Hunt Texas June 2013

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Hunt Texas E-newsletter

In This Issue: 


Teen Bags State Record ‘Gator on Public Lands

young hunter with 14 foot alligator in water

An eighteen year-old high school senior on his first alligator hunt harvested the largest alligator ever certified in Texas. Braxton Bielski bagged the behemoth 800-pound, 14-foot, 3-inch gator during a recent drawn public hunt on the James E. Daughtrey Wildlife Management Area. The coveted permit provides the only opportunity to hunt and harvest an alligator on Choke Canyon Reservoir, situated within the Daughtrey WMA boundary. Read more of the story.

“He’s wanted to hunt alligators for years,” said his dad Troy Bielski, a Houston police officer who has applied annually to TPWD’s special drawing hunts for the chance to fulfill his son’s dream. He said TPWD staff provided a thorough orientation before their first-time ‘gator hunt experience.

If hunting 'gators is your thing, you can also enter to win the ultimate guided alligator hunt at the J.D. Murphree WMA through the Big Time Texas Hunts.

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Drawn Hunts on Public Lands Offer Special Access

Texas map showing drawn hunt locations

It could happen to you! Just ask the high school senior with the Texas record alligator! Now is the time to submit your entries. 

Each year, TPWD’s Public Hunt Drawing System provides special access to some of the state’s high-quality managed wildlife habitat. Over 5,000 hunters selected through random computer drawings are invited to wildlife management areas, state parks and leased private property for these supervised hunts for a variety of game, including: white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn, javelina, alligator, exotics, feral hog and spring turkey. You can apply one time in each hunt category that interests you.

New opportunities this year include:

The 2013-2014 Applications for Drawings on Public Hunting Lands describes these special opportunities by target species and location and includes complete rules and regulations. Read tips for the application process. Deadlines for entry vary by hunt, ranging from August 1 - October 10. There is a $3-$10 application fee per hunt.

Hunters are selected from 30 different hunt categories, including eight specifically for youth only, and choose a preferred hunt date and location from hunt areas stretching across the state. There’s even a provision for hunting buddies to apply as a group — in some cases up to four hunters can apply together on one application. 

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A message from a Texas Parks & Wildlife sponsor

ADV Toyota Tundra

Get Ready: Take Hunter Ed Now.

instructor helping youth take aim

Get ahead of the game. Use some summertime to earn your Hunter Education Certification. Here are your current options:

1. Online home study plus field day using a current Outdoor Annual to complete the Texas Regulations quiz. Then attend and pass a one-day field course. Learn more and find one-day field course opportunities near you.

2. Structured two-day course including structured instruction and field course. Sign up for a class in your area now.

Every hunter (including out-of-state) born on or after September 2, 1971, must successfully complete a hunter education course, purchase a “Hunter Education Deferral,” and/or be accompanied. Your certification is good for life and is honored by other states and provinces requiring hunter education. 

Hunting is safe and getting safer, thanks in part to this mandatory hunter education. Read this story summarizing the latest report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

TPWD is considering revising the hunter education program to make certification more convenient. If adopted, these changes would take effect in early September. After September 1, call 1-800-792-1112 or visit the hunter education page for details about changes to course options. 

P.S. - Hunter education instructors are always needed. Help share the hunting legacy of conservation and sportsmanship by becoming a hunter education instructor. Find out more about joining the program.

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A message from a Texas Parks & Wildlife sponsor=============

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Pass Along the Legacy of Hunting

father and daughter in camo in the fieldDo you know a young man or woman who would like to try hunting? We encourage experienced hunters to seek out interested youth and provide the guidance to make the event both enjoyable and educational for the beginning hunter.

It’s not just about sharing a great outdoor experience. Watch “Passing Down the Hunting Legacy,” a video that explains the larger picture. Hunting license sales - the backbone of conservation efforts across all fifty states - have declined over the past decades, challenging conservation programs to protect wildlife and their habitat. Also lost are those lessons learned in the field that make clear the ties between clean, ample water, healthy lands and abundant wildlife.

Learn more about the Texas Youth Hunting Program. The future of hunting and wildlife in Texas is in the hands of our youth. 

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TPWD 50th Anniversary: Celebrate Great Hunting

illustration bighorn sheep in desert

In 1963, with the passage of House Bill 21, the state legislature merged the Texas Game and Fish Commission and State Parks Board to become the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, overseen by a three-member commission. This year we celebrate 50 years as an agency and look back on some of the landmark milestones including:

1969 – The TPW Commission approved the first-ever spring turkey hunting season for 1970.

1971 – Desert bighorn sheep restoration begins with the release of 20 sheep on the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area.

1996 – Texas Youth Hunting Program begins, providing hunting opportunities for young people while passing on the heritage of conservation ethics and hunter safety.

2008 – The Texas Game Warden Training Center moves to a new facility where $20 million in donations helps establish a nationally recognized conservation law enforcement training facility.

Celebrate with us -- Help keep Life Better Outside in Texas by promising to do one or more actions on our online pledge form, and as a thank you we'll send you a free copy of the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine’s 50th Anniversary special issue and a free "Life's Better Outside" window sticker.

Thanks for supporting the great Texas outdoors.

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Get Ready to Hunt: Two Tips

young hunter in ear protection,safety glassesPlan for safety gear. When children take up baseball, soccer, and football, safety gear is a given. Young hunters eager to be in the field also need to establish good safety habits for protecting their sight and hearing from possible damage. Adult hunters can lead by example and also provide safety glasses and ear protection for youngsters learning to hunt. Watch this short video about eye and ear equipment options in the field.

Sharpen your aim. Time spent this summer improving your aim will pay off this fall in the field with a more enjoyable and safer experience for you and your hunting group. Sharpen your skills and help younger hunters you’re mentoring at some of the many Texas shooting range options.  Here are two resources to help you locate a range near you: National Shooting Sports Foundation's Shooting Range Finder and Texas State Rifle Association’s Range List.

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Hogs Wild – Fighting the Feral Pig Problem

hunter with three feral hog harvestLike feral hogs rooting up your favorite pasture, biologists are leaving no stone unturned as they work to reduce the destruction created by wild pigs, a species which causes $52 million each year in Texas agricultural damage alone. Learning more about feral hog habits and their amazing ability to reproduce will help in successful hunting, trapping, and the development of a species-specific, humane bait. Watch “Hogs Wild,” a video about Texas biologists tackling this tough problem at Kerr Wildlife Management Area.

You could get the ultimate chance to help reduce the feral hog population when you buy an entry for the Texas Wild Hog Adventure, a new feral hog weekend hunt option in this year’s Big Time Texas Hunts. Food, lodging, transportation to and from the stand, and quartering of the hogs are provided. Entries for this and all other Big Time Texas Hunts packages are just $9 each online or $10 by phone or at retailers where hunting licenses are sold.

P.S. - Remember feral hogs are a game species you can hunt all year with a current Texas hunting license.

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Recent Tales from the Game Wardens

game warden on truck looking across fields

One angler recently apprehended by game wardens violated the daily bag limit for white bass – by catching 21 fish too many. The guy blamed his dog.

Texas Game Wardens lay their lives on the line as they do their very serious work enforcing laws to protect citizens and wildlife, often lending a helping hand along the way and sometimes making us smile with their tales. Read more of their stories in this recent Game Warden Field Notes.

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Countdown to Hunting Season

hunters in field waiting for doves to fly by

In case you have your eye on the calendar, here are some dates to remember:

  • August 15 – Licenses go on sale, including the best deal, the Super Combo license.
  • August 15 – The 2013-14 Outdoor Annual Hunting and Fishing Regulations will be available wherever hunting licenses are sold and online. Pick one up when you buy your license.
  • September 1 – In just 65 days, dove season begins in the North and Central zones. Catch the forecast in the August 28 edition of Hunt Texas.

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