"Texas Wildlife" - September 2013

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Texas Doves

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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

TWA Convention = TWA Community = Conservation Value During my President’s Address at our TWA General Session and Awards Luncheon on July 13 (see text on pages 26-29), I discussed the important role that Sense of Community plays in our ability to Advance Conservation Value in our society. In reality, Sense of Community creates enhanced value on various fronts and in many different ways. “When it’s good for me, my family, my friends, or my community, then I’m for it,” is one of the fundamental principles that incentivize our society; most of us are hard-wired to rationalize in this fashion, as we are a value-driven society, and Sense of Community inherently creates value. On the heels of a great WildLife 2013 convention, it’s easy for me to reflect on how our annual convention is the ultimate medium in cultivating a Sense of Community within our broad TWA Family. Members, vendors, sponsors, elected officials, media, volunteers, TWA professional staff, and other constituencies are all brought together in a celebration that finds common bonds, in various ways, which relate to our TWA mission, resulting in increased relevancy for our work. This assembly of people, the synergies that it generates, and the values that result, all combine to make our TWA Community stronger, which gives us a better platform to help deploy our important TWA mission. I want to thank all individuals who were able to attend WildLife 2013. It’s always great seeing faces that I have not seen in a while, and with 22 TWA conventions under my belt, it almost seems more like a family reunion than a convention. Also, a special thanks to our exhibitors and convention sponsors. It is your continued loyalty and generous support for our organization that helps capitalize our efforts in progressing forward, and your wares, services, and brand add value to this event for the enjoyment of all attendees. Please know we have already begun identifying ways that we can improve and add to WildLife 2014, to make it even bigger and better. Also, I’d be remiss not to provide a big thank you to our various elected officials who carved time from their busy schedules to attend WildLife 2013, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, State Comptroller Susan Combs (TWA Director), Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman, State Rep. Kyle Kacal (TWA Director), State Rep. Tracy King, among others. Let their important presence at our TWA event be a testimony that the fruit of TWA’s work is recognized and respected, and we should all feel honored and thankful to have these good folks as part of our TWA Community! Dove season has begun, signaling the start of our annual fall fest in Texas – camo-clad sportsmen, Friday night lights, early flocks of teal, looming cool fronts, and renewed excitement for life. Can you feel it? I sure can. It’s great to be a Texan, great to be alive, and great to be your fellow member of the Texas Wildlife Association.

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 Gary Joiner, Chief Executive Officer Quita Hill, Director of Finance and Operations Vacant, Office Administrator

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 Koy Coffer, Education Program Specialist Kassi Scheffer, Education Program Specialist Clint Faas, Conservation Program Coordinator Courtney Brittain, Web Program Consultant Mary Pearl Meuth, Education Program Contractor Lynnsey Dohmen, Education Program Contractor Leslie Wittenburg, Education Program Contractor Elanor Dean, Education Program Contractor Toni Purnell, Education Program Contractor Amanda Crouch, Education Program Contractor Justin Dreibelbis, Hunting Heritage Program Director COL(R) Jerry B. Warden, Texas Youth Hunting Program Director COL(R) Chris Mitchell, TYHP Field Operations Coordinator Barbara Scheib, TYHP Administrative Assistant Kara Starr, Hunting Heritage Program Assistant

Advocacy Joey Park, Legislative Program Coordinator

MAGAZINE CORPS Gary Joiner, Executive Editor Kim Rothe, Consulting Publications Coordinator/Editor David Brimager, Consulting Editor Lorie Woodward Cantu, Special Projects Editor Cross Timbers Marketing.com, Design & Layout Publication Printers Corp., Printing, Denver, CO

COLUMNISTS/CONTRIBUTORS Ralph Winingham Henry Chappell Lorie Woodward Cantu Dale Rollins, Ph. D. Billy Higginbotham, Ph. D. 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: twa@texas-wildlife.org POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Wildlife Association, 3660 Thousand Oaks Dr., Suite 126, San Antonio, Texas 78247.



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

september 2013

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 2013 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 dbrimager@texas-wildlife.org.


SEPTEMBER Volume 29 ★ Number 5 ★ 2013

8 Expansion of Doves in texas by toDD StEELE

12 Lessons From Leopold

intelligent tinkering by StEVE nELLE

24 WildLife 2013 26 PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS

TWA Wildlife photography Workshop at knibbe ranch


50 Decoys for Doves by BrAnDon rAY


Twenty-six photographers enjoyed the beautiful surroundings of the Knibbe Ranch, the helpful tips of two professional photographers, and the magnificence of several birds of prey from Last Chance Forever at the TWA Wildlife Photography Workshop on July 11. A big “Thank You” to TWA members and ranch owners Chuck and Sharon Knibbe, instructors Sean Fitzgerald of Dallas and TWA member Larry Jay of Comfort, and to TWA member John Karger of Last Chance Forever of San Antonio. And congratulations to all 26 Workshop participants! Some of their best images from the Workshop are published here. Enjoy! Photos on this page by Jackie Harker.


What Do Genetics Tell Us About Eastern Wild Turkeys in the Pineywoods? by Sabrina Seidel and Christopher E. Comer

22 Comparison Between Two desert Quails by richard C. temple

16 dove Camo

by ralph Winingham

18 Old Girl

by Henry Chappell

20 What's in Your pond's Watershed? by Dr. billy Higginbotham




In October, Eileen Mattei’s article about Whistling Ducks is illustrated with the beautiful photography of Larry Ditto. And, Russell Graves provides an educational piece on duck identification. In addition to the Caesar Kleberg News column on deer research, there will be a feature on wildlife and urbanization by Judy Bishop Jurek. Also, we’ll have our regular native plant profile and quail column, plus much more.

This artistic photo of a white-winged dove was submitted by Todd Steele of Katy, who photographed the bird in his backyard against a beautiful background of bright flowers and multiple shades of green. He used background light, balanced with a fill flash, which produced the saturated colors of the dove – red legs and blue eyerings. He also added a bit of background for added color. See more of Steele’s photos, and read his article about the increase in dove populations, on page 8.

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Texas Doves

on the Increase




MeeTinGS And eVenTS

FOR INFORMATION ON HUNTING SEASONS, call the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (800) 792-1112, consult the 2012-2013 Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual, or visit the TPWD website at www.tpwd.state.tx.us.



SEPTEMBER 11 Killam Lectureship in White-Tailed Deer Research, Kingsville. For more information or to register, visit www.ckwri.tamuk.edu or call (361) 593-3922.

OCTOBER 2 Trinity River Land and Water Summit, Athens. To register, visit http://nrt.tamu. edu/schedule/oct-2-2013-trinity-riverland-and-water-summit/.

SEPTEMBER 12 5th Quail Short Course & Restoration Workshop, Kingsville. For more information or to register, visit www.ckwri.tamuk.edu or call (361)593-3922.

OCTOBER 5 Lone Star Water Forum, Brenham. For more information, contact Clint Faas at cfaas@texas-wildlife.org.

SEPTEMBER 15-17 QuailMasters, Kingsville. Fourth and final session of QM training. For more information, contact Clint Faas at cfaas@texas-wildlife.org.


SEPTEMBER 19 Second Annual TWA Capital Classic, Hills of Lakeway Golf Club, Flintrock Falls Course, Austin. For player and sponsor information, contact David Brimager at dbrimager@texas-wildlife.org. SEPTEMBER 21 Volunteer Training, San Marcos. For more information, contact Koy Coffer at kcoffer@texas-wildlife.org.

NOVEMBER 6-7 Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission Meeting, Austin. For more information, contact TPWD at (512) 389-4800. NOVEMBER 7-9 Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching, Houston. To volunteer or for more information, contact Koy Coffer at kcoffer@texas-wildlife.org.

WiLdLiFe 2013 pHOTOS & AUdiO reCOrdinGS AVAiLABLe! There are over 600 photos from WildLife 2013 available for your online viewing and free downloading, if desired. The photos are available via a TWA account with Picasa, and the images are saved in a folder highlighting activities on Friday, July 12, and a folder highlighting activities on Saturday, July 13. The images can be accessed via a link in the TWA Convention section of the TWA website at www.texas-wildlife.org A CD of audio recordings of WildLife 2013 activities is available for ordering. The disc features complete audio of the the following events. The disc features complete audio of the the following events: • TWA Foundation Luncheon – “Frontiers: Exploring Space & Natural Texas” • TWA Joint Membership and Directors Meeting • Texas Big Game Awards Statewide Sportsman’s Celebration • Wildlife Education Concurrent Session Seminars • TWA General Session and Awards Luncheon • TWA Estate Planning Workshop The CD from Rollin’ Recording is $39, plus postage/handling and taxes. A link to order the audio recordings is available in the TWA Convention section of the TWA website at www.texas-wildlife.org




september 2013

2013 SCHEDULE SEPTEMBER 19 Deer Antlers as a Management Tool David Hewitt OCTOBER 17 Wild Turkey Management Jim Cathey NOVEMBER 14 Wild Pig Management Billy Higginbotham DECEMBER 12 Songbird Management Cliff Shackelford The Texas Wildlife Association and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension sponsor lunchtime webinars one Thursday of each month. If you are not able to attend the live webinar, each presentation is archived on the TWA website.

It’s Easy! On the day of the webinar, simply go to https://texas-wildlife.webex.com, and click on the title of the webinar you wish to attend. The webinar series provides sound, sciencebased 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.

QUESTIONS? Contact Clint Faas at (210) 826-2904 or cfaas@texas-wildlife.org


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Expansion of

White-winged Doves and Eurasian Collared-Doves in Texas article by Todd Steele Photo by Todd Steele


Photo by Todd Steele

White-winged dove

Why whitewings have expanded outside the Lower Rio Grande Valley

Eurasian collared-dove


is not only blessed with the nation’s largest number of doves but also in the variety of species that can be hunted. Currently, Texans may hunt four different doves, which include the popular mourning dove, the white-tipped dove of extreme South Texas, the expanding white-winged dove, and the imported Eurasian collared-dove. Of the latter two, their populations are greatly expanding across the state, offering new hunting opportunities for Texans. The impact of dove hunting in Texas cannot be overstated; it is colossal! Consider these figures from a 2006 study conducted by Southwick Associates, Inc. for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Dove hunting in the state represents direct retail sales of over $177 million and has an overall impact of $316 million. Dove hunting generates over 3,000 jobs in the private sector, and $21 million goes into the local sales tax revenue. It is no wonder that Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has allocated a significant amount of effort and resources into our dove hunting and has been proactive in gathering sound science and gauging the expectations of our hunting community. This year, we will see the dividends of TPWD efforts in the expansion of the special white-winged dove season, essentially doubling the size of the hunting zone this coming September. To explain how we got the expanded zone, one must first understand how the whitewings exploded across the state.


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There were several million white-winged doves isolated within 10 counties in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) in the early 1900s. They nested in thick riparian forests bordering the lower Rio Grande River. Beginning in 1920, agriculture began to rapidly expand in the valley, and the landscape went from rural to agricultural in relatively short order. The whitewings

Photo by David Sams

adapted to the agricultural terrain, nesting in large colonies in the dense canopies of citrus orchards. Then a series of hard freezes began to kill the citrus trees, starting in the 1950s, then again in 1960s. The final blow that impacted the valley’s citrus industry occurred during the sustained freezes of 1983 and 1989. Citrus acreage decreased from over 69,000 prior to 1983 to less than 20,000 in 1989; the citrus industry in the valley never recovered. During this period of citrus habitat loss, the white-winged dove had two choices: one, to retreat southward to nest in the thorn-scrub and semi-deciduous forests of Mexico; the other, to push into the uncharted territories to the north. Lucky for us, they choose the latter. Why the white-winged dove pushed northward is open to much speculation. “Ask 15 different people why the doves migrated north, and you will get fifteen different answers,” says Shaun Oldenburger, Webless Coordinator for the Small Game Program, which includes doves for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

White-wings adapt again

At one time, all of our white-winged dove exhibited strong migratory habitats, nesting in the LRGV and heading south with the onset of inclement weather. The white-winged doves that moved north, out of the LRGV, seem to have adapted to city life with limited migratory ways. The vast majority of the white-wings in the state

are now the newly adapted urban birds. “We now have two distinct populations of white-winged doves that behave very differently from each other,” says Dr. Bret Collier, research scientist and professor at Texas A&M University. Dr. Collier coins the new northern city birds “Urban Migratory Game Birds.” North America has few urban migratory birds, which makes this species unique. The new urban birds are showing “fidelity,” which means they are faithful to the breeding colonies and do not leave. The expansion of white-winged doves to other areas may be explained, in part, by the young being pushed out of their homes to take up residency in another town. Will we see another explosion in whitewings, as occurred during the peak 10-15 years ago? Probably not, but these birds are surprising everyone with their adaptability and range. Whitewings are still expanding their range and numbers, with the Pineywoods Region being the last region of the state that they have not occupied. However, they are just now beginning to show up in places like Carthage and Marshall. Perhaps, it is just a matter of time before they colonize this section of the state.

The city is a good place to live… if you’re a whitewing

As everyone knows, Texas has been locked in a drought for the past decade. Part of the whitewing’s favoritism with city life may be the plush life they have found

in neighborhoods loaded with sprinkler heads, swimming pools, birdbaths and feeders. The stress of raising a family in a drought is not nearly as severe when you have these creature comforts. The birds still prefer dense canopy in which to nest, and the older urban communities with more mature trees fit this requirement quite well. Not only have the birds shown a preference for the city, but also they may actually be following our highways in their expansion. Interstate 35, that runs between San Antonio-Austin complex to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is no longer vast stretches of rural land; rather it is a series of communities, some small, others large, that act as easy stepping stones for whitewings looking for new areas to colonize. If one looks at the whitewing population survey along I-35, they will see large numbers of the birds up and down the freeway. Although not as pronounced, the same can be observed on I-10 running west out of San Antonio, and Highway 59 running up from the LRGV through Victoria and El Campo – both with significant colonies of whitewings – all the way to Houston.

Whitewings are prolific, given the right conditions

“Whitewings are prolific, and they have to be, given they have an annual mortality rate of 45 percent,” says Oldenburger. They nest on average twice per season, which generally begins in May and lasts until




2013-2014 expansion of Special White-winged Dove Zone

each biologist covering 15 random spots per day. Across the state, over a hundred tpWD personnel conducted surveys for a number of years. The data collected and analyzed helped pave the way for the expansion of the whitewing hunting zone, doubling the hunting area to the east. (see diagram.)

Dates and bag limits for the Special White-winged Dove Zone

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Photo by David Sams

August, with clutch sizes of two eggs. eggs take about two weeks to incubate, and birds are generally fledged in another two weeks. Young are in and out the door in about a month, leaving the adult pair – monogamous for the season – enough time to brood and fledge another family. “texas now has an estimated 20 million white-winged doves,” says Corey mason, former Dove program Leader for tpWD. That is quite a jump from the 1930s, when only half a million existed in LrGV. In 1968, san Antonio was not even mentioned as having a white-winged dove population in the popular book “Whitewings,” written by Cottam and trefethan. today, san Antonio has a population exceeding one million whitewings.

Texas Parks and Wildlife capitalizes on the windfall of whitewings

Just because you see a lot of whitewings in an area, it is not justification for a change in the hunting season. Changes to seasons are only justified by research and data, and the process is never quick. The expansion of this season’s special white-winged dove season was over two-years in the making, headed by mason. Data was gathered for the dove survey using two main methodologies: the federallymandated call or coo count, and the urban data survey. The urban data survey involved biologists from around the state conducting surveys on doves – both visual and audible – for two minutes per random point, tallying all whitewings at that particular survey point. The surveys were conducted generally in may and June, with



september 2013

The dates for the special White-winged Dove area are september 1, 2, 7 and 8, from Noon to sunset. migratory Game bird Advisory Committee and tpWD selected the open weekends earlier this year, and the federal wildlife officials approved the expansion later in the summer. “This regulation change would allow more hunter opportunity on an expanding and increasing population of whitewinged doves in south texas,” said Oldenburger. At the same time, the United states Fish and Wildlife service (UsFWs) expressed concern about potential increased harvest of mourning doves in the whitewing area, as a result of the expansion – the new area holds more mourning doves. The UsFWs is mandating a two-bird daily bag limit reduction for mourning doves during the early season in the whitewing area, along with two white-tipped doves. The previous season’s daily bag limit during the early season was 15 doves, with no more than four mourning doves and two whitetipped doves. The regulation change would modify the daily bag limit to 15 doves, with no more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves. Currently 300,000 plus dove hunters harvest 1.3 million whitewinged doves in texas.

Outlook for the 2013-2014 season for white-winged doves

According to Oldenburger, the state outlook for white-wings is looking very good. most of the state has received favorable weather for both whitewings and mourning doves, translating to a good crop of young birds. even though texas is still in a drought, scattered rain through the summer have helped crops in many areas, contributing to the success of dove populations throughout the state. Hunters in the right areas will see an abundance of birds this year, especially around urban areas with established birds.

Eurasian Collared-doves in Texas

The other “newcomer” to texas is the eurasian collared-dove. The dove originates from the Indian sub-continent, turkey, and the balkans. They were imported into the bahamas in the 1970s, and then the birds made their way into Florida. The first eurasian collared-dove was noted in texarkana in 1995; from there, they jumped south to the Houston-Galveston area and west to the transpecos region. Ornithologists call this “jump dispersal,” where a few birds travel long distances to establish a new population. Currently, they are found in just about every county in texas, but nowhere in numbers of the white-winged dove. One estimate in 2004 estimated a statewide population of 200,000 eurasian collared-doves. Their numbers have certainly expanded since that estimate in 2004. The towns of Lubbock, midland, and Amarillo have fairly large

Other Doves and Related Pigeons in Texas

There are 14 species of Columbidae occurring in North America north of mexico. In all, there are seven species of doves and pigeons native to texas. The two protected species of doves, with no open hunting seasons, are the diminutive ruddy (Common) Ground Dove and the Inca Dove. The two species of native pigeons – red-billed pigeon and band-tailed pigeon – are listed as legal game birds per federal and state guidelines. However, due to their limited numbers and distribution, there is no open season. The commonly seen rock pigeon (domestic pigeon) was introduced from europe in the early 1600s and, like the eurasian collareddove, it is considered feral, with no closed season or bag limits. The white-tipped dove is limited to extreme south texas. It is classed as a migratory species under the migratory bird treaty Act, but the texas population is migratory only because some fly back and forth across the rio Grande. most spend their lives within a small radius of a few miles. White-tipped doves fly low to the ground, often no more than 10 feet in the air. Their tendency is to walk rather than fly, and when you do see one in the air, it is generally a result of a flush rather than a pass over, as with other game doves. Not a great deal is known about this dove, but it is estimated that its range and population is stable. It is estimated that approximately 5,000 of these birds are harvested every season, more as an incidental take than a targeted dove. texas is home to a number of so-called “Grand slams,” ranging from the Grand slam Hunting package offered by tpWD; the grand slam of bay fishing, consisting of catching a legal redfish, flounder, and speck; the grand slam on teal, consisting of harvesting a bluewinged teal, green-winged teal, and cinnamon teal in the same day; to a multitude of grand slams on exotics. Not too far in the future, with the expansion of both the white-winged dove and eurasian collared-dove, landowners might consider offering leases for multiple species, including mourning doves, white-winged doves, white-tipped doves, rock pigeon and eurasian collared-doves – a “Grand slam” on doves!

Dove hunting generates over 3,000 jobs in the private sector, and $21 million goes into the local sales tax revenue. It is no wonder that Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has allocated a significant amount of effort and resources into our dove hunting and has been proactive in gathering sound science and gauging the expectations of our hunting community. Photo by Todd Steele

populations, and some outfitters in these areas are now offering hunts specific for eurasian collared-doves. because of the species’ feral status, not much research has been applied to collared-doves. They appear to be more prolific than other native species of doves. It has been observed that they nest yearround and will often start a new nest before their young have fledged on an established nest. Unlike whitewings, they are not gregarious and colonial, preferring to be in pairs or small flocks. This dove, too, may have proliferated by capitalizing on urban environments that provide a reliable source of cover, food, and water. They are frequently seen in small towns around grain elevators, feed stores, and livestock operations. There is no estimate of how many birds are shot in texas each year. because they are considered feral, they can be hunted yearround with no bag limit. You are not required to leave a wing on a dove. However, to quote Dr. Collier, “Hunters should err on the side of information. Leaving a wing on a dove – or rock pigeon – gives positive proof to a game warden on what you have bagged.” Also, you are required to have a valid hunting license in texas to shoot feral birds such as eurasian collared-doves.

Photo courtesy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department


White-tipped dove



Leopold intelligent tinkering BY STEVE NELLE

Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. Harmony with the land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and cut off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the water and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forest and mine the farm. The land is one organism. Its parts, like your own parts, compete with each other and cooperate with each other. The competitions are as much a part of the inner workings as the cooperations. You can regulate them – cautiously – but not abolish them. “The outstanding scientific discovery of the 20th century is not television or radio but rather the complexity of the land organism. Only those who know the most about it can appreciate how little is known about it. The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant “What good is it?” If the land as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? to keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” This passage is taken from an essay entitled, The Round River, which is often included in many editions of A Sand County Almanac. When Leopold speaks of conservation as harmony between men and land, he speaks of a mutually beneficial working partnership – man helping the land and the land

helping man. When Leopold speaks of the land, he means the entire complex of soil, water, plants, animals and the inner workings of these. The harmony he wrote about is not some fairy tale view of nature, but rather the relative sort of harmony that can also be discordant, and even harsh, at times. This type of harmony appreciates the ugly conflicts in nature, as well as the beautiful chords. Leopold emphasized the complex inner workings of the land as vitally important to the proper functioning of the whole machine that we call nature. He was aware that people often label certain unpopular plants as “weeds,” certain shrubs as “brush,” and certain animals as “vermin, pests and varmints.” He taught that these less-popular native plants, animals and insects are necessary parts, and without them, the land organism is incomplete and disfunctional. mesquite, cedar, broomweed, coyotes, cowbirds, rattlesnakes, termites, to name a few. He also acknowledged that man has been placed in the unique position to regulate the inner workings of the land. This regulation is what we call management – the manipulation of the system for a desired outcome. However, Leopold was quick to point out that these managerial regulations and manipulations of nature should be done carefully, cautiously and thoughtfully. seeking to abolish or eradicate certain native weeds, brush and varmints was unthinkable to Leopold. (early in his career, Leopold was a vocal proponent of predator eradication; a position that he later came to regret and reverse.)

This cautious regulation of natural processes is what Leopold described as “intelligent tinkering.” Any young boy with the curiosity and inclination to take apart machines quickly learns the necessity of keeping all the parts. Discarding or losing a seemingly insignificant part has rendered useless many a good machine, or at best, hindered the usefulness and efficiency of the machine. The skillful mechanic not only keeps all the parts but also learns the name, function, and characteristics of each part, and how they fit together and cooperate with other parts. The wise land manager is like a master mechanic or, even more so, like a skilled surgeon. He studies and understands the machine before he decides to fix or adjust the machine. Yet, the land organism is infinitely more complex than any machine and even more complex than the human body. We have the ability to fix most machines if they are broken; medical science has the ability to repair most injuries and treat many diseases. Those who wisely and properly regulate the mechanisms of the land to maintain the harmony and sustain the intricate balance are what we call land stewards. It is as much an art as it is a science, and it requires as much skill, dedication and wisdom as any profession on earth. One of the core purposes of the texas Wildlife Association is to support, encourage and promote the intelligent tinkering of texas lands for the benefit of all texans now and for generations to come.

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.



september 2013

Photo courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. www.aldoleopold.org.

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duke recounts Trip to Moon, early Lessons of Adventure Article by




he texas Wildlife Association Foundation (tWAF) welcomed astronaut and outdoorsman Charlie Duke of New braunfels at the Foundation’s 6th Annual Luncheon on July 12 at WildLife 2013. Duke, brigadier General UsAF (ret), shared his career path and journey to the moon in 1972, as well as some of his early memories of exploring the outdoors that sparked a lifelong passion for hunting and a desire for adventure. Duke was born in 1935 Charlotte, NC, and it was there, alongside his brother, that his sense of adventure developed. His early years of exploration were in the woods with his brother, armed with a small rifle. Over the years, his appreciation for the outdoors and hunting continued to develop, and his strong desire to serve his country steered him in the direction of attending the U.s. Naval Academy, after which he was commissioned into the U.s. Air Force. Thus, Duke’s life-long love of flying began. Over the years as fighter pilot and test pilot, he was encouraged by his commandant Chuck Yeager to become an Apollo astronaut. During his NAsA career, Duke was directly involved in Apollo 11 as support crew and Capcom, in Apollo 13 as backup lunar modular pilot, in Apollo 16 as lunar module pilot, in Apollo 17 as backup lunar module pilot, and in space shuttle operations. It was on April 20, 1972, during the Apollo 16 mission, when Duke became the 10th man to walk on the moon. He was also the youngest, at age 36, to walk on the moon. Launched from the Kennedy space Center in Florida, the mission lasted 11 days, 1 hour, and 51 minutes, and it concluded on April 27. Duke and Captain John W. Young, commander, spent more than 20 hours exploring the moon, and Duke shared footage of their rover-2 (lunar car) that is still where they left it (Duke joked that he knew where one could get a $2 million car, with a dead battery). The rover-2 isn’t the only thing that remains on the moon from his trip. Duke also left a picture of his family, as well as a commemorative medal issued by the United states Air Force, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary in 1972. Duke remarked several times how much he admired the education programs that tWAF supports and how he thinks everyone needs to

spend more time outside, especially our youth. For some, going out hunting or fishing seems as far away as going to the moon – tWAF is making a difference and connecting texans to the land. proceeds from the Luncheon support the texas Wildlife Association Foundation, Inc., as it increases natural resource literacy and promotes conservation and educational programs that connect texans to the land. If you would like to learn more about Charlie Duke, you may visit his website: www.charlieduke.net.

SAn AnTOniO LiVeSTOCk eXpOSiTiOn, inC.

san Antonio Livestock exposition, Inc. (s.A.L.e.) is a founding partner of texas Wildlife Association’s Conservation Legacy stewardship venture, and it remains the largest supporter of the Conservation Legacy effort. s.A.L.e. is a volunteer organization that emphasizes agriculture and education to develop the youth of texas. s.A.L.e. representatives congratulated Jill Keierleber at the tWAF Luncheon for receiving one of the five “excellence in education” scholarships that s.A.L.e. sponsors for students entering college who are majoring in degrees related to Agriculture and Natural resources. Additional scholarships are awarded to outstanding educators who model innovative approaches to incorporating natural resources into their classrooms.



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DOVE CAMO Article and photos by rALpH WiningHAM


light-colored straw cowboy hat worn during a dove hunt about 20 years ago near Karnes City was all the proof that benny Lyssy needed to be convinced of the necessity of camouflage. “I was out on a hunt with Alton moczygemba and Jim Harris, and I was wearing a light straw hat. The doves avoided me like the plague. “I also know for a fact that sitting on a white bucket will make a difference in the number of birds that come to you – especially, if there are not many birds,’’ Lyssy said. One of the founders of the Karnes County rotary Club Lonesome Dove Fest, which attracts about 8,000 hunters and families each year to celebrate the opening of the south Zone dove season, Lyssy said that selling and wearing camouflage gear is a big part of the festival. “We’ve gone through several versions throughout the years, and I don’t know if any of them are better than the others,’’ he said. “my favorite is the GameGuard that looks like mesquite leaves and cactus – it just kind of looks like texas. “What is most important is that you break up the background, so it makes it harder for the doves to see you.”

Whether he is helping supply the festival participants with gear at the event, which takes place at the Karnes County Youth show barn Grounds from sept. 20-21 this year, or is testing his shotgun skills in the field, Lyssy said he is certain that camouflage is a must for doves. “I always wear camo now, you won’t see me out there in a straw hat again,’’ he said. While the Lonesome Dove Fest official gear started out with a light tan shirt, through the years they have gone through a variety of camouflage patterns. short-sleeved shirts from Columbia realtree and Horn mesa patterns to the GameGuard Hunter have been used as official Lonesome Dove Fest gear. In addition, the thousands of hunters who flock to the Karnes County event every year have been seen wearing all types of Advantage, mossy Oak, realtree and other camouflage brands in the field. some even favor the U.s. Army’s latest standard issue Universal Camouflage pattern, also referred to as Digital Camouflage. As a side note for those former military members who remember the days when military camouflage came in two versions – green for fighting in areas of foliage and brown for desert combat – there are now 10

separate camouflage patterns for different branches of the service. According to the Washington post, a twoyear, $319,000 study by the marine Corps started the move to specialized camouflage, which was followed by a $2.63 million study conducted by the Army. Not to be outdone, the Air Force spent another $3.1 million to develop its own ground combat uniform, which was eventually rejected in favor of the Army design. even with the military, camouflage seems to be a big-dollar item. On the everyday retail side of the issue, both camouflage clothing and firearms are a hot selling item each year before the dove season, with buyers across the state apparently as convinced as Lyssy that camo does make a difference. Dave morrison, small game program director for the texas parks and Wildlife Department, said he has observed that the camouflage clothing and gear market has exploded in recent years, but said there is no scientific evidence any particular pattern is better than another. “All these different kinds of camouflage didn’t exist 30 years ago. back then, we just wore browns and drab colors, and I killed

Blending into the sandy shores of a stock tank near Three Rivers, Jim Winingham wears a light-colored camouflage shirt as he waits for a limit of mourning doves to come into range.

By staying behind a hay bale set up to hide hunters at the Nooner Ranch near Hondo and wearing a long-sleeved camouflage shirt, the author tricks big flights of white-winged doves into shooting range during a fall hunt.



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A little cool time in the shade is more important than the type of camouflage they are wearing to, from left, Bill Provine, Jimmy Dean and Bob Donahue, who were waiting to test their shotgun skills against mourning doves coming into a water tank near Coleman.


as many doves then as I do now when I’m wearing camo. “The key is to blend into the background so you don’t look like a predator. There is no question if you blend in and don’t move, it will help keep the birds coming in,’’ he said. Morrison said that while the camouflage market is driven more by an effort to impress customers rather than to fool birds, disguising a hunters profile is always a good idea. “Doves do not see color the way people see color. It probably isn’t a good idea to wear light orange, but any pattern of drab, dark colors will help hide your shape,’’ he said. Some outfitters like Sammy Nooner of the Nooner Ranch near Hondo offer a little assistance to their hunters wanting to hide from the birds, by placing large round bales of hay along flyways, Morrison said. “By standing behind the hay bales, the hunter takes away or hides the shape of a predator from the birds,’’ he said. One of the biggest give away alerting birds of someone planning to intercept their flight with a well-placed load of shotgun pellets is the hunter’s face, Morrison said. “A person’s upturned face can shine like a

beacon. The birds can see that and will turn away,’’ he said. Hunting conditions can also be a factor as to whether camouflage will give away a hunter’s position, according to Shaun Oldenburger, dove/crane program leader for TPWD. “If the birds are coming into a very good food plot, you may be able to get away with wearing blue jeans and a light shirt,’’ he said. “Other times, you must break up your outline and blend into the landscape, or you won’t get any shooting.”

Oldenburger said the limited studies on what doves can see and can’t see has determined that while the birds, like waterfowl, can distinguish some colors, they mainly see a broad spectrum of grays or blacks. The various patterns of camouflage available on the market today probably are indistinguishable from a bird’s eye view, he added. “It is much more important to just sit still,’’ Morrison said.

The various types and shades of camouflage shirts that have been official Karnes County Lonesome Dove Fest gear over the years demonstrate that much of the market is driven by enticing buyers, rather than fooling birds.

HUNTING SEASON The North and Central Zones (generally the areas north of Interstate 10 and U.S. 90) will open on Sept. 1, and the South Zone opener has been set this year on Sept. 20. There has been no change in the daily bag limit, which remains 15 birds of any combination of mourning or white-winged doves, including no more than two whitetipped doves. The Special White-Winged Dove Area has been expanded to include all of the area south of U.S. 90 and west of Interstate 37. During the two weekends of the special season (Sept. 7-8 and 14-15), the daily bag limit in the area will be 15 doves, including no more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves. Hunters who harvest a banded bird are being asked to call (800) 3272263 with information about their bagged bird, in an attempt to assist wildlife biologists in determining age and flight pattern information on mourning and white-winged doves populations.




Sporting Dogs

Old Girl



uring her fifth or sixth dog years to human years, season, you notice a adjusted for size and breed little gray on her muzzle and – and arrive at mid-thirties. admit to yourself that she’s Hell, Peyton Manning. Surely you can work in a no longer a pup. Yet, she’s unstoppable – old enough to trip to Arizona for desert have seen it all, and young quail next season. Eight enough to take full advantage months later, of her experience. on opening day, she’s You’ll hunt her all struggling by midmorning, let her lay about morning. Well, it’s warm, during lunch, and, if gray the cover is rank, and she’s hasn’t yet come to your chin not yet in fighting shape. But she’s barely trotting, stubble, you’ll chafe during the early afternoon, knowing and, at times, walking very well that you ought to through the heavier cover. let her rest a bit longer. Yet, By lunchtime, she looks you give in and put her back miserable, exhausted. For down in the afternoon heat. once, you exercise a bit of And, she just gets stronger, discipline and leave her tongue lolling as she blasts resting in her box until late Chance, a rat terrier owned by Donny Lynch of Marshall, Texas, getting through rank grass and afternoon. Surely Witching it done in his eleventh season. When Chance lost sight in one eye, Donny brush, until she locks up Hour will bring her around. made the difficult decision to retire the fine old campaigner, even though his and seems to hold her breath It doesn’t. Back in camp, desire remained as strong as ever. A scrape with a ‘coon could have left him completely blind. After a life of service and friendship, our elderly hunting dogs until you get to her and flush she limps about, stands at deserve our utmost care and respect. the birds. She’ll fetch your the tailgate, waiting for you downed bobwhites and then to lift her into her box. fidget, while you make her sit and catch her her side and then dozes on her feet, while The veterinarian declares her fine, breath and lap water from your hand or the you cut her boots off. She’s snoring in her just a little beat-up, and then politely little cup you carry in your vest. box by the time you’ve cased your gun recommends pre-season conditioning. You Then, she’s off again, and you pick yourself and fetched a soft drink from the cooler. resist the urge to recommend that he look up from the sparse shade and wonder She’ll do it all again tomorrow, but after his waiting room full of Chihuahuas, how many miles she’s covered. When the on the drive home, she’s gimpy when teacup Yorkies, and assorted other lapWitching Hour arrives – that last hour of you let her out at the rest stop. But who yappers. Yet, after the defensiveness wears the day’s hunt, when furtive rustling of wouldn’t be after all that hard work? off, you recall (and admit) that your last night things begins, and birds are hurrying You lift her onto the tailgate, stroke her two middle-aged bird dogs required more to stuff their crops before going to roost, brush-tattered ears, wipe the goo from than a few hour-long romps to get ready and scent hangs in the cooling air – she the corners of her eyes. She wags her tail for hunting season. Sure enough, your beloved old girl finds another gear. Shotgun muzzles flash when you put your face to hers, yet seems orange in the gloaming as you take those relieved to go back into her box. toughens up. By mid-season, she’s doing last two singles. You tell yourself that she’s still in her the best work of her career, although Back at the truck, she drinks lying on prime and do the mental arithmetic – you’re resting her more. A hard morning’s



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sporting dogs

work and the last two hours of the day don’t seem to hurt her. In February, an ice storm turns a West Texas river bottom into a crystalline jungle. She busts the frozen cover, and finds coveys in open, sunny patches, where they’re late coming off their roosts. Steam rises from her back when she points. She finds a fourth covey, and her hindquarters fail when she locks up, but she holds the birds, and you take one on the rise. She tries to get her feet beneath her to go look for the downed bird, but you kneel and hold her while your buddy’s dog handles the retrieving. After a few minutes of rest, she’s able to stand. You start back to the truck, keeping her at heel. On the ranch road, with the truck in sight, she leaps into the ditch and points, tail down, hindquarters trembling. A single bobwhite flushes. You miss with both barrels, break open your over-under, and carry your old girl to the truck. You should start a pup. But, the mere thought feels perfidious. The following December, she’s looking good, nailing blue quail on the sunny agave f lats in southern New Mexico. Two hours in the morning and two just before dark, with frequent water breaks. Your buddy’s young dogs work the long midday stretches. She’s having a little trouble hearing your whistle above the desert wind. Near sunset, she’s working a quarter mile out when you blow your whistle. She jerks her head up and looks about. You hit your whistle again and wave, but she doesn’t see you. She cocks her head at the third whistle blast, then takes off in the opposite direction. Half an hour later, you’re standing on a hill, looking out over a darkening desert, nearly blowing the pea out the top of your whistle. It’s getting cold, but that’s not why your lips are trembling. Your girl is lost in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, and it’s nearly dark. Your buddy is standing with you, saying little. “I’ll stay out here all night,” you say, voice nearly shot. “We ain’t going anywhere. I’ll run back to the truck and fetch our coats.” Only the faintest pink glow shows behind the mountains when you hear the tinkle of your old girl’s brass bell in

the sage below. She did what you prayed attention, and the two of you walk back she’d do: cast about until she picked up to the truck. Back home, on a mild, late-winter your back trail. Your buddy laughs and slaps your back. Your girl trots up the hill, evening, you’re having a drink on the tail wagging. “There you are. I’ve been back porch. Your old girl gets up and sniffing all over for you.” It’s dark now, hobbles to the screen door. She looks but you wouldn’t care if your buddy could north, above the neighboring houses. Her see that you’re barely holding it together, nostrils quiver. She pricks her ears and furrows her brow, as if remembering, or and he knows anyway. Another year passes. There are blood seeing some apparition on the dusky sky. You don’t need to check your watch. tests and prescriptions for arthritis. Your old girl is appalled the night the Witching hour has arrived. new puppy comes through the front door. For a few days, she makes a show of ignoring the upstart, or growling when her space is invaded. In a week, she’s enduring endless bedevilment, and even playing with the pup when she’s in a good mood. She’s good for an hour or so in easy cover now. You work the pup during the day, and save your old girl for the Witching Hour. At lunchtime, you let her out of her box to luxuriate in the sun-warmed sand of a dry creek. She no longer hears your whistle, but seems to pick up your voice. That’s no problem; she doesn’t range far now. Another season and summer pass. The young dogs are doing all the work now, but you won’t leave your old girl at home. She rides in the cab of the truck. Instead of camping, you rent a cheap motel room so she can rest on the bed, next to the heater. After lunch, you follow her on a short, slow walk out into the pasture. She moseys on arthritic legs, snuff ling in likely cover, bobtail whipping, and you wonder how much of your own life you’d give up for one more point and retrieve. A couple hundred yards from Ditto, a Catahoula-pit bull cross, was a legendary hog dog. He hunted into old age with Pate Meinzer of Knox County, the truck, she stops, as if Texas. A hard charging dog doesn’t realize that he’s slowing considering something out with middle age. It’s up to the hunter to take those limitations on the horizon. You gently into account. pat her f lank to get her



FiSH & FiSHing

What’s In Your Pond’s Watershed? Article and photos by Dr. BiLLY HigginBotHAM, Professor and Extension Wildlife and Fisheries Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Excessive nutrients entering a pond from the watershed can cause excessive aquatic weed growth.


y definition, a watershed is the “area of land where all of the precipitation that drains off of it goes into the same place.” I often tell landowners that “all runoff eventually drains to the Gulf of mexico,” meaning that texas, and well beyond, is one big watershed. Do you know the watershed that feeds your pond, and do you know what is going on in that watershed? If not, what you don’t know can hurt you in terms of drainage into your pond. When a pond is built, careful consideration should be given to the watershed. The first consideration is certainly its size. Watersheds that are too small cannot drain enough runoff to keep the pond at or near full pool during normal precipitation years. Conversely, too large of a watershed could lead to problems when high rainfall events occur, which could compromise the dam, resulting in damage or complete washout of the structure. Another important consideration is to determine what activities occur in the watershed that feeds your impoundment(s) and their potential impacts on water quality. Are you in control of that activity, or are you at the mercy of upstream landowners? The problem is that watershed activity changes over time as land use changes, which can have either positive or negative implications for you pond and its fish populations. The habitat for a fish population is primarily composed of the water in that pond. I often tell landowners that you can build the best pond money can buy, stock it with the best fish, and still succumb to failure, if the water quality and/or quantity is deficient. One example of watershed impact is eutrophication. This occurs when excessive nutrients from the watershed enter a pond.



Large concentrations of livestock penned or, otherwise, held in the immediate area above the pond can lead to problems with nutrients. Another example is when hay meadows and pastureland are fertilized. Heavy runoff rains shortly after either of these examples can leach nutrients and deposit them in the pond. In the presence of sunlight and water, these nutrients can be manifested into severe algal blooms that can lead to oxygen depletions and/or unwanted aquatic vegetation growth. Likewise, any pesticide used in the watershed has the potential of entering your pond under the right circumstances. In the case of herbicides applied in the watershed during the summer months, aquatic vegetation or algal blooms could be killed, if they are also susceptible to that compound, and potentially result in an oxygen depletion and fish die-off. However, without a doubt, the biggest obstacle from unmanaged watersheds is erosion that serves to “muddy up” our ponds. I receive many phone calls and emails from landowners whose ponds went from “pretty to ugly” following a significant rainfall event. Aesthetics aside, let’s look at the implications of sedimentation and/or turbidity that watershed erosion can cause. First and foremost, excessive sedimentation via erosion reduces the volume of water the pond can hold. This could be an issue for a livestock producer’s cattle that depend on that pond for a water source. The major concern from a fish population standpoint is more related to the turbidity issue. For catfish ponds where the fish are regularly fed a floating fish population, visibility into the water column is not important. However, for pond owners interested in

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largemouth bass, persistent turbidity due to erosion of clay soils in the watershed poses a big threat to overall pond health and the performance of the fish population subjected to reduced visibility. Largemouth bass are sight-feeding predators; and, therefore, need about 18 to 24 inches of visibility to make a living. Likewise, the aquatic food chain that begins with phytoplankton (single-celled algae) and ends with the fish you like to catch, also needs some light penetration into the water column to develop. Water the color of peanut butter short circuits both. While many ponds may turn muddy following runoff rains, most “clear,” to some degree, after a few days. If not, Job One is to take a look at the watershed for areas of erosion, and take steps to vegetate those areas. If the cause is more pervasive, perhaps, overgrazing across the entire watershed, reduced stocking rates or complete rest of the watershed may be necessary. regardless, it does little good to take steps to clear a pond if the source of that turbidity is not addressed first. Only then should the pond be cleared, usually with applications of gypsum or alum. pond health is certainly a function of watershed health. Well-vegetated watersheds go a long way toward preventing problems. If the watershed includes cropland, the landowner’s best defense is to maintain vegetative buffers between the pond and the arable land within the watershed to lessen the impacts of excessive nutrients and sedimentation due to soil erosion. We rely on watersheds to feed our ponds. but, how we manage activities in that watershed goes a long way in determining if a healthy pond fish population can thrive and remain sustainable.



A COMPARISON BETWEEN TWO DESERT QUAILS Article and photos by riCHArD C. tEMpLE, Research Assistant and LOUIS A. HARVESON, Director –Borderlands Research Institute


exas is one of the few states in the nation that boasts viable populations of four quail species (Northern bobwhite Quail, scaled Quail, Gambel’s Quail, and montezuma Quail) – all of which can be found in the trans-pecos region of West texas. For over 15 years, researchers with the borderlands research Institute have been studying quail populations of West texas, with special emphasis on the desert quail species (scaled, Gambel’s, and montezuma). based on our field studies, we provide below a comparison The distinguishable black between the more popular of the quail quarry of mask and plume of the male Gambel’s Quail make West texas sportsmen: scaled and Gambel’s. it difficult to confuse with Like white-tailed deer and mule deer, Gambel’s any other Texas quails. and scaled Quail are close relatives, both Female Gambel’s Quail have similar appearances, belonging to the genus Callipepla. Hybrids can less the black mask. occur between the species, but they are extremely rare. scaled Quail can be found throughout texas, New mexico, eastern Arizona and northern mexico. Gambel’s Quail are found in the deserts of Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New mexico, Nevada, southern California, northern mexico, and texas. However, the geographic range of scaled Quail overlaps that of the Gambel’s Quail here in the trans-pecos region of texas. scaled Quail can be found throughout the trans-pecos below 6,500 feet, and they inhabit arid and semi-arid lowlands of sparse lowScaled Quail are sexually monomorphic, that is, they growing shrubs in relatively flat or rugged are difficult to differentiate terrain. scaled Quail prefer more open grasslands gender from a distance. consisting of perennial bunchgrasses, scattered Scaled Quail receive their name from the “scaling with low shrubs and cacti, and less shrub cover pattern” of feathers, as than that preferred by Gambel’s Quail. Unlike noted by the body feathers scaled Quail, the distribution of Gambel’s Quail of this Scaled Quail. in West texas is limited to the upper rio Grande from el paso to southeastern terrell County, where large numbers of Gambel’s Quail can be found at elevations ranging from 2,500 to 3,900 feet along floodplains and bottoms of the rio Grande tributaries and along the numerous intermittent streams. Gambel’s Quail are an arid-land species endemic to hot and dry

habitats found in the Chihuahuan Desert and require significantly more woody vegetation than do scaled Quail. Gambel’s Quail roost in dense shrubs or small trees, and mast makes up a greater percentage of their diet, compared to that of scaled Quail. Gambel’s Quail roost sites vary by season but typically include netleaf hackberry, littleleaf sumac, mesquite, and various acacias. Gambel’s Quail eat a variety of foods, depending on seasonal availability, but like scaled Quail, they are primarily granivorous. both species eat a wide array of foods, including seeds, herbaceous vegetation, and grains. However, scaled Quail typically utilize a larger proportion of insects in their diet than Gambel’s Quail utilize. more than 90 percent of a Gambel’s Quail diet can consist of plant materials. The most important of these are seeds of annual forbs and soft mast of woody perennials, which generally make up 60 percent of a Gambel’s Quail annual diet. Consumption of forb seeds for both quail species are most important in the spring and summer months, while the consumption of vegetation (e.g., leaves, buds, flower parts, sprouts) becomes increasingly important in the winter months. scaled Quail nesting season may last from April through september but, generally, peaks in June. However, scaled Quail may delay nesting activity until the onset of summer rains in late June, July, or even as late as August. The nesting season for Gambel’s Quail can vary depending on rainfall, but usually begins in April and ends in June or July. The location and structure of scaled Quail nests can be extremely variable. Common nest sites for scaled Quail are generally located in a shallow depression in the ground, lined with grass or other stems, with an overstory of some sort that provides shade. Nests are often placed under plants such as tobosa grass, prickly pear, and various yuccas. Unlike scaled Quail, Gambel’s Quail nests are simply a depression in the litter near the base of a shrub. Gambel’s Quail are more shrub-tolerant than scaled Quail, and herbaceous cover is not as important to Gambel’s Quail. Home ranges for scaled Quail coveys are generally larger than that of Gambel’s Quail. In the trans-pecos region of texas, scaled Quail home ranges can average about 320 to 640 acres in size, whereas, Gambel’s Quail home ranges typically average 45 to 235 acres. However, the home range of a quail can vary depending on availability of food, cover, and time of year. While neither quail is migratory, they can make periodic long-distance movements. Although not common, it is most likely to occur during spring dispersal (march and April).

TransPecos Banks

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tHAnK YoU!



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back in 1989, at the YO ranch Hilton in Kerrville. I can still recall how in awe I was back then, meeting folks like Larry Weishuhn, David Langford, Charly mctee and many others; being able to meet people who embodied the kind of things that inspired me back then and embody the kind of things that continue to inspire me today.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Texas Wildlife Association President Greg Simons presented the following President’s Address during the General Session and Awards Luncheon on July 13 at WildLife 2013.


A few years ago, I was watching a program on television; it was on public speaking, and they had this expert on there. I never will forget his words, when he said, “The human brain is a wonderful organ. It begins functioning when you are born and it continues to work all the way up until it is time for you to give a speech.” so, before I begin to resemble that statement, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce a few individuals. Would marko barrett, J. David Anderson, and Dr. Louis Harveson please stand. Ladies and gentlemen, these individuals represent the other three Officers of the texas Wildlife Association, and I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and working alongside them over the next year or two. Let’s please give them a round of applause. Words cannot do justice in trying to describe how I feel right now. I am so incredibly humbled to stand here before you right now, and I feel so incredibly honored to serve this organization and its members in this capacity. I initially joined tWA back in 1986, while I was still in college. It does not seem that long ago that I attended my first tWA Convention,



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Growing up on the banks of the east Fork of the trinity river in Kaufman County, I was raised a modest lifestyle. my dad was a fireman, and while I was in college at A&m, my mother cleaned houses so that they could afford to send me to school to pursue my dream of obtaining a wildlife management degree. The ranch that I grew up on was our three-acre ranch. Obviously, three acres does not really constitute a ranch, but for a 6, 7, 8, 9-year old boy, during those early formative years, those three acres represented my little ranch. Located on the east end of those three acres was a tree-line that ran down the edge of our property line and dumped into a larger block of woods. And in the middle of that tree-line stood a large post oak tree that was largest tree in that area. I can recall spending hours underneath that big post oak, shooting at every bird that was within reasonable or even unreasonable distance of my bb gun. And I can recall, when I had just turned 7, shortly before his death, my grandfather telling me, “You best leave those mockingbirds alone, and only shoot the sparrows and starlings.” to say I had trigger itch back during those days would be an colossal understatement, I assure you! I eventually graduated up to the old benjamin pump pellet gun, and then to a savage .22 and .410 over and under. I took many a squirrel at that spot where the big post oak still stands today. That particular spot represented this incredible sense of place to me. And it still does today. I think most of you can probably relate to what we are talking about, here. For some of you, that sense of place may be along the back sendero in south texas, or a small pond behind your home, or even in an inner-city park in Houston, texas, or perhaps a grand vista in West texas. Or, maybe for some of you, that sense of place is simply a particular deer stand that puts you in a state of mind that only you can fully comprehend and appreciate how that makes you feel. It should be our endeavor to hope that someday, all kids will have an opportunity to experience a sense of place that involves some type of outdoor setting. This sense of place I am talking about is certainly one of the fundamental ingredients in helping to advance conservation value.

We must recognize that it is not only important for our mission to be relevant to those people in rural texas, but it is also very important for our mission to be relevant to those citizens who live in those metro areas and to those legislators who represent those urban districts. Diversity in our membership allows us to help bridge that gap.

Another fundamental ingredient in advancing conservation value is the importance of community, or in this case, what we might refer to as sense of Community. It’s interesting to me that when you have interaction of individuals that make up a group, or make up a community, it’s this interaction that often creates synergies. These synergies create values. And value is often the precursor of action, or in this case, conservation action. Uniquely, our tWA community, from a membership standpoint, is one that we often refer to as our proverbial big tent. And in many ways, tWA is a very large tent. The spirit of our mission spans many different stakeholder groups and many different stakeholder interests. Th is, in itself, can sometimes inherently be a recipe for challenge and can sometimes be a recipe for confl ict. but that’s okay. simply put, tWA cannot always be everything, to everyone, all of the time. Despite the diversity that exists within the stakeholder interests of our organization, we tend to lack diversity in other areas. When you look at the percentage of women that make up our membership, though we have gained a little ground in this area over the last few years, we are still lacking. When you look at the percentage of young adults, those in college or freshly out of college; when you look at our ethnic diversity…Folks, we need to do a better job at developing a better formula for addressing these shortfalls. It is my sentiment that this diversity provides us with a unique platform to amplify our voice to reach larger and broader audiences.

“Conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public’s interest.” -­‐ Aldo Leopold

A third aspect of advancing conservation value, especially in a state like texas, is the relevance of private lands. Not only is it important for us to recognize, promote, and celebrate the vast and diverse values of wildlife that are produced on our private lands, but it is also extremely important for those landowners to be rewarded for their stewardship practices that sustain those resources and sustain those values. Aldo Leopold, who was an intellectual giant in the history of our Conservation Community, summed it up well in 1934, when he claimed, “Conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public’s interest.” I think it’s amazing how contemporary this philosophy remains today. This three-pronged approach, that I just described, is a fundamental recipe for advancing conservation value in texas. And we must always remember that a society that is lacking conservation value is a society that is certainly destined for third-world greatness. When I think of tWA, I think of an organization that is in the business of advancing conservation value, but we must learn to play this game even smarter, and we must learn how to play this game even harder.

We will continue to be a good steward of our mission. We will continue to be a good steward of our values. And we will continue to fight a good fight whenever it is necessary. And we will not, let me repeat, we will not back down from, waiver from, or compromise these three principles. That, i assure you! WWW.texAs-WILDLIFe.OrG



A D VA N C I N G C O N S E RVAT I O N VA LU E Quickly changing gears, I want to briefly share with you what a few of my visions are for tWA over the next few years. These are not goals, but are visions that I hope will be embraced by each of you in this room, as well as by our membership, in general.

regarding immediate needs, as many of you know, this Convention is far and away our biggest fundraiser of the year. With this in mind, I have a few requests. Number 1: During tonight’s auction, I want you to raise your hand so high and so often that you feel like you are playing a tap dance on the ceiling of this room. Number 2: For years, Dr. Wallace Klussmann had busted his tail sitting out here in the hallway holding out his tin cup asking for us to make a contribution to our important pAC fund, and for years we have rewarded him with a modest contribution. Ladies and gentlemen, when you consider what’s at stake…private lands, hunting, and our important wildlife resources, there is absolutely no reason we why should not be able to raise a minimum of a $100,000 every year at this Convention for our tWApAC. I will pledge $2,500 right now out of my pocket, and I ask that each of you, when you leave this room, the first thing you do is go see Dr. Klussmann at our pAC booth. I beg you….I plead with you….please help us today with these immediate needs.



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1. First, I look forward to tWA placing more emphasis on assuming a more creative and enterprising approach at generating revenue, growing our programs, and deploying our mission. 2. I look forward to tWA placing more emphasis on engaging our broad leadership, especially with our Directors. 3. I look forward to tWA providing more landing platforms for those members who wish to participate in whatever fashion uniquely suits them, whether that be through their time, their money, their various other resources, or their sphere of influence with their community of people. 4. I also look forward to tWA continuing to cultivate our existing partnerships, as well as exploring the possibilities of new partnerships and collaborative efforts with other groups, as a means of leveraging our resources. 5. And on January 13, 2015, at the start of the 84th texas Legislature, I look forward to the texas Wildlife Association providing visible strength at the Capitol of texas, advocating on behalf of landowners, advocating on behalf of hunters, and advocating on behalf of our state’s amazing natural resources.

-­‐ Aldo Leopold

In closing, I want to quickly reflect back on a time in texas history. The year was 1836. shortly after crossing over into texas, a man from tennessee sat down and penned a letter that he sent home to his son and daughter. In this letter, he wrote, “I must say as to what I’ve seen of texas, it is the garden spot of the world. The best land and best prospects for health I ever saw.” Less than two months after writing that letter, David Crockett died at the battle of the Alamo, just a few miles from where I stand right now. Obviously, Crockett recognized texas as having an incredible sense of place. so incredible, that in fact, he was willing to give his life to fight for and try and defend these values and qualities. some 177 years later, I think it’s remarkable that we have a room full of people here today who recognize the same values and qualities that make texas a very special place for us all to call home.Thank you so much for all that you do for texas and for all that you do for texas Wildlife Association.

k Y n a ou h T 2013

Each year, the Texas Wildlife Association Annual Convention would not be complete without the support and generosity of our exhibitors and auction donors. This year’s vendors were on hand displaying their goods and services to the over 1,500 convention attendees. We would like to again say thank you to all who exhibited and we look forward to your continuing attendance and support. We would also like to give a big thank you to all the auction donors who provided great silent and live auction items to benefit your TWA!

www.texas-wildlife.org • (210) 826-2904



N E W T WA O F F I C E R S , DIRECTORS ELECTED AT BUSINESS MEETING ARTICLE BY GARY JOINER The texas Wildlife Association welcomed Greg simons of san Angelo as the organization’s 15th president, as well as three other Officers and 67 new board members, following elections on July 12 at the tWA Joint membership and Directors meeting.

TWA President Greg Simons of San Angelo addresses Members and Directors following his election as the organization’s 15th President.

Nearly 400 TWA Members and Directors attended the July 12 business meeting.

Outgoing TWA President Glen Webb (left) is thanked by TWA CEO Gary Joiner following his departing remarks to Members and Directors.



simons owns and operates Wildlife systems, Inc., a company he formed in 1987. Wildlife systems, Inc., based out of san Angelo, operates hunting and wildlife programs on approximately 800,000 acres of private land in texas. The company has been involved with hunting programs in several other states and forNew TWA Officers are (left to right) President Greg eign countries, as well. simons is a WildSimons of San Angelo (one-year term), Vice President Marcus T. Barrett IV of San Antonio (one-year life & Fisheries sciences degree graduate term), Second Vice President for Programs Dr. Louis of texas A&m University. Harveson of Alpine (three-year term), and Treasurer simons previously served the texas J. David Anderson of Houston (one-year term). Wildlife Association as Vice president, secretary, and treasurer. He succeeds Glen Webb of Abilene as president, following Webb’s completion of his second oneyear term as president. simons defeated mike murski of Dallas in a ballot election for tWA president (2013-2014). murski was nominated for tWA president from the floor. It was the first contested election for tWA president in the organization’s history. tWA Directors vote on all tWA Officer elections. TWA Director Mike Murski of Dallas, a floor “I am so incredibly humbled to nominee for TWA President, addresses the four stand here before you right now, and TWA Officers following the election of Officers I feel so incredibly honored to serve by TWA Directors. this organization and its members in this capacity,” said simons during and at Directors meetings in the future. his presidential Address to convenbarrett serves as a Geologist for barrett tion attendees. Other Officers elect- brothers Oil & Gas. Currently, he is part owned to serve the 6500-member state- er and wildlife manager of Las raices ranch wide organization were marcus t. in Webb County and the Lago escondido barrett IV of san Antonio – Vice ranch in medina County. president (one-year term), Dr. Dr. Harveson is the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Louis Harveson of Alpine – sec- endowed Director of the borderlands reond Vice president for programs search Institute for Natural resource manage(three-year term), and J. David ment at sul ross state University in Alpine, Anderson of Houston – treasurer texas. The borderlands research Institute (one-year term). focuses on assisting landowners and manIn addition, 67 individuals agers of west texas in managing the natural were elected to a three-year term resources they have been entrusted with. Dr. on the texas Wildlife Association Harveson is a professor of Wildlife manageboard of Directors (see list on ment at the university. page 31). Directors also rejected Anderson serves as the CeO of Andon spea proposed amendment to cialties Inc. and Andon energy services LLC the tWA by-laws that would in Houston. He joined tWA in 1993. He is have allowed voting proxies by also a member of st. Luke’s methodist Church Directors at the July 12 meeting board of stewards in Houston.

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T WA O F F I C E R S & DI R E C T O R S TWA Officers elected on July 12, 2013, to a one-year term were: President – Greg Simons, San Angelo Vice President – Marcus T. Barrett IV, San Antonio Second Vice President for Programs – Dr. Louis Harveson, Alpine Treasurer – J. David Anderson, Houston TWA Directors (67) elected on July 12, 2013, to a threeyear term ending in 2016 were: Andy Allen, Boerne Ernie Angelo, Midland Terry Anderson, Martinsville Hon. Katharine Armstrong Love, Austin Bradford Barnes, Fort Worth Rene Barrientos, San Antonio Susi Bell, Ingram Andrew Biar, Houston Mark E. Bivins, Amarillo Warren Bluntzer, Lometa Lamar Brown, Austin Dr. Larry Butler, Weatherford E.A. “Bud” Christy, San Antonio Hon. Susan Combs, Austin Alan Curry, San Angelo Ernie Davis, Cotulla Doug DuBois Jr., Austin Edward Farmer, Austin Milton S. Greeson Jr., Victoria Cecario “CG” Guererro, Houston Jeffrey Gunnels, Montalba Jay Harpole, Boerne Dr. Louis Harveson, Alpine Elliot G. Hayne, San Antonio Brian Hays, Gatesville Dr. Dave Hewitt, Kingsville Dr. Billy Higginbotham, Overton Richard S. Hill, Austin Timo Hixon, San Antonio W.H. Hoffmann Jr., Eastland Lee Hoffpauir, Lampasas Debbe Hudman, Albany Parker Johnson, Houston W.W. “Whit” Jones III, Hebbronville Buddy Jordan, Bulverde Hon. Kyle Kacal, College Station Wallace Klussmann, Fredericksburg Tucker Knight, Houston Jonathan Letz, Comfort Rob Lindsey, Goldthwaite Keith Martin, San Antonio Walter “Monty” Martin, Flower Mound

Mark Matthews, Hondo Kent Mills, Hermleigh Dr. Dan McBride, Alpine Heath McBride, Brady Dr. Robert McFarlane, Tennessee Colony Daniel A. Pedrotti, Corpus Christi Larry Pierce, Brenham Foster “Sims” Price, Sterling City Sue Price, Blooming Grove Nelson Harwood Puett, Austin Russell Rehmann, Austin Dr. Dale Rollins, San Angelo Joe Ruple, Charlotte Jenny Sanders, Freer Jackie Serbus, Bedford Kevin Smithhart, Lufkin Misty L. Sumner, Kent R.H. “Butch” Thompson, Kingsville Tamara Trail, Albany Karla Welch, Hebbronville Dr. Neal Wilkins, Corpus Christi William B. Wright Jr., Cisco Randy Wyatt, San Antonio William “Carl” Young, Georgetown Max Yzaguirre, Austin Other TWA Directors are: DIRECTORS EMERITUS Hefner Appling Jr., El Campo Richard Bennett, Batesville M. McLean Bowman, Carrizo Springs (Past President) Robert Bracken, Tilden Richard Butler, Karnes City (Past President) Charles M. Davidson, San Antonio (Past President) Ed Dutch, Marble Falls Derry T. Gardner, San Antonio (Past President) Luke C. Kellogg, Amarillo (Past President) Steve C. Lewis, San Antonio (Past President) Gary Machen, Pearsall (TWA Co-Founder) Paul E. McSween III, San Antonio (Past President) Murphy E. Ray Jr., Somerset (TWA CoFounder) Wallace “Happy” Rogers III, Carrizo Springs (Past President) Charles Schreiner IV, Salado Jimmie V. Thurmond III, San Antonio (Past President) Larry L. Weishuhn, Uvalde (TWA CoFounder) HONORARY DIRECTORS EMERITUS

James L. “Jaimie” Hayne Jr., San Antonio (Past President) A.C. “Dick” Jones IV, Corpus Christi

Connard Barker, Montgomery Marcus Barrett IV, San Antonio James Barrow, San Antonio Kenneth Bell, Spring Branch DIRECTORS (TERMS EXPIRING 2014) Mike Berger, Spring Curtis Anderson, Houston Albert Biedenharn, San Antonio J. David Anderson, Houston Al Bisbey, George West Thomas Arnim, San Antonio Christine Buford, Harlingen (Past Joe Baker, San Antonio President) Ty Bartoskewitz, Weatherford William Carrington, San Antonio Tom Beard, Alpine Chuck Cashdollar, Spring James Blackwell, Littlefield Ken Cearley, Happy R. Warren Blesh, Goldthwaite Deborah Clark, Henrietta Gary Bomar, Abilene Kevin Comiskey, Katy Randy Cadwallader, San Antonio Keith Crawford, Austin Randy Cadwallader V, San Antonio Bob Dittmar, Kerrville Linda Campbell, Austin Steve Dutton, San Antonio Jim Cathey, College Station Keith Ferrell, Lake McQueeny James Collins, McAllen Donnie Frels, Hunt Cary Dietzmann, Cat Spring Chaz Glace, Round Rock Robert Dullnig, San Antonio Chuck Greco, Houston Justin Feild, Kingsville Jeff Hanselka, La Vernia Joseph Fitzsimons, San Antonio Rebecca Heidelberg, Midland Dan Flournoy, Houston Cal Hendrick, Odessa Joel Glass, Encinal Roger Hill III, San Antonio Johnnie Hudman, Albany James Hurst, Barnhart Randall Hudson III, Ft. Worth Amanda Hurst, El Campo Ronald Johnson, Missouri City Crystal Ivy, Brackettville Clayton Leonard, Hondo Karl Kinsel, San Antonio Steve Mafrige, Tilden Dan Kinsel III, Cotulla Joey McCarty, Bulverde William Knolle, Austin Dr. Michael McCulloch, Odessa Bart Koontz, San Antonio Bruce McNabb, Fair Oaks Ranch Ben Love, Marathon John B. Miller III, Houston Mike Martinez, Fresno Jason Parrish, Austin Con Mims, Uvalde Scott Petty, Hondo Mike Murski, Dallas Bryan Pickens, Dallas William Osborn III, San Antonio Randy Rehmann, Austin (Past President) John Park, San Antonio Mike Reynolds, Austin Chance Parker, Alpine Homer Saye, Cypress Jay Robertson, San Antonio Carroll W. Schubert, San Antonio A. M. “Mac” Stringfellow, San Antonio Gary Schwarz, Harlingen Arthur Uhl III, San Antonio Greg Simons, San Angelo Bob Warren, San Antonio Don Steinbach, Burton Beth Watson, Fredericksburg Lane Sumner, Kent David Watts, Houston David Synatzske, Cotulla Rex Webb, Austin Sidney Terry, Houston William Wilson, Houston J. Timmins, Brownwood Brad Wolfe, Brownsville Peggy Van Cleve, Carrizo Springs Tom Vandivier, Austin Bryan Wagner, Ft. Worth Stephen “Randy” West, San Antonio Craig Wingrove, San Antonio Clayton Wolter, Sarita DIRECTORS (TERMS EXPIRING 2015) John Baker, Houston




U.S. Senator Ted Cruz encouraged Texas Wildlife Association members to continue to stand for principle and to champion growth and opportunity, during his keynote address at the TWA General Session and Awards Luncheon. “I’m honored to have the chance to spend a little bit of time with this tremendous group of patriots. This is a room of texans, of fighters, of lovers of liberty,” said sen. Cruz, in his opening remarks. “You love the land and you love the God-given rights that each of us enjoy. And that is inspiring to break bread with you.” sen. Cruz highlighted some of the important challenges facing the federal government and our nation, but he said there is momentum among those promoting a new course. “These are times of great challenge in our country. No one can look at what’s happening nationally and not be troubled for the future. but I want to give you a word of encouragement. I think we are in the process of turning this country around,” said sen. Cruz. “We are seeing millions of Americans coming together and saying ‘enough, already,’ we can’t keep going down these roads. We’ve got to turn around and get back to the principles this county were founded on. And I’m going to suggest two simple things that I think we need leaders in Washington to do and we need all of us to do to turn this country around: Number one, stand for principle. Number two, champion growth and opportunity.” sen. Cruz described the political mood in Washington, D.C. following the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, with pundits and “all of the gray beards” saying more federal guncontrol laws were imminent. but, he said, something remarkable happened. “And what happened, with a little bit of leadership in Washington, is the American people got involved. millions of Americans began standing up, calling their representative, sending emails, speaking out, saying, criminals – we ought to come down on them like a ton of bricks, but we shouldn’t be undermining the Constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. “And the voices of millions of American speaking up were heard in Washington, and I remember that evening when every one of the anti-gun bills came to the floor, every single bill that would have undermined the second Amendment was voted down on the floor of the United states senate.” sen. Cruz is serving his first term in the U.s. senate, following his election in November 2012. He serves on the senate Committee on Commerce, science, and transportation; the senate Committee on Armed services; the senate Committee on the Judiciary; the senate special Committee on Aging; and the senate Committee on rules and Administration.



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Friday night at WildLife 2013 was a big hit as over 800 people gathered to celebrate our state’s strong hunting and outdoor heritage at the texas big Game Awards (tbGA) statewide sportsman’s Celebration. The top three animals from each scored category, as well as the hunters and the landowners from these entries, were recWildlife artist Mike Childress (right) and ognized during the evening’s festivities. TWA Director Dr. Dan McBride admire the Among these top three animals from the taxidermy work on a few of the largest big game animals harvested in Texas during the 2012-2013 season were four animals that 2012-2013 season. made their way into the tbGA’s all-time top five list. seven texas slam recipients were also recognized for their dedication in harvesting a qualifying animal from all three “scored entry” categories during the same season. The texas Youth Hunting program (tYHp) was on display early in the program as tYHp hunters Victoria Voorhis and shelby White AJ Downs (center) poses for a quick photo with gave moving speeches about their TWA President Greg Simons (left) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter experiences with the program. Smith. AJ was recognized for taking the largest Victoria captured the audience’s low fence non-typical white-tailed deer during the attention with a heartfelt story 2012-2013 season. about how hunting with tYHp has helped her deal with the loss of her father and grandfather. she said after legacy of her late father, who was an avid meeting tYHp volunteers at Camp Agape, outdoorsman. she shared some of her earlia bereavement camp for kids, her family est childhood memories of spending time began to participate in tYHp hunts. These afield with her father and how she thought hunts gave Victoria and her brother an op- her chances of experiencing the outdoors portunity to make great memories in the were gone. she spoke of the strength gained field and even the special opportunity to from these outdoor experiences with use their dad’s and grandfather’s old hunt- tYHp and how they have prepared her for ing gear themselves. These valuable expe- the next step in her life, as she prepares to riences in the field with family have been attend college in the fall in pursuit of a demeaningful in her life and something, she gree in nursing. said, in which her father and grandfather These talented young ladies epitomize would be very proud. what the texas Youth Hunting program is shelby followed with a touching story of all about, and the program is extremely forher own about how hunting with tYHp has tunate to have them both as ambassadors. offered her an opportunity to carry on the Carter smith, executive Director of



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Shelby Kilpatrick of Copper Canyon receives the Texas Big Game Awards Conservation Scholarship from TWA Hunting Heritage Program Director Justin Dreibelbis.

the texas parks and Wildlife Department (tpWD), emphasized the strong partnership between the texas Wildlife Association and tpWD. He highlighted the texas big Game Awards partnership that has been working now for 22 seasons, and he also outlined several tpWD successes that the state agency has experienced during its 50-year existence. tbGA Conservation College scholarship winner shelby Kilpatrick was on hand to accept her award and to offer a few words to the large crowd. she talked passionately about why hunting is important to her and how she plans to use her texas A&m University entomology degree to make a positive difference in the field of natural resources. King ranch, Inc. was on hand to accept its award as tbGA statewide Landowner of the Year. tio Kleberg, accompanied by several ranch biologists, came up to accept the award and offer some historical perspective on ranch operations. Along with its extensive land stewardship practices, the King ranch last season hosted 161 youth hunters and 34 Wounded Warriors. Thanks to Chasco Constructors and the Nyle maxwell family of dealerships for their sponsorship of the Friday evening events. It was a wonderful evening of camaraderie that celebrated our state’s remarkable hunting heritage.

Tio Kleberg, accompanied by King Ranch, Inc. biologists, speaks to the crowd after King Ranch, Inc. was recognized as the Statewide Texas Big Game Awards Landowner of the Year.







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LANGFORD, WILKINS HONORED W I T H S P E C I A L T WA AWA R D S The texas Wildlife Association honored two prominent texas conservation leaders with special awards at the tWA General session and Awards Luncheon on July 13. David K. Langford of Comfort, a longtime texas Wildlife Association and natural resource conservation leader and proponent of private lands stewardship, was presented the tWA ray murski Friend of Wildlife Award. The tWA ray murski Friend of Wildlife Award recognizes a member of the texas Wildlife Association (tWA) that has made outstanding contributions to the Association and to wildlife habitat conservation. ray murski was a tWA Life member and generous supporter and proponent of tWA’s mission and programs. He passed away in 2011. “David K. Langford has been a cornerstone in the natural resource conservation arena for almost three decades in texas. He has given tirelessly to tWA in many ways, both while serving as a tWA executive Vice president and as a contractee, as well as serving as a valued tWA volunteer,” said tWA Vice president marcus t. barrett IV, in presenting the Award to Langford. “He uniquely understands some of the finer, more esoteric aspects of private lands stewardship, not only from a practitioner’s

David K. Langford of Comfort (right) is presented the 2013 TWA Ray Murski Friend of Wildlife Award by Texas Wildlife Association Vice President Marcus T. Barrett IV.



standpoint, but from a public policy standpoint, as well. He is a great advocate for the important cultures that relate to texas, texas landowners, and texas citizenry. tWA would most assuredly not be as strong of an organization today if it were not for David K. Langford.” Langford’s efforts contributed to promotion of the recognition of the stewardship role landowners take on, resulting in implementation of strong Conservation Legacy and Hunting Heritage programs within tWA and the development of essential staff to meet these needs. “Th is is especially meaningful for me because it has ray murski’s name on it. And ray murski was as good of friend of mine, during my time at tWA, as and good a friend to me, personally, as I’ve had,” said Langford, in accepting the award. “I appreciate it, and I appreciate ray’s name on it. Thank you.” Langford is owner of Western photography Company. His awardwinning photographs have appeared in texas parks and Wildlife, Western Horseman, Outdoor Life, Field and stream, texas Highways, The Cattleman, American West, texas monthly, and other magazines. Dr. Neal Wilkins of san Antonio, a respected wildlife biologist and wildlife conservation professional, was presented the tWA sam beasom Conservation Leader Award. The tWA sam beasom Conservation Leader Award recognizes a member of the professional conservation community that has made and outstanding contribution to the conservation of texas wildlife and shares the philosophies of tWA. Dr. sam beasom served as tWA Vice president from 1989-1993. He passed away in 1995. “Dr. Neal Wilkins is one of the rare wildlifers who has been able to bridge a wildlife academia career with that which transcends boundaries into the private sector and onto the private landscape. He not only understands principles of natural resource conservation and private

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Dr. Neal Wilkins of San Antonio (right) is presented the 2013 TWA Sam Beasom Conservation Leader Award by Texas Wildlife Association Vice President Marcus T. Barrett IV.

lands stewardship from a conceptual standpoint, but he understands how to deploy these disciplines,” said tWA Vice president marcus t. barrett IV, in presenting the Award to Wilkins. “He has served tWA as a dedicated volunteer for many years, including as tWA’s Vice president from 2004 thru 2012.” before becoming president and CeO of the east Wildlife Foundation in 2012, Wilkins was a professor of Wildlife science and served as the Director of the texas A&m Institute of renewable Natural resources and the texas Water resources Institute, where he coordinated the programs of more than 45 scientists and professional staff. “Listen, this is a great honor,” said Wilkins, in accepting the award. “I’ve got a bunch of years left, so perhaps I can do something to actually earn this. so, thank you, thank you, a lot.” Wilkins has over 25 years of experience leading research and conservation efforts across private lands in texas, tennessee, Florida, Washington, and Oregon. His primary focus has been habitat management and conservation of land, water, and wildlife resources on private lands. much of his work integrated science, policy and economics for developing wildlife conservation programs.


The texas Wildlife Association political Action Committee (tWApAC) shattered previous fundraising records at the tWA convention with over $37,000 in contributions at WildLife 2013. The previous record by the tWApAC at convention was $14,000 in contributions. The new total represents direct contributions to the tWApAC and contributions to the tWApAC resulting from the purchase of several silent Auction items and a Grand Auction item at the convention. texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was a special guest at a tWApAC reception on July 13. General Abbott spoke to tWApAC supporters about the importance of an effective political action committee to compliment an organization’s overall advocacy efforts. At the reception, tWA Director Wallace Klussmann presented General Abbott with a campaign contribution from the tWApAC. General Abbott announced his candidacy for texas Governor the next afternoon in san Antonio. Campaign contributions from the tWApAC are recommended by the tWA Legislative Committee and then approved by tWA Officers. tWA members interested in making a voluntary contribution to the tWApAC may call (210) 826-2904 for more information.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott graciously accepts a campaign contribution from the TWAPAC from TWA Director Wallace Klussmann at the TWAPAC reception. General Abbott announced his candidacy for Texas Governor the following day.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott gives “thumb up” to news that the TWAPAC was climbing in the rankings of Texas political action committees, as a result of record contributions to the TWAPAC by TWA members at WildLife 2013.



SANDERS, GLASS RECOGNIZED AS T WA VO LU N T E E R S O F T H E Y E A R The texas Wildlife Association recognized two individuals at the tWA General session and Awards Luncheon on July 13 for their outstanding contributions to the organization as volunteers. Jenny sanders of Freer was presented the 2013 tWA Volunteer of the Year Award. Jenny is involved with all of tWA’s activities and its supported programs. she is a tWA Director and is actively involved with regional development in region 8.

the 2013 tWA Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. Zachary has been a texas Youth Hunting program (tYHp) Assistant Huntmaster since 2011, and he has demonstrated leadership, initiative and willingness to serve the program. He has been assisting with tYHp for at least 10 years. During this period, he helped put on at least 60 youth hunts, doing a lot of little “go-fer” jobs that are necessary for success. He did these without complaining, and he eagerly accepted all assignments. each of these years, he has assisted with maintaining and warehousing organizational property. This year, he dedicated over 500 hours to the program, by assisting with hunts, 13 promotional/ educational events, and warehousing. At his young age, he is an excellent outdoor youth leader who serves as a youth role

Zachary Glass of Eola is presented the 2013 TWA Youth Volunteer of the Year Award by TWA President Greg Simons.

model and is willing to educate others. Zachary chose to complete Huntmaster training so he could better serve the program. to serve tWA, he volunteered and assisted with the last two tbGA banquets in Abilene.

Jenny Sanders of Freer is presented the 2013 TWA Volunteer of the Year Award by TWA President Greg Simons.

she serves on the Conservation Legacy Advisory Committee; she hosts Freer schools at the temple ranch for educational field investigation days; she serves as Vice president of texas brigades, is a member of the south texas buckskin brigade steering Committee, and is the coordinator of the W.I.L.D. program; and she has assisted in promoting educational field days for land managers. In regards to youth hunting, she hosts youth hunters at the temple ranch. In terms of advocacy, Jenny is a strong proponent of private land stewardship and has testified on several occasions in Austin. she serves on the tWA Legislative Committee. she has supported the tWApAC and the tWA “boots on the Ground” event in Austin. tWA is honored and grateful for her outstanding efforts. Jenny sanders is making a difference! Zachary Glass of eola was presented



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W I L D L I F E 2 01 3 E DU C AT IO NA L SEMINARS AFtEr tHE HUnt proper taxidermy preparation: James NewJay Evans of Austin engages in questions after his presentation port, owner of mesquite on balancing wildlife with oil and gas development. Creek taxidermy, highlighted the best handling practices to employ to make sure your animal is in the best possible condition for your taxidermist. The session was very informative, and JW Marriott executive chefs demonstrate the making it even had long-time of Wild Pork Pot Pie, one of three dishes they produced hunters leaving the room showcasing the use of wild pork. with a new perspective on how they handle their capes and meat. James had multiple taxi- the ranch’s great success. From dermy specimens on hand to use as exam- traditional white-tailed deer TWA Director Ty Bartoskewitz of the MT7 Ranch explains ples, and he discussed a number of things to management to enhancement management techniques that have attributed to the ranch’s look for when shopping for a taxidermist. of water resources, multi-spesuccess. Ways to make Wild Hog Gourmet: The cies management, education JW marriott did more than its share to help and outreach, non-game manout as executive Chef ryan and executive agement and research, the mt7 has been In evans’ opinion, the keys in the negosous Chef brett conducted a popular semi- transformed into a premier wildlife prop- tiations are to: nar presentation. both hunters, themselves, erty and a testament to what can be accom• plan (Dream a little) ryan and brett guided attendees through plished with a vision and a desire to man• Communicate three delicious recipes that featured a age. • secure wild hog that they had hunted, harvested, Voluntary Conservation practices – balcleaned, and butchered. Not only was the ancing Wildlife Conservation and Oil and • manage & monitor instruction fantastic, but the samples were Gas Development: Jay evans of Austin dis• reclaim a hot commodity, too. This is a seminar cussed what landowners need to consider very likely to make another showing at fu- as they work with oil and gas companies. • Understand your lease/sUA/rights ture conventions. evans assisted in the development of texas • WAter, WAter, WAter (make LAnD MAnAgEMEnt parks & Wildlife Department’s recent bulsure you have what you need) success of the mt7 ranch: Located near letin: Voluntary Conservation practices – breckenridge, in stephens County, the balancing Wildlife Conservation and Oil evans said landowners should be conmt7 ranch is a privately-owned ranch that and Gas Development in the eagle Ford cerned about the loss or degradation of focuses not only on sound wildlife manage- shale region of south texas. habitat, disturbance (topsoil, erosion, inment and land stewardship but also on the The bulletin, which was published in the troduction of exotic species), and restorarecreational value of the property. ranch August 2013 issue of “texas Wildlife,” is tion (native versus exotic species). evans and Wildlife manager ty bartoskewitz, a also available for download at http://www. suggested landowners contact south texas tWA Director, outlined the various man- tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/private/ Natives in regard to information on using agement practices that have attributed to voluntary-conservation-practices/. native plant species in land restoration.



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Photo by Clint Faas


T WA AU C T IO N S ENJOY SUCCESS! An enthusiastic crowd gathered saturday night at WildLife 2013 to show its support for the texas Wildlife Association at the Grand Auction and to bid on many one-ofa-kind trips, vehicles and hunts. many thanks to all of the generous Grand Auction donors, bidders and buyers! Your efforts and support of the Grand Auction are greatly appreciated! We also want to thank our auctioneer terry reagan and his talented ringmen for all of their great work and support at the auction. This year’s popular silent and Not-sosilent Auctions featured bidsmart technology. Attendees at the convention, as well as supporters and members off-site, placed bids on items of interest via their mobile phone. Auction participants were sent text alert messages, when their bid had been surpassed, with an opportunity to re-bid. The proceeds generated by our convention’s Grand & silent Auctions contribute a sizable amount to tWA’s annual operating budget. The budget provides the financial foundation for tWA’s mission, message, and various programs.



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MANY LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS each year at the tWA Convention, the Little Lonestars program has a theme. This year, our theme was “Feathered Friends.” From the looks of it, there were quite a few people that wanted to learn more about texas Feathered Friends, as the room was packed both Friday and saturday. to get things kicked off, the Little Lonestars (ages 4-12) on Friday dressed up and got their “Wanted” pictures taken. They really enjoy putting on a silly face and acting like they are “Wanted” for something. Next, they had the opportunity to make bird feeders out of recycled milk jugs. It was GreAt to see how many different “Feathered Friends” showed up with interest in the feeders. Friday also included a visit by our friend Kameron bean of Wild times edutainment. she always dazzles the kids by allowing them to learn about texas Wildlife, hands-on. This year, she brought an Armadillo, Opossum, and porcupine. When you hear “ewww” – that’s a good thing! saturday is always a bIG day as we hold a drawing contest and then hand out awards at the luncheon. each Little Lonestar is invited to draw a picture that goes along with our theme. since this year’s theme was “Feathered Friends,” we got some really nice pictures of texas birds. poster Contest winners for this year were: (Ages 4-6) 1st place – mackenzie Dees, 2nd place – brooke Field, 3rd place – Conner mcWilliams; (Ages 7-9) 1st place – beth Anne stein, 2nd place – Cameron roller, 3rd place – Weston brooks; (Ages 10-12) 1st place – paige Field, 2nd place – ty Hehman, and 3rd place – elizabeth West. The Best Of Show poster was drawn by Haigen Hemphill. Congratulations to all! to add to the already fun day, Nyta brown of the texas parks and Wildlife Department joined us and shared some

Sea World Animal Ambassadors Missy Lamar and Justin Kenkel WOW the group with an Alligator.

Kameron Bean (Wild Times Edutainment) introduces her Armadillo to the Little Lonestars.

information about bats. she had pictures, handouts, books to look through, a bat that had been prepared by a taxidermist, and some cool bat sounds. When a room full of kids are very quiet, unless asked a question, you know it’s a GreAt presentation. Later that day, we were thrilled to have sea World Animal Ambassadors missy Lamar and Justin Kenkel join us. They entertained everyone and taught us valuable lessons about other “Feathered Friends,” by introducing their parrot, two owls, and a rose-colored spoonbill. to top off their presentation, they brought a rescued baby Alligator and talked about the importance of NOt keeping them as pets. It was an exciting opportunity to touch and feel these animals, first-hand. several texas brigades Cadets took the Little Lonestars on a scavenger hunt. They searched for plants, insects, grass, something with feathers, and were then asked to draw what they found. boy, did we have fun! to everyone’s delight, the brigades Cadets then taught the Little Lonestars how to march in sync. I can still see ALL OF tHe KIDs in line, lifting up their right leg and saying; left, right, left, right, left. It was priceless. A BIG THANK YOU to the following people for their assistance and time in making Little Lonestars 2013 such a success: Kameron bean, elizabeth brogan, Nyta brown, susan Ditto, Cathy Downs, raelene Forrester, suzanne Frels, Aundie Gunnels, Justin Kenkel, missy Lamar, Amanda Lanier, Lane Lanier, Justin meyer, mary pearl meuth, Laura poole, Andrew skipton, Cheryl synatzske, rebekah Wagner, Gracie Waggener, Kiki Warden, and Leslie Wittenburg.

Texas Brigades Cadet Amanda Lanier showed her Little Lonestar group how to march and say cadence.

Nyta Brown (TPWD) talks about the importance of Bats.

Poster Drawing Contest Winners (left to right) – Beth Anne Stein, Brooke Field, Ty Hehman, Paige Field, Elizabeth West.





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arthur temple college of forestry and agriculture


stephen f. austin state university

What Do Genetics Tell Us About Eastern Wild Turkeys in The Pineywoods? Article by SABrinA SEiDEL, Research Associate and CHriStopHEr E. CoMEr, Associate Professor of Wildlife Management


ranslocation has been an important management and translocations can have unanticipated impacts on the restored restoration technique for wildlife managers since the early populations, including dramatic reductions in genetic diversity and part of the twentieth century. Capture and movement of animals loss of adaptations to local conditions. Characteristics of the source has been used to restore species to native range, supplement native populations can persist for many generations following release. populations, and even introduce species outside of their normal Consider that in some parts of the southeast, white-tailed deer in range. In some cases, translocations have been very successful, adjacent counties have peak rut dates that vary by two months or leading to some of the greatest success stories in modern wildlife more, because translocated populations have maintained breeding management. These success stories include the restoration of white- synchrony from their source populations in south texas or Florida. tailed deer to much of the eastern United states, reintroduction particularly in the early days of wildlife translocations, managers of black bears to Arkansas and other southeastern states, and the paid little attention to the diversity or local adaptations of source restoration of eastern Wild populations – they took animals from turkeys to much of the east. wherever they could get them. With because of the efforts of the advent of modern genetics analysis, the National Wild turkey we can now unravel the impacts of Federation, various state translocations on current wildlife agencies across the country, populations and how that history may and many private landowners, affect population health and growth. the capture and movement of As part of a larger research project eastern Wild turkeys across examining the reasons behind slow much of the eastern U.s. stands as population growth in texas eastern one of those triumphs of wildlife Wild turkeys, stephen F. Austin state management, with a population University used DNA analyses to look that expanded from less than at how the translocation history is 500,000 birds in the mid-1900s evident in the current eastern Wild to well over 5 million birds turkey population. Furthermore, today. As part of this program, over 7,000 eastern Wild turkeys were translocated to eastern texas between 1979 and 2010. In contrast to most locations in the east and southeast, the turkey population of east texas never took off. to be sure, there have been many successful turkey hunts in the pineywoods, but harvest numbers and population estimates have fallen in recent years, and texas parks and The genetic structure in East Texas wild turkeys, as from 294 Removing blood sample from wild Wildlife Department recently hunter-harvested and wild captured turkey tissue samples from captured Eastern Wild Turkey in East closed spring turkey season in East Texas (2007-2009) Photo by Sabrina Seidel Texas. Photo by Jason Isabelle 15 counties.

Sponsored by



Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Stephen F. Austin State University and Rumsey Research and Development Fund

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Rocket nets used to capture Eastern Wild Turkeys in East Texas. Photo by Ryan Bass

harvest records and gobble counts in East Texas suggested that while some areas have consistently supported stable turkey populations, these areas appear to be isolated and separated by areas of Eastern Wild Turkey blood sample apparently suitable habitat that stored in buffer for use in molecular are only sparsely populated. analyses of Eastern Wild Turkey population genetic structuring. In 2008 and 2009, we began Photo by Jason Isabelle collecting tissue samples from wild turkeys across the region. Although we obtained blood samples from 50 wild turkeys captured as part of a radiotelemetry study, we relied on the turkey hunters of East Texas to do most of our sample collection. Graduate student Sabrina Seidel and Texas Parks and Wildlife employees placed feather collection kits (including a tube of ethanol, disposable scissors, gloves, and a data card) at 28 mandatory check stations in 24 counties. The NWTF offered a shotgun raffle to encourage participation, and the East Texas hunters came through for us. In all, we received 244 samples from 19 counties, representing 45 percent of all Eastern Wild Turkeys legally harvested in 2008 and 2009. Of course, to identify the influence of the translocations on today’s turkeys, we needed to know where those turkeys came from. This was a more difficult task than one might imagine, and it involved going through boxes of paper records with TPWD wild turkey specialist Jason Hardin. Some records literally consisted of dots on a paper map, with hand-written notations of release numbers and source state. Nonetheless, we determined that Eastern Wild Turkeys came to Texas from at least 16 states. Thankfully, five states (Iowa, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Missouri, and Georgia) accounted for nearly 80 percent of the turkeys translocated here, and we were able to obtain reference DNA samples from a tissue repository at Utah State University from all of these states. Ms. Seidel performed all

Translocation of eastern wild turkeys has been a successful technique to restore turkeys throughout its geographic range. Photo by Jason Isabelle

Capture locations and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department check stations in East Texas, where blood and feather samples were obtained from Eastern Wild Turkeys from 2007 to 2009. Numbers indicate thetotal number of samples per county. Photo by Sabrina Seidel

of the genetic analyses, working in the lab of Dr. Randy DeYoung at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Our results suggest that translocation history remains the most important influence on the genetics of Texas Eastern Wild Turkeys. Even down to the county level, the genetic influence on the turkeys reflected the source states for translocations. Across the region, about 65 percent of translocated turkeys came from the Midwest (Missouri, Wisconsin, and Iowa), and 10 percent came from Georgia and South Carolina. Similarly, we found that our current wild turkey population is influenced about six times as much by midwestern turkeys as it is by southeastern turkeys. We also found that little genetic exchange is occurring among turkeys in various regions of East Texas, with isolated populations occurring in northern counties along the Red River (north of I-20), in the Nacogdoches and Angelina counties area, and along the border with Louisiana (Newton and Sabine counties). One unexpected finding in our study was the persistence of Rio Grande Turkey genetics in deep East Texas. We documented a strong influence of Rio Grande Turkeys in individual wild turkeys from Angelina, Newton, and Sabine counties, despite records indicating that Rios had not been translocated to those counties in more than 50 years. The origins of these turkeys are unclear, but it may be that translocations can have an even more far-reaching influence than we think. These population genetics studies are only one piece of information in determining the status and future of these popular and challenging game birds for eastern Texas. If new habitat management and stocking techniques work out as we hope, the next version of this story will show us a healthy and self-sustaining turkey population that occupies all available habitat in the region. For more information, please contact Sabrina Seidel, Research Associate or Dr. Chris Comer, Associate Professor of Wildlife Management, Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Stephen F. Austin State University, at comerce@sfasu.edu.



Article and photos by Brandon Ray

Decoys for Doves

The author harvested these doves over a small pond last September. A combination of plastic clip-on decoys on a fence and one Mojo dove decoy on the ground proved effective.


f you want higher odds of busting a limit of mourning or white-winged doves from the blue texas sky, set a decoy trap. Last september, hid from the texas heat in any shade we could find, friends and I shot doves near a large pond and a small windmill tank. some of the birds passed out of range, but you could tell the one’s that spied the decoys. They would come at us like guided missiles. A few gray birds lit on the barbed wire fence to our left. That



fence was decorated with seven clip-on plastic dove decoys. The real birds would often land right next to the fakes! The most impressive sight, especially during the frenzied last 30 minutes before sunset, were the dive-bombers at our motorized mojo dove decoy. The spinning gray and white wings of that single decoy act like an irresistible invitation to join the party at the watering hole. At times, a tennis racket would have been more effective at swatting the kamikazes out of the air. Good

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dove decoys increase odds for success so much these days, it’s hard to believe I ever hunted without them. The First Time I remember the first time I ever saw a mojo dove decoy in action. It was a game changer. eight of us were spread out around a large field dotted with sunflowers. It was a paid day hunt in North texas. mostly old high school friends, but there were also a

Plastic clip-on dove decoys like these are effective at pulling birds within range. Decoys with moving wings, either wind or battery driven, seem to work even better.

couple of new faces. The closest town was Lueders, population 264. The man just down the barbed wire fence from me staked a decoy in the ground, then retreated a short ways to his stool in the shade of an old twisted mesquite. The motorized fake dove’s wings started to spin. For the next two hours, doves flew randomly overhead, low down the fences, and sometimes in swarms of five or six. I missed a couple of long shots at fast-flyers and knocked down a couple of others. The hunting was tough. But, the man down the fence from me was burning his barrel up! From a distance, it looked like the birds were literally dive-bombing right on top of him. I gathered my stool and headed down the rusty fence to talk to the stranger. The hunter was retrieving another bird when I posed the obvious question. “Does that decoy really work?” “You bet it does. They see it and zero in on it like it’s a landing strip. The guys give me a hard time about using it, but it works. I’ve almost got my limit. You can sit here until sunset, if you want.” So I did. And, I watched the birds, ones that seemed to fly over the field with no specific destination in mind, veer from 100 yards out and, more times than not, fly over us. Others slowed the rhythm of their wings and started to land out in the dirt field next to the battery-operated decoy. Setting the Decoy Trap Since then, I’m rarely caught hunting doves without a good selection of decoys.

It’s a system that leads to closer, higherpercentage shots, whether I’m guarding a windmill pond in September or hunting fields in January. It’s especially helpful for rookie shotgunners and folks that only hunt birds one or two days per year. Shots are generally closer and at slower targets over decoys than without them. My typical setup includes six or seven plastic clip-on decoys on the barbed wire fence next to my stool. I’ll put three on my right side and four on the left, staggered and gapped one foot apart on the top strand of the fence. You can also clip them to tree branches. Place them where incoming birds can silhouette the decoys easily. If incoming birds can’t see the deeks because of thick brush, you can’t very well expect them to swarm you. A four-pack of clip-on decoys will cost under $20 from places like Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops. I’ve seen some hunters that craft their own decoys, carving life-like birds out of soft wood and painting them, like the real deal. Multiple times, I’ve had birds sneak in behind me and land on the fence, literally inches away from the fakes. That never gets old, and the kids howl every time it happens. In front of my stool about 20 yards away, on open ground where it’s easy to see them, I stake down one or two motorized Mojo decoys. (Battery-operated decoys are legal to hunt doves in Texas, but not in all states. You can also buy wind-driven spinning wing Mojo dove decoys that do not use batteries.) Cost for a single Mojo Dove or

the improved Mojo Voodoo Dove decoy is under $50. Buy them early, as they sell out fast in local stores in the weeks before opening day. The metal stake puts the life-like decoy about one or two feet off the ground. Press the button, and the wings will spin rapidly, making the fake look like a real bird that’s just about to land. I carry a couple of extra batteries in my bird bag, just in case the battery goes dead at prime time. If you’re wearing a white T-shirt and faded blue jeans, moving excessively or exposed out in the bright sunshine, the birds won’t be fooled for long. So, complete the ruse by staying well-concealed. Position yourself in the shade. Wear camouflage clothing or neutral olive drab, brown and khaki colors. Be patient, and let the birds come in close. Always wear eye protection and hearing protection while dove shooting. Lip balm and sunscreen is also advised. If you’ve set the decoy trap near a favorite watering hole or popular grain field, get ready to heat up your gun barrel. Done right, the harvest will be fruitful!

Dove hunter Ty Bartoskewitz takes aim during the last minutes of legal light on a September dove shoot. Shooting action around water is typically the best during the last 30 minutes before sunset.



community bankers in support of twa

Interested in joining these banks in support of TWA and seeing your logo featured monthly in Texas Wildlife Magazine? Contact TWA Director of Member Relations Kendra Roller at (210) 826-2904 or kroller@texas-wildlife.org. Photo by D. K. Langford


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ICF –Your Images, Their Future

Saving W ildlife One Image at a Time


by John McCaine This close up of two javelinas was taken by John mcCaine at a 2013 pro-Am with Grant Atkinson at martin refuge, owned by tWA members John and Audrey martin.

TWA is 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. Images for Conservation Fund is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization created in 2003 for the purpose of conserving wildlife habitat and generating a sustainable income stream within rural economies through the establishment and prosperity of the Private Lands' Nature-Photography Industry (PLNPI). Images for Conservation encourages private landowners to restore, preserve, conserve, and enhance wildlife habitat through the business of nature photography. ICF has established and will continue creating a strong Private Lands Nature Photography Industry (PLNPI) that provides economic incentives for private landowners to conserve and enhance wildlife habitat. ICF does this primarily through its photography tournaments. It also engages in community outreach and education efforts and help landowners with marketing and land preparation support. For more information on ICF, visit www.imagesforconservation.org.



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