MAGAZINE OF THE TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION
The Collared Peccary
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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
A Note from TWA Headquarters
Outreach & Member Services David Brimager, Director of Marketing and Partner Relations Kendra Roller, Director of Member Relations Kathy Dalgleish, Membership Coordinator
Programs Helen Holdsworth, Conservation Legacy Program Director Kassi Scheffer, Education Program Specialist Leslie Wittenburg, Education Program Specialist Clint Faas, Conservation Program Coordinator Courtney Brittain, Consultant Kayla Krueger, Education Program Contractor Elanor Dean, Education Program Contractor Toni Purnell, Education Program Contractor Amanda Crouch, Education Program Contractor Elisa Velador, Education Program Contractor Adrienne Paquette, Education Program Contractor COL(R) Chris Mitchell, Texas Youth Hunting Program Director Bryan Jones, TYHP Field Operations Coordinator Barbara Scheib, TYHP Administrative Assistant Kara Starr, Hunting Heritage Program Assistant
Advocacy Joey Park, Legislative Program Coordinator
MAGAZINE CORPS David Yeates, Executive Editor Kim Rothe, Consulting Publications Coordinator/Editor David Brimager, Advertising Director Lorie Woodward Cantu, Special Projects Editor Publication Printers Corp., Printing, Denver, CO
COLUMNISTS/CONTRIBUTORS Ralph Winingham Lorie Woodward Cantu Dale Rollins, Ph. D. Billy Higginbotham, Ph. D. Steve Nelle Henry Chappell Borderlands Research Institute for Natural Resource Management, Sul Ross State University-Alpine Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Stephen F. Austin State University-Nacogdoches Texas Wildlife is published monthly by Texas Wildlife Association, 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr., Suite 126, San Antonio, Texas 78247. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Wildlife Association, 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr., Suite 126, San Antonio, Texas 78247.
All the best to all of you,
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.
PROFESSIONAL STAFF/CONTRACT ASSOCIATES Administration & Operation David Yeates, Chief Executive Officer Quita Hill, Director of Finance and Operations Cheryl McPherson, Office Administrator
n a recent conversation on legislative matters with a Texas Wildlife Association Foundation (TWAF) trustee, he remarked, “If you aren’t at the table, then you’re on the menu.” This is certainly true at the Texas Capitol. I can tell you that the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) has been front and center this session, working on behalf of its mission and its members, as directed by the Executive Committee and its sub-committees. This group of advisors has a broad and deep expertise on the matters we tackle at the Capitol, and they make their policy decisions after very careful consideration. Our professional lobby staff of Joey Park, Mignon McGarry, Chelsy Hutchison and Corey Howell has been working long hours every day of the legislative session for you. Volunteer members, experts and I have been at the Capitol on a weekly basis speaking with legislators and staffers, testifying to committees on specific bills and working with partners on shared interests. TWA priorities this session have been eminent domain reform, protecting landowners’ interest in groundwater, captive deer breeding regulatory reform and funding for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Unanticipated issues always seem to crop up, among many others this session one came in the form of a proposed constitutional amendment establishing the right of Texans to hunt and fish. We dedicated this month’s Issues and Advocacy column to the topic. (Look for it on pages 14-15 of this magazine.) “If you aren’t at the table, then you’re on the menu.” That maxim applies to everything we do here at TWA. If we did not operate the Texas Youth Hunting Program, taking nearly 2,000 youths hunting each year, then that is fewer introductions to the our hunting heritage and the conservation efforts that it funds. Without constant recruitment of new hunters, the soft erosion of the sport and its contribution to conservation continues. If we did not reach 500,000 students a year through our Conservation Legacy education programs, then that is fewer future leaders and voters with an understanding of and appreciation for the natural world out there that we all benefit from. That disconnection continues to increase the risks facing a healthy landscape and ecosystem across Texas. The stakes are high and the world is run by those who show up. So let us all grab a chair at the Natural Resource Table. We certainly do not want the wild places and wild things of Texas to be on the proverbial menu. Volunteer, research issues, spread the gospel, get involved. We have constant and unending needs for volunteer and financial support. The more resources TWA has, the more we can grow our programs. Thank you for your being a member of TWA and for everything you do for Texas.
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
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, landowners and hunters in educational, scientific, political, regulatory and legislative 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 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 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 agencies are coincidental, and do not indicate mutual affiliation, unless clearly noted. Members who move should send new address and current membership classification to headquarters. TWA reserves the right to refuse advertising.
For advertising information, contact David Brimager at (800) 839-9453 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr., Suite 126, San Antonio, TX 78247 or e-mail email@example.com.
Volume 31 H Number 1 H 2015
TYHP: Just wanted to say thank you again for your help last week. My son and I had an amazing time together on this hunt. The location and scenery were incredible. The volunteers were wonderful and the food was great too! One of the Junior Huntmasters, Garret, was especially helpful, patient and an excellent teacher. My son was able to harvest a nice whitetail doe at the very last minute on the Sunday morning hunt, and Garret patiently stayed behind with us showing us how to and helping us clean the deer long after the other campers had already left. We really appreciated him and all of his work and patience with us. I'm really grateful for the opportunities the TYHP program has provided us. I love the outdoors and spend a good deal of time outdoors, but I did not grow up hunting and the TYHP has allowed me to take both of my sons hunting this year, an opportunity we would not have otherwise had. Thanks again for your help and for the great program! John Lewis
8 The Collared Peccary by todd steele
14 The Right to Hunt and Fish by David Yeates
16 TYHP Bowhunting Next-Level Excitement
by bob barnette
20 Lesson from Leopold by Steve nelle
22 The Stewardship of Lee Hoffpauir by Lorie woodward cantu
26 The James Green Wildlife & Conservation Initiative by leslie wittenburg
30 Shooters Can Take a Step in the Light Direction by ralph winingham
32 Are More Fish Always Better? by Billy Higginbotham
36 Movements of Pronghorns
Translocated to the Trans-Pecos
by Taylor Garrison, Ryan Oâ€™Shaughnessy, Louis Harveson, and Shawn Gray
38 Water Reuse: Panacea or Problem in the Making? by Henry ChappelL
40 Behind the Gates of the East Foundation
by Lorie woodward cantu
50 Wildlife 2015: Auction Success MAGAZINE OF THE TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION
On the Cover Photo by Russell Graves
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
Javelinas are highly specialized animals on the Texas landscape. Many private landowners are now realizing that these animals are an integral part of their landâ€™s ecosystems with value as a big game animal; a very unique animal living in balance with other animals. More on page 8. The Collared Peccary
MEETingS AnD EvEnTS
FOR INFORMATION ON HUNTING SEASONS, call the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (800) 792-1112, consult the 2014-2015 Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual, or visit the TPWD website at www.tpwd.state.tx.us.
MAY 3-5 QuailMasters, Session 2, Cotulla. For more information, contact Clint Faas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JULY 9-12 TWA Annual Convention, WildLife 2015, J.W. Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa, San Antonio. For more information, visit the TWA website at www.texas-wildlife.org, or call the TWA office at (800) 839-9453.
MAY 16 Texas Big Game Awards Sportsman’s Celebration, Regions 5, 6 & 7, Pitser Garrison Convention Center, Lufkin. For more information, contact David Brimager at (800) 839-9453 or email@example.com. MAY 29 Addressing Conflict with Deer in Our Communities Workshop, LBJ Student Center Ballroom, Texas State University, San Marcos. To register, visit www.bit.ly/urbandeer. Or, for more information, contact David Brimager at (800) 839-9453.
JunE JUNE 7-9 QuailMasters, Session 3, June 7-9, Session 3, Location TBD. For more information, contact Clint Faas at firstname.lastname@example.org. JUNE 20 Texas Big Game Awards Sportsman’s Celebration, Regions 4 and 8, SSGT. Willie De Leon Civic Center, Uvalde. For more information, contact David Brimager at (800) 839-9453 or email@example.com. JUNE 27 Texas Big Game Awards Sportsman’s Celebration, Regions 1, 2 and 3, McNease Convention Center, San Angelo. For more information, contact David Brimager at (800) 839-9453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JULY 10 Texas Big Game Awards Statewide Banquet, during the TWA Convention, WildLife 2015, J.W. Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa, San Antonio. For more information, contact David Brimager at email@example.com.
AuguST AUGUST 9-11 QuailMasters, Session 4, Hebbronville. For more information, contact Clint Faas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Texas Wildlife Association and Texas AgriLife Extension Service sponsor lunch-based webinars one Thursday of each month. If you are not able to attend the live webinar, each presentation is archived on the TWA website.
WEBINARS FROM NOON–1 P.M.
May 21 – Wetland Management by Bart Ballard, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
SEPTEMBEr SEPTEMBER 16-18 Statewide Quail Symposium, MCM Elegante, Abilene. For more information, contact email@example.com.
OCTOBEr OCTOBER 1-2 Empowing Women in Agriculture Seminar, Fredericksburg. For more information, contact Dr. Larry Redmon at Larry.Redmon@agnet.tamu.edu.
TEXAS BrigADE 2015 CAMP DATES Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade – June 13-17 South Texas Buckskin Brigade – June 14-18 South Texas Bobwhite Brigade – June 26-20 Bass Brigade – July 7-11 Ranch Brigade – July 14-18 North Texas Buckskin Brigade – July 19-23 Waterfowl Brigade – July 19-23
Just point your browser to forestrywebinars. net on the day of the webinar and click on the ”Wildlife for Lunch” in the “Upcoming Webinars” section. All you need is a modern computer with a quality Internet connection and a bag of lunch. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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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Photo by Todd Steele Pig-like in appearance, the javelina (collared peccary) differs greatly from the feral pig and comes from a separate family classification of the New World group called peccaries (Tayassuidae).
the collared peccary Article by todd steele
he name collared peccary originated from the indigenous Tupi Indians of Brazil meaning â€œan animal which makes many paths through the woods.â€? The collared peccary is commonly known as the javelina. Although pig-like in form, the collared peccary (javelina) with an elongated triangular head and rounded pink snout are peccaries, a separate family Tayassuidae; pigs belong to the family Suidae. Peccaries are of the New World group (Americas). Pigs are of the Old World group (Afro-Eurasia) brought to us 500 years ago courtesy of our early explorers and settlers. While they share some similar characteristics, the
ancestoral lineage of javelinas and domestic pigs parted ways about 30-40 million years ago. How They Differ from Swine Javelinas differ from Old World pigs in many ways; most notably, they do not have visible tails like pigs, and they have smaller ears and straight canines or tusks. Pigs have curved tusks. Javelinas birth only a couple of young at a time, unlike pigs which can have over a dozen piglets. Correspondingly, female javelinas have less mammary glands than pigs. Although not readily visible, but
Recent Migrants to North America There are four species of peccaries in the Americas: the collared peccary, the white-lipped peccary, the Chaccoan peccary and the giant peccary recently discovered in the southeastern Amazon Region in 1972. Today, javelinas are found throughout Mexico, Central America, in South America as far south as Argentina and in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In Texas, they inhabit the dense areas of scrub oak, prickly pear cacti, and guajillo acacia in the South Texas brush country, Edwards Plateau, Trans-Pecos, a few counties in northern Cross Timbers Region and along the coast as far east as Calhoun county. According to the 2008 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) document, “The Javelina in Texas,” there were an estimated 100,000 javelinas in Texas, occupying an estimated 62 million acres. Current estimates on javelinas, per Mitch Lockwood, Big Game Program Leader for TPWD, are hard to come by at the present time. Former aerial surveys by planes for whitetail deer included javelina, but now random selective spotlight lines are used to conduct whitetail surveys. These surveys are not very effective for javelinas, in part because of their dense brush inhabitation. “New surveying methods will have to be developed in order to have accurate population counts on javelinas,” said Mitch. “Perhaps new technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) will be employed in the future.” Survival Adaptation Javelinas have a poor sense of hearing and even weaker eyesight, but they more than make up for those deficiencies with their highly developed olfactory system. Unique to the javelina is its scent gland emitting a very strong skunklike odor. Often you will smell a javelina before you see one. The scent is used to mark their herd or band territories, to identify herd members, as a means of enabling young to identify their mother, as a warning signal device to notify other herd members of danger
and for trail marking. Members of the herd will stand head to rump and rub necks on other herd member’s scent gland. Javelinas are highly territorial, different scents between herds are a primary way of identifying intruders. Communication is also done with a variety of vocalizations including barking, growling and defensive loud pops with its jaws sounding like two large bones hitting each other at a rate of four times per second. They are opportunistic omnivores, but animal matter represents only a small part of their diet. Important food sources include lechuguilla (representing at times 50 percent of their diet in the Trans-Pecos Region), sotol, several other species of cacti, grasses, vines, mesquite beans, acorns, green forbs and other succulent vegetation. Prickly pear cactus in South Texas makes up half of its diet, along with supplying almost all of their water requirements by an adult eating approximately three ponds per day. Another water adaptation that helps javelina survive in arid regions is their specialized kidneys; urine is concentrated to help conserve water. As well as being opportunistic eaters, they are opportunistic bearers. Javelinas are the only wild ungulate (hooved animal) in the western hemisphere with a year-long breeding season. This long breeding season gives them the ability to have two litters of young (reds) per year. Javelinas have the greatest reproductive potential of any North American big game animal. Because of their ability to give birth the entire year, reds born and lost in poor habitat conditions can be quickly replaced with improved range conditions. Peak breeding is from January to March with peak birthing occurring from June into August. Herd numbers range from approximately five to 30 animals. Herd territorial ranges vary in size from 250 acres to 650 acres Photo by Todd Steele
certainly “aromatic,” javelinas have scent glands located on the mid-dorsal lumbar area; pigs have none. Internally, javelinas have specialized kidneys, compartmented stomachs and gall bladders. Pigs have normal kidneys, single stomachs and they lack gall bladders. Tracks can be identified by looking at the dewclaws on the back feet…the pig has two dewclaws that will leave an impression, and the javelina has a fused single dewclaw that does not leave a mark. (See sidebar for additional differences.)
Although poor in eyesight, javelinas have exceptional smelling senses that help them locate food sources, establish herd territories and identify herd members through their scent glands.
THE COLLARED PECCARY
and are directly linked to favorable brush density; the thicker the brush, the smaller the home range. Javelinas are dependent on thick brush to escape summer heat. Favored brush thickets include whitebrush, bee brush, blackbrush, acacia and cedar brakes. liMiTiNG PoPulATioN FACToRs ANd MANAGeMeNT
It is estimated that 10,000 javelinas are harvested a year with 62 percent being taken in South Texas according to a 2008 TPWD report. Javelinas offer excellent specialized type hunts, such as archery, handgun, muzzle loading and youth hunting.
Photo by Todd Steele
Two events resulted in the decline of javelinas in Texas. The first occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s with javelinas being commercially hunted for their hides which were turned into gloves, bags and shoes. Their hair bristles were used for brushes. Dogs and traps were the primary ways that javelinas were hunted at the turn of the century. The second decline occurred in the 1990s; it was related to both drought and brush clearing for whitetail deer management. Biologists believe that brush clearing and lack of contiguous habitat, especially along water drainage corridors, is the single largest factor limiting javelina expansion in Texas. Additionally, excessive hunting pressure (60-80 percent harvest rate) can impact javelina populations as can localized heavy predation by cougars (ie mountain lions). Coyotes and bobcats also prey on javelinas, especially the young. Black bears in the Big Bend region of Texas can prey on javelinas,
Prickly pear cactus in South Texas makes up half of the javelina diet; it supplies almost all water requirements of an adult javelina that eats approximately 3 pounds per day.
as well. Recently, feral hog expansion into javelina territory has been recognized as another threat. The Chaparral Wildlife Management Area in the South Texas brush country noted feral hogs appear to now be competing with javelinas for food, water and space. Although no studies have been conducted where javelinas and feral pigs exist together, field reports indicate that pigs may be pushing javelinas into less optimum habitat. Thirty javelinas were stocked on two ranches in 1959 in Archer County of the Cross Timbers Region. Today, huntable populations and open seasons exist in six counties in the area. “In 2003, a herd of 38 javelinas were captured and ‘soft released’ at the Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area,” said manager Mark Mitchell with TP&W. “A soft release is where we hold the herd in a large enclosure to acclimate the animals to their new home, as opposed
Photo by Todd Steele
Photo by Russell Graves
THE COLLARED PECCARY
Photo courtesy of TBGA
Javelinas have specialized kidneys that concentrate urine for conserving water.
Keith Cash harvested this javelina in La Salle County in 2014 and entered it in the First Harvest category of the Region 8 Texas Big Game Awards.
to a hard release where they are released immediately into the environment.” Additional releases of javelinas occurred over a number of years using various release methods. Today, a huntable population exists at the Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area and the first javelina youth hunt was conducted last season. TPWD initiated the Managed Lands Javelina Permit Program in 1970. The program, written and managed by South Texas biologist Randy Fugate, was started to assist landowners with javelina habitat enhancement and to allow flexible seasons and increased harvest opportunities. Javelina brood stock may be considered for a landowner wishing to stock them on their land, but first there must be suitable javelina habitat on acreage ranging from 5,000 acres to 10,000 acres. A pledge is required from the landowner(s) to protect the brood stock over a period of time and a public hearing is held to insure public acceptance of javelina prior to release. (To learn more about the program, visit tpwd.texas.gov/publications/ pwdforms/media/pwd_1047b_w7000_managed_lands_javelina_ permits.pdf.) Unfortunately javelinas are not always welcome. There are increasing conflicts between urbanites going “country” and javelina. Build a house next to javelina habitat, and there is a good chance you will have unwelcome guests if you leave out pet food and trash,
Photo by Todd Steele
THE COLLARED PECCARY
grow a garden, plant tubular flowers and fruit trees. Javelinas seek out caves to both escape heat and to give birth, so a house with some crawl space underneath can be an attractive alternative. Conflicts can be minimized, if not completely eliminated, by bringing in pet food and other food sources, installing a single strand of low wattage electric line that is 8-10 inches above the ground or by planting vegetation that is javelina resistant. (For more information on javelina-resistant plants, visit www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/w_c/urban/ JavelinaResistantPlants.pdf.) dANGeRous deNTuRes? Rarely, if ever, are they a threat to man. The name javelina, in Spanish jabalina (spear), was coined from its spear-like upper canines, teeth that appear quite formidable. It is very unusual in the animal kingdom for an animal that is mostly a vegetarian to have such impressively long and self-sharpening canine teeth. The canines serve little purpose in eating, used principally for defense and threat postures. Javelinas will use their long canines to protect themselves against dogs. With a javelinaâ€™s poor eyesight dogs are probably viewed as coyotes, a natural predator, and more than one dog has been attacked and injured in defense of the herd or young. It is best not to allow dogs to roam freely in javelina country. HAs ANYoNe eveR eATeN JAveliNA ANd lived To Tell ABouT iT? Believe it or not, they are good to eat, maybe not venison-backstrap good, but tasty none-the-less. Ideally, you pick out a young javelina to shoot. A quick kill to the head is ideal to prevent the javelina from spreading its defensive scent gland. The animal should be quickly skinned and cooled with special attention made to the field dress, cutting around the scent gland (up to 3-inches in size) near the base of the tail. Next, bathe the meat in a good marinade. Use the meat in stews, chilies, sausage and other dishes that maintain moisture in the meat. In one document from TPWD, they even suggest substituting javelina meat for chicken in the popular King Ranch Chicken dish.
Unique to the javelina is its straight and sharp canine teeth. The canines serve little purpose in eating, used principally for defense and threat postures.
HOW PECCARIES (JAVELINAS) DIFFER FROM PIGS JAVELINA
Scent gland on the mid-dorsal lumbar area above tail
No scent gland
Tail not visible
Visible, long and hairy
Ears smaller and less visible
Ears longer and generally upright
Birth 1-2 young
Birth 6-15 young
Four mammary glands for feeding young
6-18 mammary glands (species dependent)
Straight upper and lower canine teeth
Curved upper and lower canine teeth
No sweat glands
Sweat glands present
Specialized kidney for conserving water
Males and females generally co-exist in herds
Males generally are solitary except for mating
Gall bladder present
No gall bladder
Complex stomach with 3 compartments
Foot bones fused together
Foot bones not fused together
Fused dewclaw, 3 toes on hind feet
2 dewclaws, 4 toes on hind feet
THE COLLARED PECCARY
The javelina was given game status in Texas with seasons and bag limits in 1939. Currently, there are open seasons in 93 of 254 counties in Texas with a two-bag limit per year. It is estimated that 10,000 javelinas are harvested a year with 62 percent being taken in South Texas according to a 2008 TPWD report. Javelinas offer excellent specialized type hunts, such as archery, handgun, muzzle loading and youth hunting. Of the 93 counties with open seasons on javelinas, 50 counties have an open season year round. Javelina hunts in Texas range in cost from $500 to $2,000 depending on amenities. According to Texas Wildlife Association Director of Marketing David Brimager, the Texas Big Game Awards program (a joint venture between TPWD and TWA to promote awareness about wildlife management in Texas), has recognized the javelina since 2006. Brimager believes the enrollment of javelinas into the program has elevated their status as a big game animal in Texas and served as a database for harvested
Photo courtesy of TBGA
sTATus As A GAMe ANiMAl iN TeXAs
David Rios’ javelina, harvested in La Salle County, scored 14 8/16 and is entered in the scored category of the upcoming Region 8 Texas Big Game Awards.
trophies. Currently, javelinas must have a minimum skull score of 13 4/16 inches (upper skull length added to width) in order to be entered into the TBGA program. There have been 184 javelinas entered in the TBGA since its inception with the two largest skulls entered to date scoring 14 9/16 inches, harvested in Pecos and Terrell Counties.
Javelinas are highly specialized animals of the Texas landscape. Many landowners are now realizing that they are an integral part of their land’s ecosystems with value as a big game animal – a very unique animal living in balance with other animals. The javelina is just not another destructive pig in Texas… not even close.
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i ss u es a n d A d v ocacy
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The Right to Hunt and Fish Article by David Yeates
his Legislative Session has covered many issues important to the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), from groundwater to eminent domain to state agency funding. One unique issue this session has been the filing of bills to propose a State Constitutional Amendment establishing the right of Texans to hunt and fish (Sen. Creighton filed SJR 22 and Rep. Ashby filed HJR 61). At the time of this writing, both bills have been heard in subcommittees and voted to the floors of each chamber for full votes.
Proposed constitutional amendments must pass each chamber by a two-thirds vote and then proceed to the ballot for a public vote in November 2015. The amendment itself reads â€œThe people have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing.â€? The bill language goes on to address concerns with regulatory challenges, property rights and trespassing.
The intent of this effort is to preserve the privileges we enjoy now, with an eye to the uncertain demographic future on the horizon in Texas. On its face, this strikes us a good idea. The progression from a privilege to a right should not be taken lightly however. Section 1.011 of Texas Parks and Wildlife Code clearly and explicitly states that the wild animals, birds, and fish inside the borders of the state are the property of the people of this state. This is commonly known as the Public Trust Doctrine, a concept dating back
THE rigHT TO HunT AnD FiSH
As one of the largest outdoor associations in Texas, whose very mission statement includes protecting the hunting heritage of Texas, we support an effort to enshrine hunting and fishing in the State Constitution. to ancient Rome that has been reaffirmed in the United States by two separate turnof-the-century Supreme Court cases. The Public Trust Doctrine simply states that fish and game are held in trust by government for the benefit of all citizens. It is the cornerstone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and was critical in curbing the market hunting that decimated bison, drove passenger pigeons to extinction, and nearly extirpated whitetail deer from Texas. The fact that the fish and game of Texas belong to all Texans is the predicate for a right to hunt and fish, providing a legal basis for the right to be established. As one of the largest outdoor associations in Texas, whose very mission statement includes protecting the hunting heritage of Texas, we support an effort to enshrine hunting and fishing in the State Constitution. The rich sporting heritage of Texas has a deep cultural impact on our state. But the benefits of hunting and fishing go much further and reach every person who calls Texas home. Not only does the outdoor industry drive employment (65,000 jobs), state and local tax revenues ($415 million annually), investment and consumption ($4.1 billion annually), and the vast preponderance of conservation efforts (both public and private), it also
has a subtle but critical impact on the rural landscape of Texas. By protecting the industry, we protect the value of fish and wildlife to hunters and anglers. Therefore, we protect the financial incentive to landowners to provide and manage quality habitat. Quality habitat means a prevalence of not only game species but non-game species as well, including endangered species. Quality habitat results in the open spaces that act as air and water filters for our entire state. The same applies to inland and coastal fisheries; quality habitat means a healthy ecosystem and therefore a more healthy human population. The societal benefits are irrefutable and immeasurable. Aside from ranching, no other enterprise in Texas has a substantial effect on maintaining open space and quality habitat. It is important for these benefits to be communicated to the public. Hunters and anglers represent about 15 percent of the state population, based on license sales. Therefore, we cannot take success of this initiative for granted. There will almost certainly be wellfunded opposition by national organizations that seek to curb hunting in the name of â€œanimal rightsâ€? or gun control. We must not let them prevail in court of public opinion. It is easy to assume that voters of Texas will do the right thing, but they must be educated on
ISSUES AND ADVOCACY
what that is. It is the job of every hunter and angler to be informed and to help spread the facts to friends, neighbors, and anyone else who will listen. Voter turnout will drive the success of this important initiative, so we must all do everything we can to see this across the finish line in November. Make sure to register to vote; and, then, exercise that right. It is our duty and responsibility as stewards of the great state of Texas.
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H u n t i n g H e r i ta g e
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
TYHP Bowhunting: Next-Level Excitement Article and photos by Bob Barnette
Mid-day practice session at camp: Drake, Jacob, Gable and Ben take aim.
crisp November morning on a remote West Texas ranch...a hunter, his dad and I were in a pop-up blind watching bucks, does and fawns drifting in from all directions. We were close enough to almost hear a deer blink. The youth hunter sat frozen, captivated by the scene unfolding in front of him. Drakeâ€™s left hand gripped the compound bow; his right hand was ready to draw it. An arrow was nocked and ready, its broadhead tip gently dancing, reflecting a bit of excited trembling. We just needed the right deer within the right distance and positioned at the right angle for an ethical shot. Corn crunched
as the deer fed. Drake patiently waited; I whispered occasional guidance. Deer slowly meandered around the clearing; some edged beyond the feeder, out of shooting range. Soon they were gone. What began as a very promising situation suddenly lost all possibilities. Eleven deer came to the feeder area, and all left undisturbed. When it became clear there would be no shot opportunity, I worried how 13-year-old Drake would react. This was his first bowhunt for deer. Would he be discouraged? Would he be ready to go back to his rifle and forego the bow? Drake turned
to his father and me with a huge grin and said, “That was the most exciting experience I’ve ever had!” I smiled and replied, “Drake – welcome to bowhunting!” He was hooked – mission accomplished! Later that morning, the other three hunters, guides and dads met us at camp to trade “what-did-y’allsee?” stories. Everyone saw deer, and a couple got as far as drawing bows, but no arrows were released. The kids enjoyed being so close to game animals, and after all the preparation before the hunt, they now had first-hand appreciation of bowhunting’s challenges. Drake and his father Stefan, ready to hunt. TYHP strengthens family relationships with opportunities for Disappointed? No way. They quality time afield. were pumped! I reminded them that bowhunting can be exciting, exhilarating and exasperating as often things go a youth hunt – hunters, guides and landowner – should all wrong. But when things go right, it’s the coolest thing ever. They be carefully chosen and properly prepared. Thoughts for each really understood now! element on this hunt included: This was a Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) hunt, but it Hunters: Considering the difficulty of bowhunting, we was a little different than most, because it was an archery-only felt extra training in hunting and shooting skills would be hunt. I was the Lead Huntmaster, and my friend Andy Sobotka appropriate to maximize chances of a harvest. Thus, additional was Assistant Huntmaster. We are passionate bowhunters and guidelines for this hunt, beyond normal TYHP requirements, outdoor enthusiasts who love introducing youths to shooting included completion of the International Bowhunter Education sports and hunting. We are working with TYHP to increase Program (IBEP) certification and pre-hunt training sessions youth bowhunting opportunities. which include shooting a compound bow with broadheadBowhunters know their sport is demanding and requires tipped arrows in simulated hunting situations. much planning, practice and discipline. Not to mention -- it’s Guides: Guiding on a youth bowhunt may require a really fun! Bowhunting is increasing in popularity, including combination of coach, cheerleader and psychologist in the among youths. And, considering TYHP’s core purposes include course of an eventful weekend. I chose highly experienced education, it follows that offering more bowhunts creates more bowhunters with exceptional passion for mentoring youth opportunity and motivation for youth hunters to learn about hunters and ensuring a great experience. planning, practice and discipline. When TYHP Executive Landowner: Assistance from landowner Rene Mouton was Director Chris Mitchell called me with news of a landowner vital. Andy and I spent a full afternoon with Rene weeks before who wanted to host a youth archery hunt, I jumped at the the hunt, scouting the ranch, discussing animal movement chance to lead it. patterns and scoping out blind setups that would maximize Successful bowhunting presents many challenges – you must chances of a shot within 20 yards. Rene allowed us access the be proficient with your gear, stealthily mitigate the senses of weekend before the hunt to set up our blinds. your quarry to get within ethical shooting distance, draw your Back to our story…Action accelerated Saturday afternoon, as bow without detection and then make an accurate shot at the two of our hunters harvested deer! My hunter, Drake, arrowed right moment. And, if you connect there may be additional a nice doe at 17 yards after a lengthy wait for her to approach challenges in trailing and recovering your animal. It can be a within ethical shooting range. Drake was astonished as the tall order for any hunter, and especially a young one with little deer dropped in its tracks. Ben, a 14-year-old who I guided on experience. But, the fact that bowhunting can be so difficult a TYHP rifle hunt in 2013, took a spike buck with a 25-yard is also what makes it so appealing – even to kids. In short, heart shot. He immediately vowed to sell his rifle and bowhunt bowhunting is cool! forever! Ben’s guide was my son Connor, so I had multiple In developing strategies for this TYHP bowhunt, our key reasons to be proud for Ben’s group. We had a fun deer-skinning theme was “Set Up the Kids for Success.” The triumvirate of session after dinner that night.
youths who like hunting will eat it up. And, that will ensure new blood into the bowhunting community. After all, youths are the future for hunting and the outdoors.” We learned a lot on this hunt and hope to make the sequel even better. Careful planning and preparation by Landowner Rene Mouton (left) joined the youth hunters and Huntmasters for a team photo. Thanks to Mouton and great all participants in a volunteers, these youths were “set up for success!” TYHP archery hunt ensures they are “Set By Sunday morning, the weather had learned! We experienced the highs and Up For Success,” providing an outstanding turned warm and very windy, and deer lows of bowhunting that weekend. experience that not only fits the TYHP activity slowed. One of our other hunters, Post-hunt evaluations revealed that the mission of providing opportunities for Gable, saw lots of action including kids, the volunteers and the landowner youths to hunt but rewards hard work three arrows released, one of which considered the hunt a great success. and preparation with the next level connected on a doe. However, after an Mouton immediately invited us to of excitement! Look for more TYHP exhaustive trailing and grid-search effort, return in 2015. Offer accepted! Rene’s bowhunting opportunities in the future we concluded it had been a non-lethal take on TYHP Bowhunting: “With the as we build the program. wound. Hard luck and valuable lessons opportunity to experience bowhunting,
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Leopold A delightful Avocation
BY STEVE NELLE
Photo courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. www.aldoleopold.org.
"What more delightful avocation than to take a piece of land and, by cautious experimentation, to prove how it works? What more substantial service to conservation than to practice it on one's own land?"
his brief passage is from an article written in 1932. In this article, Leopold describes some ways in which a 100 acre tract in the Midwest with one or two coveys of quail can be manipulated to produce perhaps six coveys. The article was submitted to a popular hunting magazine, the Sportsman, but was rejected by the editor as irrelevant. In those days, when a piece of land was lacking game, the normal remedy was restocking, not habitat management. Raising quail in pens for subsequent release and shooting was popular and common, but Leopold regarded this method as “chickenwire slums,” much inferior to raising wild quail in natural habitat. In the article, Leopold describes the landowner as a “botanical and zoological engineer,” who “lubricates the engine we call Nature” rather than resorting to artificial methods of propagation. By using the skills of observation, common sense and logic, combined with hard work, the land engineer can replicate with his management, the ideal mix and arrangement of quail habitat elements (grass, weeds and brush) across the entire property. Dale Rollins says the same thing in a different way: “Visualize the honey holes for quail on your ranch – those places where you can always go and find quail; note what is unique or special about those areas, and then go to work to ‘cut and paste’ those features across the entire ranch with your management.” There are infinite
combinations and variations of how best to use the basic tools of axe, plow, cow, fire and gun. Many of the best combinations have perhaps yet to be discovered. Leopold was advocating that each piece of land, to some extent is an experiment station, with the landowner trying various techniques to “lubricate nature” in an attempt to increase the variety and/ or productivity of plants and animals according to his goals and objectives. This requires the willingness and creativity to experiment with different unproven methods and practices. Most landowners are naturally curious and eager to try new things on a small scale. Without having to invest a lot of time or resources, landowners often discover a new twist to an old practice or they may invent an entirely novel idea. Nearly any farm or ranch has a small area where new things can be tried and evaluated. There is a little bit of mad scientist blood in most landowners as they seek better and better solutions. Many of the best techniques and methods used today had their beginning on some obscure corner of land on the backside of a field or pasture. Wildlife biologists have a confession to make. Most of us do not own any land and most of us do not directly carry out land management. The ideas that we pass along to others are mostly those things we have learned from landowners. When we observe something done on a ranch that works, we remember it and pass along that
idea to others. When we see something that did not work, we remember that also. Although we may have technical training in ecology and wildlife science, most of our “expertise” comes after our schooling, observing what works in the real world. When we recommend something that we think will be beneficial, most of the time, it is something we have seen or heard about that worked well on another piece of property. In a sense, we are plagiarizing the good ideas of others and passing them along. Landowners are a generous group – they are usually happy to pass along the discoveries of their experimentation in hopes of helping someone else. The biologist or conservationist is, in most cases, simply the person who relays the information. The good news, in Texas, is that the avocation of private land wildlife management can also be very profitable. Hence, one’s vocation and avocation can be one in the same; this is especially true when wildlife management is closely linked to agriculture. The Texas Wildlife Association is the place where all of this comes together – the tradition and culture of hunting, sportsmanship, habitat management, land stewardship and agriculture; when done in a skillful, thoughtful way, all of these things are not only compatible but complimentary and synergistic. Landowner experimentation and the discovery of new methods of conservation and management are alive and well.
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.
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twa membe r s i n act i o n
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The Stewardship of Lee Hoffpauir Photo by David Smith
Article by Lorie Woodward Cantu
(Left-Right) TWA CEO David Yeates, TWA Director Lee Hoffpauir and TWA Director of Marketing David Brimager at WildLife 2014. Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstores sponsor about 700 new members annually. Over the past five years, TWA has increased its membership from 4,500 members to 6,000 members with the Hoffpauir program contributing significantly.
ee Hoffpauir is a steward. He takes care of his family, his business, his employees, his land and his non-profit partners like TWA. “We have a responsibility to take care of what is entrusted to us, whether that’s business, land or relationships,” Hoffpauir, who is the owner and president of the Hoffpauir Auto Group based in Lampasas, said. “Stewardship applies to more than just natural resources.” The Family Hoffpauir’s father, James, was a General Motors man. He worked for the automaker, moving his wife Glyn and daughter Sue around the country, until he purchased the Lampasas Chevrolet dealership in 1964, added other lines
through the years and put down roots. Lee was born in Lampasas in 1969. “With the exception of my time at Texas Tech, Lampasas has always been home,” Hoffpauir said. “I’ve got deep roots here. It’s just the right size—big enough to make a living, but small enough to know everybody.” He and his wife Kathleen continue to live in Lampasas with their 17-year-old son. Their older sons are in college: one at Texas Tech and one at Texas A&M. “It hurts to send those checks to A&M,” said Hoffpauir, who, although he didn’t complete his education at Texas Tech, is a dyed-in-the-wool Red Raider. “I loved college life a lot, but college classes, not so much,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot, but I already
knew what I wanted to do—I was just ready to get back home and do it.” Hoffpauir started working at the family’s dealerships during the summers when he was 10. According to Hoffpauir, his dad gave him “the nastiest, dirtiest jobs he could find” insisting he work his way up through every department. As a result, Hoffpauir majored in real world experience. By the time he was 21, he had earned an opportunity to manage a dealership and became a dealer by the time he was 26. The Business Through the years, the elder Hoffpauir built the family business to include a Ford dealership in Lampasas and GM dealership in Burnet.
TWA MEMBERS IN ACTION
As a small town boy, Hoffpauir understands the subtle nuances that make a big difference. For instance, he knows it’s bad form to cross city limit lines wearing a shirt emblazoned with the logo of a rival team. “I learned a lot by working with my dad,” Hoffpauir said. “He was a very good businessman.” Hoffpauir, who began working at the business full-time in 1990, purchased his father’s business interests before the elder Hoffpauir passed away in 2007. When health problems prompted his sister, Sue Hoffpauir Harton, to get out of the auto business in 2005, Hoffpauir purchased her and her husband’s interests in all of the family auto dealerships. A natural salesman and business builder, Hoffpauir continued to expand the company’s enterprises. He converted the Burnet property into Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore, which sells tractors, trailers and farm equipment. In 2006, he opened a second Outdoor Superstore in Goldthwaite. By 2013, it had earned the distinction of being the number one Polaris dealer in Texas and the world. “Goldthwaite isn’t a metropolis,” Hoffpauir said. “When we bought the Polaris dealership, it was one of the smallest in Texas, selling five to six units a month. Now, it averages about 100 units a month. Obviously, we’re reaching customers far beyond Goldthwaite.” Recently, the feed store and the western wear store in Lampasas, both long-time fixtures in the local business community, closed. Hoffpauir thought Lampasas needed feed and western wear, so he opened Hoffpauir Ranch and Supply, which is a Purina Premier Store. In 18 months, the retail space has already been doubled to meet demand. In February, he and Kathleen traveled to Hawaii compliments of the feed company giant, honoring him as one of the top growth Purina dealers in the country. “When I see a need in the community, I try to meet it,” Hoffpauir said. This philosophy not only applies to starting businesses, but to being a good corporate neighbor. His father made it a
priority to give back to the communities where he did business, and Lee continues the tradition today. He and Kathleen help wherever they can, but they have a particular interest in education and youth activities such as athletics and county livestock shows. “Fortunately, Kathleen and I are ‘people’ people,” Lee said. “We’re always attending something. We’re really good at fundraisers.” As a small town boy, Hoffpauir understands the subtle nuances that make a big difference. For instance, he knows it’s bad form to cross city limit lines wearing a shirt emblazoned with the logo of a rival team. His sons played sports for the Lampasas Badgers. The colors are blue and white. Keeping his myriad of enterprises running smoothly requires Hoffpauir to be “on call” raising the possibility he might have to leave a game to attend to business in a nearby town. “I’ve learned to wear plain blue shirts when I go support the Badgers,” Hoffpauir said, laughing. “Nobody pays attention if you wear a blue shirt in Burnet, Marble Falls or Goldthwaite, but they do notice a blue shirt with a Badgers logo.” Generosity is cyclical just like water recharge or oxygen production on the landscape. “Everything we give to the community comes back to us in customer support and relationships,” Hoffpauir said. “People know we are committed to their communities, their children, their quality of life, so, in turn, they are committed to doing business with us. As neighbors, we all help each other.” He applies the same philosophy to taking care of his employees, who number 150 at seven locations. As a result, he has professional relationships that stretch across decades. One of Hoffpauir’s employees began working at the Lampasas
dealership one month after his father opened the business. He is now in his eighties and semi-retired, but has been an integral part of the business for 51 years. “Our employees are part of the same cycle of giving,” Hoffpauir said. “We give our best to them; they in turn give their best to us by giving their best to our customers.” The Land Hoffpauir was introduced to the outdoors about the same time he started kindergarten. There is a 12 year age difference between Hoffpauir and his sister, Sue. His outdoor mentor was Hal Harton, the man who became his brother-in-law. “My dad was a great dad, but he wasn’t an outdoorsman or a hunter,” Hoffpauir said. “Everything I learned about fishing and hunting came from my brother-inlaw.” Together, they hunted white-tailed deer, dove and varmints including coons. Coon hunting funded the activities of Hoffpauir’s youth. In those days, a teen could earn $200 – $300 per weekend by harvesting and selling coon hides. “It was possible to hunt coons on Friday so you could take your girlfriend out on Saturday,” Hoffpauir said. “If you had a really good girlfriend, she’d go hunting with you and you could hunt both nights. Having fun and making money, it doesn’t get much better than that.” His love of hunting reinforced his work ethic. “From the very beginning, my love of hunting got me out of bed and into work,” Hoffpauir said. “I always wanted to own ranches.” Hoffpauir has achieved his land ownership dream. He owns four ranches in Central Texas and one 80,000-acre property in New Mexico. He manages the land for cattle and wildlife. The scale and relative isolation of the New Mexico ranch keeps his respect for Mother Nature healthy. “Out there, you can’t be in la-la land,” Hoffpauir said. “You have to pay attention because the landscape can be unforgiving of even simple mistakes.” He recalled an instance where he was out on a four-wheeler and a snowstorm
TWA MEMBERS IN ACTION
blew in unexpectedly obliterating all the landmarks and making returning to headquarters a challenge that could have turned deadly. Regardless of the land’s size or location, Hoffpauir believes responsibility comes along with the deed. “As landowners, I believe we have a responsibility to leave the land in better shape than we found it,” Hoffpauir said. He starts with like fences and moves on to land management activities like brush clearing and habitat improvement, all with the goal of helping optimize natural systems. The reward of land ownership is the peace of mind that comes whether he’s driving a tractor baling hay or sitting in a deer blind. “Sometimes, even when it’s not deer season, I’ll just go sit in a blind and watch nature play out before me,” Hoffpauir said. “I can shut out the ‘noise’ of modern life and reconnect with what is really important. Nobody can take that away from me.”
The TWA Partnership Hoffpauir joined TWA because his nephew, who was participating in a membership drive contest, asked him. “I didn’t know anything about the organization,” Hoffpauir said. “I joined to help my nephew out.” Then, he started reading Texas Wildlife and liked what he learned about the organization’s efforts in youth hunting and landowner advocacy. Next, a friend encouraged Hoffpauir to attend the annual convention. He did and what he learned there prompted him to become an advertiser in Texas Wildlife. When the ad rates gave him pause, he mentioned his concern to several friends who were TWA directors. They invited him to address the Executive Committee. He accepted the invitation. Before the meeting was over, Hoffpauir had struck a deal. Hoffpauir would provide a TWA membership to every customer who purchased a Polaris ATV from a Hoffpauir Outdoor Supertore.
“It’s the best relationship with any organization I’ve ever had,” Hoffpauir said. He estimates Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstores sponsor about 1,000 new members annually. The retention rate averages about 45 percent. Over the past five years, TWA has increased its membership from 4,500 members to 6,000 members with the Hoffpauir program contributing significantly. “It’s all about the circle of giving,” Hoffpauir said. “Everything we contribute to TWA and its members comes back to us. We’re all better together.” Hoffpauir now serves on TWA’s Board of Directors where he introduces people to the organization every chance he gets. “I’m proud to be part of TWA because its mission is important for landowners and for Texas,” Hoffpauir said. “As I tell people, I’m 100 percent in support of 99 percent of what TWA does.”
TWA Life Member & Early Renewal Incentives for 2015
Life Member Incentives: Upgrade or join TWA as a LIFE Member by July 9, 2015, and be entered to win:
ARGENTINA DOVE HUNT donated by Custom Sporting/David Bodai
Three Day / Two Night Dove Hunt for one hunter & one non-hunting guest, includes: • Three Days Ultra High Volume Dove Shooting • Six Professionally Guided Hunts • All Lodge Accommodations • All Gourmet Meals at Lodge • Open Bar at Lodge • All Field Fees • Cordoba Airport / Lodge Land Transfers • Transfers to and from Hunting Fields • US-Based Hunting / Travel Consultation TWA will provide $1,000 travel voucher donated by Director Stephen Hill ALL current and new Life Members will be entered into a drawing for a shotgun at the end of 2015. If you are already a Life Member or if you join/upgrade to a Life Member in 2015, you are eligible to win a shotgun donated by TWA at the end of 2015.
Early Renewal Incentive ALL members that renew with their first notice (sent 30 days before their renewal date) in 2015 are entered in a drawing for a TWA LIFE Membership. This drawing will take place on Dec. 31, 2015. Make sure you renew your membership early this year to qualify!
co n se r vat i o n l e g acy
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The James Green Wildlife & Conservation Initiative Article by Leslie Wittenburg Photos by Leslie Wittenburg and Amanda Crouch
Students explore the effects of moving water.
he James Green Wildlife & Conservation Initiative recognizes the importance of educating one of our most precious resources, young Texans! They have very generously provided funding for the students of the Dallas/Fort Worth area to experience a quality education program about Texas’ natural resources through the Learning Across New Dimensions in Science (L.A.N.D.S.) Outreach educational programs designed for grades K-8, as well as the L.A.N.D.S. Intensive Trinity River program designed for grades 4-7. These programs, free of charge, offer quality hands-on materials, TEKS aligned lessons and field study, have
become enormously popular. “Wildlife by Design” are classroom presentations offered by TWA contract educators free of charge. These TEKS aligned, interactive programs reached over 10,000 students in 2014. Currently, there are four programs offered. Skins & Skulls CSI – Animal Adaptations is a prepared discussion of the identification and specialized adaptations of native Texas wildlife using animal skulls and skins. Students investigate the skulls of these animals and use field guides to identify their “mystery skulls,” all while learning about their animal’s habitat, food sources and adaptations
for survival. Let’s Talk Turkey – A Bird is a Bird is an overview of Wild Turkey ecology and conservation success efforts. By investigating the seven elements that make a turkey a bird, students discover the unique adaptations of this historically symbolic bird. Activities include exploring turkey anatomy, handson investigations of real turkey biofacts and listening to the calls of the wild turkey. Investigating Life Cycles is an inquirybased program that allows students to investigate and compare life cycle models and record their observations. Students learn the characteristics that allow a plant or
animal to grow into a mature adult and how each stage affects its habitat and other plant and animal populations. Students learn the difference between complete and incomplete metamorphosis in insects, as well as exploring the varied life cycles and interdependence of other members of the animal and plant kingdoms. “Where Is Our Water?” is an interactive program that covers a variety of water units, from the water cycle and water usage, to pollution and infiltration into our aquifers. During the presentation, activities and investigations allow students to understand the impact that our use of water has on Texas aquifers, lakes, rivers, the land, humans and wildlife. The main message is conservation! All of these lessons and activities have a real impact on the student’s learning by encouraging students to use senses and investigative skills while exploring the materials and specimens that are brought to the classroom. Teachers continuously praise the materials used in the activities, many of them saying they do not have any resources like this to teach with, and the hands-on teaching approach increases the students learning. Often teachers try to book
presentations before testing to review and enhance the students learning, and many teachers feel their test scores have improved because of this resource available to them. Teacher program feedback includes: • Thank you for engaging our students and providing a concrete lesson that helps our students better understand the content.
• The opportunity for my students to have
exposure to Texas animals was wonderful. The inquiry nature of the program was conducive to student engagement.
• The modeling process, the Texas map of the
Aquifers. Great visual on use of water in a day! LOVED this program. Vocabulary emphasis is right on target.
The Initiative also supports Discovery Trunks which are available year-round to educators, regardless if their teachings are field-based or in the classroom. The trunks are full of Science TEKS-aligned, hands-on, curriculum-enhancing, natural resource materials and lessons, designed for grades K-8. Trunks are available in two-week reservation periods and are AVAILABLE AT NO COST! The current line-up includes: Bird is the Word, Butterflies Flutter By, BatsStory continued on page 28.
search Texas Wildlife Association
Students collect macro invertebrates for identification to determine the health of the water.
THE JAMES grEEn WilDliFE & COnSErvATiOn iniTiATivE
of a rainfall simulator and a stream trailer. Finally, students learned through a story teller about the travel and struggles of Major Ripley Arnold’s quest to settle there at that location where his statue resides on the Trinity River. Incorporating the historical aspect into the program has proven to be an invaluable tool that enables the students to make the connection of the importance of water conservation and land stewardship. Teacher program feedback includes: • Thank you for engaging our students and providing them with a meaningful day of learning. TWA educator Amanda Crouch helps students investigate common Texas wildlife mammals as part of the Skins and Skulls Wildlife by Design presentation.
A-Billion, Wildlife Investigations, More Than a Drop, Exploring Adaptations, and Let’s Talk Turkey. The James Green Wildlife & Conservation Initiative’s annual funding has also enabled the L.A.N.D.S. Intensive Trinity River program which was first developed in 2010, and piloted in two Dallas schools, to expand across the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The Trinity River program is currently serving 17 schools, approximately 1,527 students. This free, hands-on, TEKs aligned, field study program is designed specifically for students in grades 4-7 who live in the Trinity River Basin. It promotes sound land stewardship by providing students with an understanding of the impacts of land uses on water quality and watershed health. Teachers are provided with the Waters to the Sea multimedia program produced by Hamline University to use in their classroom to teach the basics of water quality and the components of a healthy aquatic ecosystem in all subject areas. Students then have the opportunity to travel to a location in the Trinity River Basin to perform chemical experiments, conduct analysis and record data to identify environmental and outside factors that impact the overall water quality of the watershed. Each year since 2011, the Trinity River program has become a resource for more and more schools to go outside and study the water quality of the Trinity River watershed. For this current school year of 2014-2015, the Trinity River program partnered with Imagination Fort Worth whose mission is to provide innovative free programs for Fort Worth ISD students that cultivate
creative and critical thinkers by integrating arts with core curriculum. Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), Imagination Fort Worth (IFW) and the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) were able do nine field investigation days on the banks of the Trinity River in downtown Fort Worth, at Panther Island Pavilion where students from six Fort Worth ISD schools participated in a field investigation day collecting and identifying macro invertebrates and testing the pH, dissolved oxygen and ammonia of a water sample from the Trinity River to determine the water quality. Students also participated in a hands-on demonstration
Students explore animal life cycles.
• Best day EVER! • I’ve never seen my students so engaged, excited and eager to learn.
Thank you to The James Green Wildlife & Conservation Initiative for supporting these programs that are facilitating natural resource literacy within the schools of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, creating tangible relationships between the outdoors and essential academic skills. Without this coalition, this mission of TWA would lack the high impact value.
THE JAMES grEEn WilDliFE & COnSErvATiOn iniTiATivE
TWA Welcomes New Education Contractor
y name is Adrienne Paquette, and I am the newest Education Contractor for the Texas Wildlife Association. I will be responsible for educating elementary and middle school students about the wonders of our native Texas wildlife and the importance of conserving our natural resources, by presenting our Wildlife by Design programs. My focus is the Harris County area, specifically the counties of Montgomery, Liberty and Waller, as well as the northern part of Harris. I am originally from Plano, Texas. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Texas A&M University in 2012; and, immediately afterwards, I began working on a Professional Master of Science in Environmental Management and Sustainability degree in a joint program between Saint Edward’s University in Austin and Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France. I graduated in December 2014, and I am excited to begin my professional career with TWA. I have a passion for teaching, and I enjoy the outdoors. I am fortunate that working as an education contractor for TWA will allow me to combine those two passions as I work to educate future generations about the importance of land stewardship and natural resource conservation. I look forward to learning more every day and sharing my knowledge about our beautiful state.
Rober t Dullnig Broker Associate 210 . 213 .970 0 DullnigRanches @gmail.com
5,660± Ac. Kinney/Val Verde Co. 4,666± Ac. Webb/Zapata Co. 4,590± Ac. Maverick County 4,168± Ac. Medina County 2,690± Ac. Kinney/Val Verde Co. 2,675± Ac. Hamilton/Comanche Co. 2,551± Ac.Val Verde County 1,900± Ac. Hamilton/Comanche Co. 1,852± Ac. Kinney County 1,780± Ac. Gillespie/Kimble Co. 1,547± Ac. Zavala County 1,385± Ac. Uvalde County 1,205± Ac. Kerr County 1,252± Ac. Bell County 1,100± Ac. Comanche County 1,086± Ac. Jim Wells County 1,055± Ac. Uvalde County 831± Ac. Blanco County 750± Ac. Hamilton/Comanche Co. 655± Ac. Hays County 550± Ac. Live Oak County 544± Ac. Frio County 530± Ac. Bandera County 500± Ac. Bandera County
500± Ac. Uvalde County 445± Ac. Atascosa County 431± Ac. Uvalde County 407± Ac. Brown County 400± Ac. Medina County 388± Ac. Uvalde County 378± Ac. Kimble County 357± Ac. Bandera County 300± Ac. Guadalupe Co. 220± Ac. Bexar County 188± Ac. Medina County 171± Ac. Atascosa County 170± Ac. Wilson County 139± Ac. Blanco County 100± Ac. Kendall County 90± Ac. Uvalde County 70± Ac. Kendall County 68± Ac. Guadalupe County 35± Ac. Uvalde-Real County 34± Ac. Uvalde County 28± Ac. Kerr County 17± Ac. Kerr County 14± Ac. Gillespie County
G u n s & Sh o o t i ng
Shooters Can Take a Step in the Light Direction Article and photos by Ralph Winingham
Target breaking performance does not suffer when using a 20 gauge like this Browning 325, with the benefit of less recoil and less muscle fatigue than most 12 gauge shotguns
he bruises and headaches are long gone, but the memory of some shoulder-shock trauma from shooting heavy 12-gauge loads last season could be a good reason for a little light thinking this summer. Seasoned hunters and shooting instructors commonly recommend sub-gauge shotguns for small-framed women or youngsters who might not be able to handle the heavy weight and occasional shoulderpopping recoil of a 12 gauge. This line of thinking is based on the fact that both beginning and veteran shooters will spend more time wingshooting or busting clay targets if the experience is a pleasurable one. If shooting hurts, it is not fun. And, if it is not fun, why do it? Going light, as in finding a lightweight, good fitting and well functioning sub-gauge to help increase shooting pleasure on both live birds and clay targets, just might be something for shooters of all skill levels to think about during the down time of spring and summer. “We are seeing a lot of buyers in their 40s and 50s who have more disposable income now and are looking for something with less recoil
and that is more lightweight,’’ said Johnny Dury, owner of Dury’s Gun Shop on Hot Wells in San Antonio. “It is a process about everybody goes through,’’ he said, adding that he and his salesmen often recommend dropping down to a 28 gauge, rather than a 20 gauge, for 12 gauge shooters moving into a new phase of shooting comfort. “We probably sell five 28 gauges for every 20 that goes out the door, but we do really push 28s,” he said, adding that improved shooting performance is common when an experienced hunter downsizes to a sub-gauge smoke pole. As Dury points out, the sub-gauge shotguns are generally lighter (a pound or two less in many cases), and that can make a difference when a hunter is toting his shotgun back and forth to downed birds in the field or carrying the firearm around a wide-spread clay course. One or two pounds may not seem like a lot, but when the shotgun has to be lifted into a shoulder 100 times or more during a shooting session, that lighter weight can be a big factor in helping reduce muscle strain.
Shooters interested in downsizing should be aware that simply dropping down from a 12 gauge to a 20 gauge shotgun may not solve that pesky recoil problem. Some 20s, depending upon the shot shell selection, pack just as much or more punch than some 12s. If a dove hunter has been pounding away at birds with a 7.5 pound 12 gauge shooting 1 1/8 ounce loads, the felt recoil may actually be lighter than the felt recoil from shooting one-ounce loads in a 6.5 pound or lighter 20 gauge. The number crunchers in the shooting community have offered up the theory that any significant amount of recoil more than about 20 foot pounds can result in a serious flinch. Flinching or jerking the shotgun off the target line in anticipation of the shot and causing the shooter to miss a target, is both a common and serious detriment to breaking clays or dropping birds from the sky. Some shooters suffering from a serious flinch have been known to switch to release triggers that touch off a shot by relaxing rather than tightening the trigger pull. Release triggers are fairly common among seasoned clay target shooters and do help control the flinch factor. Recoil of about 15 foot pounds or less is considered about the top end of the shooting comfort level. In most cases, lightweight 20 gauge shotguns firing 7/8 ounce loads will fall below that 15 foot pound threshold. With a properly fit shotgun, the down-range performance is about the same whether a shooter is using 7/8 ounce 20 gauge loads or oneounce 12 gauge loads. It should be noted that the two loads pack a similar payload, with about 350 No. 7 1/2 size pellets in a one-ounce load compared to about 306 pellets in a 7/8 ounce load. Other important factors in the formula to tame shoulder shock and improve shooting pleasure include: an effective recoil reduction system, weight of the firearm, and proper shooting form (this spring and summer down time might also be a good opportunity to take a shooting lesson or two). With all of this in mind, shooters looking to put their hands on a new 20 gauge shotgun to replace that old 12 might want to check out the latest sub-gauge from Browning that is advertised as quicker and
Shooters downsizing to a 20 gauge shotgun should check out the many varieties of ammunition available to find the load that delivers the most effective pattern with the least amount of felt recoil â€“ not all shells are the same.
Going light this summer, as in selecting a nice-handling 20 gauge to replace a 12 gauge shoulder shocker, might mean picking the right shooting tool from a wide selection of sub-gauge shotguns such as, from left, a Beretta Model 391 semiautomatic; a SIACE Model 350G side by side; a Beretta Model BL3 over and under; a Browning Model 325 over and under; and the newly released Browning Model 725 over and under.
lighter and has been specifically designed to tame shoulder shock. The new Browning Citori Model 725 over and under in 20 gauge was introduced last fall as a quicker, lighter shooting version of the popular 12 gauge Model 725. It is Browning's latest offering in a long line of fine fowling pieces. Browning has been a dominant force in the over and under market for decades. Dating back to their Superposed model that was firearm genius John M. Browning's last creation. Browning models, including the 325, 425, 525, 625 and now the 725, have a good reputation in the field and on the range. Scott Grange, public relations director for Browning, said the expansion of the popular 12 gauge Model 725 field and sporting clays shotgun to a lightweight and quick handling 20 gauge has proven to be a popular decision. There has also been some talk about adding a 28 gauge and even a 410 to the line in the near future. Among the features that have made the new Model 725 20 gauge so popular is the Inflex II recoil pad that diverts recoil down and away from the shooters face. This helps reduce felt recoil and assists the shooter in making faster and more accurate second shots. The crisp and shooter-friendly mechanical trigger system also allows for easy touch off and helps keep a wingshooter or clay buster on target. As noted earlier, the patterning performance of a typical one-ounce 12 gauge load of No. 7 1/2 shot is very comparable to the pattern produced by with a 7/8-ounce load in a 20 gauge. The Model 725 20 gauge takes this one step further by utilizing back-bored technology barrels with lengthened forcing cones and the 725's unique Invector-DS choke tube system â€“ all designed to improve bird-bagging and clay-busting success with less recoil trauma. For many shooters, spending a little down time this spring and summer is what thinking light is all about.
FisH & FisHiNG
Are More Fish Always Better? Increasing the Carrying Capacity of Your Fish Pond Article and photos by dR. BillY HiGGiNBoTHAM Professor and Extension Wildlife and Fisheries Specialist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Automatic feeders should be placed in areas with easy access and set to feed largemouth bass forage species multiple times each day.
hink of your farm or ranch pond this way: A high fenced ranch with white-tailed deer and lots of effort into maintaining that deer herd through one or more management techniques. It could be by prescribed burning, brush control or even nutritional supplementation via food plots or prepared rations. The bottom line is that if the management technique employed was successful, the carrying capacity of the acreage has been increased and a by-product of that success is more deer. This is when the deer manager has the responsibility to properly manage that increased deer production in order to meet deer management objectives. And so it is with fish management. The first question you should ask yourself before embarking on a journey to produce more fish is simply “Do I need more fish?” Some will answer yes, while for others, no. For example, if you have a sizeable pond that is stocked properly with the appropriate species combinations but is also lightly fished, there may not be any need for growing even more fish. This increased level of management will require an increase in fish harvest to maintain balance, just as the deer manager can be required to harvest more deer to avoid exceeding the ranch’s carrying capacity. In order to increase the carrying capacity of a pond, the owner’s first order of business is to manipulate the habitat. An aquatic habitat consists of the pond itself, in some cases the pond’s watershed and the water (quantity and/or quality). Examples of impacting a pond’s watershed is to make sure the area funneling runoff into the pond is not
f i s h & f i s h i ng
Automatic feeders increase forage species production resulting in a system that will support more pounds of largemouth bass.
over-grazed or consist of eroded areas that could contribute to sedimentation and/ or turbidity that reduces the pond volume as well as limit light penetration into the water column—a necessity for a food chain to develop properly in a pond managed for bass. Examples of impacting the pond itself may be deepening shoreline areas to two feet in depth, thus removing habitat for many aquatic weed populations. Another might be limiting pond depth to prevent summertime stratification or using methods to lessen that stratification when it occurs, such as employing a bottom release drainpipe. Habitat management of the water quality and quantity might include adjustment of the pH, particularly in the acidic region of East Texas where low pH waters limit a pond’s productivity. It may also involve clearing the water to a point to allow sunlight transmission as previously described. Beyond these techniques, there are three additional management tools that can positively impact a pond’s carrying capacity should that be the goal. These include fertilization, supplemental feeding and
aeration. One common denominator among these three techniques is that they all address a limiting factor that heretofore prevented the pond’s ability to grow more fish. Let’s look at how, when and where we apply each of these or a combination thereof. Fertility programs can double or triple the pounds of fish a pond will support on a per acre basis. Fertility programs are normally applied to largemouth bass ponds that have at least 18 to 24 inches of visibility, a pH of 6.5 to 8.5 and a total alkalinity of more than 20 ppm. The concept is simple; grow more phytoplankton --the single-celled algae at the base of the food chain. Increase phytoplankton populations and you will grow more zooplankton, then invertebrates, then small fish followed by large fish – those fish species at the highest trophic level that we usually seek with hook and line. Fertilization programs are initiated in the spring when water temperatures reach 6570 degrees and are continued throughout the summer in order to maintain a light green color (indicative of a phytoplankton “bloom”) to the water. Pond fertilizers come in granular, liquid
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Bottom release drainpipes improve water quality and reduce sedimentation in ponds improving their fish production potential.
and water soluble powder formulations. The newer water soluble powders have become increasingly popular because of the ease of application but all formulations work fine when applied properly. But, be forewarned, once that fertility program is initiated and the fish population responds by doubling or perhaps even tripling the standing crop of fish present, it must be continued on an annual basis to avoid putting the fish on a crash diet! The second option for increasing a pond’s carrying capacity is to supplement the fish using an artificial ration. In most cases this supplementation is reserved for ponds stocked with blue or channel catfish or for largemouth bass forage species such as bluegill or perhaps tilapia where utilized. Think of feeding an artificial ration as “short circuiting” the previously described food chain. Instead of growing food at each level of the chain, we simply feed the fish out of a sack. For catfish, this supplementation can mean the difference between “do nothing”
management allowing for a maximum stocking rate of 100 catfish fingerlings per surface acre versus a maximum of 1,000 fingerlings per acre if a six to seven- dayper-week feeding program is established from April through November. Perhaps you have no need for 1,000 catfish per surface acre but desire to maximize growth rates in order to shorten the time period between stocking fish and frying fish. That’s perfectly okay. So, regardless of the stocking rate, 6-inch catfish fingerlings stocked in April and fed regularly with a 28 percent crude protein floating catfish ration can put on a pound of weight gain by November. The caveat here is to not exceed a total standing crop of 1,000 pounds of fish per surface acre going into the summer. Normally, our ponds can produce enough oxygen and break down enough nutrients naturally to support up to 1,000 pounds of fish per surface acre. When we stretch beyond that rule of thumb, we are rolling the dice if conditions
become conducive for an oxygen depletion to occur (e.g., hot, still, cloudy weather). Supplementation of largemouth bass forage fish requires a slightly different strategy. The bluegill, for example, has a short gut length compared to catfish of the same size and cannot eat as much per feeding. Therefore, using automatic feeders set to deliver all the forage fish will cleanup in 15 minutes twice or three times daily maximizes feed efficiency. Whenever you grow more pounds of forage fish, you have automatically set the stage for increasing the capacity of the pond to also grow more pounds of bass. But, once again, the question is, “How do you plan to manage that increased production of bass?” The last but not least management tool for increasing carrying capacity of a pond is aeration. Aeration techniques can be used to: 1) maintain oxygen levels during summertime circumstances that might otherwise allow its level to fall below the critical 3 ppm threshold and 2) to prevent a pond from stratifying in the summer
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resulting in the entire water column remaining available for fish. Here’s an example of the power of aeration. Typically, our farm and ranch ponds are capable of supporting 1,000 pounds of fish (usually catfish species) per surface acre during the warm months. Under aeration management in the summer, the carrying capacity of a pond may be increased to 5,000 pounds per surface acre, or more. These techniques have been employed on both largemouth bass and catfish ponds. Pond owners that have lost a sizable population of fish due to an oxygen depletion are often the first to get onboard with an aeration system, so low oxygen will never be a limiting factor again. Increasing a pond’s carrying capacity, is it for you? Match up the right tool for your pond with your goals if the answer is yes. But, be prepared for the increased management responsibility that comes with growing those extra fish.
Channel catfish respond well to supplemental feeding and can gain one pound or more each growing season.
EDNA TO EDEN.
BEST RANCHES. BEST FOLKS.
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B oRdeRl ANds NeWs BORDERLANDS RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Movements of Pronghorns Translocated to the Trans-Pecos Article by TAYloR GARRisoN, RYAN oâ€™sHAuGHNessY, PH.d., louis HARvesoN, PH.d., and sHAWN GRAY
he current distribution of pronghorns in Texas is restricted to regions of the Trans-Pecos, Panhandle, western Edwards Plateau and southern Rolling Plains. Of these four regions, the Trans-Pecos historically supported 70 percent of Texasâ€™ pronghorns. In 1987, the number of pronghorns reached a 40-year high with over 17,000 animals occurring in the Trans-Pecos. While the overall trend in the pronghorn population was on the decline, the population had experienced several years of healthy numbers. Unfortunately, since 2008 pronghorn populations in the Trans-Pecos have experienced unprecedented declines, with less than 3,000 animals estimated remaining in the region by 2012. However, using intensive management practices and with the help of Mother Nature, populations are beginning to increase. In response to the alarming decline of pronghorns in the Trans-Pecos, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, TransPecos Pronghorn Working Group and the Borderlands Research Institute initiated a concerted restoration program. A useful method for restoring depleted animal populations is through relocating individuals from healthy populations. Subsequently, a total of 427 pronghorns have been captured and relocated to the Trans-Pecos from the Texas Panhandle during 2011 (200), 2013 (125) and 2014 (102). Relocations are however only a small part of the restoration effort. Evaluation of postrelease movements is vital to understanding the ability of pronghorns to assimilate to their new environment and survive. Movement information provides valuable insight into post-release behavior and helps assess the
Hourly locations of GPS collared pronghorns released into the Marfa Plateau region in 2014. The red and purple locations are from individuals which exhibited the most extreme movements of the 2014 cohort.
restoration effort and determine requirements for future restorations. To evaluate and monitor movements, during capture we fit Global Positioning System (GPS) collars to approximately 50 percent of the relocated pronghorns. These collars are set to obtain a location of the animal every hour for a period of 300 days. During the 2013 relocation we collared 51 pronghorns, and during the 2014 relocation we collared 49 pronghorns. From these two relocations, we were able to obtain over 550,000 GPS locations of pronghorns during 2013 and 2014. These data yielded some interesting results. Firstly, the average estimated home range size of
pronghorns was larger in the 2013 relocation compared to the 2014 relocation. In 2013 the average home range size was 7,846 acres, while in 2014 it was 6,852 acres. We also found pronghorns in 2013 typically remained within 31 miles of the release site in 2013, whereas pronghorns in 2014 traveled up to 50 miles from the release site. The difference in home range size and movements from the release site is likely a result of the habitat quality in the respective release area. Habitat quality was higher in the Marathon Basin in 2013 compared to the Marfa Plateau in 2014; thus, we would expect pronghorns to travel greater distances in 2014 to find suitable food.
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wet and dry seasons. further than females in any given week. Males In 2013, the average in the Marathon Basin (2013 release) traveled home range contracted an average of 38 miles each week, while from 5,802 acres during females traveled 35 miles. The difference in the dry season to 2,733 weekly movements was more pronounced acres in the wet season. in the Marfa Plateau, where males moved an Similarly, during 2014 average of 55 miles/week and females moved the average home range just 32 miles weekly. Like deer during the contracted from 3,652 breeding season, the males will compete for acres in the dry season females while trying to establish and defend to 2,427 acres in the wet territories. The males will move around their Hourly locations of GPS collared pronghorns released into the season. We validated range trying to collect harems of females with Marathon Basin region in 2013. Note the exploratory movements of this observation by which to breed. three female pronghorn to the north, east and south of the release site. analyzing the average Movement data not only allows us to distance moved by estimate the distances traveled by pronghorns But, why then is our estimate of home range individual pronghorns each week. On average, and the home range of these animals, but the larger for the Marathon Basin compared to individuals traveled less after the onset of the data are also able to guide future management the Marfa Plateau? The answer is a function of rains. The contraction in home range and actions. For example, these data allow us to the software used to estimate home range size. weekly movements between the seasons was determine the specific areas through which We chose to use relatively new software expected because forb availability increases pronghorns move, thereby guiding the focus called Time-Local Convex Hull (T-LoCoH). with the onset of the rains. With more food of management. Location data are also able to This software computes home ranges in a available across the landscape during the wet highlight barriers to movement, such as fences, similar way to traditional methods such season, pronghorns do not have to travel as which allows us to prioritize areas for fence as minimum convex polygons and kernel far to meet their energetic demands; whereas, modifications. In addition, available habitats density estimators but incorporates time as in the dry season, pronghorns have to travel that are used or avoided are highlighted. Those well as space in the estimates. Basically, this large distances to find sufficient food to eat. areas that are avoided can then be improved program allows us to account for â€œpocketsâ€? Using the GPS data collected by our with various habitat management tools such of rangeland within the home range that are collars, we were also able to detect significant as brush management. Understanding the not used by pronghorns. For example, Figure differences in the weekly movements between movements of relocated pronghorns is a vital 1 shows the hourly locations of pronghorns male and female pronghorns. In both the 2013 piece of the restoration puzzle. collared during the 2014 relocation to the and 2014 release areas, males traveled much Marfa Plateau. You will note there are large unused areas within the distribution of points. If we include these areas in our home range estimates, we are very likely to obtain a biased estimate of the area used by pronghorns. Conversely, Figure 2 shows the distribution of the locations from the 2013 release in the Marathon Basin is more uniform with fewer gaps in the distribution. The result is that although it appears that the average home range in the Marfa Plateau is larger, the actual area used by pronghorns is larger in the Marathon Basin. In both years, we also detected a significant difference in home range size between the A relocated doe and buck (note the GPS collar) in the Marfa Plateau during the summer of 2014.
LYSSY & ECKEL FEEDS
Supplementing the Habitat www.lefeeds.com
Effluent discharge is very important to maintenance of environmental flows in Texas rivers. This stretch of the lower Trinity River depends on water already used by Dallas and other upstream municipalities.
WATER REUSE: PANACEA OR PROBLEM IN THE MAKING? Article by Henry Chappell Photos by Wyman Meinzer
onsider a flushing toilet. No? Okay, the sudsy discharge from that last load of laundry. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, sure, it goes to a treatment facility somewhere. Then where? Recall that the earth’s water cycle is a closed system. All the water that has been, will be. Or, all the water that is, has been. Sure, it moves around, changes from ice to liquid to vapor and back to liquid, moves from mountaintop to river to ocean to clouds and back to mountaintop as snow. Therefore, I regret to inform you that some of your potty water, kitchen and washroom discharge, and lawn runoff does find its way into drinking glasses. Thanks to the wonders of gravity those glasses will likely be filled downriver – unless you live on the coast. Thus, “Houston drinks Dallas’s crap.” However, before we inland dwellers raise pellucid glasses to those unfortunates downriver, we’d best consider who’s upriver. Unless we’re sipping fossil water from an aquifer or living very high in a watershed, some of the water that’s passing through us at the moment likely passed through someone else more recently than we’d like to think. Although “water reuse” or “recycling” sounds like the latest green innovation, the practice, in its simplest form, has been common for the better part of a century. Indeed, economic growth in Texas depends on “indirect” water recycling.
For example, water flushed from a toilet in Dallas travels by pipe to a local treatment center where it’s cleaned to Texas Committee on Environmental Quality standards. Some of this effluent may then be discharged into Trinity River Watershed where it can be reused by downriver municipalities and other users. Indeed effluent discharge is very important to maintenance of environmental flows in Texas rivers. Without these discharges, Texas’s estuaries could be severely degraded from lack of freshwater inflow. Indirect water recycling works only if effluent is sufficiently clean. Further cleaning occurs in the natural process of river flow, wetland filtration and filtration by reservoirs along the river. Engineers call this natural cleansing “environmental buffering,” a term that points to the benefits or “environmental services” provided by intact bottomland and other wetlands. In some cases, treated water can be discharged into aquifers for later use. As the name implies, “direct recycling” involves use of effluent piped directly from a treatment facility. Presently, most directly recycled water is used for irrigation and industrial purposes. However, given Texas’s soaring population and frequent drought, increased “direct potable reuse” – use of water piped directly from wastewater treatment facilities to drinking water treatment and distribution systems – seems inevitable. This past summer, with its reservoirs at only 25 percent of capacity, the City of Wichita Falls began mixing some 5 million gallons per day
Environmental regulations must ensure that treated discharge is ecologically safe.
of treated wastewater into their municipal water supply. Although some residents expressed concern, and pundits cracked themselves up joking about Texans brushing their teeth with sewer water, studies have shown that pathogen risk from potable reuse is no greater than in approved, conventional treatment systems. Reverse osmosis microfiltering makes up for the lack of environmental buffering. Still, the idea takes some getting used to. Distance and dilution mask certain biological realities. For example, reused water from my aerobic sceptic system is safe for all types of irrigation. My grass and shrubs thrive. On hot days, my dogs run through the spray. But, I can’t bring myself to turn those sprinkler heads toward my vegetable garden. Conversations with my neighbors reveal that I’m not the only irrational gardener in North Texas. Why, then, don’t swimmers flee when a beer chugging sunbather slides off her raft to “cool off a minute?” Well, it’s a big lake. It’s a bit more difficult to dismiss imagery incited by words like “wastewater” or “sewer,” and harder to accept that, only a few days prior, some of our drinking water might have passed through our neighbors’ toilet bowls. But, we’d best make peace with reuse. Texas’s population is projected to nearly double by 2060. Per the 2012 State Water Plan, reuse will comprise 10 percent of the 2060 water management strategy – nearly a million acre-feet. Currently, around half a million acre-feet of reclaimed water is available for use in Texas. In addition to the Wichita Falls reuse project, the City of San Antonio relies on reclaimed water to ensure adequate stream flow along its River Walk. Several West Texas cities, including Waco, Lubbock and Odessa, use reclaimed water for irrigation of golf courses and landscaping. El Paso Water Utilities re-injects reclaimed water into the Hueco Bolson. Tarrant Regional Water District augmented natural environmental buffering with man-made wetlands that filter reclaimed water before it’s discharged into the watershed or sent to treatment facilities. Despite all of the upside to water reuse,
nothing is free. Direct water reuse keeps water in circulation within a given municipality and out of rivers and streams. Presently, direct reuse has little impact on environmental flows, but as the practice grows, water planners will have to make sure that downstream users receive their share. Question of ownership naturally arise. Can reused water be considered “new water” or is it state water subject to conventional allocation of water rights? Currently, the Texas Water Development Board, with input from stakeholders, is developing a resource management document to provide guidance. Like other kinds of recycling, water reuse will only grow. We Texans should educate ourselves to ensure that reused water is distributed safely and fairly.
Behind the Gates of the East Foundation
Photo by Wyman Meinzer
Article by Lorie Woodward Cantu
San Antonio Viejo Ranch
ranch became a centerpiece of their life’s work. Ultimately, they grew the San Antonio Viejo to 148,000 contiguous acres sprawling across southern Jim Hogg and northern Starr counties. “In their second year of marriage, Tom Sr. and Alice endured the most severe one-year drought in the 20th Century,” Wilkins said. “Severe, recurrent drought made a hard life even tougher. Drought was a constant threat, impacting the way they ran the ranch and the way they approached life.” Despite the hardships, the young couple created a home and had three children: Tom Timmons East Jr. (1917-1984), Robert Claude East (1919-2007) and Alice Hattie “Lica” East (1921-1993). “The children were reared to see the land, the wildlife, the livestock and the people as an integrated whole, with the understanding that land was the foundation of it all,” said Wilkins. It had a lasting effect. Robert East’s trust documents read like an extended poem about conservation and stewardship.” Photo courtesy of East Foundation
he East Foundation’s efforts in cattle ranching, research, education and outreach are driven by the East family’s belief that ranching is as important to Texas’ future as it was to the state’s past. “The East family’s vision reflects the conservation ethic of thousands of private land stewards working throughout our state, but it’s rooted in South Texas,” said Dr. Neal Wilkins, President and CEO of the East Foundation. “The idea of working cattle ranches being the best bet for conserving wildlife and our state’s rangelands is a very Texan idea – and the Easts, being indisputably Texan, directed their Foundation’s purpose with this singular idea.” Created by the estate of Robert C. East, the Foundation’s everyday activities reflect the family’s conviction that native rangeland was meant for ranching. They understood ranching not only provided beef, but other public benefits such as wildlife habitat and clean water. The family wanted the general public to understand this, too, so they left a legacy in the form of the South Texas-based Foundation. With more than 215,000 acres of native rangeland under its care, the East Foundation, with its headquarters in San Antonio, is one of the state’s largest private operating foundations. In addition, the East Foundation is listed by The Land Report as the 45th largest landowner in the United States. The Foundation’s lands are in six separate ranches in parts of Jim Hogg, Starr, Willacy and Kenedy counties. “The Foundation’s big challenge is that we must operate under the same pressures of drought, disease, cattle markets and regulations as do our neighboring ranchers,” Wilkins said. “Because our operations must meet the practical challenges of a large cattle operation, we are forced to focus our research questions -- as well as our education and outreach -- on real-world issues.”
Tom T. East and wife Alice Gertrudis Kleberg.
Tom T. East Sr. was just 23-years-old when he registered the Diamond Bar brand in Brooks County on May 6, 1912. “Tom Sr. registered his brand before he owned much land,” Wilkins said. “While he had begun to establish himself as a cattleman in the region, he was clearly looking forward to things to come.” Between 1913 and his death in 1943, Tom Sr. had ranched across more than 400,000 acres of deeded and leased land throughout South Texas. Throughout much of his life in South Texas, the Wild Horse Desert was still untamed, offering both challenges and opportunities. On January 15, 1915, he married Alice Gertrudis Kleberg, the granddaughter of Captain Richard and Henrietta King, the founders of King Ranch. Alice’s cousin Caesar Kleberg was Tom’s best man, foreshadowing a relationship that would chart the course of wildlife conservation in Texas. At the onset of a severe drought and the Mexican Revolution, the young couple left their wedding party at King Ranch and traveled to the San Antonio Viejo Ranch near Hebbronville. Developing this
The trust documents directed the lands be used as a “working laboratory.”
As a working laboratory for South Texas, the Foundation’s lands are ideally situated. The six ranches represent four distinct ecological regions and four dominant soil types. Elevation, from east to west, ranges from 0 to 728 feet above sea level, and average precipitation ranges from 24 inches near the Coast to 18 inches at the ranches’ far western edge. “The sheer diversity of the holdings creates unique opportunities for research because we can ask questions that are relevant across a broad landscape instead of focusing on isolated areas,” Wilkins said. “Our size increases the reliability of our results, because we can make simultaneous observations across a wide range of environments. By creating partnerships with the best scientists and managers in the state, we now have a wide range of expertise to draw upon – and this assures that our work is not only relevant, but
Photo by Wyman Meinzer
BEHIND THE GATES OF THE EAST FOUNDATION
San Antonio Viejo Ranch deer.
is grounded in the best science available.” The Foundation is still in its early stages. Infrastructure in the form of fences, roads, water systems, and facilities are a priority. Much of the ranches’ current infrastructure is well-worn. “Our biggest challenge is to avoid trying to do everything at once,” Wilkins said. “We’re in a period of building infrastructure for the ranching operation as well as for our research and education efforts. Instead of being overly concerned with short-term results, we have tended to concentrate on creating a solid base of facilities, databases and monitoring systems that will support the Foundation’s efforts over time.” Working with the experts at the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, Foundation staff members have trimmed the cattle herd down to about 5,000 head. Reducing the herd in the aftermath of the ongoing drought adjusts the stocking rate to a sustainable level and gives Foundation personnel the flexibility to respond to changing weather conditions and resulting forage supply. “Native rangelands developed under the combined pressures of recurring drought, fire and grazing,” Wilkins said. “These forces still shape rangelands, so we have to pay attention and learn how to use them to
manage the productivity and diversity of our land.”
Research and Ranching
The research program exists to “understand and improve the native rangelands’ productivity for both wildlife conservation and livestock production.” “Our research focuses on the overlap between livestock production and wildlife conservation,” said Dr. Tyler Campbell, Chief Program Officer and Principal Scientist. “Our goal is to find science-based information that helps landowners strike the necessary balance between livestock production and wildlife conservation – and do an excellent job at both.” As a result, the researchers, who represent six public universities, implement projects to better understand scenarios that are already playing out on rangelands across the region. For instance, non-native species such as nilgai are a common part of native rangelands in South Texas. As large herbivores, they have an impact on the range, raising concerns about competition for forage resources, especially during drought. “Using traditional methods, it was believed that cattle are grazers, nilgai are intermediate feeders that favor grass, and white-tailed deer are browsers,” Campbell
said. “It stood to reason, then, that nilgai should be more likely to compete with cattle for grass than deer for browse.” When researchers, using cutting-edge technology including stable isotope signatures, tested the conventional wisdom, they found something unexpected. Researchers found that during drought, cattle and nilgai diets did not overlap at any of the study sites; cattle and deer diets overlapped at 17 percent of the study sites, and nilgai and white-tailed deer diets overlapped at 100 percent of the study sites. “These outcomes countered previous findings using traditional methods,” Campbell said. “They indicate nilgai’s foraging behavior during periods of drought is similar to browsers like deer. Cattle and nilgai didn’t compete, but deer and nilgai did.” One of the advantages of having a working laboratory of approximately 215,000 acres is the ability to conduct research on an operational scale. Right now, the staff is building infrastructure to support the largest grazing study ever performed in Texas. The study, slated to begin in January 2016, encompasses 18,000 acres on the San Antonio Viejo, which is divided into four pastures of approximately 4,500 acres. Researchers working on the flagship project will examine the impact of cattle
BEHIND THE GATES OF THE EAST FOUNDATION
100 scientific journal articles.” The Foundation has another unique opportunity on its El Sauz Ranch, located near Port Mansfield. The unique habitat on this ranch provides home to at least 22 ocelots that have been identified through research in partnership with Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. “Considering the entire estimated U.S. population of this endangered species is no more than 80 animals, we are positioned to be a significant contributor to the species’ recovery,” Wilkins said. “We want to discover what is best for the species and what is best for landowners whose management has maintained its habitat. Private land stewardship offers the best hope for this rare cat’s recovery.”
education and outreach
In designing their legacy, the East family realized that science alone would not satisfy their vision. They saw education as a critical link for not only translating science into practice, but for reaching future generations with the private land stewardship message. The East Foundation has acted on this part of the mission by committing to
reach schools in South Texas in a way that re-connects them with the land. Education Project Manager Tina Buford said, “The natural resource connection needs to be a human-to-human connection. When you work with kids and truly engage them, the light bulb goes off for them, too. They understand that they have a stake in the natural world – and they want to help take care of it.” Educational efforts are guided by the same practicality as other Foundation activities. Foundation staff is not reinventing the wheel. Instead, the Foundation relies on like-minded partners to provide welldeveloped curricula while the Foundation provides hands-on lessons in wildlife conservation, ranching and land stewardship. “Our partners will bring different skills, different priorities and different tactics to the table, but they will have two things in common,” Buford said. “First, they will have a track record of demonstrated success. Second, the partners’ ultimate goals will align with our ultimate goals.” For instance, the East Foundation’s first partner, the Texas Wildlife Association
Photo by Wyman Meinzer
grazing at different durations and densities on vegetation (including the spread of invasive grasses) and wildlife, both game and non-game species. Bobwhite quail will be a species of particular interest. The study will last at least 10 years. Wilkins said, “Very few institutions have the opportunity to conduct research at an operational scale, but we can. The size not only reflects our commitment to applied research, but it allows us to approximate the realities of the livestock industry in South Texas, where the average ranch size is 4,000 acres.” This 18,000-acre demonstration area represents approximately 8 percent of the Foundation’s holdings, meaning there is room for more. “We want our research areas to translate into demonstration areas,” Wilkins said, noting the long-term prescribed burn work at the Sonora Experiment Station served as inspiration. “Those long-term demonstrations (at Sonora) of what occurs on the land after years of repeated treatments have had more influence over how Hill Country landowners manage their property than
El Sauz Ranch
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population mirrors the socioeconomic structure of South Texas. Elisa Velador, the contract educator, spends 25 percent of her time at IDEA schools and the remainder of her time at other districts in the region. Thanks to the partnership between the East Foundation and TWAF that is changing fast. In 2014, the education program reached 7,632 students across 44 campuses in seven South Texas counties. Campbell said, “The Discovery Trunks are 100 percent booked. We’re building on the momentum and the success.” South Texas is 95 percent Hispanic according to information provided by the East Foundation. Nationally, Hispanics are less engaged in the outdoors than other ethnic
groups. Traditionally, in South Texas, Hispanic families had ties to the land. Unfortunately, these ties seem to have frayed in recent years. As a rapidly growing segment of the country’s population, the Hispanic community’s involvement is important for the future of natural resources. Buford said, “At the East Foundation, we’re working with our neighbors. We share a heritage. We share a landscape. Hopefully, together, we’re going to identify the common ground that makes natural resources relevant to everyone. Then, we can take what we’ve learned locally and impact the world beyond the Brush Country.”
Photo by Gerri Haynes
Foundation (TWAF), pioneered L.A.N.D.S., an award-winning natural resource conservation program that has been introducing school children to the outdoors for 10 years. In 2014, the East Foundation and the TWAF joined forces to hire a contract educator dedicated to South Texas. The East Foundation funds the position and the TWAF provides the educational expertise. At the same time, the East Foundation partnered with IDEA Public Schools, a network of South Texas charter schools with a 100 percent college matriculation rate. In 2014, enrollment was more than 16,000 with 95 percent of the students being Hispanic and 85 percent from low-income households. IDEA Public Schools’ student
El Sauz Ranch
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JULY 9-12, 2015
J.W. MARRIOTT HILL COUNTRY RESORT AND SPA SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
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BEHIND THE GATES OF THE EAST FOUNDATION
GettING StUdeNtS BehINd the GateS
s the sun rose over South Texas, IDEA Public Schools fifth graders from across the region climbed aboard school buses and made their way to the El Sauz Ranch near Port Mansfield for Behind the Gates. From Oct. 20-23, approximately 1,000 students participated in the handson outdoor learning experience over the event’s four-day span. “This field experience was important because we believe kids learn better when they have a chance to be outdoors,” said Dr. Tyler Campbell, Chief Program Officer and Principal Scientist. “They are inspired to learn about nature and science when they have the chance to get out and get their hands dirty.” On the first morning, the gates swung open and the convoy of yellow school buses began to roll down the ranch road. Foundation staff held their breath, unsure if the buses could make it. As if on cue, the cattle herd walked in front of the buses. Windows slid down. Heads popped out. Cell phones clicked pics. Excited chatter erupted. For most of the children, this was the first time they had ever seen cattle. Likely, it was the first time they had seen the 30-foot sand dunes or the Coastal wetlands that characterize the 28,000-acre El Sauz Ranch. Dr. Neal Wilkins, President and CEO, said, “The East family wanted school buses on the ranch. We, working with our partners, made it happen.” The event, which aligned with TEKS objectives, required expertise from across the region. Partners included: TWAF Conservation Legacy, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas A&M Institute for Renewable Natural Resources, the South Texas History Museum, the Texas Zoo and the Gladys Porter Zoo. To make the most of the time they had with the students, organizers developed five themed stations allowing students to rotate through each one over the course of the day. The subjects covered: cattle ranching and how the beef industry feeds America and conserves open space land and wildlife habitat; the relationship
between rain and rangeland and how healthy rangelands contribute to clean, plentiful water for human consumption and for bays and estuaries; animal traits and how native South Texas animals are adapted to local environments to help them survive; endangered species and how ranchers help conserve their habitat; and South Texas history and how early settlers used resources, including a ranch-based economy, to endure. “While the students were engaged at every station, the cattle ranching and animal trait stations were, according to our surveys and the students’ reactions, the most popular,” Campbell said. As part of the ranching station, Foundation vaqueros herded cattle for the children demonstrating what they do during the day. The vaqueros, many of whom are multigenerational employees of the East family, speak only Spanish. Most of the students were bi-lingual. Conversational sparks flew as the children encountered real life cowboys. “I don’t know who got more out of the experience, the kids or the vaqueros,” Campbell said. “It was educational magic.” Another popular stop was the animal trait and adaptation station, which reinforced the lessons Contract Educator Elisa Velador had already introduced in the classroom using the Conservation Legacy Wildlife by Design curriculum. The students got to touch a variety of South Texas critters including snakes. “As students lined up to touch snakes for the first time, some were excited, some were cautious and some were flat scared,” Campbell said. “But they were all 100 percent in the moment. Their reactions just whetted our appetite for doing more.” With the event’s obvious success, measured in both smiles and improved student scores on pre- and post tests, Foundation staff members are working to make the event annual. They are also considering increasing the number of events and creating the opportunity on different ranches within their holdings to make it accessible to different school districts. “Behind the Gates was the first time we opened the gates to school children,” Campbell said. “It definitely won’t be the last.”
BEHIND THE GATES OF THE EAST FOUNDATION
The East Wildlife Foundation, with the help of the Texas Wildlife Association and other South Texas partner organizations, hosted 1,000 IDEA Public School 5th grade students from eight diﬀerent campuses on the El Sauz Ranch for the first ever Behind the Gates Field Days. Students experienced the South Texas wilderness while rotating through five educational presentation stations. Presentation topics included Cattle Ranching, Endangered Species of South Texas, Land Stewardship, South Texas History and South Texas Animal Adaptations. Before attending the Field Lesson, students received an introduction to Texas wildlife through a hands-on, interactive Wildlife by Design presentation.
aUctIoN SUcceSS Article by TWA MeMBeR Al BisBeY
achael Carr, owner of the Oso Bailando Ranch in South Texas, purchased the Idaho elk hunt donated by the Hixon family. I was invited to take Carr on the hunt on the Ox Ranch located in Idaho in the scenic and rugged Seven Devils Mountain Range. The Ox Ranch is an actual working cattle ranch. Our hunt was guided on 18,000 acres of lowfenced privately owned land. The Ox Ranch’s Seven Devils Lodge and guide service provides a true outdoor experience that would challenge any hunter. The lodge is a unique, rustic 5,500-square-foot facility with six spacious and uniquely decorated bedroom suites. And, the gourmet meals are home-cooked. The hunt was the real thing. We started our first hunt before sunrise walking three to four miles carrying a
pack and stalking both feeding and bedded elk. We made our way through a dry creek bed within 200 yards of the first bull elk. In a sitting position and using a shooting stick, Rachael waited until she had a full broadside view, and she dropped the big bull with one shot. The mature 6x6 bull scored 325 2/8 B&C. We had to hunt hard for my elk -three full days of hiking three to six miles a day, crossing rough terrain trying to be “in the right place at the right time.” On the third day while glassing the side of distant mountains, we spotted elk that were feeding. After a long two-mile hike, we entered a small meadow. Two cow elk ran across the meadow, followed by a very old mature bull. Our guide quickly set up the shooting sticks, and I harvested the big bull with one shot. The mature 6x6 bull scored 315. It was a great hunt. Many thanks to the Hixon family for donating to the Texas Wildlife Association’s WildLife 2014 Grand Auction. The hunt was truly a hunt to be remembered. To donate to the WildLife 2015 Grand Auction, contact David Brimager at (800) 839-9453.
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by Paulina Garcia This close up of a horned lizard was taken by IDEA Public Schools student Paulina Garcia with help from coach Karine Aigner at Camp Lula Sams, a historic piece of wildlife habitat located inside the city limits of Brownsville. Camp Lula Sams is a TWA landowner member.
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. Save Camp Lula Sams is a Capital Campaign led by the Images for Conservation Fund in conjunction with Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation. IDEA Public Schools (a public charter school) will eventually own the property with a goal to develop an outdoor education campus for their more than 19,000 students. For more information on ICF, visit www.imagesforconservation.org.
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