday: 8am - 5:30pm Saturday: 8am-12pm



December 2018

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

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

Lumber and millwork is a family affair By William Patrick Palestine Herald-Press


ast Texans needing red cedar lumber or custom millwork have looked to Mitchell’s Custom Sawing and Lumber in Elkhart for more than 20 years. When owner/operator Carlton Mitchell, 78, died in October, many customers feared the clouds of sawdust and aromatic cedar would vanish from the community forever. Not to worry, said Mitchell’s grandson Kerry Rogers. After reorganing, he and his brother, Hoyett, are back manning the saws. “From October to December, we were filling orders already made,” Kerry Rogers, 33, told the Herald-Press Monday. “My grandmother even considered closing down since my grandfather passed. Hoyett and I told her we were ready to give it a go.” The business specializes in custom sawing. If customers bring the lumber in, the brothers will create as many boards as they want, at whatever sizes they request. “The mill is something we all grew up around,” Kerry Rogers said. “Whatever dimensions you want, we’ll get it out of the lumber.” Besides their custom work, the brothers also proudly sell locally sourced red cedar lumber. “We buy the timber from around these parts,” Rogers said. “That type of aromatic cedar grows only within a 60- to 90-mile radius from here, anyway.” Local artisans and those interested in homemade crafts are happy the Mitchell brothers are keeping their

doors open. A gift shop on the millworks’ grounds has long been a showcase for local artists to display and sell their creations. “We need to fill up the gift shop again,” Kerry Rogers said. “We have birdhouses, crosses, swings, cedar-chests, kids’ picnic tables, and all sorts of things available.” James Sowell, a woodworking artist who recently joined the crew at Mitchell’s, said he is excited. “This is great,” Sowell said. “I’m glad to have a chance to be a part of this.” Mitchell’s Custom Sawing

and Red Cedar Lumber, 2143 E. State HWY 294, operates about two miles south of Elkhart. For questions, or to inquire about showcasing art in the gift shop, call 903-7642223.

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Profile for Herald Press

Farm & Ranch Living December 2018  

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

Farm & Ranch Living December 2018  

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

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