MAGAZINE OF THE TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION
Black Bears in Texas
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TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr., Suite 126 San Antonio, TX 78247 www.texas-wildlife.org (210) 826-2904 FAX (210) 826-4933 (800) 839-9453 (TEX-WILD) OFFICERS
State of Diversity Steve Jester’s article on black bears, in this issue of Texas Wildlife, is a reminder of the diversity that characterizes our great state of Texas. Personally, when it comes to black bears, I’ve been fortunate to have a number of encounters with these rare Texas bruins, including several that I’ve seen while flying aerial deer surveys in the Alpine area out west and, more recently, an old boar that continued to maraud a deer feeder of mine that was located in the Canadian River bottom up in the Texas Panhandle. Texas is diverse. From a landscape ecological standpoint, Texas is often described as having nine distinct eco-regions. This in itself is pretty amazing when you consider the contrasting extremes that characterize these regions, from desert conditions to tropical-like features, and various depictions in-between. Short grass prairies, tall grass prairies, Tamaulipan thornscrub, beaches and coastal marshes, vast stands of southern yellow pines, live oak covered granite hillsides, a plethora of cacti species, and wetland communities with a host of unique plants, including the carnivorous Venus flytrap. With these diverse plant communities that stretch across the state, you also have abundant and diverse wild critters that call these locales home: small and large mammals, reptiles and amphibians, birds, fishes, insects, a variety of wildlife that can be legally hunted, as well as thousands of species that are not hunted. The majestic bighorn out west, the rare and secretive ocelot down south, a wintering assembly of whooping cranes along the coast, and the ubiquitous whitetail that are from one end of the state to the other, are but a few of these special wild creatures. In many ways, our Texas Wildlife Association mimics the diverse nature of our state. We have a variety of stakeholder groups and interests that represent our membership, which adds to the breadth of our footing, and also creates a recipe for contrasting values. We have diverse programmatic functions, from natural resource literacy programs for youths to those designed for adults; and, these important education efforts reached some 450,000 people in 2013. In partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, we have the nation’s model youth hunting program through our Texas Youth Hunting Program and Texas Big Game Awards program, which is a celebration of our hunting heritage and a program that shines the spotlight on the importance of quality wildlife habitat and how that translates to quality big game animals. We have our advocacy arm that promotes and defends the interests of our members, providing a voice for Texans, Texas landowners, wildlife enthusiasts and Texas wildlife. The issues that tend to find their way onto our TWA plate are diverse, as well. Eminent domain, ground water rights matters, surface water issues, concerns over navigable stream consequences, ESA over-reach, border security, concerns over certain practices within deer breeding, consideration of new wildlife regulations, human health and safety issues as they relate to wildlife practices, hunter education certification standards, landowner liability, ag tax concerns for landowners, CREZ line impact on landowners, common carrier pipeline issues, and the list stretches beyond the horizon. And, the complexity and challenges associated with these issues are ever-evolving. Despite the diversity that exists within the TWA scope that I just described, there are areas in which TWA lacks diversity. Though we are seeing some improvement, we tend to lack membership numbers comprised of women. We are lacking in young adults; those that are college age and slightly above. We are lacking in our ethnic diversity regarding our membership composition. Folks, we need to do a better job of creating a more effective recipe in addressing these shortfalls. It is this diversity that allows us to amplify our voice and reach a broader, larger group of Texans, which in turn creates added relevancy for our mission. Diversity is a good thing. Let’s celebrate it. Let’s build on it! Spring is here, and as they say, life’s better outdoors. So, get out and enjoy the splendors of our Texas pleasures….or should I say, our Texas treasures! Cheers!
Mission Statement of the Texas Wildlife Association
Serving Texas wildlife and its habitat, while protecting property rights, hunting heritage, and the conservation efforts of those who value and steward wildlife resources.
Greg Simons, President, San Angelo Marcus T. Barrett IV, Vice President, San Antonio Dr. Louis Harveson, Second Vice President for Programs, Alpine J. David Anderson, Treasurer, Houston For a complete list of TWA Directors, go to www.texas-wildlife.org
PROFESSIONAL PROFESSIONAL STAFF/CONTRACT STAFF/CONTRACT ASSOCIATES ASSOCIATES Administration Administration & & Operation Operation Quita Quita Hill, Hill, Director Director of of Finance Finance and and Operations Operations Samantha Samantha Smith, Smith, Office Office Administrator Administrator
Outreach Outreach & & Member Member Services Services
David David Brimager, Brimager, Director Director of of Marketing Marketing and and Partner Partner Relations Relations Kendra Roller, Kendra Roller, Director Director of of Member Member Relations Relations Kathy Dalgleish, Dalgleish, Membership Membership Coordinator Coordinator Kathy
Helen Helen Holdsworth, Holdsworth, Conservation Conservation Legacy Legacy Program Program Director Director Koy Koy Coffer, Coffer, Education Education Program Program Specialist Specialist Kassi Scheffer, Scheffer, Education Education Program Program Specialist Specialist Kassi Clint Faas, Faas, Conservation Conservation Program Program Coordinator Coordinator Clint Courtney Courtney Brittain, Brittain, Web Web Program Program Consultant Consultant Kayla Krueger, Education Program Contractor Mary Pearl Meuth, Education Program Contractor Lynnsey Dohmen, Education Program Lynnsey Dohmen, Education Program Contractor Contractor Leslie Wittenburg, Wittenburg, Education Education Program Program Contractor Contractor Leslie Elanor Dean, Dean, Education Education Program Program Contractor Contractor Elanor Toni Toni Purnell, Purnell, Education Education Program Program Contractor Contractor Amanda Amanda Crouch, Crouch, Education Education Program Program Contractor Contractor Justin Dreibelbis, Hunting Heritage Justin Dreibelbis, Hunting Heritage Program Program Director Director COL(R) Jerry Jerry B. B. Warden, Warden, Texas Texas Youth Youth Hunting Hunting Program Program Director Director COL(R) COL(R) Chris Chris Mitchell, Mitchell, TYHP TYHP Field Field Operations Operations Coordinator Coordinator COL(R) Barbara Barbara Scheib, Scheib, TYHP TYHP Administrative Administrative Assistant Assistant Kara Kara Starr, Starr, Hunting Hunting Heritage Heritage Program Program Assistant Assistant
Joey Joey Park, Park, Legislative Legislative Program Program Coordinator Coordinator
MAGAZINE CORPS MAGAZINE CORPS
Kim Rothe, Consulting Publications Coordinator/Editor Kim Rothe, Consulting Publications Coordinator/Editor David Brimager, Consulting Editor David Brimager, Consulting Editor Lorie Woodward Cantu, Special Projects Editor Lorie Woodward Cantu, Special Projects Editor Cross Timbers Marketing.com, Design & Layout Cross Timbers Marketing.com, Design & Layout Publication Printers Corp., Printing, Denver, CO Publication Printers Corp., Printing, Denver, CO
COLUMNISTS/CONTRIBUTORS COLUMNISTS/CONTRIBUTORS Ralph Winingham
Ralph WininghamCantu Lorie Woodward LorieRollins, Woodward Cantu Dale Ph. D. Dale Higginbotham, Rollins, Ph. D. Ph. D. Billy Steve Nelle Billy Higginbotham, Ph. D. Henry Chappell Borderlands Research Institute for Natural Resource Management, Sul RossInstitute State University-Alpine Borderlands Research for Natural Resource Management, Ross State University-Alpine Caesar KlebergSul Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Stephen F. Austin Stateof University-Nacogdoches Arthur Temple College Forestry and Agriculture, Stephen F. Austin State University-Nacogdoches Texas Wildlife is published monthly by Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Wildlife is published monthly by Texas Wildlife Association, 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr., Suite 126, San Antonio, Texas 78247. 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr., Suite 126, San Antonio, Texas 78247. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail address: email@example.com POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Wildlife Association, POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Wildlife Association, 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr., Suite 126, San Antonio, Texas 78247. 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr., Suite 126, San Antonio, Texas 78247. The Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) was organized in 1985 for the purpose of serving The Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) was organized in 1985 for the purpose of serving as an advocate for the benefit of wildlife and for the rights of wildlife managers, as an advocate for the benefit of wildlife and for the rights of wildlife managers, landowners and hunters in educational, scientific, political, regulatory and legislative landowners and hunters in educational, scientific, political, regulatory and legislative arenas. TEXAS WILDLIFE is the official TWA publication and has widespread circulation arenas. TEXAS WILDLIFE is the official TWA publication and has widespread circulation throughout Texas and the United States. All rights reserved. No parts of these magazines throughout Texas and the United States. All rights reserved. No parts of these magazines may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without express written may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without express written permission from the publisher. Copyrighted 2014 Texas Wildlife Association. Views permission from the publisher. Copyrighted 2014 Texas Wildlife Association. Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the Texas Wildlife Association. expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the Texas Wildlife Association. Similarities between the name Texas Wildlife Association and those of advertisers or state Similarities between the name Texas Wildlife Association and those of advertisers or state agencies are coincidental, and do not indicate mutual affiliation, unless clearly noted. agencies are coincidental, and do not indicate mutual affiliation, unless clearly noted. Members who move should send new address and current membership classification to Members who move should send new address and current membership classification to headquarters. TWA reserves the right to refuse advertising. headquarters. TWA reserves the right to refuse advertising. For advertising information, For advertising information, contact David Brimager at (800) 839-9453 contact David Brimager (800)126, 839-9453 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr.,atSuite San Antonio, TX 78247 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr., Suite 126, San Antonio, TX 78247 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. or e-mail email@example.com.
Mission Impacts Ms. Lynnsey Dohmann (TWA Conservation Legacy Educator): Thank you so much! My kids loved your presentation, and were so excited to meet a “real” scientist! They hadn't studied life cycles yet, but by the end of the presentation, they were able to talk about how organisms change throughout their life! I look forward to having you back at Braeburn next year! W. Cueva (Teacher) 5th Grade Science/Social Studies Braeburn Elementary School Houston ISD
Volume 30 H Number 1 H 2014
8 Status of Texas Black Bears by steve jester
14 Lessons from Leopold: The Personality of Silphium by steve nelle
18 Ruger Takedown 10/22 by ralph winingham
20 Aquaplant: A Pond Owner's Best Friend?
by billy higginbotham, ph.d.
22 Using Radio-Telemetry to Determine Nest Site Selection and Recruitment for Scaled Quail in the Trans-Pecos by ryan s. luna, carlos gonzalez, ph.d. and louis a. harveson, ph.d.
24 Texas Big Game Awards by justin dreibelbis
30 Civic Engagement in the Public We (C-FB ISD) had many endpoints connected to your lesson on porcupines, yesterday. Many classes view videoconferences, but I am not always sure learning takes place. Students in Ms. Walker's classroom LEARNED. As I was returning to pack up a portable endpoint, I noticed a full size poster (see photo) sheet just outside the classroom. As the presentation was going on, they listed ideas about the prickly porcupines...what a great idea to reinforce learning and add lasting value to your programs. THANKS for all the events you offer...they are WONDERFUL! P.S. Tell Bruce (the Philippines porcupine) that he did an outstanding job...a true star! Richard Sands Universal Technology Access Group-Telepresence Carrollton-Farmers Branch I.S.D. Learn More About TWA
Scan the QR code with your smartphone to learn more about the Texas Wildlife Association or visit www.texas-wildlife.org
Policy Arena by andrew biar
32 Battle Fronts: Two Water
Controversies Illustrate What's at Stake by henry chappell
34 Fred Bryant Shares Life Experiences as Conservationist, Hunter, Teacher
by russell a. graves
48 Houston is a Boom Market for Natural Resources Education
by mary pearl meuth and lynnsey dohmen
by christopher e. comer
MAGAZINE OF THE TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION
On the Cover In the years since all Texas bears gained full legal protection, there have been occasional sightings in different parts of Texas. This Mexican black bear sow and her cub were photographed by a game camera at a water trough on the Red Mill Ranch, owned by Billie and Tony Renfro, in Sutton County. Read more about black bears in Steve Jester’s article on page 8. Black Bears in Texas
M e e t i n gs a n d e v e n ts
For information on hunting seasons, call the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (800) 792-1112, consult the 2013-2014 Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual, or visit the TPWD website at www.tpwd.state.tx.us.
may 2-3 Texas Bison Association Spring Conference, Fredericksburg Inn & Suites, Fredericksburg, TX. For more information, visit http:// www.texasbison.org/.
may 13 Texas Agricultural Land Trust Lunch Program, Abilene, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. For landowners, estate and tax advisors, and other interested parties to learn about conservation easements as a tool to prevent fragmentation of family lands. For more information, contact Allison Elder at firstname.lastname@example.org or (210) 826-0074.
june 7 Texas Big Game Awards, Regions 1,2, and 3 at Four Bar K, Lubbock. Hotel block available at Hawthorne Suites, (806) 792-3600, Group Code: TBGA. For more information, contact Justin Dreibelbis at email@example.com.
may 7 Quail Appreciation Day, Clay County. For more information, contact, Missy Hodgin at (940) 538-5042. may 12 Texas Agricultural Land Trust Lunch Program, Dallas, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. For landowners, estate and tax advisors, and other interested parties to learn about conservation easements as a tool to prevent fragmentation of family lands. For more information, contact Allison Elder at firstname.lastname@example.org or (210) 826-0074. Texas Agricultural Land Trust Lunch Program, Ft. Worth, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. For landowners, estate and tax advisors, and other interested parties to learn about conservation easements as a tool to prevent fragmentation of family lands. For more information, contact Allison Elder at email@example.com or (210) 826-0074. may 12-15 12th Biennial Pronghorn Workshop, Sul Ross University, Alpine. For information, log onto http://ww2.sulross.edu/ brinrm/2014pronghornworkshop.html.
Quail Appreciation Day, San Saba County. For more information, contact, Neal Alexander at (325) 372-5416. may 14 Quail Appreciation Day, ShackelfordStephens counties, Breckenridge. For more information, contact Leslie Neve at (254) 559-2313 or Rocky Vinson at (325) 762-2233. This is a QUAD that will feature the Operation Transfusion release site. may 20 Quail Appreciation Day, Victoria County. For more information, contact Peter McGuill at (361) 575-4581. may 23 Quail Appreciation Day, Wheeler County. For more information, contact Dale Dunlap at (806) 826-5243.
june june 6 TWA Membership Reception, Cagle Steaks, Lubbock. For more information, contact Kendra Roller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
june 10-12 L.A.N.D.S. Teacher/Volunteer Training (geared for grades 6-12), Temple Ranch, Freer TX. For more information contact email@example.com or call (512) 496-1678. june 28 Texas Big Game Awards, Regions 5,6, and 7 at Fireman’s Training Center, Brenham. For more information, contact Justin Dreibelbis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
july july 10 Private Lands Summit: Private Lands Stewardship in the Modern Era, JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. For more information, contact TWA at (800) 839-9453. july 10-13 WildLife 2014, TWA's 29th Annual Convention, JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. For more information, contact David Brimager at dbrimager@ texas-wildlife.org or (800) 839-9453.
The Texas Wildlife Association and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service sponsor lunchtime webinars the third Thursday of each month. If you are not able to attend the live webinar, each presentation is archived on the TWA website.
DATES / WEBINARS FROM NOON–1 P.M. May 15 – Wildscapes, Kelly Simon
June 19 – State and Federal Government Landowner Assistance Programs,
August 21 – Cattle Grazing and Wildlife Habitat Jason Hohlt
On the day of the webinar, simply go to https://texas-wildlife.webex.com, and click on the title of the webinar you wish to attend. The webinar series provides sound, science-based wildlife management options delivered by experts to you in the comfort of your own home or office.
NO NEED TO TRAVEL!
Each web-based seminar is fully interactive and allows you to engage the experts, make comments and ask questions during the course of the presentation.
Contact Clint Faas at (210) 826-2904 or email@example.com
July 17 – Oil and Gas From a Landowner’s Perspective
For first-time users of the WebEx webinar program, advance log on (up to one hour before the presentation) is recommended to address any potential problems. Users may be prompted to download WebEx software to run the program correctly. There is also a test site to setup and test WebEx any time, day or night. Please visit http://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html to join a test meeting, today.
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A Mexican black bear and her cubs cool off in this waterer last summer on the Red Hill Ranch owned by Tony and Billie Renfro of Sutton County.
TEXAS BLACK BEARS Article by steve jester, wildlife biologist
merican black bears (Ursus americanus) are the most common species of bear in the United States. Black bears are also the most common bear globally. Historic range maps of the species indicate that at the time of European settlement it was one of the most widely distributed large mammals on the North American continent, inhabiting suitable habitats all over the U.S. and Canada with the exception of Arctic regions and some parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. It remains a bear with wide distribution in forested regions of the country from areas that you might not think of as bear country, such as the northeast, to the wide-open spaces of the north, west and southwest. All of Texas, historically, was black bear country, although they were extirpated from most, if not all, of the state during the 19th and 20th centuries. However, black bears have proven to be highly adaptable to making a living near people; and Texas, along with other parts of the United States, is experiencing something of a bear renaissance with sightings occurring more frequently and even the recent documentation of the birth of cubs in the western Edwards Plateau. It seems that bears will be a more common part of the Texas landscape for the next generation than they have been for the current one. Black bears are omnivorous (eat both plant and animal matter), and they are very opportunistic feeders eating insects, fruits, nuts, tubers, grasses, small mammals and carrion. Historically, Texas black bears were
texas b la c k b ea r s
The same three bears that had used the water trough on the Red Mill Ranch became very adept at using the deer feeder. Owners of the ranch said that the sow would take the cages off from around the motor and spin the feeder with her paws.
reported to take lambs and young hogs; however, it is likely that these were individual animals that learned to utilize that food source as settlement moved across the state. Black bears often get in trouble, because they can also feed on garbage (in the can or in landfills), bee yards, pet food and wildlife feeders. While working with black bears in Florida, I even witnessed a sow feeding her cubs dirty diapers after opening a flip top trash can! Adult black bears are usually smaller than you might guess, weighing from 130 to 300 pounds. Occasionally, they do get much larger. As a young wildlife biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, I worked a car-bear incident north of Orlando. That particular bear was big -- so big that he didnâ€™t die in the accident but died the next day due to his injuries. He tipped the scale at 535 pounds. On a recent trip to Florida, I heard of bears that have recently been handled that exceeded 600 pounds. Black bears have a very interesting reproductive strategy in that after they breed, the fertilized blastocyst may not implant for up
to eight months. If the female bear is not in good condition, it may not implant at all. After implantation, embryonic growth takes only about two months. During winter, black bears go through a phase of extreme inactivity where they do not eat, drink, defecate or urinate. In the more northern parts of their range, this dormancy can last months; where it is warmer, eight weeks is more common. Although there was disagreement for many years among biologists as to whether this is true hibernation, more recent metabolic measurements of dormant black bears indicate that they are very efficient at hibernating when necessary. In some parts of their range, males and non-pregnant females may not have an extended dormant period. Henry Chappell did an excellent job of covering the status of black bears in Texas in the May 2011 issue of Texas Wildlife. This article wonâ€™t re-cover all the ground that Mr. Chappell did in his piece; rather, it will hit the high points of Texas bear history for the last 130 years and then focus more specifically on things that have occurred since 2011. There are 16 recognized subspecies of black bears in North America. Historically,
four subspecies occur in Texas: Mexican black bears (along the border including Trans-Pecos, Edwards Plateau, South Texas), New Mexico black bears (other parts of West Texas), Eastern black bears (North, northeast Texas) and Louisiana black bears (southeast Texas). All the U.S. and Mexican states that border Texas have self-sustaining populations of bears, and Arkansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma have bear hunting seasons. The most robust U.S. bear populations adjacent to Texas are likely Eastern black bears in Arkansas and particularly Oklahoma. Texas is sort of the hole in the bear doughnut, but bears have been documented coming into Texas from ALL of these areas in recent years. As Henry Chappell related, Texas at one time had a lot of bears, and they were pursued by hunters, farmers and ranchers. By the beginning of the 20th century, black bears were thought to be very rare in Texas. Several authorities in the bear world support the idea that bears in Texas were extirpated by the 1940s. Texas wildlife law code books also tell a story. Thanks to Colonel David Sinclair, a veteran Texas game warden with
over 40 years of service and Assistant Commander Kevin Davis, a 19-year Texas game warden, the following timeline was reconstructed. By 1925, “wild bears” in Texas were defined as a game animal with a bag limit of one and an open season of Nov. 16 to Dec. 31. By 1943, the Texas Game, Fish and Oyster Commission was given regulatory authority over wild bears west of the Pecos River, and it set a bag limit of one per year and a Nov. 1- Dec. 31 hunting season. By 1973, further restrictions were placed on bear hunting; and by 1983, bear hunting was ended altogether. In 1987, black bears were officially delisted as a game animal. The late 1980s and 1990s saw additional restrictions, driven in large measure by the endangered listing of the Louisiana black bear subspecies. This led to black bears in East Texas gaining federal protection in 1992. By 1996, all bears found in Texas, regardless of subspecies, were listed as threatened. Currently, all bears in Texas are protected by law with fines of up to $500 plus thousands of dollars in civil restitution as well as additional penalties under state law for killing a bear. Since Texas black bears are federally protected, there could also be federal charges. In the years since all Texas bears gained full legal protection, there have been occasional sightings in different parts of Texas. Mexican black bears colonized, then receded, then recolonized the Big Bend area of Texas. Occasionally, bears were killed in the Edwards Plateau and found dead on the road in the Edwards Plateau and in northeast Texas (including one worked by Assistant Commander Davis near Mt. Pleasant in 1999). With the exception of Mexican black bears that have become established in the Big Bend area, these have mostly been males likely displaced by expanding populations in adjacent states. Recently, bear activity picked up particularly in South Texas and the Edwards Plateau possibly as a result of huge fires in prime Mexican black bear habitat in 2011 (over one million acres burned). Jonah Evans, currently a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department mammalogist, reports that in 2012 alone bears were sighted or found dead in the following counties east of the Pecos River: Maverick, Starr, Kimble, Menard, Schleicher, Sutton, Webb, Uvalde, Kinney, Maverick, Val Verde and Edwards. Texas was not seeing the bulk of the fire-displaced bears however. Dr. Diana Doan-Crider, who has been studying Mexican black bears for 30 years, related during a recent presentation
Photos© Joachim Treptow
texas b la c k b ea r s
This black bear was spotted in a tree near a private residence a few miles south of Kerrick. TPWD wildlife biologist Joachim Treptow said that he asked the residents to remove all attractants in the yard and move their dogs away to provide a clear escape route for the bear. (Despite the "black" bear species name, there are various color phases, including the cinnamon color of this Texas bear, which is of the New Mexico subspecies.)
texas b la c k b ea r s
to the Hill Country Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists that the city of Monterrey in Mexico, a city of six million adjacent to bear habitat, was experiencing multiple urban bear issues on a daily basis for an extended period of time after the fires of 2011. During her presentation Dr. Doan-Crider shared that dispersal of male Mexican black bears into Texas is very common. Dispersal of females has been rare in Texas. However, in 2013, a female did make her way to the Devil’s River in what is the first documented reproduction of black bears observed east of the Pecos in Texas in modern times. Tony Renfro and his wife Billie own the Red Mill Ranch in Sutton County. Mr. Renfro’s family has been ranching in the area since 1923, and he doesn’t remember anyone in the family ever seeing a bear. However, in March 2013, one of their deer hunters reported that he saw a bear cub. Writing it off to mistaken identity, the Renfro’s didn’t think too much about it until a short time later when Mr. Renfro was on his way out of the ranch and saw a black bear sow and two cubs near the road. A short time later, Mrs. Renfro was on horseback and saw the three bears; and later, as spring turned to summer, the sow and cubs started making regular appearances at a water trough equipped with a game camera. The three bears had taken up residence at the Red Mill Ranch and soon became very adept at using the deer feeder. “The sow would take the cages off from around the motor and spin the feeder with her paws,” said Mrs. Renfro. “The hunters didn’t seem to mind and were kind of excited to see the bears.” Mr. Renfro related that hunting income is an important part of the ranch operation and that the hunters did change some things. “When the bears figured out the protein feeders, the hunters quit feeding them,” he said. “But, the deer did not seem too concerned about bears at the corn feeders; the game camera pictures would show the deer coming in right after the bears had moved off.” The bears never came to the feeder near the house. And, while the Renfro’s did less walking and kept their dogs close, the bears did not cause any problems to livestock or people…with one exception. “The sow had her cubs at that water trough every two hours like clockwork all summer; and, one day, she was able to get her hand in just the right position to puncture the float.” Since the trough was on the same line as the house water, it didn’t take the Renfro’s long to figure out the
Bears are often attracted to populated areas during times of drought because the “pickings” tend to be much better close to people. Bears can make a living from trash cans, landfills, unsecured pet food and other similar types of human-created food sources. problem and it was soon fixed. By August of 2013, the three bears had moved off the ranch and were headed south. While the sow and cubs that the Renfro’s hosted did not cause many headaches, the biggest challenges that Texas will face if bears become more common will be related to bear-human interaction. As related previously, bears are smart, adaptable and can eat almost anything and they need to eat a lot. Since the drought of 2011 and the fires in Mexico the same year, there have been a number of nuisance bear events in Texas that have resulted in either giving the bears “encouragement” to leave or the outright trapping and relocation of bears. Bears are often attracted to populated areas during times of drought because the “pickings” tend to be much better close to people. Bears can make a living from trash cans, landfills, unsecured pet food and other similar types of humancreated food sources. Once they learn how to utilize these resources, they very quickly become habituated and hard to move. The best strategy to avoid bear-human conflicts is to reduce the number of potential attractants before bears locate them when bears are known or suspected to be in an area. The absolute worst thing that a homeowner or landowner can do is actively feed bears. In bear management circles, there is a saying that a fed bear is a dead bear. This is because once bears strongly associate people with food they become dangerous and often have to be put down. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has tried to be proactive in reducing conflicts, as bears have made more frequent forays into Texas. In 2012, two bears that were in settled areas were captured and relocated, one in Starr County and one in Maverick County. They are also showing up in the northernmost parts of Texas. Joachim Treptow is a TPWD wildlife bi-
ologist in Dalhart. Over the last 2 ½ years, he has dealt with four bears within a 35 mile radius of Dalhart. He has dealt with these bears as a horse trainer might treat a horse – by making the wrong things hard and the right things easy. “While we have the equipment to trap or dart a bear, we really prefer to help the bear make the right decision and leave on his own.” The typical bear call involves talking to the landowner about the bear on his property and discussing why this particular bear might have been attracted to the area. Then, the people and their dogs are asked to go inside or, otherwise, get out of sight so that the bear has an unimpeded escape route. Joachim then uses tools such as “banger” shotgun shells which make a loud report over the bear’s head to get it on the ground. And, then, he hazes the bear from the area using a paintball gun or other nonlethal encouragements. Getting a bear to leave on its own is much preferred to trapping and relocating, since a trapped bear has not had the benefit of negative reinforcement and is highly likely to continue to seek out the easy pickings near humans. The increase in bear sightings and particularly the birth of cubs east of the Pecos has TPWD anticipating a potential increase in the number of bears on the landscape. Planning is already in motion to help provide landowners with tools and information to minimize future bear problems. TPWD is also placing renewed emphasis on collecting information from landowners and hunters regarding bear sightings to keep track of potential bear issues. The good news is that many states with a much higher density of people, like New Jersey and Florida, have thriving bear populations and numerous communities that have adjusted to living with bears. Surely, in a state as big as Texas, there is room for both bears and people.
WHY I AM A TWA MEMBER! I joined TWA because of its focus on Texas wildlife and hunting. I became a Life Member when I discovered the enthusiasm that TWA volunteers have for land stewardship, youth hunting, and the beauty and nature of Texas. TWA members are fellow hunters, ranchers, and conservationists who put their time, energy, and financial resources towards their passion. Whether a TWA member is in Austin advocating for property/hunting rights or taking an inner city youth on his or her first hunt, TWA members are dedicated to serving and protecting Texas wildlife. I strongly believe in TWAâ€™s mission, and I am committed to promoting our hunting heritage to the next generation. TWA members do their part every day to ensure future generations have the freedom to enjoy Texas and its bountiful wildlife.
Cal Hendrick ODESSA, TX MEMBER SINCE 1999 / TWA DIRECTOR / LIFE MEMBER
Leopold The Personality of Silphium by Steve Nelle
hese botanical observations and conclusions are recorded in Part I of A Sand County Almanac. Some of Leopold’s lessons require deep thought and challenge our beliefs and traditions. Other lessons are practical. The lessons learned from this passage are of the latter type-- important lessons and easy to grasp. Leopold spoke of plants as having personality. This does not mean that he assigned anthropomorphic qualities to plants; he simply noticed that each species of plant has its own unique characteristics, preferences and responses. Leopold was a very capable botanist and this was the basis of much of his work in wildlife management, forestry, range management and ecology. Leopold had the ability to read the land, just as humans have the ability to read the printed word. The fundamental language of the land is the plant life. When one learns to read the story written on the land by the plants, he or she is far along the path of literacy. It is a skill that should be developed by each of us. Silphium was one of the many special favorite plants in Leopold’s world. People of the land have favorite plants, just as they have favorite friends, favorite foods, favorite places and favorite birds. Silphium is a perennial broadleaf forb in the sunflower family, also called compass plant or rosinweed. There are several species of Silphium growing in Texas that exhibit the same characteristics as noted by Leopold. One of the special character qualities of Silphium and many other deep-rooted forbs is their extreme tenacity and durability. Leopold noted the ability of Silphium to weather prairie drought. Many Texas forbs also have a seemingly supernatural ability to tolerate even
“The erasure of Silphium from western Dane County is no cause for grief if one only knows it as a name in a botany book. Silphium first became a personality to me when I tried to dig one up to move to my farm. It was like digging an oak sapling. After half an hour of hot grimy labor, the root was still enlarging, like a great vertical sweet-potato. As far as I know, that Silphium root went clear through to bedrock. I got no Silphium, but I learned by what elaborate underground stratagems it contrives to weather the prairie droughts. I once saw a power shovel, while digging a roadside ditch, sever the 'sweet-potato' root of a Silphium plant. The root soon sprouted new leaves, and eventually it again produced a flower stalk. Once established, it apparently withstands almost any kind of mutilation except continued grazing, [frequent] mowing or [repeated] plowing. Why does Silphium disappear from grazed areas? I once saw a farmer turn his cows into virgin prairie meadow previously used only sporadically for mowing wild hay. The cows cropped the Silphium to the ground before any other plant was visibly eaten at all. One can imagine that the buffalo once had the same preference for Silphium, but he brooked no fences to confine his nibblings all summer long to one meadow. In short, the buffalo's pasturing was discontinuous, and therefore tolerable to Silphium.” Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
the worst drought. Their roots penetrate deep, not only to bedrock, but even into and beneath the bedrock as their roots exploit cracks and fractures. The taproots of these impressive prairie forbs also store large volumes of carbohydrates and water, which enables them to survive long periods of unfavorable conditions. In my own evaluations after the severe and devastating drought of 2011, I can verify that the deep-rooted forbs fared very well. Texas forbs such as bundleflower, scurf pea, prairie clover, snout bean, bush sunflower, trailing ratany, Engelmann daisy, gay feather, gaura, blood berry and mentzelia are likewise able to withstand harsh drought. Another astute observation about Leopold’s Silphium is its extreme palatability to cattle. In Texas, just as in Leopold’s world, Silphium is most often noted on roadsides, where it has been protected from too-frequent grazing. Leopold took the time to watch what cattle are eating and the context of the grazing. He noted that the prairie was only mowed occasionally, and grazed infrequently, therefore Silphium
thrived. Even in what he called a “virgin prairie” full of the best grasses, the cattle grazed the Silphium in preference to everything else. The nutritional quality of many prairie forbs is often much superior to any of the grasses, and cattle as well as other herbivores know this. Like Silphium and all of the better grazing plants, they cannot tolerate continuous grazing, even with low stocking rate. They thrive when grazed periodically and then allowed to rest. This is the basis for rotational grazing which favor the better plants. Many landowners in Texas are experts at observing, judging and evaluating the condition of their animals. A good stockman can tell in a moment if individual cows or sheep are doing well or if they need any attention. Likewise, the astute deer manager can discern the relative age, health and antler dimensions of a buck in only a brief glance. Genuine land stewards also learn to develop the same sense of observation and discernment about the plants on their land. TWA is a place where such literacy is promoted.
Writer’s Note: Aldo Leopold (1887 – 1948) is considered the father of modern wildlife management. More importantly, he developed and described many of the concepts of conservation, ecology and stewardship of natural resources. Leopold was an amazingly astute observer of the land and man’s relationship to the land. His writings have endured the test of time and have proven to be remarkably prophetic and relevant to today’s issues. This bimonthly column will feature thought-provoking philosophies of Aldo Leopold, as well as commentary.
Photo courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. www.aldoleopold.org.
STAND ASIDE, MESQUITE. SENDERO® COMING THROUGH.
New Sendero® herbicide is the most effective, most consistent chemical control of mesquite ever. In aerial trials, it provided control of mesquite at more than 10 percentage points over a mixture of Remedy® Ultra and Reclaim® herbicides,1 which has been the industry standard for 25 years. Also, with Sendero, control was nearly 40 percent more consistent,1 making it the new standard in mesquite control. Clear the way to more low-cost grass for livestock, more fringe habitat for wildlife and a lasting legacy for future generations on the land. Sendero is the path to long-term range management. Find out more at www.RangeAndPasture.com.
1 Cummings DC, Langston VB, Burch PL. 2012. GF-2791 [Sendero], a new herbicide containing aminopyralid and clopyralid, for honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) control in southwestern rangelands. Technical Presentation, 65th Annual Meeting and Trade Show of the Society for Range Management, Spokane, Wash. ® Trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow. Sendero, Reclaim and Remedy Ultra are not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is for sale or use in your state. Always read and follow label directions. ©2013 Dow AgroSciences LLC R38-890-004 (03/13) BR 010-58024 DARPRANG3058
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BIG MOUNTAIN RANCH MEEKER, COLORADO
The ranch covers 457 sq. miles of western NM. Its 176,805± deeded and 115,974± leased acres include trophy hunting, productive livestock grazing, ancient petroglyphs, hunting lodge, staff housing and utility buildings.
Unique 2,476± contiguous acres located one hour from downtown Fort Worth. Working ranch with multifaceted recreational appeal. Tremendous wildlife. Spectacular residence in a private setting with frontage to Lake Bridgeport.
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Located fifteen miles north of Winston, NM, this 12,520± deeded acre ranch adjacent to the Gila National Forest combines an excellent livestock operation utilizing an adjoining USFS permit with outstanding wildlife habitat.
Located in Warm Springs, with a magnificent view of the Flint Creek Mountains, this ranch is full of elk and has a carrying capacity of approximately 280 AUs on 10,594± acres. Commercial air service within 30 minutes.
Excellent big game hunting ranch with 2,105± acres of diverse mountain habitat, springs and ponds, multiple drainages, adjacent to BLM land on both sides and a modest house only 20 miles from both Meeker and Rifle.
G uns & S hooting
Ruger Takedown 10/22 A New Take on an Old Idea Article and Photos by ralph winingham
n today's .22-caliber firearm manufacturing arena (where in most cases what is new is old and what is old is new), there just aren't many radical developments for the average plinker. Of course, that does not stop the creative minds of rimfire researchers and developers from submitting creations designed to bring customers to the sales floors of sporting goods retailers across the country. A good case in point is the recently released Ruger Takedown Model 10/22 that is the latest version of a .22-caliber rifle claiming the title of America's No. 1 doubledeuce. Millions of Model 10/22 rifles have been produced and sold since the semiautomatic featuring a rotary magazine hit the market in 1964. The Takedown 10/22 version allows the owner to carry the rifle broken down into two pieces in a custom backpack case with break-down and assembly as easy as pushing a lever and twisting the barrel in or out of place. Because of the way the rifle was designed, there is no change in the zero point of the sights and no loss of accuracy. That can be a very hard feature to achieve, despite what Hollywood might lead us to believe. When one of their movie snipers pulls a disassembled high-powered rifle out of a case, puts it together and then makes a one-shot kill at 1,000 yards or moreâ€Śthat is simply not realworld possible. However, rimfire rifles that can be disassembled and put back together with expectations of no loss in accuracy have been around for a long time. The first .22-caliber rifle I ever owned was
Light and easy to handle, even in the hands of young eight-year-old Austin Acosta, the new Ruger Takedown 10/22 performed quite well in tests against a standard Ruger 10/22.
a takedown model given to me by my Dad in 1967 when I turned 14. The Winchester Model 62 pump-action, which was manufactured from 1932-1958, broke down into the stock and receiver as one part and the forearm and barrel and magazine as the other part. Turning a screw on the side of the receiver was all that was required to separate the two parts. Equipped with a Lyman peep sight mounted just behind the rifle's hammer and a fine blade front sight, that little Winchester was a constant companion in my days walking through the woods and fields of Nebras-
ka. The number of squirrels and rabbits that died from head shots fired by that super accurate rimfire can not be easily counted. There was never any loss of accuracy from taking down and reassembling the Winchester, which after my tens of thousands of rounds hunting and plinking is now being put to good use by my oldest brother's grandson. While getting hands-on time with the Takedown has been difficult because of the Ruger's popularity, one of the newest versions was offered up earlier this year courtesy of Luis Acosta, sales manager at Dury's Gun Shop.
The Distributor Exclusive Mossy Oak BreakUp Camo Takedown tips the scales at only 4.67 pounds, with an 18.5 inch blued barrel and an overall length (assembled) of 37 inches. The custom backpack case is brown canvas and, as advertised, easily holds all the rifle parts even when a scope is attached to the receiver. "I originally had concerns about the accuracy of the rifle because it is a takedown model. Typi- Helping his son Austin Acosta set up to shoot a standard Ruger cally they will not be as 10/22, Luis Acosta of San Antonio helps out with a test of two verof the popular rimfire as part of his once-a-week visits to the accurate as a one-piece sions range with his eight-year-old son. model,'' he said. With the help of Acosta and his eightyear-old son, Austin, we spent some trigger time with both Takedown and one of the one-piece model 10/22s from my collection. The one-piece was also a Distributor Exclusive, featuring a Realtree Hardwoods stock, 18.5 inch barrel and topped with a matching Traditions 2X-7X scope. "I like to take Austin out about once a week to practice shooting. He is really safety conscious and is doing well,'' Acosta said. Punching holes through a variety of Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C and Darkotic targets at a range of about 30 yards, we spent a couple hours determining if there was any Luis Acosta demonstrates the ease in which the difference in the handling ability or accuracy Ruger Takedown 10/22 can be assembled and taken apart to be stored in the custom backpack between the two 10/22s. case that comes as an accessory with the new rifle. Both of the rifles were light and easy to Austin Acosta, with his young eyes, had handle, with no malfunctions other than a couple stove-pipe hang ups of spent ammu- little problem shooting either the open sights nition. We attributed those minor problems or with the scope, but the seasoned veterans at the shooting bench generally favored the to the use of very old ammunition. As most rimfire shooters have found out telescopic sights. Balance and heft of the two rifles was nearwhen they seek to add to their ammunition stock, .22-caliber rounds have been ly identical – probably one of the reasons the very hard to find in the past two years or 10/22 has been such a popular rimfire for the so. Hopefully that situation will improve in past five decades – and the slight space bethe near future and plinkers will once again tween the receiver and forearm of the Takebe able to stock up and shoot more without down was not even a minor distraction. As noted earlier, assembly and disassempurchase limits and price tag shock. We found that both rifles shot decent bly of the Takedown is quite simple and durgroups, although the scoped rifle was, as ex- ing the practice session we accomplished the pected, a little more accurate and easier to task numerous times in checking to see if shoot. Adding good optics to any rifle will the point of impact changed on the target – generally improve a shooter's ability to put it did not. To take the rifle apart, all that is required rounds on target. Just like in any shooting sport, being able to see better makes a per- is to open the bolt and lock it in place, then push the recessed fore-end lever forward. By son shoot better.
G uns & S hooting
The scope on the standard Ruger 10/22 allowed for a little better group than the open sights of the new Ruger Takedown model, but both Luis Acosta (front) and his son were pleased with the performance of the light, comfortable rimfire.
turning the barrel assembly a quarter-turn counterclockwise, the barrel slides out and the rifle is separated into two components. Reassembly is the reverse of takedown. There is a knurled ring friction fit lockup of the assembly joint that may require adjustment upon the first assembly of the rifle, but should not require additional adjustment during subsequent take downs and assemblies. Also as noted, the Takedown model features a brown canvas carrying case with internal sleeves to hold both the stock/receiver and forearm/barrel, plus external pockets with Molle webbing for storing extra magazines, ammunition and other accessories. Multiple attachment points for the padded, single shoulder strap offer different carrying options. There are two barrel sleeves in the carry case, which could indicate additional barrel assemblies will be offered by Ruger in the future – a very nice touch that is unavailable with other take down models. About the only down side to the Takedown was with the factory-set trigger pull that broke at just a touch over six pounds. The other rifle used in our test session had been customized by a gunsmith to lower the trigger pull to just at three pounds. Generally, a lighter trigger pull allows a shooter to be more accurate by touching off a shot with less stress. A smooth, steady break of three pounds for a .22-caliber rifle is a personal favorite, but each shooter should suit his or her own taste. At the end of the session, Austin Acosta summed up his evaluation of the two Rugers just like the kid in all of us: "I like them both!'' he said. “Let's shoot some more."
fish & fishing
A Pond Owner's Best Friend?
Article and Photos by dr. billy higginbotham, professor and extension wildlife and
fisheries specialist, texas a&m agrilife extension service
Excessive shallow water less than 3 feet in depth is prime habitat for emergent vegetation and can make angling from the shoreline difficult.
have had the good fortune to assist pond owners in their work to reach their management goals for the past 35 years -- the last 33 years right here in Texas. With over one million private impoundments, ponds, pools, lakes and tanks scattered across the Lone Star State, there is a huge potential to manage these resources for improved fish populations, which is “Job 1” if good fishing is the goal. My definition of fisheries management in private waters is pretty simple: “Shorten the time between bites.” That holds true whether you are producing catfish for family fish fries or trying to grow the next state record largemouth bass. Regardless of the management goal, a re-
occurring theme among many pond owners is the need to manage aquatic vegetation in their private waters. In fact, survey data over the years from a number of Bass Management Symposia and numerous Extension educational programs confirms that aquatic weeds are the biggest problem Texas pond owners face. So, when does an aquatic plant become and aquatic weed? Certainly the answer is “it depends.” On the surface, anytime aquatic plants interfere with your use of that pond for livestock water, irrigation or recreation (including fishing), it has crossed the line from plant to weed. But, what about from a biological standpoint? Obviously, plants are an important
source of oxygen via photosynthesis in any water body. The primary source of oxygen production is the single celled alga, called phytoplankton, which are also the base of the aquatic food chain. In fact, we often fertilize ponds in order to boost phytoplankton production, which in the end results in the capability of a pond to support double to sometimes triple the pounds of fish it could support unfertilized. Does this mean to have bass you need grass? Probably, up to a point, this is a true statement, but you can produce excellent bass fishing without aquatic vegetation. With that said, vegetation, especially submergent macrophytic plants (“moss” to most folks), provides habitat and also harbors numerous food
fish & fishing
Much of the problematic weed growth targeted for control can be sprayed from the shoreline.
organisms for a variety of fish species. However, this same habitat, if allowed to become excessive, may provide too much cover for forage fish and limit the largemouth’s capability of accessing that forage. In general, coverage up to 25 percent to 33 percent is acceptable; but, when coverage begins to exceed half or more of the surface area, bass may begin to have problems accessing forage, because it provides excessive escape cover. Conversely, if catfish production is the goal, the growth of macrophytic vegetation is much less important. In fact, many pond owners elect to seine their ponds to harvest ediblesized fish on a routine basis. In this scenario, the presence of excessive plant growth would certainly impede harvest efforts. Regardless of your management strategy, sooner or later, most pond owners find themselves in need of conducting management of aquatic weed growth. If you fall into this boat, then the Aquaplant website (http://aquaplant. tamu.edu) is for you! Created several years ago by Texas AgriLife Extension Fisheries Specialist Dr. Michael Masser (now Department Head, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University), the website is a “keeper” for any and all that want to address aquatic weed management issues. Over just the past 18 months, many pond owners have availed themselves to this resource as it has received over 350 thousand unique hits with 1.4 million page views. Correct identification of the targeted plant species is paramount for successful control. A lot of money and time are wasted each year in an attempt to control noxious plants that have been mis-identified. For proper plant identi-
Excessive nutrients entering the pond from its watershed can result in severe filamentous algae growth.
fication, click on “Plant Identification” on the main website page and select “alphabetical” or “visual” to help pinpoint the pesky plant. The Aquaplant website has color photos and line drawings of over 75 aquatic/wetland plant species that commonly impact the management of Texas private waters. Categories include algae (phytoplankton and filamentous species), floating plants, submerged plants and emergents. Therefore, just knowing the growth form of the plant in your particular body of water can help narrow down the search for plant identification. Once identification is confirmed by reviewing color photos and/or line drawings, click on “Management Options.” The pond owner is given choices of up to three types of control: Chemical, biological or mechanical. In some cases, adopting an integrated pest management approach of multiple control methods is the best choice for helping pond owners achieve success. For example, if a pond owner wants to investigate chemical control options for a particular plant species, he/she can click on that link under “Management Options,” and a list of approved aquatic herbicides that have that species listed on the herbicide label will appear. Simply clicking on the highlighted chemical name will link the user to the manufacturer’s product label to review application instructions and restrictions (if any) that are listed for water use following applications. Biological control generally means the use of triploid white amur or grass carp. Buyer beware as grass carp are not “cure-alls” as they consume a fairly narrow group of aquatic plants to the point that control can be achieved
– most of which are submerged species. Therefore, prudent pond owners should confirm via Aquaplant if their particular aquatic weeds are indeed susceptible to grass carp. The triploid (sterile) grass carp has been legal to stock in private waters for over 20 years. However, a permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is still required to purchase and stock the fish. The Aquaplant website contains a link to TPWD’s grass carp permitting information, so everything can be downloaded that is needed to complete the grass carp application to forward to the agency. Mechanical control can be as simple as winter drawdowns to expose vegetation to freezing winter temperatures or as complex as aquatic weed harvesters. Mechanical harvest can be an expensive and labor intensive proposition. While providing immediate results, mechanical control also tends to be a fairly short term control method. There are also several additional aides that are listed on the website. Pond owners can download apps to their phones that contain information on both plant identification and control recommendations. Also, fact sheets on measuring ponds, etc., are linked to ensure the pond owner has everything needed to win the battle against unwanted aquatic vegetation. Spring is in full swing in Texas. If you had an aquatic weed issue in 2013, chances are good that it is well on its way to becoming a problem again this year. Grab a fresh sample, and consult Aquaplant to confirm identification and develop a control strategy to maximize your pond’s potential for fish production as well as shortening the time between those bites!
B orderlands news Borderlands Research Institute for Natural Resource Management
Using Radio-Telemetry to Determine Nest Site Selection and Recruitment for Scaled Quail in the Trans-Pecos
Article by ryan s. luna (research scientist), carlos gonzalez, ph.d. (research assistant)
and louis a. harveson, ph.d. (director) Photos and Graphics Courtesy of borderlands research institute
he Trans-Pecos region of Texas, which incorporates a portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, is blessed with abundant and diverse quail species that is second to none. It hosts four species of quail including scaled quail (Callipepla squamata), Gambelâ€™s quail (Callipepla gambelii), Montezuma quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae), and northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus). Of the quail species that inhabit the Trans-Pecos, no species is more wide-spread and more important both ecologically and economically to the Chihuahuan Desert Borderlands than the scaled quail. Unfortunately, their geographic range and population trends are declining. Scaled quail populations have been in constant decline for the past few decades. Factors likely contributing to this decline are drought, an increase in predators and loss of habitat resulting from brush encroachment or desertification. Concern over the scaled quail population trend has brought to light the lack of previous research performed on this species in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas. Therefore performing ecological studies on this species within this ecoregion is of high importance. To better understand population dynamics of scaled quail inhabiting the Trans-Pecos, the Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) initiated a series of studies investigating nesting ecology and recruitment on three distinct ranches in this region. Understanding nesting ecology is one of our highest priorities because being able to identify factors that influence repro-
Scaled quail with newly attached leg band ready for release. The use of leg bands allows us to estimate population size and age structure across scaled quail populations.
duction and nesting behavior can allow us to pass on information of merit to land managers attempting to increase scaled quail populations on their properties. We designed a study to monitor nest site selection, nest success, recruitment and behavior of scaled quail during the nesting season. During the course of our research, a total of 4,236 scaled quail have been captured and banded since 2011. Serially numbered aluminum leg bands were affixed to all quail captured. In addition to marking each captured quail, sex was also identified. Sex of scaled quail is differentiated by the throat patch on the underside of the neck. The throat of males is normally grayish and blends into a yellowish or buffy color on the lower neck. In females, the plumage of the throat area is gray in color and is characteristically streaked with
Juvenile scaled quail depicting characteristic white tips on the primary covert wing feathers.
longitudinal black lines. After determination of sex, quail were aged based on feather coloration patterns of the primary coverts on the wing. Primary covert feathers on juveniles have distinctive buff tips, whereas the covert feathers of adults are of uniform color. In order to obtain information on nest site selection and clutch size, mortality sensitive radiotransmitters were attached to 46 female scaled quail across three study sites in 2012 and 107 females in 2013. Individuals equipped with radio-transmitters were also used to estimate female survival during breeding season. Tracking quail survival during the breeding season has been a major aspect of our study. Survival estimates allow us to identify potential causes of quail population decline. Additionally survival estimates are important to determine recruitment and draw conclu-
A scaled quail nest revealed after partially parting the skirt of a sotol. Sotol and Spanish dagger are important nesting structures for scaled quail in the Trans-Pecos.
LYSSY & ECKEL FEEDS
Annual population trends of scaled quail based on Christmas Bird Count data from 1960-2012.
2500 Number observed
2000 1500 1000 500
sions about how much of the population is of breeding age. This data can also help determine population dynamics and trends over seasons or years. By identifying the main causes of mortality, we may be able to mitigate decline in some populations. Our research indicated that in the summer of 2013 female survival varied across study sites (56-71 percent). Even though this estimate indicates a lower survival rate compared to 2012 (60-80 percent), it does not indicate that the current quail population is in decline. Overall, results from 2013 indicated that there was an increase in reproduction rates compared to those of previous years. Fall trapping efforts in 2013 indicated high juvenile to adult age ratios. Additionally, as a result of some late season rains, many females had a second clutch, which helped to bolster the population. Double clutching is less likely to occur during dry years. Nesting success in dry years also decreases. In fact, on one study site, we documented almost complete reproductive failure during 2011. The following fall, 100 percent of the sampled quail populations were composed of adults, indicating
that no chicks were recruited 7% into the population. Sotol 14% 43% Even though scaled quail Spanish Dagger 7% populations have been Lechuguilla known to fluctuate with preTar Bush 29% cipitation from year to year, Creosote they do not seem to have the dynamic “boom” and “bust” as displayed in bobwhites. We have been able to moni- Plants associated with nest site selection of scaled quail in the Trans-Pecos. tor nesting behavior through dry years and wet years allowing us to better cent. The first nest site was located on April 6, understand how scaled quail adapt to climatic and the last recorded on July 21. Late-season conditions. Drought years are typified by low rains likely aided in recruitment during 2013. reproduction, while in a year with average Overall, 2013 saw an increase in the general rainfall, reproduction is typically high with 90 population of scaled quail in the Trans-Pecos. percent of the hens attempting to nest. Hopefully this trend will continue into 2014 Plant type selected for nesting sites has and yield increased populations and greater been very diverse which allows for overall hunting opportunities for those traveling to population stability and a greater number of the Trans-Pecos in pursuit of the scaled quail. potential nesting sites. When scaled quail By assessing factors that influence survival only select for specific plants it may pose a and recruitment, we gain a better underpotential risk if those few selected plants were standing of what might be influencing quail to be negatively influenced by environmental populations. Each research project is an opchanges. Under favorable environmental con- portunity to identify a factor that is either detditions (i.e. years with average or above aver- rimental or favorable in influencing populaage precipitation) nests will have larger clutch tion trends. Ultimately, research will identify sizes. During our study, the average clutch size the factors that have caused quail populations consisted of 12 eggs per nest (ranging from 8 to decline over the past few decades, and offer to 19). Nesting success averaged 78 percent innovative ways to increase current populaacross study sites, with individual success tion so that scaled quail continue to be a valurates ranging from 69 percent to 100 per- able resource for generations to come.
Supplementing the Habitat www.lefeeds.com
H u n t i n g H e r i tag e
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Texas Big Game Awards 2013-2014 Season Recap Article by | Justin Dreibelbis
Record from Region 6
One of the more interesting stories of the season was that of 16-year-old Makayla Hay. Back in October, Chuck and Cole Kelly were fishing on the Trinity River when they photographed a monster buck swimming across the river. When Makayla caught wind of the location of the picture, she was determined to put in her time to have a chance at the deer. As luck would have it, Makayla and her dad Jim saw the deer on opening morning, and Makayla made the most of her opportunity. The deer net scored 205 inches, making it the highest-scoring low-fence deer ever taken by a youth hunter in TBGA history. Photos courtesy of Chuck and Cole Kelly
Photos courtesy of Mark Lee
On opening morning, Mark Lee harvested the highest-scoring low-fence buck in TBGA history. The non-typical buck scored 278 5/8 inches gross and 268 4/8 inches net. With 31 scorable points and 117 7/8 inches of abnormal points, it is truly an amazing animal.
Photo courtesy of TBGA
he 2013-2014 Texas hunting season was an exciting one for the Texas Big Game Awards (TBGA) program with 1,295 total entries coming in from hunters representing 26 different states. As we prepare for three great regional banquets slated for this summer, letâ€™s take a look at a few of the biggest stories from around the state.
Mark Lee with his record setting buck from Houston County.
Chuck and Cole Kelly photographed these two bucks that swam across the Trinity River.
Makayla Hay with her Madison County whitetail.
TBGA LOTY Winners Demonstrate Continued Success Mark Leeâ€™s buck has 117 7/8 inches of abnormal points on a 10 point frame.
2013 TBGA Landowner of the Year recipient King Ranch and 2012 winner Temple Ranch demonstrated continued success in their management programs by entering a large number of animals in the TBGA during the 2013-2014 season. King Ranch ended the season with 27 entries and Temple Ranch with 17 entries. Congrats to these fine ranches on a great season.
Youth and First Harvest Awards for TYHP Hunters
Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) hunters made up nearly 30 percent of the over 420 Youth and First Harvest entries for the season. This increased participation in TBGA by TYHP hunters is a testament to the hard work that TYHP volunteers dedicate each year to make sure that the youth of Texas have a place to hunt in a safe and educational environment. For more information on the Texas Youth Hunting Program, visit www.TYHP.org.
Photo courtesy of TBGA
Brandon McRae and his dad with Brandon's first deer on a TYHP hunt in Blanco County.
Regional Sportsman’s Celebrations
Be sure to mark your calendars for the TBGA Sportsman’s Celebration in your area this summer. These banquets provide a great opportunity for fellowship with other hunters in a family-friendly environment. There will be natural resource education opportunities, good food and trophy displays from each TBGA region.
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2014 TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL MEETING AND EXHIBITS
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2014 TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL MEETING AND EXHIBITS
JULY 10-13, 2014 JW MARRIOTT SAN ANTONIO HILL COUNTRY RESORT AND SPA 23808 RESORT PARKWAY SAN ANTONIO, TX 78261
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2014 TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL MEETING AND EXHIBITS
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MAIL-IN REGISTRATION FORM fill out the registration form at texas-wildlife.org and return with payment to twa at 3660 thousand oaks dr., suite 126, san antonio, tx 78247 FAX REGISTRATION FORM complete your registration form and fax to (210) 826-4933 PHONE REGISTRATION register and pay by phone at 800-839-9453 BRING THE FAMILY! CHILDREN 12 AND UNDER ARE ADMITTED FREE.
TEXAS BIG GAME AWARDS STATEWIDE CELEBRATION SHOWCASING THE STATE’S BEST BIG GAME ANIMALS TAKEN LAST SEASON. LITTLE LONESTARS RTUNITIES FUN AND EDUCATIONAL OPPO FOR YOUTH ATTENDEES.
OUR HUNTING HERITAG E... OUR FUTURE! PROMOTING ALL THINGS HUNTING AT WILDLIFE 20 MAKE PLANS NOW TO AT 14! TEND! www.texas-wildlife.org
2014 TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL MEETING AND EXHIBITS
BELOW SCHEDULE AS OF MARCH 31, 2014 (SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
THURSDAY, JULY 10, 2014 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
2014 Private Lands Summit (Cibolo Canyons Ballroom Rooms 1-4, Level 2) Hosted by Texas Wildlife Association NEW FOR 2014! SEPARATE REGISTRATION REQUIRED FOR THIS EVENT.
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Convention Exhibitor Registration and Move-In (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2)
FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2014 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Registration Open (Level 2) Sponsored by No Fences Land Company
8:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
TWA Committee Meetings ** 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Desert Big Game Committee (Dogwood, Level 3) 9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. White-tailed Deer Management Committee (Begonia, Level 3) TYHP Advisory Committee (Alyssum, Level 3) Conservation Legacy Advisory Committee (Dogwood, Level 3) Membership Committee (Bluebonnet, Level 3) 10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Break 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Hunting Heritage Advisory Committee (Dogwood, Level 3) Legislative Committee (Bluebonnet, Level 3) Women of the Land Advisory Committee (Alyssum, Level 3)
**Anyone is welcome to attend the committee meetings to learn more about the programs associated within those committees.
9 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Exhibits Open (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2)
9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Daisy Air Gun Range (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2) Sponsored by Academy Sports and Outdoors
9 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Silent and Not-So-Silent Auctions Open (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2)
Noon - 1:30 p.m.
TWAF Luncheon (Cibolo Canyons Ballroom, Level 2 - doors open at 11:30 a.m.) (Tickets for this event must be purchased separately)
Marriott Range Riders (Child Care) Available through the JW Marriott for an Additional Fee 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
TWA Little Lonestars Activities (Periwinkle & Verbena, Level 3)
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
TWA Joint Membership and Directors Meeting (Cibolo Canyons Foyer, Level 2, VIP Area)
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
TWA Ladies Reception (Cibolo Canyons Foyer, Level 2, VIP Area) Sponsored by Prois Women’s Hunting Apparel
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Cocktails with Exhibitors (cash bar, includes 2 drink tickets) (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2) Sponsored by Silver Eagle Distributors/Budweiser (Note: soft drinks and water available at no charge)
5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Marriott Range Riders Kid’s Activities (Sunflower and Wisteria, Level 3)
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.
TWA Convention Kickoff Dinner (Cibolo Canyons Ballroom, Level 2) Sponsored by Chasco Constructors
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Texas Big Game Awards Statewide Celebration (Cibolo Canyons Ballroom, Level 2) Sponsored by Nyle Maxwell Family of Dealerships TBGA Landowner of the Year Award, Sponsored by Capital Farm Credit
8:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Casino Night (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2)
Silent Auction and Exhibits Close for the Night (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2)
AGENDA OUR HUNTING HERITAGE...OUR FUTURE
SATURDAY, JULY 12, 2014 7 a.m. - 9 a.m.
TWA Family Breakfast (Cibolo Canyons Ballroom, Level 2) Sponsored by C.H. Guenther & Son, Inc.
7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Registration Open (Level 2) Sponsored by No Fences Land Company
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Texas Hunter Education Class (TBD, Level 3) - Lunch on your own
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Daisy Air Gun Range (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2) Sponsored by Academy Sports and Outdoors
9 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Exhibits Open (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2)
9 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Silent and Not-So-Silent Auctions Open (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2)
9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
TWA Wildlife Education Concurrent Session Seminars (Level 3 Meeting Rooms) Each speaker will give their presentation twice (8:30-9:30 & 9:45-10:45)-all times a.m.
Session One: Private Lands Stewardship Texas Game Wardens, (Begonia & Bottlebrush, Level 3) Current Issues in Wildlife, (Larkspur & Indian Paintbrush, Level 3) Session Two: All About the Hunt Scoring and Aging Whitetails on the Hoof, Dave Richards (Bluebonnet & Dogwood, Level 3) JW Marriott Executive Chefs, Making Wild Game Gourmet (Sunflower & Wisteria, Level 3)
9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
TWA Little Lonestars Activities (Periwinkle & Verbena, Level 3)
12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
TWA General Session/Awards Luncheon (Cibolo Canyons Ballroom, Level 2) Keynote Speaker: Michael Jurnigan, Retired USMC TWA President’s Address Luncheon TWA Awards Presentations
1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
TWA Little Lonestars Activities (Periwinkle & Verbena, Level 3)
3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Book Signing with Al Brothers, Murphy Ray, and Dave Richards (Level 2 Foyer) Come meet these Texas wildlife legends and pick up an autographed copy of their books!
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.
TWA President’s Life Members Reception (Nelson Wolff Exhibit Hall, Level 1, by Invitation Only) Special Guest U.S. Congressman John Carter
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
TWA-PAC Reception (Cibolo Canyons Foyer, Level 2, VIP Area) Special Guest TBD
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Cocktails with Exhibitors, Open Bar (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2) Sponsored by Silver Eagle Distributors/Budweiser (Note: soft drinks and water available at no charge)
5 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Marriott Range Riders Kid’s Activities (Sunflower & Wisteria, Level 3)
6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
TWA Grand Auction and Banquet Dinner (Cibolo Canyons Ballroom, Level 2)
Silent and Not-So-Silent Auctions Final Closing (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Level 2) Tables Closing at 10 p.m., 10:15 p.m., and 10:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2014 8 a.m. - Noon
Final Auction Check-Out (Grand Oaks Ballroom, Silent Auction Area, Level 2)
TWA Convention Closes
i ss u e s a n d A d v o c a c y
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Civic Engagement in the Public Policy Arena Article by andrew biar
Photo © Gittings, 2010
here is not a day that goes by in which I do not hear a complaint from friends, family, clients and even strangers, about the political process and our public policy leaders. The complaint is often that our voice is not heard and does not count. We cannot effect change in government. This is completely understandable. However, there is the old saying that if good people do not act, bad things will happen. I could not agree more. An equally poignant statement that supports a need to be engaged is that if we do not have a seat at the table, we will be the fare on the table. As members and supporters of the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), it is vital for all of us to be engaged and participate in the political and public policy processes. Your participation does not have to consume all of your time. It does not have to be a large commitment. Your participation can simply be voting. Although I would encourage you to do more. Before I suggest some other opportunities for participation, I would like to share a few examples of civic engagement making a difference. The one shining example of someone making a difference with their participation is Candy Lightner. Lightner is the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD). She lost her daughter when she was killed by a drunk driver. Her tragic loss motivated her to act. The actions of this one woman have impacted both federal and state legislation. In the process, lives have been saved, and we have seen a change in how our culture looks at drunk driving. Her decision to act, rather than sit by passively, was monumental. Another monumental act that should motivate members and supporters of TWA to participate is the Kelo v. New London case in which many believe there was an unconstitutional taking of private property. As TWA explained in a policy statement on this case: “The U.S. Supreme Court shattered the his-
Andrew Biar is president of Strategic Public Affairs®, a Houston-based full-service public and government affairs firm that provides government relations, advocacy, communications, strategic advice and counsel to small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, trade associations and PACs.
toric, philosophical foundation of private property rights by allowing governments to seize private property in the name of economic development.” One of the core principles that makes the United States different is property ownership. In the case of property rights, the definition that the Founding Fathers inferred was broad, as it should be. Without property rights, many of the other freedoms that we hold so dear would not exist and/or they would be limited. In the case of Ms. Lightner and her accomplishments through MADD, we should all be encouraged. The Kelo v. New London case should motivate people to participate. But, we have to be committed to the change we seek and everything it takes to make that change. This might include something as simple as voting. However, as I mentioned
earlier, we should consider more than just going to the voting booth and casting our ballot. We should be willing to take the time to provide testimony at hearings, whether it be at a city council meeting or a state legislative hearing. It might also include helping a candidate for office with your time by working a polling place and handing out fliers on their behalf. Something else that has a big impact, particularly at the local and state levels, is picking up the phone and making a call or writing a letter in support of or opposition to an issue. Everyone knows that those whom we elect to legislative bodies have an impact on our lives. I believe there is another group of elected officials who impact our lives more. It is our judges. At the federal level, those men and women are appointed by the President of the United States. So remember, elections have consequences. Furthermore, and more specifically in Texas, our state judges are elected. Many people do not realize that these men and women have an enormous impact on our personal, spiritual, business and professional lives. With this in mind, it is vital that we participate in the election process of judges. All of us are busy with work, family and more. I can attest to that. My wife and I are business partners in our public affairs firm. We have been blessed with a wonderful brood of four children. We schedule meetings for work, sports and birthday parties; and, somewhere in there, we try to spend time as a couple. All of this is important. But, at a minimum, we need to vote in every election, and we need to respond to the call-to-action from TWA or other groups we support by writing the letter or making the call. And, if you are moved to do so, get to know your elected representatives, make the time to go to city hall or the Capitol and make your voice heard in person. In doing so, we have seat at the table.
© 2013 Chase Fountain, TPWD
Battle Fronts Two Water Controversies Illustrate What's at Stake Author’s Note: This is the second article in a quarterly series of Texas Wildlife articles involving water issues in Texas. The first, printed in the February issue, A Water Primer, served as an introduction to Earth’s water cycle and Texas’s surface and groundwater supplies. Look for the next article in your August issue.
lderly Dallas residents remember the 19541956 “drought of record,” a time of unreliable tap water, when scalding water from an emergency 3,000-foot well saved the suburb of Garland from a dangerous shortage. In rural Texas, farm and ranch families faced ruin and daily privation as agricultural losses mounted. The ranchers’ suffering and grit inspired Elmer Kelton’s classic novel The Time it Never Rained. In response to that disastrous drought, the Texas Legislature created the Texas Water Development (TWDB), and voters approved a constitutional amendment authorizing issuance of $200 million in bonds to fund water The Colorado River in Central Texas. Continued drought, growing towns and suburbs, and agricultural needs are exceeding the great river’s capacity. development. In 1997, after another yearlong drought, the 75th Legislature passed suburbs. According to studies, the populations of the fastest growing Senate Bill 1, which designated 16 regional groups to plan for the state’s areas, such as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and its northern subwater needs over the next 50 years. Plans are updated on a five-year urbs, will double by 2050. Businesses require water. New residents rebasis and submitted to the Water Development Board for approval and quire jobs and housing. Companies won’t relocate or expand into areas inclusion in the State Water Plan. without guarantees of sufficient water allotments. Likewise, growers In theory, this approach fosters grassroots water planning. Each re- must irrigate, loggers need healthy bottomland hardwood forests, livegional group composed of about 20 members representing the region’s stock needs feed and water, and rural communities require agriculstakeholders — agriculture, business, water development, local gov- ture-related business. ernments, industry, environmental and others — ensures that their reSpace doesn’t permit a thorough discussion of all of Texas’s watergion’s needs are met and their resources are protected. Critics contend related battlefronts. The perennial and perhaps perpetual controverthat some of the planning groups are self-electing boards dominated sies surrounding the Ogallala Aquifer, the Edward’s Aquifer, the Rio by representatives of water and urban business interests with little re- Grande and dozens of others will get their due in future columns. gard for rural and environmental concerns. In this month’s column, I’ll introduce two serious water controverIndeed, one of the sharpest battle lines separates urban business sies, in two different watersheds, to illustrate Texas’s growing urbaninterests and small town and rural Texans. On a few issues, leathery rural divide, and the looming ecological and economic threats posed farmers and young, urban environmentalists are in the same camp. by a finite water supply. Texas is filling up. Its low tax rates, friendly business climate, afIn a bitter 2007 legislative battle, urban interests, citing projected fordable housing and relatively robust economy continue to draw tax population growth and water shortages, prevailed at the last minute and regulation-weary refugees – and legal and illegal job seekers from in pushing through a bill that designated 19 potential reservoir sites. south of the Rio Grande. Most of these transplants settle in cities and
Photo by Wyman Meinzer
Article by henry chappell
According to water planners, these additional reservoirs will help ensure that Texas can meet its water needs through 2060. The most contentious of those 19 planned reservoirs sits on the Sulphur River in northeast Texas. If developers prevail, 67,000 acres of prime hardwood bottomland, all of it privately owned, will be condemned, taken under eminent domain, and drowned beneath a reservoir that will supply water to a growing and thirsty Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. To satisfy environmental requirements, additional land - as much as 140,000 acres, virtually all also privately owned - will be condemned and set aside to mitigate the loss of high-quality wildlife habitat. Northeast Texas landowners, whose property would be inundated by the reservoir or condemned as mitigation, aren’t happy. Neither are area businesses. They aren’t taking it sitting down. The proposed impoundment, currently named Marvin Nichols Reservoir in honor of one of the founders of Freese & Nichols, Inc., a Fort Worth engineering firm, will cost an estimated $3.3 billion. A 2002 study by the Texas State Forest Service estimated that construction of Marvin Nichols Reservoir would cost the Northeast Texas economy 400-1300 jobs and $87 million- $275 million annually. The Region C Water Planning Area includes 16 North Texas Counties, with the Dallas-Fort Worth at its center. Region D Water Planning area is largely rural, and encompasses all or parts of 19 counties in Northeast Texas, including the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir sites. Region C planning group recommends construction of the reservoir. Region D planners oppose the project. In early March, reservoir proponents gained ground when the Texas Water Development Board, which had thus far avoided the Region C-Region D fray, recommended that Marvin Nichols Reservoir remain in the
Photos by Russell Graves
Hardwood forest in the Sulphur River Basin. If built, Marvin Nichols Reservoir would inundate tens of thousands of acres of the most productive bottomland in Northeast Texas – all of it private land. Dallas area business leaders say they need the water to ensure economic growth. Is the potential benefit worth the price?
Dropping reservoir levels are forcing agencies to choose between drinking water and downstream crop irrigation.
State Water Plan. After a two-month period for public comment, the three-member board will vote on the issue and try to use its authority to force the planning groups into compliance. Still, the fight will continue. Due to low levels in the Highland Lakes – seven reservoirs along the Colorado River in Central Texas - most rice farmers in the Lower Colorado River basin will receive little or no irrigation water for the third straight year. In normal years, farmers receive more than 200,000 acre-feet of water from the Colorado. But with lake levels dropping below 30 percent of capacity, residents and businesses in Central Texas towns, and their representatives in the state legislature, are raising the alarm about water security. In an early March ruling the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), consistent with a Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) request, called for curtailment of release of downstream water, but issued no firm guidelines as to “trigger levels,” or levels to which the lakes would have to recover before releases to rice farmers could resume. Central Texas community representatives, pointing to wild fluctuations over short time periods, have suggested lake levels should be 70 percent full before releasing downstream water to farmers. LRCA has suggested a trigger level of 53 percent. The farmers understand that drinking water needs trump irrigation needs, and have thus far supported the curtailments. However, they want the trigger levels dropped altogether so that under nonemergency conditions they can receive some or all of their water. Community leaders are correct that, without safe storage level margins, downstream releases combined with severe drought and high temperatures could quickly push their towns back to dangerously low water levels. Yet, how long can Texas’s rice farmer be ex-
pected to hold out? For three consecutive years, their production will be only about 50 percent of normal. Historically, the lower Colorado basin has accounted for 40 percent of Texas’s rice production. How long before communities that have long supported and depended upon agriculture begin to suffer? What about the ecological integrity of Matagorda Bay, one of the most productive estuaries in the world, critical habitat for endangered whooping cranes, and a vital part of our economy and heritage? Hydropower? No downstream water, no power. Since 2011, save for scattered relief, much of Texas has been in severe drought. Long range weather models suggest the trend could continue for years, if not decades. Meanwhile, Texas gains thousands of new residents every week as politicians and community leaders work to lure businesses to their regions. From first settlement on, Texans have ignored or fought limits. Certainly, we can engineer our way around problems of water scarcity for a few more generations – maybe indefinitely. But at what cost to our culture and natural heritage? This past November, Texans approved a measure allocating $2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund for water project development – a potential godsend for parched communities. TWA cautiously supported the initiative. Landowner rights will have to be balanced against perceived greater good that sometimes justifies use of eminent domain to acquire land and access for water project development. At some point, we will have no choice but to apply the same drive and resourcefulness that have long pushed us beyond natural barriers to the more challenging problem of thriving within ecological and cultural limits.
Oldest grandsons, Tyler (l), Maddox and Carson, on their first hunting trip near Falfurrias.
FRED BRYANT SHARES LIFE EXPERIENCES AS CONSERVATIONIST, HUNTER, TEACHER
or Fred Bryant Christmas 2013 will be remembered as one of the best Christmases ever. That’s because he took his three oldest grandsons, Tyler, Carson and Maddox, hunting for the very first time. Sharing his love and passion for the great outdoors, not only with his sons and now his grandsons but so many others, is something that comes naturally to Bryant. A hunter all his life, it is his connection with and respect for wild creatures that led Bryant down a career path that combined his love for the outdoors with his intellectual curiosity in wildlife research. Though today perhaps best known as the director of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Bryant is also known as an educator, researcher, a leader, promoter of others, fundraiser, a husband, father, friend, and a man of faith.
He is also a conservationist and a self-ascribed hunter, though it is hunter that he most wants his grandkids to remember him as. There are some who contend that one can’t be a hunter and a conservationist. Bryant disagrees. In fact, being a hunter, he contends, is what made him a conservationist. “When you’re out there up close and personal with nature, you begin to love all wild animals not just the ones you’re hunting.” It was from his grandfather, Fred Byrom, his namesake, that Bryant first gained an appreciation for the people of the land and for all of God’s creatures that live on the land. Also, it is because of his grandfather that he became a hunter. “During hunting season we never saw him,” Bryant recalls. “He was always at his place at Bulverde. My grandmother always hated to see him coming because he only came home when he had a deer and she
was always the one who did the butchering.” Born in December 1947, Bryant was four years old when his parents moved the family to a place on Bandera Road on the western outskirts of San Antonio. He grew up with kids who primarily came from ranches or dairies. Reared on 20 acres, there was plenty room for exploring. Like most young’uns Bryant started out with a bb gun that of course came from Santa. He recalls sneaking down late one Christmas Eve to investigate and feel out the presents under the tree and was thrilled to reaffirm that there really was a Santa. Bryant entertained himself for hours on end shooting at any bird which sat still long enough, including more than a few mockingbirds. Back then the mockingbird was not the State Bird of Texas. He recalls killing his first whitetail buck on a friend’s ranch at Hunt at the age of 13. “It was forked on one side and spiked on another, and it was the biggest buck in the world to me,” Bryant says. On his place at Bulverde, his grandfather raised cattle, sheep and Angora goats. During kidding season, the orphaned kids were put in young Bryant’s care. He bottle raised his fair share of those baby goats, and for his efforts his grandfather gave him the money from the first clip of mohair from those orphaned kid goats. Kid hair, he recalls was bringing about $4 per pound in the 1950s and those earnings afforded him the ability to buy plenty of ammunition for his bb gun and later his pellet gun. Bryant also credits his grandfather with being “a heck of a horseman,” and it is from him that he and his brothers received their first pony at the age of four. The memory of his grandfather leading the pony across the yard to the barn is his first childhood memory. In his teenage years Bryant learned to rope calves and he competed in local and area tiedown calf ropings. He even broke a pony or two of his own. Proudly displayed in his living room is his grandfather’s saddle given to him by his grandfather shortly before his death in 1970. From his dad, John, he learned to respect and treasure the value of an education. His dad, who flew 37 bombing missions in a B26 during WWII, who came home with two Purple Hearts and a Distinguished Flying Cross, graduated with a masters in chemistry on the GI bill. He worked for years as a chemist at a research laboratory in San Antonio. His father was also a leader. He served on the school board for years, and when his
sons did not have a place to play pony league baseball, he went to one of the neighboring dairies and asked for five acres to lease to build a ball diamond. The landowner agreed to $1 per year. His dad then borrowed the money to put up the lights. This once rural community of just a few hundred has since been swallowed up by urban sprawl, but the ball diamond, which now sits in the middle of Leon Valley, is still in use today. From his mother, Ruth, he learned compassion. Bryant’s friend and teammate on the high school football team was an African-American. Were it not for Bryant’s mom, his friend would never have had his practice uniform washed. “She taught me to love people and not see colors.” Bryant attended Leon Valley Elementary and by middle school he was already standing out as a leader among his peers serving as student body president and continuing that reputation as a leader at John Marshall High school, “a rural high school made up of a lot of kids who roped and participated in 4-H and FFA.” Bryant didn’t have much time for FFA because he was so involved in sports of which he lettered in five. When he was 13, Bryant spent the summer building fence on a friend’s ranch at Hunt. Building fence in that rock with a tamping bar and coffee can, was perhaps another incentive to get an education. The
fact that there was a rodeo and dancing at Criders every Saturday night made up for the hard work. Another mentor was his roping friend, Bub Mauldin, who gave Bryant his first real job at the age of 14. Every summer all through high school and on every school break in college, Bryant worked for Mauldin’s roofing company learning not only roofing but welding as well. Bryant was offered a full-ride football scholarship to University of Texas and Texas Tech. He chose Tech because it had a wildlife program. His dad really wanted him to major in math though, and Bryant gave it a try taking a full load of 18 hours including a calculus class his first semester. By the second semester he had switched to wildlife and his father, understanding his son’s desire to follow his passion, did not stand in his way. When he reported to Tech for football in August 1966, the first thing he did in the meeting with all of the entering freshman football players was he went to every guy and asked if they hunted. Fud Robertson, son of a farmer from Petersburg, was the only hunter he found. When the new class of freshman recruits came in the next year, he asked the same question. Ken Kattner, from Alice, was the one and only hunter that year. They were hunting buddies for the next four years. Bryant was red-shirted his first three years.
College buddies, Ken Kattner, (l) and Fud Robertson on 1991 elk hunting trip in the Red Desert of Wyoming, 25 years after meeting as freshman football players at Texas Tech.
That meant he practiced with the team but didn’t travel with the team on game weekends. It was a perfect situation, Bryant says, because that freed him and his buddies to go hunting on the weekends. “We’d leave on a Friday afternoon and drive all night to find some mountain in Colorado to hunt mule deer,” Bryant says. “We’d get there by daylight, hunt and then we’d drive all night Sunday night so that we could get back in time for class on Monday morning. We were passionate hunters let me tell you.” By the time Bryant was a junior at Tech, he knew he wanted to teach and do research. And, after making great friends in Phi Delta Theta fraternity during his college years, he graduated in December 1970 and applied to six graduate programs in the West. Eric Bolen, who was one of Bryant’s professors, who had connections at Utah State, went to bat for him. Meanwhile, he moved his wife and baby daughter back to San Antonio and took a job teaching math at his old high school. They also wanted him to help coach the football team the following fall. Instead, in March a telegram came from Utah State. He had been accepted into graduate school. “There was no football coaching job in Texas that I would have turned that down for,” Bryant says. When they arrived in Logan, his major professor gave him the option to do a mule deer study or a habitat study on Merriam’s turkey. He chose the latter. The study area, Bryant says, was everything north of Zion National Park. His parents loaned them the money to buy an 8x38 trailer. The only thing lacking was an indoor bathroom. He couldn’t afford to build an outhouse so he “borrowed” one. Their young daughter, Lisa, was potty trained in that outhouse. “She was probably the only one of her generation that was ever potty trained in an outhouse,” Bryant quips. The university provided him with a vehicle, and the Utah Game and Fish loaned him a jeep and a snowmobile. He bought his own
snow shoes. In the spring he needed a horse to get around the rough mountainous country, so he made a deal with a rancher near Orderville to work the cost of the horse off by dayworking for him on the weekends. Though they never agreed on a price, for the hours he put in, it turned out to be quite an expensive horse. When they left Utah, he sold Horace the horse for $150. Spending every day out in the great outdoors was the best possible classroom setting. During the three years spent in Utah, Bryant says he learned more about plant ecology and animal ecology than ever before. They left Utah in March 1974 and came home to Texas when Bryant was accepted into the doctoral program at Texas A&M. This time he was sent to the Sonora Experiment Station, half way between Rocksprings and Sonora, to do an animal nutrition diet competition study between white-tailed deer, sheep and goats. Now with two young children, their first son, Clint, was born in August 1973, Janis was ecstatic to learn that they would only be 25 miles from the nearest town rather than 30, that there was indoor plumbing and the nearest phone (with a party line no less) was just 100 yards across the road, instead of 10 miles away at a Utah ranger station. “We loved our time at Sonora,” Bryant says. Upon completing his doctoral program, Bryant became an assistant professor in the range and wildlife department at Texas Tech University. During his second year, Bryant made his mark in the research world securing a large research grant that was a plumb for the university. That small ruminant research project took him all over the world, but most of his time was spent in Peru and Bolivia. During his 19-year tenure, Bryant also made an indelible mark on the students. For 15 years, he took them to Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico, where they camped out and had free rein to go anywhere on the ranch. Any student who went on that trip never forgot the experience. “The students left Tech knowing that I cared about them,” Bryant says. In 1996, with their three kids raised, the Bryants made a life changing career move. Bryant was offered the job to be the director of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. For him it was a dream come true as it was a job he’d thought about for years. CKWRI was founded in 1981 with a grant from the Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation. Caesar Kleberg, one of the great wildlife conservationists of his day, understood that the biological and ecological diversity was an irreplaceable cultural and economic resource to the people of South Texas. Thus, the institute was established with that in mind. Making the institute relevant to its constituents has been Bryant’s top priority. That number one constituent is the private landowner. “We listen to the landowner whether they’re a rancher or a recreational owner,” Bryant says. “We wouldn’t have programs like South Janis and daughter, Lisa, on Horace the horse, in front of the infamous outhouse, Cedar Mountain, Texas Natives if it weren’t for the landowners.” Utah, 1972.
2004 hunting trip to Alaska with buddies Dick Heath, (l) Jim Wikert, and Tio Kleberg.
Initially, most of the funding for the institute came from the foundation. Today a large portion of the funds come from private landowners. In fact, since taking the helm in July 1996, with leadership from his “tremendous” advisory board, Bryant’s fundraising efforts have taken the institute’s endowment from $3 million in 1996 to $25 million today. “The landowners are willing to give so generously because they see our research as relevant. Our motto is under-promise and over-deliver,” Bryant says. The endowment is used to support the 14 professors and three program leaders, the 50-plus graduate students, and the institute’s support staff. Bryant and his board also raised $8 million to build the Tio and Janell Kleberg Wildlife Research Park, a multi-use complex containing a conference and event facility that is surrounded by a one-of-akind South Texas native plant garden. Also housed within the park are a wildlife pathology laboratory, a research aviary, as well as a captive deer facility and a research farm for South Texas Natives. Bryant refers to his board, his staff and donor supporters of the Institute as the “power source.” Four of the 17 researchers
and their graduate students focus on whitetail deer another three on bobwhite quail. Another focuses on cats and another two scientists work with wildlife diseases and toxicology. There are also molecular geneticist specialists and another who heads up the native plant project, as well as scientists who focus on wetlands birds and raptors as well as songbirds. “I tell my team all the time I couldn’t raise the money if they weren’t doing such a great job. The reason our program works so well is because no one cares who gets the credit, and when you have a group of scientists who think the same way, you can do magical things.” Tio Kleberg, chairman of the board of the Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, agrees. “The institute brings to South Texas world class scientists in their respective disciplines. I would put these 17 scientists up against any scientist in the world in their respective disciplines.” Getting the “relevant” information from the applied research back to the landowner community is a priority. Their constituents receive numerous research bulletins and the institute’s website is chockfull of
valuable management information. The researchers have also written 10 books over the last five years, two of which have won national awards. “CKWRI doesn’t just do research for research sake,” Kleberg says. “They identify the problem and then they find tools that the land managers can use to help manage that problem.” And while Bryant is the first to recognize the Institute’s accomplishments as being “a team effort,” Kleberg says that it’s Bryant’s leadership skills that have put the institute on the map. “Fred has a real unique set of characteristics. Typically there are people who are wonderful scientists, or people who can write, or market, but very few, and I don’t know another equal to Fred, who understand the science, who understand its implications, who can write the reports and then go out and raise the money for the research,” Kleberg says. “Plus, not only do people really like Fred, but landowners trust him.” While other range and wildlife programs, range in particular, are on the decline, Texas A&M-Kingsville is thriving. Since 1996 over 200 masters and doctorate students have graduated from the program. Bryant refers
to these students as the “points of light” for steering from that course would have been the Institute’s power source. These points of much easier. light come from all over the U.S. and some“Not many wives would have done what times foreign countries. she did for me,” Bryant says. “She is the love Currently there are 155 undergraduates of my life for 45 years, the only girl who I and 55 graduate students, and in the current ever loved in high school who I was lucky group not 10 of those graduate students, Bry- enough to marry.” ant points out, are from Texas. He sees that as a real positive. “Many of them have never been on a piece of private ground, so they don’t know how much that landowner cares about that land. Those students may not establish a career in Texas, but when they leave they have an appreciation of private lands.” As with most, Bryant faced several crossroads in his life and he gives credit first and foremost to his wife, Janis. If not for her, Bryant says he might have become a high school football coach, or he might be working for the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management or the Extension service. She was his constant cheerleader, who encouraged him to stay the course to become an educator and a researcher even when Fred and Janis, high school sweethearts married 44 years.
Sons, Clint, (l) and Coy on mule deer hunt near Rangely Colorado; 1993.
Learning from personal experience, Bryant encourages young people to follow their dreams. “Whatever your passion in life is do it,” he says. “Set a goal and don’t take your eye off that goal.” Bryant also points out that no academic test can measure one’s motivation. “Believe in yourself and not what other people or some test says,” Bryant says. Finally, “never look back and don’t have any regrets.” Heading into his 18th year, Bryant continues to look to the future always believing there is still more to be learned and more to do. Despite his many accolades and career accomplishments, Bryant considers his family his greatest blessing and his three children, Lisa, Clint and Coy, his greatest accomplishment, along with their spouses, Tom, Donna, and Niki. He looks forward to spending time with his nine grandchildren and in particular he looks forward to that next hunting trip with his grandsons.
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Youth crawfisherman trying to coax a crawdad from a burrow.
CRAWDADS Article and photos by russell a. graves
ith bucket in hand, my boy and I headed down to the duck marsh where we hunt. During the winter, the two acre marsh – which was created by my brother out of a flat bottomland hayfield that lies next to a creek – floods with about a foot of water and creates a wetland habitat that attracts ducks on a daily basis. After duck season, he drains the marsh so moist soil grasses and forbs will grow and provide food for next season’s ducks. When the weather warms and the water drains away, the flat marsh bottom (made from a thick clay gumbo mud for which the blackland prairies are famous) becomes a popular destination for scores of crawdads.
Mud chimneys are everywhere. At each place a chimney stands, a crawdad carefully dug a vertical burrow that fills with water and then capped the opening with the spoils from its labor: chunks of stacked mud. We find a big chimney and carefully pluck it apart from the mud. In doing so, we expose a wide and nearly symmetrical hole that plunges deep into the marsh’s basin. It’s so deep I can’t even see a shiny disk of water down in the hole. However, the dig is fresh so we know a crawdad lurks beneath. So with bacon tied to a string harvested from the end of a feed sack, my boy lowers the bait into the hole and waits for a tug. He doesn’t have to wait long.
Crawfish, Crayfish, or Crawdad? What the crustacean is called depends mostly on where you are from. In Texas all the species are commonly called crawdads or crawfish. In the eastern United States, however, they are commonly called crayfish. Whatever you call them, crawdads are a species of freshwater crustaceans that live in water that does not completely freeze. As bottom dwellers, they feed off of live animals, carrion and plant materials. They are an old species and fossil records document their existence for at least 30 million years. Worldwide, over 500 species of crawdads are recognized, 350 of which live in North
America. While crawfish are found all over the United States, they are found in greater numbers and species diversity in the southeastern United States in the warmer, wetter areas of the south. Texas is home to at least 43 different species of crawfish – seven of which are listed either as endangered or threatened. The most pressing concern for Texas crawfish is habitat destruction due to development and pollution of waterways. Most of the state’s diverse species reside in the southeastern portion of the state where the climate is consistently warmer and wetlands are in more abundance. At least two species exist away from wetlands and burrow into the deep soils of the blackland prairies. These species emerge from the burrows to feed and are equipped to ride out times of drought as they dig their burrow deeper and deeper as they follow a shrinking water table. “Crawfish are typically located where habitat requirements are met: surface water or reachable water below ground,” says Ken Johnson, co-author of the book Texas Crawdads. “In Texas these are available generally in the central and eastern part of the state.” Bacon tied to a string is great crawdad bait.
A red swamp crawdad in a defensive pose.
In western areas, he explains, crawdads are found in streams or reservoirs and in wet weather spots like ditches and nearby watersheds. “Ponds are also populated here and there but these may be introductions. We have found them though all the way to the caprock in several counties of dry West Texas.” “If one must choose a most common species for Texas, the red crawfish (or Louisiana Swamp Crawfish) might fit the bill,” Johnson says. “It is very common in Caylee Mills and Ryan Graves show off a fresh-caught crawdad. the southern part of the state from east to west and in certain ponds and lakes in the northern part where released by intentional and unintentional stocking.” In Texas, crawdads are a commercially viable crop as they are raised for food consumption and bait. While Louisiana grows most all of the crawfish sold for food consumption, Texas is in second place with some 147,000 pounds produced annually according to the last agriculture census: a A crawdad in the mud. document released in 2007 by the United States Department of Agriculture. At the Kimberley Price of Iowa Park fondly detime of the last census, eight Texas farms scribes crawfishing in much the same way were raising crawfish for the table. other Texans describe it. With modern aquacultural methods, “We used bacon tied on fishing line that crawfish are either grown in dedicated ponds we tied on a cane pole we had cut down from and harvested when ready for market, or the ditch bank,” says Price. “We sat on the they are double cropped with rice when it is wooden gates of the irrigation ditch, and put flooded during the growing season. the ones we caught in a five gallon bucket. Traditionally, crawfish were raised and Then when we caught all we wanted, we consumed on a local scale. With the rise in would pour them into an old red wagon and popularity of cajun inspired foods, more and sell them to the guys driving through Valley more of the harvest is packaged and shipped. View on their way to set trot lines in Lake While there are a variety of ways to cook Kickapoo or Lake Arrowhead.” crawfish like in étouffée, jambalaya, or pie, Her memories of crawfishing are echoed by far the way most people enjoy crawfish by most with whom I’ve visited. They are is in the crawfish boil. Essentially, crawfish universally fond memories of childhood. So are boiled in seasonings like peppercorns, with that in mind, I often gear up and help allspice and other additional ingredients like my kids build memories. corn, potatoes, andouille sausage and garlic The ingredients for crawfishing are simple: are added to the pot. Like lobster and shrimp, bacon or baloney, a string, and a place where the tails are primarily consumed while some crawdads exist. I take my kids in the duck will eat the crawdad’s insides as well. marsh and to the margins of farm ponds in Northeast Texas. Going Crawfishing – The hardest part of our trips is finding a Kids and Crawdads burrow with a big enough hole in which we One of the joys of crawdads is reconnecting can drop the bait. Therefore, when we search with your past and going crawfishing with kids. for crawdads, we make sure that when we
remove the chimneys, we are careful to place them back in place if the hole is too small. Once we find an adequate hole, bait is dropped and before long, the white string goes taught and the low intensity tug of war is on. Fighting a crawfish is a practice in patience and finesse. The tug of war usually takes a while to win. If you don’t pull hard enough, the crawdad plants its numerous legs into the mud and digs in to protect his new meal. Pull too hard and you jerk the bait right out of their claws. It’s a skill you learn from experience and feel. At first my boy can’t get the hang of it as he keeps pulling the bait away from the crawdad. Thirty minutes later he’s still in the hole. Soon, however, we can see the bait near the burrow’s entrance and clamped to it are two crawdad pincers. The crawfish is trying hard to put on the breaks with his many pairs of legs but he’s too interested in the raw strip of bacon to let go. After the bait and claws breech the surface, we can see its dark, bbsized eyes looking up at us. When he spots us, he lets go of the bait and retreats. Hunger pangs are a strong motivator and within seconds, he’s gripping the bacon that my son dropped back in the hole. The fight is back on. I don’t know if the crawdad is tired, hungry or both, but when he emerges this time, he doesn’t spook. When I reach down to pick him up by the shell he does his best to reach back and pinch me with his claws. At first my nine year old is apprehensive about holding his first crustacean as he’s afraid of the pinch. I let the crawdad pinch me first to let him see that it doesn’t hurt. I set the crawdad down on the mud and it instinctively turns to face me with its claws up in defense. While I distract him, my son picks him up for a closer inspection. He’s proud of his quarry -- so proud he puts the crawdad back in the mud right next to the water. The crawdad scoots backwards accelerated by the tail flip that he uses to swim and escape predators and is soon back in the water. When we are gone, he’ll crawl from the water and dig a new burrow. Hopefully, we’ll catch him again another day.
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Chaz Glace, Round Rock Tony Glace, Leander Chuck Glace , Cedar Park Joel Glass, Laredo Zane Glasscock, Hobe Sound David Glasscock, Weatherby Lake, MO Joel Glenn, Fort Worth Michael Gloff, Clifton L .W. Goodman, Bulverde John Gould, Austin Gary Grant, Sachse Maria Gray, McAllen Rick Greene, Houston Milton Greeson, Victoria Parke Greeson, Victoria Bob Gresham, Centerville Steve Grinnell, San Antonio Sondra Grohman-Kahlig, San Antonio Helen Groves, Baird Cecario “CG” Guerrero, Pearland Sean Gunn, San Antonio John Gustainis, Georgetown Robert Haier Jr., Katy Tom Hailey, San Antonio Robert Hall , Friendswood Marshall Hamilton, Brady Mike Hampton, San Antonio Gale Hansen, Pflugerville Leon Harbin, Fredericksburg Steven Harker, Houston Jackie Harker, Houston Monty Harkins, Sanderson Beth Harper, San Antonio Milton Harrell, Pflugerville Chad Harris, Sugar Land Bob Hart, Rogers Will Harte, San Antonio David Hatcher, Houston Neal Hawks, Flower Mound Charles Hawn, Athens James Hayne Jr., San Antonio Wayne Hays, Cypress Karen Henderson, San Antonio Cal Hendrick , Odessa Tim Hendricks, Austin Mark Herfort, Rosenberg Jeff Higdon, Cypress Pruyn Hildebrand, San Antonio Marshall Hildebrand, Austin Mark Hiler, College Station Richard Hill, Austin Bobby Hill, Glen Rose Russell Hill, San Antonio Stephen Hill, Dallas Lyndon Hill, Fort Worth Roy Hindes III, Charlotte Robert Hitchcock, McCall George Hixon, San Antonio Bryan Hixon, San Antonio George “Timo” Hixon, San Antonio William “Chase” Hoech, Spring Branch Ken Hoerster, Boerne W. H. “Bill” Hoffmann Jr, Eastland
TWA LIFE MEMBERS Lee Hoffpauir, Lampasas Grayson Holloway, Laredo Sonny Horton, Dripping Springs Reagan & Lyles Houston, San Antonio John Howell, Fort Worth James Huffman, San Angelo Charles Hundley, San Antonio Jon Hundley, Austin Bruce Hunt , Dallas Amanda Hurst, El Campo Edward “Chap” Hutcheson, Jr., Houston Crystal Ivy, Brackettville Jim Janke Family Partnership, Houston H William Jauer, Runge Sharron Jay, Comfort Bailey Jay, Boerne Dean Jessop, San Antonio Mark Johnson, San Antonio Parker Johnson, Houston Victoria Johnson, Houston Todd Johnson, Houston Thomas Johnston, Midland David Jones, San Antonio William Jones III, Hebbronville A.C. Dick Jones, IV, Corpus Christi Kyle Kacal, College Station Clarence Kahlig, San Antonio Barbara Kana, Kerrville Luke Kellogg, San Antonio John Kelsey, Houston John Kenjura, Brenham Mason King, Fort Worth J. Bryan King, Fort Worth Lane King, Longview Dan Kinsel III, Cotulla Clayton Kirby, Jacksonville Beach Tio Kleberg, Kingsville Wallace Klussmann, Fredericksburg Sammie Knight, Columbus Tucker Knight, Houston William Knolle, Austin Charles Koehn, Buda Norman Kohls, Eldorado Bart Koontz, San Antonio John Korbell, Jr., San Antonio George Kostohryz Jr., Fort Worth Riley Kothmann, Mason David Kramer, Fort Worth Kyle Krause, Rosenberg Don Krueger, Victoria Catherine Kumpf, Loving Randy Lake, Lampasas Ronnie Lamb, Conroe John Lambert, Austin James Langemeier, Marion David Langford, Comfort Victor Lattimore, Plano Marion Lee, San Antonio William Lee Jr., New Braunfels Layton Leissner, New Braunfels Ken Leonard, San Antonio Jonathan Letz Family, Comfort Steve Lewis, San Antonio David Light, IV, Houston Robert Lindsey III, Goldthwaite Tommy Love, Austin Tracy Love, Sonora Charles Lusk III, Houston James Lutz, San Antonio Elizabeth Lyons, San Antonio Gary Machen, Pearsall Leo Mack Jr., Tyler John Maclay, Houston David Mafrige, Houston Paul Mahan, Bentonville Dick Mahan, Bentonville Anne Marion, Fort Worth Larry Martin, Houston Max Martin, Del Rio Brent Martin, Austin Keith Martin, San Antonio Walter ‘Monty’ Martin, Cypress Mike Martinez, Fresno Doug Maund, Austin Keith Maxwell, Houston Nyle Maxwell, Round Rock Matthew May, Boerne Robert Mayer, Sonora Larry Mazziotta, Water Valley
Heath McBride, Brady Tina McCelvey, San Antonio Justin McCelvey, San Antonio Landon McCelvey, Dilley Lyndsey McCelvey, Dilley Chris McClanahan, Corpus Christi Terrell McCombs, San Antonio Joseph McCord, Houston Charles McCord III, Houston Frank McCreight, Fort Worth Andrew McCullough, Jr., Houston Robert McDowell, Houston Robert McFarlane, Tennessee Colony John McHale, Austin Barton McLaughlin, Kerrville Janice McNair, Houston Paul McSween, Jr., San Antonio Pat McTee, Austin Michael Mertz, Eldorado David Middleton, Hondo Bryan Millard, Austin Erica Millard, Austin Marshall Miller, San Antonio Homer Mills, Alpine Ronny Minatrea, Karnack Mike Mireles, Sarita Tod Mitchell, Cypress Christopher Mitchell, New Braunfels Patrick Molak , New Braunfels David Monnich , San Antonio Brett Moody, Houston Sterling Moore, Fulshear Maurice Moore Jr., Dallas David Moreland, Durango Nick Morris, Austin John Morris, Springfield Dan Moultrie, Birmingham Daniel Moultrie, Vestavia Hills Ashley Moultrie, Vestivia Hills Mark Muecke, San Antonio Cameron Munk, Lakehills Joseph Murray, Chapin Robert Murry Jr, Harker Heights Tom Murski, Brenham Will Murski, Brenham Mike Murski, Meridian Zach Murski, Brenham Lauren Murski, Dallas Meredith Murski, Dallas Amanda Murski, Dallas Marc Myers, Dallas James Mynatt, Austin Monica Myska, Richmond Jack Nash, Austin William Nash, Hunt Richard Negley, San Antonio Leslie Negley, San Antonio R. J. Nitsche, Giddings Carol Ann Nix, Daingerfield John Nolan, Dallas Pat Norman, Austin Margye Northington, San Antonio Marvin Ohlenbusch, San Antonio Clint Orms, Ingram William Osborn, III, San Antonio Kip Owen, McAllen Thomas Parker, Long Branch Robert Parker Jr., Houston Jason Parrish, Austin Raymond Patschke, Austin Robert Patton Jr., Fort Worth Mark Payne, San Antonio Bob Pearson, Spearman Michael Perrin, Houston Harry Perrin, Houston Jeremy Peters, Boerne Larry Petty, Kerrville Scott Petty, Jr., San Antonio Michael Phelan, Beaumont Joseph Piekarski, Woodstown Greg Potter , Irving Kyle Poulson, Fort Worth Townes Pressler Jr., Houston Edward Pritchard, Houston Nelson Puett, Austin Conrad Puls, Boerne David Rambie, Fort Worth John Ramming, Austin Chuck Ramsey, San Antonio
Tim Ramsey, Austin Ellen Randall, Houston Mark Ray, Corpus Christi Larry Redmon, Bryan Mims Reed, Bedford Russell Rehmann, Johnson City Ryan Rehmann, Austin Randy Rehmann, Austin Allen Reilly, San Antonio Mike Reynolds, Austin Thomas Reynolds, Fort Worth D K Reynolds, Austin J. Richardson, Austin Pat Riddell, Burnet Gary Ritchie, Houston Wayne Roberts, Burton Grady Roberts, Houston Philip Roberts, Bangs James Robinson, Weir David Roche, Austin Elizabeth Rogers, San Antonio Wallace Rogers Jr., San Antonio Wallace Rogers, III, San Antonio Arizeli Romo, Carrizo Springs Audrey Rooke, Woodsboro Grady Rosier, Salado Gary Rothenberg, Waynesboro Scott Rothenberg, Waxhaw Mary Rumfield, Cypress Joe Ruple, Pleasanton Douglas Ryder, San Antonio Byron Sadler Family, Junction Patrick Sands, Dallas Gabe Sansing, Georgetown John Saunders Jr., San Antonio Homer Saye, Cypress Dave Schimsk, Austin Bobby Schmidt, Austin Sonny Schmidt, Driftwood Steve Schmitz, Gainesville John Schulte, Jourdanton Johnie Schulte, Hockley David Schuster, Kerrville Gary Schwarz, McAllen Jim Schwertner, Schwertner Peggy Scott, Uvalde Ron Sewell, Odessa John Shaw, Jonestown Ward Sheffield, Houston Darrel Shreve, Glennallen Thomas Simmons Jr., Houston Greg Simons, San Angelo Claude Sims, Boerne Harvey Smith, Dickinson Mike Smith, Batesville Craig Smith, Argyle Thomas Smith, Houston Robert Smith, Frisco Shawn & Ford Smith, Austin Jeff Smithers, San Antonio Clay Smithhart, Lufkin Matt Smithhart, Lufkin Trey Snider, III, Houston Glenn Sodd, Corsicana Eddie Spalten, San Antonio William Spalten, San Antonio Bret Stafford, Temple C. Stasney, Houston Stuart Stedman, Houston Thad Steele, El Paso Dennis Steger, Highlands Lee Stockseth, Corpus Christi Tyler & Jennifer Stone, Mcallen Stanford Stratton, Houston Carl Strelecki Family, Dallas A. M. “Mac” Stringfellow, San Antonio Alice Strunk, San Antonio Harold “Ray” Stubblefield, San Angelo Stan Studer Jr., San Antonio Herb Stumberg, San Antonio Ike Sugg, San Angelo Alan Summers, Houston Misty Sumner, Van Horn Lane Sumner, Van Horn Gib Surles, Houston Peter Swenson, Tilden Nick Swyka, Houston William Tamm Jr., Austin Buddy Temple, Lufkin
Kimberly Terk Murphy, San Antonio Sidney Terry, Houston Michael Terry, Jr., Dallas Mike Terry, Sr., Dallas Ralph Thomas, Houston R. H. “Butch” Thompson, Kingsville Lew Thompson, Pearsall Dickie Tillman, Austin Dylan Tillman, Austin Timothy Timmerman, Austin Gary Tipton, Dallas Irene Torres, San Antonio Albert Townsend, Uvalde Tamara Trail, Albany Michael Traugott, San Antonio David Turman, Pearsall Klayton Turner, Burleson Barrett & Courtney Tuttle, NEW YORK Lewis Tyra, Houston Walter Umphrey, Beaumont Bart Umphrey , Beaumont David Underwood, Houston Duncan Underwood, Houston David Underwood Jr., Houston Ronnie & Terry Urbanczyk, Spring Branch Kirby Vanover, San Angelo George Vaughan Family, San Antonio Lawson Walden, San Antonio Nancy Walden, Tyler Bill Walker, Seguin Travis Walker, Cotulla Buddy Walker, Corpus Christi Robin Walker, Seguin Michael & Celeste Wall, Medina Holland Walsh, Fort Worth James Walton, Golden Deborah Wardlaw, Kerrville Beth Watson, Fredericksburg William Watson, Fredericksburg Charles Watson, Fredericksburg David Watts, Boerne Glen Webb, Abilene Nicalos Weeks, Premont John Weisman, San Marcos John Welder VI, Victoria Jeff Wentworth, San Antonio Dan Wheat, Austin Neel White, Austin Stephen Wilde, San Antonio Kevin Williams, Cypress Gage Williams, Glen Rose Jeff Williams, Fort Stockton Lacy Williams II, Houston Sid Williams IV, San Antonio John Williams Jr., Houston Gregory Williamson, Fort Worth Ken Williamson, Mullin C. Donovan Williamson II, Fort Worth Gray Wilmeth, Dillley Craig Wingrove, San Antonio Garrett Wingrove, Dallas John Winsauer, Beeville William Winsauer, Austin Simon Winston, Lufkin Tommy Winters, Marble Falls S. L. Witcher, Jr., San Antonio Quita Wittenbach, Harlingen Brad Wolfe, Brownsville Martin Wood, Dallas Kevin Worfe Sr, Helotes Bob Wray, San Antonio William Wright Jr., Cisco Patricia Wunderlich, Montgomery Randy Wyatt, San Antonio William Yates, Houston William Yoder, Edinburg William “Carl” Young, Georgetown Clifford Young, Bentonville Kevin Young, Dallas Sam Youngblood, San Antonio Sandra Yturria, Brownsville Fausto Yturria Jr., Brownsville Will Zelaya, Premont Rifle Scopes. Com, Red Oak Cinco de Mayo Ranch, Austin Wilks Ranch Texas LLC, Cisco
Many thanks to our Texas Wildlife Association President’s Council and Life Members. If you are interested in upgrading your membership to become a President’s Council or Life Member, please visit the membership page of the TWA website at www.texas-wildlife.org/membership, or call (800) 839-9453.
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c o n s e r vat i o n l e ga c y
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Houston is a Boom Market for Natural Resources Education Article and photos by mary pearl meuth and lynnsey dohmen
n January 2011, the Conservation Legacy Learning Across New Dimensions in Science (L.A.N.D.S.) Education Program expanded to include the Houston metro area. By initially placing one educator on the ground to market the programs and take the land stewardship message into the classroom, the programs flourished and the demand was high. With a successful formula for providing free TEKS-aligned programs for classrooms and a message/platform that addressed the virtues of science-based conservation education, the market was about to boom. In 2011, a total of 108 Harris and surrounding county schools participated in at least one L.A.N.D.S. Outreach program, either a Discovery Trunk or Wildlife by Design classroom presentation. Then, in January 2012, with the addition of a second educator to focus on the inner-city regions, program participation for 2012 jumped to 204 participating schools, teaching 31,334 students about native wildlife, natural resources and land stewardship in Texas. After three (3) full years in the Harris county area, 2013 ended with a boom of over 264 schools and 45,085 students throughout the Harris county area participating in the free, handson, wildlife-based educational programs offered by the Conservation Legacy team. With the growing demand for L.A.N.D.S. programs in the Harris county area and statewide, the L.A.N.D.S. Outreach department increased the supply of Discovery Trunks with the creation of three new Discovery Trunk topics. In the fall of 2013, two sets of the three new Discovery Trunks debuted in Houston regional schools, bringing the total to 22 Discovery Trunks specifically designated for delivery to schools within the Harris and surrounding county region. These three new Discovery Trunks are Conservation Legacy’s “partnership trunks” and include:
Participants learn about the needs for a healthy habitat at the L.A.N.D.S. Outreach Teacher Workshop last fall at Armand Bayou Nature Center.
A display for the Wildlife by Design educational program, Investigating Life Cycle, at Braeburn Elementary School, Houston ISD.
Bird is the Word, created with help from Houston Audubon Society, Bats-A-Billion, created with help from Bat Conservation International, and Butterflies Flutter By, created with help from TWA’s 2012 Volunteers of the Year, Cathy Downs and Gracie Waggener. Also growing is the Wildlife by Design lineup of presentations. Debuting in February 2014, Investigating Life Cycles, written
by TWA’s regional education contractors, allows students to investigate the life cycles of native plants and wildlife. With the use of preserved specimens in acrylic, biofact models and inquiry-based activities, students are encouraged to explore and study the importance of basic plant or animal life cycles as part of greater whole of wildlife populations and ecosystems. This program, developed based on teacher requests, has quickly become the top requested program for the spring 2014 semester. To date, the largest potential impact in the Houston area is the growing and developing L.A.N.D.S. Outreach Teacher Workshops. These free workshops, first offered in the summer of 2011 to six schools, more than 100 educators attended and participated in the endeavor to learn about our native Texas wildlife and natural resource activities. These 100 educators had the potential to share TWA’s lessons and activities with 3,800 students the following school year. Dur-
houston boom market
ing the second summer of free, on-demand teacher workshops, and with the addition of a new contractor educator, the impact grew to 234 teachers participating in 11 regionwide workshops, potentially influencing over 15,500 students. As L.A.N.D.S. Outreach Teacher Workshops grew in popularity, the demand for new educational programs in the Houston region increased, and at the request of the teacher audiences, the L.A.N.D.S. Outreach Workshop hours and materials were certified as “TAGT Approved,” providing teachers with continuing education certification hours under the approval of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. Certain school districts require these certification hours of all their teachers, and many workshops that offer these credit hours are often times costly and not focused in the science discipline. Offering the “TAGT Approved” update hours sets apart the L.A.N.D.S. Outreach Teacher Workshops from other professional development programs offered regionally. By the end of 2013, the Conservation Legacy Houston-area team provided 17 workshops to 407 participating teachers, who were then able to share TWA’s land stewardship and natural resource conservation mes-
sages and educational principles with over 26,875 of their students. Each year, the number of teachers trained by TWA increases, as does the potential number of students utilizing a TWA lesson in the classroom, equaling an exponential growth potential of impact and involvement. As awareness, desire and demand for natural resource, wildlife and land stewardship education increases, Conservation Legacy
is dedicated to continue and improve upon our high quality programs, both statewide and in the Harris and surrounding county region. The Harris and surrounding county region was Conservation Legacy’s pilot venture in spreading TWA’s private message “on the ground,” and the effort has proven itself tenfold -- Houston is a boom market!
TWA Adds Member to Education Team HOWDY! My name is Kayla Krueger. In March, I joined the Texas Wildlife Association team as an Education Contractor. I will work to bring wildlife conservation and hands-on science into elementary classrooms across the Houston area, specifically the following counties: Southern Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston and Chambers. Hunting and fishing since childhood, I’ve have a deep appreciation for and curiosity about outdoors. My backyard became my personal natural science lab. I investigated any specimen I could get my hands on. This curiosity led me to Texas A&M University where I studied Wildlife and Fisheries Science. I wanted to make a career out of collecting and exploring the mechanics of the natural world. After an exhaustive college research trip, I realized that there was a disconnect between research and positive change. Education was the bridge. I began to work to promote conservation education. I am excited to work for an organization that allows me to teach about my passion.
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Kathy (Dan) Boone
Billy Pat McKinney
arthur temple college of forestry and agriculture
stephen f. austin state university
Article and photos by christopher e. comer, associate professor of wildlife management,
arthur temple college of forestry and agrigulture, stephen f. austin state university, rumsey research and development fund
ach year, as the calendar moves from March to April, one of our state’s most remarkable natural phenomena starts again in downtown Austin. The 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats are returning to the Congress Avenue Bridge. And, as the summer progresses, thousands of Texans will converge on downtown to see the bats emerge. However, these massive colonies are not the only representatives of the Chiroptera in our diverse state. Texas has 33 species of native bats, more than any other state. These include rare and endangered species such as the Mexican long-nosed bat and Rafinesque’s big-eared bat as well as the common Mexican free-tails and big brown bats. Perhaps because of the popularity of the Congress Avenue bats and other “city bats,” Texans are generally better informed about bats and bat ecology than most, but there are still many gaps in our understanding of their ecology and conservation. These gaps have recently become more concerning because bat populations across the United States are threatened by a combination of factors that have emerged in the last 10-15 years. The most significant of these is the emergence of white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that first appeared in 2007 in New York State. Since that time, white nose syndrome has spread through bat hibernacula in 23 states and 5 Canadian provinces, killing an estimated six million bats. So far, WNS has not been found in Texas, but has
Rafinesque’s big eared bat roosting in building.
been detected in Arkansas and Oklahoma. On top of the devastation caused by WNS, bat populations are affected by wind development, habitat loss and urbanization. In the East Texas Pineywoods, we lack the spectacular million-plus colonies of the karst regions in the center of the state, but have our own 13 species of forest-dwelling bats. These include species such as the eastern red bat and Seminole bat that roost in the foliage of our many trees; species that roost in exfoliating bark or small hollows of
trees like the big brown bat, evening bat and tricolored bat; and two species, the south eastern bat and the state-threatened Rafinesque’s big-eared bat, that primarily roost in very large, hollow trees of the East Texas cypress and tupelo swamps. Many of these species are partially or entirely dependent on the diverse bottomland hardwood forests associated with the major rivers and streams of the region. Due to widespread forest conversion, reservoir development and urban development, we have lost over 65 percent
Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Stephen F. Austin State University and Rumsey Research and Development Fund
Eastern red bat in hand.
Rafinesque’s big eared bat roosting in large baldcypress tree.
Evening bat in hand.
(CHECK) of our original bottomland hardwood forests. The remaining stands are threatened by altered hydrologic regimes, invasive plants and other factors. In response to perceived declines in bottomland hardwood bird species, biologists and managers in the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley developed a set of guidelines for maximizing bird diversity in these stands. In addition to the guidelines, referred to as Desired Forest Conditions (DFCs), they provide recommendations for using silvicultural practices like group selection cuts to achieve the DFCs. By selectively harvesting timber, managers can allow greater light penetration to the forest floor and increase structural diversity in the forest. These changes have been implemented on both public and private properties in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Results have generally indicated increased songbird diversity and increases in abundance of several target species (e.g., Swainson’s warblers and Kentucky warblers) while providing income for landowners through sale of the timber. The implications of these changes for bottomland-dependent species, including bats, are unknown and there are concerns that species like the Rafinesque’s big-eared bat could be negatively affected by the tree harvest. In the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University, we have been conducting research on bottomland hardwood bats since a project initiated in 2007 with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department examined roost characteristics and survey techniques for Rafinesque’s big-eared bats and south Eastern bats. With the increased popularity of
managing for DFCs in states to our east, there was interest in examining their relevance to Texas bottomland hardwood stands. In partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, we initiated a new project to examine the impacts of DFC management at Old Sabine Bottom WMA near Lindale. At the same time, we were able to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to examine bat response to DFC treatments on public lands in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. Together these two projects should allow us to examine the influence of forest stand characteristics and DFC treatments on bat abundance and distribution. Because bats are small and cryptic and because they fly exclusively at night, these mammals are notoriously difficult to survey and study. Thankfully, recent advances in acoustic technology allow us to efficiently survey for them. Bats use a form of sonar, called echolocation, to navigate and find food items in the dark. These echolocation calls are mostly well above the sound frequencies audible to the human ear; however, advances in microphone design and sound processing equipment permit detection and recording of these calls. The echolocation calls of each species are distinctive, and we can use sound analysis software and reference calls for known species to assign species ID to calls collected in the field. By placing acoustic recorders (protected against the weather of course!) in forest stands of various types, we can compare the number and type of echolocation calls to identify differences in the bat community among stands. Furthermore, because all of our bats are dependent upon night-flying insects for food, we used
light traps to examine insect abundance and diversity in various types of stands. It turns out that southern bottomland hardwood forests are noisy, buggy places and one summer’s field work generated well over four terabytes of acoustic files and 500 jars full of night-flying insects. Once these are identified and the data are compiled, we will be able to identify those forest characteristics that benefit or harm bat abundance, diversity and food supply. Data so far suggest that DFC treatments may provide benefits for most species, but implications for the rarer species like Rafinesque’s big-eared bats remain uncertain. Once analyses are complete, the results will allow both private and public land managers to make forest management decisions that take into account potential impacts on bat populations. With the futures of northern bat populations uncertain under the pressure of whitenose syndrome, south Eastern bat populations may become more important for the future of bat conservation. In Texas, we are uniquely conscious of the importance of bats from both an ecological and an economic perspective. Bats consume untold numbers of potentially damaging insect pests and form an integral part of our wildlife communities. By learning more about them and their needs, hopefully we can ensure the persistence of these fascinating creatures and preserve the wildlife diversity of our home state. For more information, please contact Dr. Chris Comer, Associate Professor of Wildlife Management, Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Stephen F. Austin State University at email@example.com.
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ICF â€“Your Images, Their Future
Saving W ildlife One Image at a Time
I C F S n a psh o t o f the m o n th
by Nicole Casas Nicole Casas took this photo of a Texas horned lizard on the Los Novios Ranch during an ICF Pro-Am Youth event. Her coach, professional photographer Karine Aigner, insisted Casas get belly on the ground to do it. Throughout Texas history generations of children have enjoyed these wonderful creatures. Visit www.imagesforconservation.org for Aignerâ€™s October Pro-Am event on Santa Margarita Ranch. TWA and Vantage Bank are proud to partner with the Images for Conservation Fund in an effort to present some of the outstanding images captured during its nature photography competitions held on private lands in Texas. ICF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization created for the purpose of conserving wildlife habitat and generating a sustainable income stream through the establishment and prosperity of the Private Lands' NaturePhotography Industry. Images for Conservation encourages private landowners to restore, preserve, conserve, and enhance wildlife habitat through the business of nature photography. For more information on upcoming ICF Pro-Am events, visit www.imagesforconservation.org.
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